Saturday, August 28, 2010


i love the month of ramadhan. i love the peacefulness, the serenity, the togetherness (be it the sounds of neighbours waking up before dawn or the rush of the working crowd to get home in time for iftar or the mushroom-ing of pasar ramadhan or the sight of ballooning crowd at the mosque for terawih prayers even the daily status update of 'what to eat, what to cook'). i look forward to ramadhan more than syawal. syawal's become too commercialised, too full of 'forgiveness but repeating', too much of 'puasa sebulan so must raya sebulan' notion.

this year, ramadhan's passed by quite fast. the start of ramadhan was sweet yet sad. sweet as amir was ready to fast. i talked to amir about fasting a couple of weeks before ramadhan. told him what it would be like - the early morning sahur, the abstinance of food and drinks, the waiting for iftar. he seemed to be open to the idea and was more determined after his teachers talked about fasting in school. but it was very sad that i could not experience the first sahur and first iftar with amir, as ariff and akmal have not been discharged.

alhamdulillah, at the age of 5 years and 7 months, amir managed to fast for 10 days. on saturdays and sundays, we asked him not to fast as his brothers were not fasting. he also had his cooking class 2 saturdays of the fasting month and we didnt want to let him watch his friends eat when he could not. there were a couple of days where he was not feeling well and now that we're coming towards the last 10 days of the month of ramadhan, hubby and i decided not to let amir fast. he looked a bit tired but, alhamdulillah, it was more than we expected of amir at this age.

our daily routine is pretty much the same every day during ramadhan. hubby leaves his office at 4:30pm and heads off to a pasar ramadhan. menu is roughly the same every day - laksam, nasi kerabu & lompat tikam for hubby; laksa for myself; 2 packs of nasi goreng or nasi lemak shared between the 4 boys and kuihs (usually popiah, seri muka, kuih ketayap and onde onde) more for the boys than us. then he'll meet me at kelana jaya, pick up the boys and we'll be on our way home.

once we get home, hubby takes the boys upstairs to bathe, i pack their bags for the next day, start the washing machine, pick up the laundry and set the table. then they all come down, hubby would feed them while i fold the clothes. when we break our fast, the boys would be watching telly or be at the island, eating the kuihs. before we go up, i'll air the clothes and usually everything's done before we perform our maghrib prayers. everything's done quite fast, by 8 we will be upstairs watching telly and helping the boys with their homework or just watching them run from one room to another.

i would love to cook during the weekend but i've only cooked three times so far - making beef stew the 2nd weekend of ramadhan, the second time we had grilled steak and chicken and most recently, i made lasagna (which akmal & asyraf seriously loved).

preparation for syawal this year was pretty smooth. we've tried to keep spending at its minimum and i think we've achieved that. generally we have 2 pairs of baju raya each - red for the first day, blue for the second. the boys were given jubah from their nenny so maybe that can be the baju for the afternoon of the first day. i bought t-shirts for them to wear on the afternoon of the second day. pants would be something already in their wardrobe, not getting new full outfit this time. samping is also not on the list, they'll wear last year's. but i did get them songkok - amir requested for them, actually. no new shoes too - they still have their adidas sandals, except for ariff who outgrew his. that's it basically.

cookies, of course, must be bought. i cant imagine the cleaning up that comes with making my own cookies. i love making them but i hate cleaning up. again, i bought my cookies from shida of sweetfrosting. the menu for the first morning of syawal has been decided - nasi minyak, gulai daging, ayam masak merah & hubby's acar.

everything's pretty much settled and prepared except for the car. i do hope the car will be ready on time because we really need it for our holiday on the 3rd day of syawal.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ariff Iqhwan

ariff iqhwan, his name means 'one who knows of brotherhood' but clearly that is not the case at the moment. ariff is currently on a mission against asyraf. when it comes to asyraf, ariff turns into mafia...a weapon-weilding, ass-kicking, fist-throwing, nail-scratching mafia.

it irks me to the core whenever i talk about ariff's violence only to get comments like 'no...he's so cool, no...he's a softie, no...he wouldnt do that'. hell-u, were you actually there when it happened. jangan cakap you werent there, you werent even 2million metres near him!

ariff, generally, is easy. he can entertain himself, usually with his number of cars, his string of trains, his rownie. or he'll play alongside akmal, playing with thomas, watching the telly with him. he's wonderful during meal times. he'll sit quietly from the word go till he finishes every single item on his plate (and then some). he's great in the car, he'll sit quietly in his car seat, looking out of the window. he's excellent when it comes to nap time, he will fall asleep on his own way, before others.

but take those away, and you're left with a boy who refuses to budge whenever he's given instructions, a boy who puts his head under running water and come out gasping for breath, a boy who cant stand the sight of his abang and does everything he can to show that, a boy who is a terrible, horrible patient who screams and whines and cries at the hint of slight fever (he's been that way since he was a wee baby).

for now, out of the 4 ariff's the worst when we're at home. he's difficult to talk to, he's terrible when we're giving instructions, he shouts and screams, he bulldozes his way down the stairs, he opens and shuts and locks the doors, the plays with remotes on the bedside table, he pushes his trains and cars to and fro in front of the tv. his worst attitude is his vendetta against his abang asyraf. nothing and everything asyraf does is not acceptable to him, not asyraf's jumping, his running, his hands clapping, his colouring, his cough, his sneeze, his snore, the way he sits, the way he bathes, the way he talks. if ever asyraf were to step an inch over the boundaries ariff has set, its world war 3. ariff will run and run and run after asyraf, hitting him with anything in his way be it thomas, a helicopter, shrek, woody, the remote, a pen, anything he can grab hold of.

when we're out however, ariff takes on another persona. he's relaxed, he's quiet, he listens, he obeys (as much as he could), he says 2 words in an hour and, most importantly, he ignores asyraf and the lack of shouting and screaming and hitting and scratching and the crying that follows, make the world a beautiful place.

in school, his teachers say ariff is extra helpful. helpful in the sense that he brings his classmates bags to the door, sometimes passing the bags to their parents. ariff gets special treatment from his kak yus and sometimes, from his cikgu fatim. they are actually the carer of babies. his own class teacher, cikgu sally is not so soft with him. but when she scolds him, there comes kak yus to save him. one of the way to make ariff angry is to say 'nanti babab kak yus' then ariff with get all protective-like and shouts 'eiiii tak bolehhhh!!' spoilt boy!

ariff is the echo. he echoes everything abang long and abang says. his 2 elder brothers have 400 stories everyday on the way home from school. ariff, who is in a different school and are with toddler classmates, have no stories to tell. that and he hasnt really adopted the story telling character. so rather than being left out in the car, he would shout out every now and then with 'cikgu sally naik motor', 'ariff pakai baju red' or his very famous 'ehhh busssss'.

ariff has the worst pelat case in history. its difficult to understand what he wants to say, only amir, his mummy and occasionally asyraf understand his language. mok nak run rang rang means 'ariff nak turun sorang-sorang', 'nak we we' means 'nak dua dua'. ariff now is slowly learning to say the one word he has never said in his life - ariff. he is learning to drop the word 'mok' and use the word 'ariff'. he regused initially, then slowly used 'ariff mok' sort of to still stick to his normal 'name' but will open to using mummy and daddy's name, now have progressed to using 'ariff' on a regular basis.

ariff's favourite line is 'anti mok atam ye' (nanti mok datang ye). that's his line whenever he bids anyone farewell. while people would use the normal (and simple) 'bye', ariff would be going all 'anti mok atam ye' to his parents, his brothers, his teachers, his aunties even to the stray cat that walks past our porch. its as though he wants to tell everyone that he'll come back, not to worry. sorta like arnie's trademark 'i'll be back' but, well, not exactly like that.

ariff has a lot of character, honestly. he has a lot of sides to himself. a lot of people see the 'outdoor' ariff, not the 'indoor' or 'in school' ariff. that's what pisses me off when i talk about ariff because people find it hard to see him in other light and make it seem like we're telling tales about him. telling tales is one thing but there are also people who seem to 'know' ariff...without even meeting him, or meeting him only once, twice, three times. again, that's the 'outdoor' ariff. trust his mother, trust his father...there are other sides to ariff iqhwan.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Latest Holiday

after a weekend of high temperature (ariff reached 39.5c and akmal was 40.1c at one time) and flu and cough and finally wheezing, we decided to take monday off to visit our saviour, dr azizi. when we visitied him, ariff was hyper. he didnt look like he had high fever the day before. but he still had his flu so his pead gave him the appropriate medication. when he checked akmal, it was a different story. akmal was weak, his flu was terrible, his wheezing obvious. he hadnt had his susu since sunday and that, with the fever he had, contributed to him being weak.

first up was the nasal swab. then he was prescribed the nebuliser. akmal was screaming and kicking when he was looked at and when the doctor did the nasal swab. when the time came for him to do the nebuliser, he gave up and was actually sleeping. we went back in after the neb, and, surprise surprise, the diagnose was - admission. so not surprising. akmal's pead just said - he's extremely sensitive. tell me about it, doc!

so we settled the admission with the doc's assistants. we're ok with any room to start with but then please move us up to our normal room. the room will only be ready later that day so we decided to go home to pack and then come back. we went to the pharmacy to get ariff's medicine. at this time, ariff was lying next to akmal on the stroller. he didnt look good. he felt a bit warm. we decided to go to the a&e to get his temperature and, if necessary, to give him the voltaren supp we got from the pharmacist.

the hyper ariff, who was jumping in the pead's clinic and running while akmal had to do the nebuliser, was now a whopping 40c. quickly the a&e nurse inserted the voltaren supp, took off ariff's clothes and washed him down with tepid water (new thing i learned - first target the head and neck because there are 2 main blood vessels and they need to be cooled down to stop heated blood from being flowed to the rest of the body). we saw the pead's assistant walking to the a&e and she advised us to admit ariff as well.

so there we were - 2 boys to be admitted. we went to silver spoons for a quick lunch then went home. i gave myself 30 minutes to pray, fold a basket of clothes, air the clothes i put in the machine earlier that morning, prepare amir & asyraf's school uniform for the next couple of days and prepare clothes for the 3 of us (ariff, akmal and me). ngam-ngam 30 minutes.

we spent the first night in a double-bedded in the peadiatric ward. not so nice, seriously. didnt help with the 4-hourly nebuliser and the orchestra by ariff & akmal, i didnt get much sleep. early the next morning, we went to the premier ward. it was seriously much better (spoilt, arent we??). the 4-hourly nebuliser continued, akmal was put on drip as he refused milk since sunday and my mind was with amir, who was to fast for the first time.

after a day, ariff had shown much improvement. his wheezing almost fully stopped. akmal on the other hand, took a longer time. dr azizi kept saying he's too sensitive, he had a smaller-than-normal airway and his lungs/chest was slightly smaller too. that meant when he had flu, all would be easily affected and on comes the cough, the wheezing, the shortness of breath. he said akmal being admitted when he was at the wee age of 1 month was an indication of how it would be and be prepared for more admissions. its ok doc, if we get the premier ward, we dont mind.

akmal only showed improvement on wednesday afternoon. that was after the pead changed some of his medication. they boys were finally discharged on thursday. when we got home, we didnt feel too good about akmal. his nose was still blocked, and as he slept with his thumb in his mouth, it made breathing very difficult for him. oh well...we need to be extra careful with this little one. so if there's anymore status update about being admitted, dont worry, its not a huge deal. its just because this boy is extra sensitive, memang sangat lah anak manja ini budak...

high temperature over the weekend...

ariff who was initially very active compared to akmal, who was the total opposite, all weak when doing the neb...

ariff's temp had shot up and he had to be sponged down...

we're all packed to be admitted...

first night in the hospital...

ah...this is more familiar, the room i meant, not the boys...

budak-budak yang sakit...

Sunday, August 01, 2010


i hate the sounds of children crying. i know they cry because of something - hurt, scared, tired, sad and for babies, its hunger, sleepy, attention. but i honestly hate the sounds of children crying. my boys cry by the bucketful. maybe that's why i cant stand children's cries.

the boys have different kinds of cry;
  • amir cries for short periods...he'd start quietly, gets a stare, retreats into a corner and stops after a couple of minutes. his cries are hardly every entertained.
  • asyraf is the master of tears. since he was young he can cry at a drop of a hat. its his forte. he actually made us hate (with capital H-A-T-E) the sounds of children crying. there were times i wanted to throw him out of the window because he never stopped crying. asyraf said his first word after he turned 2 years old, that's because he was too busy crying. even now as he's turning 4, he's still crying non-stop. he usually gets the "time out in the bathroom" treatment whenever he cries because he just cannot stop and we just cannot stand his screams. after his hour-long cry he would need some time to get over it and be ok again. that's why most of the time, his cries are ignored.
  • ariff hardly every cried when he was a baby. as he moved into the 'terrible two' stage, he started going into the tear-jerking plus moaning attention-seeking cry. his cries is a tad below asyraf's irritating cry. if his brothers made ariff cry, they'd get the scolding, usually of 'stop making him cry!' because scolding ariff would make the cry worse and i absolutely cant stand that.
  • akmal was a typical crybaby when he was younger. he usually cries when in public and he cant spot his daddy or mummy. but now akmal's a combination of all. he can have the minute-cry, he can have the long draggy-cry. more often its the minute-long cry, thank god. akmal's pretty ok so far. he whines rather than cry most of the time now.
most of the time, the 2 main culprits are asyraf and ariff. they'd rally to see who can drop the easiest, the most, the drama-est. they'd make each other cry then add more to get the other to stomp their feet, then add extra to make the other to start again, then they add a bit of scrathing, punching, smacking on the side to make it the ultimate scream-feast.

slightly above the baby cries, i hate parents (or any form of grown up figure) going 'alaaa kenapa sayang, sayang...' oh dear god, how i detest that. if my boys cry, they get a 'nangis lagi, kena kurung' from hubby and me. take away cries due to hurt or pain, all cries get that response from us. over the years, we've had cries attracting a time out in the bathroom, a smack on the bum or even a cry lasting 2 hours because we'd just not entertain the tears.


the value of marriage is not that adults produce children but that children produce adults - peter de vries

grown-ups never understand anything for themselves and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explainning things to them - antoine de saint-exupery
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