Saturday, April 23, 2011

When should she start wearing the hijab?

I started wearing the hijab, or the headscarf when I was 9, or was it 10?? I can't really remember. But I started fairly early. It was never an issue because everybody was wearing it. But I never really know why I need to put it on. And I never had any discussion with my parents about it. I only started questioning it when I went to Australia. After I was questioned. It only intrigued me when the Aussies were asking why do we wear the headscarf. And I will answer because I am a Muslim. Then they will ask why Muslim have to do it? Why only women? Not men? etc etc etc....I cannot simply answer bcoz God ask me, I do it unconditionally right? I need a logic. Throughout time, that piece of cloth covering my head have evolved from "really short" to "quite long, i.e long enough to cover my chest" to "trying so hard to twist the cloth here n there to be covered and yet still trendy".

And even after I think I have understood the whole concept of hijab or dressing modestly in Islam..and figured out why I should wear it, I still go through that yo-yo cycle where I will change my style from time to time...from loose to tight, short to long, pastel to glaringly bold....all in the name of I need to look good as a women. 

It's ironic that when I was in Tassie, I wore baju kurung most of the time, even in winter. And I have never felt so liberated. Nowadays, the only time I wear my baju kurung is wedding and funeral.

So when it comes to when should the girls start covering themselves, I deliberated. For a long time.

I told Hajar it will be compulsory for her to do it once she hit puberty. Which is probably in another 1 or 2 years time. So she told me she plan to do it next year, when she's 13. Okay...fine with me. So she has started wearing it occasionally. To Quran class mostly. And when she does, she's probably praying hard she will not bump into anybody she knows too. And depending on the days, she will fluctuate from very confident "YES" to start wondering...what will my friend think of me? It might sounds lame...but this is exactly why I deliberated.

It's definitely much easier to get them to wear it when they are still small. No resistance. Not much reasoning and explaination needed. But I want them to understand why they have to do it. And make an informed choice to do it. 

I do not want them to wear it now, thinking they have no choice... and 5, 10 years down the road chuck it all away, because they don't think it represents them, they don't think it gives them freedom, they feel alienated, they feel different , they feel that piece of cloth put them at a disadvantage....etc etc etc.

They have to believe it. Hijab is not about how people perceive you.  You should  believe you are beautiful with it. And of course this comes with the understanding of what defines real beauty. Beauty in the eyes of God. It's about your conviction.  It's between  you and God. It's a personal choice. And it certainly shouldn't make you feel holier than others who don't. To achieve that, you have to discover it yourself. Everybody has their own journey. And it might be a difficult and long journey.

If they have to deal with those issues...vanity, beauty, self esteem, raison d'etre...I would rather they deal with them now. So I can talk to them, and try to make sense out of it, rather than they battle with the issues later in life, and make wrong choices.

I pray they will blossom into a proud muslimah. Slowly and surely. Strong woman with big heart making a great difference in this world, and proud to be themselves. Not a copy cat. Amin.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Never grow up

It's funny how when I'm all alone at home, I will miss the kids terribly. And when they are home, I sometimes wish I can freeze them. Woman. Can't satisfy them, ain't we? :-)

I was listening to Taylor Swift while reading my stuffs, and suddenly got all emo with the song. But that's exactly how I feel with my kids. Don't we all do? 

Never Grow Up lyrics
Songwriters: Swift, Taylor;

Your little hands wrapped around my finger
And it's so quiet in the world tonight
Your little eyelids flutter 'cause you're dreaming
So I tuck you in, turn on your favorite night light

To you, everything's funny
You got nothing to regret
I'd give all I have, honey
If you could stay like that

Oh, darling, don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh, darling, don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up
It could stay this simple

I won't let nobody hurt you
Won't let no one break your heart
No, no one will desert you
Just try to never grow up, never grow up

You're in the car on the way to the movies
And you're mortified your mom's dropping you off
At 14, there's just so much you can't do
And you can't wait to move out someday and call your own shots

But don't make her drop you off around the block
Remember that she's getting older, too
And don't lose the way that you dance around
In your PJs getting ready for school

Oh, darling, don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh, darling, don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up
It could stay this simple

No one's ever burned you
Nothing's ever left you scarred
And even though you want to
Just try to never grow up

Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room
Memorize what it sounded like when your dad gets home
Remember the footsteps, remember the words said
And all your little brother's favorite songs

I just realized everything I have
Is someday gonna be gone

So here I am in my new apartment
In a big city, they just dropped me off
It's so much colder than I thought it would be
So I tuck myself in and turn my night light on

Wish I'd never grown up
I wish I'd never grown up

Oh, I don't wanna grow up, wish I'd never grown up
Could still be little
Oh, I don't wanna grow up, wish I'd never grown up
It could still be simple

Oh, darling, don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh, darling, don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up
It could stay this simple

Won't let nobody hurt you
Won't let no one break your heart
And even through to you want to
Please try to never grow up

Don't you ever grow up
(Never grow up)
Just never grow up

My precious 4. Ummi loves u loadsssss guys. I do seriously wish u will never grow up. Enjoy your Friday :-)

Reading Disabilities: Simple Ideas for Developing Vocabulary At Home

Reading Disabilities: Simple Ideas for Developing Vocabulary At Home

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Losing a child

I watched Oprah's rerun this afternoon. Yes, SOOO guilty...was watching Oprah when I was supposed to be burying my head into the papers and digesting those scientific mumbo supervisor will not be happy...anyway I can get really distracted when it's too quiet. lame excuse :)

Anyway it was the interview with Marie Osmond who recently (well prob quite some time back already) lost her child. Her 18yo son committed suicide and this was the first time she talked about it. Picture is from Oprah's website.

I cried bucketss. Well, not suprising :) But I can really feel her pain. There are some stuffs that she said that I really like.

Instead of saying I'm proud of you to our kids, ask them "Are you proud of yourself?"
Her reason is you can't put self esteem in your child, they have to find it themselves.

"Tell your children they are not a burden"

"You'll be OK"
"I promise you it will get better"
We parents tend to overused the phrases.....sometimes things just don't get better. And at certain age, the kids stop believing that. From their perspectives, they feel they are at the end of the road when things doesn't work out.. that's when insanity begins.

Laughter is the best gift we could ever have, and could ever give. She finds talking about him with her other kids therapeutic. It helps the healing process.

Take the time to see what's important to your child.

You can have all the knowledge in this world, but you cannot have wisdom. You acquire wisdom as you go through life.

It was such an inspiring interview. May God gives her strength to move on.

Pumpkin Pie

I was craving for this ever since I saw Curtis Stone made it few months back.The smells of the pumpkin and the spices roasting in the oven was so heavenly. I got the recipe from Curtis's website.

I LOVE it!! And unfortunately, the feeling and the enthusiasm is not shared by anybody else in the house. Onn insist he doesn't eat anything pumpkin. Kiddos were smirking and making faces. I even tried tricking Medina, and she spitted everything in the bin.

BooohoooOOOOoooo..!! ;P

Here is the video of him whipping up the dish. It's pretty simple.

For the filling, since I don't have a food processor, I actually dumped everything in the blender. It worked just fine.

Bon appetit :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Chicken quiche

Last Friday, I was thinking of what to do with my chicken breast. Nobody in this house eat chicken breast if I cook it as dishes. They claimed it's too hard, not juicy enough. Sounds so spoilt, but I have learn to live with it. Usually I will use them for my murtabak filling, but I wanted to try something new. And I have spinach. So I made this.
I had no idea what it is. It's probably a cross between a pie and a quiche. The filling is chicken and carrot and spinach. Sauted the chopped onion. Add in the chicken, the shredded carrot and the spinach. Season with salt, sugar and pepper. Once u filled up the crust with the filling, pour in a mixture of cream and egg. 1 cup of cream + 1 egg. Then add the mozarella cheese on top. As much as u like it. To be honest, the reason I add on cheese instead of teh crust is I am so lazy to cut the crust, to brown it with egg...yada yada cheese is my easy peasy solution.

Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Halfway through, (once the cheese turn golden) turn off the upper heater to get a crusty brown bottom.
Bon appetit :) It reminds me of the quiche I used to eat in Tassie.  Kiddos think it's good, and nobody asked me about the spinach. So note to self; one more keeper recipe to sneak in spinach ;)

Monday, April 4, 2011

I didn't scream today...and whoaaa it feels damn great!!

Every morning, it is madness in our house. I will be screaming. Onn will be screaming. But of course I'm louder than him. Comb your hair. Get out of the bathroom. Tuck in your shirt. Clean up your room. Eat your breakfast. E-a-t-t-t-t-t your breakfast!!!. Hurry up u r late. Then somebody will come to me without fail..."Umi, do u see my sports attire? do u see my books? do u see my bra? do u see my pencil????? And somebody will usually leave something behind. The lunch box. The guitar. The violin. The books. etc. etc. etc.

And I end up being a very angry mommy. Angrier than the angry birds..ready to smash anything that comes my way.....hahaha

It is such a horrible way to start your day. By the time they are all out of the house and it's just me alone, I can't even enjoy my coffee. My mood is so screwed up.

And not to mention I will be left with their messy rooms. Towels on the floor. Clothes on the floor. Books on the floor. Whatever that you can think and can't think of are on the floor, on the bed, on the work station. The closets look like they have just been ransacked. And once the rooms have reach my limit and I can't stand it anymore, I will clean it up...and end up with major sinus attack for days due to the amount of dust and rubbish they have accumulated in their room. I will nag them, and they will say OK (which is their polite version of yeah umi, shut up and leave us alone pleaseeee) and the vicious cycle continues.

It bothers me a lot. It makes me doubt my decision not to send them to boarding school. Will they grow up as people with no living skill? No leadership skill at all?? Do I pamper them too much? I live away from my parents since I was 11. I was in boarding school when I was 13. Doing my own laundry, ironing my own clothes, studying on my own...without anybody telling me I have to on earth it's possible? And looks sooooo impossible for my kids? The "priviledged kids"??

So yesterday, I finally did something that I have been wanting to do for quite some time, but never get around it. Onn is of course indifferent about it. He's at the moment more concerned with how many pigs & monkeys he can killed...SIGHHH. (please remind me to hide my phone from my husband :P) But I told him I have a feeling it will work.

So at 2pm yesterday, I implemented the merit & demerit system. Hahahaha...just like my old school days. We used to hate it. A LOT. But here's the catch. My kids don't have pocket money, coz they bring their lunch box to school. So I don't see the need. But all their friends bring money to school. LOTS of money. So they kinda tell me subtlely a few would be good if we have pocket money. Yeah I know that. I am just being hard, coz we don't want them to waste money. And it's always been hard for them to buy stuffs, coz they need our permission, and our money. So I told them with this system, they have $100 to start with. But they will get their cash only by the end of the month. Any demerit will cost them $2, major demerit will cost them $10. And if they do something good, i.e out of the normal expected stuffs, they will earn $5.  So it's all about the moneyyyyyy :)

So here's the demerit list. It's basically all those things that make me nag and scream endlessly. The same *^%ing things everyday.

And the merit & major demerit. Major demerit is the BIG crime. Merit is the extra thing they can do.

And their house chores. The chores I have been trying to get them to do, and they will say OK, and I will end up doing them.

So how's the outcome since yesterday?? Well, I am very happy to say, somebody (as in Ms Super Duper Kiasu Hajar Nadhirah) washed the dirty dishes in the sink, cleaned the toilet  & prayed on time voluntarily (all in the name of earning extra points)..oh yes...she even hug Emily last night and asked me whether that will give her extra $5..claiming it was a very sincere act....I told her if it's a sincere hug then u will not be asking for $5...hahahaha...BUSTED!!!

They packed their school bag last night, the rooms were cleaned (reasonably) before they go to bed, lights were off and all were asleep by 11 (I even caught Luqman rushing to do stuffs...on other days, he will just take his own sweet time), Luqman was ready for school by 7.20am today, constantly checking the time, (my dear zombie Luqman okayy) shirt tucked in, hair combed, breakfast eaten....very handsome and ready for 7.30am they are out of the house and me & Onn haven't scream OR nag anybody....whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa this has never happen in my entire life okayyyy!!! And I have never had so much fun deducting money from people...hahahaha. So this is the standing as of this morning :-)

I am not sure how long this will last. So far so good. And they get really2 competitive...esp "u know who" :-) I hope this will work. Coz it solve a lot of problems. And it bring the best in them. As much as they hate my nagging and screaming, the feeling is soooo mutual my dear kiddos. So let's pray this will work ;-)

Friday, April 1, 2011

She's progressing..and blossoming...albeit very very slowly ;)

Last night was Emily's first ensemble performance. I was so nervous, so did she. She came back from school grumpy claiming she's tired and didn't want to perform. But of course we eventually make her go ;-) Her hand was ice cold. But I think it was a very good exposure and experience for her.

Her less than 40sec moment of fame....Twinkle2 little star....tadaaaa ;)
She has progressed quite a bit with the violin. There was a point when I had my doubts. Especially when she first started last year. Even the teacher thought she should change instrument. Maybe piano would be easier to master. I am so glad we persist and pursue. The problem with her at school is there are too many students taking up violin. And naturally, Emily will withdraw and drift away and get left behind. And I don't think she clicked so well with the 1st tutor. She only showed progress (as in I saw her practising more at home) when she started having lesson with Ms Yeoh. So I was quite upset when we cannot afford to continue with Ms Yeoh this year as her fees has gone up 3x to match her qualifications. (I can still remember Onn rolling his eyes with an adamant NOoooooo!! ;P)

But we have been very lucky. "We" as in me n her. Although moi can't play any instrument, and read any single musical notes...I am really pushing for this coz I want Emily to find her strength in something. My theory is once she find her strength in something, her confidence will improve, and of course this will eventually spill over to her academic performance. But it's a long shot. And not easy for me to convince my Finance Minister. Onn is more reluctant due to the expenses. But what the heck lah kaaannnnnn??

Okay back to the lucky story. Lucky she chose, and stick to violin instead of other instruments. Coz with violin she can perform. It gives her a platform. And it let her shine on her own, out from Luq, Hajar and Medina's shadows. Which is a herculean task for her. When she won the competition last year, I was so shocked...though it's only beginner's level, but I never expect she will win anything. And she's so proud of herself...much to the ire of the elder sister ;) But it also makes me realize I have underestimated her capabilities. I was so overwhelmed with her dyslexia that I didn't realize I can push her to get the best out of her.

And she is very lucky to go to a school that acknowledge she learn differently. This was her year end school concert last year. See how happy she is?? :-)

In her previous government school, there was not even a one millionth chance for her to be performing on stage. She will just be overshadowed by all other talented kids. But in Sapura, everybody participate. Talented or not. So that was good. She had fun preparing for the dance. Of course, she complained a lot too. Too tired, too hard, my leg hurts...bla bla bla.......but in the end I think she enjoyed the experience. It was really a confidence booster.

Today she came back from school and told me she got 52% for BM. Whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!! That was EXCELLENT for me n her okayyyy. Usually she will never pass anything...coz she usually submit almost an empty test paper. But thanks to Amy Chua...hahaha...I have been drilling her a bit last week to prepare for the exam this week. And walllaaaa...the result seems to concur with the tiger mommy kan?? kannn??? hahaha....but seriously it's so painful. There is so much work to do coz u literally have to teach her everything again, and again, and againnnn. I realized that for me to help increase her self esteem and confidence is for her to succeed. And for her to succeed she have to be ahead of the class....coz she takes longer time to understand last minute studying. She will just shut down. Just pray I have the patience, and enough will power to continue. Who says being a mother is easy right? Happy weekend ;-)