Monday, June 28, 2010

Salma at the movies part 2

I posted some time ago about how we took Salma to watch Shrek 4 in the cinema for the first time and she was asleep for the entire move. Well, yesterday we brought her to see Toy Story 3 at the cinema, and I am happy to say that she watched at least 30 mins of the show before falling asleep. I give her points for good behaviour. She didn't cry, scream or shout. Good girl!

Now we can see the trend of parents bringing their kids to watch movies at Premier or Gold Class. We, ourselves, opted to bring Salma to the Signature Gardens Midvalley GSC. The entire cinema was filled with parents and their kids. I think there was only one couple there who came without children, but the wife was pregnant. It's so much more comfortable and convenient to bring your toddler to the movies at the Premier or Gold Class cinema. The seats are wider, there's a small table for you to put your bags & snacks, and they deliver your snacks to your seat. There's personal boundaries in Premier/Gold Class, too; two seats each separated by an aisle. So you are not sharing the row with other people, and young kids feel safer and more comfortable this way. They are more content to stay in their seats when they know this section is only for them and mummy and daddy. Oh and the toilets are cleaner, too.

Having enough space to stretch and roam around is important to toddlers in a cinema. They like to watch the movie while also doing something else. She climbed up and down the seat several times before finally settling in. She switched from my lap to her dad's lap a couple of times, before finally deciding to lie down between both of us. The cold temperature in the cinema made her sleepy though, and she asked me to nurse, and then finally falling asleep.

The movie was a little sad at the end. It's kind of sad that now there will be no more Toy Story in the original sense. I don't think Salma understood the storyline too much, but she could relate to all the pre-school/daycare scenes. And I think she understood that the main characters were all toys. And I am glad that she fell asleep, so that mummy and daddy can enjoy the movie. It isn't surprising that other kids in Premier Class cinema were well behaved, too. I think they enjoyed the comfy space more than anything else, and didn't have a need to complain to their parents. :)

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Friday, June 25, 2010


The lady in charge of maintenance for my office building said to me one day, "When you first came, you didn't look like someone that was married and with kids. Then you put the photos of your daughter up on your desk, and I was so surprised!" Hmm, I thought to myself, do I take that as a compliment or not? I asked her. And she said, "Yes, it's meant to be a compliment! You don't look 'mumsy' at all."

Hmm "mumsy". I know what she meant though. Even though I was thinking to myself that my figure is getting to look pretty mumsy, especially with my flabby tummy, I knew that there were other women my age that looked more mumsy than me. They're the types that wear mom jeans. I am so not ready to be as mumsy as that. And the thing is, it's not that they're fat or anything, because some are quite svelte, but they still look mumsy. For example, they always wear beige, or this diluted green color. And they wear those mumsy shoes, those Scholl sandals. Ya, you know mumsy. But they are all around my age so what gives? Have these women just given up?

You're meant to look mumsy when you've reached 50 or something like that. There is one lady who is younger than me, and she is very mumsy! She even tells you to finish your food during lunch and to eat your vegetables! I am not that mumsy. Although I may chide my own family for not eating right, I don't really force my colleagues to finish their food. "Finish up your rice, it's just a bit more," she said, and she wasn't joking, either.

Honestly, it's something you tell your kids to do, not grown adults.

I don't mind that she's mumsy, just that it's a bit disturbing. She probably has a great figure underneath all the over-sized clothes she wears. She's 2 years younger than I am, and so she should be enjoying her youth, and not rushing to be more matronly. She's slim, not overweight. She has one child, same as me. I think she would love a good make-over, with her hair all done up nicely, and shaped eyebrows and nice make-up. She watched me put on my make-up after Asar prayers in the surau one day and commented that she has never put on that much make-up in her life. And I was only putting on powder, eyeliner, and lipbalm.

"Not even powder?" I asked.

"Not even powder."

But she has pretty good skin, no pimples or anything. I suggested that she try some on herself to see if she liked having make-up on, and whether it would please her husband, but she just said it would be too much work.

There's the explanation right there. Too much work.

Is that why most women opt to look mumsy over looking great and contemporary? Because it's less work? (I mean not that I look great all the time, I just don't try to look mumsy). I remember when Kate Gosselin (from Jon &  Kate Plus Eight) first delivered her sextuplets, she hadn't done her tummy tuck procedure yet, so she did look very mumsy. She was always in sweat pants and t-shirts for like the first 6 months or so. And in an interview, she did admit that she didn't even bother to try to look pretty because it was so tiring to chase after 8 young children. Then when the sextuplets got older, and they had more money to hire some household help, she had more time to spend on taking care of her appearance, and started going shopping for clothes other than sweat pants and t-shirts.

I believe in the saying "Look great, feel great." So as long as you try to look good, it'll make you feel good. And it doesn't matter if you have a mumsy figure, you can still opt to vary the outfits you wear than just a pair of floppy pants and an over-sized shirt and sandals. There is a lady here, who is right about to retire, and she's a grandmother, but she never looks mumsy! Sure, she dresses her age, but she never looks mumsy. She wears pumps, beautifully tailored linen shirts, slim-cut pants, and always has her hair done nicely, and is always never without her bright red lipstick. You can't tell that she's a grandmother just by looking at her. But I've seen spinsters who look like they could have had many grandchildren.

This blog entry is not meant to make you feel ugly, but meant to make you be a little more self-conscious, and to make you think twice about being lazy when it comes to your appearance. Because remember "look great, feel great." Accept your body shape, but at the same time, try to find different styles that compliment your body shape so that your body doesn't become something that you are ashamed of. There is a pear-shaped lady who works here, but she always looks good. She has a fancy way of wearing her hijab, too, that sort of balances her whole figure, and doesn't make her look fat. These women inspire me. And they should inspire you, too.

Monday, June 21, 2010

There is a positive correlation between weaning and tantrums: the more you try to wean your toddler from breastfeeding, the more temper tantrums you will get.

I have been breastfeeding for close to 2 years now, and I feel that it's time to stop. Or else I fear it will go on and on forever. I have started to refuse her requests to nurse only just recently, but boy has it had an impact on my body! I have been producing milk on demand for over a year now, and not really producing extra milk when I am away from my daughter. But suddenly, after trying to ignore her crying tantrums, and refusing to give her the teat until the very last minute (right before bedtime), my breasts are starting to get sore. I find that I am producing milk while I am at work, which has not happened in a very long time (though I am not leaking, thank God!). By the end of the day, when I finally pick Salma up from day-care, I find that (and I think she does, too) I am smelling of milk, and right away she will ask me to nurse, while I'm driving!

And of course, I have to say no, because how can I breastfeed her while I'm driving? And we have to wait until we reach home. And it's such a relief to finally be able to feed her, too, when we reach home, because it alleviates the soreness. So now I'm thinking, how do wean my child but at the same time reducing the pain for myself? I have asked quite a number of people, and none of them could provide me any options. It is bound to hurt, and your breasts will get sore. One lady I asked said her breast got engorged when she weaned her kids, and had to resort to expressing milk manually in the loo. Yikes! How am I going to do this?

I have tried pumping with the electric pump, and even though my breasts are as sore as they are, I am unable to express more than 0.5 ounces. I think I will only be able a proper let down if my skin comes into contact with baby's saliva. This going to be really tricky then, because I'm not that good at expressing milk manually.

It's hard for me to concentrate at work when my breasts are this sore. And I don't think I can quite explain how it feels like in words. It's just this really irritating feeling. And if I drink water, I get the odd sensation that the water I drink goes straight to my breast. Haish. It's uncomfortable. I just want to be able to wean her without feeling all this discomfort.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Fantastic puzzles!

I am a big fan of Melissa & Doug. ( They are a US company that make educational toys for children. A couple of months ago, I bought 2 wooden peg puzzles by Melissa & Doug at the Toys R Us at Empire Shopping Gallery. We went to the grand opening of the Toys R Us, and got ourselves a free membership card. Melissa & Doug's wooden puzzles are just gorgeous and safe. No rough edges, no wooden splinters.

Salma loves her peg puzzles! She plays with them almost everyday, and has not gotten tired of them yet.

One of the puzzles that I bought for her is the "See-Inside Numbers Peg Puzzle" (pictured below). For the first few weeks, we just concentrated on getting Salma to place the pieces back into their slots on her own. It took a bit of practice, because I had to teach her what the words "Turn around" and "Pusing" (the words "turn around" in Malay) meant, and how to do it with the puzzle piece. So she would have a puzzle piece in her hand that was upside down, and she'd be trying to force it into the puzzle slot, and I would tell her, "Turn it around… pusing…" At first it was hard for her, but now it's easy.

After she had mastered putting the puzzle pieces back in place, she came up with a whole new game using her "See-Inside Numbers Peg Puzzle." I was pretty amazed because she came up with the idea all by herself, and played it with me one night before bedtime. Each puzzle slot has a picture that gets hidden once the puzzle piece is in place. For example, the puzzle piece for number "4" has a picture of 4 mice in the slot. With all the puzzle pieces already in their places (and thus covering the hidden pictures), she would ask me, "Mummy, where is mouse?" And I would have to remember where the hidden picture of the mice is and point to the number.

Of course, I would pretend not to know, and I would point to number 8 and ask, "Is it here?"

And she would say, "Bukaaaaan… (Nooooo…)"

Then I would point to number 4, and ask, "Is it here?"

And she would remove the puzzle piece to reveal the correct picture, and yell out, "Yes! Yay!!"

And then it would be my turn to ask her.

It actually took her awhile to memorize where all the different pictures are situated, and for awhile she got confused over the ladybird picture and the flower picture. For some reason, they looked the same to her. But now she knows the difference.

We play this "find the hidden picture" game so often that I am bored of it already. But Salma is not. But Mummy is! So I want to go to the Toys R Us and get her the See-Inside Alphabet Peg Puzzle. Then we can learn the ABCs and play the memory game. I can't wait! I haven't gone to the Toys R Us yet, but I think I will do it sometime this week. :D

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bedtime rituals

Salma has officially entered her terrible twos at 20 months. Yes, she does everything early. I began to notice the change when our usual bedtime routine changed the last two times. Instead of the usual read a book and nightly feed, Salma now has the need to do anything and everything in that short period between after-dinner and bedtime. She will insist on playing her puzzles, insist on reading all her books, and then maybe do some coloring, and then maybe have some milk. She wants to show everyone that she is a big girl, and big girls can do whatever they want.

She used to fall asleep at 7.30pm or 8.00pm. Now she tries to stay awake as late as possible. And if I don't let her, she will scream, hit or bite. Welcome to the terrible twos!

Even though we don't teach her to scream, hit or bite, toddlers entering this stage will try these out just because they can. Salma has only tried to bite me once. When my reaction was to cry out in pain and do some pretend crying, she stopped doing it. She even patted my head and said, "Sorry mummy." But Salma loves to hit and also to scratch. Sometimes she doesn't even hit you, she just brushes you with her hand. And she loves to swipe my nose, because she knows it irritates me. Or poke my nose when she's mad. I don't know what made her poke my nose the very first time, but I hate it when she does it. But she loves it!

Now when she wakes up, she will complain before having to take a shower. She used to be very agreeable and sing songs while getting ready to shower. But now she will kick and scream and twist her body. She will tell me that she wants to continue sleeping or just "I don't want..." But once she's in the shower, she's happy.

Now her new personality is starting to show in school too, and one of the teachers seems as if she is unable to accept it, and will complain to me on a daily basis. I feel like telling her, "Hey, all 2 years old throw tantrums, it's a growing-up stage!" but I just say, "Oh ya?" and move on. The best part was when the same teacher complained to me that Salma hit her face when she was annoyed. I wanted to laugh, because Salma hits my face everyday! It doesn't hurt, but it's just her way of telling me to "Stop it! I don't like it." If only we she could talk properly, then she wouldn't have to hit your face!

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Last night, after Salma had finished her dinner, she asked me if she can watch her favorite DVD. I said, "No, we have to go upstairs and get ready for bed."

She then proceeded to throw a tantrum.

Nonetheless, I carried her upstairs, kicking and screaming. I continued to change her clothes and change her diaper. She still did not stop her tantrum. The type of crying during the tantrum usually begins with fake crying, but then continues to become real crying when she starts to get really frustrated. At the point when I had finished changing her diapers, she was still at her fake crying stage. I then told her that I was going to have a quick shower and say my evening prayers. I told her that instead of watching her DVD, she can play with her puzzles and read her books. I promised her that when I was done, I would read her "Silly Tilly" (her current favorite book). She continued her screaming and just ignored me basically.

While I was in the shower, and out of her view, she was quiet. I could not hear any screaming. Right when I switched off the water, she started her wailing again. But I took my time drying myself off before stepping out of the bathroom. By the time I opened the door, she was so frustrated at having to wait for me, that real tears started coming out, and so the real crying stage began. I felt a little bad, but I had to perform my evening prayers. She cried throughout, asking me to come to the bed. When I was finally able to hug her, she refused (merajuk la tu). Then to distract her, I asked her if she wanted to color in her coloring book? The new idea made her stop crying and she said yes. So I brought her crayons and her Winnie-the-Pooh coloring book to the bed where she sat.

She took her crayon and flipped the pages of her coloring book, but all the pages had some conteng/scribbles already in it. I found a page with the least amount of conteng, and proceeded to color in Pooh's hat. She didn't like that, and began her tantrum again! She wanted a new book. So off I went to search for an untouched coloring book. I had bought 3, and hid the other 2 somewhere, but couldn't remember where I put them. My search took quite awhile, and during this time, her wailing got louder and louder. By the time I reached her with the 2 new coloring books, she was exhausted! All she could do was hold the 2 coloring books in her hands without opening them; she was so tired. (But she was still crying). When I tried to coax her to open one of the books, she would not. And it was just the funniest thing to see! She was too tired to even stop crying.

Of course she got angry when I laughed, hitting me with her two coloring books. But I just couldn't help it. Finally, I coaxed her to nurse (breastfeed). By this time, it was late (for her at least), almost 9 pm. She spent so much energy throwing a tantrum that it was past her bedtime. She didn't even get to color. While she breastfed, she insisted on holding on to her crayons and one of the coloring books. She would not let them go, even when I promised her that she could color right after she woke up in the morning.

She fell asleep holding on to a Tigger coloring book and her box of crayons.

In the morning, after she had showered and got dressed, just as I had promised, I let her color in her new coloring book. Which she did. Before leaving for school, she said to me, "Mummy, simpan color." (Asked me to put away her coloring books and crayons).

"Okay, you can color some more when you get back home."

"Thank you, mummy."