Wednesday, January 23, 2008 ;
10:30 AM
Some updates:

1. On the nursing front: yay! ds2 is officially weaned as of now.
It has been almost 3 years. I can't say I don't miss it at all, but I think both of us are benefitting from his newfound independence.

He does still wake up at night, with eyes still closed and asking to nurse, but I'll just whisper (also half-asleep), "no more already, good boy, sleep... sleep...." And I pat his back.
Sometimes he still whines but he doesn't cry and protest loudly now. He'll also go back to sleep rather quickly.

2. About the medical bill for my elbow X-ray and consultation. The hospital has given me a discount to $297 now, and I am still eligible to apply for yet another subsidy, which I had already submitted. They mailed the forms to me.
Their service is really good, and I can't have any complaints.

I had heard before, that patients without medical insurance will not be treated the same as those who have. And that sometimes the hospitals would even turn you away. Apparently not so in Utah, I guess.

They didn't really bother if I had insurance or not and certainly treated me well. They even gave me all kinds of forms to apply for discounts. Let's see what the final bill will be. Dh says $297 is pretty reasonable already. :-)

I'd been delaying seeking dental checkups for both kids for so long, because I was afraid of high costs. Maybe I can try out the dentist around here soon. Ds1's teeth is quite alright, looks stable to me, but ds2's teeth looks like it might be having decays. I can see some erosion of the enamel at the side of his canine. Like a dent. And it's getting bigger despite my more enthusiastic brushing each night.

I get a lot of dentist adverts in the mail each day, will try one of the promising ones, he sees only kids. Will try and blog abt the experience. Ds1 has been to dentists (just for checkups) in Spore but this will be the first for ds2.

3. Medical insurance. Dh's prospective employers are rather caring. They've bought insurance for our whole family, so now we are covered. However, dental treatment is not included, only GP visits, emergency and other types of medical assistance. Prescriptions and other services also included, but with deductibles.

The funny thing is, we had to fill in forms while we were applying for it right? They had a 2 page blank rows for us to fill in all our doctor visits for the past year. We left them blank and put N.A. because we were already in USA and did not visit any doctors.

They called and emailed us back to ask if it was true that we never get sick.
So we emailed and said, yes we do get sick, but those minor colds were not serious enough to warrant a visit to a doctor.

After that, we got the insurance. :-) And yes, for the one of the most basic plans, it did cost Dh's employers about $500 a month.

4. Ds1 officially can read. Ok, I am not sure when does real reading begin. He doesn't read any book thrown to him of course.
But what he does now is read simple stories with some words that are memorised (common ones like he, she, I, are, and, is, it, we) and words that can be sounded out (like man, zoo, hat, moon, pizza).
Those level or step readers are best, because there won't be too many words he doesn't know in the book, and so the kid will build confidence and be happy that he can read the whole book by himself.

So now, each time we go to the library, I borrow 5 types of books --
1. for myself,
2. for ds2 (usually Curious George or Eric Carle board books),
3. books I read aloud to both of them
4. books that I and ds1 reads together (eg the "We Both Read" series, and the "You read to me and I'll read to you" series). These books have pages for the parent to read and words or pages for the child to read. I like some of the stories a lot, because they are really interesting and are not contrived.
5. books that ds1 can read by himself.
I don't really like the contrived books like:
"Pat. Pat can. Pat can read. Pat can read books. Pat can read books well. " that kind of story. because it is not exciting. Although some educators swear by them because they build up word by word and level by level so the kids learn to read very quickly and in a systematic manner.

So far, I think I like Starfall's Learn to Read and Now I'm Reading by Nora Gaydos. The biggest critic is ds1. And he likes these 2 types the best.

I didn't really teach phonics well, because I don't know phonics myself, have never gone through that. There were no such classes for kids in my time, and we certainly didn't learn that in school, at least, I have no such recollection. Seriously, I can't recall how I learnt to read, only that my mom read to us a lot.

So I just do the same for my kids. Bring them to library often, read to them a lot.... And the additional thing they have nowadays would be the computer/ internet. The BBC/ CBB website has phonics songs which they listen to. And I learnt how to sound the letters from there actually, haha, at my age. So sometimes I will guide ds1 along in sounding out new words that way, but then I get stuck when it comes to words that just can't be sounded out that way. I haven't learnt to that level. haha.

So I gave up and just read to ds1 by volume. After reading to him a lot, gradually he just picked it up (word recognition). Some words in the stories can be guessed from the picture or context too, so he just moves along the story that way.

Today we ordered pizza from Pizza Hut. When the pizza guy came with the boxes, ds1 read the words "America's Favorite Pizza" out aloud from the words printed on the side of the box. At first I laughed and praised him that he got it right! Then I thought, hmm, did he just guess it cos he heard the commercial of Pizza Hut before?!? haha

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