Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Notes between Mother-and-Son

A note from Ashraff to Ibu:-


I may not know how to sleep on my own.

I may be demanding in some areas.

I may cause you and Ayah a lot of headaches.

I may make cau
se your 'blood go upstairs' most of the times.

I may not be a perfect son to you and Ayah.

But I can really draw.
And I love to draw.

Please enjoy my masterpiece.

You know, I did this all by myself, without any help from you, or Ayah, or any adults.

I wanted to sell my art piece for RMXX amount of money, but you told me you want to keep it as a momento. A priceless keepsake, you said.

So Ibu, do you think I qualify to become the next Leonardo Da Vinci?
But, on one exception though…
Don’t ask me to use paint and glues.
There are so yucky!
I hate them.
I only work well with pens, pencils and crayons…and nothing more.

You know I got extra praise from Mrs. ArchbOld in class last week when I happened to draw something similar to this. I overheard her telling you that what I did was exceptionally incredible coz kids my age could only scribble and some are in the process of learning how to hold a pen correctly.

Are you proud of me Ibu?

Yours truly,

A reply note from Ibu:-

My dearest Ashraff,

Of course I am so proud of you! In fact, I almost cried when your teacher showed me your piece of drawing last week. She was so impressed with your art work.

Ashraff, you really can draw.

Well, at least that is one area where you can sit down and really concentrate on doing, instead of jumping and running around.
I know you hate working with paint..so finger painting is not an option here. I won’t force you to do it.

Hey Ashraff, do you know that I caught you, following the outline of the ‘Ultraman’s Head’ drawn by Tok Mak with your pen few times. And once you master the shape of the ‘head’, you tried drawing it on your own. And you got a perfect looking shape just like the one Tok Mak did, and than you add your own version of ‘Ultraman’s eyes’. Simply fantastic! I praised you there and then, coz I’m so proud of you…

And I’m also pleased that you do not show your flair of arts by creating murals at the wall. You tend to search for paper everytime you feel the urge to draw. That is so dear of you.

Please continue drawing coz I love to see your piece of arts, no matter how they turn
out to be. In arts, there is no right and wrong…

If that answers your question, yes, you can be the next Leornardo Da Vinci.



A note from Aliff to Ibu:-

Hi Ibu!

Sorry for the prolonged delay in writing you this note. I have trouble copying and pasting my latest photo on this note. Now that I managed to do it, so here goes.

Last 2nd of April, I turned 5 months old. Big boy already huh Ibu?

I’ll make sure you remember to make a posting everytime I turned one month older and don’t forget to put the photo as well. You know why? Because I don’t want to end up like Abang Ashraff’s photos. You lost all the soft-copies of Abang’s photos when he was a baby. How sad!

You are fortunate, though, since you got it all printed out before the incident happened. But then, you did not label according to the date the photo was taken. So when you developed the photo in one shot, the dates taken are all jumbled up. Thus, when you have a look at the album, you can’t actually determine what age Abang Ashraff was at the time the photo was taken. Pretty sad, I know.

I don’t want that to happen again. So, if you do not make a posting on me, I’ll make sure I send you this note so you won’t forget. You tend to be forgetful lately, Ibu.

Anyway, here is a photo of me on the day I turned 5 mo:-

I weight 7.8 kilos now. My weight increases but on a declining rate, just like what happened to Abang Ashraff last time. But not to worry Ibu. As long as you feed me well, I should be okay. Plus I’ll start on solid next month, so that will ensure I thrive well.

Okay, some of my developments. I prefer to jump on my two feets rather than roll-over. I no longer need to be swaddled to sleep. In fact, I hate it now. Please let me free so I could roll over on your bed as much as I want too.

I know I bumped into you at night, and disturbed you from your peaceful sleep. I think it’s about time you put me in the crib instead of co-sleep on your bed. Furthermore, I think Abang Ashraff actually outgrows his crib. Thus, it should be passed down to me.
Invest in a nice bed for Abang Ashraff. He’ll love it.

So Ibu, please don’t forget to record my development every month, and most importantly, include the photos as well…hehe..

Love, Aliff

A reply note from Ibu:-

Thanks for reminding me Aliff. I’ll make sure I do it every month. But should I forget, write a similar note like this. I really appreciate it.

Oh yeah Aliff, happy 5 mo son! You’re a big boy already.

I’ll take note of your notion to buy a new bed for Abg Ashraff. Will discuss it with Ayah. We need to act fast before you stumble off the bed (we experience it three times with Abg Ashraff!).


Friday, April 20, 2007

Introduction to Toilet Training

One day, while I was preparing to go to work, Ashraff looked at me up and down. Like macam baru first time dia tengok Ibu dia bersiap pergi kerja.

And out of the blue, he asked "Ibu pakai pampers tak?"

I'm like ??? All these while did Ashraff thought all of us actually wear diapers just like him?? My God!

But anyway, Ibu calmly replied "No, Ibu tak wear pampers. Ashraff pun nanti tak payah wear pampers." (Not a good answer I know, but I'm rushing to work..so, that's the best I can answer).

Now that he has somesort of opened the toilet training subject, I guess might as well I introduce him to some of the toilet training tools we have like potty chair and potty toilet seat.

So yesterday, I took the initial step of introducing him to water closet and how we actually put the potty toilet seat on top of the thing fo him to do his business. Ashraff was nodding all the way, followed by an occassional "a-ah".

Later, I sat beside him and said to him "You are now a big boy Ashraff. So big boy tak payah pakai pampers. Ibu tak pakai pampers, Ayah tak pakai pampers, Tok Mak and Tok Abah tak pakai pampers. Even cat pun tak pakai pampers."

And to my antonishment, he replied "Ashraff kena pakai pampers kan? Ashraff kecik lagi..."
And he walked out of the room leaving me ???

I think I have to come out with different strategy the next time around...*LOL*

This kid never fails to amaze me with his answer (and questions).

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Height does matter!

Most people say Ashraff is tall for his age.
Most people thought he is 3 years old, judging from his build and articulacy (not a single "pelat" word).
When gynae did an ultrasound while I was preggy with Ashraff at 34 weeks, she asked me whether my Hubby is tall (hubby outstation masa tu) coz my baby looks tall from the ultrasound result.
Well, Ashraff was later born at 53 centimetres, quite long (but that matches his weight at birth which was 3.74 kilos..macam teran watermelon I tell you..hehehe).

So when I got an email from baby center, with the subject "How tall will your child be?", I became curious to find out Ashraff's height when he's bigger.

I immediately checked out the link.
Keyed-in the variables:-

1. Ashraff's age - 3 yo (he's not yet 3 but they only have 2.5 or 3, so I chose 3).
2. Current height - 3 feet 2 inch or 97 cm (I immediately called mak at home to measure Ashraff's height, something which we never did for such a long time. Punyalah bersemangat!).
3. Current weight - 31 lbs or 14 kg (we weight him at the doctor's clinic last week).
4. Mother's height - 5 feet 3 inches. (about that).
5. Father's height - 5 feet 8 inches.

Clicked on the button "Calculate". Wait few seconds for the result to come out, and....here it is...

Your son will likely be 5 feet, 11 inches tall at age 18!
(Goodness me! That tall! Taller than Hubby?!)

Of course, there's an exception to it:-

This prediction is a "best guess" but it's still just that -- a guess. Based on the formula we used,* there's a 58 percent chance your son's full-grown height will be within 1 inch (above or below) of this prediction, an 85 percent chance it will be within 2 inches, and an 96 percent chance it will be within 3 inches.

1 inch or below - 5 feet 10 inch (still tall).
2 inches and below - 5 feet 9 inches (still tall).
3 inches and below - 5 feet 8 inches (as tall as Hubby - still tall).

And also there's some fine print:-

This method relies on where your son falls on the Centers for Disease Control's growth charts, and it assumes that he'll remain in the same percentile until he reaches his adult height. The accuracy of the prediction varies because some children will fall into different percentiles throughout childhood.

Ignore the exception and fine prints, and only concentrate on the result.

5 feet 11 inches!! Tingginya anak ku! In 15 years time, I'll be mendongak ke langit just to talk to him... Talking to Hubby pun dah kena mendongak... Ni kan pulak 5 feet 11 inches!

Anyway, if this prediction is correct, one conclusion I can make from this...
Ashraff follows Hubby's genes.
Hubby's late father, siblings and his cousin are mostly tall (of course ada yg kurus melengkung, and ada yang tall and big like gigantic gitu). But yeah, there are mostly tall.

Unlike mine, yang kebanyakkannye on average height...Kalau perempuan, 5 feet 2, 5 feet 3. Even Abah is only 5 feet 4 (so Mak couldn't wear high heels)...and Abah's brothers are like lebih kurang sama je tingginya...

So if this turns out true, I'm glad Ashraff doesn't follow my gene when it comes to height. I would prefer him to be taller...and perhaps good at sports just like Hubby (and all his siblings).

Hope Aliff follow suit..Hmmm...can't really tell now. He's born at 53 cm too just like his brother.

Ok now, kalau dapat anak perempuan nanti, that one will have to follow me. Cute-miut je (prasan jap)...hehehe...

So, for mommies with kids 2 yo and above, why don't you try yours?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Majlis Ilmu

Eh lama jugak I tak update ye?

Not that I don’t want too but it seems that I could not upload photos in this online journal of mine. My thumbdrive encounters some kind of problem, thus I could not copy the photos I have in our notebook back home to be uploaded here. It is disk protected or something. Blog is dull without photos. So, I’ve been hesitating to publish any entry, though I made quite a few photo-less drafts.

But anyway, I can’t keep myself for not writing for quite sometime coz the last time I did it, I suffered quite a severe writer’s block (Ceh! Macam poyo je bunyi dia).

So here I am, trying to make an entry on what’s happening last weekend.

Last Sunday, I’ve attended this beneficial parenting seminar. Something which I have been wanting to go for quite sometime but ada saja aral melintang. Alhamdulillah, Allah permits me to attend it eventually.

The seminar which was held at Amp@ng was called “Khalifah Method of Parenting”. It’s quite a well-known Islamic approach of parenting, thus, I’m sure lots of people know about this seminar and some might have attended it.

I wanted Hubby to come along since “Parenting” includes “Mummy and Daddy” and not “Mummy”..or “Daddy” only. Plus I believe if only “Half of the Parent” attended it, the outcome will not be as effective. Unfortunately, Hubby has to go to JohorBharu for his normal outstation trip (I guess I’ve gotten so use to being left behind that I don’t really mind anymore). So, I am all alone, not as much as I wanted to.

So, in order for me not to forget the points given at the seminar (plus to disseminate the Ilmu I got should anyone stumbled upon my blog), I thot I should make an entry about it. Here are some salient points (not in order form):-

1. The concept of Khalifah is considered “loss” in Islam because usually Muslims will identify themselves as “Hamba Allah” instead of “Khalifah Allah”. Hamba Allah is just the same as any plants and tress while Khalifah is more superior than that. And the role is bigger.

2. Khalifah of Allah is the respresentative of Allah. Just like if you are a “wakil sekolah” you will try to do your very best, as not to let your school down. So what more as “wakil Allah”, you should be doing the best you can according to the Will of Allah. Thus, as long as you remember this, insyaAllah, you will turn out to be a good muslim – solat dengan ikhlas, buat segala kebaikan dengan ikhlas.

And if you can instill this value in your child, they’ll also be able to carry out their duties as Muslim dengan seikhlas hati, tanpa disuruh-suruh. They will throw the rubbish dengan ikhlas, gosok gigi dengan ikhlas etc. Reason being, they are the Khalifah of Allah. Thus, we as parents not only make them do good but we are instilling the desire to make good.

3. Our parenting role is to ensure that our child enters a harmonious Alam Kubur and Alam Masyar and not just only being rich or become professional doctors or lawyers.

4. The importance of rewards in your child’s life. Khalifah Method stresses that the ratio between reward and punishment should be 350 : 1 i.e. reward should be 350 more than punishment. Punishment such as hitting, canning could leave a non-favorable impact on the child’s mind. Reward on the other hand could be in these three forms – words, physical such as gifts and inner speech.

5. Inner speech (or kata hati) is a powerful tool in Khalifah Method. This actually teaches the children to reward themselves. For example, if the child finishes her homework early, without you praising her, she’ll use her “kata hati” to praise herself instead. She can say something like “Wahh…bagusnya saya hari ini. Siap homework cepat. Allah pasti suka.” With this, they are motivated to do further good deeds.

6. It is very important to introduce this Khalifah Method early in the child’s life. First, introduce them to Allah. Show them real life example, like how the trees grow, how catterpillar change to butterfly. When they understand the scenario, relate it to Allah. Ask questions like “Isn’t Allah powerful that He does all these?” then “Do you want to be special in the eyes of Allah?” They are few other tips given on how to instill the love of Allah in the children’s mind but it’s all in my notebook back home…hehehe…

But the most important thing is to tell the children that Allah loves them.

Our mistake is usually to tell apa yang Allah marah. “Don’t do this. Allah marah.” “Don’t do that. Allah marah”. This Khalifah method intends to shift our paradigm by looking at the positive angle instead.

7. Rewarding is basically a process of ‘shaping’. Shaping is the consistent rewarding of consecutive small steps until the child reaches the desired goals (basically desired goals ni is parent’s goals, but once the child is old enough to come out with his own goal in life and if its contradicts, talk, talk and talk with your kid). For example, if we want the child to be kind, since baby lagi kita dah kena dok cakap kat our child that he is a kind boy, polite boy, gentle boy, eventhough he’s merely a baby. And he does show politeness, praise them, hug them.

8. The most important thing….Our child mirrors us. So if we want our child to become a good ummah, we must change first. We must be a good Khalifah first. Set an example, and insyaAllah our child will follow suit.

Hmmm…is that all the points I can remember? Forgetful me…

But, thank God I keep the notes and the handouts so that I could refer to it anytime.

I’ve made this choice to attend parenting seminar because Ashraff is getting bigger. One day, before I go to sleep, it somesort of hit me. Look at the world today...there is too many negative influences out there. My kids are still young, so they are still attached to me. They still look up to us as parents. What if they are bigger? In their teens for example? Which path do they choose to go? If they are not strong enough, they can easily drag by the negative waves. Like what they mentioned during the seminar. Newborns are a bundle of joy…but they can also be bundle of potential. Potential can be towards the positive…or the negatives, that is for the parent’s to choose and guide. Pretty scary when I think of it.

Then I made some mental review on my ownself. Where am I as Muslim? Good? Bad? Can I be a good guide and example to my children to follow the Islamic path?

Balancing all the current situations in hand, I then decided that I need to join more and as much Majlis Ilmu as possible. Brush up my knowledge as Muslim and as parent. Macam poyo je kan? But that's what I currently feel. And I hope this feeling will last so that I am motivated to attend Majlis-Majlis Ilmu in the futiure.

Alhamdulillah I gain a lot from the seminar last Sunday. It's just a matter of putting it to practice. Which of course, is the hardest part...I infact, failed the very first night, when I scolded Ashraff sebab refuse to sleep walaupun mata dia ngantuk. Like nangis and jerit-jerit tak tentu pasal. Really make me grrrr...

Nampaknya I kenalah attend and re-attend similar seminars like this so that it keeps me on my toes all the time.

But first I need to...jeng jeng jeng...drag Hubby to attend the same seminar which is to be held on 20th May at KhalifahInstitute, TamanAmpangUtama *LOL*. I don’t think there is any point should me and Hubby have a conflicting methods of parenting or different goals for our kids. The kids can end up pretty much confused like hey, mana nak ikut ni… hehehe…I’m a kid once, I know what it’s like…hehehe…

For further info on the seminar, you could check this website www.islamic-world.net or you could always ask me. It's good if we can share this 'loss' knowledge with our fellow Muslim friends.

In the meantime, I want to find a good preschool who actually use this KhalifahMethod somewhere in Amp@ng. Anyone knows?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Some shut-eye issues.

Believe it or not. Ashraff still needs to be pat to sleep. No matter how sleepy he is. Without patting, he could not sleep, or probably he can, but we have to wait realllyyy loooong before he finally doze off. Perhaps past midnight. And while waiting, he will talk alone, or worst still singing in the dark. Really loudly till the whole household could not sleep. “1,2, buckle my shoes…” followed by “Power Rangers SPD, Power Rangers to the Rescue…”

Hmmm…so, no choice but to pat him to sleep.

And he only wants Ibu to pat him. Ayah’s hands does not qualify.

Aliff, on the other hand, can sleep by just breastfeeding him lying down. Easy peasy. But it still has to be Ibu. Ayah can’t offer the comfort of breastfeeding.

So Ibu is torn between the two.

Solution, breastfeed Aliff on one side….and pat Ashraff who is lying on the other side. Pretty complicated I tell you. Boleh tergeliat badan dibuatnya.

Ayah, sitting at the edge of the bed, watching guiltily coz he couldn’t help with anything. His presence is not needed by any of the two kids.

It really needs a lot of patience to handle such situation. Especially when after endless stroking, and your toddler still hasn’t sleep. Or your baby suddenly request you to rock him to sleep, and you had to stand up, and let go of your toddler who also needs your attention. And your toddler starts to wail really loudly “Ibu kopok (tepuk) Ashraff ! Ibu kopok Ashraff!”. And now even your baby could not sleep due to the noise. Really chaotic!

I never thought I would be able to go through that situation, but we managed to pull-off excellently till the kids finally fall asleep peacefully. Usually this will take quite sometime to settle down.

Well, not every night this chaotic case happened (Thank God!).

Sometimes Ashraff chose Tok Mak to pat him to sleep. So I’ll only concentrate on Aliff.

Sometimes I’ll pat Ashraff on one side and breastfeed Aliff on the other side, and the three of us will doze simultaneously.

Once in a blue moon, Ashraff doesn’t mind Ayah patting him to sleep.

But for me, I only got one wish pertaining to this issue. It’s for Ashraff to finally get over this phase and finally learn how to sleep on his own. He has this tremendous ability to really fight with his own sleepy eyes since he was merely a baby (say 1 month old). I really wish he could just lie down anywhere if he’s too tired and immediately doze off, be it bawah meja ke, tepi pasu ke, depan TV ke, like some kids do. So far, rasanya adalah dua ke tiga kali yang dia tidur sendiri…

Now with Aliff. Pretty easy to lull him to sleep.

But he’s a light sleeper. So, he will wake up to just a slightest sound.

And at night, he wasn’t a great sleeper either. Recently, he woke up at 5 am in the morning, for no apparent reason. Mata terbuntang dan berkilat2 di tengah gelap. Hmmm…

And another time, at 3 am.

We never experience this with Ashraff. So it’s pretty much a new experience for me.

So after a lot of hassle putting Ashraff to sleep, now I have to deal with Aliff who keeps on waking up at night. Macam nak ajak main. But after half and hour of goo-goo gaa-gaa, he’ll resume sleeping. Abah told me I was just like Aliff when I was small. He had to entertain me almost every middle of the night. So Aliff might inherited that habit from me. Ah, well…

Anyway lack of sleep really helps me in maintaining my figure, thanks to them. So, no need for extra diet or something. But the dark undereye circle. And pretty pale looking face. Urghh!!

Thus, one day, I somesort of lodge a complaint report to a collegue of mine. I told her I’m tired being a mother to this two demanding kids. I haven’t got enough sleep…rest…bla..bla..bla…

Her response left me almost speechless.

She told me to visit a Fertility Centre, and look at the faces I could find there. Those people are hoping upon hope to be able to conceive and have their own kids one day. And I should be lucky that I’m bless with my own kids. No matter how tiring and stressful it may be, it’s never as tiring and stressful as trying to conceive.


Ok, she got a point. I shouldn’t complain. In fact, I shouldn’t have make an entry about this in the first place. Shouldn,t, shouldn’t, shouldn’t.

But I guess being able to express my joy and hardship of being a parent is something wonderful. After all, when I look back at this entry when my kids are older, I would be able to grin with pride and say, I’ve successfully been through all these. A bliss, indeed.

For now, that saying "Sleeping Like a Baby" is completely nuisance. Coz for a two-time mommy here, sleeping like a baby is actually this:-

Monday, April 02, 2007

There's always a first time...

It's the first time I left him.

After 32 months.

"There's always a first time," my Other-Half consoled me.

But I could not control the urge to cry when I finally kissed and bid him farewell last Friday. I could still remember clearly his face, waving at us while hugging his grandma tightly. He didn't seem to mind us leaving him.

If not because of the commitment (monetary commitment) we have made at Ashraff's weekend school, we would have bring Ashraff back to hubby's kampung last weekend. But, instead, half-heartedly, we decided to leave him with his Tok Mak and Tok Abah in KL for two nights.

Two nights without Ashraff feels like infinity.

I missed him dearly. It felt so different without him around. I felt...empty.

I always thought I am not a good mother to my children. I mean, I am short-tempered and could not withstand an endless whailing, crying and tantrum from my kids. In fact, occassionally I felt like breaking-free from the mothering role that I'm succumb to, and just be on my own. I can rest, sleep, read books, do anything I want at my own sweet time, without having the kids controlling my time. Being kids-free...

But somehow or rather, me and my kids are inseparable.

Ironic isn't it?