About school, tuition, teachers and such… #1

Starting a series on my thoughts on education, especially the education here in Singapore on which there has been much talk here and elsewhere. There are good and bad comments and views, but mostly the general feel is that studying here is too stressful.

Here’s my first thought/question to tackle:

When students don’t know how to do their work, is it the parents or teacher’s responsibility to teach them? 

This came out from my frustration in getting multiple text messages from Caleb’s math teacher about him not completing his homework or corrections. Initially I appreciate her letting me know when he didn’t complete his homework. Later on it seemed he got better at remembering to do his homework but he had many corrections to do and he hasn’t been doing them. Of course, one reason he didn’t do them on his own is because he didn’t know how to do the sums. That’s why he got them wrong in the first place.

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I’m happy to help him and it’s easy for me to teach him because I’m a trained math teacher myself, but it also made me wonder what happens to students whose parents may not be educated or who may not know how to teach them.

I asked him before if his teacher goes through the sums with them in class and he says only selected ones. So there may some sums he still didn’t know how to do.

Which makes me wonder, when students don’t know their work, shouldn’t it be the teacher’s responsibility to teach them?

There was once he was learning a new concept of 3 digits multiplication and he got a whole page of his workbook wrong.  I was of course concerned about that seeing that he usually gets most of his sums wrong. I wondered if the teacher was as concerned… It was a good reflection for myself as a teacher to think about what I do when my students don’t understand a concept. The scary thought is that I may not even know when they don’t understand. How do we know? When they fail a test? That incident gave me a new motto in my teaching – to leave no man behind. It made me more conscious about checking if my students understand, and to give extra help to those who don’t.  I’m sure there are some who may fall through the cracks though.

So I understand that the teacher may not have given much thought or attention to Caleb getting a whole page of sums wrong. But then it doesn’t solve the issue of him not knowing the concept.

In Singapore, the tuition culture is HUGE! I mean crazy over the top ginormous ridiculously HUGE. People get in the waiting list to get a spot for their children in the top tuition centres.  I myself gave private tuition when I took No Pay Leave for 18 months (so I’m a beneficiary of the tuition system too!). But we don’t believe in sending our kids for tuition. Especially not since we’re both educated people who can coach them ourselves.

But should it really fall on our shoulders to coach them in their schoolwork? I never had any tuition growing up and still did pretty well in school. Without coaching from my parents. I do believe it’s possible. And shouldn’t we have faith in our education system and in our teachers? That it’s enough for our kids to go to school and learn what they need to do well?

(This topic on tuition is too huge so I shall leave it for another post on this series on education.)

Coming back to the topic at hand, whose responsibility is it to make sure the children learn and understand their schoolwork? Parents or teachers? Or tuition teachers??

I threw the question back to my son’s Math teacher (from whom all this started anyway) and asked her what he should do if he needed help doing his corrections and if he can consult her. I’m glad she came back with the answer that he can look for her before school. (The last time I asked her about keeping him back after school, she said she’s busy with meetings. So I guess that left me to have to teach him.) I still went through all his work with him anyway.  ūüôā

From my own work experience, I’ve never ever asked a parent to teach their child before! That just sounds ludicrous. I’m the teacher. It’s my responsibility to teach. Maybe also because I teach secondary school students, I expect them to be responsible for their own work and learning so I don’t ask the parents to make sure they do their work. I just keep them back after school to do their work. And the strange thing is some of them actually are glad to do that! It’s because they get my help in doing their work. I realise sometimes students don’t do homework because they don’t know how. So how? Somebody has to teach them, right?

Let me know your thoughts on this. Especially welcome thoughts from fellow parents who’ve faced this dilemma, fellow teachers and whoever else may be interested or have a view about this. (You can leave a comment here or on my fb post where I share this.)

Meanwhile stay tuned for the next part of the series about school, tuition, teachers and such… (and let me know if there’s any related topic you’ll want me to write about or you want to contribute. ūüôā  )

Anna’s Surgery and After

A post I wrote to recount our experience at Anna’s cleft palate repair surgery and the recovery period after. I wrote it for our cleft support group’s blog. I haven’t been writing here because I’d been busy working on that blog. http://www.ourcleftangels.wordpress.com. Hoping to reach out to and help other parents who have cleft babies.

We thought it may be helpful to share the process and experience of my baby, Anna’s surgery for other parents whose babies are going for surgeries. So here goes a day by day summary.

Background:
Anna was born in Dec 2013 with a cleft palate. She went for her palate repair surgery on 14 Oct 2014 at 10 months old. Her surgery was done in KKH by Dr Vincent Yeow. She also had grommets (ear tubes) put in at the same time. She stayed in hospital for one night before the surgery and one night after (most babies stay for two nights after the surgery on average).

Day before Surgery:
We checked in at KKH around 2pm the day before the surgery. We had to go to Admissions on the ground floor and they checked us in and brought us to the ward. We were in a B2 Class ward.

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Family Mission Trip to Surabaya

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At our pizza party!

Last weekend we took our family on a trip to Surabaya, Indonesia. It’s my third time there to visit our partner ministry. The director and her friend runs a shelter for unwed pregnant moms (many of whom are teenagers), a baby’s home, a children’s home, 2 pre-schools and a school that provides free education to kids from the community. Some of these children come from a garbage collecting community that I visited with a Couriers team in 2010. They also conduct outreach services to the communities near their properties and we attended a couple of these.

As you can see, these are ministries that are close to my heart – saving babies from abortion, helping kids get adopted and providing education to poor children.

This time, we brought our family along – all 3 kids! And my mom. This was also my husband’s first trip to Surabaya.

Ministering to the women in the community with Ibu Monica, the director
Ministering to the women in the community with Ibu Monica, the director

We visited the children’s home and bought the kids pizza, the baby’s home and shelter and also spoke at 2 outreach meetings. My 7-year-old wrote a post about it for our church’s missions blog and it will tell you more.

http://missions.cscc.org.sg/visiting-the-children-in-surabaya/

Bringing the children out to a giant indoor playground at the mall and ice-cream after!
Bringing the children out to a giant indoor playground at the mall and ice-cream after!

 

 

And here are the links to my posts about my first 2 trips to Surabaya to visit the ministry there:

http://privilegedtoserve.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/the-story-of-baby-lydia/

http://privilegedtoserve.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/living-with-the-children-at-simo/

 

One thing that comforts me is that many of the babies and children we’ve met over the last 2 trips have been adopted. I’m so thankful for this ministry that saves babies from the hands of death and gives them a hope and a future. These women, the directors, are truly my heroes.

This is a ministry that I would hope to visit over, and over again. And maybe one day you can visit too, and bring a blessing to them.

Trading Me for Us

wpid-20140117_212205.jpgSince we had our third child, people have asked, “How do you survive three kids??” These are usually parents with babies and still enduring sleepless nights. And we totally understand how they feel. Because we sometimes ask ourselves the same question! And other times we feel that we’re doing just that¬†– surviving.

When we decided to have three kids, we kind of knew what we were getting into. But nothing can prepare you for when you actually have three kids in the house.¬† Then again, we all pull through. And one day when the kids are teenagers and out with their friends and you’re alone at home, just the two of you, you will realise, “We did it. We survived.” And when your children have all graduated from college or have jobs and families, you can say, “We’ve more than survived. I think we’ve done pretty well.” For now, we’ll survive one day at a time and do the best we can as parents.

Our second and third children are almost five¬†years apart in age.¬†In the first few years of having two children, I wasn’t prepared to go for a third one. But when the boys were six and four, it got easier. For parents who are wondering, I personally feel it gets easier after they are eighteen months. The first year is hard because babies are so needy and demanding. When has your baby ever listened to your advice¬†to wait patiently and quietly for their food? It also gets so much more fun as they grow up and learn to reciprocate your love. Precious are the times when you hear another “Mommy”, and you go “What?”, exasperated because that’s the thousandth time you’ve heard that name called that day, and your little one goes, “I love you.” and your heart melts.

So anyway after¬†5 years of¬†enjoying our two boys, ¬†we had a baby girl! And yes, she is beautiful and perfect and we are so blessed. But it is hard work! And if I say I have not lost it before, I would be lying. I don’t know if it’s post-natal or what, but I did feel on the brink of being depressed at times.¬†But we are doing quite okay I would say, now that we are nearing three months. And I would like to share some pointers on how we ‘survived’ so far and I think these pointers will take us further and help us thrive over the next few months and years as we parent our three children.

 

1) Be realistic.

In other words, set your expectations right. I titled this post “Trading Me for Us” because really, when we choose to have kids, we choose to give up our desire to just be me and you, to be ‘us’, me and you plus the kids. And we choose to give up Me time for Us time.

One thing many new parents struggle with is losing Me time. I think with a change in perspective, it can help us cope with this ‘loss’. If we can see that we have made the conscious, informed decision to have children, and that it comes along with the whole package of having to care for them, then don’t feel cheated that we are losing Me time. Turn that ‘loss’ into gain – we are gaining Us time. Instead of bemoaning not being able to go out with the buds or go for pilates class, or simply chill over a movie night with the spouse, celebrate being able to relive your childhood playing Legos and playdoh, going down waterslides, and watching Mickey Mouse! (okay maybe that last one isn’t so exciting)

I’m not saying you can’t have any Me time at all. It is actually healthy to take care of yourself too. There will be times that you can sneak in some time for reading, blogging (like now, when all three are in bed. Zzz) or playing video games (this one is for the dads). Or get someone to watch the kids for a few hours so you can go out and relax. Don’t feel bad about leaving that crying kid who’s screaming, “Mommy, don’t leave me!!!” He’ll survive.

And don’t forget date nights! Once a week is a good frequency, but may be a luxury when you have three kids. So settle for something less frequent but don’t cut it out totally! My husband and I do Monday morning dates to Starbucks with the baby in tow. The baby sleeps through much of it at this point so we still have some ‘privacy’ on our date.

Another aspect to being realistic is to not expect a clean house. I’ve had more than one well-meaning mother who’ve commented how tiring it must be to be a mother and housework must be really a chore when they come to my house. Yes, I can take the hint. My house is not clean enough for their standards. But I can take a few toys left lying around, and socks and bags not put away. Yet. Until I tell the boys to pick them up. Pick them up! As for¬†laundry, I think we have enough clothes to not have to do laundry today.

 

2) Make choices around your priorities.

This is good advice I just got reminded of by a mother of six yesterday.

Family is my priority now. Which means my time and activities centre around them. The conversation came up because I was telling her I actually love my job (as a teacher and working with at-risk youth), and have opportunities to move on in the job. But I’ve turned them down several times over the last few years as I can’t put my family on the back burner while I pursue my career. It is hard to make sacrifices sometimes, especially when you see your peers move on. But it’s a choice that I make, and I have to see the rewards of that choice, and those may not be obvious now. So I am working part-time now so that I have more time for the family. I also took some time of no-pay-leave back when number 2 was two years old. It was a decision I never regretted. The time I could spend with both boys at that time cannot be¬†replaced by¬†any job or career fulfilment.

If you are concerned about finances, again it is about prioritising. You may need to make some lifestyle changes, but it may only be for a season. We can do without that date to Lawrey’s, or that vacation to Gold Coast. Legoland is pretty good!

So when we plan our time and lives, remember to make choices around our priorities.

 

3) Work as a team

This is specifically for the husband/wife. You two are a team. You made these children together. Sometimes one may feel more responsible than the other for the children. Usually it is the mother. It may be our maternal instinct. So every time the baby cries, you feel like you are the only one who can comfort her so you need to pick her up. Don’t kill yourself. Trust your husband! Sometimes Daddy can make the baby sleep while I couldn’t even after trying for some time. But, I think most of the time I can do it better. ūüôā

For us, we work as a tag team. Both of us play basketball. We joked about having kids to be like basketball defence. When we had one, it was easy, we could double team him. When we had two, we played man-to-man, which is more tiring but we still have our defence covered. When you have three, you have to switch to zone defence. Which means if you are closer to the room when someone needs the light turned on, you do it. When you are closer to the baby when she cries, you pick her up.

Another way of using this strategy is to ‘know your place’ (no pun intended), or to know your duties. As an example, I do the night time feeding, my husband prepares the boys for school in the morning and takes them both to school. I know, many women would be jealous of this. I have an amazing husband who is super involved with the kids.

 

4) Ask for help

They say it takes a village to raise a child. I concur. Or I should say, it’s so much easier to raise a child when you have a village supporting you! For me it’s my close-knit extended family and my church family. My family lives close to one another. I have aunts and cousins who are ever so ready to take the kids out or help out when we are at family functions. I’ve had to call my aunt to pick up my son from school when I was coming home late from work. And my mom has been helping to watch my kids over the last seven years when I’m working. Other times when we needed babysitters, we also had a pool of young ladies from church who love to come spend time with the kids.

So if you have a village, don’t be afraid to ask for help! If you don’t, look around at your relationships. I’m sure you have people who will be glad to help watch your kids for a few hours. Maybe you just haven’t realised it.

 

5) Laugh together

It is so important to laugh together as a family. The days can get really draggy when you’re tied down with childcare and housework. Those who think stay-home-moms or¬†women on maternity leave just sit around, drink tea and coo to their babies all day long are deluded, or uninformed, to use a nicer word. There will be women who will tell you they would rather go back to work than to be a stay-home-mom. At least you have proper working hours! And time to sit down. By yourself. (Ah, hear the silence…) So you need to put aside daily work and have fun together!

It could be laughing over a joke together, taking a walk, eating ice-cream. The key is time spent together and communication with one another. So drop that phone and BE there when you are with your kids.

And drop the housework and head out for a nice walk after dinner. When you laugh together, you’ll find that everything else gets easier to do, and you’ll find meaning in doing the mundane things.

 

So for those considering children, or more children, go ahead, take the plunge. Many before you have survived, and more than survived, have enjoyed the blessing of having children. I am thankful for my family.

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Family

We celebrated Chinese New Year¬†last month.¬†Chinese¬†New¬†Year is¬†always a time for family. We look forward to visiting family at this time every year, especially those we seldom see. This year, it’s especially special because my in-laws were here to celebrate Chinese New Year with us. Although they’re not Chinese, they’re family, and this occasion is all about family.

Here’s a pictorial representation of what my family means to me, with pictures taken over the festive season and the month of January.

Family

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It begins with the parents. We are thankful for awesome parents! Both sets of parents have been role models to us, and are now great grandparents to our kids. They have taught us, raised us and loved us unconditionally.

DSCN3332Moms. What can I say? I don’t just have one, I have two moms who tirelessly give their time to help with the kids and the house. My mom has helped watch the kids when I work. And every time she comes to my place, she ends up doing housework too, even when I tell her she doesn’t have to. And when my mom-in-law is here visiting, she does the same. I end up not having to cook, wash or do dishes. They have taught and shown me what it’s like to be a selfless mother, always giving of her best to the family. And I hope to be a great mom like them.

DSCN3145Dads. Interestingly, both our dads are handy men. They are always ready to help fix up things around the house – loose drawer doors, creaky hinges and so on.

It’s interesting that although our families come from opposite sides of the world, there are so many similarities. To hear one mom ask one dad to help fix something just reminds me of the other mom. That’s how similar our parents are, in some ways.

broMy brother. Being 2 years apart, we grew up together, played together, got hurt together. Okay, it was usually me getting hurt – elbowed in the ribs when we played basketball together or pushed to the ground because I was not moving fast enough. Not that I’m keeping record. But the point is we did things together. The best period of our lives as siblings must be when we were both in university together – the lunches and traveling home together. We were so close people thought we were dating. Until they find out we are siblings. Then usually the girls go, “Oh she’s your little sister. So cute!” Excuse me but I think we are the same age ladies??

This is a picture of my brother holding his darling niece at his new home. I’m so happy to see him move into his new home and I feel as proud as him about his beautiful home where he and his wife will start their family.

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Sisters. They annoy you, they frustrate you, but at the end of the day, when you need someone, they are the ones you want by your side. That pretty much sums up how I feel about my little sister who’s six years younger than me. I know I annoy her too by talking to her like I know better than her. Truth is, I do know better than her! And she so should listen to me! Everytime. ūüėČ

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deanna

Sisters-in-law. They are new friends that come along your way as they become family. I’m glad that I can be more than just ‘related by marriage’ to my sisters-in-law, but that they are my friends too. And we are actually one year apart (one is a year younger than me, one is a year older. ūüôā¬† )

And of course, they are the moms to my nephews and nieces! And I thank them for each one they have. The little ones are not only a blessing to them, but also to me and to the rest of the family.

 

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Cousins. They are the brothers and sisters that you do not have to live with! Isn’t that glorious, especially growing up? Minus the arguments over TV channels to watch and who to use the bathroom first, these ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ are pretty awesome to have! Of course, they get me into trouble with my grandma when we played together because I was one of the oldest so I’m always being held responsible! But my grandma knows I’m a good responsible girl. *wink*

 

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Aunts and uncles and the whole extended family! This picture only shows a fraction of that. People in church have an idea how big the family is. The wonderful thing about a close-knit extended family is the kids have extra grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles. And I can’t begin to say how blessed we are to have that. So much love lavished on the kids. Thank you family!

And as if we aren’t blessed enough, we also have an extended family in the States! And whenever we are there, we are so loved by aunts, uncles and cousins. And our kids have second cousins to play with. Another aspect our families are similar – we both have close-knit extended families.

 

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My super duper cute nephew! He is sooooo adorable, I just wish he lives closer and we could see him everyday! Thankful for facebook and skype that allows us to ‘follow’ his growing up stage even though we live so far. And I’m looking forward to more nephews and nieces over these next few years, starting with 2 more this year!

boys

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My kids. They are the most darling and adorable in the whole wide world. And I’m not even biased. ūüôā They are the loves of my life and we are so thankful to have them. Nothing we have done or could do could ever earn us such great wonders. They are gifts from God. We are thankful to have them and pray to be good stewards and shepherds to these precious little ones that God has entrusted into our care.

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And of course, at the centre of what family is to me, is my best friend, my soulmate, my confidante. At the end of the day, there’s one person I want to share my days with and one person I want to journey through life’s adventures with. Having gone through 9 years together, I know that he is more than able to carry me through whatever life throws at us. And where he may be weak, I know his faith in God will pull us through. Because where he is weak, God’s strength is made perfect. And I rest in that assurance that he is not only strong to lead us through life, he also knows how to rely on God. True strength is knowing we are weak and we need to draw close to the Author and Perfector of our lives.

Family

Family. Where will we be without them. And I feel so blessed to be surrounded, covered and loved by family.

Photo credits: Dad Paul, Valerie, Delvin, Deanna

Perspectives

The other night Daddy was telling the story of David and Goliath to the boys. It is a classic story of the triumph of the underdog. Malcolm Gladwell even wrote a book about it. What I got from it that night stemmed from a word that’s been buzzing in my head for a while – Perspective. It was David’s right perspective of who God is that gave him the victory.

Perspective can determine whether we triumph in victory or wallow in defeat over difficult times in life.

Perspective can determine whether we are joyful in our circumstances or depressed and again, defeated.

Given the right perspective like David, we can rejoice in the worst of times if we know that God is in control and that the afflictions are but for a short time. Paul had that right perspective too.

Perspective can also determine how we view people, how we make decisions, how we prioritise and basically how we live life.

One thing I’ve learnt about perspective from my job is how important we need to have the right perspective so that we don’t misjudge and mistreat people. Here’s a story as an example:

We have an over-aged student, 2 years older than his classmates. He was kept back in his grade because of his poor grades, disciplinary issues and absences from school. Teachers find it hard to teach him and he listens to almost nobody. I got to know him the year before. Let’s just call him Leo. Leo, like any other youth, can be very testy and will stretch your patience to the limit. He uses foul language and is rude, really rude, to teachers. Everybody has written him off as a troublemaker and most have given up trying to help him. He really doesn’t seem to want help. But what people don’t know is his family background. He comes from a troubled background. I can’t go into details, but it’s not a situation any child should be in. One time, an older teacher on contract was telling me how angry she was with him because he was so rude to her. When I shared with her his background and asked her to be patient with him, you could see her whole demeanour change. She was close to tears. This teacher went from being so angry to feeling so sorry for this child. He was 17 but he’s still a child craving love and attention, albeit in the wrong way. The change in perspective, of how she viewed him, changed her attitude towards him.

How often have we judged someone from our interaction with them? Or worse, from what we hear about them. We may need our perspective of them corrected.

My perspective on helping troubled youth can be best illustrated by this:

I believe in giving them the added boost they need in life.

The other day I read that at 2 months, one of a baby’s milestones is that she begins to see in 3D. Again the word buzzed in my head – Perspective.

As I was thinking about the example above of knowing a person’s background, it seems that’s only one of the dimensions. Another dimension would be to know the future. Here’s what I mean. If Job, Joseph or any of the numerous bible heroes we read about could see into their future, they would know that the trials they went through was temporary and good times are ahead. If we could see into our future, I think it will help us hang in there through tough times. That’s getting the right Perspective.

What’s the third dimension? I think the simple answer would be to know and understand the present. But I prefer the third dimension to look upwards – that is we need to know the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the One who knows our past, present and future. When we know who our God is, all things will fall in place and we can have the right Perspective in all things. David knew God. So did the others in the bible. Daniel tells us that those who know their God shall be strong and do mighty exploits.

The other way of looking at it is that if we can have a glimpse of life through God’s perspective, we will have a whole different view of things. What may seem menial and understated (like housework and cooking) can have eternal value. All the times we bathe the kids, coach them in their school work, prepare meals for them, and the list goes on. It can get tiring and discouraging, but every little thing contributes to the well-being of their souls and spirits. We may not think highly of ourselves, but God has other ideas, because He sees from a vantage point.

Going back to the story of David, he didn’t just have a right perspective of who his God is, God also has a different perspective of him than others did. And it was a good thing David didn’t go by others’ opinion of him but by knowing his place in God. I love this song from the movie The Prince of Egypt and I shall share it here to end my thoughts on Perspective.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xfCnN5GJW0

A single thread in a tapestry

Though its color brightly shine
Can never see its purpose
In the pattern of the grand design

And the stone that sits on the very top
Of the mountain’s mighty face
Does it think it’s more important
Than the stones that form the base?

So how can you see what your life is worth
Or where your value lies?
You can never see through the eyes of man
You must look at your life

Look at your life through heaven’s eyes
Lai-la-lai…

A lake of gold in the desert sand 
Is less than a cool fresh spring 
And to one lost sheep, a shepherd boy 
Is greater than the richest king 
If a man lose ev’rything he owns¬†
Has he truly lost his worth? 
Or is it the beginning 
Of a new and brighter birth? 

So how do you measure the worth of a man 
In wealth or strength or size? 
In how much he gained or how much he gave? 
The answer will come 
The answer will come to him who tries 
To look at his life through heaven’s eyes¬†

And that’s why we share all we have with you¬†
Though there’s little to be found¬†
When all you’ve got is nothing¬†
There’s a lot to go around¬†

No life can escape being blown about 
By the winds of change and chance 
And though you never know all the steps 
You must learn to join the dance 
You must learn to join the dance 
Lai-la-lai…¬†

So how do you judge what a man is worth 
By what he builds or buys? 
You can never see with your eyes on earth 
Look through heaven’s eyes¬†
Look at your life 
Look at your life 
Look at your life through heaven’s eyes

Never take eating for granted (Anna’s 2-month-old update)

It seems like the most natural thing to do next to breathing. But we’ve learnt that we shouldn’t take anything for granted, not even eating. It’s a gift from God, this life we have and all the things we can do, every morning that we wake, every breath that we take. It’s a gift from God, this precious little girl that we have, and today we celebrate 2 months of her life!

As we celebrate 2 months of Anna’s life, many people, concerned friends, have been asking about her, so I’m posting an update about Anna here.

This last month, the challenging part about taking care of Anna is her eating. Because of her cleft palate and the Pierre Robin Sequence that sometimes restricts her airways, she struggles with eating. Firstly, she can’t nurse or use a normal bottle. We use a special nipple for cleft palate babies to feed her. While feeding, she sometimes struggles to breathe because of the difficulty in coordinating the swallowing and breathing, and her sucking is weak because of the cleft palate.

She was eating quite well for a while but recently had not been taking in more than 50 or 60ml, and that is after 30-45 minutes. We saw the geneticist on Tuesday and she was concerned about her eating and growth, just as we were. She was in the 3rd percentile in weight, although her height was 50th percentile and her head circumference was 25th percentile. So she scheduled a visit to the speech therapist and dietician for us, and we saw them on Friday (yes, we make quite a number of trips to the children’s hospital for all her doctor appointments). The speech therapist helps to monitor her feeding – the way she swallows and breathes while feeding. I really think the title doesn’t match their job completely, although they also do speech therapy for older children. They should have a ‘cum swallowing specialist’ added to their title or something.

The outcome of the visit to the speech therapist (cum swallowing specialist) and dietician is a feeding plan we have to follow closely and a squeezy bottle to help squeeze out the milk when her sucking isn’t strong enough. We are also adding a little formula to her milk (she’s on full breast milk) to help increase her calorie intake. All with the aim of helping her put on weight and as she grows bigger, she should be able to eat better too.

It can get tiring to take care of a baby full time, especially a baby who needs special care, but we have so much to be thankful for. For one, Anna is such a sweet little baby. She doesn’t scream and demand things, she sits (or lays) quietly for long periods of time. (Even as I’m writing this, she’s been laying in her crib quietly for almost 45 minutes! I hope it continues this way and that she’ll learn to put herself to sleep in her crib every night!) And she has begun to smile and talk a lot this month. She is such a joy to be with. It really makes taking care of her so much easier and fun. Just need somebody to take care of that giant pile of laundry because I’d much rather spend time with my baby and boys. ūüôā

Another thing we can be thankful for is the quality of medical care we can get these days. I was born with a cleft palate too and back in those days, there wasn’t much to help, although surgery was already available (and cost $50!!). My mom and grandma had to spoon feed me till I had surgery at 18 months. Now we have a special bottle and nipple to help Anna eat, and I am thankful for that.

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My grandma spoonfeeding me and my Mom holding my big brother

As the title of this post says, we should never take eating for granted. From having to syringe feed her after birth, seeing her hospitalized and having to be tubefed, to her being able to drink from a bottle, her eating has really improved. I can never forget the first time we gave her a bottle, which is on the 8th day of her life. When she immediately started sucking, such an immense sense of relief washed over me. We would have had to continue tube feeding her at home if she couldn’t drink from a bottle. And we know babies with PRS had had to be fed that way quite often. And just this morning (3am in the morning), when she finished 60ml (which is our goal per feed for now) in just 15 minutes, again I was filled with such joy and relief. We were still struggling to make her eat 50ml in 30 minutes yesterday. So I say, there can be such joy in something as seemingly simple as eating. Maybe we’ll learn to be more thankful each time we eat, just to be able to eat. ūüôā

Anna is about 3.9kg now, measures 56cm and her head circumference is 36.5cm. She smiles and talks and loves to interact with people. She sleeps well at night and plays in the day. She loves her gym mat and teddy bear. And her eyes are turning darker to be like mommy and her brothers’ eyes.

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For the record, Anna looks just like me!

You can read more updates about Anna in the category AnnaLog, click on the AnnaLog page or click here. Thank you for standing with us in prayer as you read about her, and for loving Anna and our family. God bless you richly. And happy 2-month birthday my Anna Joy! ‚̧

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