Monday, February 20, 2006

Meeting Shu, Bobbi and Mac

Yesterday, I had the chance to meet my girlfriends at MV without Zareef tagging along. Where was he?? He tagged his dad to see his Wan (B's mom) at Subang. How did I feel? FREEDOM!!! Yeah... that's what I felt.

Don't get me wrong. I truly love my son BUT when I've been with him from day one uptill now (he's four this year, by the way) every single minute every single hour every day, a few hours alone did wonderful things to my soul.

I enjoyed walking and yakking with my close buds without Zareef trailing and whining. I enjoyed eating my huge bowl of curry laksa while yakking (again!) with my friends without worrying about feeding Zareef. I enjoyed immensely going in and out from out store to another with my crazy girls while yakking (goshh... we women do yak a lot, don't we!) without having to keep a watchful eye over Zareef, worried that he'll go wandering and get kidnapped by crazy people.

Eventhough it was only for a mere 3 hours, I came back feeling refreshed, filled with renewed love and passion for my boy an husband, appreciating them more than ever. Tu baru 3 hours, imagine if I were gone for the whole day or even a week for that matter.

Anyway, we went to Shu Uemura to try on some makeups. Not one of the sales rep approached us to ask us if we needed any help. Instead, one did but from our behind while religiously following us or eyeing us with her watchful eye in case we popped an eye shadow or two in our bags. They were rather unfriendly and didn't even bother to make an attempt to be nice.

Then, we made a beeline to Bobbi Brown. Surprisingly, we were greeted with a warm smile from one of the sales rep. Since she did make an effort to make an eye contact, I started asking her about some of the products and told he that I particularly love their lipgloss range. Then she showed me a blusher cum lipgloss and she even applied it on me! Along and Liza looked on and oohhhhed and aahhhhed at me. Both of them said that it looked really natural on me. Hehehhe... free makeover for me. I even told the sales rep that she is way friendlier and nicer than the people at shu uemura. She glowed and thanked me. That should make her day. But seriously, this isn't the first time that I got a great treatment from the people behind Bobbi. The first time was at Subang Parade's Parkson Grand. They were really nice to me too even after I've tried some of their stuffs and walked away with nothing.

We moved on to MAC. Equally friendly and helpful but they didn't offer to try on the products that we queried on us. So, minus one point there. However, I do love the feel of their eye makeup. Talk about good quality stuff!

That's it. I'm going to save up and buy Bobbi's stuff after this. Not just because of their quality makeup but also due to their helpful and friendly staff that made a world of difference. I truly felt appreciated. That certainly made me a very satisfied customer.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Presenting Our New Home

It's just 15 minutes away from UPM. So, B would not have the stress of making long commutes from Klang anymore once we've moved in. It's ours after the bank had finally called us last week confirming that our loan has been approved. Alhamdulillah!!

It's an odd end lot. The land at the side is not that big. It's just about 8 feet. When we visited it yesterday, B and I have already made plans on designing our garden. B left it entirely to me to design the garden of my dreams. Hehehehhe... this should be fun. I'll do all the creative work while leaving all the toil and labor to B.

Zareef having a feel of the house. Although the land at the side is just 8 feet wide, we are well compensated with a huge piece of free land at the back courtesy of Majlis Daerah Sepang. We've already decided to turn it into our backyard where we can sit down and relax after a hard day's work. I was thinking of building a wakaf in the middle enclosed by clusters of fruit trees and a patch of herb garden.

That's our house, No. 74 Jalan... erk... can't remember pulak. Anyway, the CF is out and the keys are due to respective owners today. How I wish our loan is all finalized. I'm just itching to get in there and start decorating the house, laboring it with all my tender, love and care. It will be a long and laborious work but I'm sure I'll love every single minute of it.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Potty-Training Zareef Imran

Mama Farizal asked me how did I potty-trained Zareef. Well, to answer your question, I waited and bid for the right time to do it. But let me stress that each and every child is an individual. Therefore, as their moms, you know your child best when he/she is ready for the huge milestone. What I'm writing here, is purely based on my own experience with Zareef.

Last year, when Zareef started talking eloquently, I thought I could potty-train him. Me, being the religious reader of and all books alike, I thought it was the right time. But... I was sooooo wrong!

Zareef was only 2.5 years old then. Although he could talk and say whatever it is that he wanted to say, he would seldom tell me when was his time to go to the loo. So, I bought the Pampers Pull-Up pants and told him that he's a big boy now. Mummy bought special nappies for him to be potty-trained and to tell Mummy or Daddy whenever he feels like weeing or pooing. Hell, Mummy even bought the baby seat to be put on our loo for that matter.

The first day, he was excited. He even managed to say out twice that he needs to pee. But it soon stopped there. Everytime when I asked him whether he needs to wee, he'll just simply shake his head. But at the end of the day, I would always find his nappies to be wet and heavy. I was furious with my boy but that was that. I couldn't possibly punish a two-year old for wetting his nappy, can I? I mean, he's just two. He doesn't even know how to control his bladder. So, I gave it a rest. I told B that Zareef is not ready yet. It wouldn't help at all with me screaming down his throat everytime he forgets to tell me that he needs the loo thus making me seem like a monster to him. It would just make matters worse. Plus, it was winter at that time hence the cold weather requires visit to the toilet more often and not forgetting that our home then was wall-to-wall carpeted. So, it would be a horrible, horrible job cleaning up the carpet every two hour or so if accidents do occur.

I waited and waited quietly bidding for my time. By then, friends would make a snide remark or two on Zareef still being on the nappy although he's already three. But, did I care? Nah!! I didn't give a hoot about it. My son, my problem. If he were to pee everywhere in the house, would you be there to clean up after his mess? No? I thought so!

When we got back home two months ago, to our despair we found that Zareef couldn't fit into the Pampers XL nappies (despite me lugging home what seems like bundles of nappies from the UK). That's it then. Potty-training time, again.

We told Zareef that it's time for him to be potty-trained, firmly this time. We told him that he's a big boy now and no nappies could fit him anymore. Since he was a year older and a little bit wiser, he could understand and he was willing to have a go. We went out to buy briefs for him at Jusco (menyesal aku tak borong banyak2 underwear cartoon characters kat mothercare before balik They were going at 3 for the price of 2! Damn!!).

The first two days was a disaster! He would forget entirely what B and I have repeatedly told him that is "Cakap kat Mummy or Daddy kalau Zareef nak kencing tau!" We would caught him peeing in his pants. Nasib baik rumah nenek dia lantai marble sumer. Very easy to clean up after him. To teach him a lesson, I let Zareef feel the discomfort of having a wet pants. Then I told him "Kalau Zareef tak cakap Mummy nak kencing, nanti seluar Zareef basah. Do you like it?" He would feebly shake his head. After three days of feeling drenched in his own pee (which he is totally geli about), he picked up quickly from then onwards.

Now come the trickier part, teaching him to poo in the toilet. It has become Zareef's habit to hide quietly behind curtains or sofas everytime he does the No. 2. So, I told him that he has to poo in the toilet bowl. He refused at first but I told him that if he doesn't poo in the toilet bowl, he would make a mess in his pants and it would be soiled. "Would you want your pants to be dirty and smelly?" to which he shaked his head vigorously. And so, I slowly showed him how it is being done (Yes, you do have to show them. Or else, how would they know the right techniques of doing it. It does sound gross, but believe you me, it works like a charm! heheheh...).

After weeks of diligent perseverance, whackings and threats, I can proudly say that my son is now a pro at potty-training. However, I still put him on the nappy at night when he goes to sleep (Thank god for Mami Poko's XXL!). I don't trust him enough to not wet the bed because he still can't control his bladder in his sleep. But I'm taking it off soon because his nappies have been dry for the whole night for quite some time now. Give it a week or two and he'll be 100% free from diapers.

So there, that's the story of Zareef. If you plan to start with your child, a sure indicator is that he/she is ready is that your child has a dry nappy the whole night through. Next, please make sure that:

1. They are old enough. Yes the books say you should start at 2 or 2.5 but I say BULL! Girls would usually start earlier than boys. The safest bet would be to start potty training your child after their 3rd birthday. By that time, they can understand better and comprehend what you're trying to teach them.

2. You are firm. Don't start potty-training them one day and then put them in the nappies the next day. Your child would be confuse.

3. Your child can say out clearly that they need to go. It's no use asking your child to tell you that when clearly that he/she is unable to say it.

4. You put them in their underwears. Not pull-ups like what I did with Zareef. Even if they imitate underwears, they are still nappies. Your child wouldn't fell that they've wetted themselves if they wear the pull-ups. If they are in their underwear, they would know what's the feeling like when they have to pee and the consequences of not peeing in the potty.

5. Be very, very patient. Although I do admit that Zareef did receive a few blows from me but it was after tens of times of telling him. You would have to endure countless times of cleaning the floor, tracking down where the pee starts and ends and changing them like 10 times a day.

6. Do it in an environment that your child is most familiar with. Eg. your home. If you plan to go on a holiday, then put it on hold. It's not advisable and fair to the child because again, they would get confused and you would end up blowing up a fuse. That is why I waited till we were back in Malaysia.

Hmmm... I think that's about it. Again, these are all based on my experience with Zareef. Yours would be different. Ultimately, it would all boil down to your child. So, good luck Llah!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

No title would suit this post because...

it's a mixed-up post. I realized that I've not written anything about us settling down in Malaysia. So, for record purposes (future reference in case I forget), let me jot them down although not in order because like I say, it's all mixed up... I think I'll work my way backwards.

1. Zareef has been potty-trained. Yeayyy!!! Now, I can use the money that is usually spent on his nappies on the Home instead.

2. I went for an interview at GSM for the post of an administrative officer in corporate communication. It was set at 8 am and I arrived nice and early albeit some butterflies performing a tornado in my tummy.

When I arrived, there were a number of interviewees already there. All of us (about 25 of us) were ushered into the lecture hall. We were given forms to fill and.... an essay to complete. Bloody hell!!! To write an essay on the spot at the wee hours of the morning is certainly not my cup of tea. Not when my brains refused to cooperate and come up with any ideas on "Why do you think GSM needs the services of an administrative officer (corporate communication)". I didn't remember what I wrote but I do remember bull-shitting all the way. Hah! I hope they won't ask me what I meant in my essay because I sure don't know what I even mean to write.

Waited for a long time for my turn. When it was, I was bombarded with way too many questions. I was grilled until I can be grilled no more. The main issue that struck them was me converting from an engineer to a corporate administrator. I tried my damnest to convince them which I think, they didn't really buy it. After an hour of interview, the panel had really squeezed and exhausted my brain up to the point where I could only smile and say nothing. Imagine being bombarded with questions upon questions from all corners of the board room with only a few seconds to spare. Damn! my brain was tired and my tongue was dry. Tak bagi chance langsung!

When I got out of the board room, I had the feeling that I would have to find another job. What is it about these people that they can't grasp that an engineer CAN switch to do mundane jobs! Called B and we had lunch where I poured and whined and whinged my heart out. Oh well, I've done me best, kalau ada rezeki adalah. Kalau takde, I'm off in search of other jobs then.

3. Last weekend, I met with two dear friends to discuss some business propositions. InsyaAllah, we're all set to go. It's hard work going into the business where we know there are many, many who are well rooted and established but we're diving into it anyway, all heads two hands and feet. When we've worked out everything, I'll let you know ya! Hell, I'll even lead you to the website and give out our business cards.

4. Chinese New Year holiday was well spent with my entire family at Janda Baik. My parents, three brothers (sans the eldest) and their family and mine made our way up the rambling hill and lush forest to my uncle's place. We spent a night there. We had an awesome time!

The kids including their mums and dads had a whale of a time splashing in the cool and pristine river. Then, we headed off to the deep forest to visit my cousin's goat farm. The goats and their kids are so adorable! The kids (anak2 kambing) were so tame that we could even pat them like they were cats and not forgetting very clean and gebu because my cousin made sure that their pens were cleaned everyday.

At night, we pigged out over a barbecue and literally ate under the stars. It was so beautiful! For pictures, please go here.

5. Raya Haji was a family gathering of sorts. Yours truly got to meet all her aunts and uncles and cousins that she has not met for almost 4 years. They too, got to meet Zareef and gaped and gawked at me for putting on so much weight. Yeah... what's new eh?!

6. It took a month for Zareef to really settle down in Malaysia. Prior to that, he wouldn't stay in the same room as his atok and nenek. He would act hysterically if ever left alone in a room with my parents or B's mom and brothers. He refuses to shake hands with or talk to anyone. He didn't want to take a shower using the tap water, saying that it's too cold. So, his daddy had to fork out some dosh to buy and install a hot shower (daddy dia pun mentel jugak, kata sejuk nak mandi pagi2 nak pegi keje... chehhhh blame it on the son konon!). He was jetlagged for a month (and so was his mummy... hehhehhe...). He misses his Merc soooo much that he cried and cried for it on the first day we got back home. He refuses to go to school, saying that it's far, far away. He kept on saying his best friends' name, Abg. Firul, Sarah, Yana, Danish and Haiqal. None of his cousins here are his friends.

Now, he has warmed up tremendously to his atok and nenek (my parents) because his atok would bring him to the playground on his bike. His nenek would play throw and catch with him. At night, Zareef would play hide and seek with them. His atok and nenek are going all out to make him feel comfortable and settle down quickly so that I can go out and find a job.

However, he still refuses to be left behind alone with any of his grandparents which left me wondering, how in the world am I going to find a job with a son who kept on saying "Mummy tak boleh work. Mummy stay home with Zareef la. Daddy je yang work". My dear son, if it were up to me, Mummy pun malas nak keje but I can't. I have to work as we have just bought a new house and I can't possibly let Daddy work to the ground to earn all the dosh alone. Plus, Mummy needs her own money to spend as not to have a public enquiry everytime she asks Daddy for money to buy things. Isn't that what husbands are for? To provide for his wife and children? So B darling, jangan lupa bagi nafkah zahir kat I ye... even when I start working, be a sweetie and do provide me with some stipend.

7. How about B? He has been featured on the front page of Utusan's Mega a while back (please refer to my previous post). He's been complaining about the daily commute from Klang to UPM (sampai demam2 you!) Well... what do you expect. Masa kat Loughborough, boleh la drive 5 minit dah sampai. 15 minutes if you walk. Kat sini, commuting an hour to and fro is a norm. It'll be a different story when we move, though. It'll take only 20 minutes drive from the Home to UPM. So, lets pray that our loan will be approved soon and we can move in asap as the house is about to obtain its' CF anytime soon.

8) Me? I'm still adjusting to the weather. Even when we were at Janda Baik, when everyone else was cold and all wrapped up, I was feeling hot and bothered. Panas punya pasal, Dad installed an air-con in my room a day before we got back.

I finally got to pig out on all the food that I've missed and craved for the entire 3.5 years which then resulted in B and I coming down with food poisoning. Hahahha... our tummy just couldn't take it anymore.

It took me two weeks before I would even dare to drive around. I was so horrified with the Malaysians' attitude towards driving. Sekor2 macam pelesit. F1 drivers wannabe konon! Chehhh... I wouldn't mind if they keep their horrendous driving to themselves but when it comes to the point of endangering my family, then that's crossing the line! And, don't they ever learn about the yellow box? It irritates the hell out of me when people cram into the yellow box when you're not suppose to. I've a good mind to call up the police and have them come down here and ask them to stand in the yellow box everytime the traffic light turns red. Bagi saman sket orang2 yg masuk yellow box nih! Buat my neighbors and I susah betul nak get in and out of our housing area.

I still miss Lboro tremendously but I'm learning to let go. I'm learning to acclimatize myself to Malaysia. Yes, it's hard but I'm trying. Sometimes I forget and act like I normally do when I'm in Lboro like giving way to pedestrians and I get honked from behind by irate drivers. Thanking the cashier lady at Tesco and seeing their look of surprise. Cleaning up after every meals at McD and throwing the rubbish into bins with everyone around staring at me like I'm an insane person or something. Pushing my son in the MacLaren in the malls although he is getting too big to fit in with others gawking at me thinking that this boy is too old to be sitting in the stroller. Having a heart attack everytime I pay for groceries as I was so use to spending only £10 for a basketful of goods and now I have to pay RM100 for the same amount. Goodness! The numerical value is indeed something that I need adjusting quickly.

So, yeah... it's hard but we're getting there, slowly but surely.