FB Detox

I’m on facebook detox. It’s been 3 days now, no withdrawal symptoms as yet. A little part of me thinks whether I’m missing any major updates but figured any major news will be told on whatsapp or directly to me anyway! It was starting to annoy/bother me that:

1. I kept seeing stupid articles of things like ‘why homeopathy is good for curing cancer (as opposed to conventional treatment)’ or some C-celebrity said this or did this. Yawn, do I care. And why am I reading this anyway. Can you hear the sound of my brain cells dying?

2. I end up watching random videos that really didnt benefit or add to my life whatsoever. Like whyyyyy did I just waste two minutes of my life on that.

See, it feels like it’s only a few minutes but I reckon it adds up when I keep clicking on fb whenever I’m bored. Macam ehhh twenty minutes have gone! Plus I’m wondering whether by relinquishing my time, I would be encouraged to do other things… like read a book.

Speaking of which, I’ve bought so many books but none is appealing to me now. #bookslump

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Some life coaching

So today I saw a life coach. Yes, life coaches are for realz. I would love to be a life coach but I dont think I have the energy and enthusiasm of a life
coach. She’s not exactly bubbly, she smiles appropriately, but she has this warmth to her and a positive attitude. I guess you’ll have to have a positive attitude being a life coach! Mun inda makin tia depressed and suicidal urang.

So anyway, I am neither depressed nor suicidal. Nor do I think I needed any life coaching. I have been recommended by my supervisors from last post to work on being assertive. And since this life coaching is available as part of our teaching programme, I can have four sessions with her. Now at first I was offended and insulted and my confidence was knocked back…. and then when I met her, she was actually pretty helpful. It also came at a good time, before my exam when I needed all the help to boost my confidence and presentation skills.

So good in fact that I have to share to you, my dear readers (perasan ramai), her knowledge and wisdom.

1. Fake it till you become it

After failing my clinical exam yet for the second time and a demotivating discussion with my supervisor, my confidence was at an all time low. I’ve always had confidence issues since I was young, cropping up behind me every now and then, a voice inside saying that I’m not smart enough, that I’m not cut out to be xxxxx (insert whatever I am aiming for at the time). In high school, I kept comparing myself to my brainy classmate next to me and had to reaffirm the quote from Eleanor Roosevelt like a mantra: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Anyway, then come uni and I compared myself to my best friend. She’s so much more clever than me, such a pretty girl, vibrant and vivacious (ha she probably hates me saying that, but you are my dear!). But she was the one who picked me up time and time again, giving me the GANBATTE vibes throughout uni. Over time, I learnt to love ME.

I’ve learnt over the years that to get through the exams and general medical life, you have to have self assurance and confidence. Much of our working life involves leading and making snap decisions. If you don’t sound confident, no one’s gonna listen to you, not your juniors, not the nurses, heck not your patients. I remember shadowing this junior dr (I was a med student at the time) and he was smart, confident and really good. Then he turned to us and said “You know a lot of this is bullshitting… just say things in a confident way and people will listen to you.” Now I’m not saying we should be reckless and do stupid things and act like it’s right. But it’s more of instilling confidence in others about your decision. The doctor that fumbles and flaps will not be taken seriously, people will start questioning even if he’s saying and doing the right thing.

Even to this day, I don’t feel that smart at all, I feel like an impostor on some days. Like say what I’m a paediatric registrar now?

Until I came across this life coach and this TED talk she recommended me watching. It tells us about how your body can influence your mind. By generating powerful poses, you emit self confidence through your body language and this in turn changes YOUR OWN mind about you. Isn’t that a revelation?

I’ve always dealt it with conquering ‘mind over matter’, but this time I can also do quick bodyposes to instill that confidence before a presentation, exam or similar stressful pressured situation.

Really watch the video, it’s about 10-12 minutes and worth the time watching.

Ok I’m going to end this now. I wanted to share another thing, which if headlined would sound like “FINDING YOUR INNER CORE TO ACHIEVE HAPPINESS AND CONFIDENCE”, but I’ll save it for another post.

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Back to work …

…soon!

As I may have said before (I forget sometimes what I write in here), the childminder have started already coming over to our place. I spend the time in the library (or cafe somewhere) revising back for work. I’m also supposed to complete my neurology online course, but I haven’t made a move of it ever since we left for San Francisco. GAHHH!!!

I offically start on 30th April, but rota says I’m off that week (scheduled off). Instead, I would start on 5th May with oncall on 6th! So I said I’ll come on 30th anyway to get used to things … what is called ‘back to work’ shadowing or whatever they call it. I got a call today and got asked if I can work this Friday and next weekend. WAH WAH WAH! Now I have palpitations of starting work.

Then I had to think of things only new mummies would understand: pumping milk. How baby will feed without me. Sticking to a schedule that will work for us as a family. Ok let’s break it down.

Pumping milk

Alhamdulillah, I would be working in a unit where there are breastfeeding/milk room. So I can have some sort of privacy, though sharing it with other mummies. Or I can just go to the registrar’s room. And I can be spared the awkwardness of storing milk in the staff room’s fridge.

My workplace would be 45 minutes away from home, so there’s no way I can go home for lunch. Even if it’s next door, it’s pretty rare for drs to go back home for lunch. It’s more like “What lunch? Oh, the ten minutes to swallow my food….”

Then, there’s the issue of when I can pump. Realistically I can only pump once: lunchtime. If it’s not too busy, I can pump around 3 pm. IF IT’S NOT BUSY. Cue the sound (or silence) of my milk drying out. Please Ya Allah, let that not happen. I’m not ready to wean my baby off completely off me.

How baby will feed without me

Currently, due to him not gaining weight, the consultant has prescribed him high energy milk. We give him about 2-3 bottles a day and I’ll feed him the rest of the time. My routine is more like this:

7 am feed – ‘main main baru bangun’ feed from me
10 am feed – proper feed – usually bottle
12 pm feed – proper feed from me
3 pm feed – proper feed – usually bottle
7 pm feed – ‘going to sleep’ feed from me

So really, he will be missing only one feed from me. PLUS Ayman has started weaning to solids!! So he is drinking less as well. I guess as long as we wake up early enough, I’ll feed him in the morning before work and feed him straight after work.

Schedule Schmedule

Now I actually have to wake up early. Oh man, I’m really dreading work now. Zayan is getting clingy again now that I’m going to ‘work’. Mesti mama yang mandikan, tidurkan, semua lah mama. Hai-ya. Hopefully this will pass over once we’ve settled in work.

The thing is I always feel like I’m rushing, rushing, rushing. There’s always something to do. Preparing food, cooking, feeding Ayman, laundry, getting myself ready, getting the boys ready. So I’m thinking of how to cut the time doing these things so we all can have quality time with each other.

Mission: Cutting time doing boring things

1. Prepare EVERYTHING the night before. This might be old news for you guys but I’ve only started doing it as a mother of two! LOL I used to be like ‘nyehhh prep isuk pagi saja’. NO! To have a calm and avoid ‘LAJUUUUU! We’re late already!’ atmosphere, we must have everything prepped. Baju Zayan. Baju Ayman. My baju. Susu for the morning. My bag.

2. Cooking dinner:
– Cook for 2 days worth of dinners. We don’t like repeating what we eat but I’m afraid this is what we will have to do.
– Bring sandwich/bagel to work instead. So we can then save food for the next dinner.
– Prep things earlier. We use garlic and ginger in a jar which is my lifesaver. But I also hate to cut onions. And actually all the prepping takes time! Once it’s all cut, it’s easier to campak it all in. So maybe, sunday for cutting things that can be cut earlier. Like onions, carrots, broccoli, coriander.
– Make a meal plan. Now I’ll have to sell the idea to M, because we both like to have food of ‘what we feel like today’. But actually we have a meal plan, we would save up on the time and have things prepped earlier!

My idea is to have something like:

Sunday – cook food enough for sunday and monday dinner.
Monday – LUNCH: sandwiches, DINNER: Leftover food.
Tuesday – LUNCH: some quick food like bagels or salad (cue me laughing), DINNER: Pasta, marinate chicken.
Wednesday – LUNCH: Last night’s pasta, DINNER: Grilled chicken
Thursday – LUNCH: Last night’s grilled chicken, DINNER: Stir fry.
Friday – LUNCH: Last night’s stir fry, DINNER: whatever we want! Takeaway! Eat out!

Ok I have a headache already thinking of this. Will post more on this nanti. I’m gonna try to prepare more food on the go (like sandwiches and bagels) and carry out this meal plan.

Ta!

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Zayan and Ayman’s first train ride

Yesterday was a really fun day for me and the boys (I like to think Ayman was having fun ..even though he has the same attitude to everything really – dopey smiles when awake, sleeping rest of the time).

I decided to go solo with the boys to London via train. Cue overwhelming excitedness from Zayan. Zayan is currently obsessed with trains. He loves looking at them, playing with them, watching youtube videos of train (real or cartoonised). And he knows where the train station is from picking people up but has never been inside the station. He would point and say (shout) ‘TRAIN STATION!’ whenever we drive by the station. Anyway, so we went on the train.

I had everything organised and packed the night before, bought my train ticket ahead – free for under 5s – and was all set to go. On day trips/day out, I like to pack minimally. The ‘go bag’ (M termed the boys’ bag as the go bag) at all times has:

1. Spare set of clothes for Zayan (baju, seluar, socks and pants)
2. 3 pull up nappies
3. Spare set of clothes for Ayman
4. Nappies (around 3-5x depending on if I remember to top it up)
5. Wipes
6. Changing mat
7. Mini plastic bags for nappies
8. BF scarf
9. Blanket
10. Snacks*
11. Bottle*

*age and duration of trip dependent

And usually Zayan would sneak in a toy or two inside. If I think they might be a long wait somewhere, I’ll bring an activity book for Zayan. We don’t bring the ipad out unless for long car trips (>1 hour ride), I’d rather him soak in the environment and learn to be bored! I read somewhere that nowadays kids do not know how to deal with boredom. There’s always the ipad or iphone to entertain them. By limiting the ipad/iphone when going out, I’m hoping Zayan can learn to deal with being bored AKA sit still, be in his own thoughts and use his imagination. More on that of him being bored on the train!

In terms of logistics of bringing two kids, I decided to have Ayman in the stroller and Zayan to walk. I thought at least Ayman would sleep peacefully and I’ll somehow convince and motivate Zayan to walk the entire time. In my head, I was thinking: Depart St Pancras. Go to Westfield via taxi. Meet up friend. Leave westfield to cousin’s house. Take taxi back to train station. Not THAT much walking *kejam*

And as we all know, mummies need minimal things too! Phone, purse, lip balm and I’m good to go.

So this is how the day went:

We woke up just before 7 am. Zayan wakes up early (grrr) and usually I can convince him to go back to sleep but it’s good this time as we need to get ready pronto! As we were getting ready, there was a delivery. The quinny buggy board that we just bought has arrived… and just in time!!! Alhamdulillah *first blessing of the day* So Zayan doesnt have to walk and can just use the buggy board. Yay to no dragging a three year old!

Taxi arrived at 8 am as planned. Decided not to drive to the station as parking there is horrendous at that time of the day and expensive.

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Got inside the train station and we had thirty minutes to spare. Hmm, so unlike me. I was thinking ‘and this is why I dont like doing things early!’ but I guess I dont really want to rush with two kids and a stroller/buggy board. So we went to get some stuff from the WHSmith. Thinking back, I should have bought refreshments earlier on, overpriced banar kalau di train station/airport apa ani. And I made a wise £3 investment for the day. A Ninjago magazine with a lil lego figurine with it. Oh, this is my tip for train/airplane trips: have something new BUT SMALL/THIN to entertain your kid. Nothing expensive, just something to entertain them every now and then. It may be stickers, an activity book, a small car (Hot wheels is like $1 di brunei. but then again I dont like buying too many Hot wheels cars, it annoys me seeing it at random places in the house!). In this case … lego figurine! I did buy the kindle egg with toy inside for our san Francisco trip… those are taken out on times of desperation.

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When we arrived at the platform, I bumped into a few Bruneians. Never met them but they looked like Bruneians! Tagur lah and we coincidentally were sitting in the same coach. Alhamdulillah! *second blessing of the day* They helped out with the buggy, putting it in the rack, entertained zayan the whole ride and generally were good train companions. I actually forgot to ask the boys punya names but insyaAllah maybe bump into them di Leicester. There was a girl there jua, who I do know the name, but she didn’t live in Leicester. Anyway, they were cool – and if somehow, they read this …. *waves* Thanks for helping us out!

It made me realise that it would be nice to have more Bruneian exposure on a regular basis for Zayan. I do try to talk to him in malay tapi (1) I dont know/inda biasa the words for things sometimes (2) he understands more in English, so it’s easier to explain in English. Ok these are all excuses. I should just talk in Malay with him as often as I can. He does pick up things inadvertently – like when I mentioned once that ‘ada cacing dalam tanah’… he said ‘cicang’ when he saw the soil in his flowerpot.

We parted ways at the train station. Zayan, Ayman and I continued our journey (eseh macam cerita adventure banar) to Westfield via taxi. Usually we would take the tube but finding lifts in the tube station is like finding needle in haystack… with ten million other people swarming around you. M and I would just carry the kid in stroller up the stairs macam raja zaman dulu. Or up the escalator would be easier but that’s M punya job, I’m too scared to balance it.

Arrived at Westfield around 11. The taxi costs around £18 if anyone is interested. I remember taxi from St Pancras to Paddington averages around £12. Did some window shopping whilst waiting for my dear friend Farah, which was the main reason of the day trip. I wanted to look for work shoes, seeing I’m gonna go back to work soon… kira motivation lah ahha. Girls will always find an excuse for new pair of shoes for an occasion! I did find these cute, pretty shoes and feels comfy but it has thin soles, so will see how it fares after a grueling 12 hour shift!

And finally, jumpa Farah, her baby Keisha and her mum ( who is the coolest mum btw). We last saw each other three years ago but it felt like time has never passed us by! That’s the great thing with good friends… you just meet again and hit off like it was yesterday you last met. It was nice seeing Keisha and seeing Farah as a new mum. *air kiss* We had lunch at the food court, and boy was it a long lunch. Well, feeding babies and changing them included. We finally departed around 2.30 pm from the food court, walked ten steps out and found a lil cafe to have cake and tea. Haha! Lady of leisure banar. As she said, it feels like there are no worries in the world right now. Good food, good company, the sun is streaming through, kids are behaving…. We’re starting back work in two weeks time but who cares about that?? Haha!

*shout out to the Japanese teriyaki food I had. So yummy, halal too! It’s owned by malaysian I think. Well, the woman who seemed like the boss is Malaysian*

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I had to go around 3.30 pm as I planned to go to my cousin’s place. Zayan has been harping on seeing ‘Abang Mysha, Abang Uzma’ (KAKA! KAKA!). The night before, he saw their picture and said ‘my best friends’ as he looked at their picture in adoration. Their house is around 10-15 minutes walk from Westfield. Didn’t get to stay long as we had to leave to St Pancras around 5 pm. It was peak hour and I didn’t want to be stuck in traffic and miss our (ridiculously expensive ride of a) train ride.

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Sorry Kaka Mysha, Kaka Uzma… I know the kids were psyched to see Zayan jua. They hit off every time and riuh rumah selajur. InsyaAllah soon, ok? Maybe bank holiday in May. Eseh plan udah tapi alum tanya tuan rumah and tuan suami.

By that time though, I made an error in judgement: I should have used a backpack! I had a bag of my shopping stuff and bag of food (nasi lemak made by my Tangah. NYUMS!). So that’s a lot to hand carry aka when I get on the train. Imagine an awkward mum with a baby in car seat, three year old kid, carry bag and shopping bags. Ooo-err. Baik jua gentleman urang British ani. Had a few asking whether I needed help – as I dismantled the stroller – and then helping me on and off the train.

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Tip for day out: Bring snacks for kids!Even if you know you can buy food from the shops. I brought some cheesestrings and some sandwiches (“toast kaya”) and Zayan downed it. He had some on the way to London and some at the train station whilst waiting for the train. Full kids = happy kids!

Now here’s the complicated bit when you’re travelling with kid(s) on a train. You have reserved your train seat but unable to confirm that you can have a spare seat(s) next to you unless you paid for their tickets as well. Ideally you want a table seat and can have all kids within viewing range. On the train to London, I sat with the bruneians who secured a table seat and let me sit with the boys there. On the way back, it was busier and difficult to secure a table with three seats to spare! My reserved seat had someone else sitting next to me, dang it. In the end, I took Ayman out of his car seat and had him on my lap whilst Zayan sat across me (the woman next to me insisted to sit in her seat because ‘she had to sit facing the other way of train ride’. FINE FINE, since you paid for that seat). Zayan was then sitting diaganolly (sp? is there such a word?) of me but he seemed fine with it. He was still playing with his lego figurine by this point. On hindsight, I should have taken Ayman out of car seat and waited for everyone to sit and train to disembark. Then I can look properly where there are available seats are.

Ok, and the last train ride ani… we were all tired and sleepy. Zayan looked pretty knackered. He was playing with his lego figurine for the first 15-20 minutes and then wanted to put it away. He then just sat there, looking like he was bored and wants to do something. I told him to just sit back and relax, close his eyes if he wants to. He did that for half an hour, which is like a lifetime in toddler time. We changed seats to one nearer to the door and I can get all our things near to me, our stroller, car seat etc, and he had a window seat then. Keluar tia energy nya lagi. “WOW TRAIN SO FAST!” “SHEEP! SHEEP!” “Train koo” (cool).

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Mumtathil picked us up at the train station and it was so good to be back!

During bedtime, I usually have ‘bedtime conversation’ with Zayan. We would talk about what we/he did during the day, whether he had fun, what he remembered. It’s funny sometimes to hear what he remembers, like when we went to octonauts show, all he talked about was the octopus, which made him cry. So last night, as we laid our heads down, he immediately said ‘Zayan fun, mama. At Abang Uzma house….’

Pictures to be included soon. Ayman now awake and whimpering for attention!

Love, me

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New childminder

We’ve got a new childminder. Well, kinda ‘new’.

For those who has been reading this blog long enough, you might remember me writing about Zayan’s first childminder. She was very patient, calm, flexible, multi-lingual (she was the one who coined ‘Zayanino’) and she loved Zayan. Basically, in terms of childminder standards, she was difficult a childminder to top. But she got pregnant and we had to find a new childminder. She asks about Zayan and I update her from
time to time, but perhaps in the last year or so, we’ve lost in touch.

When I got on maternity leave, we stopped sending him to his childminder as I would be home all day anyway for six months… with the intention of finding a nanny before I start work.

For those not in the know:

Childminder = you send your kid to their house for a specified amount of time.
Nanny = the nanny comes to your house and stays there for a specified amount of time. You can have a live-in or live-out nanny.
There’s also au pairs but I’m not too sure who those refers to.

We opted for nanny this time because
(1) we dont have to add an extra hour in the morning rushing to send kids to the childminder, (2) kids can wake up in their own time – though my boys seems to be morning people (wake up no later than 9!) and (3) rushing TWO kids in the morning before 8 am just feels too much hard work.

So there I am, looking at the childcare website, looking at nannies’ profiles, trying to find one that sounded decent and doesn’t live too far away from us. Then I noticed one called ‘Bismillah childcare’. Intrigued, I clicked on the profile and it sounded so much like Zayan’s first childminder. She didnt list out her name, so I wasn’t sure. I sent a message through the website, hoping it was her. When we found out we knew each other…

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Alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah! I did hope
dulu we would get her again but wasnt sure whether she would carry on being childminder after having a kid. And it was too sweet of her dreaming of Zayan playing with her kid one day.

Due to error on my part, she has started two weeks before my official starting work date. But its all good, means we’re settling in at a gradual pace.

So far so good. What I like is that she has an aura that is calming and makes me want to be a better person. On her first day, I wanted to pray zuhur before leaving the house. So we prayed together, which is always nice to pray jemaah with someone. InshaAllah we have got a childminder who will guide Zayan islamically when we’re not there. And bring me closer to the deen too.

Ok, I’m gonna sleep now. Update this later inshaAllah.

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Easter break

There’s so many things I want to talk about. And so many things we’ve done in the last few weeks.

Basically it’s Zayan’s easter break, like why nursery why you have to have break as well! We can send him still but mesti bayar HMPH.

I was slightly apprehensive on the two weeks break as I didnt want another mental “Omg I am turning insane being cooped up at home with kids and housework” breakdown. Especially since the weather was a bit pants in the beginning of his break.

Alhamdulillah though, Zayan has been in good behaviour, Ayman has been settling into his sleep ‘training’ (more on that later) and the weather has been good the last few days! I’m even beginning to hope that spring is definitely here and begone winter!

So what have we been up to?

M was on nights and we were well bored. So I decided to drive to Manchester to see my abang and his family. Yup, with my two boys solo. I think part of me wanted to do it to prove to myself that I can do it. Drive solo on a long trip. Plus it’s like an adventure!

The kids fell asleep not long after we set off. So I spent the 2.5 hour drive singing to pop songs and dancing to them. It brought me back to road trips with my girls, specifically Zimah. You know Taylor Swift and Jessie J makes good roadtrip music. There’s something liberating in that drive… like I can have some peace to my thoughts and have some satisfaction that I did it.

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We just chilled out in Manchester but it was nice to be around family. And not have Zayan following me around as he’s too busy playing with his cousins. And Ayman was just sleeping half the time. I seemed to think that he sleeps more easily and longer when we’re out of the house but it might just be me being more pre-occupied outside and not think ‘when are you gonna sleep, when???’

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Pic of my nephew Ameen and Zayan, they’re of the same ‘age range’ (you know how with your cousins, you have cliques of cousins with same age range) They used to not be friends, being indifferent initially and then nemesis. Now they’re starting to be friends with each other. They were the first to wake up and this showed some questionable parenting on my part. Biscuits for breakfast??? Sorry, it was 7 am, my head still throbbed and eyes blurry. Makantah kamu. I did stop them after a few biscuits!

Then there was the bank holiday weekend. We had steamboat with my BIL and SIL. That was nicceeeeee. I lovr steamboat. The idea is so simplistic but so good! Communal eating is the way to go. We had lots of thin strips of beef and mutton, huge shrimps and assorted seafood. Nyums. I dont usually like fishballs, it often taste too processed for me but these ones were niceeee.

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We also went to Twinlakes, which is a huge recreational place. It has rides for mostly little people, boat rides, train ride, outdoor playground, indoor soft play area, sandy pits, a mini farm and water park area. I like that it didnt have the commercialized feel of some recreational parks (like Alton Towers or Legoland). This is just a huge playground, have fun! We went on
what felt like the sunniest day of the year so far. So there was a looooot of people but it wasnt too crowded. You can have picnics with no other family around you for another few hundred yards.

By 3.30 pm, we were pooped and went back home.

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And yesterday my mummy buddy, Reema, and I took the kids to Twycross Zoo. That deserved a post of its own! Reema and I have been mummy buddies , with our almost synchronised maternity leave.

Ok that’s it for now!!Ta!

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Bloomin’

I wish I can blog all the time. In my head, I think of things that I want to write about. Or sometimes I narrate things in my head, like Carrie Bradshaw in sex and the city lol.

But I’m too tired most of the time. Or someone or something would be pulling me away.

So let me just share a picture for now:

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On Mother’s day, Zayan’s pre school gave all the mummies a tub of soil each. “Sunflower seed from Zayan,” the teacher said. Uhuh ok, what do I do with it?

I inwardly huffed. What, I have to look after this thing? On top of everything else! Cant they just get me flowers, instead of me growing them?? Usually every morning, I would make Zayan water the plant. Somehow I feel there’s a metaphor behind all this. As if this is an activity that will bring us together. Or it will teach Zayan to maintain and grow something (his relationship with his mummy).

I’m half asleep writing this, so am not sure I’m
making sense. Gtg now…

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