30 May 2011

One tries flying as the other Morphs

Sometime back I wrote on my FB status “Jo came into my room, flapping her imaginary wings wildly, jumping as high as she could while saying “ughh..mmmhph!...uuhh!” as she made each jump. Finally tired, she slumped down on my bed, folded her hands under her chin, frowned and said “it’s no use, it’s not fair. Why can’t I Fly? It’s just not fair mum.”
Well, to date Jo has tried flying by holding a bunch of wings which she’d found at a bird farm, she’s tried holding on to kites, balloons, scarves and huge papers. She's tried many many ways. Then she quit.

Well, I thought she’d quit trying forever, till yesterday. She came into my room, looked in my dressing mirror and started flapping imaginary wings again. This time, she hunched her body forward, stretched her neck forward and moved it jerkily from side to side. Then she said excitedly “See mum, now I look like a bird right mum? Right?” I was rather impressed with her acting skills and replied “Yes, you do look like a bird.”
That spurred her on, and she started jumping (or rather flying) again, from the sofa to my bed to the floor, over and over again. She did a pretty long jump and said excitedly “See mum! I did it; I stayed in the air longer this time, see how far I jumped! I'm flying!!!!”
As she continued, her energy sapped, she again, slumped down on my bed disappointed and said, “Humans are useless mum. We can’t fly, we can’t swim underwater like mermaids, and we can’t dig and stay underground. Useless mum.” Then she sighed, my 5+ year old.
I had to remind her of all the other wonderful things humans could do which birds or mermaids couldn’t do. I ended by promising her a hot air balloon ride, when one comes our way. She got carried away by this proposition and is now thinking of buying her own hot air balloon for future travel plans. haha.. :)
As for Nel, she’s metamorphosing into a preteen fast although she's nowhere near that yet.  She’s so conscious about her hair now, making sure it’s neatly combed to one side. She also wants to grow her bangs and walks with her head tilted to one side, thinking it’s lovely and elegant to hold herself that way. (This is the bad influence of cartoons!). I’ve to constantly remind her that if she continues walking that way with her head tilted she’ll end up with body aches and pain like mine.
She’s also incredibly conscious of how she speaks, and of people looking at her.  Just last week a group of her friends had a race around the badminton court to see who could run the fastest. She refused to run, conscious of people looking at her. I remember a time when I was just like her, refusing to run, trek or do anything because I was over conscious of people’s stares. I understood how she felt, yet I got irritated and told her not to be conscious. Funny how we get irritated with traits that are similar to ours, traits that remind us of our own weaknesses.
As for Nel's relationship with her little sis, sometimes Nel finds Jo’s incessant talking a tad irritating and she wants to be left alone with her books and softtoy doggie. Other times she’s like a little child again, playing pretend games, giggling and laughing with her little sis in the room. These moments when they’re together at peace, I eavesdrop and enjoy and soak in their laughter and giggles, I cherish these moments.
Well..this is where I end. I probably will not be on the net much these few weeks as it’s school break, and I’m off work. I really need the break, and it’s a relief to have these off days, coz I’m so tired from rushing constantly.  So I’m gonna cherish my hols and make the best of it.

27 May 2011

Bits of stuff from this week.

A Child's Introduction to Poetry: Listen While You Learn About the Magic Words That Have Moved Mountains, Won Battles, and Made Us Laugh and Cry
I found this absolutely lovely book at the library. A Child's Introduction To Poetry by Michael Driscoll. Nel and Jo absolutely love it!

In a fun way, it introduces children to various forms of poetry such as The Villanelle, Limerick, a Haiku, Ballad, nonsense verse and many other forms. My children love the examples given, they've actually taken it upon themselves to memorize several poems (and haiku!) from here.

Not only that, they've been making up their own rhymes and haiku's. Rather humorous ones, and I've been listening to them. An example of their works:

      Puncher - By Nel
       A Paper  was punched by a puncher
       The Paper was torn into pieces
        The Puncher was knocked by his Mrs
       And they all fell down on a teacher.

  Haiku by Jo 
Lollipop, rainbow
Sticky marshmallows melting
dancing in a pool
Little House in the Big Woods (Little House, No 1)

Other than that, Nel's currently reading several books, one of which is Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She especially enjoys books about animals, warm fuzzy stories and humorous stories.

As for Science, after the field trip to study plants and pollination
 a few weeks back, Jo planted a garden consisting of papaya trees and pumpkins. Sadly stray cats dug out the pumkins just as they were beginning to sprout from their seeds. The papaya plants made it, and as you can see, I'm going to have a lot to eat in the future.

Jo's Papaya Plants

My blue flowers (I don't know the name) have been blooming on my back fence and my kids have been making blue water with these flowers.
Jo collected weeds (she thinks they're pretty) and made this lovely arrangement for my kitchen.

She also made this -frozen strawberry in ice, which she ate early this morn. Imagine iced strawberries in ice for breakfast!

And this what I showed my children how to cook today, fried chicken. Place chicken pieces in a plastic bag, add salt, pepper, paprika, tumeric, curry powder, additional spices, flour, and crackers that's been pounded to pieces. Mix all and fry.
That's all for this week. Looking forward to the school hols.

26 May 2011

May I watch the TV please?

Yesterday evening I had 2 little boy guests at my house. After all the hullabaloo of greetings, like they've not met for a very long, (when in actual  fact, they meet almost everyday), they settled down and asked "Can we watch TV? please?Please? Please???"

I replied "No, there's lots to do around..go play."

So Jo brought out the cooking toys and she and Lo played with them for a while, just about 5 minutes, before the first fights began.
"Mine, I took it first!!!"

"No, I took it first!" shouted Jo in return.

Both Jo and Lo have got their little hands tightly wrapped around the toy, and none would let go. They're both pulling with all their strength, tightly intertwined with that little toy between their bellys, gritting their teeth, shouting and giving me looks that said "help me, be on my side." I refused to help them, I refused to take sides, but stared at them,  tiredly, blankly, like I didn't understand what was going on.

They kept fighting, and finally I stood up (despite telling myself  that I'd never interfere in children's fights, coz they should learn to sort it out themselves), and shouted "ENOUGH! Put the Toy down! Go do something else! Or ELSe I'll be sending you Jo to your room, and you little guest home!"

Not wanting to go home or to the room, they put the toy down very quickly and stayed quiet for a while. Just a while before they asked again, "Could we watch some TV then, pleaseeee?"

"No," I replied,  "Go find something else to do. Look at Nel and Lc, they're good, reading quietly in that corner. You both go do the same."

"Mum, may I have a snack then mum? We're hungry." asked Jo with that sweet pleading look.

"Alright, go get yourself some and serve your guests while you're at it."

Jo disappeared into the kitchen while I lay on the sofa resting my head. Then  I heard a loud CRASH. I headed to the kitchen and saw Jo on a stool spooning strawberry icecream into little bowls, and topping them with fresh strawberries. One of the bowls had dropped with a crash and broken to pieces. There was strawberry ice cream and pieces of strawberry all over my kitchen floor. (sigh)

Quickly I ran to the back to get a cloth, but upon return, I found Jo gone from the stool. Instead I found pink, sticky strawberry footprints leading from the kitchen to the living room.*double sigh* (I'd just cleaned the floor before they came.)

"No more ice cream!" I say a little angrily. "Finish up and clean your own bowls then go find something quiet to do. No More MESS you got it?? I'm tired of cleaning up."

"Can we watch TV then?" they asked again. A firm "No" was my answer.

After a while,  Jo called loudly from the dining area. "Mum, Lo has used your art stamp and stamped all over his hand, my hand and the floor!" I looked, and yes, there were pink Pooh stamps all over their hands and my living room floor. I glared at my little guest, lectured him a little, handed him the cloth and got him to wipe the ink off. It didn't completely come off, and I still have pink on my floor.

Ink stamp away, they started to bring out more toys, and I started to think of the horror of cleaning up, more spills, mess and mess. I had a little mini discussion with myself, concluded  and then hurriedly told them,

"Tell you what, why not just go watch some TV. Jo's got a new show. Shoo..go on you all and watch some TV."

"Hooray!" they all said and away they went.
Finally peace and quiet restored and no new messes made. My little guests finally left after the show. I looked at my living room, and there were toys strewn all over and little pink marks on my floor.

A reminder to myself,  In the future, as soon as little guests arrive, I shall have the TV ON!

[I generally do not allow much TV time for my children. In fact, I don't even have Astro or any TV stations. What we have are selected VCD's which I've bought. I tend to think that if children watch less TV they will find other creative things to do, like art, reading, story telling, puppet making, and of course, lots of mess making like stamping ink on the floor. ]

25 May 2011

I remember - by Jo my littlest

Jo nel mummy dad dog cat hat sam God good bad [words typed by Jo herself.] haha..

I remember (by Jo aged 5+) [dictated by Jo, typed by mummy word for word]

I remember I went to Frasers Hill

I remember that I visited Jakarta

I remember going in the aeroplane

I remember always going to the library with my mummy and sister

I remember I ate ice cream

I remember I always read the Bible and pray and I love God

I remember seeing a frog's nest in Frasers Hill

I remember I once saw a snail in the garden

I remember kissing my mummy ..always

I remember going to the capati shop [Indian bread]

I remember I always love my grandparents and father and mother and cousin

I remember that I scratched Ian with the hanger accidentally

I remember Lou pushed me

I remember I used to play with Lyd when I was kid. I'm almost not a kid now, coz I'm almost 6!

I remember I once threw myself out of the window, just kidding. [grin]

I remember I threw the pancake at my own face. just kidding again.[another cheeky grin]

I remember I once went to Tasik Kenyir and played with my friends on the boathouse.

I remember I drank milk shake and ate in Secret recipe.

the end.

[My last Post- A Beautiful Day - From Nel's Perspective]

24 May 2011

A beautiful day, From Nel's Perspective.....................

(This is a repost of something I wrote a few years ago, back when I nicknamed myself Hearts on the blog.)

This is what we often do, me (Nel) and my cousins Lu and Lyd (oh and baby Jo and baby Lo). We love to cycle...to the big big field. Sometimes the cycling gets tough and mum has to push a little to get me up the hill. Little Jo and Lo are still young, so they sit in the stroller, enjoying the breeze..and sometimes they fall asleep.

After a good 15 - 20 mins of cycling we get to the big field and park our bikes under the evening sun. Then we just have fun...

playing ball...

building sandcastles and digging holes in the ground....

picking up rubbish from the ground though mum says we shouldn't do that..but I don't see why we shouldn't. It's fun picking up stuff from the ground.

Sometimes we fight....but today we didn't at all. Not especially since special jet planes kept zooming above our heads. I think they're preparing for the  Celebration of our Country's Independence (31st August.) Lu especially liked the airplanes. He's a guy, so it's natural.

But mostly we just have great fun and are REALLY happy...

coz we're young and free...no cares or worries ...

our energy is boundless like the open sky...

Thank you God for making me, Lu and Ld...oh and for giving us baby J and baby Lo (who are fast asleep... so mummy hasn't taken their photos.)

Well we play tirelessly till the sun sets...

then head home...

for some delicous ice cream.yumm........ Today was beautiful. thank you GOd.
Linked at Happiness Is

Why I hated School. Memoirs of a highly introverted child.

Late 1980’s
It’s a frigid morning and it’s pitch dark in my little room. I’ve slammed shut my alarm clock twice. I hate school days. Again the alarm rings. I long to remain ensconced in my warm blanket, in my narrow, single bed. Yet,  against the wishes of my tired muscles and mind, I jump out of bed and my fingers automatically find the light switch. The alarm clock shows five to 6:30am. Darn it, not wanting to miss the bus again, I get myself ready in record time, I’m professional at that.  I still fear school, I still get panic attacks at the thought of school. But I’ve learnt to live with the unpleasant feeling. I often sit at the back of classrooms and hope to blend in with the shadows, never to be spotted by anyone. I’m 16.
After a one hour bus ride, I arrive in school. There are hundreds dressed just like me, light blue pinafore with an opening on the sides, a white blouse underneath. We’re supposed to look the same, but there are the exceptional few who have brought along a jacket to show off, or have put on a colourful bee dees bra beneath the transparent white shirt. (Triumph’s Bee Dees bra was quite a hit then!)
The school bell rings and we automatically form straight rows of 2’s. Prefects come around conducting spot checks to ensure that nobody breaks the rules. No long nails, hair must be neatly tied up, only short stud earrings allowed, no necklaces, no tight skirts or skirts above knee lengths, badges in place, no perfume etc. My heart pounds, it always does more than usual when at school. So many years, and I still feel like I don’t belong. I hate the morning smell of school. Sometimes I hate it so much I have stomach pains and feel like puking.
Our headmistress, always in an old fashioned dress, is on the balcony as usual giving a stern speech. I wonder if she’s ever happy. There are days we’re made to watch as she conducts a public caning. She hopes to shame that poor child in public. Do I mock the girl who’s being caned? No. I turn away and feel her pain.
Classrooms and classes
I’m a shadow at the back of the class, sitting next to a really smart girl. I’m thankful for her, coz she’s saved me from  many a canings I would’ve gotten if not for her. I didn’t like most of the subjects in school, not because the subjects were boring, but because the teachers were. I only had 3 favourite subjects, English, Chemistry and Physics, not because the teachers were interesting, but because the subjects were.
Most teachers came in and wrote on the board sentences taken exactly from textbooks. Most of our assignments were marked not for content, but for neatness of handwriting. Questions were rarely allowed. Sometimes one of my more inquisitive classmates would ask questions which sometimes got teachers mad. “Don’t talk when I talk,” they’d say. There were a few teachers who wept in anger and stomped off because they didn’t like questions and took every question as a challenge on authority. Nothing beats the drama of a crying, shouting teacher who stomps off. :)
Mid 1980’s
My fear of school and teachers is still very much palpable. I’m lining up in the hot afternoon sun. Our whole class has been punished again.  I just hope no one faints or gets hysteria. The irritating teacher sits lazily on the porch with her sunshade, yawning away. She sits there with a smirk that makes me dislike her and the subject even more. Why punish the whole class for trivial issues.
The girl in front of me has been slapped for supposedly sticking a picture on the teacher’s dress. There’s no proof she did it, but she’s slapped anyway. Another has had her whole bag and uniform searched, accused of stealing.
Some days we have Mrs “Lat”, a big fat lady with curly hair and dark rim glasses that slants upwards  on both sides. She frequently made us do her pop quizzes while standing on the chair. The reason was simple, so that she could give a hard smacking whack on our calves and thighs with her wooden ruler which was about 3 ft long, 4 inches wide and half inch thick. Many have felt the sting of this ruler against their calves. Again, I’m grateful for my smart, diligent partner. She and I have a pack, I help her with English, she helps me with pop quizzes so I don’t get hit.  
I did meet a kind teacher once. I think her name was Mrs. Liu. She was an exceptional. I remember the fear and tremor when I forgot to bring my exercise book once. I expected to be slapped, screamed at. I expect because that was norm in school. I deliberated for a long time before telling her. When I did, she held my shoulders, looked me in the eye and asked “did it have to take you a full 20 minutes just to tell me that? It’s ok to forget sometimes.” I tried to avert her gaze like I always do to anyone who looks me in the eye. I felt like I wanted to cry because I’m so relieved and so touched that for once, there is a teacher who actually cares.
Late 1970’s
I’m in primary. The English teacher is conducting a spelling test. She spots me sitting silently as the rest write a newly given word. I start to tremble as she walks to me, large strides, fists clenched. “Let me see your book!!” I show her my book. In my book, I’ve neatly written the entire list of 20 words, while the rest of the class are only on number 5. “You copied!!” she shouted in her shrill voice, with an Indian accent. I kept quiet although I didn’t copy. I’m a highly introverted child. When I’m afraid, I loose my voice. I wanted to tell her that I’d memorized that list many times since last night and have also memorized the sequence in which the words appear. But I remained silent instead. My body trembled as I watched her tear my book to pieces. All the nerves in my body pricked me with a painful sensation so I became numb. I closed my eyes as she dragged with me her strong hands, dragged me to the door and threw me out. I stood outside and cried. I was only 7.
My first day
The teacher calls my name, but I do not answer. She’s mispronounced  my name and so I’ve assumed she was calling someone else. She spells it out..M A R T H A. I raise my hands to acknowledge I’m present. Instead of going on with roll call, she stops and waves her hands, signaling for me to go forward. I approach her table shyly. I’m an introvert, remember? She asks with a mocking voice. I know she did, because of my ability to pick up body language and hidden meanings easily.
 She asked “why did your dad give you such a ridiculous name that no one can pronounce?” How was I supposed to answer that question. She continued, so “How do you say your name?”
I replied “MarTHa”, emphasizing the “th” sound.
“What? Muscle? Muscle?” she laughed, pointing to her triceps,  and the whole class laughed. I still remember her large belly heaving as she let out that asthmatic laugh, her wide mouth opened showing off her crooked brown teeth that desperately needed scaling.
“Let’s see..maybe we can call you mata? (in Malay eyes), or how about matahari (sun), or masa (time).” She continued laughing and laughing. I felt the tears stinging my eyes but I kept quiet.
I’m barely 6 (A Dec child), I’d just traveled an hour to get to school, I desperately miss my parents, I’m a sensitive introverted child, and this was my very first day at school.  I thought school was a protective place where teachers cared. I was wrong. Ever since then, I hated school, I developed panic attacks at the thought of school, I crawled deeper into my own shell and suffered low esteem for many years.

It’s orientation day at a university in the USA, I’m listening to a positive speech for once in my life. I’m encouraged to speak up, to explore, to discuss.  Because I feel accepted here, I’ve begun to love learning. I go from being an A- and B+ student to being a 4.0 (All A’s) student every semester. I smile a lot more often, I’m now brave enough to do things I’d never done before because I’m no longer bounded by  fear.   I even have conversation with my Professors. I love some of them dearly because they inspire me to do greater things.
 I graduate with honours and go on to pursue my Masters. Suddenly I feel, I can do all things, I really can. The verse “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” has become a reality. I’ve prayed that verse for years and years, begging God to help me break free from my own prison cell. God answered my prayers and took me through the darkest tunnels in my life.
[Parent, do you have a highly introverted and sensitive child? Does your child suffer from panic attacks, or stomach ache and headaches at the thought of school? Does he/she spend a lot of time locked up in his/her own room dreaming? Loss of appetite and zeal for learning? It might be good to sit down with your child and try to understand what’s going on inside. It’s hard to understand the thoughts of an introvert, especially if you’re an extrovert parent. But it will mean a lot if you’d try to understand without scolding, without mocking, without negative words. Just be there for your child. Using our adult understanding and wisdom, it’s hard to understand and feel the reality of fear within your introverted child. Try to get into your child's shoes instead.]

23 May 2011

Jo my physiotherapist

I've had pains in my shoulder and neck for 10 years now. Have seen multiple doctors, and all sorts of therapists. Have quite given up. The pain persists, and gets so unbearable some days.

Recently it's begun to affect my lower back and my left hand and fingers. That's bad considering that I'm a musician and teacher by profession. So, I've reverted back to physiotherapy as recommended by a friend. Because my pain is rather chronic, the therapist says it will take a while before I see any improvement. There's swelling on my upper back, pinched nerve, and I might possibly have the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Now back to little Jo. She's gone with me for every therapy session and has been a keen observer of how it works. She asks questions about the machine and what, why and how questions, which sometimes tickles the therapists. Today, the therapist was commenting on how weak my neck muscles were and she made me do neck exercises. She placed her hand on the back of my head and asked me to push against her palm. She commented several times "Why so weak? Push harder, push harder, why so weak?"

Jo decided she wouldn't let the physio call me weak so she placed her hand on my forehead and pushed it back against the therapists hands. LOL...we had a good laugh!

Later at home, I was still in pain and told my children to pray for me. Then Jo got right behind me, started feeling my back for the knots. She knows where they are, coz she's watched the therapist and in fact this morning she even showed the therapist where the knots were. Well, she found the knots, climbed up on a stool, and pressed down hard on the knots with her elbows! She got it spot on almost each time, and she was strong too!

So there, the story of my little home therapist. :)

a mini birthday party

Birthdays are never big affairs in our household. It is important though and usually just celebrated amonsgt family members. Well this time my child requested the presence of a few good friends and after some deliberation, I agreed. So it was a busy weekend of shopping for ingredients and cooking.

 As I was preparing the food .. I caught myself regretting a few times and wishing I'd just paid Pizza Hut or Burger King and hosted our party there. But in the end, after all the fun and fellowship, I've no regrets and must say we all had a wonderful time. :)

mangoes for starters

I baked spinach quiche (well 2 actually with different types of cheese)

the sliced up quiche which went pretty quickly

Stuffed eggplant (baked). This was a lot of work.
Green curry which my mum made. (Spices blended and made from scratch.)

A very delicous pie which a friend brought
Then there was the usual, sausages, sandwiches (2 types) dessert and cake.

 For games I hung up a target, gave the children water balloons which they used to hit the target. As I was taking pictures, at one point a water balloon broke in mid air and I got pretty wet.   :) I also bought bubble blowers for every child.

This morning, I think I'll rest a little before heading out to work later.

20 May 2011

Dancing on Soft Sand

Dear child Lyd, and my little child Jo
Dancing freely neath boughs so low.
Twirling, leaping, laughing, pirouetting
Worrying bout nothing but delighting in just being

(linked at Happiness is)

18 May 2011

"Lego" of the Great Outdoors

I love Lego, and so do my children. We do own a set, but just one.
If you’re a middle income earner like me, living in Malaysia, you’ll feel that lump in your throat (not from sadness, but from shock) when you see the prices at which Lego sets are sold here.  Lego here costs several hundred per set (!), unaffordable to many.
However, the great outdoors, offers “Lego” bits and pieces for free. Often when we’re out on a picnic, or  trekking somewhere, my children surprise me by showing me interesting finds consisting of odd shaped seeds, nuts, twigs, leaves, rocks, stones (and the list goes on) that can be used  in a variety ways.
On one of our recent trip, we headed outdoors where my children played happily, while I sat nearby enjoying the cool breeze and a book. Half way through I looked at them and noticed them building a mini town with “Lego” bits that nature had strewn all around.
I was so captivated; I had to put down my book and join them.
a building my children constructed from wood, pine needles and stones which they found. It wasn't easy getting everything to balance and stand, but they did it, and learnt a lot in the process

little Jo tying pieces together to create her own building

A Cross made by Nel (using broken branches)

Nel made this tree by adding moss to a twig

I had a wonderful time doing this. As I spent time looking for pine needles, soil and all..I felt free, happy, like a little child all over again. :)

Playing in the outdoors has provided my children a lot of room for creativity, from pretend play to creative building projects. Just recently while trekking in the jungle, Jo and her cousin started pretending that they were civilians running from the communist. I’m always amused by children’s ability to create and imagine.
Photos here were taken while at the park in Frasers Hill. To read more bout why we love it there, and some of the interesting critters we came across while trekking there, click here.

16 May 2011

Teaching my children to give, and giving.

Last Friday as me and my children sat down to do devotion, we talked about giving, as Christ gave freely. When were almost done, I asked "so if there was someone in need, would you give?" Both my girls replied immediately with a resounding "Yes yes Yes!"

Knowing that they had little money in their wallets as I seldom give them pocket money, I asked them, "would you then, be willing to take some money from your own wallet to buy rice or milk for the poor?"

The answer came in the form of  total silence. Nel had been saving hard to buy something special, I knew that, and every cent was precious to her. She'd toiled in my garden and worked for her own pocket money, and she'd been saving and counting every now and then.

After a moment of silence Nel said "ok mum, I'm willing to give."

  "Are you sure?" I asked,  "you've been saving hard."

Nel replied with a more reassuring look this time "Yes, mum, I want to give to those who don't have as much as I do." I was touched by her words.

Little Jo on seeing her sister agreeing said "mum, I only have two 5RM notes in my wallet, but I'll give you one of it!!" and she said it excitedly too! :)

So, last weekend, as we were travelling, Nel herself took her own money from her wallet and gave it to her grandfather to purchase rice for the less fortunate. I'd not reminded her, but she remembered.

Here below are some pictures from a village we visited during the weekend. We camped there, fellowshiped with these people, ate with them and prayed with them. The rice went to an interior village, a place so remote, few can go in.
Looking through the window of their world

The church there..symbol of faith, place of refuge and comfort

a new born baby

This is their home. Built by themselves on a land they've called home for generations. But there's threat that their land will be taken away to make way for large and rich corporations.

Playing with hay on a hot hot afternoon

my little one chasing geese
they found this furry cat

How wonderful it is to teach children to give. As I teach them, I ask myself too, how much am I willing to give, even to people I do not know.

When God puts in our heart to give something, it's good to give, regardless of what others may say. For who are we to go against the promptings that God has placed within our hearts.

my last post - Dear-Nel, (excerpts taken from letters written to my daughter )

14 May 2011

Dear Nel...(Excerpts taken from letters written to my daughter)

When my dear Nel was born, I started a diary for her. I wrote her letters now and then, for her to read one day. Here are excerpts from some of the letters I wrote to my dearest Nel.

A drawing of her
Dearest Nel.........

You were born at 8.50am by cesarean. They had tried inducing mummy but my cervix wouldn't dilate more than 1 cm, and you still hadn't engaged. Doctor said you had the cord around your neck....................................

Finally I felt a strong push on my abdomen and a tugging. Then I heard a loud beautiful wail! That was you darling, coming into the world. You had strong lungs, you were red and beautiful............................

I just fed you a while ago and burped you for the very first time. Wow, what loud burps you let out and now you're fast asleep. Just U and me. I love you sweetheart....ummmahhhhh kisses from your mummy.

27th May
Today mummy's discharged, but doctor says you've got jaundice. You have to stay 2 extra days. I'm home and missing you so much. In half hour's time daddy and I are gonna drive to see you. Can't wait to hold you and smell you. i love you...
28th May

Hi my darling sleepy head..So I'm here at the hospital to see you and guess what? You refused to wake up. :) You're so beautiful.................
(Thank you Father in Heaven, I give you praise and thanks for Nel.)

Last night I was so tired and frustrated about nursing I cried...............You refused to sleep and were wide awake for a long time.......I love holding you and carrying you and feeling your soft hair and chubby cheeks against mine. xoxo..mum.
you're an active baby, the best moments with you are always in the morning. You've added "ah-goo" to your vocab and your smile is sooo cute. :) ...........We have to be near you coz you don't sleep for long stretches, but I'm hoping you will, at least for the night. ummmahh (kisses from mummy.)

This morning you started giggling and laughing out loud! Your laughter brings so much joy to my heart and I think about you often, even when I'm at work.

dear nel..I find myself constantly thinking about you now at work and can never wait to come home. I miss you when I'm away. You've developed a really cute and infectious laughter!

21/2 (Nel aged 1 year ++)

We took you running n a big field. you were so happy, laughing always and trying to catch up with us. You sing all the time, familiar songs and songs you make up on your own. You make me smile all the time. Love you.

24/4 (Nel almost 3)

How time flies. I've no regrets giving up my full time job so I can be with you. You sing so well and are a creative dancer. I've to remind myself to worship at church instead of looking at your cute dances. ;)

30/8 (Jo's born)

Dear Nel, it's been 3 weeks since your little sis was born. All of a sudden you've changed. You've started shouting at others, crying for nothing, hitting others and I really wonder where's my little smiling Nel.......................

I hope this is a temporary phase. You were such a good companion during my pregnancy. You brought me pillows to soothe my back aches, you  gave me kisses to brighten my days, you stayed up with me nights I couldn't sleep.

 But at the moment you've changed so much. I'm sorry if I've not been so patient with you lately. I've had a Cesarean again, and Jo's nursing all the time.
I thank God you're gentle with your sister..I'll have more time for you again soon. I love you very much, and my heart aches every time you cry......

Some days your grandparents would take you home for a day or two and I'd cry and cry from missing you, for neglecting you....

 I love your sister Jo, and I love you very very much. Nothing can EVER change that. You'll always be my baby. I sign off with tears. With all my love...mummy.

My prayer is that you and Jo will really love one another, protect one another and stand up for one another, through thick and thin, no matter what.
Dear Nel...Today's the 1st time I held you in my arms like a baby all over again. Oh how you've grown. I've not held you like this in a long time coz of my c-section. you've been on a growth spurt! ;) It feels so nice to hug you and hold you close again. You responded by talking like a baby! :)

11 May 2011

I remember

Found this interesting exercise on http://coffeesandcommutes.com/
One of the many thought-provoking exercises that Dani Shapiro gave us while at Kripalu was to write for 10 minutes, without stopping, sentences that begin with “I remember.” (An exercise inspired by Joe Brainard’s Classic, I Remember). Lisa, Denise, Lindsey, Sarah and I all found this both fun and surprising – we discovered that we wrote down both long-cherished memories and ones we had not even realized we remembered.

I remember...

I remember ....I'm trying to remember and it's taking me a while to get started coz my daughter keeps interrupting my thoughts.

I remember being in a car accident and bruising half my face. I cried when the doctor told me that the scar would disappear and I'd be ok.

I remember going to school on a public bus, when a mad man sat behind me and tried to touch me with his hands. I was too scared to even let out a scream. I was relieved when he got down, but before he did, he smiled a wicked toothless smile.

I remember knocking on my dad's door often in the wee hours of the early morning when I missed my ride to school again.

I remember the first time the nurse brought my baby to me and said "now here's your little one, it's time to nurse her." Despite the pain from my C-Section, I managed to turn onto my side, and nursed her. I nursed her till she turned 2and a half.

I remember seeing a girl stuck between the elevator door, lying down and shouting "help me, help me!" she was too drunk to even stand up!

I remember landing in Illinois, smack in the middle of a horrid winter, desperately missing my family in Malaysia, and crying.

I remember the day I passed my Masters Thesis, and calling my family from the public phone saying "I did it!!! I did it!"

I remember the day  my husband proposed to me over the phone while I was stuck in horrid jam. I was surprised and told him to try proposing again, properly with flowers. He did, several days later with a bouquet. :)

I remember how I used to be so afraid of trekking, and now I love it more than anything.

I remember the day my dog died, and how I cried and cried. I snipped off bits of my hair and put it together with bits of my dog's hair in a mini urn which I kept for a long time.

I remember how when after just changing my baby's diaper, she pooed again. I opened her newly soiled diapers, and she did another shower of poo which flew across my bed, soiling my bed sheet.

I remember calling my mum from the States just to ask her "mum, how do you turn on a stove? Next, how do you cook Chicken with Oyster Sauce?"

I remember my first time making ginger bread man with a friend. The result was biscuits so hard it wouldn't break even when stomped on or thrown against a wall. I remember laughing so hard!

I remember me and my husband running hard with heavy backpacks on our backs, trying to catch the train to Basel on time. I remember the joy of meeting Leena on the platform. I still keep her sms's sent to me on that day of arrival in my phone inbox.

I remember the joy of bringing my first born home, dressed in a new pink suit, sitting in a brand new baby car seat. Oh the joy of introducing her to my parents and all at home. I remember.

I remember many more things, but I'm tired. This will do I guess.
 Kiddothings lovelinked this post today at  Free Fringes

10 May 2011

Charlie and Lola

We love Charlie and Lola Magazines. My girls love it and look forward to every new issue. It's basically a magazine full of cut outs, craft ideas and stickers.  The picture on the left is our latest purchase, not opened yet.   Last month's issue was all about keeping a pet dog. Since we have a pet dog, my children loved that issue.
Somedays like today, I abandon traditional work books and  just use stuff like this magazine for Jo's morning studies. We read through the magazine (very easy reading), and did the craft ideas as we went along.
A drawing page which Jo worked on..not totally completed yet.

A Doggie which Jo made totally on her own out of a piece of white cardboard. I like her 3D dog, though it really looks more like a sheep :) . ( I only helped her fold the legs so her doggie can stand) .

So this is Nel's doggie, she made it all by herself too.

Angry Bird Puzzles by Jo

I don't have an IPhone or IPad, but occasionally when we're at my bro's house, my girls get to play the Angry Bird game. Despite the very few times J's played the game, she's been inspired by it!

Last night, she drew a series of Angry Birds puzzles and asked her dad to play with her over dinner time. Here are some of her drawings.. :)
Puzzle 1- simple

here she's given her daddy 1000 points! ;)
more options now, and the super big bird is the Eagle. haha...

Notice how's she's got lines thru it? This is how she plays it. "Mum, which bird do you want to use?" I pick a bird, and she draws a line through and X-es out some pigs. There's also a huge eagle in this one 
The three boxes on the upper left hand corner are additional buttons for extra powers
As for Nel, a good friend, dear Aunty Gladys gave her a bunch of lovely books!

Nel engrossed in her book (but she doesn't want to be photohraphed, but she's made a peace sign there! :) )
As for myself, I've not been painting much lately. Here's something I did just for fun. Just playing with colours on paper. Did this by wetting the paper, adding colour and moving the paper around to allow the paint to flow randomly. Then I added the outline of the cross based on how the colour flowed. And i thought the lower colours looked like rock formations, so I added the rock outline. Simple art.
Last Sunday, being in a hurry to get to a theatre show on time, I told hubby "no time to go to a restaurant tonight, let's just feed our chicken the children rice."
Jo: I know how to spell kiss now mum. It's spelled K I X.
Jo after Chinese class. "mum, today 3 boys told me they love me. Lu, Ho and N" (my goodness, and they're only preschoolers!)
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