Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How not to get fruit pieces in a fruitcake to settle at the bottom?

But before that, look what I found in a Pasar Tani

That's really the first time I ever saw dried kiwi. I bought some to add more the the abundant of dried fruits I have at home. Mom brought home a lot from her trip to Mekah. I'm not much into munching dried fruits on their own and decided to finish them all in fruitcakes.

I thought I knew the trick of not getting them to settle at the buttom. Sprinkle them with flour, they say. I made two cakes so far, and followed the advice during both but still....

I soaked the fruits in orange juice the second time around (as most fruitcake recipe calls for the fruits to be soaked in liquor) and later coated with flour to see if that would make any difference. The cake tastes better but the fruits were still stubbornly there.

My sister asked me to coat with more flour. I'm going to make more cakes to finish the fruit before buying new ingredients. Any more tips, please?

The uni made this week as the official term break, no school for the girls and they are at the babysitter's. I'm supposed to work peacefully without running around fetching and dropping, and no knocking on doors from students too. is just too quiet here and Ikea is calling....arghhh!

BTW, to my wonderful, beautiful readers who celebrate...


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Look who turns 5!

We had not-so-quiet dinner out, a cheap cake and relatively peaceful cake-smashing moments, and a very happy birthday girl. Perfect!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bea3's first day at school pulak!

Or rather playschool.

While I was preparing the two bigger girls on Friday morning, Bea3 woke up. She was eager to get ready too, and got more excited when I annouced that she would be going to school too.

She was all smile. I prepared a bag for her, a change of clothes and a diaper. The school accepts potty-trained kids only, but the principal just 'cincai' with me. Did I mention I don't do potty training? I just let the kids say it when they are done with the diapers.

Bea2 went up to her class right away. Bea3 was shy at first, had her head down but I could see her smiling face and her eyes just fixed on the toys. I just asked the teacher to call me if thing got out of control. I left knowing that my girl would be ok.

Is it not too long ago that I hold this little baby with pouty, pink, kissable lips for the first time? She had lines on her forehead, as if she was thinking while observing the surrounding. She still has the same look now!

She was having lunch besides Bea2 when I got there. She looked so at ease, maybe having a big sister helps.

She was fascinated by some tiny white fluffy flowers blown by the winds when I took some pics. I should have taken some of that flowers too but I was more occupied with my girl.

Since Bea1 started school at 2 pm, we got some time to play at the playground.

Poor Adel, alone at the babysitter in the morning. But he got the usual lunchtime smooching from me. That's the kind of Friday lunchbreak that I like....wait a sec. It IS my normal lunchbreak;).

And this Bea3's expression when she knew there was no school on Saturday!

I hope this would last, I mean the love for school, not the sad face;).

I thought shopping was done but I admit the bag for KAFA has a bit of tear here and there. And of course we would not let the other girls feel left out. Alhamdulillah, we were just at the right place. RM45 for 3 bags and 3 sets of stationery. The bags are ok but I can't expect much from the other that costs only RM5. At least the girls were all smiles!

I thought I would break down on Thursday. It was just too much and I had little doubt that I would stay with the routine. Later I figured out I was just being too exhausted as I didn't get much sleep the night before.

We will do a little adjustment this week. Hubby will take the train for 3 days in a week to get home, when Bea1 finishes early. We both don't really like it. He hates the crowd and I need his help to handle all 4 kids even when walking from the car to the lift. But we have no choice, luckily the train station is only minutes walk. And with this, we will be home at the usual time, and I would have more time to prepare dinner.

I just do what any other parents of school-going kids do during the weekend. I washed two pairs of shoes...yikes! The last time I did that was almost 20 years ago, I never liked it. BTW, when can I trust my girl to start washing on her own?;)

Monday, January 05, 2009

Ok now, the real first school day

Wrote the following on Monday night, hope to finally push the send button soon.

We left the house as usual still, 8-something am;). Bea1's school session is in the afternoon. And today we only registered for the KAFA classes. After sending hubby, we're off to babysitter's to send the youngest two. Then the kindy to drop Bea2.

Bea1 and I went to the mosque near home for KAFA. She saw some of her friends already there in complete uniforms. Well, of courseI got some explanation to do.

If one day last week was the orientation, this week (THE WHOLE WEEK!!!!*GULP*) is Minggu Transisi. No wonder most parents take the whole week off. Well, both me and hubby don't take a single day! Anyway, I have flexible working hour, I can manage that, of course.

Today's school started at 2pm. After the mosque, I managed to do some fruitful discussion with a colleague and some other work while Bea1 busy doing her stuffs. The baby in my tummy just didn't sit still, I never felt movement (for this pregnancy) that distinct before. Maybe he/she was telling me to calm down.

Anyway, got a little carried away and realised we really have to run. Fetched Bea2 from kindy, sent her to the babysitter, Bea1 changed and had lunch there.

And we were again a bit late. Typical!

The kids were being divided into the classes while I did a little 'cilok' here and there to get to the school as fast as we could. Had a call from my friend (the same one whose kid is also there). I said "Don't pressure me, OTW la ni!".

He said "Masalahnya, nama anak kau dipanggil-panggil ni!". I was like "Oh, really!" Typical!

He continued "Anak kita dua-dua dalam kelas pertama...kelas budak pandai!"

That's a little kiasuism, don't you think?

I assumed he thought that the first class that was called belongs to the kids with the highest scores during the test that day.

I said "Are you sure? Entah-entah cikgu panggil yang paling corot dulu...hehe!"

Anyway, we arrived finally and Bea1 took a row at the back in the queu. They were led to the class the first time while parents watched. As usual chairs and tables are arranged in pairs. The teacher instructed the kids to sit whenever they like. Bea1 walked to the back and hold a chair. The table besides hers was still not taken. Suddenly there were two girls, obviously good friends that must sit together-gether walked near my girl, looking for a place and looked panicky. And since they must sit together-gether (oh, I mentioned that already), one of them just grabbed the chair that my girl was holding and instructed her friend to take another. That caught Bea1 by surprise but she just moved back.

At that moment I wished some parent to come and teach the kid a bit of manners instead of busy clicking the camera away. Instead I just whispered "It is a rough world out there, baby!" while looking on. Then another girl came and sat besides her, I thought that's good as she does not like boys at this stage;).

I was thinking and even asking loud "Must I really stay?". Friend said "Stay la till after break...".

I did just that, and later showed Bea1 on how to make use of her first "Duit poket". Isn't it exciting to receive that the first time.

While waiting for the kids to have another queu at the hall before proceeding to the class again, my friend overheard a conversation by two boys.

Boy 1: Kita berada di dewan kan?
Boy 2: Ya...dewan!
Boy 1: Dewan kan?
Boy 2: Ya la....dewan *showing index finger*
Boy 1: Ini dewan kan?
Boy 2: *Impatiently*...Ya la DAY 1, DAY 1 *showing index finger again*

That got my friend LOL, and related the story to me. He said "Betul la aku cakap, kelas ni kelas pandai...pandai loya buruk!"

I laughed while trying to tahan not to pee! Well, I seriously think that's not layo buruk. A 6-year-old is not capable of that, don't you think?

I returned to the office after that and managed to squeeze in some work. I decided to take to busiest route (that leads to nearest parking spot..and contributed to the school traffic congestion;)) when I fetched her, just to see how bad it was. With the queu, it takes 20 minutes from the office, without only 5 I believe. That made me 10 minutes late....and my girl was already teary-eyed when I got there.

Kena pujuk la pulak!

Someone said we could get the uniform for KAFA at the masjid. Unfortunately they informed us they no longer sell them there. I had KAMDAR at MidValley in my mind, and the traffic looked strangely smooth today, plus the thought that hubby said he would be out from the office late. And MidValley is always a good place for a 'merajuk' kid.

She was almost ecstatic knowing she's out alone with mama. To make it more fun I reminded her that yesterday's her dearest friend's birthday and said "Lets get her some present!".

Then, she has more idea...she needed a purse for her money! Half an hour and about RM100 (burnt) later, we found ourselves waiting for papa at Carl's Jr Burger. Had a quick dinner and we're off to fetch the other kids.

I was pooped but the newly bought uniform needed washing and drying and ironing first. And a mom must record whatever happens on her first kid first day at school;) before she forgets all the details.

The new routine would see us starting the day 1/2 hour early and be home in the evening 1/2 hour late. Bea3 will start playschool (the same kindy with Bea2) any day now when she feels good and is up early and just happy to take the morning shower. I would just follow her mood. She always says yes when I ask if she'd like to go. It will get a litle hectic, but I'm just sure we just need a little getting used to.

Anyway, I hope we manage to get through the week without much chaos first. One good thing is Bea1 seemed ok and looked excited to start KAFA tomorrow.

Not to get this post to be too boring, I just share a pic of my girl. We're in Heathrow to board the plane home from the UK trip. She was wearing a tiara that we got from a carboot sale for 20p. A little girl's junk is anothers treasure!

Updated: Day 2 and Today
Bea1 was upset when she could not see me during the assembly before starting the session yesterday. She didn't miss me but I had forgotten to give her duit poket. She really was so excited about that on Monday. Anyway, I was there and planned to return during recess to see her, that's why I think she would be ok. Luckily I saw her first.

I just waited for her at the table when I saw her with two other girls walking with food and drinks already in their hands. She didn't even bother to look for me first. That's some progress.

Today, I found out that she took RM2 from my purse, I believe in case mom forgets again. That's how important the money for her. I really feel bad about forgetting that day but she will get a lengthy lecture tonight. Besides she also received another RM2 from papa. Think she really loves the independence of buying stuffs on her own. But she will get the lecture, anyway!

She agreed to have me to just drop her at the gate and I didn't have to see her during recess....YESSSSSS! That's it, I assume she settles down already.

She is also excited about KAFA, thought she would konk-out after dinner last night but she stayed awake till 10.30 and still had the energy to do some writing, and manage to wake up happy this morning...I hope all this would last!

I'm done...for now!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

What a mother did on the night of her kid's first school day

Well, it was not exactly official start of schooling but yesterday was sort of an orientaion day for the Primary 1 kids.

After getting everyone to sleep, I loaded the newly bought uniforms into the washer. While waiting for the first batch, I looked for my sewing kit. The only sewing done in the house is fixing loose or detached buttons on hubby's trousers and shirts. So my sewing kit are only those tiny kits that you get from hotel stay. They are tiny and I had just forgotten where I kept them, and spent a good 40 minutes rummaging drawers.

I rearranged the hooks on Bea1's pinafore belts to get the right fit while trying not to doze off. Talking about last minute preparation. Anyway, I still think I did well considering we bought almost everything by now. Two pinafore sets, 3 baju kurung (one that we bought earlier is a bit large, I will bring back to the shop to change, the other two are just perfect), and two pairs of shoes. And we got the uniforms in hubby's kampung and they are a lot cheaper compared to those found in KL (well I never did the survey, hubby once called from a Tesco to mention some prices. And I talked a lot with the babysitter who has all the experience). The pinafore set is about RM17 and baju kurung only RM15, and the material is good too. And hubby bought a very good-looking, durable Princess bag for RM10 during his trip to Macau.

I was a bit nervous, and maybe more excited than my girl. Anyway, she is more excited of getting a lot of new things than anything else.

By the time I finished the sewing, I had passed the sleepy state already. I surfed the net for classes for Fardhu Ain and Al Quran for her. That is something that we had not decided. Seems like the only choice is KAFA but the normal classes conducted everyday for 3 hours. We think that a little too much for her. We prefer to have intensive few hours in a week, with the idea that we, the parents must be disciplined enough to complement the teaching at home. The rest of her time could be spent for other activities such as swimming, art class etc, or just spent with me. Thanks to my flexible working hour, think I can manage being her chauffer for all that.

Bea2 woke up to go to the loo, and that woke hubby up too. I just smiled when she called out for papa to help her washing, even though she saw me awake. Hubby could not get back to sleep and later we watched a movie together.

And of course the next day, we were late. But not too late to take a few pics.
Bea1 took some time to decide on what to wear. She loves baju kurung but pinafore is not bad either. She decided on the latter.

She didn't feel as bad as she looked, it was the early morning after shower sneezing that irritated her.

I walked to the school hall with Bea1 (while hubby sent the other kids to the baby sitter) when a text message appeared on my phone. From a friend who also send his kid to the same school.

"Aku tak nampak pun kau kat dewan ni. Tahu la duduk dekat, takkan lewat kot!"

I replied "Am taking my sweetest time walking towards the hall now..ok!". I was just enjoying the bright morning sun on a beautiful day that my first baby started a new beginning in her life.

A series of ceramah followed. One very experienced-looking teacher gave some sound advices. Among them:
1. Don't spoil your child. Let them carry their own bag, make sure they know how to dress themselves. A story: once they had a boy who cried during PJ as he didn't even know how to take off the uniform to change into his PJ wear.

2. Teach your child about money, of getting right balance after buying food in the canteen etc.

3. Get involved with the kids education. Know what the kids learn etc. Talk to the teachers, but don't kaypoh much about the teachers. Don't ask kids questions like "Cikgu buat apa hari ni?", "Cikgu marah tak?", "Cikgu cubit tak?"....;).

4. Don't compare kid with others children as each child is different.

Another teacher shared, he was a pupil there when the school first operated in 1969. He came back to teach as he has a love for the school. The school was first initiated by a nearby university (that's the uni where I studied for both first degree, and PhD, and later continued teaching him, I too have a love for the uni hehe) and named the University Primary.

My friend and wife (also a staff in the uni) and myself got a little surprised with that bit of history. We were like "Woww...that's interesting, we didn't know that".

Later, the kids were divided into 5 groups to have that early test for class streaming. I got to know that they never had it done before, maybe it is more manageble to have that now. We got to know there will be 5 classes and looking at the groups, there will probably be around 30 kids in a class.

While waiting for the kids to finish that, I looked around. When another mom asked me why I chose the school, I said I just followed what most of my own lecturers (now colleagues) did for their kids. They said it is a good school, and I didn't do much research. Besides, it is so near home and office. She found out later, one of the reasons the school is said to be a preferred one is because of the distinct and obvious presence of multi-racial element there. And yes, I saw many Chinese and Indians among the majority Malay there. And I just like that!

I made phone calls to talk about other options for the KAFA classes but we are left with not much choice.

Bea1 came to me with a smile. I asked what she did for the test (I never mentioned test anyway, just some writing the teacher would ask her to do). She just said some Bahasa and no English. I asked again and again what did she write (so very curious la...). She said she wrote her name, and she was told to write ABC and mark the right answers. At the same time she indicated to me that I had already asked too many questions. Thought I just keep mum and wait, she would open up more when she is in the mood. I know my girl.

Hubby came to fetch us and we drove around to ask more about the KAFA options. Finally we decided, we would go ahead with the normal one, a class near home and see how Bea1 takes it and make any changes later if needed.

Hubby decided to stay home in the afternoon, I sent Bea1 to join the other kids at the babysitter as I have a class. I asked her if she wanted to change first, she said no as the babysitter would love to see her in her uniform for the first time. Think this could be as exciting for someone who has been taking care of the baby since she was 67 days old.

It's weird that the uni started the term while a lot of people are very much in the holiday mood. Some lecturers would start classes next week, but I was adamant to just follow the schedule. Yesterday, we had only half of the attendance for a class but I was surprised to see a full house today.

I digress.

While passing the school again on the way home, Bea1 suddenly said that she loved doing the writing at school. Mama got a little confused "Which school?" (as she only spent about two hours there so far). She said "That school know the writing I did this morning!".

She didn't elaborate but I assumed it just happened that that kind of worksheet is something she loves to do. That's it!

I have this little worry about letting my kid in a national school for maybe the same reasons given by other parents, about the talk on the cease of quality in education in general, and also when I myself have to face the challenges of teaching the 'product' (I mean the uni students) of the system on my every working day.

But the positive side of me keep saying that things will be ok, and I always remind myself to be actively involved in teaching my own kids.

Looking forward to an interesting, challenging, rejuvenating (yeah...rejuvenating, I love witnessing the excitement in kids eyes over new discoveries) ahead. This is what I do when at the same time being jittery that our lives would take a change come this Monday.

Good luck to all parents of Primary 1 children, Salam Maal Hijrah and Happy New Year.