This is my very own little space in cyberspace. The space where I vent, the space where I rant and the space where I rave.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sophie in School!

            This is a milestone in Sophie’s life, and mine too.  It came a bit earlier than expected, as we had originally planned to send her to school only in September after her 3rd birthday in August.  But as it turned out, Sophie and Arshan together are the perfect recipe for headache, stress and high blood pressure in the adults around them, and we figured that a few hours every morning in school is just the thing to work off some of their (especially Sophie’s) boundless energy.  It will also give the adults a few hours of peace and quiet and the opportunity to get some errands done.
            Who is Arshan?  Well, I’ll get to him in a bit.  Let me just finish up with Sophie’s first day of school.  Anyway, my little baby, who is not so little anymore, toddled off to school about five weeks ago.  I know I should’ve written about it earlier, but with four kids under four under one roof, who has the time??  I barely had time to answer nature’s calls, let alone sit down at the computer and organize my thoughts into coherent sentences.
             Sophie’s first day of school was a Tuesday, as the Monday before the whole family had to go for a medical check up at Prince Court Medical Center.  Monday night saw me packing her school bag and laying out her dress.  In the morning, as we were getting her ready, we kept telling her that she was going to school, and that she’d have to listen to her teachers and she’d meet lots of new friends etc etc.  She didn’t really understand what was going on, she was just happy that she was wearing kai kai (going out) dress.
            The husband, Light of My Life, had playfully predicted that I will shed some tears, but I had vehemently and confidently announced that I would not.  Well… me being me, shed quarts of tears!  Not once, but twice!!  The first time was when she was climbing into her car seat.  The second time was when her daddy came home from the kindy and showed me photos of her going in.  He was kind enough not to make silly remarks, but instead very graciously offered his opened arms and shoulder and soothing words, all of which I gratefully accepted.  Sniff sniff…
            A call to the kindy’s owner (who incidentally happens to be grandma and grandpa’s friend) an hour later revealed that Sophie was just fine there.  She did ask for Daddy a few times, but was quickly distracted by the teachers.  No tears, no tantrums, nothing.  Attagirl!

All dressed up

Ready to go
One tiny step for Sophie (or rather Sophie's teacher), one giant leap for Mummy
Over the threshold, and she leaves her babyhood behind forever
           And now to Arshan.  He is one of the four kids aforementioned, the other three being Sophie, Arman and Aryanna.  Arshan and Arman are mine and Light of My Life’s nephews who were in KL for a month-long holiday.  Arshan is 3 ½ years old, Sophie is 2 ½ years old, Arman just turned one and Aryanna is now almost 3 months old.  With the exception of Aryanna who was and still is a perfect little angel, the kids were all very happy and excited to be in each other’s company.  The adults were very happy and excited for them.  For a few days.  After a few days we discovered that on their own, the kids were active and boisterous but still manageable.  But together, their activeness and boisterousness (are there such words??) grew exponentially and they were not so manageable anymore.  What one didn’t think of doing, the other two would.  Soooo, off to school the older two went, and peace and quiet reigned for a few precious hours J 
            I admit that it started out with quite a selfish reason.  With Light of My Life and Kung Kung (voices of Authority) at work the whole day, the womenfolk left at home with the energizer-bunnies-high-on-caffeine just couldn’t hold the fort.  Well, we are after all the weaker and the fairer sex :P But going to school at this age has done Sophie some good, the most obvious is that she gets to mix and play with other kids her age.  Of course inevitably she picks up some undesirable behaviour, but she also learns vital social skills which she otherwise would not have.  Also, it gives me precious one-on-one time with my angel Aryanna.  My little baby.  My beautiful, good, undemanding baby.  I’m enjoying her while it lasts.  All too soon, she too will grow up and go to school and then to college, then she’ll get married and leave me.  Excuse me while I go and bawl my eyes out.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Aryanna’s Updates

            Tum dee dum dee dum and it’s already 47 days since I made that journey down the birth canal and left my beloved watery home forever.  Do I still miss it?  Hell yeah, u bet!  But not as much as before, fortunately.
            Let’s see, what have I been up to lately?  Other than the usual newborn business of growing pretty and dining on boobiejuice and pooing and peeing and boobiejuice again and sleeping; quite a bit, actually.  Let me start with the hospital visit.  Well, Mummy and Daddy brought me to the hospital to see Dr Paediatrician.  The visit started off well, with Mummy and Daddy chatting to Dr Paediatrician and me nice and snug in the crook of Mummy’s arm.  Then, I was put on a narrow bed, and then I was stripped and prodded and I started thinking hey what’s going on.  But then Mummy held my arms and started crooning to me and calling me her brave little girl.  I relaxed and was happy again.  I wasn’t doing anything particularly brave at that time, but I wasn’t going to contradict her!  And then all of a sudden, Dr Paediatrician (Dr Evil, more like!) stuck a needle in my thigh.  Holy stinky poo, it hurt sooo bad!  All thoughts of bravery flew out of my head and I screamed blue murder!!  I noticed with great satisfaction the guilty looks on Mummy and Daddy’s face.  Note to self: the next time Mummy and Daddy mention seeing Dr Paediatrician, I should start screaming and kicking.  Other than that unpleasant episode, Dr Paediatrician pronounced me healthy and strong.
            The next worthy-mentioned event is my party.  Yup!  I had a party held in my honour, to celebrate the fact that I had been born into this world.  I’m liking this world more and more!  Some of the guests came bearing packages wrapped in colourful papers, which made Mummy and Daddy smile.  Others came bearing small rectangular red envelopes which made Mummy and Daddy smile even more.  There was pleeeennnnnty of food which was served boofay style.  We had fried rice and noodles, fried chicken, ribs in plum sauce, butter prawns, sambal sotong, veggies and mushrooms, wantans and fishballs, steamed dumplings, yellow glutinous rice, chicken curry, red tortoises (honest! Tortoises!), soy bean drink and ABC, slices of papaya, watermelon and honeydew and most special of all, red eggs made specially by Maa, my maternal grandma.  Thank you Maa! 
            I guess the food was good, seeing as how all the adults dug in with great gusto.  Not me though.  I mean, I’m a newborn, duhhh… and I don’t have teeth, duhhh.  But I wouldn’t go near those blobs of food even if you paid me to!  No siree!  Boobiejuice for me!  I had a few rounds of those.  Om nom nom nom nom nom.  Those big chomping adults don’t know what they’re missing. 
            What else… ahhh yes, my passport.  I need it for a long journey that I’m going to make soon.  Hmmm, I wonder if it’ll be longer than the journey I made last 12th Jan.  I highly doubt it.  Anyway, Mummy and Daddy took me on a long ride to go get my passport done.  The car ride was soothing, so I took a lovely nap but I had a nasty dream of being splashed with cold water by a great big elephant.  I opened my eyes and saw that Daddy was the great big elephant splashing my face with cold water!  Daddeeeeeeee!!!!  I wasn’t happy at being so rudely awakened from my lovely nap, but I decided to be gracious and not cry and pose nicely for the photo.  I thought if I flare up my nostrils a bit, it’ll take the attention away from my bigger than average nose (courtesy of Daddy) and if I pout my lips, it’ll make my full lips (courtesy of Mummy) more kissable.  As for my eyes, I’ve already got lovely eyes and lashes and besides, I was too sleepy to do anything anyway.  After several tries, the photographer finally got the best shot.  He did quite a good job and I thought I looked gorgeous in the photo.  It was confirmed when we got home and Mummy and Daddy showed everyone my passport.  They all smiled and laughed and I was happy that I brought so much joy into the lives of the people around me. 
            Yesterday everyone dressed up and the ladies put on makeup.  I thought we’re having another party, but it turned out we were taking a family photo at a studio.  I can understand the excitement of everyone else, but you see, I’m used to having my photographs taken.  I’m not being blasé about it, but it’s something that happens almost everyday to me anyway.  So excuse me if I wasn’t as excited.  I went to sleep instead.  As expected, I still look gorgeous in the photos. 
            And now, I need my beauty sleep.  Yes, that is the secret of my gorgeousness and my sweet disposition.                

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Acquired Human Overvalidation Syndrome

            So, was watching the rerun of American Idol a while back.  Boy, were they sucky.  Well, most of them anyway.  There were a few who undoubtedly deserved the coveted yellow (not golden!) ticket to Hollywood and fame.  And there were some who humble me thot deserved the ticket, but the judges begged to differ.  Oh well, I’m not Simon Cowell, (or Randy or Jen or Steve) so what do I know.
            As for the sucky ones, how do they suck?  Let me count the ways.  They sucked because… oh, too many to count.  Too lazy to count.  But I really applaud their sense of worth and their high self esteem.  And also, their impaired hearing.  And also, the impaired hearing of their mammas and their poppas who keep stoking the fire of their ego until it becomes an uncontrollable massive inferno.  I’m all for guarding children’s sensibilities and cultivating their sense of worth.  All children want, need and deserve validation.  Heck, adults too want, need and deserve validation.  But when it is misplaced and given in too enormous doses, it leads to self esteem that pierces the stratosphere and produces individuals who think they are the greatest gift to universe.  What’s more, they can’t, or refuse, to see otherwise.
            I call this the Acquired Human Overvalidation Syndrome.  This is what happens when children (and non-children) get abundant praises that are untrue or exaggerated.  Now, I tell my Sophie she’s beautiful and smart all the time.  But that’s because they’re true!  I sure as heck ain’t gonna tell her sings good if she doesn’t. Instead, I’d very gently but firmly steer her away from any ambitions of becoming a crooner.  I’d tell her that while I’m sure she’d succeed as a singer if she really puts her mind to it, I simply don’t think she has the time to really pursue a singing career.  So let’s just leave singing to other people.  She should instead concentrate on her real calling, which is finding the cure for AIDS and cancer and winning the Nobel Prize.  

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The World As Aryanna Sees It

            My my, how time flies.  One moment I’m bouncing in my sac and playing with my cord and minding my own business and the next I’m being squashed and pushed through the birth canal and now I’m 32 days old already.  The last time I wrote I said that I’ve revised my opinion of the world.  It’s not such a bad and scary place after all.  And it’s a lot bigger than I initially thought!  Way way bigger.  You see, I thought the world consisted of only the hospital and my cot, but boy!  Was I wrong!  Only a green few-day-old would think like that.  And I, am definitely NOT a green few-day-old.
            I still think it’s noisy and bright, and I always get this gnawing feeling in the pit of my tummy, and it’s decidedly not dignified to have my diapers taken off and my perky bum cleaned with wet cotton.  But when it’s too noisy and bright, Mummy will make it better by closing the door and drawing the curtain, then it’s nice and cosy.  And when I get that feeling in my tummy, I just open my mouth and bawl and Mummy will give me boobiejuice.  Yummy yum yum!!  Boobiejuice is the best thing in the world!  It settles my tummy in no time at all.  It almost makes up for not having my cord with me.  And as for the indignity, oh well, I’m a newborn so I guess I can live with it.  Plus, it’s definitely better than lying around in a smelly poopy diaper.
            After a feeding session, Mummy always holds me up against her chest and rubs my back so that I burp and feel better.  And when Mummy does that, I can hear her heartbeat.  It’s very faint, but it’s there.  It does bring back fond memories of being inside Mummy.  The steady rhythm of her heartbeat was my constant companion in utero, together with other murmurs and gurgles of Mummy’s insides.  Sigh…. those were the days…  Anyway, when I’m in that position, Mummy likes to plant soft little kisses on my head.  I am so loved! 
            The world is a great place to be in. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Confined To The Confines of Confinement

            For many Asian societies, confinement is the period that ranges from 30 to 40 days postpartum in which the new mother rests and recovers from the rigours of labour and delivery.  I think this whole concept of confinement is a great one.  It gives the new mother much needed rest and sleep, two of the most important ingredients for a speedy recovery.     To optimise recovery, the mother is also expected to observe certain practices.  
            For the Chinese community in Malaysia, the main principle of post natal care is to avoid getting “the chill” or “the wind”.  Getting the chill or the wind is supposed to be the absolute worst thing that can happen to a woman who’ve just had a baby.  This can result in the woman suffering from various ailments in her old age which includes rheumatism, gassiness (apparently so!), and an assortment of aches and pains which can make your life in short, a bitch.
            The practices that the mother has to observe run the gamut from the sensible to the practical to doubtful and well… plain ridiculous. Case in point, restrictions on bathing or washing your hair for the duration of the confinement.  I mean, what the heck???  How is not cleaning yourself suppose to aid your recovery?  I just don’t get it.  If anyone out there gets it, please help me in getting it.
 I think it’s not only ridiculous, it’s also bad hygiene practice.  There you are, hugging and cuddling and breastfeeding your newborn with his/her immature and underdeveloped immune system and you sweaty and sticky and greasy-haired.  Hmmm… something not quite right there…no?  I have no idea where these practices originate from, but if I have to hazard a guess, I’d say they have their roots in ancient China.  Now, far be it from me to diss the wisdom and medical knowledge born from 2000 years of civilization.  I guess in ancient China where the water probably came from polluted sources and the temperature can fall to subzero and where people really did suffer and die from pneumonia and bronchitis and whatnot, the restrictions made perfect sense.  But in modern, tropical, SWELTERING Malaysia?  I’m sorry, but I’m not convinced.  I need my twice a day shower just to feel human. 
Admittedly, other than this restriction, I have no problem at all with being “confined”.  Some people bitch about being stuck in the house and not being able to go anywhere except the hospital.  Not me, I have no problem staying at home.  It does get boring at times, but I don’t want to be traipsing anywhere with a poopy newborn and a sore stitched-up perineum anyway.  I’d rather be sitting at home with my feet up and doing my Kegels, thank you very much.
As for the restrictions on food, some really does make sense.  Some of the “forbidden” food can do funny stuff to the baby’s fragile digestive system and give them extra gas or discomfort.  The result?  A fussy, weepy baby who’ll wake up at night and make you weepy too.  No fun!  Sure, I dream about eating all sorts of things, but hey, it’s just 40 days, not 40 years.  Besides, I like some of the confinement food.
Also make sense are the restrictions on limiting walking and stair climbing, not lifting/carrying anything heavier than your newborn, and oh I absolutely love the urut and the tungku (hot stone) sessions.  What’s not to love having someone knead those sore tired muscles? 
            All in all, it’s not such a bad thing to be confined after all.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Roar and Hoppity Hop

         The year of the tiger goes out with a roar and the year of the rabbit comes hoppity hop in.  The tiger has left behind a wonderful parting gift for me, a beautiful little tigerette.  What gift would the rabbit bring? 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

16 Days Later

Sixteen days postpartum….

In pain

Oh joys....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Aryanna Lucia Li Hui

            I finally have a name!  Thank goodness it’s more than pleasant-to-the-ears.  It’s beeeyooooootiful!!  Suffice to say, mummy and daddy have done a great job at picking out a name for me.  It’s a bit of a mouthful for a tiny infant like me (I’m 15 days old today, yippeeeee!!) and I daresay the name is longer than me, but you can be sure that I’m doing my best to grow into the name.
            Why so long, one might ask?  In fact, I asked that question too.  Apparently it is so that I won’t forget my racial mix.  Well, I am also part Thai, so shouldn’t my name be Aryanna Lucia Chulalongkorn Li Hui?  That would really be a big mouthful :P I can just imagine my teachers tripping over their tongue trying to say my name.  I bet I would never be called to answer any questions in class :D
            All in all, I am a satisfied and contented 15-day-old.  So much so I’ve revised my early opinion of the world.  See how much I’ve learnt since I last wrote!  The world is beginning to be more interesting to me.  Sure, I still miss turning somersault in my sac and I still miss my cord, but there are compensations to living in this noisy bright cold world.  And it’s time for one of those compensations now – boobiejuice!!!  Ta ta for now!  

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I've arrived!

            Hello world!  Just dropping a few lines to let y’awl know I’m here!  It was in the wee hours of the morning of 12th January 2011 (3.51 am to be exact) after a long tumultuous journey that the stork dropped me on mummy’s tummy.  Well, not the stork exactly, but Dr Obstetrician.  So that makes me about four and three quarter days old.  I weighed 3.06 kg and measured 48.5 cm. 
As of now, I still don’t have a name, although I’ve heard mummy and daddy discussing some very-pleasant-to-the-ear names.  So for the moment I’m stuck with the nickname I had in utero, Squashy.  I hope they’d hurry the naming business up.  Can u imagine if I were stuck with the name Squashy all my life?  Dear God, that would mean at least 10 years of therapy for me.
So what do I think of the world?  ‘S far as I’m concern, it’s a cold, noisy, bright world.  I sure miss my watery former home.  So warm and cosy and dark.  And I sure as heck miss my cord to play and pull and tug.  Thank goodness I still have my fingers to gum on, but even those are encased in these strange cotton things that taste yucky!  Still, I guess one must be thankful for small mercies. 
Ok then, will catch up later.  Need my beauty zzzzzz now.  It’s tiring being a newborn. 

                                                                                                    Baby Squashy  


Monday, January 10, 2011

Of Bananas and Pineapples

            In the last few months, I’ve asked this question many times.  Why does giving birth have to hurt so damn much???  Oh, I can furnish you with the scientific explanation, but unless you’ve gone through it yourself, you can’t even begin to comprehend the level of pain women in labour go through.  Of course, different people have different threshold of pain.  What is excruciatingly painful for one person may be just mildly so for another.  But when it comes to giving birth, two words can usually sum it up: freakin painful.

            These are some comparisons women have made regarding childbirth pains.

1.    Babies – they go in like bananas but they come out like pineapples

2.    Giving birth is like having someone take your bottom lip and stretch it over your head.

3.    It felt like pooping an express train / bowling ball / durian

4.    I felt like I had an iron vise clamping my middle

5.    Period cramps multiplied by three gazillion

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

More On Names

            Yes, yes, yes… I’m still thinking about names.  I’m going to have a baby!  Very very soon.  What else could I be thinking about but names?  We (the baby daddy and I, with the help from lots of people) have narrowed it down to a few.  The final name will be chosen after the baby has arrived.  This is because the Chinese name can only be given after she has been born.  This is to pick a name that agrees with the time and date of birth, and the position of heavenly bodies etc etc. 
            After all the trouble and discussion and consultation that went on in the process of shortening the list, I really hope the kid is going to like the name.  It’s one of the biggest ironies of life, isn’t it?  That the person who is going to be saddled with the name and who has to live with it for the rest of his/her life is the one person nobody consulted with.  I mean, this is the name that the person is going to live and die with.  And this is the name that will appear in the obituary and carved on the tombstone.  And this person has no say at all in the process of picking and choosing of the name.  Not very fair is it??

Which is why there are probably zillions of individuals walking on the face of the earth right this minute have names they don’t like.  The onus therefore is on the parents and other adults in the infant’s life to be sober and responsible enough to pick a name that will not cause trauma to the said infant in later years.  This is actually easier said than done.  Kids can be cruel.  Really really cruel.  And they are perversely smart at twisting and contorting names into something hilarious, or just plain unkind.  I doubt any adult today who was not home-schooled escaped these taunting and torments.

            It gets harder in multilingual, multiethnic Malaysia.  A name which is perfectly respectable in one language/dialect may mean something totally different in another.  This is especially true for the Chinese.  First of all, there are numerous different dialects in the Chinese language.  Second of all, traditional Chinese names usually consist of 3 names, the surname, the generation name and the person’s name.  This leads to the “twistability” and “contortability” of Chinese names.  And with names like Tong and Fatt and Kok and Poo and Wee, Chinese names really are sitting ducks for jokes and ridicule. 

            This is probably why a lot of Chinese have taken matters into their own hands by giving themselves more agreeable names.  This is usually achieved by adding (usually)  English (or in some cases, “perceived English”) name before the surname.  Of course, if one’s surname happens to be Poo, then there’s really not much one can do to “agreeable-ise” it.  Except maybe move to a planet where English is not used at all.

              This practice of giving oneself English names can have quite bizarre results.  For one, since the name is not registered with Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara, it is not official and does not appear on any official document.  Hence, the person can give him/herself any name he/she fancies. In short, even “Princess Consuela Banana Hammock” can be considered.  For another, the person can change the name at will.  If he/she comes across another more appealing name, there’s no stopping the name change.  So, in a blink, “Princess Consuela Banana Hammock” can become “Crap Bag”.

            Then there’s also the compatibility of the name with the person.  I mean, I’m not a snob or anything, but what’s the use of giving yourself English names when you can’t even speak English without mangling the language??  Shouldn’t you just stick to your ethnic and original name?  I was watching a Singapore-produced English programme on TV once, and a local TV actor was interviewed.  I don’t know about talent, since I don’t watch Singaporean shows, but he was supposedly quite popular and very much the hot young thing on the scene.  I can’t really remember his name, Paul Chen or something  (“Paul” is his glamour/commercial name).  But what I remember is that to every question posed to him (in English) he responded in Mandarin.  Now, I’m not saying that his lack of proficiency in the language is in any way a reflection on his quality as a person or actor.  Neither am I saying that it is through any fault* of his.  I fully acknowledge the fact that there are some people who are just not good when it comes to certain things.  Some people are not good when it comes to learning new languages.  Some people are stumped when it comes to directions.  Some people are good people managers, while others are sucky at it.  Take yours truly for example, I am totally hopeless when it comes to numbers and Maths.  But then, I don’t go around calling myself Pythagoras or Descartes, do I?  Back to Mr Paul Chen or something.  Instead of calling himself Paul, shouldn’t he just stick to Chen Teck Beng??  Here I’d like to take this opportunity to laud Chow Yuen Fatt for sticking to Chow Yuen Fatt instead of turning himself into Ivan Chow or Richard Chow or Luke Skywalker Chow or whatever. 

            Then there are also people who get a little carried away in giving themselves names.  I know this one Chinese guy.  His parents very thoughtfully (or thoughtlessly, depending on how you look at it) gave him a name with a wealth of meaning and which sounds perfectly beautiful in their own Chinese dialect.  Unfortunately, this guy and his parents do not live in some province in China.  Instead, they live in Malaysia.  And this poor fella’s name, once romanised, has a twistability and contortability factor of twelve over ten.  Yes, it’s that bad.  So this guy, let’s call him ….. X Y Z …..  jumped on the bandwagon and gave himself the name of …. let’s say ….. Peter.  Very Russian Tsar-ish.  Nobody can make fun of Peter X the way they can X Y Z.  And I thought that’s the end of the story.  Turned out Peter was far from satisfied with just one name.  Maybe it was all those years of taunting.  So Peter went and gave himself another name.  X Y Z morphed into Peter X morphed into Peter Christopher X.  What’s next?  Peter Christopher Englebert Smith-Potter?  In Y Z’s defence, I don’t blame him for wanting to make his life easier and happier.  If you’re not happy with your nose, you get a nose job.  If you’re not happy with your boobs, you get a boob job.  So what’s wrong with plastic surgery-ing your name?  Nothing.  Except that if you do too much plastic surgery, you end up looking like Wacko Jacko. 

              What’s the real story behind all these ramblings about names?  Only that as a parent, I have tried my level best to shield and protect my child from being the butt of jokes.  I have twirled and swirled the names on the list around my tongue. And if she still ends up being the butt of jokes, well, that is the will of the Providence and out of my hands.  And now I have come to the end of my ramblings about names.  The End. 

Note:  I wrote about the Chinese and Chinese names not because I am being racist or discriminating the other races.  It is simply because I myself am a Chinese, and therefore am more familiar with the Chinese experience. 
* Actually it kinda is!  He shoulda studied harder in school izenit??   

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Bye 2010, Hello 2011

            I have not made new year resolutions for many years now for the simple reason that the resolutions crumble after several weeks into the new year.  So why even bother? Besides, I don’t get this; why NEW YEAR resolution?.  Why must we wait for the new year to improve and better ourselves?  If we feel the need to make any penambahbaikan to our character/attitude in February, does that mean we have to wait 10 months before we can do it?
            Anyhoo…. since it is the new year, and the trend is to make resolution(s), here are some of mine:
1.                                                Will not procrastinate
2.                                               Be more patient
3.                                               Not so messy
4.                                              Exercise more
5.                                             Take more photos of the family
6.                                              Cook/bake more often
7.                                              Call / talk to friends more often
That’s all I can think of right now