Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Joy of Music

Aisyah has recently discovered the joy of music making. A cheapo toy piano and a free musical notation at the back of one of her work book are responsible for bringing her this newfound happiness. 


The notation was for the 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' tune. I whipped out my marker and mapped the numbers on the keyboards and taught her how to press the key as she reads the number on the sheet (it was a simple number notation, not a proper musical score). After a few demonstration, she got the hang of it, but of course, it being her first time ever, she needed a lot of help, but at least understood the concept well. Just need to polish on her eye-finger coordination, and also the speed of her play (tekan satu2, slow2).





After about 15 minutes, she got bored, and started cheating. The cheapo toy piano had a built-in library of tunes, including the one she was practising, so she put that on instead of playing herself and started miming, much to my disappointment.


Me: Hey, that's cheating!

Aisyah: I don't want to play the piano like this anymore


Thinking that she is giving up, I started a lecture on how to persevere when doing something challenging.


Me: You have to be patient. All the great musicians learn this way. They practised again and again really hard until they got really good at it and could play music very fast (effortlessly)

Aisyah: No, I don't want to play the piano like this. I want to play like THIS [shoves a piece of paper under my nose].



Oh, she meant dia tak nak yg toned down punya notation. Dia nak yg proper musical score, yg ad taugeh2 tu. Wah wah wah... seems like someone's ready for paid musical lessons, hmmm...




Friday, July 26, 2013

Entertainment

A few post back I wrote how Aisyah can be a natural at entertaining his brother. Well, I caught a video of her 'baby-entertaining' (as opposed to baby-sitting) her little brother.


video


Cute, no? 

Rasanya dia tgh berangan tap dancing kot, sbb she shouted 'Tap, tap' ke apa benda ntah. Yang adik plak,tgk x berkedip. Siap tergedik2 kaki. Kalau lah dia tu dah vertically stable, sure bgn join jgk aku rasa hehe.


Tapi ada jgk time2 kita mintak tolong tgk kan adik dia tu, Aisyah amik kesempatan utk membuli plak. I asked if she could make sure Zayd doesn't roll around on the bed as I go to wash my hands in the bathroom 2-steps away (this was after a quick poo-filled nappy change). Nampaknya adik tidak mendengar saman dan acah2 nak golek jgk. So Kakak pon amik baju adik yg dah tanggal dan tenggekkan atas kepala si adik. Adik stopped mid-roll. Terkedu dibuatnya sbb x tahu nak respon mcm mana. Enough time for me to come back and tgk sorg terkulat2, sorg terkekek2 ketawa x leh nak berenti. Haih, org suruh entertain adik, this is more like entertaining herself plak Kakak ni. Macam2...







PS: Aisyah is wearing shoes in the house in the video bcoz it's new, never jejak tanah lg and she loves them too much. And err... abaikan rumah bersepah itu. I was doing laundry at the time, hence bakul baju di tgh balairong seri. Yg atas kabinet tu, unpacked boxes lg. Aci tak dah nak masuk 6 bulan balik x habis2 lg unpacking? And wonder why Aisyah is not facing her brother masa dia menari2 tu? It's bcoz she is checking out her reflection dkt cermin kabinet tu. Oh such vanity!


 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Berbuka Bersama Keluarga

After four years of living far away from our beloved families, Alhamdulillah this year we can spend the weekends in Ramadhan with them.


The first weekend in Ramadhan, we went back to Hubs's side of the family in Muar. Biasalah, trave; dgn anak kecik, penuh boot. 



Now check out our medicine kit. Masa tu aku x berapa sehat dan Zayd plak selsema, so we had a lot with us traveling. Paracetamol, baby Paracetamol, Cetrizine, nasal drop, nasal spray, Vicks baby balsam, cooling gel, our trusted Braun thermometer, Aisyah's inhaler and the bulky spacer that comes with it, Aisyah's epi pen, and of course, Mopiko for the gerenti-kena mosquito bites.



 

Ptg hari pertama sampai tu, wahhh... abah dah sediakan pecel ikan pari, Hubs fav menu, and also dah x tahun punya x hadap la kan. Mcm2 lg lauk, from ayam goreng to masak sambal, to bubur lambuk, tp punya la kepala ni fokus kat makanan je (puasa kan), so mmg x ingat nak amik gmbr dah. Apa2pon, pecel ikan parinya adalah yg terbaekkk!!!


Aisyah had a lot of sun kat kampung, especially bila Mak Usu nya start membancuh kek. Aisyah amazed me sbb pandai dan rajin rupanya dia when it comes to baking (a turf I am a failure at). Paling memeranjat, bila aku offer nak gi beli kuih utk berbuka ptg keduanya tu, dia bole kata x nak ikut sbb nak tunggu kek dia siap, padahal masa tu dah masuk oven pon, kalo dia ikut pon my SIL ada nak jaga. Smgt sungguh buat kek. Siap je terus dia ngap, x sempat amik gambar full cake hmm...






I also amazed myself sbb this is the first time EVER, aku drive kat Muar. Hubs was busy siapkan kerja opis dia (tsk tsk..) so I offered to drive, as long as another SIL followed in car to guide me the way. My MIL, SIL and then Zayd followed. Kedai kuih nya mmg marveles, rambang mata tgk kuih, murah2 plak tu, seringgit dpt empat fuhhh... dah la lama x jumpa kuih tradisional like tepung gomak, taik minyak, masalodeh, kuih bakar dan mcm2 lg aku dah x ingat, tp yg nyata, mmg kalo berbuka mkn kuih je hari tu, dah cukup mengenyangkan (astaghfirullah, kes lapar mata).


The following weekend plak berbuka at my side of the family plak. Kali ni ingat plak nak amik gmbr sbb aku masa tu x terkocoh2 sgt nak berbuka hehe.My mom asked for potluck so ada la menantunya yg buat ayam goreng berempah, ada yg buat kari kepala ikan, dan di top up dgn lauk2 lain mcm teur masib, ikan selar celup tepung dan sayur goreng yg mmg masak kat umah my mom dah. Aku bwk ikan kurau di masak halia sbb itu yg mudah dan satu2nya lauk yg ada dlm peti (gathering ini adalah agak impromptu buat aku sbb hari2 pon singgah umah my mom to drop off the kids, jd it's no biggie, but it's a chance to kumpul all adik beradik and cucundas together under one roof).










Last Wednesday,my Dad got back from a business trip in Klate, and I was so langkah kanan sbb dia tgh buka2 kotak and bahagi2kan stuff he brought from there masa I went to pick up the kids. The food, Masha Allah, made me smile and buntang mata, sbb menunya adalah yg tipikal Klate, I was waiting for it forever. Among them, ayam bakar kuah percik style Klate (ya Allah, heavennya), akok, sekayo, and my Dad even bawak balik ketupat uols. Ketupat daun palas yg tiga segi tu. Oh belum raya lg dah ngappp... bestnya... Like I have mentioned before, yg pulut2 ni mmg fav aku, altho Hubs mmg turn up his nose lah to ketupat daun palas, bcoz to him, as a Muarian, ketupat hanyalah refers to ketupat nasi, which I, a Kelantanese, thinks is so wrong sebab ketupat nasi tu kita panggil nasik himpit lah (or nasi kapit, dlm bahasa Klate). Never ending debate in this household, I tell you. Again x de foto sbb khusyiuk makan beradap sorg2 hehe...

This week is a longish 3-day weekend. So far x de plan, makan kat umah sendiri je lah. Selamat berbuka semua!



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Time for My Fruit Hearts

How do mothers with more than one child divide their attention equally among their offspring? Haish, baru anak dua rasa mcm tunggang terbalik dah. It is even more apparent sbb skang ni bulan ramadhan, so mula2 rushing nak balik masak, then berbuka. Then I hoist the kids upstairs, mandi, get dressed, and sort out myself, solat dsb nya. Azan Isya' je, Hubs off to the mosque, leaving me to tend the kids. Haaa... masa ni la agak menduga minda, especially kalo adik nak didodoi and kakak duk whining non-stop psl dia bored. 


I try spending time with Kakak, buat art stuff, homework, read storybooks and even ajar dia suka2 like qiraati, mathematics (she calls it 'metik metik') and even spelling.  I make it a point to do qiraati every night sbb cikgu dia kata that's where she needed help with most. Masa kat UK it felt like x de masa sgt leh spend time dgn dia, skali balik Msia, lg la terasa cpt sehari2 tu berlalu.  It is not easy sbb I usually have to entertain adik, and sometimes mid-mengajar I would to pause sbb adik berak, and we had to change his nappies. Sometimes rasa bersalah sbb byk kali minta diri from whatever activity yg tgh buat dgn Kakak bcoz nak tend to adik dulu, baik poo, susu, or even nak tido, tp Kakak Alhamdulillah cool aje, she even found it funny. It is a blessing jgk la gap umur diorg ni jauh, Kakak is so understanding and very doted when it comes to his brother. Cuma time with them rasanya so little je tiap2 mlm, yelah, by 10 pm dah lights-off for the kids to prepare for an early day tomo plak.


Kadang2 aku terlupa plak Aisyah ni baru 5 years old. So many times a day aku lafazkan,'Kakak, tengok adik kejap' or yg sewaktu dgn nya sbb aku nak mandi, masak etc. Sbnarnya, kalo apa2 jd pon, dia mmg bole TENGOK aje la sbb dia x pandai lg nak jaga or dukung adik. Cuma yg terror sket jd tukang report - adik berak, adik tarik rambut, adik masuk mulut benda yg x sepatutnya, etc.


Tapi satu bole puji. Kalo bab entertaining adik, wah, she's a natural. Kdg2 dia menari2 utk adik dia, kdg2 dia mengajar, kdg dia nyanyi, kdg ngaji, ikut sedap dia lah. Skali aku tgk tu, mcm cheerleading pon ada jg, belasah la labu, asal adik x nanges. Yg adik pon, melopongggg... sgt la attentive hehe. So kat situ dpt la beli masa utk diri aku sket, kot nak membersihkan diri or get the colon content moving :P







 




These two... my fruit hearts (buah hati hehe)... Alhamdulillah...






Monday, July 22, 2013

License to Thrill

I received a few encouraging words from friends (online and offline) regarding my last entry. Many have also confessed to shedding a few tears reading the post. Some have commented that it reminded them very much of their own PhD journey. Indeed. Setiap PhD tu ada cerita suka dukanya sendiri. In no way did I mean to say that my journey was harder than most. No, no, no. I wrote it down bcoz this is my blog and I wrote my own story lah nak write your own story, in your own blog lah hehe. I wrote it down bcoz like another fellow blogger (Liyana) had said, may the experience keep us grounded. Kira mcm peringatan utk diri sendiri. And also utk anak2. Esok2 kalo ada yg kurg rajin belajar, aku re-direct je suh baca balik blog Mummy. Tengok, tengok. Bukan senang nak berjaya. I know it should work, bcoz I drew a lot of inspiration from my Dad, also another PhD holder. When it happened (masa dia buat PhD), I didn't bat an eye lash, x faham pon pengorbanan dia. But as I grew up and experience things myself, barulah terang sebenarnya. 


Also, byk benda dlm blog ni aku cerita psl happy2, jalan2, makan2, etc. Yang pahit, yang pedih, hanya Allah yg tahu. Little by little I will share, Inshaa Allah. Dulu2 malas nak couped up dlm aura negativity, so I dismissed the thoughts. Skang dah lps, bole la reminisce balik. Bittersweet gitu. Most importantly,I put pen to paper bcoz, whilst going through the journey myself, byk blog2 PhD org lain yg aku baca, utk motivasi diri. Some were funny, some were inspirational, some shared good advice, some rambled on about kerja dia that I had no clue what of, and some were even downright depressing and suicidal, so I got a good picture of what is 'normal' for a PhD student. This is kinda my way of giving back to what I had received from others. Hopefully, my ups and downs kat sini bole lah membantu those yg masih fighting for victory utk buat bacaan ringan bila2 bosan or demotivated. Ok, panjang plak disclaimer aku nih. 


Sebenarnya, nak buat just a very quick post today. Finished submitting the most very final version of the thesis to the University of Plymouth's repository. And had signed off the license form. And that should be the end of it. Lps ni yg hard bound copy tu, kalo nak bagi pon, just as a favour for my SV je lah, bukan Uni nya requirement pon. Alhamdulillah... 


Makan masa one and a half working day jgk lah buat, nak upload ni, bcoz I have TOOOOOOOO many sound files to upload with the thesis. The sounds are important bcoz they are referred to in the thesis, sbb my work is on sound synthesis, of course nak dgr beza sound yg aku synthesised dgn method2 yg sblm ni. At least it doesn't take too much neurons to do, just so very time consuming. Now bole la relax sket. Perhaps it's time to think about the Graduation ceremony? To attend or not to attend.Or the more suited question is, ada duit nak pi, ka tadak duit..? Tsk... how sad...


OK it's 5 pm. Gotta go. Ramadhan ni, time flies gile laju. All day today hanya buat ini sahaja., even x melagho pon buat benda lain.




   

Thursday, July 18, 2013

End of Quest

Have been neglecting my blog for awhile now. Mula2 tu x sihat, then when Ramadhan started, mmg super busy. Ye la, mana nak kejar utk berbuka, taraweh, get the children ready for bed, prepare sahur lg. Tambahan pula, minggu ni dah 3 hari berbengkel saja kerjanya, so all out 8 am - 5pm xde masa nak mengular di alam maya. Even waktu lunch plak kitaorg join tadarus, then aku sempat melarikan diri utk bg Zayd direct feed susu badan sbb sejak posa hasil susu aku merudum teruk sampai tahap 2 oz je bila pam, so utk menambahkan supply and make sure Zayd x kebulur, kena la balik utk susukan dia. Badan pon letih awal2 so better rehat aje, maklumlah yg demam hari tu pon x brp sembuh lg.


TAPIII... gagahkan jua tulis entry ni, bcoz I received a very important email.




Alhamdulillah, Syukur padaMu ya Allah....!


Masa baca emel tu, of coz I was stuck in the bengkel, without a laptop or any means of connecting to the Internet (me no got smartphone yet). So time break tu, I asked my colleague yg duk sblh if I could use her laptop (which she had smartly smuggled masuk dlm dewan) just to check my emails, in case students ada contact coz mmg budak2 ni ada owe assignment dgn aku. 


Imagine my surprise bukak2 emel kuar statement yg di atas. Dgn x semena2 badan aku jadik cam terketar2. so I excused myself masuk surau and then did a Sujud Syukur, followed by Sunat Dhuha. Masa rakaat yg ke-last tu I started to become emotionally overwhelmed, and that's putting it mildly lah. Okay, okay, I confessed, I SOBBED. I sobbed and cried like a 5 year-old who lost her puppy. 


At that moment, my PhD journey played back like it was movie in my head. 


I saw myself kelek Aisyah ke hulu ke hilir in the cold when she was just no bigger than Zayd.


I saw myself bgn mlm tending to Aisyah (teething!) and then sambung bercekang mata nak siapkan deadline.


I saw myself crying in frustration over programming errors and bugs that i had no clue of how to fix.


I saw myself berpeluh2 guna segala kudrat tenaga tolak cleaning trolley when I had to work as a cleaner just to make ends meet bcoz the scholarship was barely covering our cost of living.


I saw myself braved the night facing drunks on the street masa balik rumah pkl 1 pg sbb stay back kat lab coz siangnya I had to take care of Aisyah while Hubs worked becoz we couldn't afford full-time nursery.


I saw myself (and Hubs) 'ikat perut' dan berjimat cermat and even tolak most invitations from friends utk makan luar bcoz we had to skimp on lavish food. 


I saw myself declining various social invitations bcoz I didn't have any time for leisure, sometimes mistaken for being 'sombong'.


I saw myself walking uphill in the cold everywhere bcoz we had no car.


I saw myself berteleku di meja in my lab for hours, day in, day out.


I saw myself with Aisyah as my sidekick everywhere - the library, the shop, the printing office, presentations, seminars.


I saw myself hunched over the laptop, typing my thesis furiously, with arms that slowly stretched further and further away from my keyboard everyday as my tummy grew larger as I was carrying Zayd.


I saw myself staying up late at night as everyone was asleep, adamant to meet the deadline.


I saw myself (attempting to) walk across the Uni ground with a huge basketball under my shirt (Zayd, kamu sgt besar okeh?)


I saw myself typing the thesis on the bed when it got to the point that the chair at my office desk was starting to give my very pregnant self a backache.


I saw myself typing the thesis in thick coat and wrapped in duvet as it was winter but we couldn't foot the huge heating bill.


I saw myself dropping Aisyah at after school care, sacrificing a huge portion of our savings just so I could have a few more extra hours working in solidarity. 


I saw myself walking hands-in-hands with Hubs that cold January morning to my viva room. He stopped just outside of the room and gave me the look that says, 'I believe in you'.


I saw myself looking like a crazed woman in confinement (errr... I guess I didn't just look like the crazed woman in confinement, I WAS the crazed woman in confinement) pushing myself to sort out the corrections even though I clearly was not at my best.


It all just kept playing over and over in my head.


I must've looked like a wreck bcoz my colleague was quite concerned after and she asked if I was alright. Hehe...


Truth is, I think this is more emotional than my viva bcoz with the viva, I was already exhausted answering the examiners that it didn't quite sink in when they said I'd passed. My mind was also half-occupied at the time sbb nak balik Msia dah in 4 days, dgn nak beranak lg, so kegembiraan tu x de la terzahir sgt. Plus, result viva instantaneous, abis je viva dpt tau terus lulus ke x. So feeling tu mcm masih kat awang2an lg. Also, dah tahu ada pembetulan lg, so it didn't feel like dah tamat betul. 


With thesis correction ni, I have been nervously waiting to hear from my examiner after I have re-submitted my thesis. There is always a chance that it has not been corrected up to the satisfactory level and kena tambah lg, so mmg all the while berdoa sgt semoga pembetulan diterima as it was, bcoz to be honest, aku dah x larat nak buat lg now that I have started working and family pon kena jaga jg. So the waiting tu part yg menyakitkan dan mendebarkan. And when they let you know yg everything dah diterima, it means it's finished. Selesai. Tak payah buat kerja apa lagi dah on the thesis lps ni. Tggu scroll sahaja. The relief, Allah sahaja yg tahu.


Masa tgh drive tghari tu dgr plak lagu Tegar 'Aku yg dulu bukanlah yg sekarang' kat radio kereta. Sekali lg nanges. Ntah apa2. Kalah wanita mengandung yg hormonal. Tp bait2 lirik dia ada jgk la membuatkan aku rasa tersentuh,walaupon skang hidup bukanlah senang mana pon sgt... 


'.. bersyukurlah pada Yang Maha Kuasa
memberi jalan utk semua

hidupku dulu seorg pengamen
pulang malam selalu bawa uang recehan
mengejar cita-cita paling mulia,
membantu keluarga di rumah

sekolah dulu ngak punya biaya
terpaksa ku harus mencari nafkah
tetapi aku tak berputus asa
pasti Yang Kuasa memberi jalannya...'

Aku rasa yg buat tambah emo tu sbb I realised, when I started this journey 4 years ago, Aisyah was only 4 1/2 months old. And I finished this journey just as Zayd turned 4 1/2 months old. It feels like a closure.


That's all I wanted to share today. Sorry for the self-centred post and for being too emotional. I couldn;t help but shed another tear as I wrote this entry. I know I'm a wuss for crying, but I couldn't help it. That's 4 years worth of work and a lifetime worth of permanent head damage we are talking about!


Alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah, walillahilhamd...




 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Puasa Equals Raya

This is the logic of puasa as Aisyah sees it at the moment. I didn't correct her too much, mainly because I don't want to overwhelm her, since this is the first time she's heard of puasa, or fasting. Masa kat UK dia x pernah sedar pon kitaorg posa, walaupon punya la lama kitaorg posa di musim summer itu (19 jam sehari)  :P


So dlm bbrp entry lps I wrote that she woke up for sahur. She was excited the whole day, sbb dia posa. Indeed, dia managed half day without eating or drinking. All the while dkt school dia posa, and she was very proud of her achievement, good on her. Balik rumah tghari my Mom prodded her to eat a bit, which she did, but just some snakcs from her packed lunch and water. Then dia sambung posa lg, sampai la waktu berbuka. I was amazed, but at the same time agak nervous takut too much strain on her poor body. But Alhamdulillah, she was fine. Her appetite increased masa berbuka, which was superb. Dia yg dulu2 lg hadap meja tggu azan and mkn nasi sampai abis sepinggan. Selalunya susah jg nak suh dia abiskan nasi. We also made sure dia minum byk2, and she didn't protest. All went very well.


Then she had this conversation with her Dad.


Aisyah: Ayah, hari ni Kakak puasa

Ayah: I know, bagus anak ayah ni. Esok Kakak nak posa lg tak?

Aisyah: Esok Kakak nak raya

Ayah: Eh, esok belum raya

Aisyah: Tapi Kakak dah posa dah hari ni

Ayah: Kakak, kita kena posa 30 hari baru hari raya

Aisyah: TIGA PULUH HARI?!! No, Kakak tanak posa esok.

Poor soul. You should see the horrified look on her face bila dgr kena posa 30 hari. Terus sentap x nak posa dah esoknya. Tu la, dia duk dgr org ckp sapa x posa x leh raya. So pada logik akal dia, dia dah posa, so dah patut raya dah dia huhu.


Anyway, budak2 cpt lupa. Esoknya dia posa lg. Half day jgk. Basically kat sekolah dia x makan, although ada waktu rehat still, and aku tetaplah bekalkan dia food dari umah, and in fact ada je budak2 lain yg mkn. Either dia malu or dia very determined. Budak2 skang awal betul start aware psl posa ni. Aku darjah 2 baru la tau apa itu posa, and posa half day kat sekolah. Darjah 3 baru la posa full day.


My daughter yg kesukaan dah ingat bole raya. Agaknya feeling dia mcm ni.

video




PS: Note she is speaking in Malay now. Kalo nak dgr dia ckp english, kena prompt sket, e.g. tanya the question or start the conversation in english. The accent is still there, and sometimes bila dia struggle to find words in malay, dia still guna english. Paling cute kalo dia nak marah (usually dkt cousin Ammar dia yg also duduk umah my Mom - tempat Aisyah transit after school). Kalo Ammar kacau and Aisyah nak marah sgt, mmg dia marah prom preng prom preng dlm english, walhal sblm ni elok je ckp BM.

PS2: Aisyah menari2 tu in a parked car. I was not driving, nor was I the driver. We were waiting for my mom and my aunt pegi melawat sedara tak sihat kat hospital, and children were not allowed in, so I was stuck with them in the car. Memandangkan dah tghari, the kids started to get impatient from the heat and waiting, so I moved everyone from the backseat pegi depan, and plonked Zayd on the passenger seat as I started the engine and blasted the airconditioner on. Around the same time Aisyah found the button for the radio and put that on too. She started doing these funky moves immediately after, which was unexpected. lucky I had my camera with me. Oh kalo nak buat mcm ni with the engine running and children with you, kena lock the car, you can never be too careful these days :(