Thursday, May 25, 2017

Family Gathering

Family is a group of people who share the same DNA, and lucky me that they also share the same closeness at heart with me. 
I am the first child in my family and have 3 siblings who live in 3 different cities. But we often call one another and have this family gathering once a month. This family gathering (arisan) is very popular in my country and the one I was attending a few days ago is from my mother side. So it consists of my mother's siblings, cousins and nieces. There are 28 people joined this arisan, but when they come, they also bring their families so you will have a lot of people in your home.

The arisan starts at 2 pm. People will come to your home, you offer some snacks and beverages and then we just chat with one another. There is noprogram but have chats with everybody because the main reason arisan is held, is to connect everybody in the family, to know their latest news, to know if any of us is sick or about to get married or to have a child or anything. Seeing people in person, talking straight to one's eye, sitting close to each other worth better than just connecting via phone. This might what our older family had in mind when they started this arisan, I've been attending it with my mother since I was little.

So we just keep talking and snacking, and about 3.30 pm, the home owner will offer us another food, usually the heavier one. And we eat, laugh, and talk about everything again from politics to car to holiday etc. After that, our treasurer will shake a box. In it were our names written in folded paper, then she picks up one, and read it. The next arisan will be held at the name picked's home. Than we discuss the date the arisan will be held next month. With 28 members, you will have your turn every 2 years. About 4.30, people will start leaving your home, with some people with closer family relation will stay longer or even spend the night there if they're out of town like what my sister and I did in my aunty's home a few days ago.

The arisan at my aunty's home was held on Sunday, I arrived there on Saturday afternoon and my sister was on Saturday night. We helped my aunty prepared the food for the arisan.

My aunty prepares the food ingredient

My sister is making the chili paste

My niece helps peeling the boiled eggs

I was sitting in the inside of the house, there are still lots of people in the living room and terrace

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Farisha : Post Mother's milk

Let me tell you what it feels when a mother decided to stop breastfeeding her baby ... . : hurt. Yes, it does hurt. It hurts the baby because she thinks her mother refuses her by not giving her beloved stuff. And it also hurts the mother because seeing her baby cry and begging for the thing that the mother can actually give to stop the sadness, but she doesn't, is a torture. It hurts the mother's breasts as well, as the milk continues forming in the breasts but stays there, making the breasts harder and giving pain to the mother.

But it must be done, for the sake of both the mother and the baby. The hurt feeling is part of the process. And like it is said 'No gain, No pain'.

Farisha is already 22 months old, and I decided to stop breastfeeding her. And following my success, I will tell the steps to stop breastfeeding baby, based on my 3 times experiences :

1. Pick a date
  Decide when you want to do it. In my case, I made 22 months as the limit and apply it to all my daughters to be fair. You can reasonize your own limit based on your milk production or the baby's health or anything you are experiencing. But, don't think to delay it until you think the baby will giving it up herself, because it won't happen, or at least I never know anyone who do. Chances are, they will keep sucking until they enter school age, and believe me I know some people who did.

2. Offer substition
  I introduce formula in the bottle to my baby a month before the due date. I chose the bottle with nipple-like top. And by giving it, I start decreasing my baby breastfed step by step.

3. Prepare your heart
  Because you will feel the sadness, plus you must be strong enough to refuse and saying 'no' when she asks you to open your bra. The first time I did this, I wonder if my baby still need me when she doesn't suck my milk anymore. But eventually, my worry didn't happen. Off course she needs me. Hey, I'm her mother.

4. Have her occupied all day
  She will be in the mellow mood, so have her doing things that she might like. These are what my Farisha does :

  Following dance on tv

  Write whatever she pleases

  Playing with cardboard


5. Have some snacks ready
  Your baby used to have your milk to fill her stomach, by eliminating it means she will need food more than her usual intake. Always have something to make her feel full, and by making her tired and full, it is easier for her to fall asleep (because it is quiet hard to have her sleeping especially if breastfeeding is her lullaby).

6. Plan B
  You are very straight in saying 'no' to your baby, but she keeps crying and taking up your clothes up. Your plan B is to scare your baby with the appearance of your nipple. I apply on red lipstick on my nipples and put some salt on it, and I say that my breasts are in pain. Some brave baby can't be scared so if she still wants to suck it, then the salt will have its function.
Off course, we have very clever baby who can wipe off the salt before sucking it. For this case, some of my friends use a bitter Indonesian spice called sambiloto that cannot be wiped once, and it has very bitter taste. So if you have this kind of baby, there might be some herb in your country that can be used, just make sure that it won't harm the baby.

7. Goal
  When everything's done, you will get the result. You will have a mellow baby for about 3 days and after that, things will be normal again. The hardest part in my experiences are "coping with my own mellow feeling" and "the part to make the baby sleep". But when things are done, there will be good feeling about it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Fatimah : Playing is my activities

Writing post about a 4 years old child would mostly be about playing, because that is what she does to spend her time daily. The only thing you can get by reading this probably is inspiration about what to play if you have a niece, or child her age. These are what my Fatimah does everyday :

Playing with cardboard

Messing the house

Watching tv

Water the plants

Cleaning the yard

Fahira : Our time

Everyone knows that parents have responsibility to give love and care to their children, but not everyone realizes that giving equal love is as important. When you have children, you probably spend time with one child more than the other, it could be because he is the youngest or if he is sick or has special need and care. We thought we are being a fair parent, but our child might think we're not.

I could say this because it happens to me myself : the extra time I gave for Fatimah and Farisha caused a jeaulousy to Fahira. The latter is big enough to take care for herself while the other two are in very active stages of life, so I used to tell Fahira to do things wiithout assisting ( take a bath, clean her room etc ). Oh yes, I still kiss her, love her, and speak nice and gentle to her, but it's just seldom to have me just for her. The result ? She keeps craving for attention, which often make me mad. Saying she cannot sleep alone, needs me to accompany her, or she's not able to make her bed, needs me to show her how, and she keeps on forgetting to bring her towel and needs me to take it to her after bath. Those everyday routine she does since last year suddenly need my assistance again.

First, I thought that she's just being spoiled, but then I remember watching a "super nanny" episode where the situation is about the same like what I'm dealing with now. And Ms. Jo Frost suggests to spend time only with the child.

Ok, I tried. I then assist Fahira doing her homework when her sisters are taking a nap, and be in her bed when her sisters are sleeping at night to listen to her stories, what she's been through that day, her friends, school etc. And actually, it's a win-win solution, she felt she's loved as much as her sisters by me. And I become closer to her. And the plus side ? She's even willing to help me without being asked, including taking care of her sisters. Nomore jealousy. :-D

Friday, May 5, 2017

Menu Plan

Do you ever wonder about those stylish pinterest moms who have children, toddlers even babies, but manage to keep their homes tidy, serving homemade food for the family and still look gorgeous ? If you are like me, the answer would be, yes, I do.
I have 3 daughters age 8, 4 and almost 2. My appearance is often messy, my house is cluttered and I don't always cook at home. I tried to find out the secret of those moms by searching about the everyday life of a homemaker in 1950, because it's what I think would be a perf example I can follow, I came to this.

While the explanation there is very interesting and probably the great answer I've been looking for, I don't think I can do that in the wink of an eye. Because for me, changing one's way of life can't be done in one night, it must be one step at a time.

So, I try the first rule, that is preparing lunch in the beginning of the day. It really makes sense for me, because cooking is taking a lot of my time and even harder when baby is in my tow, so if I do it when she is having her breakfast or even better when she is still asleep, it could be done faster. To make it easier, I prepare all the ingredient the night before, so I peel, clean, chop, blend etc at night and leave all the stove work for the next day.

And really, this saves a lot of time so I can use my time to do cleaning, ironing and off course play with my babies.

The menu plan is : sour and spicy fish, boiled vegetables and shrimp cracker

Below: the menu plan is crispy chicken, stir fry vegetables and chili sauce

Monday, May 1, 2017

Mes Reveilles

Sometimes, life surprises us. What we wished in the past might become reality now, or you then find it not as great as you thought it would be. The cellphone you really wished you had in highschool was not that glamorous anymore, while you already have all the money to purchase it. Or the boy you had a crush on is not that 'wow' anymore, you even wonder yourself how could you fall for him. Or you thought of how impressive it would be if you could drive a car, and now that you can, you feel nothing impressive about it. Or you thought of how awesome it would be when you got married and have children and now that you do, you keep whining of how tiring it is to be the perfect mother of your dream. The list will be endless.

I myself felt some in the list, and when I talked with my cousin about this kind of feeling, she said about the same thing, about she didn't feel anysnobby feeling anymore now that she speaks chinese compared to what she felt in the beginning of her course.


I cleaned a drawer in a cupboard a few days ago and surprised myself when I found an old school note book of mine. The book is not well-kept, in fact it has torn here and there. I must have kept this book because I wrote some poetries and an english job application letter example on the back of it. I love making poems and write things on my mind when the teacher's explanation about lessons in my class didn't fulfill my curiousity. And my favourite place was in the back of the book.

So nostasgically, I read whatever I wrote there. In the front of the book were my school lessons off course, and I laughed to myself of the ridiculous things I wrote on the back.
But I smile quite a long time when I stare of my dreams I wrote 15 years ago.

I wrote it in French because that time I was learning French and writing it is like an exercise to me. No no no no, I still not mastering French because I just learned at school, and not afterwards.

Number 9 and 10 should exchange their places

What makes me smile is because everything I wrote are reality now ;

1. I am pretty : I didn't know make-up then, and now I do, so I consider I'm prettier now than what I used to be. :D

2. I am clever : Ok, not very much. But our internet provides more knowledge than before, so if you knows not a thing, search it and you can say you have brain. :D

3. I am kind : I am kinder than me before.

4. I have a lot of money : I have saving now, I didn't then

5. I have a lot of friends : Yes, I was a home-buddy, didn't go out often, didn't socialize. I'm still a home buddy now, but I often go to the neighbours to play with my children and I did socialize when I was working. I am a more easy-to-make friends now, so I think this dream is also fulfilled.

6. I am lucky : I can't tell you the detail, but some scenes in my life can assure me that I'm lucky enough.

7. I am happy : Yes I am

8. There are a lot of people help me : number 6

9. There is a handsome boy loves me : My husband is handsome d'apres moi. :D

10. He must be a moslem : Birds of a feather flock together. It's normal I think. I have christians, hindis, budhis and atheis to be my friend, I just want the same-visioned partner in marriage and it is fulfilled. :)

What do I learn when I realize that I have all that I dreamt of ? Thankfull.

Sometimes we forgot the beauty of our everyday life because we kept seeing about what is missing. What we still don't have yet.
While it is very good to chase for a dream, it is also important to enjoy a fulfilled dream.
Why don't we try to see our current life by the eyes of our previous 20 years ago. Are you happy, are you feeling wow of what you got now? Even if your current life is a wreck, befriend your youngerself. Ask her teen spirit what we should do now to fix it.
You know that the young spirit has more energy and hope than the older version of yourself, why not travel time beneath yourself and wake it up? And if everything goes right, you can thank and love nobody but yourself.

Sounds weird? Maybe. But why not give it a try. :-)

P/s : If you are a French native speaker, please correct my false grammar. :p