Thursday, July 28, 2005

Ikea: Will I ever get enough of it?

We go to Ikea on the evenings of some working days

1. because it rains cats and dogs, and we know somehow along the way back some drivers would make some 'jokes' which make thousands of other motorists miserable in the traffic. Of course we would try to avoid that, even though it means a bit detour from our normal route.

2. to have decent and cheap dinner

3. to do our praying, they have one of the best maintaned 'surau' in shopping complex

4. because the kid's section is just like any other public playground, the good things are it is indoor and just simply the best, and it's free!

5. because the baby/child care facility is superb

We go to Ikea during weekends

1. to relax and have afternooon coffee/tea

2. to have decent and cheap dinner

3. the kids need a break

By the way, off course we are there to buy furnitures/kitchen utensils/toys, too.

A conversation on one Sunday afternoon

Papa22beas: Let's go out
Mama22beas: What for...we have bubur kacang for tea, and chicken soup and French loaf for dinner already. Anyway, where?
Papa22beas: I'm thinking...
Mama22beas: would be nice to have that cappucino and some cakes at Ikea. Bubur kacang can keep in the fridge, eat later!
Papa22beas: Ok, let's go!

And just days before that, we were there to buy cussions/storage boxes to make our brand new car a bit cosy and tidy! In other words we (or I) always look for reasons to go there! One of the favourite 'book' in the house is the catalogue. 2005 punya is already like kain buruk, now looking forward to 2006!

And before I is also a nice place to have lunch on Fridays with my girlfriends. And I also go there during Friday lunchtime as a time to get away on my own and rewind after a long, hard week at work;).

Oh, think all Ikea customers/followers (whatever) agree that we all love the concept. One example is that they just let us move around freely without any salesperson bugging/following around!

During their sales last year, I went there 4 times in a week. 2 times to survey, 1 time to buy and 1 time to make sure that we got everything we needed, ops I mean to make sure that I had come to my senses that I should not spend more. Hubby said it was the people like me that makes Ikea grows so fast. I just said "ewah, ewah...what about you?"

I went there again last week during an extended lunchtime to look at the sales. All I got was a duck feather cussion for my office and a good time with my Bea1! I gave her ample time at the kid's area. It was strange but I'm glad that I'm ok with not buying anything else. As we are moving into a new apartment in 3 months time, think we should just wait to start all over again.

Papa22beas suggested we went again on last Sunday after our weekly 'pasar malam' shopping at Taman Tun. Another strange thing happenned as I said it was still early and I could cook for dinner!

No, no I don't think it is some sign that I'm getting a little tired of it and still it got me obsession with Ikea, is it some kind of sickness or what?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Enough of nursery rhymes

It started after I purchased a nursery rhymes cassete from Mothercare when Bea1 was 4 months old. The purpose was to keep her entertained during car trips. It was a must, then and that thing really helped. We spent about 11/2 on the road every day, then. And we played it about 1 hour everyday and that does not include long balik kampung trips. After a few months, think I suffered from some kind of a mental problem of having too much nursery rhymes. An example:

"While tossing and turning in bed to get back to sleep in the wee hours of the night, all I could hear was "1,2,3,4,5...once I caught a fish alive" or "one girrafe in high heel shoes, two elephants in ballet too-too....". The harder I tried to keep them away, the stronger they became...a lot of time intermittent with Bea1's favourite story lines "Daley B didn't know what he I a monkey?, he said? Am I a koala?, he said...." And it came exactly with the sound effect (I mean Papa22beas' voice tone)"

Tried to get less of them, and just when I thought Bea1 was ok with it, Bea2 was here! Shortly before she was born, papa22beas moved to a new office and travelling time increased to about 3 hours daily! After that, I had to endure more of them till one day, I declared that I had had enough of it! Papa22beas suggested buying a new cassete (with new songs), I said "no way"!

Then, I tried playing Mix fm and tried to get both girls entertained by whatever they were playing. Then Shakira came to the rescue with "Wherever, whenever"...Bea2 really loved it. She squeeled when I tried to do the 'gelek' in whatever space that I have in the car (by the way, nothing much I could do as I was driving;)). Bea1 just loves Kylie Minogue's "I believe in you" and both would go "Ahhhh...ahhhh" whenever it is on, then they would go "na, na, na...." for Gwen Staphanie's "Rich girl". Now, all of us hum to Keane's "somewhere only we know". U2 songs never fail to keep them occupied, think because soon after their birth I sang "Beautiful Day" softly in their ears, while showing them their first sunshines (well those were really beautiful days to me, and Bono and the gang just knew how to put it in words and rythm).

I try to be careful with lyrics of some songs, though. Well, I listened to Sepultura, Sodom and the likes when I was younger and I turned out to be ok;). Anyway, I prefer them not to listen to such things but I will deal with it when the time comes.

Now having too much of kid's songs is no longer an issue, I only listen to them from the Playhouse Disney Channel, and I like most of them. If I don't, for example the ones from the Wiggles, I just leave the room. And now that Bea1 is in preschool, I listen more to her own "rendition" of "Incy Wincy Spider". Well, seeing her hands move imitating a spider and her cute voice is a lot better than listening to the cassete! I'm back to my usual self;).

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Meaningful words said by strangers (part 1)

We had a party or 'makan-makan' to welcome new students to the faculty about 2 weeks ago. It was supposed to be a time when all the staffs (academic or non-academic) to mingle with the students. We expected a huge turn-out of students (free makan mah!), to our surprise, there were more lecturers than students turned up (maybe they were just too exhausted from the orientation week). So we ended up just talking to each other.
A lady introduced herself as a lecturer from the other department. Think she was interested to talk to me as my face was not familiar there as I just started working in the same faculty for about 3 months. Excerp from the conversation:

Lady: Baby nombor berapa (refering to my tummy...finally at 6 month, I looked like a pregnant woman;)).

Mama22beas: No. 3 (*with my sweetest smile*)

Lady: That's good planning, and you are still young. I have to stop at 2 as I started quite late. I had my first one when I was 39, and the second one 42.

Mama22beas: *dunno what to again, like 'kerang busuk' like that*

Lady: Thought of enjoying myself first, being an academician like us, normally we are at the peak (of the career, but refering to research work) at around late 30s and early 40s. But now with two small kids, very hard for me to travel. Yeah, enjoyed myself when I was younger but now I suffer!

Mam22beas: *shocked, and almost choked on the kuih gula melaka*

Lady: *quickly corrected herself* No, no, is challenging but motherhood means a lot to me, it is a different kind of joy, it is fulfilling.

Mama22beas: agree, agree...*smile*

Off course I encounter a lot of conversation with strangers but think this one will be one of those that I will remember again and again. To me, my job is something that I love to do everyday. I have no specific long-term plan, but what she said did make me feel good a bit;).

Monday, July 18, 2005

What if I Astronaut?

In MMB, there is a discussion on "kiasu" parents or Stepford wives/parents. I penned a thought there and expressed that I hope I won't be one. But still, I really am afraid that I somehow, unconciously be one.

For example, I got influenced by papa22beas' facsination with the space. We bought a huge wallpaper-like poster during a sale in IKEA. It is a huge image of the earth, taken from the moon. It is just breathtaking, and only someone who has the oppurtunity to land on the moon will witness that. We were thinking to just fix it on one wall in our current apartment. However, with a plan to move to a new apartment in a few months, I thought I may just keep it till we get there. Now, I have one wall in mind, it is going to be in the kid's bedroom. Their beds will be arranged so that they will stare at the image before they go to sleep. Frankly, I have this tiny part of me wishing that will somehow influence the kids to love space or at least get involved in space research, etc and er...finally become an astronaut. I crazy or what? Is this some kind of "kiasuism", I mean maybe a very minor version of it!

I applied for the angkasawan malaysia programme. I was never interested as I don't think I would stand the slimmest chance. It was papa22beas who forced me into it. I got a confirmation email, informing that they received my application, then there was silence, later the news in the newspaper that they have selected 30 out of 3700, who were shortlisted from about 11,000 applicants. So, that was it, I thought! Then last week, I received an email again, asking me to update my profile. Still have not put much hope, as I may be still in that 11,000 or 3,700 who are being screened again and again for next project, or maybe they are forming a group of researchers and looking for more contenders. I know 2 friends who also applied for this one (who by the way, stand a lot better chance than me), I better ask them if they also receive this notification. Seriously I have no idea but this sentence in the email did rattle me a bit: " Your application to the National ANGKASAWAN programme is being considered for the next phase". It makes me think about it day and night!

By the way, I found a kids book entitled "What if I were Astronaut" in the Payless bookshop last week and bought it for Bea2. A story of a kid who imagines he was an astronaut, travelling to space, landed on some planets, met aliens and finally picked up some stars and brought them back to his mom. It was so sweet! Kids imagination is borderless. I would like to share again a quote that I'd shared in MMB:

“Looking ahead
Wherever you travel on earth, no matter how many borders you cross or cultures you encounter, there is a common source of wonder: children. Children approach all kinds of obstacles and problems with a mind not held back by established thinking, and by doing so they achieve the seemingly impossible. They astound us with the freshness of their fantasy and the originality of their thoughts. With an ease and simplicity that is unparalleled they transcend the borders, walls and barriers that we as adults draw up around us.”

By the way, I'd love to have my blogs to be read by my kids and their kids. So, if one day (aiyoh...before that, I must find out how to archive etc), they do read this, the thought that their mother or grandmother applying for the programme will at least give them a good laugh!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Kids learn by observing....

Two blogs in a day? That means I got no class and all I do is reading (and off course blogging;)). Anyway, this is very short...something that I really need to let it go before I forget.

Things that I believe are learnt by my kids by just observing us (the parents)

1. Bea1 and I had lunch together after I fetched her from preschool. She was indulging the icecream after the nasi ayam, she was really into it while I just observed. Halfway through, she stopped and looked up to me, and as if she had forgotten something, said "mama want some?". Without waiting for my answer, she lifted a hude chunk and fed me. She was cute, and I though she would be a bit more generous (as I always am to papa22beas;), but that was it! Only one huge spoonful of it.

2. Papa22beas was reading to Bea2 in bed. I joined them, he said something as a joke to me. I retaliated by playfully slapped his face. Bea2 thought it was funny, she laughed and imitating me, slapped papa's face. I felt guilty and get things right again, I kissed his lips. She smiled, leaned forward as if she was about to do the same, stopped (changed her mind...kissing papa was no fun!), and the second slap landed! Argh....

Ok, did not plan to have it this long...back to work!

Memories of my late grandma

As usual, we do not talk much during the drive to work everyday. It was still dark when we left the house today, because of the heavy rain. With both girls still asleep at the back, and papa22beas on the wheel, it was just nice for me to let my mind wander about anything. I felt fresh after getting a good night sleep, and I did something that I did not do for a loooooong time: thinking about my grandma!

It started off as I thought about what lzbone write about choosing to look fat or old. I've been on the slim side throughout my life, except for the last few years, I'd rather call myself skinny. I'd lost 8 kg during my final year in U, and I'm still trying to get it back! My mom and my sisters (except one of them) are all on the plump side. I remember vividly one of our neighbours, an old lady once told me that I (and the other sister) inherited the gene (she did not not exactly say this la...) from my grandma.

Memories (in black and white, on a yellowish screen like old movies like that) of her came back to me during the 1/2 hour drive to papa22beas' office. I have 11 siblings (yup, you got it right!), and off course mom and dad had hard times taking care of us. Grandma (or we call her "mok") and grandpa ("cik") stayed nearby and offered to help, and some of us were taken care by them. We frequented my mom's house but as a small child I once thought that my mok was my mother.

I remember vividly even in her 50s, kebaya (not the long and loose type, but the short and tight one) and the Indonesian sarong (nicely pleated in front, and tied with a steel belt) were her daily wear. With a knot (er...what do you call sanggul in English?) decorated with jasmine, she just looked elegent. And she was just in her home daily wear! I was wondering how she could maintain that while running around doing daily chores and taking care of us. My daily wear at home is off course, also sarong but with baggy shirt, and where got time to nicely "sanggul" my hair like that. She also smelled nice (*deep breath...closing my eyes to imagine it*). Cik also owned a sundry shop, and mok helped around. It was the only shop in the kampung, and because of that people said we were the richest. Mok also owned some lands and have people worked on them. That time we were the only one owned a TV and a car, a pale yellow Ford Cortina.

She loved gardening and planted her own jasmine. She taught me to plant tomatoes, and water melon. We also had a small "reban ayam", I used to help her picked the eggs. She cooked the best fried squids in the world. Every morning, she boiled water so that we could have warm water to bath. She starched our school uniforms. Nestum with warm water and sugar waited for us for breakfast. It was just luxurious, and we also got toy cars with remore controls, and once I was given a doll with a size as big as me. She taught us not to just stuffed our socks in shoes, but get them straighten and fold if we wanted to use them again. She took a really good care of cik, even to the extend of making sure that not even one padi husk were in his rice!

According to mom, she was a very pretty lady (now I wonder why that gene had not been passed to me!) and became "rebutan" (now, what happen to my vocabulary today:() among the young (and old) men in the kampung and around that. She married 3 times but had only one child (my mom) from her second husband. Cik was her 3rd husband.

I remember tears rolled down my cheeks when she told me that she would have to leave me a few weeks so that she could go to Mecca for haj. I was about 9, then. Soon after that, she got sick and they said doctors could not identify the disease. After lying in bed for a few months, she passed away. I was really sad when she told me she was leaving me for haj, but her passing away did not really effect me. To me, I just knew it was the time. She did not make it to Mecca.

After that we returned to my mom. Things changed a lot as mom and dad were not as rich, and they were just too busy. I shivered from the cold shower in the morning, and no more expensive toys. We learnt to fend ourselves and each other. During some parts of my life after that, I was kind of unhappy with mok leaving me too soon. But I always believe that whatever Allah decides for us, there must be "hikmah", and one of them is I got to get back to my mom. It was a bit tough, but I was just happy that all of us were together as a big, big family!

As we moved closer to papa22beas's office, I thought I wanted to blog about mok but later thought it would be nice if I can scan an old photo of me, mok (in her kebaya, of course) and cik and put it here. Unfortunately, off course old photos are at my mom's house. Will do it some other time.

My time with her may not be long but she did influence me on certain things. I hate to see socks stuffed in shoes, and I just love squids. As on being elegent even at home, I at least have the thought of I would really love to follow her one day. And I'm trying to take good care of papa22beas;). And now this blog reminds me to finish my Bodyshop EDT and Azzure perfume. They've been sitting on the shelves, collecting dust!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

New students are here!

Last week and weeks earlier

It was just nice to drive in the campus as it was just quiet during the long break. Parking lots are abundance, no qeue in the cafetaria, it was an upportunity for the academic staffs to concentrate on their research or administration works.

The beginning of a new academic session is marked by the orientation week or here we call it "Minggu Haluansiswa". I wondered why "haluan", I just thought maybe it was the week that they would decide which direction that they would take in pursuing their studies and later on, career.

Things did not changed much, except sights of huge groups of the new students walking around the campus were common. They were led by a few seniors who organised their activities during the week.

I love looking at the new, fresh faces. I saw determination, ambition, strong will in some and anxiety, boredom (that week is just tiring for a lot of them) in others.

This week and weeks ahead

It started on Monday morning at the front gate, the unusual long qeue was already there. It could be because the increase number of students but looking at some Kancils and Kelisas with newly registered numbers, with P stickers, I guess it is more likely that it is the increase of students whose parents can afford to get them cars! Despite the university's efford to allocate more parking lots, some of them are still having problem to understand what "parking untuk kakitangan" means!

Things have not settled down yet as most are still busy registering for their course, with a lot are still deciding which are the best for them. But soon I'm expecting to see more of them will hang out at the cafes, couples riding on bikes (ala belacan;)) ...some with not just normal rides to get from the hostel to the library for example, but more like the boyfriends showing off their "skills" to the girlfriends, I may overheard a conversation about whose handphone is the coolest (*make mental note that I should never let them see mine*).

Pardon me if I sound like I'm complaining, but I really like students and I just liked being one. That's why I spent (*calculate, calculate*, tab on calculator), about 24 years (*gulp*) studying from primary to PhD (I did not even attended kampung did not have one, then!). I might be a bit slow somewhere during the years, as I was never really a bright student;). And I also chose a job so that I can be around students!

Yesterday, I conducted my very first class as a lecturer (used to teach as tutor years ago). Funny as some of them called me a professor! It was a 3-hour practical class, and during my time and subsequent years, half of the class normally left after about 11/2 hours. The lab was normally empty during the last hour. But yesterday, students were still hanging around till 5.30 pm (class finish at 5, but now with 5-day working week, the lab is closed at 5.30 pm). One of the tutors was surprised and asked me what I had said to them. I just told him that I scared them a bit, and whatever I said was based on my experience sitting in the same lab some 13 years ago, sitting for the exam and finally what I turned out to be. Well, that was only the first class...who knows what's next!

It is going to be exciting weeks ahead of me....though I may complain and sigh here and there!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Too soon for a 7seater?

Amidst the feeling of not being sure if I made the right choice or not, I signed up a booking for one. After waiting for 3 weeks, and a few more trips to the showroom, we had finally driven in one, yesterday. To justify my decision of either getting one or not, a blog from 5xmomserved as a good guide/reminder. Anyway, it was done, and here are the reasons why a 7-seater eventhough that 5-seater Wira may still serves the purpose of getting us around:

1. The new baby is due in about 3 months. I try to strictly follow the guidelines of the use of child restraints in car. It was not advisable to put kids under 12 years old in the front passenger's seat, so now all 3 of them would have to be at the back.
My experience with the two kids, it was always best for me to sit beside the baby especially in long trips. That means I have to be at the back sometimes. That's when the 3rd row is needed.

2. The use of child restraints is still new to most of us. I'm having difficult time to convince 'tumpang'ing relatives who always offer to carry my child on their laps. So I hope with 2 extra seats available, I won't have problems with that. We do balik kampung quite frequently, so it helps.

3. Price of MPVs will go up again, the road tax/insurance of the Wira expired in now is the time!

4. We plan to have another baby in about 2 years time....and off course we need an at least a 6-seater.

Emmm...can't think of any other reasons. So basically, it is because of the kids!
Happy with the new car, I got to drive it first time while going to work this morning. Anyway, what would made it memorable was I shed some tears during the drive, as I just got the news about the bombing in London:(.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

More on Bea1 and preschool

Thought of blogging everything in one go, but this urge to blog it right away was too strong. Think I was more excited than Bea1, think all moms like that.

Went to the school again at 12.15 pm to pick her up. I was thinking to send her half-day only and let her be with babysitter in the afternoon.

When I entered the building, one of the staffs who attended to Bea1 and her group earlier signaled to me that she was at the other side. There I saw my Bea1 was playing with a doll, lying her down on a changing table. She was actually playing with one of the girls, well she made friend already. The girl saw me and told Bea1 that mama was there. She had a broad smile on her face, came to greet me and back to the toys. She did not seem to be ready to go back.

Talked to the staff. She said, she was an independent girl, no crying and looking for mama, still a bit shy with the other kids, though.

I had taken a look at the place twice before that. At the ground floor, there are two sections: one for toys and the other more for drawings (or other activities). There is a bathroom where they fixed two little toilet bowls. Rooms upstairs are for older kids in junior group. I love looking at hangers where tiny bags were hung, and the neat shoe racks for little shoes, and little stools where the kids sit when putting on shoes. And all the little boys and girls...they are sooooo adorable!

I was procrastinating in sending Bea1 here as she was not potty-trained yet. It is a slow progress, but she can now pee in the potty but so far no poo yet (there will be a huge celebration for this!). I was so surprised when I talked to the principal. She said just send her in diaper, she would see other kids do it and would get used to it. They always prefer the kids to be potty-trained, but if they are not, it is part of their job.

It was really a good start. I'm glad I found that place. I had it wrong previously by thinking that it was not good. The other schools are off course good but they are a bit expensive to me. Thanks to the recommendation from a few other lecturers here.

We had lunch together, and later I sent her to babysitter. As expected, she refused to go. I 'pujuk' her a bit, saying that it was her nap time and there will be school again tomorrow. I just hope she will continue to enjoy school more after we settled to the new routine.

Now, we got to do a bit of shopping this evening...for new shoes and bag....yes, the bag! I'd been waiting for this moment...bags for girls are just cute, but I must let her choose;).

Bea1's first day in preschool

I'd been talking about sending her to preschool since about two months ago. After looking around and talking to principals in 3 schools in 7 visits, I'd finally decided that today is the D-Day.

She was delighted when I told her that we were really going to the school last night. I showed her what she would be wearing and talked to her on what she would expect there. This morning, she was delighted when she knew, the usual routine had been changed to something even better. Instead of kissing her goodbye at the babysitter's I brought her to my office, cleaned her, combed and pony-tailed the hair. We had breakfast together, and off to the school which is only 2-minutes drive from the office.

We were greeted by one of the teachers at the gate. There was two buildings there, one is for preschoolars (6 years old), the other is for juniors (3-5 years old). The juniors are divided into two groups, and looking at the activities in Bea1's group, I'd rather call it a playschool.

She was a bit shy to talk and mix around, but instantly drawn to the toys. The first things she picked up were dinosaurs, and cars and did not seem to be interested in the kitchen utensils. Think that's because she plays with the real things at home everyday. I just stood there observing her and the other kids. A few times she came up to me to hold me, not much words had been said but that face told me that she was happy to be there. Told her that I would leave her there and go back to the office, and asked if it was ok. She just nodded and went back to the group. I knew she would be just fine. Thought of staying there for 1/2 hour but left after about 15 minutes.
Another step in the milestone for my baby!

Friday, July 01, 2005

A confused kid?

I noticed that Mrs B calls Mr B, de de. I'm wondering is it daddy, does Mrs B calls Mr B daddy?. I'm not sure about other race, but I came across a lot in Malay families with moms calling dads "abah" or "ayah", and dad calling moms "mama" or "ibu". Most people I talked to said, it is because they are teaching the kids to call daddies "abah" or "ayah", instead of "abang" or "ayang".

I never agree with this, and never liked the idea. So unromantic....besides, my husband is not my father! Well, I thought my kids would be ok and I'd teach them why papa is "abe" to me and "papa" to them.

That was then, and now it was different altogether. It is in our culture (maybe among Malays, only) that wives show respect to husbands, one way is by calling him "abang". It normally starts even before they get married, maybe during their engagement. Hubby was introduced to me by a mutual friend, we found out that we were actually in the same class in U a few years before that, but never spoke to each other. So, to me he was a friend, and we adressed each other "aku" and "kau". That continued till we got engaged. For both families, it was kind of rude and we were advised to change that to something nicer to their ears. To me calling him "abang' really made me uncomfortable, really "geli" one! But after awhile, he tried to address himself as "abe" (Kelantanese version of abang). "Abe" sound better to me and finally just before our wedding, I managed to stick to it till now.

As for hubby, though also "geli" tried to call me "yang". I kind of liked it but it was short-lived. It was stopped right after the birth of Bea1, he started calling me "mama", and his reason was he did not want our baby to call me "yang" too. And I was supposed to start calling him "papa" but after having difficult time adjusting from "kau" to "abe", then got to change again and I just refused.

And now, the blame is all on me. Bea1 calls her "papa", "abe"! When she started learning to talk, it was "papa", but after her birthday, we hear more "abe" than "papa". I know it may be just confusing to her and I always explain to her why papa is "abe" to me and "papa" to her, she seems to understand it but is still trying to get used to it. Funny, when she talks to me, she gets it right. For example: "Mama, papa mana?". But with hubby, it is "abe". An excerp from a conversation last night.

Bea1: Abe, tolong ambil botol air Trisya
Mama22beas: Papa (trying to correct her!)
Bea1: Papa, tolong ambil botol air Trisya

Part of me says, she will get it one day. The other part tells me to stop being stubborn and start calling papa22beas "papa"...arg!