Thursday, May 29, 2008

Taipei - The Journey

I mentioned about holidaying in Taipei in my previous post. Why Taipei? It is more likely a win-win situation. As some of you are aware, HB's nature of job makes it difficult for him to get his leaves approved during school holidays. I was not surprised at all when he told me his application had been rejected. Sort of used to it, I think. But having checked his roster, I noticed 1 day off Taipei. The girls & I had never been to Taipei... & why not? So, HB made arrangement for our tickets to the capital of Taiwan.

The girls did not argue at all when I told them about us going to Taipei. They have always looked forward to travel by plane. The only concern was ME. I was wondering of my fate in the cabin. Hahaha! Me, the only adult to supervise 2 children, a toddler & an infant.

I remember an incident somewhere last year. I was traveling without HB but with my 3 girls (was carrying Nadeen then in my 2nd trimester). Balqis right after we took off started to throw tantrums. I couldn't recall what we were served but it was not rice. That I still remember because she was shouting & screaming to eat rice! Crying for "aciiiik...! aciiiik....!
" which was (nasi) rice. That was the day I felt blessed for Balqis 's lisp. Nobody understood what she was screaming out of her lungs for. Not even her 2 sisters. When the crew came to check on her, I mumbled something about her wanting to sleep. Other passengers were cool about it though... smiling with concerned eyes & said something like "Letih tu....". I quickly agreed. She cried all the way from JB to KL.

Was I traumatized by that incident? Sort of... It was merely less than an hour flight. But to Taipei, it took us approximately 6 hours plus the short transit in Kota Kinabalu.

Had to be positive about it though. Balqis after all, a year older & a big sis to Nadeen. My problems had always been with Wardah & Balqis. Best of friends, Worst of enemies! Decided to separate the two. Requested for 4 seats in a row. Easier for me to monitor all 4. Not my luck, somebody had made the booking for the 1st row. I could have agreed on other rows but the bassinet for Nadeen was only available for row 1.

Wardah & Balqis at KLIA, these mischievous two didn't waste time at all while I was checking in. Scribbled something on their notebooks. And... yes, Wardah was on the floor & Balqis was on the table. Obviously the airport lacked of seats to sit on!!

This was the plane we were to board. Boeing 737-400, MH 68. At the waiting room, I captured the attention of many other passengers. A mom, traveling with 4 kids!

We boarded. Our seats, row 1 & row 3. Instructed Yasmin to babysit Balqis at row 3 & informed the flight attendant if possible to change their seats to row 1 as well. Right before take off, the same flight attendant approached the 2 men at row 1. Requested them to exchange seats with my girls. It felt so weird. Having her doing the talking whilst I was like half a meter away. They did not hesitate. I thanked them of course. Hence, during take off I totally had to trust Yasmin to look after Balqis. Still , I asked for the crew to check on their seat belts. Could hear Balqis asking this & that. Yasmin answered voluntarily. Wardah was of course restless. Kept on looking back, trying her luck to have a glimpse of her sisters. But the truth... she was jealous. Missing the fun. Away from mama's eagle eyes...

Once seat-belt on sign was switched off, the flight attendant ushered my 2 girls & the 2 men to exchange seats. You should see the look on Wardah's face. Once seated, Wardah waved "Baaaalqiiiis...!" & my 3rd girl returned the wave with "Kakak Aaaaaadaaaah...!"

Wardah begged to sit next to Balqis. I forbade. She kept on pestering me with her request. In the end I gave in. Allowed her to exchange seats with Yasmin only when they were done with their meals. She signaled to Balqis about it & Balqis responded, "Yeah! Yeah!"

Balqis & Yasmin having their meals. They really enjoyed the bread served.

Wardah too.

As promised Wardah exchanged seats with Yasmin. Balqis was of course very excited. Knowing Wardah, she would come out with creative ideas for them to play together. I heard them agreeing on playing "Teacher-Student". Of course, Balqis was the teacher, Wardah had to give in as a student.

Yasmin got busy with a toy given by the air hostess.

A miniature of the jumbo jet.

Balqis saw the jet. Quitted playing with Wardah & started to maneuver.

I totally forgot about baby Nadeen. She was with me most of the time, of course. Failed to sleep in the bassinet. How could she, with her sisters kept on checking on her almost every minute. I have to thank these people for helping me to babysit Nadeen. It was either when I was having my meal or when I needed to ease myself.

Thank you Yasmin. You were a real help.

Thanks to you too Jovine. Really appreciate your MH - malaysian hospitality... ;-)

Even the Captain of the flight gave a helping hand... Hehehe!

Besides "Teacher-Student", Wardah came out with a marvellous idea. Meet Captain Amirah Balqis!

And again Wardah had to give in to Balqis. Flying on the right hand seat...

This was during our transit in KK, of course. Here's another pose during our transit at Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

The journey from KK to Taipei was trouble-free. Perhaps, I was getting used to the situation. Balqis felt asleep after dinner. She slept next to my seat. Wardah & Yasmin took this chance to play Boggle. They tried to take a nap but failed. I guess, they were too excited to even rest. We reached Taipei safely. The immigration was friendly though not fluent in English. I was most of the time uttering "NiHao..." & "SheiShei".

The girls at Chiang
Kai Shek International Airport

We took the hotel shuttle. The journey took about 45 minutes but none of the girls complained. Thrilled to start their short vacation in Taipei.

At the lobby of Sunworld Dynasty Hotel, Taipei.

The Best Baby to Travel with Award goes to...... Amirah Nadeen

* to be continued

Friday, May 23, 2008

Is my parenting wrong?

This week, I'm back as their mom. Cooking, chauffeuring, nagging, fretting, entertaining... you name it. They are done with exams, so need not have to privately tutor them fhuuuh... I can't lie. Quite tiring yes, but ain't complaining! HB fails to understand how I enjoy every second of it. It's called self-satisfaction. Am grateful that I've given the chance to see my girls grow up right in front of my eyes. Not everyone is granted with such wish! Alhamdulillah...

Today's Friday. The schedule is to send Wardah to school at 2pm & make Yasmin tags along for her mengaji class which starts 45 minutes later. Normally, we will have ice cream near Wardah's school to kill time.

Today, as we were savouring our high in calories snack I saw a boy & a little girl riding a bicycle (the girl was the pillion). According to Yasmin, those 2 were in the mengaji school with her. The boy 9 & his sister, 7. Exactly the ages of my first 2.

They instead of taking a left turn to the mengaji school, rode straight ahead passed my car & stopped at a hawker stall in front of the school. He waited for his sister to get off then only he did & together they walked to the stall. How I wished I had bionic ears. Was curious to know the conversation... you know him seemed like a very responsible brother.

They left the stall with the girl holding an orange drink & the boy some keropok. Reaching their bike, him offering his sister the keropok & she holding on to the drink for her brother to take a sip. Next, he passed the keropok for her sister to hold. I was really curious with what he wanted to do. He dragged the bike with his sister tailing him to a junction. She waited at the sidewalk whilst her brother continued dragging the bike onto the street, parallel to the sidewalk.

He then took the drink & food from his sister, hung them to each of the bike handles, held the bike & with the sidewalk as a stepping stool, her little sister was at ease getting onto the bike. He cycled passed my car. Maybe was aware of me observing them, he gave me a smile! What a charming little boy...

Seriously, it is difficult for me to picture my girls doing that. They are most of the time out of control with each other. It's not that they are not in good terms... they are. Enjoy each other's company yes but when it comes to responsibility, I don't think they have it. I blame myself for that. Me, the 24/7 mom... ALWAYS fussing over their needs. Food served, clothes washed & ironed, books arranged accordingly to their timetable & they even ask permission to everything from watching TV, surfing internet, riding bicycle even eating ice cream!!

Perhaps, it is difficult for me to let go. After all I would always want to be the winds beneath their wings (I touched on this on my maiden post). The higher crime rate now does limit the girls' freedom which I assume will instill the responsibility in them.

I think I better start to transform them from home. Having reading a post by a friend recently, I realised that I have a lot to learn. Does not mean with 4 children I am a pro at this. Am still crawling to be a good parent. Thanks Uncle Lee for sharing.

It is already mid-term break. Today's their last day of school. I hope I manage to discipline them a bit on house chores. Being responsible of their own belongings or at least their own needs. And.. I will try my best to be a hands-off mom.

We are going to Taipei this Sunday (will blog why we opted for Taipei). I have made the seats arrangement in the flight beforehand. Nadeen will of course be with me. Wardah & Balqis CANNOT be too close to each other (they can be the best of friends also the worst of enemies). Hence, Yasmin will have to help me babysit Balqis & Wardah will be next to me. I hope everything will go well. Perhaps from this trip I can have a rough idea what & how my "home drill" will be... ;-)

Enjoy your holidays kids & to parents, all the best! Hahaha....!

Monday, May 19, 2008

We are back!

Yes, we are back. Everyone is doing just fine. Things are gradually getting back to normal. These are photos of Nadeen.

Nadeen with a pretty lady on board... hihihi!

Playing in the bassinet

At last asleep & mama managed to indulge her meal in peace

Just woke up, irritated with the camera

Nadeen in a different attire. She pooed & stained her dress. Hmmm...

At Dubai International Airport

Home sweet home. Really missed the girls! Surprisingly, I survived. Perhaps I was rather occupied with Nadeen most of the time which in a way helped me to focus my mind elsewhere instead of my 3 girls back home. But on the third day I was defeated by Balqis. She asked her sister to ring me up, wanting to talk to me. I gave a "hello" & on the other line she uttered "Mama ayang Aqis...?" (Do you love me, Mama?). That did it! Tears came pouring down my freshly blushed cheeks. According to my mom, Balqis did not whine for me at all during my absence. She understood that I was not around. So, it was merely me. Crying out of guilt!

I could tell that they missed Nadeen. Kept asking me about Nadeen. In fact, Nadeen did long for her sisters too. There was once I went out with a friend & she brought along her 3-year-old daughter. Nadeen really could not take her eyes off that girl. Smiling & saying things to her. It almost brought tears to my eyes...

It was real hot in Dubai. Summer is indeed approaching. The temperature was 40 degree C. We stayed indoor most of the time. The big sale has not yet begun. So, did not really do much shopping. Just things for my girls.

Nadeen behaved so well through out our trip. It was only the 4th day that she looked uncomfortable. Started to cough & her skin turned red, dry & a bit flaky. It must had been the hot weather. A pharmacist recommended us this baby moisturiser. It did the magic. Now, I feel that her skin is softer than before we went to Dubai.

Baby Avalon Organics - 100ml ( DH57)

Dubai from our hotel window. I could not really snap many photos in Dubai as my hands were occupied. HB was busy, most of the time I was out with Nadeen & a friend.

The infamous traffic - what Dubai is synonym with.

We took a night flight back to KL. Nadeen was rather too uncomfortable to sleep on her own in the bassinet. I hugged her most of the time. She slept but not me.

Nadeen at KLIA. Notice her red skin..

At home, whilst the girls exploring & parading with the things I bought for them... I just had to surrender to the luxury of my own bed. Paying back my sleepless night & perhaps jet lag did contribute a bit.

Monday, May 12, 2008

You be good my girls.

So, how was everyone's Mother's Day? Mine was tiring... but I enjoyed it. My PIL & SIL with her family came over for lunch. It's true that I'm a mom but I am also a daughter. Baked these cupcakes for my MIL & SIL bought the choc cake.

The first to wish me was HB. He woke up early & told the girls not to worry about breakfast (normally, I would get breakfast in bed). He bought "nasi lemak"... easy & fast ;-) After shower, the girls woke up & came knocking on my door. I could hear they were fussing about something. They surprised me with their gifts.

Look what the girls made for me. It was so sweet of them. Saving money to but the flowers from the school bookshop. The big castle card was from Yasmin & Wardah. They stayed up late last night just to finish that up. The photo frame was from Balqis. She did that in school with her teacher . Love you girls... Mmmuuuuah!

In the previous post I did mention that I would be away. Yes & today is the day. I can't really explain how I am truly feeling now. Very melancholy.

HB needs my support. He has a business arrangement in Dubai & I guess I'm like a charm. Hehehe! Not really, it's just that according to him when a spouse is in the picture, it is a positive sign... whatever that means.

Well, here I am getting ready to go to KLIA. It was hard departing with Yasmin & Wardah just now. They understood & half heartedly had to let me go. It is their exam week & we have done our best. Right girls? All the best to both of you. I felt like crying but held that tears real hard.

Balqis, she was cool. I had already told her a week ago. Somehow I did not have to go through the thorough interrogation. Simply told her that I have to go to work with papa. Perhaps the thought of having her grandparents around, sending her off to school & sleeping with her is far more excited.

Baby Nadeen? I'm taking her with me. Told HB, at the moment I come with a package. Glad that he understands. So this is going to be her first oversea trip. That makes me a little nervous. Hope everything goes well & I did not leave anything important things behind. Diapers, towels, extra this & that. You know how it is traveling with a baby. Even I need an extra clothing... just in case.

I will be back Saturday. Will be missing you girls that is for sure. I'm thankful that my parents are around to help. Thank you Ma, Abah. Hope you like the cupcakes.

Okay, here we go. Hold the tears!! HB needs you now. The girls are in good hands. Nothing to worry. Take a deep breath.... in & out, in & out. Goodbye my girls. Love you a lot!!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Poem - If You Give A Mom A Muffin

If You Give a Mom a Muffin
If you give a mom a muffin,
She'll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
So she'll pour herself some.
The coffee will get spilled by her three year old.
She'll wipe it up.
Wiping the floor, she will find some dirty socks.
She'll remember she has to do some laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer,
She'll trip over some snow boots and bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan supper for tonight.
She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She'll look for her cookbook. (101 Things To Make With a Pound of
The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill which is due tomorrow.
She will look for the checkbook.
The checkbook is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two year old.
She'll smell something funny.
She'll change the two year old.
While she is changing the two year old the phone will ring. (Of course!)
Her five year old will answer it and hang up.
She remembers that she wants to phone a friend to come over for coffee on
Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup.
She will pour herself some.
And chances are,
If she has a cup of coffee,
Her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

Written by Beth Brubaker
Based on If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

I have to agree, the poem is hilarious to some. Not me, I didn't laugh. Smiled yes but no laughter. Don't get me wrong. I do enjoy the poem. It was beautifully written in a unique way. Very creative. Perhaps 10 years ago, I would. When I was rather naive to comprehend the unconditional, infinite love of a mother.
Then, my interpretation of the poem would be the same as I were to infer it now. How a mother's job is never done & putting patience plus love as her utmost emotion. I read, understood, maybe have ruth on her & that was it. Now, however the feeling is different as I kind of absorb into the character emotionally. After all I was once in the same boat.
Life then was tiring, I hate to lie. It was only at night I was able to pamper myself with face mask, lay on bed & watched my favourite TV programme. I was lucky enough that Yasmin at 4 & Wardah at 2 & a half surrendered early to bed. Well, sue me if you have too... but I forbade them to have day naps. I entertained them whenever I saw them yawning. Talked to them, read to them stories, played jigsaw puzzle anything that got their attention. Dinner & washing up was done by 7.30pm. At 8.00 normally, they started to doze off & bingo!... time for myself until the next morning at 8am. Hey! That was 12hrs of sleep...
HB was not in the picture I know. He was away most of the time. That was the routine whenever he was off-house. When he was home, I wouldn't say exactly that I was less tired... hahaha! Besides that, of course I loved to make a fuss over the food I cooked for him. Not plain, fried chicken, fried fish or simply fried egg. I loved to cook & still is my passion. Only when there was a company to dine with did I cook something far from simple. Perhaps his favourite Ayam Masak Merah. Or maybe my special Nasi Ayam. And something all of us loved, Sup Tulang.
Tables were turned. He would do the babysitting & I'd be busy in the kitchen. I miss those days. Really enjoyed to see him with the girls spending quality time together. Those were the days, he would help me to bathe the girls & even prepared the table for dinner.
Unfortunately, we were not blessed with that same perfect schedule most of the time. As some are aware HB does not work 9-5. There were times when he reached home in the morning just the right time for breakfast. Obviously, he needed his overdue sleep. What to expect when there were a child & a toddler sharing the same roof. I really pitied him for his lacking of sleep. With zombie eyes, he would join the girls instead or asked them to hop in bed with him. Them playing, him trying his best to nap.
When I conceived Balqis, HB suggested we got a helper. It is common for Malaysians nowadays to employ an Indonesian maid. And we realised our time had come. So now, with a helper around I have most of the leisure time I want. You think without one, I am able to have this website?
Of course, there are pros & cons. With Balqis & baby Nadeen, the attention is less compared to their sisters. What more when the helper with us now, adores each one of my children especially the younger 2. There were times when Balqis preferred her to me. Baby Nadeen looking at her with eager eyes, wanting to be carried. I am a liar if I say I am not jealous at all.
With the older girls already schooling, I give extra attention to their lessons & extra classes. Ice skating, swimming, mental arithmetic, taekwondo... (glad the list stops there!) Before Nadeen, Balqis was most of the time being left at home. Now, Balqis tags along but baby Nadeen takes her place. Anyhow, I do not leave her home too long. Remember? I'm her human baby milk bottle... ;-)
I do feel bad. Am I not the good mother anymore as I was to Yasmin & Wardah? Does that make me a terrible mother for no longer is a mirror image to the subject in the poem? HB reminds me every year how grateful he is having me as the mother to his children. Me, being the great mom & all.... But, do I really deserve that now? Sigh..
Having said all that, I am still the family chauffeur, the family cook, the family lawyer & judge, the family financial advisor, the family clown, the family nurse, the family party planner, the family shoulder to cry on, the family pharmacist.... and according to a good friend, the Prime Minister ;-D

To all mothers out there "HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY".

Friday, May 9, 2008

What can I say......

I just have to share this with everyone. Okay, this week is rather a busy week for me. It was only last week I realised that the girls' mid-term exam is brought forward to next week instead of the week after. Since I will be away next week (will blog about that soon..), the girls only have this week to revise their subjects with me.

I normally get activity books from the bookstore for their revision at home. Instruct them to do the exercises & go through each question one by one. I do not really mind if they make mistakes (as long as not silly ones). With mistakes, I will able to see what they do not understand. Easier for me to discuss & elaborate.

Time table is important. To discipline them, especially their mom... ;-) So today, the lesson covered was the English Language. Since, today is Friday (school starts late due to Friday prayer) Wardah tagged along to fetch Balqis from kinddy. In the car, she quietly & obediently did her English Language worksheet.

At home, while they were having lunch I went through the questions. She made one mistake which made me laughed my heart out. Check out the question. It was on "Social Expression".

The answer Wardah circled brought tears to my eyes. Not out of crying but laughing. I haven't discussed this with her yet (she's in school). But I think she was not sure what "support" meant. I really need to have a long discussion with her about this if she understood what "support" meant but still think C. was the answer. Worse when the dialogue is between a son & his father... ! Well, that shows pretty much who has control in my household. HAHAHA!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

I know I'm 5 months... but enough mama!

Dear mama's blog readers,

Hello to all... aunties, uncles, sisters, brothers, granduncles, grand aunties, friends.... everyone! I am the Amirah Nadeen. Nadeen for short or as always addressed in this blog - baby Nadeen. I just recently turned 5 months & guess who was so overly excited about it? Yup, a bull's eye! My mama... who else?

I was like minding my own business the other day, practising on my flips when she approached me with that toy of hers. I don't know what it's called but it's like a peek-a-boo game. She would place that toy onto her face & start calling out my name. Usually once I give a smile there will be this snapping sound & a light flashing. I love to look at that attractive light but she does not permit. Keep on telling me to look elsewhere on her toy but not that light... Funny lady!

I played along of course. Posing with a smile...

Couldn't help it... she looked really funny peek-a-booing me.

Even gave her a "superbaby" pose!

That was not enough. She zoomed in her toy. Made funny sounds again. It tickled me!

I was real drooling due to the laughters... but did she bother to wipe my mouth? Nah... continued to snap, snap, snap

I started to get irritated.

Reached over for her toy but failed. Instead she managed to SNAP another!

I got tired. Lay down & begged her to stop with what she was doing...

I gave up!

I gave her a different pose instead. Hoping that this one would not excite her much but again... I was wrong!

Mama..... please stop!! Don't you ever get tired??

I heard people said "You can't stop them, you join them"... so in the end I gave her one last smile.

It worked! She stopped & left me playing on my own. Phoooohhh....!! Are all mothers like my mama? Love you... no matter what.

Yours sincerely,

Amirah Nadeen

ps- I said "mammmma..." for the first time tonight. Lucky me her handycam battery was flat!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Tarbush Restaurant - Ampang Point

It has been awhile I haven't posted on this label. Most of the time whenever we went out, I either forgot to bring along my camera or too hungry that we straight away attacked what we ordered. Recently however, I managed to snap some photos & able to blog about it.

My mom has been planning for this family dine out for quite some time. Even only with 3 children, to gather all with spouses & kids on a same day, does take time. Not every weekend is available. Finally, last weekend, all of us 3 with spouses, our parents & 7 children ( 2 babies were left at home with our helpers) went to our usual place in Ampand Point - Tarbush Restaurant.

We had always wanted to change the venue but whenever the whole of us meet, automatically this same Lebanese restaurant came to mind. It's closed by to my parents' & we just love the briyani especially the lamb served. These are what we ordered that day.

Tarbush Salad - The specialty is of course its yogurt dressing

Lamb Chop

Tiger Prawn Briyani - 1st time on our table & we loved it

Chicken Briyani

Pita Bread - The kids loved this

Mixed Grill

Grilled Prawn - Not for kids. Rather spicy

Shish Kebab - This is a must on our table. We ordered 5!

Some of our drinks - Blueberry ice blended, strawberry juice & iced lemon tea. Another hit was of course their Arabic Tea which I did not snap.

Entertaining the kids while waiting for food.

Pretty sure they didn't realise me focusing my lens.

As the saying goes " Kenyang perut, Senang hati"

Hmm... did you 2 toddlers eat?

Wonder when our next get together will be. I have nothing against the food here but it'd be great if we try out another place... ;-)