Things 4 year old say

Zayan says the darndest things these days.

Yesterday, I came home from work and was just pottering around. 

Zayan: How was work mama?

(ehhh ya pulang tanya aku and not me asking him as usual)

Me: mmm its ok. saw patient in clinic.

Zayan: Is it a boy or girl?

Me: Girl

Zayan: how sick is she? 

Me: not that sick. She’s ok. She’s got delayed speech.
*nods understandingly*
At dinner table…

Zayan: Ayah, how was your work today?

*His ayah started talking about patient with sarcoidosis and someone else with headache and bla bla – Clearly I wasnt listening* 

Zayan: Yess yesss.

Macam si banar!!

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We read al fatihah together and by that I mean, I read it and he fimishes the line. Ok lah jaditah for now. And then he said…

“Mama, we say thank you to Allah when we pray.” 

Yahh… 

“I want to thank Allah for my dinner …..

(lol nyaman tah sudah tu, credit to his ayah)

 …… and also …. having No-no (his aunty) come to our house tonight.” 

Like awwwww I would feel blessed if someone prayed thanks because I came over to their house!! 

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I was out of the shower and getting ready to go to work when the childminder came in to the house. She went upstairs to get some stuff in kids room and then I could hear Zayan say…

“Aunty Aita, you can come upstairs because Mama is not naked anymore!”

(Thanks Zayan)

“Look Aunty Aita, look!!! Is mama beautiful????” His hands out wide, as if I was his prized horse. 

Zayan, you crack me up.

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Stop and reflect

Today, towards the end of my night shift with nothing much left to do, I opened my facebook and read a post on a dear junior from leics uni who has passed away in a car accident.

She was a lovely girl, friendly… she was easy to reach to. Some people who likes to ‘berdakwah’ – sometimes you feel intimidated, sometimes terasa like you cant be yourself. But she never pushed to intimidate/patronise and was always smiling. That’s how I remember her – always smiling.

I remember talking to this life coach and she said strive to have the characteristics of how you want people to remember you as. Not like ‘I want to be punctual’ (even though thats a good thing to strive for). More like you want to be remembered as someone patient or kind or inspiring or dedicated. Strive for that.

The news of her death evoked so many emotions and thoughts. Ya Allah, she was such a good person. If you decide to take me away now, what have I done so far? How much have I done? Not enough. Not enough.

The hadith by Muslim: “When a human being dies, all of his deeds are terminated except for three types: an ongoing sadaqah, a knowledge (of Islam) from which others benefit, and a righteous child who makes du’a for him.”

Ya Allah, have I taught my kids enough? Can I make sure my kids, even though still young, grow Allah in their hearts already and make dua for me and their loved ones? 

Ya Allah, so many memories. Nida was a malaysian student in Leics. I felt pretty much like the adopted sister in the msian community back then. They were my hommies. I havent seen them for years. They were such a big part of my life, its sad that I havent seen them for so long. 

We get so busy with everyday life. Stress pasal itu ini, working day in day out. And for what? Nothing is more important than the bigger picture, the reason for our existence.

Alfatihah for Nida Fatin Mat Asis. 

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Yesterday I met two siblings in clinic, 8 year old and 6 year old. Can’t say much for confidentiality reasons but basically they got involved in a road traffic accident a few months ago. They are now paralysed hips down and on wheelchairs. Subhanallah, so young to go through all this. What I could see though are two bright, polite and sweet girls who are just kids. Their spirits were not broken even against such adversity. 

May they continue to have their spirits unbroken, go through this and know they are already winners.  

 
Sometimes, these kids are the ones who teach me to go on. 

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Arabic class

I have currently enrolled in an online arabic language class.

For years, I have tried to learn the language. I went for arabic classes , via the language department of the university, at fourth year of medical school and had to drop our after a few weeks as there were more and more uni work piling up. (I also went to French classes in uni and again dropped out. I blame medical school!) And then I bought books to help me with learning and tried to pick it up myself. I just got confused with the male and female thing that arabic language has and again, gave it up.

When Zayan was a baby aka when I was in maternity leave and I wanted to do something ‘productive’ (I know, I’m such a kiasu/tiger mother), I took up ‘Arabic with Husna’ class from Bayyinah/Ustaz Nouman Ali. It’s basically video recordings of Nouman Ali teaching his daughter Husna arabic language. So its like if this ten year old can do it, I CAN DO IT! I think I followed through a few online classes but had poor motivation. It was hard to keep continuing as it was just me and obviously it wasnt very interactive.

So, this year I saw some ad for bayyinah online arabic class. I paid for it and that was a few hundred pounds waved goodbye. I think the fact that i paid lots for it makes me want to go through this!! You join online class, get given textbook and workbook and even have discussion online classes. It goes in real time but it also has recordings of the class and discussion sessions. So for me, with variable work schedule, it is a dream.

BUT

There are four classes a week. That’s four hours a week. And for a few weeks now (being sick, on nights, holiday), I have been behind and not joined the live classes. I have been chasing and chasing after each class. Last week, I had 8 classes to catch up on and I was very close to just drop it. There’s no way I can catch up! Weekends are difficult to sit without a kid trying to get my attention or having to do some housework. Or really I just want to be with my family.

The only time I can learn is after the kids sleep (I usually fall asleep when kids sleep, so when I wake up at 10-11 am, I do some learning in my zombie state). Or when I have some free time at work. I do mostly clinics now, so whenever there’s time before or after clinics, I’ll put in some arabic time.

Initially, all these catching up was making me tired. And I was trying to rush through it and not really concentrating. After the holiday, even with all the classes to do, I realise that I just need to take my time and make sure I understand each class. Also the teacher has wisely said that I am not trying to achieve high marks in these classes (there’s a quiz every 2 weeks). I am doing this to understand the Qur’an. 

I am doing this to understand the Qur’an. 

InshaAllah, kalau niat baik, Allah will always help.

Another point she made was that we should be reading the Qur’an more to learn more and consolidate our learning. What a slap that was. I have slacked in my reading (tbh, I have never been a regular reader. I am more of a ‘phase’ reader aka when ikut mood or masa bulan puasa). Of course, if I want to learn the language for the sake of understanding Qur’an, I should be reading it more!!!

Anyway, I should get back to some learning.

 

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Jordan : Day 2

Ma’in Spa Resort

The white sheets, the luxurious comfy bed, the morning sun peeking through the curtains. Ahh what a feeling. If only this 4 year old boy would stop kicking me and poking at my hips (paling gundah this one).

We woke up, nada mandi, straight to breakfast with the kids still in PJs. I love, love, love the food there. Has combination of ‘English’ breakfast (pancakes, eggs cooked out of your choice) and the more typical arabic one – bread, hummus, yoghurt. They have 2 restaurants – one buffet and one ala carte. Having kids, it was just easier to go to buffet one, plus it was closest to the main hotel.

The scenery around is better appreciated with the morning sun. We went for a swim again at the thermal pool. I checked out the little cave attached to it, which is where water from the hot springs pools in. It was like a natural sauna in there, with no one in. WIN. My pores were opening up, I can feel it! I stayed for awhile there, just letting go any negative thoughts, leftover work stresses.

And then we had to go *insert crying emoticon* Wish we could have stayed longer and I could sneak in a spa/facial treatment, unfortunately the only slot available is at 3 pm. And we had to go by 12 pm and head to Wadi Musa, 3 hours away!

Dead Sea Panaroma complex

We decided to check out Dead Sea Panaroma complex. It was a very cloudy day, so what would have been great scenery of Dead Sea and  the mountains were obliterated. Ah well.

Top tip: DO NOT eat there. The food is average but MAHAL. Should have just eaten at Ma’in resort. A seafood platter (starter) cost us 35 JD, which is almost £35. Inda jua banyak seafood nya ani *kata-kata*

Off to Wadi Musa

Wadi Musa is home to the city of Petra. Let me be honest, I was asleep 3/4 of the way and so were the kids. Kesian M! Ok, ok, so I sleep on all the long car rides. I woke up, no longer having Dead Sea as part of the scenery but having all land around us. In fact, it was pretty much desolated around us. At some point, after a long long road surrounded by sand and nothingness, we came across a big sign ‘ROAD CLOSED’. Ahhh, what is this?? M turned the car around and an old guy, his face surrounded with wrinkles and creases from the sun, looking Bedouin-like, indicated us to go back to the closed road. “It’s ok,” he told us in his own language (that’s what we interpreted it as). He gave a thumbs up sign for the road. “Why does it say closed?” I asked. He shook his head and head, as if saying “It’s not bad”.

Bismillah.

And you know what, the roads after that were no longer tarmac but in fact, road carved out on the mountains. Bumpy, sand and stones, not very wide and we were going up and up. I remained the calm wife whilst Zayan was none the wiser and sang more songs. Internally, I was thinking if we fell off the side of this mountain, nobody will find us for days! *dramatic much* We were the only car for miles and miles. Eventually, we could see a car or two coming our way (and the roads were wider), and finally signs of civilisation! Cars parked at the side and people sitting on the big big rocks, just picnicking with their family.  Alhamdulillah!!

In hindsight, M said that was a fun ride. NO IT WASNT!

Top tip: If you’re driving to/from Wadi Musa, make sure you AVOID dead sea highway. You can use kings highway instead which has good roads and would be faster.

Petra Kitchen

After a quick settling in at a cheapo hotel (boo, not Ma’in spa), we went to the reserved Petra Kitchen class. Yes, we went for a local cooking class. Initially, M was dubious and probably thought it would be cheesy or tacky or something. It was AMAZING. The staff were brilliant at cooking, friendly and was great at bringing us all together (us, an american grandparents and their grandson, half a dozen aussies). We were divided into two adult groups and a kids group. I joined the kids group (even though he suggested the ‘dad’ to join instead) – I figured M is the usual cook of the house, he should learn!

Our group learnt how to make the cucumber yoghurt salad (cucumber, yoghurt, mint) and the kids got to chop some cucumber and mint. Yes, Zayan got to chop with very heavy supervision. I think we also made some tomato salad – bit like tomato salsa, which is also nice. Why are these salads so yummy??  We also learnt how to make , which is grilled pitta bread with minced meat inside. IT IS SO YUMMY! I think M and I ate most of it from our dining table. M and his group learnt how to make the lentil soup. Eventually, we saw how the main (grilled chicken with vegetables) were cooked.

Aside from the tahini salad, I LOVED everything cooked. I think it was more appetizing because of the ‘homecooked’ meal. We then sat at two dining tables and ate as a group. Whilst we were cooking and eating, the staff looked after the kids. Ayman fell asleep in his car seat and woke up. One of the waiters held him and dodoikan tidur. Thank you!! Meanwhile, Zayan was playing with the staff after he ate his dinner.

What an eventful second day! Ready for Petra the next day.

  

    
    
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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First part of the journey: Day 1 of Jordan

So we raced to the airport, arrived at 3 pm! We wouldnt make it , we wouldnt make it, despair washing over me. So close!

M dropped me and the kids off at the Departures drop off point and zoomed away to the parking lot. I looked at the watch, 3:04 pm. Huffing and puffing, 1 kid with 2 bags on the trolley and another in his stroller. How I managed to push the two in lightning speed, I’m not sure. The guys at the counter were not too happy but fortunately, they were distracted and there was another family awaiting to come. “They’re coming, they’re at the roundabout!” a relation of some sort called out. They also weren’t happy with M not being there. “He already checked in online!” and they relented. They still wanted to see his face before we were let off to the departure gates. Sprinting at 3:12 pm, he arrived and we were immediately told to go to the gates as it was ’30 minutes away’ – and we have to be there latest 3:45 pm. “If not, they will not let you in!” I tell you, it must be the fastest journey I have made (with 2 kids!) through security and departure area. We even stopped by to get Ayman’s milk and some snacks at Boots (blame my ‘we’ll make it DONT WORRY!’ attitude, stressing M out).

And that was how we started our holiday to Jordan.

Thankfully, the rest of the trip didnt carry on to be so stressful and Ayman was perfectly fine afterwards, Alhamdulillah.

We arrived at Jordan aroun 10 pm. There was no problem going through, all tourists have to go through the customs and pay for a visa. We waited awhile for the stroller and eventually went out of the airport at 11 pm and onto our hotel, Corp Amman hotel, at midnight.

As we only spent two hours in Amman, I’m going to count the day after (Thursday) as Day 1.

Day 1

Everyone was zonked out that night and in the morning, I felt more alive and less zombie-fied, having gone through 24 hours of no sleep (nights and post nights). We discovered the typical Jordanian hotel breakfast: cold salad type food (hummus, cucumber, tomatoes, yoghurt). There were also chefs at hand to cook you your preferred egg type and make pancakes in the hotel. Not too bad. The day after, I came across an Arabic girl who looks no more than 4 years old eating the healthiest breakfast and putting me to shame. Her plate consisted of hummus, cucumber, yoghurt, olives and tomatoes. Like seriously kid, is that your breakfast? *hangs head in shame* I even spied on her to see if there are any ensuing tantrums. There were none! She ate it with no problemo.

Before this, we havent yet decided on what mode of transport to take to go around Jordan. Our itinerary was as follows:

Wednesday night – Arrive at Amman and check in at Corp Amman hotel

Thursday morning – Go around Amman

Thursday afternoon – Go around Madaba and then check in  at Ma’in Spa Resort

Friday midday – Leave for Wadi Musa/Petra and stay at Sharah Mountain hotel

Saturday – Go around Petra. Leave late afternoon for Wadi Rum Luxury Night camp

Sunday – Check out of camp and leave for Amman

Monday morning – fly to LHR

Now, these places are far from each other, at least 2-3 hour car ride. It was only from Amman to Madaba that was less than an hour away.

I wanted to opt for taxi +/- guide for each trip, I approximated it to be around 200 JD – having googled Lonely planet’s travel forum and various travel websites. We didnt have to stress over finding places on a map and navigating through a different country and the craziness of Jordan’s traffic. M was more keen on driving and wanted to rent a car. I’m glad he convinced me to do the latter. Having a car proved to be a great decision: more flexibility in terms of time and change of itinerary, we can relax entirely in the car, stop wherever and whenever we wanted. How was the traffic and roads? Outside Amman, it was fine, they have good roads and occasionally it was like driving around potholes back in the day to Junjungan. The only ‘trouble’ we had was en route to Wadi Musa, but I’ll talk about that later on. In Amman, the roads were fine but the attitude of driving was mental (same rule applied outside Amman but there were more car traffic, accentuating the problem inside Amman). There was no lane markings, so people were swerving in and out of ‘lanes’. They didnt stop at roundabouts. Drivers rarely used their indicators. I think I was better off not looking at the road, what with the craziness we had to go through. Kudos to M though for being cool as cucumber driving through Jordan. My top tip would be: avoid driving in Amman but definitely drive outside Amman.

We went back to the airport to rent the car, we figured it was on the way to Madaba anyway and it would save us from driving in Amman. Due to being last minute, we had to pay 55jd a day for an SUV/4WD. It worked out slightly higher than we intended but I’m pretty happy with our decision.

Amman: I’m afraid there isnt much for me to rave about. Granted we only stayed there until 2 pm before heading out. We were warned by fellow Arabic friends that Amman was nothing spectacular. We went to the Citadel, home to old Roman Ruins. Met a taxi driver, who then drove us to a ‘bazaar’ which is actually just a shop selling Jordanian Handicrafts and then recommended lunch at Jordanian restaurant nearby. I tried the mansaf – lamb cooked with yoghurt. I actually am not a fan of yoghurt but I figured I would be adventurous. It was a bit sour, though the lamb was really tender. He also then drove us back to hotel to pick up bags and then to the airport. Top tip: There are official taxis and private taxis in Jordan. The official taxis are way cheaper and usually the ones that hotels would book for you. It cost us 1.2 JD – something like £1.50 to go across town from our hotel (7-10 minute ride). The dude was from a private taxi and being rookies, we didn’t ask for a price straight up from the beginning. We assumed that it wouldnt be no more than 40 JD for all of the trips. Boy, were we wrong. 70 JD! He argued that he has been taxiing us from 11 am to 3 pm, waited for us, panjang traffic, jauh perjalanan, bla bla. Ok, ok, bayar tia.

By the time we got the car, it was 4 pm and we decided to forego Madaba and go straight to the resort. It took 2 hours and en route we had the view of Dead Sea. The best thing with driving in Jordan is that the landscape changes so much, from the city to greenery to Dead Sea on your one side and the mountains on the other and later on, the desert. I noticed a lot of people just picnicking on the roadside. Like seriously view nya inda jua lawa where they’re picnicking, but there they are, with their family on a mat, picnicking or even having BBQ.

Ma’in Spa Resort didnt show an address on the website or even on their email. It says ‘Sowayma’ and when we typed Sowayma on the GPRS, it drove us to some residential area. Somehow then M could get the GPRS to find the spa resort and we finally found it. Going through the mountain roads (good conditioned roads) and then finally we entered nestled deep inside the curvy roads, we got to Ma’in Spa Resort. Let me state here, Ma’in Hot Spa is like Heaven On Earth (HOE – LOL). The spa basically has thermal pool from which the water is heated by the hot springs around it. It was so far away and isolated from civilisation, and even though there were plenty of tourists, the hotel felt very serene and quiet. No craziness of tourists bustling around, hitting my personal space. Perhaps we were lucky and didnt hit peak season yet.

I was so sakai there, atau nya urang malaysia jakun. I dont think I hid my ‘cool’ very well (M is very good though at looking cool). I was all ‘look at the swing seats! look, A LIBRARY! waaah waterfall! KIDS KIDS!!! TAKE PICTUREEEEE! SMILEEEEE!’. Seriously, I’m surprised the kids have not been annoyed on how papparazzi I was. Top tip: Give angry face or bribe with food to get smiles from kids.

After relieving our bags and ourselves (in the toilet), we went to the thermal pool even though it was now 7 pm. Being near the waterfall and swimming (playing with water for me) at night was a surreal experience. It’s a bit like an outdoor sauna, the cool air but your body in the water immersed in gentle heat. Then we just got tired and hungry and went off to eat some dinner.

I read the reviews raving on the food there and I 100% agree. I can’t remember what I had, they were all good! Oh yeah some chicken mandi, grilled lamb and chicken, some fish with sauce… ahh so many choices, I think i ate them all. We went to look around the library after that. Zayan discovered chess and liked the idea of checkmating bishops and the likes. Ayman discovered some books and tried to rip them apart. I found a book called Travelogue by Burton Holmes, an American traveller in the 1890s who seemed like he had the best job ever. Wandering around the world with his camera and giving lectures about it. It was acutally quite interesting and wished I could go through it longer. Actually, that night I thought – why dont we just stay here another night and leave on Saturday early morning! Of course, M was the more sensible one – firstly it was expensive and secondly, it takes 3 hours to get to Petra and we wanted to go around Petra early in the morning. Sigh, why must he be so sensible. Top tip: stay there for 2 nights at least! There isnt much around Ma’in Spa, so maybe no more than 2 nights and if longer, arrange to go to and from Ma’in.

Ok, I have to go and work. Till the next part ‘Day 2’.

th

 

 

 

 

 

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The holiday that we almost lost

Let’s start from the beginning. I guess the story of our holiday started off with almost not having one.

I was at the last few minutes of my night shift on that wednesday morning, yes the very wednesday that we were leaving for Jordan. M called to say that Ayman was vomiting his milk and is not able to drink or eat anything. Each time he tries, he would vomit it out. Yesterday late afternoon, our childminder, Aunty A, told us of how he grabbed some carrots and chicken when she wasn’t looking. He puked some out in the car but he was otherwise well in himself. He refused his evening milk – he sometimes does this after he eats chunks of food (long story of him not being able to eat solids – it would need another post by itself). It’s like the food gets stuck and he can’t eat or drink for awhile and eventually, it passes down and he is back to normal again. So anyway, I left it at that before leaving for my night shift.

This time though, he didnt seem to get better by himself. A trip to A&E was made and I arrived in hospital around 11 am (I don’t work in Leicester at the mo, my hospital is about 45 mins away from home). I was still slightly optimistic, hoping he gets better by himself. Plans were made by A&E and surgical team. They want to admit him and arrange for a scan to see whether there is an obstruction of some sort. Time was ticking and our original plan to leave leicester at 11 am was obliterated. I thought – dang, that’s at least 2k and our dreams for a holiday down the drain. We decided that M and Zayan should leave for airport and we would catch up, either the same day or tomorrow, once this whole hoo-ha of food being stuck is resolved. So off the boys went, to get their stuff and leave for the airport. Bye holiday, I thought, knowing the chance of catching a last minute flight was optimistic at best and hugely expensive and not worthwile as we were only going for 6 days. What’s the point of sightseeing Jordan for only 3-4 days??

Anyway, I tried giving his milk again around 12 pm and he downed it like a thirsty man in a desert. He finished it in no time and no vomiting. Hurrah!! I wanted to give him some pureed food to test whether all is well again but the A&E team convinced me to go to CAU (Children Assessment Unit) where the surgical team will be seeing us. Off we trudged, my mind racing, desperate for the hospital lifts – known to be incredibly slow – to be available. In CAU, I grabbed some pureed food – free for children admitted, thanks! – and again he downed it, ravished as he fasted all morning. Now I’m going to be one of those difficult mums who has decided to self discharge the minute we arrived. I’m sorry, if I didnt have a flight to catch, I would have duly obliged and stayed for a proper assessment. The surgical SHO arrived, not happy with my decision to self discharge my son.  The time is now 1 pm and we have 2 hours to drive to london to catch our 4 pm flight. I didnt want to upset anyone, the consultants that we are bound to work with in years to come, and I was trying to explain my reasons.

He drank 5 oz bottle. He has eaten a jar of pureed food. He hasn’t vomited. Look, he’s not even making any airway noises! He’s fine now!

We both looked at Ayman, Ayman looking quizically back, entirely settled and happy (now that he had food), unaware of what the fuss is all about.

Surgical SHO tried his best to make me stay, I know where he is coming from – he cant make the decision for me to go, it was up to his bosses. Don’t worry I said, I take responsibility if anything happens to him. Anyway I’m a paeds reg, I know what to look for now. Slightly reassured with that, he resigned to this difficult mum standing in front of him.

I finally made it out of the hospital at 1.30 pm and have coordinated with M, waiting outside for us. We have 1.5 hour to go till check in closes. I was sure we wouldn’t make it …

 

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