Saturday, 20 April 2013, devotion and undying love.

Movie Day.

We try as much as possible to make Friday nights a movie night. It's like a ritual where we would get popcorn, throw the mattress on the floor so we can fall asleep after (sometimes, the kids fall asleep while watching) the movie, switch off all the lights and get comfy right in front of the big screen in the living room.

This week I had to postpone the movie night to Saturday evening. I am glad I did that because today's movie was very special which required an immediate action at the end of the movie. Read on and you'll understand what I mean.

I just finished watching Hachiko, a true story about faith, devotion and undying love. My elder two girls and I cried like babies. My eldest knew what was about to happen and kept saying to Hachiko, "open your eyes!". My 6 year old who was trying her best to be strong and not cry, broke down and hugged me hard. Guess she too, knew what was about to happen to Hachiko.
It was a good family movie which taught the kids and I, how love comes in many different forms.

While watching the movie, my girls kept looking at our dog that sat quietly at the the sliding door, with his head sticking in. It seemed like he too was sad because of the movie.

Last week a friend came over to my place to pick up her weekly fruits, and her two boys kept calling Hachiko, excitedly when they saw my dog, Bahadur (which means brave). She explained to me how Bahadur looks so much like the dog in this movie. She lent us the CD.

After watching it, I must agree with her two boys, the resemblance is uncanny.
Apart from the white as snow fur on Hachiko's stomach, Bahadur and Hachiko can strike out to be as brothers.
Hachiko was an Akita born in a  farm near the city of Ōdate, Akita Prefecture in 1923, while Bahadur is a mix of Terrier and Chow Chow from the suburbs born in 2012.

The girls are playing with Bahadur now. Hugging and cuddling him like they just lost, and found him. It's good to see this because it shows, that they have a very loving soul. This is what I meant by I am glad we chose today to watch the movie and not our usual Friday night. It's a good feeling being able to cuddle and kiss him. He seriously looks so much like Hachiko.

Add caption

Time to take Bahadur out for a walk...

Babytalk Malaysia September 2013

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Thursday, 18 April 2013

My thoughts on child safety harness

It's all a stigma.

It cannot be helped because a child harness or infamously known as a child leash looks a lot like a dog leash. The only difference is that the latter wears  it with a collar.
In my 30+ years  (not revealing my age) I have not once come across a person using the child harness (leash) in Malaysia. Have only seen it in magazines and movies.

There is another type of harness which is widely used in Malaysia and almost every parent owns one- the 5 point safety harness found in strollers.
In context the safety harness in the stroller and the child leash are the same. Both these baby gears restrict a child's movement. Yet, no one would bat an eyelash if they see a child in a stroller, protesting being strapped in.

Safety first

Society has changed. People have changed and I tremble in fear each time I hear news of a child missing or run down by a vehicle.
I'd rather use a child harness and let others judge me now, instead of regretting it later, that I didn't do everything I could to have kept my child safe.  I have read testimonies of many parents who used to say "I will NEVER use a leash" who are now singing glorious praises about it.
What caught my attention the most is how it's a good tool to have when a young one is learning how to walk. Not only is it good for mummy's back, (bending down holding baby's hand) but it is very helpful for the baby too. Imagine how the poor baby must be feeling having her arms stretched upwards for a long period of time.

I have in my possession a leash which I bought in 2007. I didn't want to take any chances while traveling with my little ones in a foreign land. We went to India with my then, 2 years old and 1 year old. Travelling in Indian trains can be daunting if you are not familiar and fear crowd. The train coaches are very comfortable but not when you are getting off. It's a very overwhelming feeling and you'd feel you are at a mardi gras.

Responsible user.

I think the perception can be changed with the right looking leash and usage. One shouldn't use it as a yanking tool to constantly keep pulling back one's child or use it to discipline a certain behaviour. That is not a sight to see, in fact that's one of the reason why people shy away from child leashes.
I say, use the leash on your daughter (if it is necessary) and still hold her hand. The leash is your insurance to still have a hold on her if she suddenly decides to bolt.

This article was featured in Babytalk Malaysia (July 2013 issue)

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Saturday, 13 April 2013

Wrap in Style

Three's a charm.

In year 2010, despite our best efforts my husband and I resigned to the fact that God had made up his mind. He must have seen how we were struggling to keep up with two kids, so another baby was out of the question.

One early morning in 2011 when I discovered that I was pregnant, it was hard to digest. I still remember the day like it was yesterday.

I was surprised and it became very hard to think straight because it was something that I had forgotten about. I knew then it was best I postpone my class and made an innocent call to inform the parents.

Little did the mother of that child know that the call was anything but unusual.
Instead of a simple apology it became an hour long call with me sharing my shock and unreadiness for this pregnancy.

Start over new

You would think it's a walk in the park and mummy ought to be a pro in caring for baby after going through it twice before, but it's a big NO and I had to relearn everything.

In the process of learning I discovered the joys of breastfeeding, bed-sharing and baby wearing.
Life is so much simpler when you practise these three B's


My first experience was with a ring sling and then I graduated to a wrap.
Oh the joys of wrap. It is such a beautiful and simple way to carry my baby securely and snug. With practise you could do so much with just one carrier.

I would do my house chores, breastfeed, go grocery shopping and even an evening stroll while wearing her. My hands would be free allowing me to do so much and I didn't have to keep running to her crib or the baby rocker each time she cried. She was rocked to sleep while listening to my heartbeat. There are tons of benefits to babywearing and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

If you are a newbie to wraps who don't have a lot of patience and time to learn the tricks using it, I would suggest the  Hana Baby Wrap. It's a cool and light wrap made of bamboo (68%), organic cotton (28%) and elastane (4%). It is a very 'moldable' piece of cloth which doesn't require a lot of adjusting.

This would be my first experience with a 'stretchy' wrap. I have heard and read about these wraps and how they are the best choice for newborn, which I agree to now.

I have a teal Hana baby wrap which is so soft to touch and much lighter compared to my 100% cotton wrap.

The day this wrap arrived, I was like a kid with a new toy. Everything stopped in my house even the mountain of laundry stayed where I last put them.
Although it's stated on the box 'wash before use' but it's beauty gently beckoned me, gradually cajoling me and finally forcefully thrusting itself onto me like a lustful lover. *ahem, let me compose myself.

I could not resist it. I had to give this a try.

Day 1 - Endurance test

Day 1 test would be in a cool and well lit place, Sunway Pyramid.
It's been a while since we had dinner there and I needed an excuse to give this wrap an endurance test. So off to Sunway armed with my new wrap.
The results, a happy evening despite being in a crowded place. It was a good thing too I decided to carry my baby in Hana baby wrap because it made moving around so easy even with my other two little sidekicks.

I managed to carry my 8+ kg baby in it for more than an hour and didn't need any readjustment. The trick is to make sure your pre-tie is tight, very tight. It provided enough support and the weight was distributed evenly on my entire back and shoulders. I felt good wearing it, we didn't feel too hot or cold, it was just right.

Hana wrap is very easy to master but allows only one type/style of carrying, that is front carry.
The best thing about this wrap is that it very light and comfortable thanks to the bamboo and organic cotton used to make it so soft yet robust.

Day 2 - Heat test

After a successful Day 1, I needed to do more test and under different circumstances to be certain I have with me a very good wrap. Most wraps come from countries with a very forgiving summer, unlike ours. Just because it says Summer Wrap, does not necessarily mean our Malaysian hot days.

Both baby and I don't like being out in the sun too long. We sweat profusely and become very agitated. So this is a very important test and I decided to braze the afternoon sun at the International Youth Centre (IYC), Cheras during a Vasakhi programme.

To my amazement (seriously, I kept asking each person I met,"are you feeling hot?") I didn't  feel like removing the wrap. I wasn't sweating to the point of wanting to run into an air conditioned room.  In fact, whenever my baby decided she wanted to walk I did not bother to untie the wrap and left it wrapped on me (which makes more sense as you can easily pop your baby back in).
She's all smiles even after being in the wrap for over half hour

Day 3 Have fun

While at the IYC a friend commented that I had on a very beautiful designer top. That's how gorgeous Hana wrap is. So for day 3 I decided to pair this wrap with my breastfeeding top.

The result...
My fashionable top before popping her in the wrap

My fashionable top after taking her out of it

Now I have a very unique top that I needn't remove when my baby wants some freedom-she loves showing off with her new acquired skills-walking and running about.

One Hana baby wrap, three functions;
1) use it to carry my baby
2) use it as a breastfeeding cover
3) turn it into a, fashionable enough to be worthy of a designer's label top.

What more can you ask for?

Some things to note:

There is only one carrying method for Hana baby wrap which is easily mastered and the box comes with clear pictured instructions.

It is a light and comfortable wrap (thanks to it's super soft bamboo fabric) which I suggest you pre-tie in the comfort of your home. It can be rather intimidating to handle the length of this wrap when you are new to wraps and are trying to tie it in unfamiliar places (I don't like my wrap touching the floor).

Hana baby wrap has a 4% elastane which help makes this wrap very moldable and easy for you to put your baby in. The stretch after putting my 8+kg baby in was fine but I cannot ascertain how it would be once she is much heavier. It is stated on the box it's suitable from birth to 12.5kg.

I have yet to pick 'the one and only carrier' suitable from birth right up to toddlerhood even after my extensive research on baby carriers. I have come to realise it's a little tough (not impossible) to pick just one because with time baby's needs and likes change.
My baby was fine in a ring sling up to 8 months but nowadays my shoulders ache after 30 minutes. I tend to reach for my wrap more often now.

Tis time for my cuppa in a cafe with my fashionable top...

Disclosure: I received the wrap photographed in the post for review purpose. 

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Monday, 8 April 2013

Changing Lives is How I Roll


I am a very skeptical person. I don't trust easily and I'm always looking for hidden agendas in anything presented to me. I believe people out there in this world always have something up their sleeves and are ever ready for a scam.

I always thought beggars on the street were too lazy to get a job or they are begging because it's an easy way to get money.
Each time I spot a beggar, I would naturally transform into Sherlock Homes and search for any tell-tale signs indicating to me that the beggar isn't genuine. I was so bad that once while in Bangsar (which used to be my "play ground") I had asked a seemingly healthy and capable young boy assisting a blind beggar, "Why?" as in why was he helping the beggar.


On the other hand my husband (who was my boyfriend at that time) found it very easy, reaching into his pocket and sparing that poor man some cash. He didn't care what 'kind' of beggar he was. All that mattered to him was that his conscious was clear and he was able to enjoy the rest of the day without any sliver of guilt.

Take a chance on me (remember ABBA..?)

It's all about taking a chance.
I've wondered what would have been of me if  Tan Sri Yahaya Ahmad (also famously known as the Car Czar), founder, chairman and chief executive officer of DRB-HICOM Groups didn't take a chance on the 10 of us.
Car Czar

How if he too was as skeptical of me as I was with beggars. How, if he too would have thought that these 10 poor students were too lazy to compete for a government scholarship. How, if he too thought that we were not worth his money and time. How, if he too didn't see any potential in us and didn't want to invest in our future.

But, I am glad he wasn't like that. I am so glad that he decided to part with with his wealth and invest in the 10 of us so we can get a chance to have a secured future (it was and I think, still widely believed, that education is your only way out of your current economic state).

He changed the lives of a girl who grew up chasing chickens, a girl who travelled on a boat to get to the nearest town, a girl whose single mum had to work night shifts and the lives of many more.

I am forever grateful to this man, honestly.

Give ('dhay-dhay', my little one keeps chanting like a mantra)

Now it's my turn to 'dhay-dhay'. I have told myself to chill and relax. No more becoming Sherlock Homes, just give whatever I can. You'd never know how a small gesture, a smile, can help brighten up some body's day. How your spare change could help feed a hungry man. How your old books and toys could help brighten a child's entire year. All it takes is a few minutes of perfection from you, check out the video :

If it is within your means, Just Do It! (Nike style)

I found a charitable cause with a very nice tag line... Changing Lives is How i Roll. 
It's one man's journey finding his kismet. He is still uncertain why God put him here but feels very strongly about making money and giving it back to the needy. A little like Robin Hood, taking from the rich and giving it back to the poor, but leaves a little t-shirt with the HOPE sign on it, hoping that they would allow him to steal again.

I was drawn to it because his Campaign of the Month is Every Kid Deserves an Education, the exact thing Tan Sri Yahaya Ahmad did.
Picture from iMKIRAN

It's worth a look, or at least I'm pretty sure it was worth my look as I struggle to impose my new principles about giving wholeheartedly.
Help spreading iMKIRAN's cause with The Flying Singh

Pass me the sugar for my coffee, will you, love?

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Thursday, 4 April 2013

Vege in a Box

"I got time..." sounds familiar?
This tag line was used a couple of years back by Astro when they first introduced their recording device.

Lately, many of my friends have been wondering where do I find time.
There is time and I get 24 hours of it. I just need to share it with 3 sidekicks (thanks Kav).
2 of these sidekicks have learnt to go out and explore on their own. The other sidekick has yet to earn that freedom.

So back to time.
Seriously I have it in abundance. My mind is so free that ideas keep popping in and out, sometimes like popcorn.

Every day, things around me speak to me (I am not crazy) telling little anecdotes of my not so long ago past.

Today was about my dad.

Just one word live chicken, took me back in time (whilst sitting in my kitchen and feeding my baby omelette) to a huge house with vast land. Compared to what our housing developers give nowadays, mine would be a ranch. We were fortunate to live in an old bungalow which was owned by a British family prior to us.

My dad kept livestock, chicken, ducks, geese and cowS. Many cows. He didn't keep these animals for commercial reason rather it was for own consumption or could it be that it reminded him of his hometown. I would need to dig a little deeper for that.

There are so many fond memories that bungalow holds. It would take me days to share them all. I had a very happy, holy, free and full of laughter childhood.

One fond memory would be the time either my sister or I had to catch a chicken for dinner. Try catching a free range chicken, it's an art. We would have to come up with a plot which involved NOT scaring the chickens away. It was so hard to catch these chicken that we could not decide on a victim. We would just grab whichever we could and then agree that this is the one that we intended for the kill.The next thing would be, who is going to assist in the kill. This was the worst part.

My dad would patiently wait for us to emerge from our victorious hunt. He would stand tall (he is a very tall ad big man) holding a cleaver in his hands and I would be required to put the chicken down on a tree stump made of a fallen tree. He was also a wood cutter. He was one man many wouldn't mess with it. In school whenever a boy used to bother me, my friends would warn by saying "nanti bapa dia bawa parang" (her father would come after you with a cleaver). 

One quick and swift move was all it took him to get a clean and painless cut. If I shrieked and let go off the chicken while it was withering to its death from my hands, a look of disappointment would be seen on his face. Followed by a small woman quick on her feet with loud, sharp and piercing cry running after the still moving chicken to stop the blood splatter.

That small woman would be my mom, standing tall at 5 feet and 2 inches. She was always my saviour but it came with a price, a non-stop lecture on how I should not let go off the chicken.

In today's life, all that seems surreal. I too find it hard to believe that I once did that. I have changed so much. From picking fresh eggs, defeathering the chicken and helping my mom milk a cow, to ordering vegetables in a box!. Even my chicken comes delivered in a box.
My fresh grocery in a box.

When I shared this news with my mother, she was quick to respond "let me buy it for you."

Mothers will always be mothers. She still wants to be my saviour.

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