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Monday, 24 December 2018

Plan B

Salam my lovelies,

Life is about how we handle Plan B (or C or D and so on and so forth...)

On the day of observation class at Plan B school, Bean came down with fever and so we had to postpone his application process to January 2019 when the class becomes available again.

17 December 2018: I needed a short siesta so I set my phone to silent mode. When I woke up, I saw an email from St. Joseph's Institution (also nicknamed The Bigger School). Bla bla bla "we currently do not have the resources to meet the needs of Bean" and I felt my hot tears well up. The rest of the email courtesy and content did not matter anymore as the time frame is also not promised. It seemed final. The fact that Bean's name was misspelt indicated to me how little attention was paid to detail. Oh, well.

My hands shook so much I nearly dropped my iPhone. I then cried. I cried because that was Plan A. It hurt a little for a short while. The non-refundable RM750 for Girl's application did not even matter anymore. Fact was The Bigger School did not even charge for Bean's "application". I missed the red flag?

Cathartic effect soon followed. Alhamdulillah because all the hurdles we did not foresee that were associated with Plan A just melted away. Like Allah swt had just lifted a huge burden off my shoulders. I was so glad I no longer had to wait till January 2019 just to receive this piece of news. I forwarded the email on to The Other Half and The Grandparents, then gently broke the news to Girl and Bean.

Girl was jubilant! Bean was indifferent, understandably so. They both continued playing as they were before.

As of today, I am thankful Girl no longer has to be in contact with a couple of her former classmates who had already left The Big School for The Bigger School. They used to belittle and boycott her when she refused to play along their silly games and for choosing to sit with "the girl no one was allowed to sit with" at recess. Alhamdulillah for her kind heart, really.

I am thankful Bean will have something better in store for him. Allah swt is the Best Planner. We do not know yet which is the best plan but He will reveal in time, inshaAllah. We can only move on to Plan B or other plans and pray for the best.

The booking at a serviced residence from Plan A firstly had to be cancelled. It was straight forward 20% forfeiture and 2% credit card charges of the booking sum of RM5000. Total loss: RM1100.

Before parting, the sales executive fed us a piece of gold nugget news. There may be one courtyard villa under developer's unit that may be available for sale at exact location of Plan B. Yes, it is a common developer. Clever master development plan they have.

When we arrived at the property gallery, we found out that the developer had 2 units left at that point of time as another unit's loan processing was unsuccessful. A quick buggy ride and viewing later, we were slightly more convinced that perhaps Plan B was not going to be as bad as we had imagined.

The courtyard villa is a short walking distance to the school gate. The built-up living space is big enough for us four. There is a central park with man-made lake and the kids love the playground. The courtyard villa comes with a rooftop garden and 5 car park lots (not that we have that many cars but extra space is always useful!). A booking was placed the following day after we slept over it (or rather could not sleep from the excitement of the prospects) and by convention, the choice was vetted by The Grandparents who were excited enough to tag along to review both Plan B School and House.

Plan B was such a gem for obliging a school tour on short notice. It was as detailed as it could possibly be given that the only staff around were from reception and admission offices. Girl and I had been once before during an open day so it was more for Bean and the rest. Bean cried towards the end because he really wanted to play at the Early Years playground but it was raining and the gate was shut. He finally settled down when we promised a cold treat and indoor play gym at a mall close by.

Now, we just have to wait for January 2019 to roll in with an observation class date for Bean. Admission Officer is confident Girl will be just fine and she will be processed as a tag along sibling with CAT4 by GL Assessment to his application inshaAllah. No application fees have been paid so far and we were given two sets of forms to fill. I feel a bit like a mother goose sitting on her unhatched eggs, to be honest.

Sincerely praying everything will fall into place come January 2019.



Friday, 23 November 2018

School and House Hunting

Salam my lovelies,

I admit that I have been Girl-centric in all my 2012 school hunts prior to Bean's condition being discussed. Heck, Bean was not even born until 2013 so I do not blame myself. The Big School has been near perfect in terms of academic rigour, sportsmanship and performing arts with so much more for Girl. The right location, syllabus, CCA, performing arts, sports, support network and fees far outweighs the minor discomfort every now and then.

In fact, Reception this academic year for Bean has been near perfect because he is learning in a Reggio Emilia environment with classmates he has known since pre-Reception. The Reggio Emilia environment has not deviated from the DNA of The Big School in terms of mind, body and soul.

So what changed?

Why are we even school hunting again?

The answer is simple.

The Big School does not have the structure to support learning differences. It does not allow any shadow aides into its premises. Said so by the Principal after consultation with Chairman of The Big School. My witnesses were The Other Half and Principal of Early Years (who personally believes and supports Bean whole-heartedly and has pleaded with us to let Bean finish up the academic year with her, bless!).

One of the suggestions from the Principal is to hold Bean back in Reception until he is ready before he goes to Year 1. But we have already done so, and The Grandparents are not keen this time. The Grandparents fully believe and support that applied behavior analysis (ABA) with hippotherapy, Bean will be able to cope in Year 1 at a school that nurtures learning differences.

To cushion the blow, the Principal agreed to waive notice period for Bean at The Big School (without the same waiver for Girl, so we have to serve notice on or before 31 March 2019).

I had compiled comparison for 3 shortlisted schools and presented it to The Grandparents and The Other Half. The spreadsheet is quite detailed, as I wanted to cover as many factors as possible for the benefit of Girl and Bean. Out of the 3, they agreed with my preferred choice for The Bigger School as Plan A. Plan B is to go to a new school with proven track record overseas. Plan C was shot down and they did not even want to consider it (despite Plan C being touted as most supportive of students with learning differences).

Last weekend, they spent their precious Sunday morning with us 4 at St. Joseph's Institution (The Bigger School). They attended the presentation, asked questions, went on school tour and endorsed my shortlisting for The Bigger School. They understood my "impulse" payment of application fees before the November Malaysian Private International School Education Fair. The Grandad and I were in public mission schools before so the DNA of The Bigger School is something familiar and not frightening per se.

We went to lunch after that school tour and I presented a relocation option suggestion. They went, they saw and they got The Other Half to place a conditional booking at Dianthus, Tropicana Petaling Jaya. Smaller unit, no bath tub, no ironing room, no surau, no fourth bathroom - but a mere 3 minutes from The Bigger School! Can you imagine how much time/petrol/toll we can save for the next 13 years? Well, the conditional booking has a minimal non-refundable sum of RM1000 and 2% credit card service charge in the event The Bigger School does not offer Bean a place by end of January 2019. We have time to hunt for alternative relocation options, really.

That is exactly what I have been doing the entire week since. Property Guru, iProperty and Waze apps are my current highly used apps. Viewing appointments of bigger units at Tropicana Grande, compiling options, presentation for discussion with family on repeat mode. Different tab to be added to the spreadsheet, just for clarity and expansion. Both Plan A and Plan B locations are covered for good measure.

When I count my blessings, I always include my Belang Moms.They are lovingly supportive friends and their prayers are greatly appreciated. Without them, I would have slipped into sadness, fatigue or even depression with all the weight that is on my shoulders at the moment. Even The Grandparents have opened up to their network of friends to discuss early intervention and such. Bless.

To be honest, we as a family never saw the challenges for someone like Bean until recently. We are so used to designs and plans for a neurotypical world. We acknowledge this time that Girl may have to uproot herself from The Big School and start over but she already has friends in The Bigger School (who left The Big School in 2016 and 2017!). Hopefully, we hear favourable news and that transition to new school and possibly home, be smooth.

Our acceptance and empathy to embrace Bean holistically have set in. As family, we want to facilitate ease for him as much as possible without breaking his sense of independence or freedom. We do not intend to cut open the cocoon just to force our butterfly to spread its wings before it is ready. Far from it. We wish to better nurture the process so he can eventually spread his wings and fly strong. Metaphorically speaking, of course. 

All that, with minimal disruption or negative impact on Girl. We still afford her the best that we can possibly can for her best interest. In fact, she is beginning to see The Bigger School as the better school for her in the long term. She has some performing art teachers in Plan B so she is not too fussed, bless. In fact, she did her school tour with me one weekend and was one of the best dates we had. Her views were valid and honest. Bean has a trial class/assessment at Plan B next Monday so we hope that is a safety net we can fall back on if Plan A does not go well.

Having said that, Allah swt is The Best of Planners and we offer this up to Him. Please do pray for everything to work out and that Allah swt will grant us ease in our journey. Amin.


Friday, 16 November 2018

Abbreviations

So this journey of abbreviations of ours started just before the kids broke for Summer 2017 holidays. It is now Autumn 2018 as I compose this.

Sometime in Spring 2018, an acquaintance of mine, a fellow mother at The Big School, posted a video on her Facebook wall about parents who missed the early diagnosis of their children for autism and the video contained this uncanny flapping of the hands (stimming) which is one of the red flags or indicators of children with autism. It goes on to conclude that not all stimming is autism but it is better to screen and introduce early intervention, than not.

Something in me reactivated. 

I was supposed to follow up with Baby & Beyond for a screening appointment for Bean sometime in 2018. I had made that request in Summer 2017. We got on the wait list soon after Bean's class teachers at The Playschool had dropped the bomb on us during our exit meeting after we had served notice of leaving back in 2017 that they suspect he may be autistic. It was the wrong message at the wrong time with the wrong people and deserves its own post. They had him enrolled for 30 months and never once hinted or indicated to us that he may be on the spectrum so to funnel us to another business entity with common directors for occupational therapy sounded really sinister to us.

What happened after that exit meeting was instead of serving out the notice period of one term before Bean joined The Big School, we took him out immediately and had our deposit forfeited for short notice. I can tell you it was worth every cent forfeited.

When he joined The Big School, it was a smaller class with better teacher:student ratio. In fact, he improved so much that I decided it was fine for me to return to workforce.

Boy, was I wrong.

In the 6 months I was a working mum, Bean regressed, symptoms-wise. He started to stutter (something new), slept irregularly (something new), became more rigid (no one else is allowed to press the lift button including strangers), became more fixated (cars, superheroes) and became a picky eater (hard, crunchy food only, often leaving out fruits and vegetables).

I was in a fix. 

Coming back to the point of that random video on Facebook: I contacted the clinic again and was given a slot to bring Bean in and at that point, we had answered a few questionnaires, his primary carer and teacher at The Big School had given her input/observation and I had pretty much decided to quit my comeback career to give him my time and devotion.

The Summer of 2018 was the summer Bean did 3 rounds of assessments (1 for speech, 1 for child wellness and 1 child IQ/Puzzle/Cognitive). I put in hours to answer more questions and online global tests. Finally, all of these assessments were completed and a cohesive report for initial findings was published.

Bean is likely to be on the spectrum. "Mild ASD, HFA likely" may seem like abbreviations to you but oh it has opened up a world of new discoveries for us a family who loves Bean and working on our way to re-engage with him. 

To be honest, our plans and parenting styles had been Girl-centric before this. These abbreviations has been a game-changer as we seek to close the gaps, help Bean form neurons in social and behavioral aspects, seek out better schooling options and other early intervention measures. It has been a journey that brought new routines into our lives that included hippotherapy, social and play therapies and such.

Quite often, I recognize points of what had seemed so difficult in the past when dealing with Bean, now makes sense and I consciously put in more effort and empathy in being a better person to Bean.

I am so thankful for that video because it prompted me to act. 

So it is true, always trust your gut instincts as a mother.
Thursday, 8 November 2018

Post-Renovation

Syukur alhamdulillah, The Flat is finally ready after a short delay!

We moved back on Deepavali Day a couple of days ago and it feels like home. The gratitude and relief of working with the right people, who understood our wishes, budget and timeline makes all the sacrifices and inconveniences worth it.

All our bedrooms walls were stripped of wallpaper and now painted white. The entire ceiling is white. All our curtains except Girl's bedroom is white. The walls at living and dining are magical indeed - it is a shade of grey slate known as "Abracadabra" from Nippon Paints. They look fresh now. The previous wallpapers have served their time and purpose to the maximum and were beautiful then.

The concealment of air conditioner wires look neat, plaster ceiling leak patches have been repaired, cracks have been hacked then sealed and door frames have been stripped of the temporary wallpaper covering and repainted white.

We also have 2 units of the living and dining hall air-conditioner replaced. Although the new units are somewhat "noisier", this is still the better choice with consistent performance so far. Hopefully the electricity bill savings will show by the next billing.

Our new timber doors have been customized and will be delivered for installation soon. They are also painted, you guessed it right, white!

Alhamdulillah it is good to be home again. Now, moving on to the repopulation and unpacking mayhem...wish me luck!
Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Merit!

Salam my lovelies,

We just got news that Girl scored a merit for her Grade 9 Yamaha piano exams. We are so thankful to her wonderful teacher, without whom this would have been impossible.

I now owe Girl one more promised present! If she had scored Distinction, she would have achieved 2 more gifts. She was rewarded one gift upon completion of the exams for dressing up, attending and doing the exams without drama. This tiered reward system seems to work at the moment.

To imagine that I once was that Tiger Mum who made her practice, "forced and bribed" her to class on Saturday afternoons when she much preferred to laze about not doing anything, and sometimes sharing the sob story of how much I wanted to play the piano when I was little but my late father did not have the budget for it...all I can say is I am so proud of her and yet humbled by His Gift. Alhamdulillah!

Let the music play on, I am so happy her hardwork paid off. She has a long way to go but this is a step in the right direction. Stay blessed, Girl. Aamiin.

The Flooring

Salam my lovelies,

We are not quite ready to place laminated wood over our marble flooring just yet. Upon second thoughts, second opinions and further reading, it "cheapens" The Flat and whilst we are not selling our home, we are not completely certain that laminated wood is the solution to our concerns.

What if the air cond leaks when we are away? The warranty says "waterproof" and yet we are not 100% certain to commit.

Speaking of the air cond...the unit near our playroom is wonky. It turns off and on before settling on "on mode" upon being switched on. Then it blows warm air. After a while, it will blow cold air if it is a cool day outside. On a hot day, it blows warm air. Needless to say, the contractor is coming to "sign its death warrant" this Friday.

The other air cond unit at our dining hall is somewhat better behaved. Alhamdulillah for that.

With these pending work and the move to The Flat At Block B (home away from home while we renovate), I am going to be bogged down this October. In my quiet joyful moment, forced spring cleaning is always good for my soul as all our worldly possessions go into keep, donate or recycle categories. Most of the children's books and art go to keep, their outgrown outfits find their way to the donation box and random 1001 items that do not spark joy end up in recycle box.

This is one journey I am determined to enjoy and be thankful for, inshaAllah. Wish us luck!


Saturday, 29 September 2018

The Search

Salam my lovelies,

Before we decided on carrying out the minor renovation to upkeep The Flat, we considered flipping The Flat for a landed property closer to school.

We saw 3 units of double-storey linked houses at Taman Tun Dr Ismail and my parents-in-law even tagged along. The first was too dark, the second was too depilated and the third was facing Petron! All 3 quickly got struck off the list despite what we call "Mummy's eternal love for Taman Tun Dr Ismail". I spent years living there and I know the area well enough. Unfortunately, things do not work out this time.

Then, we saw this wonderful double storey semi-detached house at Kiara View. The garden patch on both sides of the house, double security gating, and fairly quiet neighbourhood were all charming. However, the main power grid in that area was too close for comfort. That outshined our minor complaint that the street was both cul de sac and narrow. We were hoping to escape the upcoming 5G EMF radiation in the city so we were careful in our search to avoid transmission towers and power grids.

There is a house facing the school which is still being put up for sale but the price tag is beyond our budget. I still say a prayer every now and then for the house to wait for us...and maybe I will stop when The Kids have both gone to university.

So, here we are. Selecting the main-contractor to help us maintain The Flat in good order for the next decade, inshaAllah. In any case, I am looking forward to filling The Flat with more plants.

Wish us luck!


The Flat

Salam my lovelies,

We have been living at The Flat since Deepavali of 2011. Seeing Facebook Memories from the time we received the keys to furnishing and adding some final touches to The Flat brings me fond memories. Back then, I was so much more confident in my choices, and resilient in dealing with interior designers, delinquent contract workers and bouncing back from it all to delivering The Flat satisfactorily.

I did all that while Girl was an active 16 months old and The Other Half was still working 12 hours a day for 4 days in a week. We had no helpers and I remember driving Girl home one evening at 5:30 p.m. after seeing off the contractors for that day. She cried and threw a tantrum in the car from exhaustion and there was once the 3 of us walked from Corinthian to Hampshire en route dinner at Ampang Park to peep at our lovely wallpapers and lights. I was definitely younger and had more energy...

The reason why I am noting this journey with The Flat is because I am out of "fire" or courage and need to find that brave old me. 

We are in the midst of searching for a suitable main-contractor to help us with some maintenance and upkeep of plaster ceiling, door frames and wall. The plaster ceiling has suffered some leaks from the central air-conditioning leaks over the last few years. In the last 6 months, the leaks have finally stopped but left some unsightly watermarks. We were in a quagmire about replacing the central air-conditioning or not before repairing the plaster ceiling. So far, it appears to be working well and we just have to take the plunge at some point to carry on.

Our door frames have been the worst nightmare for us as they left paint bubbles that cracked and released fine dust which we have covered with wallpaper for "interim" measure. It trapped all that fine dust since 2012, and 6 years of interim measure has been working so well for us. Now, to replace the door frames will mean cracking wall and floor tiles which we are not ready to finance. It looks like we have to resort to conventional ratification of stripping, sanding down and repainting of the door frames. 

The wallpapers in all bedrooms and living/dining areas will be removed in the process of us repairing some cracks and concealing some wires. We seem to find external wiring with white PVC tubing covers done by the air-conditioner installers when we replaced 2 units of air-conditioners for The Kids' room disturbingly unsightly. That will call for the walls to be repainted. Our wallpapers have hit their lifespan, but they were the loveliest way of concealing settling cracks on our walls since 2011. 

On a positive note, we have found Floor Depot to be still the best fit for all our flooring needs (cracked and chipped marble to be covered up with laminated floor boards) but that is the last item on our top to bottom sequence. We can only book and lock in their current sale price once we confirm the main-contractor next week.

In the past week, we have met 4 different possible main-contractors who showed up at The Flat for an assessment. All the leads came from Kaodim but we cross-checked their reviews on other websites and apps too, just to be safe. We are likely to select the one with the best review, albeit more pricey as the best and honest opinions have come from that fourth and final appointment today. The Other Half and I share the same sentiment that we may have to pay a small premium for the best possible outcome with the team who seem to understand our concerns and targets.

Wish us luck!
Thursday, 6 September 2018

Working From Home: Focus Mode

Salam my lovelies,

Now that The Kids are settling into school routine again, I find myself really grateful to be able to work from home, encore. My day starts at 5:45 a.m. on weekdays as I prepare bento meals of breakfast and lunch for Girl including after-school snacks on her CCA days. Bean gets meals from The Big School (and sometimes gets to prepare, cook or serve as well!), so I usually just have to include his afternoon tea snacks while he waits for Girl on her CCA days. 

Working from home requires discipline. This serves more as a reminder to myself than to others.

The Kids usually leave by 7:15 a.m. with The Other Half. Once they leave, I devote x number of hours to start and complete a particular task. Once that task is completed, I move on to settle other items on that task list or attend work appointments before finally attempting house chores. Luckily for me, bulk of my work is during month-end and first week of the month, which leaves me with 2-3 weeks of being able to follow The Kids during school runs. 

You'd be amazed how much faster "work" gets done with focus compared to multitasking. Well, at least for me, Alhamdulillah. Yesterday, I got some vital work and an online questionnaire for Bean's clinical psychologist filled out just in time for school pick-up. That was a huge burden off my chest. 

Until my next post, have a happy week ahead!

**off to tackle another questionnaire from The Big School for Bean**
Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Commencement of Autumn/Winter Term 2018/19

Salam my lovelies,

Girl is going to Year 4, and Bean is moving up to Reception in a couple of days. Bismillah! 

We asked Girl to label her own books but helped to wrap them. We bought the books as soon as they were available but procrastinated labelling and wrapping, oops! I guess we were too busy going to the cinema occasionally, swim at the pool daily, cooking dinners nightly and baking almost every evening before watching a Marvel Studios movie (I can now relate and communicate superhero characters better with Bean, yay!). We even squeezed in one short road trip to Genting Premium Outlet just for the cooler air when it got too hot one afternoon.

Bean will have no books as his Reception programme is Reggio Emilia inspired and hopefully suit his learn-via-play style. We pray his fine motor skills and pencil grip will improve and that he may finally learn to read. He is still blending words (bat, cat, mat, pat) so I have to learn to chill. I admit I am panicking because...I do not want him to left out from the joys of reading? We have been working on some worksheets daily but I did not push his school readiness as much as I did with Girl when she was preparing for Reception.

Sincerely, I pray for them both to enjoy the very best of their stress-free school days and learn the skills to be resilient people with good core values in future. May their hours away from home be filled with safety and goodness. May the best come their way. Aamiin.

Summer of 2018

Salam my lovelies,

The Year End Concert was fabulous. Girl was one of the fairies in Peter Pan and she wholeheartedly channeled her inner Tinkerbelle that end of July morning. One particular Makchic and fellow Belang Mum (you can guess who she is by now?) actually stood with me at the door to the hall, and we were the kiasu first and second sets of parents allowed in.

My, oh, my! The seats were the best I have ever gotten in my life as a parent because when Girl was called to receive her best of Year 3 English prize, I was so close by! Congratulations, Girl. You did well and I am so proud of Ms. Chung and you. As I was away working, this prize has zero contribution from me. In fact, I did not prepare her for any of her exams at all except pray. Alhamdulillah and bravo for her independent effort!

After the Concert, Ms. Chung rang my mobile to ask Girl to collect a private gift. It was a lovely notebook for Girl to compose more stories or keep as a diary. So generously wonderful! 

We left with The Grandparents for Singapore on the first Sunday of the holiday and spent an entire week at Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa. Our arrival at the tiny island republic started with check-in to the hotel. They could not offer us connecting rooms so one of our rooms was left vacant for a week. What a waste but...what can we do? I have noticed the reservation details a few months ago and asked my MIL to ask her agent who promised to rectify it but obviously it was not carried through.

After that initial hiccup, we had a late lunch/early dinner before leaving for an evening at the famous Singapore Night Safari. The queue for a ride took us what seemed like forever. Luckily we had some ice kacang before that to cool down from the sweltering heat.

The following night, we obliged my MIL and took the kids to Garden by the Bay. Bean suffered a meltdown and insisted on leaving by Maghrib. The Other Half and I had to carry him to the exit and while the music was playing, Bean adamantly asserted that it was too loud for him. I really did not know what was happening to his senses but I prayed so hard he would be fine. As in, in his life.

While I carried him, he cried and kicked. I scored a few bruises, neck ache, arm pain and a broken heart. The Grandparents witnessed by then how difficult the situation was going to be for me as Bean's mum in this journey of nurturing Bean and we all silently reaffirmed that my decision to leave a fulltime job is probably the best solution. For everyone's sake. No matter how much good it is for my savings account and career, I will regret it if I do not give Bean my all during this testing period.

The following day, we went to Universal Studios Singapore. As well as the day after that. Repeated rides, leisurely walk, long queues, touristy stuff which everyone enjoyed.We even found and returned one iPhone in a feeder bus during one of our rides back to the hotel.

Another notable visit one rainy afternoon was to a Marvel Studios exhibition at ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands. Bean truly enjoyed his time there and bought Spider-Man soft toy (which he brings to sleep with every night since and lovingly calls it "Baby Brother"). In order to understand his fascination with Marvel Studios characters, I promised myself to watch all the movies he has watched. Since then, I have better grasp of characters, plots and able to converse with Bean.

I am glad we indulged in some simple pleasures. Perhaps one of the most memorable activity for us was cable car return rides from Siloso Point Station to Merlion Plaza via Imbiah Lookout Station. The kids enjoyed their free play at mosaic water fountains near Merlion Plaza, water-play rock garden at Imbiah and were so happy to experience soaked shorts and feet during our ride back to Siloso Point Station just before sunset. The organic ice-cream at Merlion Plaza, the freshly squeezed orange juice from a vending machine at Imbiah Lookout Station, the ice-creams from bus stop vending machines at Siloso Point Station. Fresh air and sunshine. 

We also visited SEA Aquarium and Maritime Museum but The Kids somehow prefer Aquaria KLCC and the Sydney Maritime Museum. Oh well, destination checklist marked and struck off.

Another highlight of this trip for Girl was a play she was not expecting. We managed to get some really good seats for The Lion King. Magnificent production. Lights. Masks. Songs. Props. Backdrop. Make-up. Costumes. Talents. The works! (We cannot wait for Matilda to arrive so we had better start saving up!)

Bean cried at Intermission and refused to watch the second half as he was really saddened from Mufasa's evil plot. After much failed persuasion, I had to walk him out of the Sands Theater and brought him to the waterlily pond at Marina Bay Sands. He saw a DC Shop at the mall, and got himself a piece of cendol Green Lantern ice-cream cake which he forced me to eat after discovering that the coconut milk was not to his liking He got bored of walking at the mall and finally agreed for me to purchase tickets for him to run at an interactive light play area next to the food court.

Girl and The Other Half came to join us there after The Lion King. They were awed and obviously enjoyed the entire production. That night, we returned to the hotel for our TV/Room Service dinner before packing as we were leaving the following day. I was surprised I did not even make a trip to Orchard Road, or make any purchases for myself.

To be honest, our TV/Room Service/Bath/Story-time nightly routine was what held things together for Bean and us. Warm, secure, familiar family love works best.

Swift, short, sweet Singapore. InshaAllah we will be back. 




Thursday, 5 July 2018

End of Spring/Summer Term 2017/18

Salam my lovelies,

Thank you for still sticking around and asking if all is well.

Alhamdulillah, majority of segments in our lives are. We have so much to be thankful for, despite challenges and trials. All Believers are tested, I remind myself.

I returned to workforce last 20 February 2018 and praying hard for things to fall in place. I know for sure now how much I truly enjoy corporate law; and how much I do not appreciate liars who cover their own backs. One thing about corporate law is that compliance and governance both in substance and form reveal those cracks and lies. I have not made up my mind yet if I want to stay or leave. My love for law says "stay" but my heart says "leave". I said I shall offer it up to the Almighty to Reveal to me.

And He did, so swiftly. SubhanAllah.

Bean's undergoing speech therapy and occupational therapy to address some issues and his need for my time and devotion at the moment calls for some difficult decisions. I have one chance with him, but plenty with career. Career is not a ladder, but jungle gym. Mine is quite a jungle gym with many fresh, different and challenging obstacles so far. What does not break me will make me stronger. Yeah, I have been reading Lean In. Sheryl Sandberg has many nuggets of wisdom and some have filled me well.

The answer is clear to me. Alhamdulillah for that too. Whilst my heart breaks to leave my two legal mentees who have been the most cooperative colleagues turned friends, I have no regrets about leaving office for my son. I am glad the two legal mentees are now friends who stay in touch and keep me filled in as to their progress in life.

On the bright side, it is now end of academic year. Bean had his Pre-Reception Year End Concert on 6 July 2018. He played the role of a policeman as the theme is Everyday Heroes. He is my everyday hero indeed. He performed on stage without any tears and remembered all his dance/movement steps. He did not fumble when it was roll call, handshake, prize and photo session.

Girl will have hers, on 27 July 2018 before we break for summer holidays, InshaAllah.

Have a lovely summer, and lots of love from us all. See you again next term!


Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Commencement of Spring Term 2017/18

Happy New Year!

The fireworks at midnight of 1 January 2018 were good. The kids slept through them all, syukur alhamdulillah. The Other Half and I watched The Hundred Foot Journey to find some light and entertaining source of inspiration and we did! We were kept up till 3:30am by FRU trucks, police siren and dispersing revelers.

The kids resume schooling today and I am really glad to have them back into their routine. The long Winter break was...too long for our liking as we had to stay put. In fact, when we looked at the calendar for 2018, there are many long holidays which will mean increased holiday expenses (staycation, play dates, etc.) and for the sake of my own sanity, I shall try to book some local holidays after I pay off annual insurance premiums. Langkawi and LEGOLAND come to mind.

We had a great kickstart to the long break by arranging for a batik and play date at Little Green Tomato at Persiaran Ritchie. We then went home and swam before a lunch picnic at the deck. At 5pm, we picked up two new bicycles for the kids. According to the kids, that was a perfect first day of holidays.

The Belang Moms then left for their respective holidays and we were left mainly to our own device in Kuala Lumpur. We discovered Kiddomo at Starling Mall, Jurasicca at The Gardens and indisputably the best part is still Taman Tun Dr Ismail's Lembah Kiara Park where we went as often as we possibly could. The only biking break we had was when my 11 year-old car went through a major part replacement last December and I am glad it is still in good service despite the hiccups we have had since 2015. I am not shopping for a new car as I am not ready to take on a hire purchase agreement at the moment. The freedom that comes with being debt-free since 2009 is something I want to hang onto. We shall see. 

Career-wise, I have something brewing and hoping the plan will work. This is perhaps the better timing as the support network and age of children are gelling better than the last few years. Obstacles that only The Almighty can remove had been offered up in prayers so I keep my fingers crossed for the best.

What will 2018 bring, we don't know yet but we sure pray this will be a great year. Bismillah to 2018 and have a great one, my lovelies!