Blessing Seven

The purity of a child’s love that flows from the depth of his little heart. Together with its blend of freshness, hope and innocence, you’ll never feel the same about loving another…

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Blessing Five

Surviving another long night without becoming zombified, when your irritable baby or troublesome teenager keeps you wide awake.

Blessing One

Loving your child is given, but liking him as a person is a grand thing. Such a blessing it is to experience both, especially when some parents find the latter challenging.

Small View, Big Perspective

Through the eyes of a little person, life is limitless without boundaries. Rules and societal expectations are none existent, and you’re free to form your own understanding on how the world works. Impossible and what-ifs are not heard of because as long as you believe in something, it would be true. You may say that you’re a princess or a superhero, and nobody’s going to deny you of your birthright because you are who you are, and that’s that.

Such is the world that my Little Missy is living in; unicorns and coloured ponies are as normal as cats and dogs on the street. It’s a place where the tooth fairy is happily collecting precious milk teeth from under some pillows, while beautiful angels keep an eye on the young and old. And a magic wand, if you happen to own one, is a powerful weapon of change that needs careful handling.

Even when my Little Missy is cautious of others, she still welcomes their company. Though she has some reservations about new stuff, she’s curious to have a go. With her, opportunities are excitedly embraced with just a slight hesitation (in case something goes wrong) at the start.

Perhaps we need to loosen up and take a lesson from Little Missy and her young friends. Look at the bigger picture, explore the experience and stop focusing on the unnecessary details. Sometimes life needs to be enjoyed by throwing caution to the wind…

Caught Up

As I was rushing home after a class, I bumped into an ex-student and her mum. Now the girl is a teenager and looking all grown up. In my eyes I can still see the sweet little Japanese girl who was all friendly and shy at the same time. Her pleasant ways with everybody and her lovely notes for me are still fresh on my mind. And the tears she shed on the last day of school because I wouldn’t return the following year. I promised to visit but that didn’t happen. It really got me. Until now.

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Growth

Growing up aren’t just for young ones and teens. Even adults are going through the process without realizing that it’s happening to them. We’re not grown ups. We’re simply grown adults.

Wisdom of a Tween

“When you desperately want something, God won’t give it to you. Instead, be grateful for what you have, and you’ll be rewarded accordingly”.

*Quoted from one of my students.

Truth

“Only those who care about you can hear you when you’re quiet”

Taking time off from social media can do a lot of good. Having your senses bombarded by all sorts of news and images, from the most beautiful to the extremely disturbing, can directly affect your emotional and mental well – being. Not to mention the in between, where you’re super pleased that a long divorced friend is finally married but secretly turning green after seeing her new lavish lifestyle. That’s just one example. There are too many things that can rock your zen, by simply being human.

As you’re enjoying your solitude (away from all the virtual relationships) while being present, to those around you, try to take notice of what’s happening in your life. First, your attentiveness will increase, and you’ll understand why your kids get upset with you previously. Then, you’ll find spare time that seems to disappear whenever you used to be busy in the other world. Next, you’re at peace with everything because your life revolves around those who matters most. And that’s it. No dramas, no competitions, no envies, no headaches from problems that is of no concern to you. Finally, take notice of your real friends and families- the ones you actually mingle with in person. People who care will try to reach you in every possible way or stand outside your front door wondering what in the world is happening to you. They can hear your silence…

As an introvert, I find socialising on social media easier to handle than being out there rubbing shoulders with others. So, to strike a balance, I let my senses decide when I need to take a break and spend some time in ‘solitude’. It works well for me so far…

Zarif@16

12th November 2017

Zarif, on this day, I’d like you to know your important role in my discovery of motherhood. An exhilarating journey with numerous ups and downs, twists and turns, broken hearts and happy tears. But undoubtedly, a heart full of unconditional love for all my children. A love like no other that goes beyond the unthinkables in this world.

You’re my baby, my pain, my love, my worries, my heart, my headache, my smile, my frown, my pride, my stress, my joy, my nightmare, my strength, my weakness, my champion, my enemy, my laughter, my tears, my motivation, my despair, my everything there is there. You’re my son.

Happy Sixteenth Birthday, darling!

Go on and chase your dreams for life’s too short to live with regrets. Tomorrow’s not a promise, but today’s a new day.

Loving you with all my heart, Mummy ❤

As Long As You’re Happy Baby

My fun loving teen loves the sense of thrills running through his veins. Stuff that makes his heart jumps and skips a beat are often deliberately sought out. He’s always game for any adventurous pursuits or scary rides at theme parks. This boy rarely thinks twice before getting himself in what a sensible adult considers dangerous.

Then there’s the tween who’s an avid collector of everything under the sun. When other kids played with toys, he started his collection of Barney the dinosaur and The Wiggles VCDs. Since young he developed a great sense of navigation to where the shops can be found in a mall. Each year there’d be something new that caught his attention. Once it was the Beatles and he spent hours googling about their life and looking up for memorabilia on eBay. Thank goodness he didn’t pester us to buy any!

As for Little Missy, she’s an outdoorsy kind of girl who enjoys going about with our neighbour’s boys. Riding her bike, playing footie and running around. After becoming confident to ride without the stabilizers, she coached her friends to do the same. Little Missy often gets annoyed when hearing girls and boys shouldn’t play the same games or be good friends. A good thing though, she has her own mind and is not listening to those party poopers.

My 3 year old bambam, is exactly like her older sister, but much braver and bolder. That’s not really a problem until you realized she’s only a little girl who has no sense of danger…just like her eldest brother!

One thing for sure, we should learn something from the kids. No matter what, be happy in your own skin by doing stuff that makes you feel good.

So, tell me what’s yours?

Parents, Blow Your Horn

Whether you’re a mum or a dad, a stepmum or a stepdad, a single mum or a single dad, an aunt or an uncle, a grandma or a grandpa, a sister or a brother, a woman or a man who’s responsible for looking after a child, you’re a parenting idol. Being the carer, you’re known as the parent of the child. A role that comes with huge responsibilities and quite a number of occupational hazards.

Because of the risky lifestyle that you keep facing everyday, your amazing achievements in numerous feats that only a parent knows how, should be celebrated. Such as,

  • preparing meals and snacks for a picky eater and a ravenous monster, so they won’t go hungry throughout the day (regardless how the food gets to the table, isn’t an issue here)
  • ensuring a clean supply of clothes for daily wear, despite only seeing the piles of washing that need to be done, in the laundry baskets and on the floor
  • your expertise in finding lost items from the most treasured underwear to the easily missed minuscule hand of a lego minifigure
  • being the most reliable alarm clock that doesn’t run on batteries and can wake everyone at different times, without having to reset it
  • a walking and talking dictionary that possibly has a bilingual option, with interchangeable explanation and translation tools
  • a Google expert who finds the answers by a simple touch and swipe, and best of all, it’s able to function without wifi sometimes
  • a homework helper machine that can provide support and coaching in most areas of the curriculum- when it can’t, the Google expert will step in
  • a life skills’ coach who teaches those functional stuff like cleaning up after your own mess, boiling water in a kettle for times when a hot water dispenser isn’t available, taking trash out on collection day, washing dishes before there’s none left to use, turning off electricity when not in use for energy conservation and saving costs etc.
  • fixing things using tapes, super glue and whatnots
  • DIY, art projects and research work advisor
  • kisssing countless boo- boos to make it better and tries hard to believe that it actually works
  • highly sought after problem solver who’s on demand round the clock
  • a skilful driver, professional chauffeur and bodyguard all rolled into one

Though being a parent can be a nightmare at times, do know that you’re doing just fine by loving and caring for your children in the best possible way. No one should undermine what or how you do it. As a parent, you’re simply wonderful ❤

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Words Wonder

Breathe in deeply, exhale slowly.

Love wholeheartedly.

Mindfulness matters a great deal.

Spread good vibes only.

Today was a good day, even if all you did was breathing and living.

Always have faith, and never stop believing in it.

Free your mind, body and soul.

Keep hope alive until your last breath.

Let’s coffee…coffee makes you happy. Trust me.

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Life’s Little Miracles

On Monday, after arriving home from school, Mr Teen related the sweetest news ever. Coming from someone who wouldn’t put any extra efforts for anything academic, he actually volunteered in class to share his PowerPoint presentation that was given for homework. Looks like miracles do happen at the most unlikeliest time. I told Mr Teen how proud I was of him. Though it’s only a tiny step, it makes a huge impact on his confidence. I’m sure.

Pinky Promise

To my precious brood,

Growing up is a journey heading towards the unknown. In its path, there are plenty of adventures that you’ll recall with great fondness or will leave you scarred for life. Of course there are also the in-betweens. Memories that you won’t be able to remember, but would resurface from a sudden trigger that comes out of nowhere. However, don’t let your fear of the uncertainties stop you from experiencing life fully. Be a curious adventurer and brave through the storms as best as you can, by using all the skills and wisdom that you’ve acquired along the way. Looking back, you’ll feel a sense of pride for getting to where you are.

But, remember: when you’re over the moon and can’t keep your feet on the ground, I shall be there pulling you down. When you feel lost and disheartened, I’ll firmly hold your hand, guiding you until you’re ready to let go. When you’re too full of yourself, I’ll give you a smart slap to pop that bubble, so you’ll be humble again. If you need someone to listen, I’ll be all ears. If you want a shoulder to cry on, I’ll be ready with a hanky. If you think you’re unworthy, do know you’re the most valuable gift- unforgettable, unexchangeable, irreplaceable gift in my life.

Thanks to you I get to taste the bittersweet journey that is filled with unimaginable adventures. Sometimes they’re so overwhelming that I want to call it quit. Sometimes they’re light and fluffy that I keep wishing for more.

I will always be your champion, darling. Never ever doubt. That’s my job, and that’s what I’m good at. Being your champion for life.

Love, Mum.

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And There Are Four

One

Not two

Three would do

Four should be more

Fun

Says who?

Loud chaotic days

Messy home endless laundry

Tantrums

Attention seekers

Rules get ignored

Deafening screams contagious laughter

Quiet

Red alert

Beware troubles brewing

Catastrophe about to begin

Teen

And Tween

Equally troublesome as

Terrible 3 & Snappy 7

Four

Just four

Already I’m floored

Four too many, no?

Magic Potion For The Body & Soul

After a repertoire of movements that involved every limbs of my body, from almost 4 a.m, I was so ready for my third cuppa by noon. My youngest was taken ill, so for the last couple of days her disturbed sleep naturally affected the quality of mine. No surprises there at all.

Coffee is an indulgence that I’m not giving up for its wonders to my busy schedule. It’s the best pick-me-up that works like magic. Soothes away an achy body, energizes the fuddled brain and restores order in chaotic times. Life is sometimes hard, surely one deserves a little treat now and then.

I decided to go for my workout at 7 ish for a quick energy booster that would help me stay alert come noon. Unfortunately, that didn’t last today. Hence, a second cuppa at 11 a.m. was direly needed. Then, a little incident triggered the panic button as my father-in-law seemed to be in a state that needed medical attention. When everything was sorted, it was less than half an hour before school pick-up. Thankfully I got the kids on time, plus a quick stop over to get some ingredients for lunch.

Upon reaching home, lunch preparation involved listening to three kids talking at once. Typical of them to chatter away about their day but oblivious to the rule of turn taking. Since everyone was trying to get my attention, they ended up bickering with each other. Enough to say that was an unwelcomed distraction, so I sent them off for some TV time. The idiot box is truly a blessing when it comes to this. Considering the level of caffeine in my bloodstream was running low, I was terribly well behaved.

As I brought in the laundry, my youngest needed a diaper change. And changed her I did about 20 minutes earlier. Now another trip to the toilet. Sigh. Didn’t even get a chance to sit down for some rest. Sigh. Again.

Naturally, I caved in for a third cup of 150ml piping hot liquid delight. A little treat to keep me going for the rest of the day. Oh, also that was to celebrate not having to pick up my eldest from school. An absolute bliss at 2 p.m. when the temperature was just right to stay indoor!

G’bye June, Hello July!

With the many things that took place in the month of June, the weeks felt short as the days blurred by. Honestly I didn’t get a chance to digest and think properly, but had to let everything washed over me. Now I’m left with a combination of mixed feelings and a strange aftertaste. 

Since it was also the holy month of Ramadhan for the Muslims, observing the obligatory fasting somehow affected my night time sleep. I ended up taking too many short naps in the day which was pretty unusual for me. As a result, sluggishness was hard to rid off and it stayed a bit longer than expected.

Anyhow despite the erratic rhythm in June, there were abundance of blessings sprinkled on my path. Alhamdulillah. All praises to Allah for His love and mercy. 

Let me share my list of gratitude:

Mr Teen was accepted and started the second half of the year at a new school with a smaller class roll. 

Mr Tween and Little Missy showed positive progress in their recent exam. 

For the first time Little Missy tried fasting and managed to do a full day.

Had short catch-up sessions with a couple of good friends.

Secured some freelance jobs for the coming months.

Although my father-in-law is still warded at the hospital, he is steadily recovering.

There are many tests thrown in my direction, but I’m at peace with myself.

As July is approaching, I’m praying for a better time and a fresh start, so I can do things with my eyes wide open and the brain is working well. I’ll do what it takes to live a life worth living while riding through the storms.

A Reluctant Cook No More

Here’s what I’ve been doing before calling it a night these days- spending the wee hours thinking about lunch. At times, that’ll be all I think about as I get out of bed and march the kids out to school. Lunch. That midday meal when the tummy rumbles if one skips a good breakfast. But I don’t do lunch, you see. It’s a bad habit I got from my teaching days. Lunch means dashing off for duty for the first or last 20 minutes of a 40 minutes break, while at the same time trying to finish off this and that, or whatever else that crops up. Strangely enough when there was time to eat, I’d choose to work instead. Though occasionally I’d gobbled up a sandwich or downed a hot cup of instant noodle for a quick fix. And that is considered a treat.

As you probably have guessed, this fixation with lunch is due to none other than my brood of four who would troop in between 12 noon to 2 pm, like a pack of hungry bears. What must a mama bear do? Have food ready to serve of course! For me meals should be a simple affair of fuss free preparation with nothing fancy to distract the mind from the food. So long as the dishes look presentable and taste just right, that would be enough.

My choice of menu is pretty straight forward: sandwiches, salads, soups, pastas/noodles, one-pot meals, eggs (cook in a variety of ways) and fried rice. Being a Malaysian, I do enjoy rice eaten with many side dishes, but not for every meal. I’d rather have bread, and my late grandma used to say that I should marry the bread seller (who goes around on his bike selling bread and treats), so I can have all the bread for free. Nah, it should’ve been a man who loves cooking and frees me from this task of feeding the family. This is an important requirement for women to have before finding a life partner…specifically those who find cooking a little challenging.

To cater to the different taste buds, I learnt to work smart. Very smart. My collection of cookbook remains untouched nowadays, as I mostly googled for the recipes. What’s the main keyword? Simple. Easy. Quick. Once I found a few good ones, I made a quick mental note (screenshot if necessary) and merged everything into one simple recipe. But I only used it as a rough guide and actually cooking it in my style. I’ve become more creative at using similar ingredients to produce different dishes for all to enjoy.  Not a Master Chef standard, just enough to do its job in keeping a happy belly!

The go-to double duty menus:

  1. Bolognese sauce: pasta/ sloppy joe
  2. Thick creamy chicken soup: pasta/ as it is with buns
  3. Hard boiled eggs: salad/ filling for a sandwich
  4. Grilled sausages: hot dog/ sliced thickly and stir fry in a mixture of chili sauce, tomato sauce and soy sauce- eaten on its own or  with rice
  5. Tuna- salad/ pasta/ sandwich
  6. Sardines- fried rice/ sandwich/ salad
  7. Omelette-  sandwich/ rice
  8. Roast/ fried chicken: salad/ sandwich/ pasta/ rice
  9. Fried anchovies/ salmon fillet-  plain rice porridge/ fried rice/ sandwich
  10. Boiled potatoes:  salad/ mashed potatoes

In order to make it better, adding condiment to taste and some garnishment for effect will liven up each dish, without a doubt.

For the record, I still don’t eat lunch as I’ll have a heavy breakfast, but there’s always a mug of coffee and a toast or two along the way. Err, to be honest some cookies keep me  happily filled up too 😁😁😁

Cross (It) Off Part 1

Things we know for sure but annoyingly keep popping up

  • Occasional indulgence won’t make the little ones bratty. Childhood is a special time, so they deserve that extra special treatment. When they know they are loved, they’ll be more appreciative, loving and trusting.
  • Boys and girls should do/enjoy/watch/play things that are gender specific because if they don’t they will end up being less masculine/feminine as an adult. Absolute nonsense! Let them explore what they like in order to develop empathy for each other in the future, so they’ll be a better partner/wife/husband/parent. A decent human being.
  • Pacifier, security blanket/pillow, thumb sucking for comfort won’t last forever and they are not the cause of clinginess or antisocial behaviour. It actually helps making the child independent and grounded.
  • Breastfeeding or formula milk is a choice. Whether the milk is a plant or animal based is a choice. Having said that, some mothers don’t even have the privilege to choose due to health or socio-economic factors, and that is not a choice.
  • A growing child’s milestone checklist isn’t there to freak-out new parents, it is a guideline to gauge the growth of a typical child of that age. If there’s any concerns, note it and book an appointment with a paediatrician. Googling then coming up with your own interpretation is a big No No.
  • Frustrations and tantrums are a norm from baby to adolescence. Adults have them too but they know how to take control and make it less obvious by not showing it in front of others (though there are adults with bad tantrums 🙄). There’s no reason for a child to act grown-up because they haven’t reached that developmental stage yet.
  • Our success as a parent isn’t measured against our children’s spectacular achievements, likewise our failure has nothing to do with their inability to measure up with the mainstream expectations.

Bits of Joy

A good read

A warm hello

A toothy smile

A clear blue sky

Morning breeze

Lounging in pyjamas

Freshly brewed coffee

A cool splash in the pool

Babies gurgled in their sleep

Strawberry jam, cream and scones

Discounted goods on a shopping spree

Dollops of whipped cream in chocolate drinks

Having love-feeling loved-giving love kind of thing

Fruity ice lolly in a sweltering hot afternoon

Tomato sandwich with a dash of salt

A box of chocolates not to be shared

A bunch of balloons

Walking in the rain

Mum’s cooking

Twinkling eyes

Nutella spread

A hearty laugh

A comfy bed

Aiza@LifeIsSuch