As Bree Van De Kamp says, "I work too, I'm a Home Maker." (pix of Rosie The Riveter copied from

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013!

Alhamdulillah, my family and I have safely made it through another year. There were some cuts, bruises and a facial palsy along the way, but they are well healed now without any unfortunate scars.

My father has always taught me that life, while precious, is very simple, and while most times we need to trust our inner gut feeling, we must also always try to substantiate it with rational logic. My mother always reminds me of the importance of family, and to bring up my 3 boys to love and respect each other, and to keep strong ties with other family members and relatives, coz at the end of the day family is what matters most. And some friends who are in no way related to us by blood may even be the closest family we could have.

This year has brought me much joy, Alhamdulillah. Joy, as defined in Jules Modern Life Dictionary, means good and bad, happy and sad, pretty and ugly, slim and fat, healthy and sick, smart and dumb, sane and crazy, and all those things that make us wiser and fuller and more worthy of this life that the Almighty has bestowed upon us.

Some of the most meaningful things that filled my 2012, in no particular order...

We flew to Kathmandu and caught the Himalayan view!

Lunching with my Darling friends from Matrik UUM...

Getting together with my KGV friends...

Hanging out with my OSK gang!

Partying with super fab ladies!

A memorable gathering of my Kelantan kins in Melaka...

A riot with cousins in Janda Baik!

Quality time with the Said Clan at Raziq's birthday celebration in Putrajaya...

Celebrating Darling Husband's 40th Birthday with family and friends...

MEETING TUN MAHATHIR!!! My true dream come true :)

Teachers are among the most important people in my life, and this was the final year with the Darling Teachers of Krista Taman Nirwana/Putra Sulaiman, as it was my youngest goon's, Marrakesh, final year at kindy...

I pray that 2013 will make me a better person, a better mommy. I pray it brings me and my family as much if not more joy. I pray this for all of us...

And I pray for more peace among mankind around the world, so all our children, will have better and more meaningful things to grow up to...

Happy New Year, and God Bless :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Seven Years In Tibet

This morning I sent my eldest son to his first formal motivation camp held outside of his comfort zone. In Broga, somewhere amidst the jungle where I didn't have my Digi coverage. 4 days 3 nights. He was happy and excited and he moved in very well into his group and his activities. He was brave. I was jelly. This would be the first time he'd be away from me for more than 1 night, with complete strangers who promised me my son will be fine. In the jungle. Well, to be fair, their chalets looked cool. Still, in the jungle. Even a Lulu Guinness and the Balzane couldn't work therapy on this one.

Tonight many Malaysians are watching football. I'm not a football-ie. Well, people call themselves food-ie, Trekk-ie, good-ie, so football-ie should be accepted. I am happy when Malaysia wins, so I think that's good enough. So I am watching "Seven Years In Tibet" that darling husband had downloaded earlier. We bought the book recently in Nepal. It looks like only darling husband will be the one finishing it now. I'm happy with Brad Pitt :)

This morning the personnel at Esfahan's camp passed around a tin for the Gaza Relief Fund. Yesterday I read an update on FB about a school girl being robbed of her school bag at knife point, I also put in RM10 into the donation box at the Tesco checkout counter for kids with leukaemia. My parents home were ransacked last few months. My aunty had robbers in her home who almost broke down her bedroom door with a gas tank, while they were inside. And I just heard a talk this morning at Esfahan's camp about how we must make the utmost effort to give our children the best.

Now I am thinking, what is the best?

At home here in Desa Pandan after a heavy downpour, our direct water supply will disappear. Apparently it is due to flushing; yes, so we will have the same answer again in 10 years. Electricity will just suddenly be cut off without prior notice even when we've been paying our bills diligently. Motorists won't stop at the PedXing in front of my boys' school. Cars zoom through the housing area like it's F1.

So, how do I give my kids the best?

Am I selfish to have had my children? Having them was one of the best things I've ever experienced because they give me so much joy and meaning in life. Is this selfish of me? Having them just so I can be happy? What happiness do I guarantee them? Yes, we try to give them the best that we can, especially in health and education. But for what? So that they cannot walk freely and safely to their school which is just some 100 metres away? So that when they go out riding their bicycles I'll have to tag around too so that they're not taken by sickos who abduct children and sell them as sex slaves? So I risk exposing them to robbers who don't care who they hurt? So that they cannot feel safe crossing the roads on their own coz there are motorists out there who couldn't care less about other people's children?

So that when they finish school they can come out into the world that loves war? Or in a country where people who drive brand new Toyotas and Hondas throw rubbish out the window? What is the best for my children? Keeping them safe in the house or showing them only the happy things and happy places?

I am still watching "Seven Years In Tibet"; the mean and angry people just simply cannot leave the peaceful people alone. Kids of wars around the world are dying like lame sitting ducks. We give money to Gaza, to cancer, to orphans, to the poor; we send our kids to motivational camps, to Kumon, to sports workshops, and all those tuitions. What for? So that they will throw rubbish out the car? Ride on motorbikes without helmets? Never bother to recycle and let the landfills keep on piling up? What?

Well, thank goodness Brad Pitt is right smack on my TV screen now, with the majestic Himlayas in his background. :) But then there are the scenes where people get bombed and children get killed, and I am right back to reality. Sigh...

Don't get me wrong, I still keep my faith, I will always have my faith, my faith is what drives me, InsyaAllah, but sometimes when I think about things, sigh...

I will go back to finishing some handbags now that are long overdue, million apologies to dear friends and patrons, and thank you millions too for your kind forgiveness and understanding, God bless you all.

And I am still thinking about what it is really, that is the best, that I can give my children...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Moms Know How To Have Fun!

Of course we do!

It is true that I do love being a SAHM. I made the best decision for myself and my family when I left my job 8 years ago. OMG, it has been 8 years! Ya well, in 2004 I only had Esfahan, and after being a SAHM only did I start on the younger 2, so yes, I guess it has been that long.

While I love Mommy-ing my 3 goons full time, I always tell darling husband that I do look forward to any chance I get to be around grown ups. So, when this fabulous group of ladies, who are also fabulous moms, created this super fabulous Bollywood themed Ladies Gala Nite, I couldn't be more excited! I roped in my fab sister and my eldest niece too.

The fabulous Bollywood ladies...and as my mother quipped when she saw our event pix, in her Kelantan tone, "Chomey-chomey nyo..." :) (Thank you Nora for these photos...)

My 2 best gals, my sister Roslin and her daughter Medina...

Me and Medina, my eldest niece...

The fab crowd was made up of a good mix of ages, the teens, 20s, 30s, 40s and ++! Everyone made the effort to dress fabulously for the occasion; from the Sari, Ghagra Choli, Salwar Kameez, Churidaar Kurta to the Pattu Pavadai, complete with matching traditional Indian bling blings. Each of the fab ladies there that night was set to have a good time,the young ones in their youthful ways and the more mature ones some even wilder than the young! Hehe... Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Chammak Challo, Mohabbatein, Khabi Kushi Khabie Gham, Ledja Ledja, etc., and we had the vivacious Sathiya Group of Dancers to keep us on our feet the whole night long. There were games and lucky draws, Most Sporting and Best Dressed, but best of all was the amazing sisterhood and camaraderie that came about from all of us getting together and letting loose to the fab Bollywood ambience.

And like other good things these fab ladies do, the gala night not only provided a dance floor for many moms to let loose, it also managed to raise funds towards their charity pool and various benevolent efforts.

So at the end of the day, we moms are fun people and we know when and how to have fun. No, we don't have Bollywood parties every night, but when we do, we usually create some good out of it, InsyaAllah :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mommy's Restoration Works

Aarrgghh!!! It's been really busy, busy, busy!

Esfahan asked to continue with his Speech & Drama class; Esfahan also didn't do too well in his Bahasa Malaysia during the last exam, the B that pulled him down in his class's "Hall of Fame" standings; Marrakesh's teacher pointed out that he is not understanding some of his school work, namely general knowledge and mathematics, and she admitted that she got rather impatient with him; Damascus...well, this one hadn't shown any problem with his school work but he is really becoming more of a rascal especially to his brothers.

So, on top of the existing Quran, piano, horse riding, swimming, school co-curriculum, etc., for Esfahan now, it is Speech & Drama every Saturday morning, Bahasa Malaysia workbook exercises every afternoon; Kumon Mathematics for Marrakesh every Tuesday and Saturday, not to mention the daily homework; and Damascus is still quite idle and getting more restless, especially since we took away their TV coz they weren't keeping up with my housekeeping standards, so he's missing his Backyard Science and Adventure Time.

Under these circumstances, I think I don't have much choice but to reinstate their TV privilege, so that at least Damascus will stay out of Esfahan's and Marrakesh's hair while they're both doing their additional work. He's used up all the origami paper and depleted the A4 papers in stock, so I think I just have to give them their TV back. Damascus's Saturday is still open, so I must find something to fill it up quickly, before he decides to create his own big bang!

All this to restore stability and equilibrium in everyone's lives... :)

And talking about restoration, I am so glad to say that I've found the experts who can restore our wonderful upright C.Steinbert back to her original glory, at a cost that's well below her market value :)


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Respecting My Children's Expectations

Another Krista Parenting Talk this morning, and as usual it was great! Well, except for the fact that we all had to endure more than an hour delay because of the matter with the stage curtain.

Anyhow, all was well after the wonderful kids started to sing and dance and perform acts. They were all so fabulous! I'd initially been a bit reluctant to go coz this would've been the umpteenth time that I'd attended a Krista Parenting Talk, since all my 3 boys had gone here and Damascus and Marrakesh having both started at age 3. But, because Marrakesh was performing, I couldn't not go to see my darling bunbun (bun for buncit!)

Overall, the talk stressed on building strong relationships with your kids, something which I am so grateful I have, Alhamdulillah. Then came the Q&A session which caught my attention.

A father was concerned that the iPad he bought his daughter may start to cause more harm than good. A mother asked about how to teach her child to manage/avoid being bullied in school. Another mother was worried that her son was watching too much cartoons at home, while a couple's issue was that both their kids still sleep with them. There was also a discussion on sex in early childhood education.

iPad. I believe that if parents want to give their kids iPad or let their kids use iPad, the parents must also be willing to closely supervise their kids' usage of the iPad, work with them properly and not just leave the iPad with them to explore on their own, especially kids below 12. Personally, I do not agree when parents use the iPad as a replacement attention giver. The worst I've seen was a toddler, sitting in the restaurant's high chair, enjoying the program on the iPad placed nicely in front of her, while her parents enjoyed their dinner and talked between themselves. Is this respecting your child, or treating her like a "thing" you own? I believe that if you want to go out to some nice place and enjoy some nice meal, and you don't want the hassle of minding your child, don't bring the child. If you have no option coz you don't have anyone to mind the child for you at home while you're out, then don't go out. Isn't this what parenting is about? The iPad is supposed to enrich us, not substitute our parenting role.

Bullies. I tell my kids to just play it cool. If they think they can't handle the other kids, then just leave it alone, even if it means their egos get bruised. Better their egos than themselves! At the same time, I also tell them that this world is made up of so many things and so many people, and that they cannot expect everyone to be the same or think, feel and be like them. They must learn to accept people as they are. If they don't harm you, you don't harm them. If they are good to you, you be good to them. If they gel with you, you gel with them; if not, then just carry on minding your own business.

Cartoons. My kids watch TV ALL the time. But when I tell them to stop, they stop. My opinion about TV is that it's only bad when you lose control of it. I know that when my kids watch TV, it's because they expect to learn something new, eg. from Art Attack, Fingertips, Waktu Rehat, Phineas & Ferb. They also want to watch MTV coz they want to catch the latest hit songs, but this I must supervise closely, and my kids know what they can and cannot watch because we have given them strict guidelines which they respect.

Bedtime. I've been putting my kids in their own bed since they were each 1+ months old, after confinement. Yes, it required a lot of work waking up and walking that 10-15ft distance from my room to theirs each time they awoke or asked for feeds, but it was an effort worth taking. Some people say it was easy for me coz I didn't breastfeed. But what's easier about bottle feed? I had to clean and sterilise bottles, fill up the flask and water bottle, make sure formula is always in stock, and get the milk done. Easier? And a baby that age still needs to be cradled when feeding. Easier? Well, darling husband was also very supportive, when I couldn't gather the strength, he'd feed the boys. He still does, pour milk for each boy before bed :) And whenever we traveled, we'd get 2 adjoining rooms, unless rooms are not available or budget does not permit. But most times it'll be 2 adjoining rooms or no travel. Our boys are all manja; they'd still get in bed with mommy and ayah if they're not well or after they're awakened by a bad dream, even 11 year old abanglong; or ayah would sleep in the boys' room while mommy nurses the sick offspring. Marrakesh however, still has some attachment issues, maybe coz he is the youngest; or maybe coz when he was a baby we had a day maid who used to "gendong" him everytime everywhere, and when she stayed over to babysit she would let him sleep with her coz it was easier for her to manage. But all in all, my kids sleep in their own room. About being afraid to sleep on their own because they're afraid of the dark or ghosts, we never had that issue coz we never encouraged them to be afraid of ghosts and we didn't tell them ghost stories; we always tell them that God is always with them, and He has angels always watching over them to keep them safe. When they grew older they would recite Al-Fatihah and the 3 Quls and then go to sleep, after their bedtime story of course, something they expect to get :)

And fyi, my mother breastfed all 3 of us, my sister, my brother and me, and we never slept with our parents after confinement.

Sex in early childhood education. This is something I really need help with. I could read and google about it all I can, but it would be best if I could hear it first hand from someone with ample knowledge and experience.

At the end of the talk, the speaker circulated feedback forms and among the questions asked was, what I would try to do next to improve my relationship with my kids? 1st, have more patience; 2nd RESPECT THEIR EXPECTATIONS.

I'd like to reiterate an incident.

My dear friend Lee Kuen had invited us to her kids' violin concerto at MPO. I was so thrilled coz I wanted my kids to appreciate classical music. Esfahan had previously been to several piano concertos at the MPO concert hall, and both he and Damascus went to see Barbar The Elephant & Peter The Wolf there with their music class, and all 3 had been to stage performances at Istana Budaya. So, I thought they would enjoy the kids' violin concerto and they would know how to behave appropriately. Oops! Big mistake, HUGE! And it was MY mistake. I was enjoying the concert, all those talented kids playing violin so well and they were all so wonderful! But my boys were getting ULTRA restless. They like Jay Chou, Adam Levine and LMFAO. I always remind them that before they can play or create music like that they must learn the basic music first, and classical is the root of all good music; and I'm always telling them that Jay Chou majored in classical music before he started creating his own rap and pop music. But their restlessness was getting out of hand; they started to argue about who's sitting where, running from aisle to aisle, swivel their seats and at one point Marrakesh just swooshed out of his chair! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! Then finally Lee Kuen pointed out that my boys were just too restless and she suggested that I should take them out for a breather. AAAAAAAAAAA!!! At that point I felt like I was the worst mommy of all time and that my boys were the biggest monsters on the face of the universe! AAAAAAAAAAAA!!! We left the hall and never returned.

I texted an apology to Lee Kuen and she was very forgiving and understanding. Thank you Lee Kuen, XOX! When we got home I punished my boys for BIG TIME BAD BEHAVIOR! I sent them to bed without dinner; but only because they had had some food before the concert earlier. I justified that. Then I cried.

I was alone coz darling husband was away for his annual company trip. I started to think about what had actually happened. I was angry with my kids because they were acting like monsters in the concert hall. But why did they behave that way? Why were they restless? While I was enjoying the music, did I bother to ask them if they were enjoying it too? Or did I just simply selfishly want them to enjoy and appreciate what I believe to be good for them? Did I try to shoosh and sheesh them to sit still and be quiet and enjoy the show just because I wanted them to enjoy it? Then I realised that, I didn't actually care about what they thought of and how they felt about the concert. I realised that I just was angry because they refused to obey me when I told them to sit still and enjoy the concert. Can I really force them to sit still and enjoy something that doesn't interest them that much? Yes, they were familiar with some of the songs, but were they really enjoying it? Did I care? No, I didn't care, I was just angry because they didn't obey me and they did not submit to my demands. I didn't get what I wanted, so I got angry. They didn't get what they expected, so they became restless. I didn't respect their expectations. I must learn to respect their expectations.

Having said that, I must also instill some discipline in my kids. They must know that they can't just run around making noise everytime they get restless and not respect others around them. They must observe common courtesy and the generally accepted behavioral practices. :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Happy Mother's Day! xox :)

My mother used to sing this to me all the time when I was a child, then she sang it to my sons to lull them to sleep... She is my most favourite singer in the world... She still cooks for me, does my laundry, folds my clothes, sews my dresses, gives me birthday money, and I think she takes care of my boys better than I do, and yes she still blabs at me too, hehe... She taught me to sew, cook, bake, craft, growing up I only wore dresses that she made herself, with lovely embroideries and appliques, and she makes the best butter cake and agar2 kosong :)...She gave me her sewing machine so I'd start sewing seriously, she bought a whole set of baking pans so I could bake more brownies faster. So, with all these infinitely wonderful thots of a daughter of her mother, a mother of her own mother, and of all the mothers, aunties, grandmothers, grandaunties, sisters, daughters, nieces, granddaughters, etc., etc., with all my heart, I wish all those worthy of the greatest love of all, Happy Mother's Day :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Flying Free...

I was reading a link that one of my facebook friends posted : "Freedom can wait, I'm staying put for dad", by Maryam Mokhtar.

I don't know if I want my kids to think and feel the same way as Maryam. I don't think so. Now itself I always tell my 3 goons to keep their sights outside the box, I tell them there's so much of the world to see and they must strive to look for opportunities outside Malaysia, not coz Malaysia's no good, but coz I want them to see the rest of the world. I also tell them that it's ok if they had to leave me to spread their wings and find their dreams, and that however far they are from me they must know that they will always have my love and support, that I will always be there for them should they ever need my guidance or advice, and that I will always have their backs, provided that they're doing things that are not illegal or harmful to anyone, of course. Not just coz they're boys that I don't have to worry about them as much as if they were girls, but coz they were born free individuals and they have the right to have a chance at life at its most. And they must have the courage to fly free.

Hey, I worry about them stepping out of the gate to go ride bicycle around this taman, I follow them on my bike! I don't worry about them falling and hurting themselves, I'm worried about all those crazy people out there. But, there will be a point when I'll just have to let them go out on their own.

From my own experience, I know very well that we experience things differently at different points of our lives. It's different when we travel the world as a child holidaying with parents, as a happy go lucky fresh grad, as a striving corporate executive, as a married person with a family, and as a golden citizen enjoying the rest of her life. I was blessed to have had the opportunity to travel when I did, and during all these times my parents gave me their full support and blessing. I don't doubt that deep in their hearts they may have been scared out of their wit to let me go, but coz they saw how important it was to me, they found the courage to let me go and they supported me.

I try my best to live well and healthy, InsyaAllah, not just for myself but so that I wouldn't have to trouble people to take care of me. Should I fall ill, God forbids, I wouldn't ask my kids to put their plans on hold just to care for me. I always tell them, "InsyaAllah, I hope to have enough coverage or/and money just in case I need to hire a home nurse to help care for me in my old age. Or, hook up in a cool retirement home with other fab golden folks!" I know my kids love me and they will want to take care of me, but I'm pretty sure they will also know me well enough by then. They can love me and care for me from wherever they are, they can skype, facebook, tweet and whatever else people do these days, and God knows what they'll be able to do 5-10 years from now! :)

I remember my friend telling me about how she had to travel overseas for work when her mom was ill, she didn't want to go but her mom told her it was okay, that she should go, and that she must have faith to do what she needs to do, InsyaAllah; her mom also told her that should she (mom) pass while she was away, she must know that it's all in God's will, and she should never regret anything. My friend eventually did spend time with her mom before she finally passed some years later.

The time I spent raising and caring for my kids is surely not a freedom that I had to sacrifice, it is my responsibility as a parent, and nobody put a gun to my head and forced me to be a mom. In fact, it is the greatest joy I've had in my life, Alhamdulillah... Yes, I scream and shout and nag a lot raising them, and my kids could help with my bills later on if necessary, but they surely need not pay me back with their freedom.

My kids may choose to stay put and let their freedom wait, but only IF I approve their full proof SWOT analysis! Hehehe... Seriously, I hope they find the coruage to fly free. Besides, darling husband and I can hardly wait for them to leave this nest, coz we're gonna go on horse riding tours around the world!

InsyaAllah... :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Thrifty Mommy

The first time I learnt of the meaning of thrifty is from Thrifty Supermarket, some 35+ years ago. Thrifty Supermarket was in PJ, where Courts Mammoth is now, and I think the building is currently known as Wisma Thrifty.

Another shopping mall that used to be a favourite of my parents is Ampang Park, and our favourite supermarket there was Fitzpatrick's.

Okay anyhow, talking about being thrifty, when shopping for my boys' clothes, I always wait for end of season sales where there are 70-80% discounts and I could get good quality clothes for them at just prices. So I was simply thrilled when we found Kiko jeans between RM22.00-RM28.00 yesterday! Damascus had been running out of good pants/jeans coz his had been handed down to Marrakesh and Esfahan's older ones were just too worn out to pass on to him (Damascus). So, I ended up buying a total of 8 pairs of jeans for less than RM200.00! Weeeeeeeeee! And half of them were for Damascus.

Esfahan had earlier inherited some really cool stuff from our friend's son Amyr, ie. Guess, Gap, OshKosh, Hilfiger jeans and shirts. Another friend, also with 3 boys, had handed down some cool Nike and Adidas shoes, which could fit my 3 boys, so it was just fabulous! My friends would ask me if I mind accepting hand me downs, and I say, "No, why should I? It's a blessing and we would truly appreciate it."

The same thing goes with the furniture in our home. I don't just believe in Recycling, but I also LOVE Vintage. One of my favourite Sunday morning activities in Rome was Porta Portese, and when I was in Pittsburgh I just loved browsing all the flea markets and garage sales on weekends with my folks.

My best finds so far from vintage/preloved/recycled items dealers are our current living room's 3seater sofa, our 6-10 seater glass dining table and our most prized possession now, the C.Steinbert upright piano. We spent only RM1,500.00 for all 3 items! No doubt the Steinbert requires some bit of tuning and repairs, but she's simply a darling as is, and when my father hits the keys with his "Getaran Jiwa" and when Esfahan experiments with Jay Chou and Adam Levine on her, my heart just melts.



A piano is something I have always wanted all my life, and as a child I couldn't understand why my father bought an electronic organ instead of a piano when I asked to learn the piano. Only now do I know that it takes some great dinero to buy a piano, something that my father, as much as he had wanted to, couldn't conjure and he made up for it in a way he deemed best at that time. Well, I still learnt music, and now I can share the joy of a piano through my children, Alhamdulillah.

@RM650.00, inclusive of those now rare vintage books...

And there's our RM50.00 fridge that I bought from my friend Ave who was having a moving house sale; that purchase was just brilliant! Yes, it's green and doesn't match any of my utensils, but it's vintage and it works awesome! So our other fridge, which is new and modern, can hence be allocated solely for JulesFudgyliciousness matters :)

I knew very well when I decided to leave my job to become a fulltime SAHM that I would have to cut down on lots of things; this, plus my conditioning growing up where I was taught not to spend unnecessarily. Instead of conveniently shopping at Cold Storage or Isetan or even Giant, I now make my way to Hero, 99 or Tesco; the main downside of Hero for me is that they don't really understand or appreciate the idea of using shopping bags and here's where I have to compromise. But since all 3 are within close proximity of each other, I can choose to buy what where, based on the lowest price, and so far for things like peanut butter, Nutella, cheese, oatmeal, cereals, and biscuits, we just head on to 99. As for milk, our household's main staple, we chase after the best price in town, or when darling husband's friend at the 100 year old dairy company is able to score some for us at their cool staff price, we gratefully add that to our blessings.

There are things I don't insist my family thrift on, and they are health and education. Of course my children go to normal Sekolah Kebangsaan and not a distinguished private school or a private Kafa, but my husband and I do our utmost best to value add that with books, annual enrichment holiday trips, sports, and all the other supporting activities like science, art, chess, etc. This is where earnings from my Jules activities come in handy :)

Occasionally, I would feed my insanity with a Lulu Guinness or a Longchamp or a LeSportsac, but that would only be past seasons after some fabumiraculous discounts. Or, I'll just wear my own JMDs :)

As the saying goes, "A penny saved is a penny earned." And that is especially true for me coz only last Sunday that I earned a vintage Steve Madden and a gorgeously darling Betseyville from darling husband as my dearly belated birthday presents :)


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Finally, A Normal Faced Mommy!

After exactly one month, my face has finally become normal again, no more Two Faced Mommy, Alhamdulillah... :)

But it took a lot of persistence and positive thinking. For the past month, my routine was practically reflexology, massage, acupuncture and fire cupping. I also read up about auricular therapy and did that myself at home, and I also readministered discipline in my eating habit. That too was also based on heavy research on our local traditional herbs and spices and home remedies to treat ear ailments and facial palsies.

The doctors said 1-3 months, so I'm feeling so blessed that I'm practically back to 100% after just 1 month.

I still feel some facial muscle pull when I speak, especially when I start to scream at my goons for their perpetual mess! And my ears still get a bit buzzy when I'm in a crowded place, like the restaurant, supermarket or the mall. But I guess, I should be happy that things didn't turn out for the worst.

My greatest fear throughout all this was that at the back of everything, there was always that slight possibility of the "Big C" making a play. Of course I never mentioned this in any of my earlier posts coz I didn't want to cause any unnecessary scare. That was why I forced myself to rest completely and take a break from my normal Jules operations, mainly from baking coz it involves really heavy work, especially when I'm making fondants. Mind you, I've never used an electric mixer, and all my fondants I make from scratch with marshmallow. But I love it, of course. And I've seriously missed my own brownies.

Nevertheless, I'm glad I took this break. One, coz it was good for my health, and also coz it gave me more peaceful time with my goons. Of course, peaceful in this context is very subjective, but what I mean is that, there was no need for me to rush with their homework or activities coz I was also not rushing to complete my baking and deliveries.

Marrakesh for one, is in dire need of my full attention these days, as I find that he is somehow having more difficutly finishing his homework, spelling, writing and reading. I'm not really certain why this sudden change, as he was quite the opposite last year when he was in K1. I guess it might be coz he's all alone now in kindy, without his Abang Ngah, Damascus, who's already in standard 1. And he's also trying to deal with the fact that he too will have to start standard 1 next year, which means no more Madam and all the friendly teachers and aunties to baby him anymore. But my consolation is that these days he insists on going to school early and does not whine about not wanting to go to school anymore; but the deal was that he need not go for daycare anymore either. It's a fair deal I guess, so I'm now doing my part, that is sending him early to school and fetching him right after school, and spending more quality time with him doing homework, spelling, writing and reading. Every question he asks me about stuff he learnt in school I try my best to explain fully and clearly. And after he's done with all the compulsory work and moves on to his art and crafts, I too can also carry on with my crafts :)

His older brothers, Esfahan and Damascus, are quite independent now, but they still need monster mommy when it comes to homework and tidying their room.
And thankfully, they understand that I need to spend more time with Marrakesh now, and they do their bit to help their darling Kekesh :)

So, moral of the story, my recent ailment has actually allowed me to have more meaningful moments with my preciousnesses, if there's such a word. I guess not coz there's a red dotted line beneath it, but I'll just use it anyway, my preciousnesses... :)

And as I turn 42 today, I am grateful for not only the strength that God has bestowed within me, but also for the strength, and love, that I have all around. Frankly speaking, being a mommy is ONE HELLUVA job! Only the sanely insane are ever willing to do it unconditionally. And being a sick mommy is even more difficult, more so heartbreaking, coz while your spirit wants to continue caring for your loved ones as you normally do, your flesh somehow is not able to, and this is truly disheartening, it makes you feel like you're doing such an injustice to your kids especially, coz kids really don't know better about this kind of things. They really actually depend on you completely to care for them, and when you can't, sigh... So, that's when you need the support of your family and friends the most. And having that support means all the world to me.

But, I think that the irony of it all is that, while there you are thinking that you're not doing right by your kids coz you're in bed ill and resting, your children are actually well off managing on their own, finding their own food from the fridge, having their own breakfast cereal, making their own hot chocolate, preparing their own toast with peanut butter, happily dipping their own oreos in milk, all because you have actually taught and loved them well... :)

All the joys of a mommy most often also equates to her heartaches, which eventually creates more joy. Yup, it's just something one cannot really explain, until one has become a mommy herself.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Driving Our Babies

I'd just finished chatting with Madam Rusha, Marrakesh's principal at Krista Taman Putra Sulaiman, about his progress academically and personally. As I walked to the car, a blue Honda Jazz passed by me and I could see clearly that this man was driving while cradling his sleeping baby in his arm....AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

Had I been a law enforcement officer, I would have pulled him over and advised him to use a infant/child seat/carrier!

Good morning uols! Hope you're all fine and well...

I'm recovering well, Alhamdulillah, still taking things easy. I can't very well explain how my body is progressing, but I know how it is progressing and I know it's not yet back to how it was before the otitis media fiasco. But as all women and wives and mothers out there know, no woman can be or appear to be, unwell for too long, coz you just can't. Somehow we're not allowed to be un-okay, we just need to be okay, for the survival and wellbeing of all others... :)

Anyway, about the man cradling his sleeping baby while driving, why do people do this? His car portrayed him as a progressive man living in a progressing economy, but his action proves that he is way back in the dark ages! I mean, I believe that people having babies these days are quite fortunate coz they have a wide reach to facilities and necessities. In the matter of the infant/child car seat or carrier, there's a huge variety in the market now which can cater to a wide range of budgets, and most of them meet the required safety standards. If you can drive a Honda Jazz, you could pretty much afford a proper seat/carrier for your baby.

You think you're a very skilled driver and you drive very safely all the time and that nothing bad will ever happen to you and your family while you're on the road? Well, what about those irresponsible morons who do not stop at red lights, do not give indicators and who are not as safe a driver as you? Or that drunken lorry driver who risk running into you because he wasn't even aware of where he was or what he was doing? Or that random cat that suddenly runs in front of your car? Or that little child who appears out of nowhere?

Or you just cannot stand to hear your child crying and screaming for not wanting to be strapped to the seat/carrier? You go crazy hearing all that noise so you'd rather let them have their way regardless of the risks involved? While you are safely (technically) buckled up in your seat belt? Or you think you love your child more than other parents who put their children in child seats/carriers do? That cradling your infant child in your arms while you drive is the ultimate display of parental love?

There are 3 seat belts at the back seat of our Kancil and Merce, but only 2 in the Kembara. So, travelling with all 3 boys mean driving either of the former 2, in which case monster mommy will make sure they're all buckled up at the back. Yes, you may sometimes see goons jumping around at the back, but soon after monster mommy will appear victor and all 3 will eventually be strapped up in the seats, carrying on happily with their own stuff. When they were babies, all of them were transported in infant/child carrier/seats. There weren't many locally made ones then, most were imported and very expensive, but we had to. For Esfahan, we had actually recycled Medina's 8 year old baby car seat, no problem. Then we bought a new carrier coz Medina's could only be strapped to the car seat and couldn't be used as a carrier to carry him around conveniently. Then when Damascus and Marrakesh came, we had to buy an additional one coz they both needed infant/child seats at the same time. And while Esfahan could safely be strapped to the normal seat belt as early as 3yrs, Damascus needed to be strapped in his child seat until much later, coz of his natural characteristics which required him to be strapped in a child seat to ensure his own safety. Marrakesh was more like his Abang Long, so no problem there.

My husband and I, we are not the perfect parents, but we do our very best, as challenging and frustrating as it may be, we try, we just do.

So, I don't know. Why do you cradle your baby in your arms while you drive? Why?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Two Faced Mommy Part 2

So I'm back from the Operating Theatre!

It was a rather jiffy procedure that myringotomy, or was it just Dr Lim who did it in a whizz? Hehe, or both, but either way, like I said, it is a routine procedure. I was wheeled down to the 1st floor at 4.30pm, then sent to OT 7 at 4.45pm, a few minutes later I remember Dr Mohandas, the anaesthetist, said "Sweet dreams Juliana", and then the next thing I knew I was awake in another room, with nurses and a few other operatees. I looked at the clock it was 5.30pm. Then a nurse walked beside me and pondered upon my puzzled face as I asked, "Dah sudah ke?" She giggled and replied, "Iya, dah sudah." I was wheeled back to my room, and the whole of last night was just rest.

Alhamdulillah, I'm sitting now in my room after a nice shower and waiting for breakfast to arrive, functioning just nicely. Well, my face is still senget, and my ear still abuzz, but I have been told pre-op that it will take some time for me to get back to my normal self, quicker than relying solely on antibiotics, but in time nonetheless. And Charles, the audiologist, had told me earlier that I had actually lost 50% of the hearing in my left ear, and that it would take about a month or so for the ear to adjust back to normal after the procedure (subject to terms and overall health condition, diet, daily routine etc.).

There was a bit of pain for a while after the procedure, but nothing that required painkillers, as I also wanted to manage the pain naturally, else I wouldn't know when it actually ends.

I do pray that I will be able to get back to my normal routines soon though, so that I can get back to managing my home, my family, my business as usual, insyaAllah. Frankly speaking, I'm not too worried about how my face looks, senget or not; like Annette Bening's character Sylvie Fowler said to the salesgirl at SFA in The Women, "This is my face, deal with it."

As it is now, my left eye can't blink properly, so it tends to get very teary and I have trouble driving, looking into the car mirrors, and estimating depth and distance. Dr Lim says I should not drive yet, but if I need to I could just drive a short distance, eg sending the kids to school, getting groceries. He said that as a doctor there are many things he would advise me against doing, but as a person he has to be practical and help to guide me in how I should do things in my current condition. I really appreciate doctors who are practical like that, especially those who go around in jeans, casual shirt and casual shoes :)

Anyway, Dr Lim just popped in to check on me, he told me he made 2 holes in my eardrum and sucked out all the pus that was behind there (yeah, gross isn't it?), that the incisions should heal pretty fast and that at this point I have recovered about 25% of my hearing; he's also very glad that I didn't vomit after the GA yesterday. I can also now continue with my meds orally instead of via IV, and he'll check in on me again this afternoon before he sends me home.

Yayyyy! I'm going home! Alhamdulillah :)

I'm sharing all this with you in the hope that the information will benefit you. This otitis media normally occurs in children, rarely in old makciks like me, but they still do happen. Facial paralysis however could most likely happen to people my age, not just in the form that I'm experiencing now, but others, like how Bell's Palsy happened to my mum some years ago. I hope you will read ya...

Like I always tell my kids when they casually come to me asking, "Mommy what's this?" : "Iqra'!" "Read!" Hehe, mean mommy huh? They know they're allowed to use the computer anytime for school work, research, or piano (definitely not for games), no question about it, and they always give me that urgh look everytime I make them get things the hard way. Of course if they need further explanation then only they can come to mommy. Well, nothing good in life comes easy, right?

So, I'm trying to finish as much of my oatmeal and half boiled eggs now, to restore my energy, and also before they give me the meds which will make me feel gooey...

Thank you for all the prayers and very kind, warm wishes that have been coming in from family, friends and patrons, they really do mean so much to me, may God bless all of you and your loved ones. My life is indeed beautiful and truly blessed, Alhamdulillah... xox :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Two Faced Mommy

Hi there! It's been quite a while since I last dropped in here. If it were up to me, there'd be a post each and everyday, but since it's not always up to me, ie. kids rule the home too, I'll try to make the occasional post as meaningful and informative as possible.

I wrote in my JulesRules blog about how my 2012 started. So now I'm going to share with you the latest update thus far.

I'm here in my room at Gleneagles KL waiting for my ENT specialist, Dr.Lim (Lim Wye Keat), to pop in and check on me. We will then decide whether he should poke a hole in my right eardrum to release the fluid that's been accumulating behind it, which in turn has been pinching on and infecting my facial nerves, causing my face to suffer partial paralysis (only the right side of my face). He says my paralysis is mild, no cause for alarm. I googled facial paralysis, AAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!! I got pretty alarmed! So, I stopped googling and decided to just leave it to Dr Lim to get updates on my condition. At least he smiles and makes comforting jokes when he tells me that it may take up to 3+ months for my face to get back to its normal self. Heeeeeee.......

Two Faced Mommy
...taken this morning while having cappuccino at Starbucks, and I may be sporting this look well into Spring/Summer 2012 :)

Okay, I just finished talking to Dr. Lim, and my condition is Otitis Media, which is quite common. And yes, I decided that I will undergo the procedure, Myringotomy, which is to drain the fluid that's been bugging my ear and my life. Dr Lim says that it's a very routine procedure and some are even done as a daycare service. Phewh, okay, that sounds okay, but my main concern now is the general anaesthesia (GA) that I'll have to go under. Not that I have any issues with GA, I've had it a few times for several gastrointestinal procedures, but GA is still a GA and the risks are immense. But after almost 2 weeks of buzzing, ringing and disorientation, not to mention excruciating pain, it is something that I just have to do as opposed to carrying on with merely antibiotics, coz I seriously do want to get on with my normal life again. So I pray that it will be a safe and successful procedure, insyaAllah, and I place my utmost faith in the Almighty.

I have just been labeled "NBM" or "Nil By Mouth" by Nurse Kam, and the myringotomy is scheduled for this afternoon, some time after 3pm, which gives me the required minimum 6 hours of fasting.

I'm glad that Dr Lim gave me home leave last night and that I was home with my kids to tuck them in bed, to wake them up this morning to get them ready for school and that I had my precious hugs and kisses which are definitely at the top of my "Reason For Living" list. Alhamdulillah... :)

Till we meet again, insyaAllah, stay fabulous! A piu tardi...xox :)