Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy New Year 2012

This new year wish is slightly belated considering that we're into the eighth day of 2012! Nevertheless, it's better late than never I guess, just like it's better late than never to re-visit this blog that's been neglected for over two weeks.

I had been faithfully chronicling how we spent each week of the school holidays right up to Christmas, which was the penultimate week. On the final week, on Boxing Day, we took off for a six-day holiday up north, hitting Penang first for three nights, then Ipoh for another two. We had earlier planned to leave home as early as 6.30am to visit the Taiping Zoo enroute to Penang but the plan got ditched when C came down with a suspected ear infection on Christmas Eve.

She complained of earache and the slightest, lightest touch of her earlobe got her wincing in pain. The general practitioner could not see anything when he looked inside her ear canal and glibly said it could be an infection. I suggested he use his otoscope to take a look and he gave me a 'I-am-the-doctor-not-you' look, reluctantly used the instrument and proclaimed his earlier finding. He prescribed a five-day course of antibiotic, no eardrops or painkiller. Reluctantly but to be on the safe side, I heeded the doctor's advice and fed her the antibiotics.

When we arrived at Penang, we decided to see another GP there for a second opinion as there didn't seem to be any improvement after three days. This doctor used his otoscope immediately and said she had impacted earwax which was causing the pain and pressure she was feeling. Some earwax removal drops and two days later, she felt much better. So what's the conclusion here about doctors? Some are probably just too complacent and maybe arrogant that they forget to do their job properly. So C had to finish her unnecessary course of antibiotic just because the first doctor was 'blind' despite using the otoscope. How is it that one doctor could see impacted earwax and another said there's 'nothing'?

The rest of the last week of the holidays were filled with visiting places and eating to our hearts' content in Penang and Ipoh. More about that in another post next time.

This week, after the New Year holiday, school resumed on Wednesday. Caitlin is now in Year 4, with new teachers and two new subjects to learn. Compulsory co-curriculum activities are also included into their timetable starting this year but school hours remain the same, i.e. from 7.45am to 2.35pm.

Outside school, there are also changes to her extra activities i.e. piano, drum and BM tuition. These are the only additional classes she has and I think they're already taking up too much time, leaving her little time to play or excercise. We're trying out a new piano teacher for individual lessons in addition to the Yamaha group music course she's been taking for five years now.

We are considering stopping the Yamaha course when it ends in March if she finds the individual lesson more suitable. The current purpose of her learning the piano is to learn music and enjoy it. Taking exams and collecting certs (*see footnote below) is not the priority at the moment. The Yamaha course is a good one. Even the new individual lesson teacher acknowledges that. However, the syllabus is demanding and requires the student to focus in class and practise in order to keep up with the fast pace. The individual lesson teacher will be teaching her more theory and playing techniques while helping her to continue developing other areas such as hearing, accompanying, transposition etc.

As for drum lessons, we will need to find a new teacher. In the past two months, her current teacher had taken an unexpected break without giving any concrete reason other than not feeling well. Two days ago, lesson resumed but it didn't work out. The teacher ended the class after 15 minutes (the class is 30-minutes long) and my request for a reason was met with apology after apology and no answer to my request. Clearly, he didn't look well physically to me. He was not his usual self and certainly not in the right mental and emotional condition to teach. So unfortunately, I decided we couldn't be with him anymore after 4.5 years. Caitlin did like him as a teacher as he was fun and was the first real life drummer she got to know so to speak. I hope and pray he will get well from whatever sickness he is suffering from.

Here's a picture of one of my favourite fruits that we ate when we were in Penang:

The King of Fruits! Yummmmm....

* taking exams and collecting certs was what I did during my time, when the student and parents relied mainly on the teacher to decide the path of the student's music education, mainly because we didn't know better. It was the era where piano lessons were the rage; almost every household who could afford music lessons for their children would have a piano (never mind if it's a used one) and send the kids for lessons. If not piano, then it'd have been the violin or ballet.

(I'm writing this footnote in case some sensitive parents who read this may feel offended that I'm branding them as achievement-oriented-cert-chasing parents. Most times, I write my thoughts based on my own experience without any intention to imply or place judgment on others. After all, every child is unique).

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