Sunday, November 22, 2009

死别

她轻声地问我,"Mommy does a dead person hold something in his hand when he dies?" 问题一发,我即刻知道她心在想什么。我想了一会儿,便答,“Yes, some people do (I mean burial) ... but we really don't know what happens after a person dies... that is not something we should worry about! Life is short. Just live happily in this life and don't worry about the unknown..."

萱一向对“死”这课题感到困惑。她曾一度不能接受“人总会死”这个念头。她为“死了就不存在”的事实而感到难过。结果,她父亲就以佛教中的“生死轮回”来开解她。当她知道死后还能重生做回人之后,她才感到一点安慰。可是后来,她又开始问我,她如果再做回人,会不会还记得今生今世的一切,还会不会记得我?当我说“不会”时,她就不禁悲从中来。。。

因此,这次她一发问,我就知道她心在想什么。答了她之后,我就反问,“what do you want to bring when you die?” 我知道我的回答都不是模范答案,我只知道我是以平常心去跟她沟通,希望更了解她。

结果,她回答了一句让我激动万分的话,“I want to bring the journal that you made for me. I want to draw you and po-po inside and write about you... so that I can still remember you next time.”。

说着说着,我仿佛看到那双眸里闪烁着泪光。。。她强忍不让任何眼泪滴下。她低下头,轻轻触摸眼角,装着是眼睫毛掉进眼里,就是不让我知道她在难过。

我当时也跟她一样,强忍着泪水,只在此刻落笔时才释放。仅仅六岁的萱已领悟到生死离别的苦。我知道她不是畏惧死时的痛楚,而是死后要离开身边所有亲爱的人的苦。她想尽方法捉住今生今世的回忆,让我不禁对这女儿感到又怜又惜。心中涌出一种说不出的心酸。。。

(记:就如她华文老师所说的,有萱这个孩子是我们的福报。)
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Parent-teacher Conference

There was a Parent-Teacher Conference (PTC) for all K2's today. We met up with Xuan's English and Chinese teachers to learn about Xuan's social and intellectual growth and development in school. Below is a summary of what the teachers have fedback:

Teacher Christine
  • Xuan is a pleasant and quiet girl.
  • She is neat and independent in her work.
  • Able to socialise with her classmates and have more friends now. (this is what I have been waiting to hear!)
  • Although she is quiet, she is not shy to ask questions when in doubt.

林老师

  • “有萱这样的孩子,是你们的福报”
  • 她的功课都很整齐,字写得很端正
  • 她静,不受外在的干扰,能专注做自己的事/功课
  • 她华文能力大有进步
Overall, I'm happy with the feedback.
She has completed her final lap in kindergarten education.

Congratulation my dear daughter!
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Friday, November 13, 2009

Bulldog??

They were playing, and Xuan started to be loud.
I was in the kitchen.
I came out to check, only to hear Kai saying,
"So fierce!"
"Don't bulldog."

Immediately, I can see invisible smoke fumming from Xuan's head.
Like any siblings, there were time of love and peace together, and also time of squabbles...
That is what makes life interesting, isn't it?

(Kai also watched Tom and Jerry. Apparently, there is a fierce bulldog in the show. Sometimes, half-way through their play, Kai will walk into the kitchen and complained to me, "Jie jie is so fierce. ...Like a bulldog." *faint*)
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Xuan's graduation

I did what a proud parent did.
To attend her graduation ceremony and concert
beaming with pride.

When I saw her stepped onto the stage to receive her graduation certificate
My pride escalated.

It was really something
to see my own child graduating
doning her graduating gown
walking steadily to the presenter
and bowing humbly when she received her certificate

It was really something
to see my own child performing
doning as a flower
in pretty pink
swaying her petal head from side to side
it was indeed something

It was really something
despite a trivial thing
to graduate from a kindergarten and not a university
The feeling is just extraordinary
to see your own child graduating





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Saturday, November 7, 2009

My fairy princess

She was so excited about her pink tutu she brought back from school the other day. It was supposed to be her performance outfit during her graduation concert cum certificate presentation tomorrow. She wanted to dress up and put on make-up, as if it was the actual performance day.

So to fulfill her wish... I dressed her up -- like a fairy instead of a flower (since she didn't bring back the flower head gear)










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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Something is just not very right about her.

Some behaviour, which I once thought was normal for a kid, is not so anymore, when it became too ritualistic and compulsory. I still remember how I once adored her goodnight rituals (story-telling ritual; Daily chants; Goodnight mummy!). The ritual took place every night before her bedtime. It became something she was compelled to perform before she can go to sleep in peace. She cannot afford to miss out any parts of the ritual, such as missing some of the phrases or sentences in her goodnight message. I was roped into her ritual as well, when I needed to give a standard reply or reciprocate her goodnight wishes. I sensed that something must be wrong! Especially when the goodnight message has to be in a certain order and sequence. Especially when she needs to repeat the last phrase "good night, 晚安" several times in a row and repeatedly checked if I waved back and smiled back at her! I was quite disturbed by her ritual. I talked to Tm, and with his prior medical knowledge, he threw me an alien term called "compulsory obsessive behaviour". However, he assured me that there are children like that and there is nothing wrong.

Insecured, I searched the Internet. I found some of Xuan's behaviour that really comply to what was described in "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder," to be appropriate.

"All kids have worries and doubts. But kids with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) often can't stop worrying, no matter how much they want to. And those worries frequently compel them to behave in certain ways over and over again.

OCD is a type of anxiety disorder. Kids with OCD become preoccupied with whether something could be harmful, dangerous, wrong, or dirty — or with thoughts about bad stuff that might happen. With OCD, upsetting or scary thoughts or images, called obsessions, pop into a person's mind and are hard to shake. Kids with OCD may also worry about things being out of "order" or not "just right." They may worry about losing "useless" items, sometimes feeling the need to collect these items.

Someone with OCD feels strong urges to do certain things repeatedly — called rituals or compulsions — in order to banish the scary thoughts, ward off something dreaded, or make extra sure that things are safe or clean or right. Children may have a difficult time explaining a reason for their rituals and say they do them "just because." But in general, by doing a ritual, someone with OCD is trying to feel absolutely certain that something bad won't happen."

Xuan definitely has her fears and worries, I mean which child doesn't? But perhaps hers is an aggravated one. Often, she would bring up the topic on death. She asked about when I would die. She asked me not to die early, otherwise she would have no kin and she'd be so lonely on earth. She worried about everyone who would die before her. The topic on death has been talked about several times that I have became numb to it, and it is no longer a taboo topic which anyone would avoid.

In school, she was taught the solar system. So she got super-worried that the sun would soon "die" and earth would get scorching hot until no one could live in it! She saw a sinking ship on TV and said she wouldn't want to go on any cruise forever, and she would also instruct her future husband not to go.

In broad daylight, she would switch on the lights of whichever room she steps into, even if it is so bright. All these behaviour warrant that she could be suffering from the said disorder.

"Among kids and teens with OCD, the most common obsessions include:

  • fear of dirt or germs

  • fear of contamination

  • a need for symmetry, order, and precision

  • religious obsessions

  • preoccupation with body wastes

  • lucky and unlucky numbers

  • sexual or aggressive thoughts

  • fear of illness or harm coming to oneself or relatives

  • preoccupation with household items

  • intrusive sounds or words

These compulsions are the most common among kids and teens:

  • grooming rituals, including hand washing, showering, and teeth brushing

  • repeating rituals, including going in and out of doorways, needing to move through spaces in a special way, or rereading, erasing, and rewriting

  • checking rituals to make sure that an appliance is off or a door is locked, and repeatedly checking homework

  • rituals to undo contact with a "contaminated" person or object

  • touching rituals

  • rituals to prevent harming self or others

  • ordering or arranging objects

  • counting rituals

  • hoarding and collecting things

  • cleaning rituals related to the house or other items

Experts believe OCD is related to levels of a normal chemical in the brain called serotonin. When the proper flow of serotonin is blocked, the brain's "alarm system" overreacts and misinterprets information. Danger messages are mistakenly triggered like "false alarms." Instead of the brain filtering out these unnecessary thoughts, the mind dwells on them — and the person experiences unrealistic fear and doubt.... It's common for kids to ask a parent to join in the ritualistic behavior: First the child has to do something and then the parent has to do something else. Tantrums, overt signs of worry, and difficult behaviors are common when parents fail to participate in their child's rituals."

The good news is that OCD can be treated. Many kids can do well with behavioral therapy alone while others will need a combination of behavioral therapy and medication. I firmly believe Xuan's behaviour can be corrected. Afterall, she only exhibits one compulsive behaviour (goodnight rituals) and one obsession (disasters) mentioned in OCD literature. Now with knowledge of this particular condition, I will be able to empathize with her and help her cope with her few symptoms.

Come to think of it, I think I also have one of those symptoms mentioned. I have "the fear of dirt or germs" (although what was described in literature was too exaggerated.) Anyway, Xuan could have inherited my genes in this absurdity! Hmm...

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Piano

It has been almost a year since she started learning piano. We didn't have any expectations of her. We just wanted to explore her interest in music. We were prepared to let go of the piano we bought for her anytime when she lost her interest. That is why we bought one with a guaranteed buy-back certificate, which last two years from the date of purchase. However, she surprised us with her motivation and interest in music. Her piano teacher has been praising that she is her "best" student. We thought the teacher was being kind. But not when she was selected to perform in a mini-concert. We are all so proud of her :)
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