Monday, January 16, 2017

Your children vividly remember every unkind thing you ever did to them, plus a few you really didn't.

For the past few days, Arif has been down with a fever. It's not uncommon for the children to get sick, since they go to daycare and don't exactly have the best hygiene habits (picking stuff off the floor and eating it - anyone?), but his fever lasted longer than usual this time, even after medication, and it was worrying. He's all right now, anyway, but it was certainly an exhausting weekend.


While we've been busy tending to Arif (mainly monitoring his temperature and feeding him his medication - that kid fights like an animal every time!), Alia became needy and clingy. With me not getting enough sleep and on frazzled nerves (Fit is not the best person to care for a sick child - he gets panicky at the slightest temperature increase), she was constantly at the receiving end of my short temper.

It broke my heart to see the bewildered look on her face when I snapped at her for leaving her stuff in my way, or for not doing something quickly enough, or for not answering the minute I called. At that moment, I told myself that I would apologize to her and give her a hug later, but then her brother caught my attention again and I forgot. And I keep forgetting, until it is late at night and she's sleeping in her bed and I feel guilty for all the times I've been unfair to her.


I know I need to treat my children better and spend more time nurturing them instead of disciplining them. I get so tired all the time, and when I'm not, I can't seem to be able to just sit down with them and chill without my mind whirring on things that needed to be done around the house. People say that cleaning and laundry can wait, but if I don't clean, the house will be a mess when we wake up and the children will trip over their toys, and if I don't wash clothes, or iron, there will be nothing for us to wear to work and school. It's a conundrum!

(Title quote by Mignon McLaughlin.)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Weekly roundup

I have been struggling with time. I know, every parent does, but sometimes I feel extremely overwhelmed by the things I don't have time to do. And by 'things', I don't mean hobbies like reading or scrap booking or gardening - I mean essentials for a sane, organized life, like ironing work clothes or putting away clean laundry or purging two-week-old leftovers out of the fridge. I can't remember the last time I mopped the floors or  cleaned the kids' car seats (no one spilled chocolate milk yet, so they're staying for now). I'm looking for tips, any tip, as to how I can cram more into the few hours I have at home after work every day, without sacrificing time spent with the children (and sleep, this mom needs her sleep!).

Some things I discovered this week.

  • People usually say child birth is an enlightening, powerfully spiritual act - I have never heard it being described like this article did. To be honest, though, I feel the same way too.

    'Child birth didn’t feel empowering to me. It didn’t feel un-empowering either. Instead it felt to me mostly like a biological process — a difficult one, but one that my body was designed to go through. I didn’t necessarily feel pride at what my body did because I didn’t feel like I could even take credit for it. (In fact, if I did take credit for it, then would that mean that women who couldn’t experience the relatively easy kind of births I had should feel the opposite of pride? Shame or guilt?)'

  • I pinned these tips on Pinterest, because, for a long time after Arif's birth, Alia went through the 'anxious preschooler' phase, where she was desperate for attention and threw tantrums at the slight dissatisfaction. One minute I was pleased that she's able to pack her own backpack, or cook an egg, or read a long word, and the next I was frustrated and yelling at her because she refused to take a sip of water or because she is screaming for her favorite jammies that are in the wash. I felt guilty (still do!) because I felt like I was too strict, but often she really tried my patience so!

  • This book is absolutely awesome. Now I feel sorry for not giving my kids really long names, because then they'll have a thicker book! I want badly to get one of these for Alia, but the steep price (especially when converted to Ringgit Malaysia) gave me pause. Maybe on her birthday?

Monday, January 09, 2017

2017

Is it too late to wish a Happy New Year?

I have been neglecting this space, as I have done with all my online spaces. Sometimes I am tempted to just shut it down, but this blog has come so far and it feels like such a waste to just... end it. I am an introvert who expresses herself better in writing than in conversations, and that is why this place is still sacred to me. My main problem, as it often is, is motivation. Every day I struggle to write something, anything, even in my personal journal. There are days when I succeed. Most days I don't.

The kids, when they're playing nice.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

His first year

A couple of days ago, this boy turned one.


In a blink of an eye, he is no longer a baby. He amazes us daily with his cunning and perseverance. Nothing deters him from his goals. If he wants something, he'll try for it (reaching, climbing, pushing it over), and if he isn't able to, he'll just leave it and attend to something else, but then always coming back again with another plan (which often includes a makeshift equipment of some sort).


He's extremely cheeky, always chuckling and laughing and making others chase him around. He's never shy with people and is always looking at them with open curiosity. He loves having a crowd around, and enjoys going to school and getting together with his cousins.


He also loves to tease his sister so! He's always following her around, tailing on her heels and demanding to be let in whatever she's doing. He likes to watch her read, although these sessions often end up with him sitting on the books and making her impatient. And he just can't get enough of cuddling and rolling around with her, which is causing me a lot of headaches come bedtime every day.


Happy birthday, our darling Arif! May you grow strong and healthy, and have a long, happy, prosperous life.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

No man has ever lived that had enough
Of children’s gratitude or woman’s love.



Time sure flies. In a blink of an eye, months has passed.



Nothing major has happened in our lives - I've been focusing hard on our day to day and trying to establish some sort of routine with both Fit and I having busy, erratic work schedules. The kids have had two weeks off in the past two months because both of us were unable to send and fetch them from school, resorting to them staying with their grandparents in KL while I'm working. The children, of course, loved it, but it sure is a pain to settle them down again once we're back home.



Also, because of Fit constantly working, I've been toting Alia and Arif on flights to and from KL. I'm starting to enjoy traveling with them. Arif's just started walking and is always excited to waddle off on his own, and Alia is now old enough to not need a stroller all the time. They both still need their naps, which can be cumbersome during travel, but I try to arrange so that they'll get some rest upon arrival.



Alia's reading is progressing well, and she's started learning the Qur'an too. Fit has commented that she's more eloquent, and I notice it too, since she loves telling stories about her day in the car ride home. She's still shy around strangers, but is definitely more confident in herself, and she makes me so proud every time she's able to ask and pay for things over the counter.



Arif is almost one! I can hardly believe it. When Alia was a baby, the days seemed to pass by so slowly as I watched her grow. With Arif, it seems like only yesterday he was a creeping on his tummy, picking up pieces of fluff off the floor (and eating them), and today he's a toddler, running around in circles and hanging precariously off the child gate. He's understanding every word and have opinions on every thing, and talks back like a sassy teen.



The best of part of everything, though, is just how much these two love each other. I wish for them to always love each other this way.

(Title quote by W. B. Yeats.)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

I need sleep.



This year's Ramadhan is particularly hard on me. I've been fasting yearly since I was five, so not eating and drinking (or picking my nose!) during the day is not difficult, but it's the lack of sleep that's getting to me.


I am the kind of person who needs a lot of sleep to get them going. During Ramadhan, I have to wake up for sahur in the wee hours, which would not be such a bad thing, except that my kids seem to not be sleeping well at all nowadays. I try to go to bed earlier, but Alia is fighting her bedtime and is sleeping late daily. She refuses to sleep in her own room (suddenly, she's afraid of the dark, and tells me that she's scared because she can't see), and when she's in our bed she tosses and turns so bad that I can't fall asleep.


Then, not long she finally dozes off, Arif would start waking up, for various reasons - he had a bad dream, he wants a (literal) sip of milk, his binky fell out and is an inch away from his mouth, his head is up against the cot wall and he can't move any further, he can't stick his feet out between the rails because of his sleep sack, etc. - and in between Arif's cries I get an hour of shut eye, max. I am so tired, each day, every day, it's ridiculous.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Weekly roundup



Ramadhan starts next week, and while some people might think it's crazy early, we've prepared for Aidil Fitri. Well, prepared is actually too big a word for it - we just bought Arif a few traditional Johor baju melayu that match the clothes we already have, and since I've always bought Alia extra large baju kurung in various colors (and adjusted them as necessary), hers still fit and she'll be wearing them again this year. It makes sense for us to do it this way - the kids hardly ever wear their traditional dresses anyway, and I don't see the need for them to have new ones every single Aidil Fitri. And preparing the clothes now saves us the hassle of having to shop during Ramadhan - the crowds then would be crazy!

Some links for this week.

  • I wish there were more parents like this. There were so many times when I've told other kids at the playground to please play nice and parents would stare daggers at me. One time, a dad even yelled at me because I told his tween son off for climbing up the slide while my daughter was going down it. I'm not a guardian of the playground - I just want to make sure that my kids are safe when they are playing there. So if that involves me telling your rough-housing, loud-mouthed, queue-cutting, profanity-spewing spawn to behave or be gone, then so be it.

  • Number five or this article really hits close to my heart. 'Listen closely: Happiness begets happiness. Sure, it's a bit of a zinger when your best friend meets the love of her life while you're still swiping right or your colleague drops twenty pounds while you're struggling to get motivated. But understanding that someone else achieving their goals doesn't mean there's one less achievement available to you will make life a whole lot easier.'

  • How is this even a question? It does not matter how well-behaved your kids are on every other occasion, but when they cause damage to people's properties, they (or you, if they are too young to understand the implications) should be accountable to pay for any ramifications.

  • This is an interesting read. I wish people in Malaysia would smile more. I have what people would call a 'resting bitch face' (It's a real thing, Google it!), but I make an effort to genuinely smile at people when I greet them.

  • This article confirmed what my mom always said - let the baby be. Our kids are very poor sleepers, and I think I contributed to it by being too coddling with them. The truth is, I just can't sleep with a child whining and tossing and turning in the same room! Now that Arif is seven months old, I am considering moving his cot into another room, so that I wouldn't wake up at his slightest whimper, and let him learn to self soothe.

Until next time, happy weekend and have a blessed Ramadhan!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

I sustain myself with the love of family.

He loves having conversations and exchanging kisses with his reflection.

Last week, on the last day of school, the kids came down with a stomach bug. When I picked her up, Alia cried and told me that her tummy was hurting. When she couldn't tell me what she had to eat for lunch, I thought that she probably didn't have anything at all, and thus was just gassy. When we got home, she threw up - nothing but water - but then declared that she was feeling better after drinking some warm milk.

Later in the evening, after fussing for a bit, it was Arif who threw up upon waking from his nap. His vomit was also all liquid (no curds), and since now both of them were throwing up, we figured it was something in the water they had in school (Arif was not eating solids in daycare yet.). Both of them ended up throwing up a few more times throughout the night. Arif was pretty weak - he didn't want to play and only wanted to snuggle - and Alia complained of stomach cramps on and off, but then they both finally settled in to sleep from exhaustion. Thankfully, they recovered, and was much better (in body and spirit) after waking up late the next morning.

That Violet plushie has been Alia's favorite for more than two years.

While I know sickness happens, and it was minor in this case, I was worried to see my usually rambunctious kids being so mellow and listless. It was a good thing my parents were here on a visit - Alia and Arif seemed to recover much faster when they have their grandparents to shower them with lots of kisses and cuddles!

(Title quote by Maya Angelou.)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Weekly roundup


This week our family was hit with a round of fever among the kids. They've been having runny noses, cough and slight temperature rises on and off since Sunday. Arif is also sporting a rash that I first thought was an allergic reaction to dust, which then evolved into something that looked suspiciously like the onset of measles (his vaccine is due in two months). Fortunately, his pediatrician is confident that it is just a post-viral infection rash that will subside in a few days. I feel so relieved!

Some links for this week.

  • China's super mums. In some cultures, a confinement period after giving birth is not a necessity. Living in an Asian country, however, it is pretty much a given, with every post natal mother being expected to observe some sort of indoor resting period. While my family is not very traditional, I also observed some basic confinement rituals after giving birth to my children. I must say, being able to put your feet up and take it slow, and given massages while being fed with nutritious food is not at all a bad way to recuperate after the ordeal that is childbirth.

  • Want to raise successful kids? Science says do these 7 things every day.

  • I love planners, and you might notice that I've been pinning a lot of journaling pictures lately. This is because I'm currently very curious about the idea that is the Bullet Journal. While this method is too time consuming for me, I think it's an interestingly creative way to plan, and love to see how other people execute it.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Weekly roundup



These two weeks are the first semester exam period for the nation's schools. While I am sure all the questions Alia would have to answer probably comprise of coloring the largest apple or tracing the letter 'A' (and maybe a few count the butterflies), I can't help but feel nervous. My firstborn taking her first test! How'd she grow up so fast?

Now, a few things I found on the Internet.

  • In defense of absurdly early bedtimes. I agree wholeheartedly that our kids need earlier bedtimes. As it is, Arif goes to bed at 9 (or earlier if he's sleepy) - being a baby, he doesn't fuss much during bedtime - but Alia goes to bed a lot later (Her supposed bedtime is at 10, but she fights it so!). While I try my best to keep them to a routine, rushing dinner, bath and books before bedtime (and then arguing with a preschooler who does not want to go to sleep) daily does take its toll. It's much easier to take Alia to bed with me at my bedtime and have her fall asleep in five minutes rather than listen to her toss and turn in her room for two hours.

  • How music taste evolved. I couldn't stop watching this! I loved listening to all the 90's hits and remembering the days back in school when we would listen to 'Rick Dees Top 40' on our transistor radios while flipping through 'Smash Hits' during the weekends.

  • The most important question of your life. 'Because happiness requires struggle. The positive is the side effect of handling the negative. You can only avoid negative experiences for so long before they come roaring back to life. [...] Sometimes I ask people, “How do you choose to suffer?” These people tilt their heads and look at me like I have twelve noses. But I ask because that tells me far more about you than your desires and fantasies. Because you have to choose something. You can’t have a pain-free life. It can’t all be roses and unicorns. And ultimately that’s the hard question that matters. Pleasure is an easy question. And pretty much all of us have similar answers. The more interesting question is the pain. What is the pain that you want to sustain?'