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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

I Love KL! But...

This year marks the 17th anniversary that I have lived in Kuala Lumpur.


17 years! If you deduct the number of years spent away for work related moves and travels, it will still round up to about 14 years. 
 
Inspired by a post by Joanna Goddard in A Cup of Jo, I will list some of the unglamorous things I find about living in KL (in no cute cartoons or photographs though):
 
1. The taxis do not use meter most of the time.
Despite the warning and sticker on taxi windows that prohibits haggling and negotiating for rate per journey. Once, my ex-colleague at PETRONAS tried taking a taxi to my old flat to bring some files so that I could work from home. The taxi driver told her it would cost her RM20.00 one way. For less than one kilometre! She ended up walking in the hot humid afternoon sun to my old flat, and back!  
 
2. Hot and humid.
All the time. 35C seems to be the average nowadays. Except when there is a thunderstorm. Then it floods. Despite the SMART tunnel.
 
3. Tolled roads and tunnels.
To get to anywhere outside the city, in avoiding the traffic jam, especially during a thunderstorm, I take one of the many highways. Hefty toll to be paid. That, or sit in the traffic jam. For hours. Burning petrol.
 
4. Friday gridlock at Tun Razak/Ampang.
We avoid driving out on Friday at or after 12 noon until 9 pm, except for quick school run at 3pm. Bad manners from drivers jumping the amber and red lights, ignoring the yellow box completely usually result in gridlock at the busy city interchange. Traffic police when they appear to man the traffic, is often just quite ineffective/pointless.
 
5. Traffic jam whenever there is a thunderstorm.
Usually happens in the evening, just as gazillions of office workers driving to head home, it pours. Cats and dogs, torrential. Blinding the driver behind his/her wheel. End result: Crawl.
 
6. Haze.
Strikes at every hot and dry season around May-July. Slash and burn at plantations in Sumatera, wind then blows those thick smog to Malaysia and Singapore. Burnt smells, watery eyes, dust everywhere.
 
7. MRT projects.
Being constructed to ease future traffic burdens. Construction sites aplenty on every major road. End result: more traffic jam.
 
8. KLCC.
I live within walking distance to KLCC. And yet, I have lost direct view of the PETRONAS Twin Towers and the KLCC Park. Every inch right in front of the landmark is being filled with more high-rise buildings. It is depressing that we soon have to say bye-bye to the water fountain view.
 
9. Potholes.
The council tars the roads very often, and pot holes magically appear almost overnight.
 
10. Sale.
I used to anticipate the sale and discounts for clothes, shoes and bags. Now, I just do not bother anymore. There is a sale on almost every weekend. I just shop whenever I need to (like a man too - lock target, try it on, pay, exit), as opposed to waiting for a sale. Having 2 kids truly changed my stamina in looking for best buys. 

11. Snatch thiefs
My handbag was snatched in the early days of living in this city at Medan Damansara. The avenue where I currently live is still on red alert, and we have police beat base on top of private security and guard dogs. The House was robbed and has scarred us for life.
 
Despite all that, I love KL!
Maybe it is a love-hate relationship.
 
I love that there is a tiny, private, green lung on my tree lined street.

I love that a new Starbucks is just a walk away.

I love that the sale is on so often that I get discounts almost all the time without having to wait too long.

I love that I can check into a 5-star hotel across the park and look at my own flat.

I love that my FIL played a major role in building of KLCC and we now have a landmark for Malaysia.

I love that there are more days of clear skies and sunshine than days filled with haze.

I love that the grocers in the city are well-stocked, enabling me to try cooking many types of different foods.

I love that there are so many restaurants and cafes serving international cuisines, and we can eat out whenever I do not feel like cooking.

I love that there are many international schools close to home.

I love that I miss home even when I am away for just one night.

I love that there are even more things I love about this city than I can possibly list! 
 
Which city do you live in? Do you have a love-hate relationship with your city too?
Monday, 28 October 2013

Hospital Food

Life really is good at PCMC. I truly enjoyed the hospital food. First time in my life, I was served tasty and nutrition dense food and drinks from a hospital.

Here's how:




The portions were just right, and the temperature suitably warm. 

Being able to tick items I wish to eat felt like liberty to choose as a person on holiday staying in a hotel room, rather than as a patient with stitches limited to golf course and peak hour jam view.

After 2 days and 2 nights, we returned home to semi-reality. Bye bye food cart, bye bye menu forms.

Keep up the good work, PCMC!



Friday, 25 October 2013

The Labour Story Part 2

Warning: Get comfy, this is a long post. If you are reading this because you are looking for reviews of the doctors in this post, hope this will find you well, but please make your own informed decision and not solely rely on my experience to decide on the best medical care that you so deserve.

Caution: If you are reading this because you are the doctor concerned and you Google-d yourself, go to the last paragraphs for the best bits! *big smile*

Maybe the last caution: If you are here because you are a PETRONAS staff, I'd say take a labour room and suite tour, meet and interview the doctors yourself for the best possible maternity benefit. Wish I was still with PETRONAS, heh! If you are wondering if PCMC is the best facility around KLCC, I'd say "YES!".

______________________________________________________________________
 
A much-delayed, heavily-edited post with grammatical errors everywhere...my sincerest apologies!

After dinner at The Flat Upstairs, we returned home to start the evening routine and put The Little Girl to bed. She finally slept at about 9.30 pm after a stack of bedtime stories and 2 bottles of milk.

By then, I was feeling some contractions and casually dismissed them as Braxton-Hicks. The Other Half wondered if this was the real deal but I shrugged it off, as it would be really embarrassing to show up at PCMC with yet another false alarm.

This time, I was going to wait for the show. The real deal. No more false alarm, please. I hate vaginal exams, remember?

So the evening wore on. We finished watching Bourne Identity and although I was feeling some discomfort, I enjoyed re-watching the movie. 

My bump looked like it was turning at one point, contorted itself into a funny crescent shape like it did a lot in my first pregnancy. My gut feeling told me it was a good sign. I had been "spinning the baby".

Honestly, we were quite glad that Bean had finally decided to turn and clear the occiput posterior situation for me. Bless this kid! I'd thought maybe now I won't have the reputed painful back labour?

When the movie ended, we went to bed. I replied all the outstanding whatsapp messages, made sure my side of the bed was lined and drifted off to sleep with a bit of grunts in trying to find a cosy spot, blessed by the thought that these were going to be last few days of the baby lying on top of me from within me.

Then at 2.50 am, I felt an urge to pee. I thought maybe at 39 weeks 3 days along, it'd be safer to have the lights on at the bathroom instead of fumbling in the dark. Our flat is always semi-lit as the other buildings surrounding us is always lit at night, and we can manage walking about at night without the lights on. Small fringe benefit for living in the city of lights...

However, on that particular night, I flicked the switch on, as I had listened to my better judgment. Just as well the lights were on!

What came after the pee was something I had not seen before!
 
A slug!! A firm, agar-agar, clear slug of me!!
 
From my vajayjay!! *GASP*
 
I was positively taken aback and double-checked online with Baby Centre if that was indeed my clear mucuos plug. There was no pain, the contractions were light and at the interval that I had gotten used to.

The results for my search was encouraging.

Hooray! It was a sure sign of early labour! My body is designed for birthing mantra played in my head and most importantly, prayers for forgiveness of all my sins started in my heart without prompting.

Quiet as a mouse (I am not a drama queen, obviously), I waddled back into the master bedroom to wake The Other Half up from his deep sleep. I didn't want to wake The Little Girl (who still slept with us then) so I was sure not to make too much of a ruckus.

"Dada (meaning my husband), we have to get to the hospital. I lost my mucuos plug! Call Dada (meaning my FIL) and Mama (meaning my MIL) to come here and sleep with her (meaning The Little Girl)", I whispered.

He rang his parents in his "semi-comatose state". I went to get the packed and ready to go hospital bag, added some dates into the snack bag and changed into my going-out-to-PCMC-to-birth-Bean outfit complete with headscarf and all.

Within a few minutes, my MIL and FIL were at our door. Kisses and salams were exchanged, the bags were loaded into the family 4WD and off we went to "greet our Bean".

It was not a quiet city at all, even at 3.15 am.

 
There was a car crash outside Wisma MCA which caused us some delay then followed by a road block conducted by Rela (for some undisclosed reason) at Auto Bavaria Jalan Tun Razak. 

When we got to PCMC, we couldn't find a park at the ER bays so The Other Half deposited me at the ER entrance while he went to park the 4WD, to save me from waddling under the dark, hazy skies.
 
By the time he came back to ER lounge, I was already "processed" and on my wheelchair, ready to be sent to Level 6 Labour Room. At 3.30 am, my hospital check-in to labour ward 6G-04 was completed. The CTG was placed and my monitoring began. A vaginal exam showed 2 cm. Sigh. Long way to go.
 
I was then transferred to labour ward 6G-07 as it was going to be a slow going early labour. We both discussed and decided to be admitted instead of going home to wait it out (did not want to risk the morning peak hour or worse, evening grid lock!)

The nurse came in again at 4 am for a much dreaded vaginal exam which showed only 2 cm. The Other Half and I communicated our decision to be admitted. The nurse verbally told me that Dr. Seri had been informed since my "check-in" and her plan was to induce me at 6.30 am, to which I agreed.

At 4.25 am, there were more dislodging and discharge of mucous plug but no sign of water breaking. I remember trying to relax by reading what I could on iQuran.

At 6.30 am, one shot of enema was given and although I was told to wait, I just could not. What came after was the second most painful  poo ever! I guess I grunted for so long and so loudly The Other Half must have been a bit concerned.

Relief came at 7.50 am when Dr. Seri came for her round. Vaginal exam showed 4 cm, show finally appeared and I was encouraged to eat some breakfast (yums!).
 
The birth plan was epidural and induce although by then I was a bit fuzzy-headed from all my negative chatter from inside my head and asked Dr. Seri if we should just go for C-sec and be done with it.
 
Thankfully, Dr. Seri stood firm on our agreed birth plan. She told me about my favourable cervix, body designed by Allah to birth naturally and that I do not need a C-sec. All I had to do was eat, pray, sleep and birth Bean. Sounds easy peasy, in retrospective. Dr. Seri reminded me of the recovery plan after birth and how I should look forward to all my urut sessions ahead. She is very good at mind games, and I needed it!

So, after a very delicious breakfast, I was transferred back to labour room 6G-04 where it had all started about 7 hours prior. At 10 am, I got my epidural by Dr. Syed Rozaidi. Love, love, love how detailed he was with explaining what I was going to expect next at every step of the way. 

What I could hear, I could imagine. What I could imagined, I did not fear. The Other Half did a very good job supporting me and holding the pillow for me.
 
The shaking, warm legs soon followed and I knew walking was over for until after Bean was born. I ate dates, drank water, peed into the catheter, life was good! Wifi and iPhone, Facebooking and iQuran kept me busy. I updated my notes as the labour progressed.

By 10.30 am, I was induced. Bean was asleep, and so was I! Not much "improvement".

At 11.30 am, Dr. Seri had ordered for increase of induction (Prostin - a form of oxytocin). I felt more contractions and could not really sleep anymore.

Ten minutes later at 11.40 am, my water bag burst and the bear down feeling came hard and strong. Bean was pushing himself out without any pushing from me! I updated the nurse and asked for Dr. Seri to be there pronto!
 
The nurse confirmed that Dr. Seri was on her way back to the hospital (she got every Wednesday morning off and it was her son's birthday that day - how special!)

The sweetest, good natured lady beamed into the labour ward at 12.20 pm with a team of midwives and we started "pushing".
 
I was not executing it as well as I had imagined it in my head and Dr. Seri joked that I had a "tayar pancit" situation. She told me to get a drink, air zam zam if I had brought some along, and to reconfigure my mind to order the right muscles. No joke.

The epidural was so good - no pain but all pressure could be felt. I could feel Bean's journey outwards! I knew when and how to "do a big poo" after that reconfigure/recompose break. Praying always works!
 
The great joy was the laugh sound/word "ha". There was no "push" word used, much to my delight.

We laughed ha, ha, ha all the way until Bean was safely delivered at 12.39 pm. We did, we laughed him all the way out. No mistake about that.

The first words he heard outside the womb were "ha, ha, ha, how truly handsome your son is". What better way to celebrate someone's birthday than this? All joy, happiness and love!

On the business side of things: Throughout the birthing, Dr. Seri massaged my perineum area to lessen the tearing. She then stitched me up neatly. 

She looked like she was enjoying her sewing session instead of stitching up a patient (the scene of someone enjoying an embroidery session with cuppa tea comes to mind). The whole time, we made small talk.

As I was being put together again, The Other Half was coaxed into cutting the cord (he had never held scissors that huge before!) and Bean was taken to be "processed" next to us. APGAR scores were good, and he was warmed up, cleaned, swaddled and handed to The Other Half for Azan and a fatherly cuddle.

At 1 pm, Bean was placed to my right breast for some milk. He nursed and nursed so naturally. After a good feed of colostrum, he was off to the nursery for his vaccinations and session with Dr. Anthony James Mansul. 

(The yellow boots reminded me of Phuah Chu Kang)

I bet Bean had the loveliest time there was he looked so happy when he was returned to me at Ward 6C-09 later in the afternoon.

Not long after that, The Little Girl came with The Grandparents and she kissed her little brother. From that moment, I saw her blossom from my first baby into an elder sister. 

Tears welled in my eyes as my pregnancy had served like a cocoon period for The Little Girl to hibernate into a butterfly of a sister. Hormones!
 
The rest of the story, is as you already know.
 
We became a family of four on 19 June 2013.
 
Bean shares the same birthday as my BFF, and Dr. Seri's son. How special, indeed.
 
Alhamdulillah! JazakAllah! Shukran!
 
Dear Dr. Seri, 



Thank you so much for your lovely heart-felt care that feels more like friendship than a doctor-patient relationship, passion in practice and total devotion to patient wellness. May Allah s.w.t. bless you and your family abundantly.
 
Dear Dr. Syed Rozaidi Wafa bin Syed Hussain Wafa,

You are so good at what you do, and we are so blessed to have a good doctor like you. Thank you for making my birthing experience an enjoyable one. May Allah s.w.t. bless you and your family abundantly too.
 
Dear Dr. Anthony James Mansul,

Thank you for accepting Bean into your already packed and slightly crowded practice - just goes to show that you have such a big capacity to care and love the little ones. The bit you called my son a "rascal" from birth, I'd take as a term of endearment you have for all your little patients. Thank you, you will be seeing us! May God bless you and your family abundantly too.  

Value vs. Price


Amanah Allah, parenting my kids has made me look at life from their point of view. 

Truly humbling what/how kids see this world and the lessons we learn from each other along this journey of life in Dunya.

May Allah bless my family and yours in facing our parenting challenges and struggles. Amin!

Car Seat Part 5


The Little Girl has the Recaro Pro Sport Envy for about a month now. We all love it and bought one for each car, like we did with the previous car seat.

Here is hoping for many years of safe travels!
Thursday, 24 October 2013

Teething & Flu

I have been meaning to complete the series of posts on confinement food recipe. 

However, Bean has been down with a slight flu. It impresses me that he can really sneeze, cough and clear his own throat! 



He has been refusing the cot, preferring the comfort of our warm bodies at night. That, I am not as impressed...but he needs to recover and I am praying this will not alter his sleeping habits. It was perfect the way it was!

He is drooling a lot as well as teething is well under way. Once a day, we rub a tiny spot size of Bonjela to ease his discomfort. So far, he can recognise "Bonjela time, bismillah hir Rahman nir Rahim", opens his mouth to have the dose and gives appreciative smiles after.




Let's all pray for his speedy recovery and thank you for waiting patiently for those recipes.

Toodles.
Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Confinement Recipe: Basil Chicken

Confinement Basil Chicken is my go-to dish when I feel like having some chicken drumsticks that are not fried.

Being partly Thai, I am only too happy to have some Thai basil with my meal.

Ingredients:
300g chicken drumsticks, cut to pieces
20g fresh thai basil (do not use English sweet basil) - omit basil if not available
4pcs garlic cloves, sliced
5 pieces shallots, sliced
20g ginger, sliced
250ml chicken or vegetarian stock
50ml pure sesame oil

Steps:
Saute chicken pieces in pure sesame oil with garlic, shallots and ginger until sealed.
Add stock and bring to boil.
Lower heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
Add torn fresh thai basil leaves as garnish.
Serve hot with rice.

*chicken may be replaced with beef slices after stitches have completely healed.

Tefal Food Steamer

One of the kitchen toys I play with very often is the steamer. 


Chocolate lava muffins.



Yoghurt muffins.



Berry compote.



Salmon with wolfberries, tofu and broccoli - the breastmilk-producing meal I eat quite often. Have to re-think salmon now following Fukushima.

I have not captured the many other foods I have been making in the steamer, maybe I will the next time they come up on the menu rotation.

Easy to wash steam baskets, dishwasher friendly, tried and tested recipe cards, adjustable timer, auto timer for regular recipes (fish, vegetables, cakes etc), and affordable. Definitely strikes all the right cords with a busy mother like myself!

I just have to remind myself to be more careful when handling hot steam!

Do you steam your food too? Do share your delicious recipes!




Togetha Getha


Delivered with its own padlock and PIN number!

I am definitely in *excited* mode right now!

Do you also have rave reviews after using Getha products? I now know which mattress to purchase next *giddy*

Malaysia boleh! Produced with 100% natural latex from rubber trees grown in tanahair. Feeling all patriotic right now.

Sleep tight, sweet dreams!

How We Pulled Through

"Daddy Duties During Confinement Checklist" was made because our intended confinement helper could not show up due to her personal reasons.

By then, our weekend cleaner was beginning to slack in her duties and we hung on to her until confinement period was over, not that we had any choice. Closed one eye, smiled and kept our cool. 

Therefore, on days when we were "hazy" and speaking slurred speech from broken sleep, the checklist proved to be handy.

Here's what The Other Half did:

Prepared The Little Girl for school - breakfast, change, school run.

Bought lunch and dinner fresh ingredients, general groceries. Lugged them home. Received goods for online shopping.

Laundry.

Ironing.

Rainbow.

Afternoon school run.

Bathed Bean.

Diaper change for Bean whenever needed.

Took The Little Girl to potty and shower whenever needed.

Played with and read to both kids.

Other activities with The Little Girl such as tricycle riding, scootering, bookshops and toys shop hopping, cup cake eating...

Results: one happy wife! Two happy kids! 

The best part is that he lost a few kilograms in 44 days just by doing all that. Awesome work, wouldn't you agree?

Thank you so much, love! Couldn't have done it without you.


36.9?


After The Little Girl was born, SJMC did not supply us with digital thermometer so we bought a couple from Mothercare. 

After Bean was born, PCMC discharged Bean with a Terumo brand thermometer which was billed to The Other Half. Clever step! 

We now leave the light Terumo thermometer at home and carry this somewhat heavier one in the diaper bag. We find this Braun to be swifter and accurate (proximity to ear instead of arm pits).

Love the disposable cover. Useful when both kids can just share one thermometer hygienically on-the-go.
Monday, 21 October 2013

OCD


It is not that bad! 

Right?

Maybe when the knives all face the same direction, I may just call for psychotherapist help.

By the way, I am happiest with small things in life without having to sweat over them. Doesn't cost much money to keep me happy, The Other Half is such a lucky man.

Are you borderline OCD like I am too?

Rainbow

No. Not the 7 colours version with pot of gold at both ends.

This version...


Wet dust cannot fly. Simple premise, right?



Disgusting. 

I know.

Sorry to gross you out.

That's what my Rainbow picks up every other day. Dusts, dead skin, hair, dirt. 

Source: our air, floor, mattresses, sofa, curtains, air cond vents. 

Note: I am allergic to dust and I happen to live in the city centre. Nice work in getting choked lungs, watery eyes, itchy skin. No carpets at home. Sejadah and bathroom mats are the only cotton "mini carpets" you can find here.

Dream: move to the country side with less air pollution. Windows open, bright blue skies...oh Allah, hear my prayers!

Short term solution: Rainbow! Not the leprechaun sort, heh.


Play Area Makeover


For The Little Girl, mais bien sur!


Bean has 3 boxes of toys so far. Doll house and kitchen set are essential basic sets for The Little Girl, we couldn't find it in our hearts to give those away.


Finally managed to sort the bits and pieces into its own categories. I wonder how long these will stay organised... 

The Little Girl is good at sorting and cleaning up at play school. Somehow, she does not do the same for her toys at home...

Here is hoping she will eventually merge her play school and home split personalities. Amin!!




Saturday, 19 October 2013

Positive Disciplining

The Other Half, Bean and I attended a workshop on positive disciplining from 9.30 am to 5 pm the day Bean turned 4 months.

Bean is, of course, the youngest participant at the workshop. He slept, nursed, burped, got changed and played throughout the time we spent at the play school hall role playing, discussing, sharing experience and trouble shooting behavioural issues of his elder sister and her peers.

It was organised by the play school The Little Girl attends. The session shed light on some of the power struggle areas, ways to recognise and resolve trouble areas and alternative resolutions available for long term implementation at home.

So we now know for sure that Bean is a very cute threat to his elder sister! She has been acting out because she craves attention, needs to be heard, wants to matter and belong etc. in short, sibling rivalry.

By the way, the thinking chair and physical disciplining do not work as many studies have shown. 

If you are keen to know more, go to www.therelational.com.sg or look up Andrea Mayrhofer.

Awesome, awesome parenting and living skills to have! Alhamdulillah we were given this opportunity to participate.

When I first received the email from the play school, I not only had to arrange for my MIL to watch The Little Girl and coax The Other Half to sign up, I also had to make sure that the workshop speaker allows for Bean to come along. Alhamdulillah everything worked out and Allah truly answered my prayers.

Kudos to The Other Half as well. He is one of the 2 fathers in the workshop, and we were the only complete set of parents who signed up amongst all the teachers, care givers and parents group.

Now, off I go to sleep. It has been a very long, productive day and night! The dialogue between The Other Half and I had been so lively my frontal brains are quite overloaded, over-stimulated and in need of some winding down...

Do share if you have similar experience in trying to equip yourself with parenting skills! Which speaker did you meet? How did it help? Are you satisfied with its long term implementation and results?

Night night!

An update after 2 days of applying our new skills: improvement in trouble-shooting, prevention of escalation of tantrum, lesser use of borderline abusive words and actions, quicker offer of corrective solution and attention. Phew!!
Friday, 18 October 2013

Hospital Bag

I like making lists. One of the lists that I would like to share is the packing and checklist for Hospital Bag.

I did one for The Little Girl and kept the template. Fortunately, PCMC is a better equipped and generous in supplying some of these items compared to SJMC.

Here goes...just be sure to print it and place a copy on top of your bag so in the event that you are not "grabbing and go" in an emergency, someone at home can finish the packing and bring you the bag later.

The usual suspects:

Toothbrush - done
Toothpaste - done
Hair brush - done
Shampoo -done
(PCMC supplies these a la hotel size, not compulsory to pack. I brought my own hair dryer though!)

Facial cleanser - done
Facial serum - done
Body lotion - done
Nipple cream - done
Clothes for going home second trimester size - done
Nursing bra - done
(Bring your own)

Maternity pads - done
(PCMC supplies these. The pharmacy and shop sell them too. I brought my own for that extra relief, Puréen Maternity pads are more comfortable than Mothercare, IMHO)

Underwear - done
(PCMC supplies disposable ones, very comfortable and handy)

Bedroom slippers - done
(Bring your own)

Camera - done
Camera charger - done
iPhone charger - done
(Optional according to your requirement)

Snacks for labour (dates)
Snacks for postpartum (dates)
Surah Ar-Maryam. Need I say more? These dates are the best before, during and after labour! Instant boost of energy and comfort of knowing that both mother and child are getting the best nourishment.

I wish I had air zam zam with me during labour but unfortunately I had consumed my share much earlier at home. Dr. Seri permitted me a good drink in between pushes!

Baby clothes for going home - done
Baby hat - done
(PCMC gave us the cutest beanie for Bean to wear and bring home for keepsake!)

Mamy Poko Newborn Diapers - done
Bepanthen Diaper cream - done
(PCMC supplied them, and many promotional bags have them too but I packed my own. Never too little diapers for the early meconium discharge days)

Mittens - done
Socks - done
(Bean lost quite a few between ward and the nursery, thankfully I packed more than a few pairs)

Car seat - done 
Isofix base - done
Bugaboo - done 
(Never do without car seat. Period)

The Little Girl's spare change of clothes - done
The Little Girl's pull up pants - done
The Little Girl's snacks
Present for The Little Girl from Bean - done
(A mother will always love and worry about her firstborn!)

Breast pump - leave at home
Steriliser - leave at home
(Optional. I passed this time and left them at home with full assurance that The Other Half could have would have brought them in if I needed them. Thankfully not! Bean was pretty good at latching and suckling)

What do you pack? Do you have your own fancy hospital gown that is so en vogue? Do share!

Confinement Helper Checklist

This is my Confinement Helper Checklist which I had drafted and agreed upon by the intended helper. 

I like expectations clearly worded so as to avoid misunderstandings, especially with the early days following childbirth (hormones, adjustment to broken sleep, unexpected visitors, etc).

Unfortunately, we didn't use the checklist as our intended helper flew the kite on us (expression for no show) due to her personal reasons. Allah is The Ultimate Decision Maker, so I wasn't disappointed at all.

The Other Half and I ended up having to do everything by ourselves after The Grandparents left. Exactly as we would have to if we were not in Malaysia.

Here goes:

Prepare breakfast.

Prepare late morning snack or warm drink.

Prepare lunch.

Prepare afternoon snack or warm drink.

Prepare dinner.

Wash up utensils and cutlery, dishes and pots.

Clean up island and wet kitchen counter top.

Clean up induction cooker top.

Wipe down table after meals.

Assist with snacks or milk for The Little Girl.

Assist with playing or reading to The Little Girl in Mandarin when Mummy is nursing Bean.

Feel free to adopt this template! Let me just say that it can quite tiring so if you are blessed with a helper, be especially kind and generous!

Holidays


We took our first family of 3 holiday when The Little Girl turned 2 months. We flew to Langkawi with MAS , and rented a car. Packed everything minus the kitchen sink. The Driver had to be put on duty to assist.

Then, along came Bean.

We kept to tradition and took our first family of 4 holiday when Bean turned 2 months. We drove to Penang with our own 4WD. Packed just barely enough the second time. No need to summon The Driver.

Wiser, eh?

Books We Read

I love reading to and with The Little Girl and Bean.

Our favourite children author is Eric Carle. 

Colourful artwork, short story line, simple plot - what's not to love? 



Easy and entertaining way to learn numbers, colours, months, days, time, ingredients, origins, processes, seasons etc without the stress of learning.

Who is your favourite children author? Do share your book list!

Heart My Girl


The Little Girl has been feeling down, having tantrums and went on hunger strike recently. 

I made her some heart shaped omelette for dinner last night and when she refused to eat them, I felt like this:


Yes.

Heart-broken! Emptiness and void in my own heart as I tried to put myself in her shoes, seeing her mummy and daddy spend so much time taking care of her baby brother. 

Having to keep her joyful loudness under control so as not to disturb the slumber of her only sibling.

Having to grow up over the last 4 months as the baby is not going back to where he came from.

Having to share is tough in the mind of a 3.5 year old drama queen.

So tough that she gets day time tantrums and night time terrors in her sleep.

Growing up is hard to do. If only she knows that we have not loved her any less.

Not one bit.

In sha Allah, she will some day. It is my heartfelt prayer that that someday better come sooner than later! Amin!



Songs We Sing

Bean and I get pockets of quality time together when The Other Half does the school run with The Little Girl on weekdays.

We usually plonk ourselves in the play mat and sing songs with hand/feet actions.

Our song list includes:
The Wheels Of The Bus
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
The Old Grand Duke Of York
This Little Piggy
Incy Wincy Spider
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Mulberry Bush

Occasionally we include a new song for variety. Quite often we change the lyrics too. 

He gets quite tired after that repertoire and will usually signal for milk, books, walkies or diaper change depending on what he feels like having.

Bean is turning 4 months tomorrow and already he knows how to request for his favourite songs via hand or feet motion, especially at bed time. When I guess his hint correctly and performs it to his satisfaction, he beams me his trademark gummy grin!

Back in 2010 with The Little Girl, singing those songs felt unnatural to me. She is the first baby I have ever had to care for, and my years of professional practice did not once involve children songs or nursery rhymes. I even had to buy books and CDs to reacquaint myself with what I have learnt during my own childhood.

Rote learning works, I'd have to concur. Ever so important a skill for eventual recitation of The Holy Quran, in sha Allah!

LaundryMonster 2


Not so funny when "I" am "your mother"!

IBS

Bean has inherited The Other Half's sensitive guts. No chilli or spices in my food, unless I am prepared to clean up the mess.

There goes all my favourite Thai and Malay dishes. Hello again to our Irish and Chinese recipes at home.

Note to self: No wasabi! No kimchi!
Monday, 14 October 2013

Eiduladha Mubarak

Have a blessed Eiduladha, happy holidays and travel safely.

Last Eiduladha, we found out that we were expecting Bean. This year, he is here amongst us. Simply wonderful, magical almost. Life is just never the same since.

Our hijrah from single child family to a family with two children is one that cultivates and strengthens our iman as parents in ways unimaginable. We endlessly thank Allah s.w.t. for  His Hadiah.

May our hijrah continues on The Straight Path with His Guidance, armoured with love, kindness and compassion.

Amin!

Philips Airfryer

Love eating fried Spanish Mackarel and thick crinkle cut fries.

Hate frying. The smell, oil pops, greasy kitchen floor, stale air, stained wok...you name it, I'd probably have that on my pet peeve list.

Enter the solution to my kitchen woe:



Oil-less. No more fear of oil pops and burns! The frying rack goes into a little neat compartment. Helps me to stay trim too.

Clean kitchen, floor and air. That means more time for the kids and less for follow-up after cooking and eating. 

Easy wash-up (dishwasher friendly). Very important deciding factor in all my utensils and kitchen toys purchase.

I am eager to try frying more in this little helper, as it also saves me from having to fire up the oven. That said, I still love my steamer more!



Do you use one too? Please share your fun and easy recipes!





Day of Arafa'

Blessed day indeed. May Allah s.w.t. accept our prayers and expiate our sins.

Amin!
Sunday, 13 October 2013

Self-inflicted Misery

Out came my Ogawa Magic Belt from its resting place after 3.5 years.

Back to commission of being my fat buster.

Pray it works like it did before because after 30 minutes my blubber is all hot and bothered! 

Hot as in warm feeling, the sort you'd feel after a good long warm shower. Bothered as in prickly itch, the combo of blood rush and lactic acid burn you'd feel after a 5km run.

Will duly report on results when I see some. It did me wonders back in 2010!

Now, if only I can stop craving for a snack every night after the kids go to bed...

Love Hate


That pretty much sums up how The Little Girl and Bean are like, sometimes.

How do you cope with your pre-schooler and baby? Do share!
Friday, 11 October 2013

Please Help. Thank You.




I am so thankful my cousin sister-in-law found this link for me. The co-ordinator, Puan Azila Aziz is one blessed, generous and kind lady. 

Needless to say, I have found a very good solution to my housekeeping woes, in a way. More importantly, those who matter and need them will be helped in ways better than that I could have imagined. Alhamdulillah. I feel like my prayers have been answered.

May Allah s.w.t. Bless this project. Amin!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Giveaway: 0-6 months clothes for little boy






The first box is for 0-3 months and comes with mittens, socks and bibs.

The second box is for 3-6 months and comes with socks.

We are also giving 2 Grovia swaddles with car design in white and blue.



You can email me at hannah.zulkifli@gmail.com with your mailing address if you are interested, or know of needy ones, baby hatch or orphanage that may be interested.

I will mail them via PosMalaysia for free within Peninsula Malaysia.

We are blessed as Bean is a tall and healthy boy. He outgrows his clothes, sometimes before he even gets a chance to wear them. Those that were worn are washed and ironed. Bean has no skin diseases or eczema, alhamdulillah! 

Hope to hear from you soon!






Saturday, 5 October 2013

Destress



Recipe: Banana Poppy Seed Bread with Lemon Glaze

You'll need:

Dry part:
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp poppy seeds

Wet part:
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp. vegetable/olive oil
1 cup mashed bananas
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the lemon glaze:
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

What to do:

Preheat oven to 180C/fan forced 160C. Set aside standard size loaf non-stick baking dish lightly brushed with olive oil.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and poppy seeds. Stir on low, until just combined.

In a separate medium bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients—milk, vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla, mashed bananas.

Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer on low speed, beat until incorporated. Then, raise the mixer speed to medium and beat for one more minute. 

Pour batter into prepared loaf pans and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until toothpick/satay stick comes out clean.

While the bread is baking, prepare the glaze. Combine all glaze ingredients and whisk until incorporated. When the baked loaf is removed from the oven, immediately brush the glaze over the warm bread tops. It will seem like a lot of glaze, but it will soak in and make the bread ultra-moist and flavourful, with a bit of a sugary crust once cooled. 

Cool loaves about 20 minutes. Then run a knife around the edges of the pans before removing bread from pans. 
 
Note: You can also replace mashed bananas with grated carrots-walnut-sultanas mix.

Bon appetit!

Sunday Morning Brekkie

Reading Pancakes, Pancakes! By Eric Carle at bedtime seems to always invite a request from The Little Girl for this:



1 cup self-raising flour (for American fluffy pancake) 
or normal flour for french crepe texture
1 cup low fat milk
1 large egg
1 pinch salt

Optional:
1 fruit (grated or sliced): pear/apple/lemon/ strawberry/banana/blueberries

Honey or maple syrup for drizzling
Icing sugar

Whisk all ingredients until no lumps.
Heat pan on medium heat.
Melt dollop of butter to grease pan.
Drop one ladleful of batter.
Turn with spatula once golden brown.
Remove from pan once golden brown on underside.
Serve immediately with honey or maple syrup drizzle or sieve of icing sugar.



Bon appetit!

Air Zam Zam

I believe in miracles. I believe in Allah's power to heal and cure.

I drink air zam zam so that Bean can benefit from it. The Little Girl gets hers via a cup with her meals. The Other Half drinks it for overall well-being. We share them with the needy, especially.

A very kind cousin sister in law got me a bottle in my third trimester to drink and alhamdulillah the labour and delivery went smoothly. In fact, in between pushes during delivery my obgyn had asked me to drink some. 

We are very blessed that we have found a booth at the SACC Mall that sells every 500ml bottle for RM10 (the price is to cover the cost of transportation only). You may find the booth on the first floor near the concourse air well.

If we can pay for Evian, why not pay for air zam zam? The benefits are endless!

Do you practice this too? How often should we drink it? Do you know of any specific supplications before drinking air zam zam?

Do share!

Midnight Drinks

I have BP of 110/70 and quite often after a marathon feed, I feel giddy. Thirsty giddy. Too pening and lazy to saunter to the kitchen to help myself to a warm drink.
 
The Other Half is very sweet. He makes me a warm drink and serves it half-asleep!
 
The recipe is simple.
 
You will need:
3 level tbsp of Horlicks
100 ml of hot water
100 ml of fresh milk
 
Dilute Horlicks with hot water and stir well with a spoon. Add fresh milk. Stir well. Serve warm.
 
Bon appetite!
Friday, 4 October 2013

Nursing In Public

Yes, I do it.
 
Discreetly, if Bean is due for a feed and the public feeding room is fully occupied.
 
I use a nursing cover but Bean is at the age where he is able to throw that aside/play. He seems to be more comfortable nursing with just my somewhat long tudung covering. I wear a belly cover to hide what is meant to be hidden (who wants to see those two layers of fat?!).
 
Do people stare?
 
Not really, not where I frequently go for groceries, shopping or eat out. Thankfully, people are quite civilised on my side of town (trinity of KLCC, Bangsar and IPC). 

So far, I have not received those dagger looks that translate to "why do you wear the hijab and nurse in public?". Maybe I am discreet about it. Maybe I am just thick-skinned after all these years.
 
That said, I always try to feed Bean before leaving home, plan the nursing room visits for his feeds and pray that his feed will last him until we get home. Starting every feed with bismillah and ending it with Alhamdulillah never hurts.

Happy breastfeeding and confidently enjoy your NIP!

How Much Milk Is He Drinking?

I have been directly breastfeeding Bean since Day 44. I seriously do not know how much milk he is drinking. As in how many oz/ml per 24 hours. Ask me this back in 2010 and I would have been scared and unsure.
 
However, not this time. I am a little more sure of myself and arm myself with the confidence that Allah is The Sustainer. (Drinking enough water and eating well help too, duh!)
 
Well.
 
I know that he has more than 6 wet diapers per day, and 1 dirty diaper per day. That is comforting but every baby is different.
 
He nurses on demand, and he feeds during my breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner and supper, mimicking our family meal times.
 
He is thriving, gaining weight and height.
 
He is sleeping well, Alhamdulillah.
 
If you are a first time mum who is feeding directly, BRAVO! If you are expressing, BRAVO!
 
If you are faced with naysayers who doubt your ability to feed your baby the best milk there is, soldier on! Do not let their doubts and insecurities poison your mind, heart and soul. Take ownership of your commitment.
 
My prayer for you is that you remain strong and true to your committed and perhaps a more polite answer than what I have just said above may come in handy *grin*.
 
Oh, and turn off your follow/like to certain online social media groups that purportedly supports breastfeeding but ends up otherwise will help too. Plus, you will get more sleep!
 
Have a great weekend!
 

Potty Training

The Little Girl is potty trained, day time. Her play school teachers thought that she was ready and it started the week Bean was born (stressful for me!). There were a few accidents but she got the hang of it. Well, I had to mop up at least twice during my confinement period.
 
We are still working on the night time potty training. She has cloth diapers on when sleeping at the moment as she has been able to keep dry throughout on most nights. We still have accidents every now and then. 


Hospital mats and bed liners, Febreeze sprays and Rainbow are real life (mattress)  savers.
 
Slowly but surely, we will get there.

Update: proud to say, after one week, The Little Girl is now fully potty trained! Yay!! 5 nights of trainers and 2 nights of normal panties later, we are free from having to purchase her pull up pants.