Sunday, October 31, 2010

Countdown to Perth...

We're almost there...4 days to go...

Alhamdulillah, the kids are back in their pink of health. Hubby is currently on his semester break, 3 weeks of holiday for him. So, we are all basically prepared for the trip...except maybe some warm clothing for Ashraff, which we are going to shop by this evening. Yesterday, we've bought a new stroller for Aqieff. It was a good buy, but then again, it's not into our initial budget. Our old stroller..hmm..time2 nak pergi ni pulak buat hal...

Ashraff has been counting days since last month. He is the most excited one in the family when it comes to this holiday trip.
Me...I'm wishing for a good health. Hasn't been well for the past two weeks...and it's getting worse...

Unlike for the Sydney trip, where the 'holiday folder' was prepared by me, this time around, I just leave most of the planning and organizing part to him. You see, to us who travels with small kids, a 'holiday folder' is important so that the trip is planned well.

But Hubby's holiday folder is excellent! He took the extra mile to come out with a neat and exciting folder. Check it out!

The Cover (for your fierce eyes only...hehe..)


The 4 days itinerary

General Info - weather, prayer time, halal butchers and restaurants

Apartment booking confirmation

Car rental booking confirmation

Bus timetable

City Map

General info - on places to visit

Ashraff's reading material - sea animals to be found in Aquaria (or whatever they called it in Perth).

Now that I look at it, where's the air flight confirmation?! Itu yang utmost important!

Ok now, I'm excited to go.

Cuma tulah, the anxiety part is still there, which like most airplane trip, I'm afraid of Aqieff's behaviour in the flight. The last trip we had to Kuching in April, he was crying non-stop during the touch down. Berpeluh jugak masa tu. Now that he can walk, I hope he can tolerate being stuck in a confined space for about 5 hours. Praying hard that everything went well...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

About My Mothers

After looking through at my archives, I've realized one thing...I've hardly make any entry about my mother(s). Yes, I did mention them numerous times but not a single dedicated entry about them. I guess it's about time I post a memoir as a tribute to their dedicated time and patience throughout the years as my mothers.

You see, when me and Hubby got married, we decided not to label our mothers as "Mak I-Mak you" or "My mother or my mother in law" instead we opt on using Mak Ampang and Mak Pontian, so both of them become 'our' mothers.

My Mak Ampang

We are 30 years apart, which makes my biological mother 63 this year. Yeah, she got me when she was 30 not because she got married late but it took her 6 years to conceive.

When I was small, I remember Mak as being a fierce and strict mother. Tak sporting langsung! She is good at disciplining the keras kepala me. She prefers to adopt the canning system -rotan, hanger, belt - semuanya dah pernah rasa. Pernah kena cili mulut, pernah kena toreh tangan dengan kaca sebab pecahkan pasu kesayangan dia, pernah kena duduk luar rumah sebab bila dah Maghrib tak reti-reti nak masuk rumah, pernah dia habiskan semua makanan kat atas meja sebab tak makan dinner on time. Yikes! To think of it, Mak sangat garang, macam harimau!

But she will come to you at night untuk sapukan ubat kat tangan yang dah berdarah kena toreh, atau kaki yang berbirat kena sebat, or she will cook a simple dinner in the middle of the night so I don't go to bed in hunger.

Despite the fierceness (hehe), you hardly hear her voice. She does not nag. She does not scream. She is the quiet type. She hardly laughs. Paling kuat pun setakat ketawa dua harkat. But she smiles a lot. That is something that I learn from her. Smile to anyone that you came across with, regardless of age, race and status.

All in all, she is a total opposite of Abah. Abah pampers me to the core, Abah loves to make jokes, Abah laughs out loud. Yet, I'm pretty close to Mak because her patience balances the darah Bugis in me.

To all of us, Mak has always be known for her patience, and yet firm in making her decision. I think being an eldest of 8 siblings contributes to these quality traits. Her sisters (and a brother) looks up to her for advice..her mother who lost her husband at the age of 42 (when Mak was 24 yo) also looks up to her for almost anything.

So when Abah passed away, she remains her composure..and keeps her strength in going through her days without Abah around. She is even stronger than me coz it hit me pretty bad when Abah passed away! Yet, what saddens me everytime I look at her is you can see a void in her life that cannot be filled. She is becoming thinner by the day...and ages really fast. She does not jog in the morning like she used to with Abah. She hardly does her gardening.

I let the elder two boys sleep at the her house every weekend just to keep her company. At least having them around keeps her busy (sometimes terlebih busy pulak..). And we decided to send Aqieff to her house instead of sending to the nursery, so she has someone to play with during the day. Every night dinner is at her home.

Oh yeah, the boys has also forced her to act beyond her norm. Now you can hear Mak screams.

"Aik, sepanjang jaga Ija tak pernah dengan Mak menjerit. Kali ini menjerit pulak."
"Anak Ija ni nak kena jerit baru dengar. Kalau tak jerit tadi, ada yang jatuh tangga." tak salahlah kan kalau Ibu jadi commando kat rumah tu.

Back to Mak, we are trying to make her happy as much as we can though we know it could not replace the tender, loving and care given by Abah. Special days like her birthday and Mothers' Day we will celebrate with her..either by treating her for dinner or buy her something special.

My Mothers' Day Gift - DIY specially for Mak

My Mak Pontian

The first time I met her was during my convocation 9 years ago.

That time me and Hubby are just friends. Kau dan Aku type of friend. But I've known all of my close university friends' parents (including me it's 6 of us). Kalau tak pernah jumpa live pun, at least I've picked up one of their phonecalls when we were in Aussie. These parents seemed to know, if the boys are not at their home, then they must be at the girls' house, so they will call them there. Yeah, at that time handphone is a luxurious item.

Plus, the 6 of us during our 3 years in Aussie usually talked about our personal life including what it was like growing up with their parents.

So when I finally met my future mother, it was like we've known each other for so long. She must have known me from Hubby (harapnya dia tahu cerita-cerita baik jelah..hehe). In fact, our parents have also become good friends. So, if me and Hubby do not marry each other, Mak Ampang and Mak Pontian will always be close friends. Just like the way Mak Ampang does with Nissa, Sheila and Atan's parents (cuma Radzi's je yang tak rapat coz he himself pun has been away from Malaysia for so long).

Mak Pontian is 65 this year. She marries late but got Hubby during the first year of their marriage. The thing that makes me comfortable with Mak Pontian is she is a Johorean, so there's not much different in terms of language, food and culture. Plus, she's an easy-going type. She is not as sensitive as Mak Ampang. If you forgot to do something that she asked for, she'll just say 'takpelah'.

One thing that I respect her most is her efficient time management in managing the household. By 11.00 am lunch is readily cooked, by 6.00 pm dinner is ready. So, you can have your lunch and dinner at exact time everyday. If you say you are going to leave the house at 10 a.m, she'll make sure she's ready by then. Her time management is superb! And that's where Hubby got this quality traits from. And naturally, he expects me to be like his mother and him! Gosh!

I was brought up in a very lenient way when it comes to time management. Kalau Abah cakap nak balik kampung pukul 9 pagi, pukul 11 pagi baru bertolak. Mak pulak, kadang2 settle masak lunch pukul 12.30, kadang2 1.30..or later than that...

No one makes a big fuss out of my Ampang family.

But things are different in my Pontian family. When I marry Hubby, he expects me to keep up with the time. I got to know this from the time we were engaged coz there's this one time, Mak Pontian actually 'tegur' me through Hubby by saying "suruh Ija tu cepat sikit. Ini belum nanti ada anak." MasyaAllah! Pedihnya...but that was the moment that I make a vow to myself to change and be punctual because I know that be on time is very crucial to my Pontian's side of family.

Another thing, Mak Pontian does not sleep much. She will only doze of to sleep at night (usually in front of TV) to wake up 3 or 4 hours later, and starts doing housechores. So, that's another thing that sampai sekarang I could not catch up. How can me yang kuat dan suka tidur adjust to this type of sleeping pattern? I can be very cranky! But I guess Mak Pontian has got used to the fact that menantu dia yang seorang ni (well, the only menantu yang dia ada buat masa ni) pentingkan tidur yang cukup untuk menjadi seorang ibu dan isteri yang efektif..hehe..

Unlike Mak Ampang, Mak Pontian is rather talkative. He can greet almost anyone...either at the kampung itself, or at pasar malam, or in town...everyone in the Pontian seems to know who Makcik Rahmah is.

But one thing that Mak Pontian and Mak Ampang have in common now is that both are single parents. Mak Pontian lost her husband 9 years ago. It was a tough arrangement for Hubby to make when it comes to managing his family. Unlike Mak Ampang who lives about 5 mins away from us, Mak Pontian lives alone, far away from the buzzing main road (about 4 kms inside). Our kampung house was located about 200 metres away from the neighbours, seperated by big trees which makes their houses hardly visible to us. We were contemplating on taking an Indonesian maid to accompany Mak, but upon discussing with her, she refused to have one. "Lagi bahaya, kita bukan boleh percaya orang yang kita tak kenal." We buy her reason. So things remain unsolved, until one day, Pak Lang (Mak's brother) extended an offer to rent his house that is located at the heart of Pontian town.

Now Mak Pontian lives at her rented house which is just in-front of her brother's. That gives us a peace of mind knowing the fact that she is safe and sound. So our kampung house will only be opened for Raya or everytime we balik kampung.

So being single, both my mothers are pretty close to each other. Mak Pontian usually comes to KL to visit us (since we hardly go back to kampung because Hubby has classes on weekends) and since we are working, Mak Ampang and Mak Pontian will enjoy each other company like good old inseperable friends.

All in all, my life is blessed for having two good mothers. A biological mother who is always there for me and a mother-in-law treats me just like her own daughter (just as I treat her as my own mother).

The thing is I can't imagine my life without them around...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bila dua orang budak sakit...

...Ibu dia pun rasa macam nak sakit jugak...

Yup, Aqieff has joined Aliff's club. He was diagnosed with HFMD yesterday. His is worse than Abang Aliff. He has red spots (and blisters on his lips) all over his hand, feet, leg, arm and buttock. But the thing that makes him cranky (and minta digendong seperti anak koala) is his mouth ulcer which apparently is all over his mouth.

One thing good about him is he is still make an effort to eat and drink plain water. So I hope with that, he'll have a speedy recovery.

As for me, I'm pretty much sleep deprived. Aqieff is very restless at nights due to pain and hunger. The last two nights could drive me up the wall, having to cradle him to sleep just to see him waking up about 15 - 30 minutes later, crying. The process repeats throughout the night. The only thing that keeps my sanity is the thought that my baby is sick and it's just a temporary situation while some other parents might have to go through a lot more hardship than this (especially to those who have a permanently sick child). Thank God Hubby is such a great helping hand, where we switched task in the middle of the night. But seriously, I do want to bother him that much coz he has exam this weekend, and he needs to study. So, I'll bear with the task as long as I can and keep on praying that Aqieff will recover soon.

So now, I'm on leave just to make up for the lost sleeping time at night (as Mak and Bibik are there to assist). And at the same time to take care of two 'very silent' boys . Yup, they are indeed not talking. Semua main tunjuk2 je sebab mulut sakit nak bercakap. That's the funny part about Aliff. He's so used to talking (and eating) that having this disease actually bothers him to the core. Pity him.

Now, our biggest challenge is to make sure that Ashraff doesn't get the disease. After all Perth trip is only 14 days away...Keep praying...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Unplanned Plan

Sounds ironic, aye?

Well, kita hanya mampu merancang tetapi Tuhan yang menentukan...

Tetapi apabila kita tidak merancang, maka jadilah sesuatu yang tidak terancang...

What's with the philosophical mood this morning? Go figure!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Nak sakit, biar sakit sekarang...

...dan bukan dah nak pergi bercuti nanti baru nak sakit.

Yup, the boys had their fair share of sickness lately. Aqieff had slight fever two weeks ago followed by an episode of runny nose and phlegmatic cough (and of course, restless nights). Still has slight cough since we opt not to take antibiotics this time around and let him recover by himself. So it took quite a while (and lots of restless nights for him..and us), but lately and finally he's back to his good cheeky self.

Ashraff, about two days ago, has started having blocked nose and asthmatic-like cough. Has started on cough medicine coupled with Ventolin.

Aliff...hmmm...lagi best. Just diagnosed with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease today! Yikes! Now we are trying our level best to separate him from the other two, which is not an easy job! Thank God Mak decides to help us by letting Aliff sleeps with her, so that makes our job slightly easier...

And esok, well rasa macam nak take emergency leave since Aliff is not feeling well. Tapi submission of Board papers is due my colleague is on leave..and my manager might also be on leave. So, no choice but to go to work. Harapkan belas kasihan Mak. Plus I think Aliff will be fine. He is still active, cuma a tad quieter than the usual him. Sakit mulut nak cakap, kata dia. One thing good about him is that he has higher tolerance against pain as compared to his older brother yang baru kena paper cut pun dah melaung satu Popular Bookstore boleh dengar!

Yeah, let them be sick now so that by the time we are leaving for Perth, everyone will be in good health, I hope.

So to work tomorrow. Yelah, nak buat macamana...I'm a dedicated staff that is committed to work...yeah, WHAT-E-VA!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Corporate Teambuilding Programme

Last week, my company sent me to a resort in Janda Baik for a corporate teambuilding programme, compulsory for all staffs. This programme started right after Raya where each session, the participants are required to spend 3 days and 2 night at the resort. There is about 10 sessions altogether, and mine is the 3rd session. Yeah, the sooner the better.

I guess the word 'teambuilding' itself is self-explanatory. Work-in-a-team-to-achieve-one-objective kinda thing. Despite the negative impression over this teambuilding programme (yelah, company dah sakit tapi masih ada hati nak buat expensive course), if you accept it with an open heart, you will enjoy every minute of it. Plus, the 2 nights away from the family is like escapism for me (evil, evil..). Having a jolly good time with other mothers who also shared the same feeling...bestnya!

The 3 days 2 nights was a hectic schedule. Not a time to take a short nap. 80% of the course is done indoor, while the rest are done outdoor. This is unlike what I had in mind when you talk about teambuilding, but for me who the only time I exercise is going up and down the stairs doing housechores, the course outline suits me perfectly.

Well, as expected, in most teambuilding (or similar courses), there is a group performance to be done. Somehow or rather, one week before the course, I have envisioned myself performing dikir barat for group performance. I thought "kalau diaorang suruh each group perform, then one good performance will be dikir barat." So I have recalled most of the dikir barat songs (and bunga) I've performed before. Cuma lagu opening je tak ingat...and lupanya nak tanya Sheila (my mentor in dikir barat) at that time.

Pucuk dicita ulam mendatang. Yup, we were asked to perform dikir barat in two groups. Each group consists of 50 individuals. We were given 1 1/2 hours to prepare, starting from 4 p.m. By 5.30 p.m. everything must be up and ready.

Initially I planned to keep quiet and let the experts i.e. the Kelantanese to do the job. They want to do it the pure Kelantan version, while mine is more of a commercial dikir with a mixture of Kelate and Nogori songs.

But by 4.45 pm, nothing seems to be done. Not even the lyrics. The only thing done is the rambu-ramba for our hands. So with the permission of my group leader, I decided to take charge. We decided to dikir with 'Ewa bulan'. Easier. Everybody knows that song.

And who is the Tukang Karut? Hmmm...siapa lagi kalau bukan moi. Actually we have 3 Tukang Karuts. One for the opening, one for the 'Ewa Bulan' song, and mine was the lenggok2 part for the closing.

It has been years since I perform on stage be it singing, acting or dancing. Seriously, it was one hell of a stage fright and I can feel my voice trembles when I sang. Whateva...janji perform as asked to.

But the best part, after the performance, people came and asked me "Rafiqah orang Kelantan ke?". Excuse me..tak dengar ke bunyi macam orang Siam tadi...hehe..

Well, I'm going to make sure that that is my last time performing in the Bank. And please do not ever show me the video of us performing. Malu banget!

Photos? I didn't bring my camera along, so I am waiting for the courtesy of our Training Dept for some photos taken during the programme. Nanti dah dapat, akan diupload di sini dan Facebook, insyaAllah.

Updated at 6.45 pm (sementara menunggu Hubby yang tak kunjung tiba)...

Different story altogether, but I have to at least note it somewhere...

Ashraff managed to puasa penuh selama 16 hari last Ramadhan. Not bad, considering the fact that he (and his friend) are the only one not fasting at school the first few days of Ramadhan.

When I got to know that he asked his teacher for his lunch when other students are all busy fasting, i refused to talk to him the whole day. Buat malu je!

And another no-talking-to-Ashraff day, when I received a call from the teacher asking my permission to give Ashraff his lunch coz he was screaming for food. I could hear him screaming at the back. Bengangnya ibu!

But he gradually improved then on...from breaking fast at 12 pm, extended to 2 pm, then 4 pm...then the whole day!

I guess incentive in the form of money does work. And also the thought of Ibu transforming into a tiger if he doesn't do it...hehe..

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Trip to Perth

Another holiday trip to Downunder after 3 years...this time around our destination will be Perth due early November. Our 'support system' will be my Mak Ampang, Mak Pontian, my mak saudara and cousin. We need a good 'support system' to assist us or else either barang yang tercicir...or the boys yang tertinggal...

So let me see...

Passport - checked.
Visa - camne ye, Yang? Semua approve ke?
Car rental - checked.
Accommodation - checked.
Itineraries - checked.
Clothing - so-so, need to shop for the boys clothing especially for Ashraff. Aliff and Aqieff can wear hands-me-down.

Money? Errr...gaji bulan ni sempat lagikan untuk cukupkan tabung?

Monday, October 04, 2010

Something I wish I got it from my boys... their long and thick eyelashes.

Ashraff has long and slightly curled eyelashes.

Aliff has the longest and thickest among the three. But his is straight...macam tirai.

Aqieff has the shortest among the three, but then again if people see him alone without the brothers, they will make remark such as "panjang bulu mata dia."

Ye, siapa lagi nak puji anak kita kalau bukan mak bapak dia sendiri. But yeah, the boys have long eyelashes. It's like a combination of mine and Hubby's. I just wish I have them so I don't have to invest in a volumizer mascara..

And also I wish if I have a girl, her eyelashes will be as long and thick (and perhaps curled) like her brothers...

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Raya 2010

2010..our Raya are back to the same normal routine where we had our 1st Raya in Pontian and the next day went to JB to meet Mak Ampang.

Last year, as Abah had just passed away and Mak was still in her edah (idah?), we had our first Raya in KL, which wasn't that fun due to the fact that all family members are in Johore..and Abah wasn't around.

This year, Mak drove all the way back to JB with her brand new car. Alhamdulillah, she's still able to drive and independent enough to live her life without Abah around. Nevertheless, eventhough Abah has left us for more than a year, she still misses Abah dearly (me too!). You can tell it from her lonely eyes...

Ok back to Raya story. This year, we choose a champagne-brown as our theme colour. Initially, I planned to have a black and white theme this Raya, where all the men in the family will wear black Baju Melayu..and I'm the only one with a hint of white (biasalah yang unik adalah Ibu seorang saja..and outnumbered!). But since champagne will be my cousin's wedding theme in December, so we decided to opt for that colour . Tak payah buat baju Melayu dua kali.

My Pontian Family - 1st Raya

My Ampang Family - 2nd Raya

During this Raya, Aliff discovers his interest in playing blocks. You see, we seldom buy toys for the boys since their collection is already huge, plus we found that they easily got bored with new toys. They prefer TV to toys. Now their toys are basically laying idle in the box, untouchable.

But when we visited a relative house during Raya this year, Aliff was indulged in playing blocks. He can sit still at one spot constructing buildings, guns, robot etc with blocks. On the way back, we decided to get one for him...well, at least with the blocks, he doesn't bother his elder or younger brother who got irritated with him easily. Aman sikit dunia...

"Tengok, machine gun, Ibu!"

Then again, it is a tiring Raya for us due to the fact that we are maidless and Aqieff has a strong stranger anxiety...berkepit macam koala. We never encounter this kind of situation with Ashraff and Aliff before, maybe because we have a maid when they were Aqieff's age or they are more extrovert as compared to Aqieff.

Budak takut orang ada tanda kat dahi...jatuh on the 1st day of Raya.

Despite that, like any other year, we make it a point to visit all uncles and aunties from both sides of the family who lives in various parts of Johor - Pontian, JB, Kulai, Pasir Gudang, Muar and Kluang (and Melaka). After all it's only once a year we managed to do it.

And yes, my cousin Tina gave birth to a baby girl on the 2nd day of Raya. We visited them at my aunt's house in JB. Welcome aboard, Airra binti Raihan!

Comelnya Airra! Bilalah aunty nak dapat macam Airra ni...

Well, this weekend will be the last Raya weekend. Yeah, like any other weekends we have few Raya open house invitation that we need to attend to. And knowing Hubby, he'll try to attend to as many invitation as possible in between his classes and heavy road traffic. So yeah, all geared up for makan free time. Chiow!