Sunday, September 20, 2009

19 Sept 2009

For review & info on most of the books I mentioned here, please goes to (updated 19 Sept 2009)

I thought we can start school this week. I thought wrong.
We went for Yamaha lesson on Tuesday night (15 Sept), almost 7 days after Den's operation (read all about her operation here). She was actived and seemed to be doing better and better. The redness at the corners of her eyes have almost disappeared. So I did not expect any problem.

Half way tru the class, she told me she was dizzy and wanted to go home (that's the first for her, she had never request to go home since we started Yamaha 1 years and 9 months ago, she used to cried whenever we sang the good bye song), so I knew she really was not feeling well.

That's the first time she complained dizziness since the operation, I think may be it was due to concentrating too long on the keyboard and notes. She practiced piano almost every day at home but did not has any problem. But then she usually only practiced for 5-8 min at a time.
We continued the class until the end but I did not let her played any more songs.

I decided than it was still too early to start school, so there was no school no worksheet for the whole week.

On Wed, my friend SY and her 1.5 years old boy visited us. So Den had fun playing with him. I also packed up some of Den's old toys and books and sold it to her. That's about the only way I can make Den let go of her old toys...we are saving up all the money from the sales of her old toy and set up a toy fund to buy age suitable toy for her! Even with that, she refused to let me sell off a few of her toys that I think she already out grown.

She is a collector - collect everything under the sun - toys, books, stickers, rocks, plastic bags, boxes, letters, envelops, stirring spoons, etc etc! You name it, she has it! Every time anyone wanted to throw away anything, she would asked, "Since you don't need this any more, can you give it to me?" When you said Yes, she would be so happy that you thought may be you have given her a diamond instead of just a plastic bag!

The only thing she is giving away willingly is the clothes that she has out grown...may be because physically she cant wear them any more.

On Friday, W&W came over and played. They have not been coming for awhile and so they had lots of fun together. We are going to really missed them when we relocated.

Other than that, we did not do much. Just read stories. We started reading Robert N. Munsch's stories collections Munschworks (under Read Aloud 2) again.
I bought Munschworks Grand Treasury (contained munschwork1, 2 & 3) and also Munschworks 4 from Trisha & Sasha when Den was only a few months old because I love the stories! They are so so so silly! They make me laugh and laugh! Off cause at that time, Den was too little to understand the stories or to enjoy the humour but last year when she turn 3.5 years old, she starting to love them.
The stories are just so funny and silly and some with a very subtle message behind them but some just for the fun of it. We started on the Grand Treasury last year and before we can finished it we got distracted by some others books and forgot to continue. Recently, Borders is selling a lot of Robert N. Munsch's books (single title, around RM23 each, buy 2 free 1) and that reminded us we have not been reading his works for awhile.

Just to give you a taste of his story, let me summarized the story that we read last night called Stephenie's ponytail.

Stephenie asked her mom to tie her hair into a ponytail at the back of her head because no one in the school had ponytail. When her classmate saw her, they shouted," ugly ugly ugly! " She said, "Is my ponytail and I like it!"

Then next day, every girls in the class have ponytail at the back of their head.

Stephenie was very angry and asked her mom to tie a ponytail at the side of her head. The next day, every girls and some boys have ponytail coming out at the side of their heads.
Stephenie was very very angry and asked her mom to tie a ponytail on top of her head. The next day, every girls and boys have ponytail on top of their head.

Stephenie was very very very angry and asked her mom to tie a ponytail at the front of her head and cover her eyes. The next day, every girls, boys and even some teachers have ponytail at the front of their head and covered their eyes.
Stephenie was so so so angry that she announced she is going to shave her hair and came to school bold the next day. The next day when she reached school, everyone - girls, boys, teachers had all shaved their head and bold. Stephenie is the only one left with the ponytial coming out at the back of her head.

Den and I laughed none stop tru the story. I also used the story to remind Den that she need to be confident with what she has and who she is even if it is very different from others - for example her glasses. She hated her glasses and think she looks ugly when she wear it. It did not help when all those 'well meaning' people saw her and said with pity "Ai Yo! So SMALL has to wear glass! So POOR THING!"

But then that's life. We can go tru life trying to fit in with everyone and conform to the norm or we dare to be different and be proud of what we have and who we are. Sometime, when we dare to be different, others will start to follow suit too. Hard lesson for a 4.5 years old though.

Other than stories, she also had lots of free time to draw since there was no worksheet. I was very pleasantly surprised by some of the art works she came out with:

She draw this parrot in my mom house on Tuesday before we went to Yamaha without copying from any book! I think it was really great and wanted to show everyone but she refused.
She keep saying it was no good and she can do better and refused to let anyone see it except for ST & me.
Hmm...a perfectionist! I don't like it!

The title of this is "EE & Den On Stage". She draw this yesterday when I prepared dinner.
She only shared it with ST & me and refused to let anyone else see it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

14 Sept 2009

For review & info on most of the books I mentioned here, please goes to &

Since Den's operation, we did not do much. I don't want to overstress her. For the first few days, I just let her rest and did not even read book to her because when I read, she would want to look at the pictures. Past few days her eyes were healing fine and so I started to read books to her.

We read from Sonlight reading list and also some of the Chinese books. Other than reading book, I did not let her do much. No coloring, no worksheet, no TV.

ST was not around today. Den and I decided to have a girl day out. We went to IKEA, ate cotton candy (she paid RM2 and I paid RM1 with the promise that the next time round, I will pay RM2), shopping, etc. Found some very good books in Popular today.

(1) 怡学故事列车- a series of 10 books. Normal price is RM59.90, now promotion price at RM39.30. In other words, it is about RM4 per book. All books are full color with activities at the end. For example of the activities please click here. 7 of the books are stories books, 2 books are poem and 1 is script. I really like the books and think it is a very good buy.

(2) A good dictionary to practice phonics. See example here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Part III Post Operation

To find out how we found out Den has squint, read Part I
To find out more about her operation, read Part II

Den slept in the eye center one hour after she came out from the operation. I carried her home. She continued to slept for 3 hours. Too tired from all the crying and the general anaesthetic, I think. She woke up once screaming for me because she still cant open her eyes. So I decided to sleep with her so that she would feel more secured.

She woke up at 2pm. Rested and in a much better mood. She still cant open her eyes but she allowed us to feed her milk and later some cereal.

She took up ST's challenge to play piano without seeing (later she secretly admitted to me she can actually see a little bit). I was very happy that she can remember all the songs. I was a bit worry she might forget some of the things she learned because of the general anaesthetic.

After that, she opened up all her presents. I prepared 3 parents for her and her best friend EE also prepared a present for her. I brought all the presents to the eye center for her and wanted to give it to her right after the operation but she was too confused to be interested in them.

She was in very good mood the whole afternoon and she opened her eyes bit by bit. She complained she cant open them wide because when she opened them wide, she saw double images. Her eyes were sensitive but no pain (thank God!) and we did not give her any pain killer. However, we need to put eye drop into her eye every few hours and she refused to let us do it. Finally we cant wait any more, so we restrained her. She struggled and cried but at least we got it done.

Later, when my brother in Australia heard of it, promised to buy her a princess presents for every time she put eye drops (hmmm..i think he did not know she need to put eye drop 4 time per day!)

Even with the promise of presents, we still need to restrained her before we can put another round of eye drop in her before she sleep.

The next morning (10 Sept 2009), we brought her back to the eye center or check up.

Doc told us double image was very command after the operation because of the over correction. He purposely did it that way so that hopefully can force Den's brain to use both eyes. In a week or two hopefully, Den's brain would learn to put the 2 images into one. At the mean time, she cant play outdoor.

We will go back for check up again in 3 weeks time.

He also allowed us to cut down her eye drop from 4 time per day to 2 time per day. I was very happy about that but surprise! when we came back from the center and it was time for the eye drop, Den laid down bravely and willingly and asked us to go ahead! I still don't know what make the change of heart. Since then, we have no problem in dropping eye drops in for her.

Today is Sat. 3 days after operation. So far there was no problem except she still see double images. There was nothing we can do about that except pray.

We also follow the Chinese custom and not eating some of the food like chicken, beef, seafood (except fish), etc. We have not wash her hair yet, worry the water will get into her eyes (doc recommendation was not washing hair for at least 24 hours). The corner of eyes still very red but other than that she is pretty much back to her old monkey self. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Part II - Eye Operation

As I mentioned in my previous posting, Den went tru operation on 9 Sept 2009 because she had squint.

The night before the operation, I read 3 Bible stories for her. There were all about the Jesus- Jesus brings a boy back to life (Luke 6-7); Jesus heals the woman who touches his clothes (Mark 5) and Jesus stops a storm (Mark 4). These are the Bible stories we are supposed to read next week but I think it was rather fitting for us to read the night before the surgery.

The stories comforted us. We knew that nothing is impossible for God. He is stronger and bigger than any problem we faced. ST and I thought we wont be able to sleep that night but he ended up sleeping rather earlier. I slept a bit late but not later than usual.

The operation was set at 9am. We need to reach the eye center by 830am. Den was not allowed to eat in the morning. So we decided not to wake her up. Instead we carried her up to the car and let her slept in the car. We only woke her up when we reached the eye center. We wanted to shorten the time between she awake up and operation so that hopefully she wont got hungry. The tactic worked. She never asked for milk. We reached the center 15 min earlier and it was not opened yet. We waited for awhile before all the nurses came in. They measured Den's heartbeat and put a name tag on her wrist. Den is very sensitive to touch and kept complaining about the tag.

We were briefed by a very nice anaesthetist, Dr. Cheah (Den need GA-general anaesthetic). She told us what to expect before and after the operation. I took the opportunity to ask if there were be any needle involved. Den is super afraid of needdle. She told us she would use the gas mask to put Den to sleep first before she insert the cannula into her vein. Den and I thought that was a prayer answered!

Soon after Den and I changed into the clothes provided by the center, we were ushered into the operation theater. ST and I decided I would be the one accompanied Den into the room until she was put to sleep. After that I would have to leave the room, which I am very grateful. I don't think I can stand to watch the operation. I always looked away whenever there is any scene of operation on TV...

In OT, I carried Den while Dr. Cheah put a mask covering Den's nose and mouth. She asked Den to blow up a balloon. Every time she blow out air, the balloon would be inflated. Then it shrinked again. Den did a few time before she started to loose consciousness. She started to struggle then. Dr. Cheah already briefed me about this, so I just tried to hang on to her. After a few second of struggling, Den was asleep and I was ushered out.

We waited at the lounge along with my parents for about 45-50min. I saw a cute little girl, may one plus to 2 years old getting ready for operation. She was still sucking a pacifier. Once again, I thank God that Den was only having operation when she was 4.5 years old and not earlier, at least now we can reason with her.

Before Den was wheeled out, Dr. Choong came out and told us the operation was straight forward and successful. He did not foresee any problem. I thank God in my heart.

When Den came out of the OT, she was still unconscious. She woke up a few minutes later and she started to make a very big fuss. Dr. Cheah warned us about that but I did not expect her to struggle like that. She screamed and she kicked and she would not want to be comforted or settle down.

We kept asking her what was wrong but she cant answered us. I think she was still very confused. We kept trying to restraint her because we worry she would rub on her eyes and she kept struggling....did not know she was that strong!

Finally she opened her eyes and saw my dad and she wanted my dad to carry her. She settled down for a min or two when my dad carried her and then she realized the cannula attached on her left wrist. She wanted to pull the cannula out and started another screaming fuss when we refused.

We kept telling her we had to wait for her to drink and not throwing up before the nurse can take out the cannula but she was beyond reasoning. We took turn carrying her and tried to settle her down. We managed to feed her one small sip of water but the nurse said we better fed more before she took out the cannula. So the crying continued. I am glad there was no other patient in the room.

We gotten her to drink two more sips of water and the nurse decided to take out her cannula. She took out the cannula and put a plaster and cotton on her wound. This time Den cried and screamed for the nurse to take out the plaster and cotton. She scream so loud that the nurse decided to change it to normal bandage. She still refused to calm down and continue to scream "take it out! take it out!"

That's when I finally realized something is amiss. I asked Den was she crying because of the bandage or because she cant open her eyes. She told me because she cant open her eyes.

Dr. Cheah told us before operation, she might not be able to open her eyes for awhile because of the oil doc put on her eyes. Some of the patients can open their eyes right after the operation and some have to wait til at night.

Den cant open her eyes when she first came out of OT, but then a few minute later she could open them wide and saw my dad (and later saw the cannula). I think it was not comfortable for her and so she shut them tight again and they were stuck once again and she cant open them despite struggling.

There was nothing I can do but to hold her. May be because now that I found out the reason for her discomfort, she was so how comforted. She let me hold her till she fallen asleep.

From out of OT to asleep, it was only one short hours but it felt like hours.

Part I -Eye Checkup

Den went tru operation on Wed (9 Sept 2009) morning 9am to correct her squint.

Since we found out about her squint and astig, we got a lot of question on how did we find out. It seems like it is not a command practice for the parents in Malaysia to bring their young children for routine eye check up.

We wanted to bring Den for an eye check up when she was 2 years old but did not know where to go to. I cant find a development optometrist. Finally got her to check her eye at a normal optometrist when she knew all her ABC quite well. She was almost 3 years old. We did not suspect anything is amiss, just wanted to make sure. We did the same with dental check up. We brought her along whenever we went to dentist so that dentist can have a look at her teeth. So far she has no problem with her teeth.

I wished the same can be said about her eyes.

The optometrist told us that Den has astig on both eyes (power 100) and suggested us to get her a pair of glasses right away. We refused. We asked around and was told we should get her to an eye specialist, an ophthalmologist.

After some research and recommendation from friends and relatives, we decided to bring her to Dr. Choong; for eye check up. Dr. Choong confirmed she has astig and told us that 20% of Chinese kids born with astig. It is due to our eye sockets are too narrow and thus pushed our eye ball to oval shape (instead of round). Sometime when the kid grow up, her eye sockets will grow deeper and the astig might disappear.

Dr. Choong thought it was not necessary for Den to wear glasses for the time being because the power was not too high and she was not in school yet. He asked us to come back for check up in 6 month time. He did not notice anything else was wrong with Den's eyes.

6 months later, August 2009, we went back for check up. This time, the optometrist in Dr. Chong's clinic found out Den's right eye has no astig power but her left eye astig power has increased to 200. She also saw squint on her eyes.

Dr. Choong checked Den and told us that because of the squint, Den's brain was only using her right eyes and not her left eye. In other word, she has no 3D vision and it was very hard for her to judge depth. He told us we need to get her glasses for her astig and operation for her squint as soon as possible, so that her brain can relearn how to use both eyes. He also told us the operation can only tighten her eye ball muscle but no guarantee her brain would be able to use both eye after the operation. Needless to say,We were shocked.

After we came home, I did some research on the internet and found out that may be we should see an orthoptist for second opinion. We are ok for her to go tru operation but very worry that what if even after the operation her brain still refused to use both eyes? It seems like there are lots of kids who went tru multiple operations because after 1 operation, their brain still refused to use both eyes so after awhile their eyes drifted apart again.

So I started to search for an orthoptist in Malaysia. Surprise! I can only find 2 orthoptist listing in Malaysia. One in KL and the other one in Sarawak! We called up Ms Chu, the orthoptist in KL and went for check up. It was very inconvenient. Her clinic is in Jln Ipoh and she doesn't take appointment. First come first serve and she takes a long long time with her patients and so the wait can be rather tiring. Having said all that, we were so so glad we found her, it was well worth the afford.

Ms Chu did a detail check up on Den's eye. It took her an hour. She drew up a chart to show us the exact degrees of her eyes have drifted apart. She also found out that Den was using two eyes when she was looking at something near and only Right eye when looking at distance which was a big relief for us.

She suggested us to get her a pair of glasses as soon as possible and also do daily patching. At the same time she did not rule out surgery was a fastest way to correct her squint.

After much consideration, ST and I decided to opt for operation. Then may be follow up with therapy with Ms Chu if it is necessary.

It is very important to bring your kids for routine eye check up. We can never tell that Den has squint from her look. In fact, most of our friends and relatives were very surprised. I will recommend Ms Chu, the orthoptist for routine check up. This is her clinic address & detail:

Ms KC Chu
K.C. Chu Orthoptic Centre
Unit 4c,
4th Floor Bangunana UMNO Selangor,
142 Jalan Ipoh,
51200 KL


Opening hour:
Mon, Thurs, Fri 9-5
Tues & Wed 9-1
Sat 8-11

She specialize in:
Visual assessment - screening & general orthoptics
Lazy eye
Double vision

Saturday, September 5, 2009

4 Sept 2009

For review & info on most of the books I mentioned here, please goes to &

Ok, finally we have a semi schooling day. :)

We woke up at 9:30am and realize it was a good day for park too (no rain, no sun!). So we packed up and went out. We were pleasantly surprised to find the 7 years old Malay girl Den played with last week was in the play ground too. They were very happy to see each other. They played for about 15 min, then it started to rain!

Since we walked to the park, we need to walked back. We were soaked through by the time we reached home. I think it was a very fun experience - walking in rain - unfortunately, ST & Den disagreed.

We only started school at around 3pm. We reviewed our Bible verse. Den can memorized it without any help from me. Good. Instead of reading from the Bible, we continue to read the story from Happy Life On The Big Cold Mountain (ref to my previous blog here). I think I'm almost successful. When I asked Den if she would be willing to go for mission work with us (if God call us), she said Yes! :)

After that we prayed and we did our phonic lesson (using Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Lesson). Den never sit still for her phonic lesson. She will be moving here and there, biting her fingers, playing with her hair, etc etc while reading. I'm OK with all these because I would have did the same thing during a boring meeting too. Having said that, sometime I still get mad because she kept dilly della until I lost my cool. I hate to get mad while she study. So I got into the habit of reading newspaper while she read her phonic lesson. That way I wont get impatient with her. As long as she finish all the reading, I don't care how long it takes (at least I try to train my self not to care!)

After phonics, she requested I read a book of her choice (instead of Sonlight), I agreed. So we ended up reading the Lion King story. After the book, she told me now she did not need to watch the movie any more. :)

We also read 5 pages of Mother Goose Rhymes (Under Rhymes & Poem) and a Poem from Carl's' Animals Animals.

After that I need to cook dinner, so I left her with ST to work on 4 pages of High Frequency Words Workbook. I bought it from Popular for RM18. It come with 128 high frequency words. It has flash cards and also worksheets and review. I still continue her phonics but I wanted to start her on a little bit of sight word at the same time to increase her speed in reading. She bullied ST and said she did not know how to read/do the work. After I finished cooking, I got her to finish in like 10 min.

At night before bed, we read a chapter from 卡琦婭. We have been neglecting our Chinese! We really need to pick it up again.

3 Sept 2009

For review & info on most of the books I mentioned here, please goes to &

EE came over today!

The two girls played for awhile before we study. I usually prepared special lessons whenever friends come over to join us. Sonlight is more like 1 to 1 lesson. At least I feel it that way.

We started off with Bible verse for the week (still the same from Proverbs 14:31). I asked Den to explain its meaning to EE and she did.

Then I read the Good Samaritan story (Luke 10:25-37) to them using the Pray & Play Bible 2 (under Bible & Christian story).

After the story we sang a song together:

(Tune: If You're happy and you know it)
If you want to care for someone, give a hug. (x2)
If you want to show you care, God's love is good to share.
If you want to care for someone, give a hug.

If you want to care for someone, give a smile. (x2)
If you want to show you care, God's love is good to share.
If you want to care for someone, give a smile.

(This is EE & Den's suggestion) If you want to care for someone, share your toys. (x2)
If you want to show you care, God's love is good to share.
If you want to care for someone, share your toys.

After that we did role play with another song:

(Tune: Farmer in the dell)
A man lies on the road, (x2)
what will you do to help the man?
a man lies on the road.

We took turn to be the traveller, the robbers, the priest, the Levite and the Samaritan.

Then we prayed and talked about all the kind thing we can do for the needy.

Afterward, I read a story from Stories from Around the World (under Social Study). Today story The Musicians of Bremen is from German. It was about how 4 old animals (a donkey, a dog, a cat and a rooster) left their unkind masters and became good friends. Working together, they secure a future for themselves.

After stories, Den & EE worked on 3 pages of worksheet together. One page on phonics, one page on connecting the dots and one on science. I downloaded them free from

After lunch (thank God they only finished lunch in 40min), they finished off their worksheets. Then they played for awhile (played dress up) before we use junk food to retell the Good Samaritan story.

We put 2 strawberry Lollers into a Pocky to make a man. We make 4 men. Den & EE used the Loller/Pocky men to tell the Good Samaritan story. After that off cause was the climax -- ate all the men!

MA came to pick up EE right after that. Den did not cry when it was time to say good bye! :)

After EE left, Den practiced her piano and also did her Yamaha homework. I also make her work on more math worksheet. With the help of her Homework Helper, she seemed to be able to handle the ?+2=13 question.

We went for prayer meeting at night.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

2 Sept 2009

ST has been on sabbatical leaves since July and our school schedule has been rather chaotic since. On top of that there are so many things going on these few weeks. So...I have been trying to squeeze in school whenever I can - Doc's office, restaurant, etc.:)

I had a meeting on Mon (31 Aug) morning till noon and then we met up friends for dinner so that's that for the whole day. ST got Den hooked on facebook online game while I was away. They are now virtual farmers - planting virtual vegetables. Good news is Den is learning new vocab - fertilizers, harvesting, etc. Dear Jane, did you realize they have been watering your farm for you?

Any way, Tuesday (1 Sept) is usual busy tuesday. We only had the time for Bible verse (did not even bother with a new verse, just continue last week verse), prayer, reading of the "Happy Life On the Big Cold Mountain" and Phonic lesson. I also let her colored Malaysian flag (part of her people of Malaysia lapbook, wonder when can we get it done!)

Today, for the whole morning ST and I went out to settle some stuffs. Den stayed with my mom. We picked her up for lunch and went to Atria. I wanted to buy her a special gift. I wanted to give it to her right after her surgery next wed. She wanted Monopoly (played with Jos in Singapore a month ago) but I am not so sure about that. I think it will be a bit difficult for her. (I also worried I would not have the patient to play with her!!) We ended up did not buy anything. If I cant find anything before next wed, I will go back and buy the Monopoly.

We took a nap and went out with my parents for dinner. Den read a phonic book before the dinner were served. Then we worked on a page of math worksheet after we reached home. She was having problem with question like ?+4=17.

She had no problem if the total was less than 10 but cant do it when it was more (only have 10 fingers :)). I taught her to count using the 1-100 chart in her Homework Helper lapbook. We spent quite sometime doing it and I'm still not convinced she got it. I will let her work on more questions like this tomorrow.

Before she slept, I read her a Chinese book I bought from the Chinese Christian Book Fair.

It is a funny story about a twins brother. They look alike, dressed alike, live nearby and work together. However the way they react to situations and things that happened to them are totally opposite. Big brother is a pessimist, he always see cup half empty. Little brother is a optimist, he always see cup half full.

Big brother is always worry and sad while little brother is always happy and thankful. At the end of the book, the author asked the reader, whose house would you like to visit?

I purposely chose this book for Den. There were so many things going on this few weeks. She has to wear glasses, patching her eye every day and surgery next week. She has been a champ and took everything in much better than I thought.

However she did ask me last week, why did God heal everyone else but her. She asked me did God said 'wait'? (God's answer to prayer - yes, no, wait) I said Yes.

I didn't want her to feel sorry for her self. Instead I wanted her to give thanks in every situation. With the help of this book, she realized that you can always interpret things in different ways.

After that, we practiced giving thanks. We gave thanks that it only happen now when she is 4.5 years old. I could not imagine how hard it would be if we had to put eye patches and glasses on her when she was like 2 years old. At least now she can understand the logic and the reasons behind it and will cooperate even though she does not like it.

We also gave thanks that it happen to us and not her friends because at least we are insured.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

To be or not to be

Over the weekend we have make 2 important decisions:

1. Den is going to have an operation on 9th Sept.

2. ST has accepted a job offer in Singapore and we are going to move down south early next year.

ST and I have been going back and forth with the decision especially the second one. It will have a great impact on our family especially on Den.

There are lots of uncertainty and possibilities.

Should I continue to homeschool Den? Since she will be away from all her friends, will sending her to kindergarten be the fastest way for her to build up new friends?

How about her ballet and Yamaha?

Will I go crazy with no family support over there and has to face her 24/7? ST might not be around since the job expect him to fly to other countries in the region.

Where are we going to stay?

What about our current apartment? Sale? Rent out?

How about my parents? Can they take it when Den is away?

Questions we have no answer. We can only keep praying. Pray that God will cover everything. Pray for God's protection and His guidance.