Friday, 12 September 2014

My Only Crying Shoulder

When I first had a glance of him, I could not deny that my heart was pounding differently. This is weird, I said to myself. But lucky me that my sister was there as well so it covered up my awkwardness meeting him for the very first time. Everything seemed wrong here and there; the sambal Nasi Lemak was a bit bitter, the shawl did not fit me well, my voice was in high pitch every time he picked on me in front of my sister even though the issue was nothing personal. I kept on holding my hands due to the nervousness I felt. Phewww! I thought it was a normal meet up but it turned out being the moment which I think I am in love! =)

Before I met him, we used to chat via emails for job purpose ONLY. It was when my parents were involved in an accident and my mother was hospitalized, I did not have any access to the Internet and that was when I have given him my contact number in case there was any urgent matters pertaining to the work. He was the first person who called me when I was in the hospital. At that moment, all of my siblings were in the hospital crying and comforting each other while waiting for my mother in the ER. Even though we only had a short conversation on the phone but I would not forget the moment as he was the first so called "outsider" who comfort me when I was emotionally down. He was there as my virtual crying shoulder.

"I wanna marry you"

That was the first thing he said to me after our 5 months of friendship. I was shocked and at the same time provoked him, "Don't say that to me, go and meet my parents then". He did it! He went all alone to meet my parents to convey his intention of marrying me. Oh my! He was the first guy ever who dare to say that to my parents without me at home (as I was working in KL and my parents are staying in JB). I was touched with the sincerity that he showed and I could not say more other than Alhamdulillah...finally I found the one who can be my official crying shoulder.

He is the person who I can share all of my thoughts freely, I can express my feelings of anger, happiness, sadness, dissatisfaction without having to think of how he will think of me. I can be ME when I am with him! I guess I am the most complicated person that he has ever met yet he is still there as a loyal crying shoulder at the end of the day. I have no idea where he got the patience to bear with his psychotic wife. Even so, he never failed to say "I Love You" and "I Miss You" everyday which at times I feel like, "Why he keeps on saying the same thing over and over again? Does he really mean it? ". But when I think back, what he says all this while is actually his Doa. He prays to Allah that the feeling of loving and missing me would not fade away. So, who am I not to love and miss him back endlessly? 

Dear Darling Hubby Mohd Hafiz,
Living my life with you for almost three years is so meaningful and I am praying that Allah will bless our journey as husband and wife not only for these three years but till Jannah. Thank you so much for being so caring, loving and understanding towards me all this while regardless how terrible I am some times (or all the time). Please forgive me for all the wrongdoings that I have made intentionally or unintentionally. Thank you for accepting me as who I am without any doubt. Just to let you know that...
I hope I can be in front of you as your protector...
I hope I can be behind you as your supporter...
I hope I can be beside you as your companion...
I hope I can be with you forever as your only one...
Last but not least, thank you so much for being my only crying shoulder, sayang!
                                          Love You Muchos, Bibie, 12/09/2014, 5.20pm

The end. Thank you! =)

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Indoor vs Outdoor

In my previous entry, I have written about activities for parents and babies. Pardon me for the delay as I am over occupied by workloads and not to mention the never-ending symptoms of pregnancy which makes me feel super lazy and demotivated at times. Yes, I am now 9 months' pregnant, Syukur Alhamdulillah.. 

To think of being pregnant while working and at the same time having a little toddler at home waiting to be given the utmost attention plus Darling Hubby is working on shift basis; it really had taken me to the indescribable situation as a human at times! I know I am being unfair not only to my beloved son, the baby inside my womb but also to my Darling Hubby due to my mood swings, tiredness, negative work pressure etc. However, I always remind myself that Ilyas is in the phase of growing up and I have to deal with all the changes appropriately so that he would have a great memories of his childhood. 

So, what can I do to instill a wonderful experience during his childhood with my current situation now? There goes this indoor and outdoor activities entry =) Since I am used to take care of Ilyas without Darling Hubby with us all the time, I have to think of some activities which I can apply to my son indoor and outdoor. I will not be discussing further on the type of toys that we must get for our kids but I will be focusing more on the activities to be done indoor and outdoor for toddlers at the age of 2 years old.

Indoor Activities

1) Type of Activity : Drawing
    Tools needed : Pencil, Pencil Colour, Crayon, Paper

This activity is very artistic. Children are imaginative and it is good to have activities which can enhance their artistic ability such as drawing. First and foremost, teach your child on how to hold a pencil correctly. Give him a piece of paper and a pencil, ask him to sketch anything that he wants even though you might end up having a messy dotted circled curved scratched paper. Your child is developing his fine motor skill by running the pencil onto the paper with their fingers. When you find that your child is now able to hold a pencil in a right way, try to introduce him to a few pictures of familiar shapes.

Why shapes and not alphabets?

According to researches
, by the age of 2, toddler must be able to draw a circle (Moreno, 2010). Drawing a circle is easier rather than to draw the alphabets which have many horizontal and vertical lines such as A, M, T, Z (it requires your child to have a better control of their muscles movement in order to draw those alphabets). However, it is a bonus if your child can easily draw alphabets at his early age as it shows that his fine motor skill is progressing really well!

2) Type of Activity : Blocks Building
    Tools needed : Colourful Containers, Lego Blocks, Boxes

Some parents might want to introduce this activity earlier to their children. This is because this activity encourages creative thinking
Anastasi & Schaefer (1971) defined creativity as the ability to see situations in a new way, to produce innovations, or to discern previously unidentified problems and find novel solutions
As for Ilyas, I have bought him Lego Blocks a few months back after the observation that I have made in regards to his interest. At first, Darling Hubby bought him Playdoh unfortunately he was not interested with the clay but he used the Playdoh containers and stacked them as high as he can reach. 

This is when I realized that he is now ready for blocks building activity. But as the first introduction to this activity; you have to be with him and show him how to stack the blocks tightly. It does not matter how he wants to stack them as long as he knows that the blocks need to be stacked correctly to avoid them from falling apart. Let him build whatever objects he wants and do not restrict him from building the same objects over and over again. He has yet to think out of the box so do encourage him whenever he failed stacking the blocks. Once he is confident to stack on his own, he might want to try build up a few objects which he can imagine. You may see how your child develop his creativity day by day using blocks as this is one of the way they can express their imaginationCreativity leads to a healthy brain development!

3) Type of Activity : Reading
    Tools needed : Flash Cards, Soft Story Books

I have bought those flash cards and soft story books since Ilyas was 6 months old. As he started to crawl and sit on his own, I have introduced him to alphabets, numbers and objects from the soft story books and flash cards. Whenever I read to him, of course he would not sit still and always wanted to hold the book as well. I just let him do so as I want him to love the activity which involves books thingy. I know at 6 months old, he could not utter the words yet but I want him to familiarize himself with those objects and shapes. Alhamdulillah, now he can recognize and pronounce a few alphabets and objects easily. 

Reading shall be promoted as early as we can due to children's ability to memorize is better when they are still young. Yes, I agree with the fact but as parents, we should at first educate ourselves with the knowledge of multiple intelligence (kindly refer to this link for a brief definition of multiple intelligence). 

Please take note,
High intelligence in one area does not necessarily accompany high intelligence in any of the others (Papalia, Olds & Feldman, 2009). 
Hence, once we have figured out our child's strength of intelligence, we can then vary the type of books to be introduced according to our child's age and type of intelligence that he has. For Ilyas, it is enough for him to have books with alphabets and pictures at this age. Widen his vocabulary is my main target now. I have yet to buy him a proper story book as I can see that his interest is more on the pictures rather than the story line. Furthermore, reading takes more time on mental digestion rather than physical which does not suit Ilyas's need at this moment.

4) Type of Activity : Movie Time!
    Tools needed : DVD of Selected Cartoons, Documentaries of Animals

Watching movie is fun but there must be a restriction to the genre of movies and time allocated for this activity to take place. From my observation, Ilyas loves to watch cartoons which resembles familiar common living characters such as Upin Ipin or Frozen. He does not favor Mickey Mouse, Spongebob or Tom & Jerry. But if I switched the channel to any animal documentaries for instance, he will be so excited to name the animals that he sees on the TV. But again, for this particular activity, parental guidance is necessary. Please make sure our child keeps his distance from the TV, do respond to his questions while watching the movie (there might be something that he will query) and monitor the time spent watching the TV (if possible not more than an hour and not everyday).

Outdoor Activities

1) Type of Activity : Swimming
    Tools needed : A Portable Swimming Pool, Foams, Floats

I found swimming is one of the interesting outdoor activity. Like I said, I have a very limited access to public swimming pool as Darling Hubby is not always at home. Thus I bought this portable swimming pool (below RM50) and put it outside at the garden or garage area of my house. I started to take Ilyas to swim at the age of 5 months old. Just to get himself comfortable with water. I was so happy watching him kicked his legs and splashed the water with his tiny hands. At least this activity encourages all of his muscles to work.

Now that he is already 2 years old, I am more confident to allow him to play inside the pool alone but of course with my 100% supervision. But this time around, I let him enjoy this activity by adding the foams into the pool and make bubbles together. It is a simple thing to do with your toddler outdoor in a safe environment.

2) Type of Activity : Playing at the Park i.e running, jumping, walking, throwing etc.
    Tools needed : A Ball, A Bottle of Plain Water, Wet Tissues

Ocay, this activity is applicable to me when Darling Hubby is with us. If not, I would not dare to take my baby out in the park. Just imagine me running around the park chasing after my baby and picking up the ball while my baby is at the other side alone, ohhh it is a BIG NO NO! I have suggested that this activity to be done once every week if possible during the weekend when both parents are available

The ball is actually an additional prop if you were to encourage your toddler to use his ultimate strength to kick or throw the ball. The park has a big space for this kind of activity, no worries. If not, you can always use whatever the park has provided such as the swings, slides, seesaws etc.

Safety always comes first no matter where are you at. As for this activity, choose a park which is situated farther from the main road. Avoid playing with rustic equipment at the park. Check on the cleanliness of the park in case your child might picking up any objects on the ground. Last but not least, always keep your child's hands clean after playing at the park. You may use the plain water (in case there is no toilets at the park) or get the wet tissues for clean up.

3) Type of Activity : Cycling
    Tools needed : A Bicycle, A Helmet, A Pair of Proper Shoes

I have promised Ilyas to buy him a bicycle! This activity promotes independence and bravery in him and that is what I want him to instill within himself. But this activity is quite risky especially when your toddler is overly excited but yet to have a better control of balancing himself while cycling. Therefore, parents need to do a lot of survey on which bicycle is appropriate and worth to buy according to the child's readiness on cycling. I guess this is one of the most 'expensive' outdoor activities for children as they might want different kind of bikes later once they have developed their cycling skills. 

To conclude my entry, I would like to highlight that playing is a normal routine for children. Do not hinder your child's will to play either indoor or outdoor. They are learning by playing and it is parents' responsibility to ensure that the environment is safe, conducive and appropriate for their children to play around. 

Let our children have the greatest childhood moments because they deserve it! 

The end. Thank you! =)

Monday, 17 February 2014

Ilyas The Explorer

Looking for the ball under the couch

Have you ever encountered these kind of situations with your babies?

  • Your baby is busily pointing at things that captured his or her sight
  • Your baby is touching certain objects that grab his or her interest
  • Your baby is babbling and trying so hard to make the babbles understandable
  • Your baby is struggling to self-feeding and avoid any assistance from the caregivers
  • Your baby is expressing the moods and emotions more clearly
  • Your baby is enjoying his or her play time with another babies and many more...

believe most of the mothers out there will have the same experience as mine in regards to the situations mentioned above. This is what we call as the EXPLORING stage of development. Babies or I shall say toddlers at this age (birth to age 3) tend to be the BEST IMITATOR as they will imitate whatever they see and hear around them. They are EXPLORING the world without thinking of the rights or wrongs. Babies are born with pure hearts and souls. A baby is like a white cloth and the parents or the caregivers are the ones who determine how "colorful" the baby will be as he or she grows up. 

When I found Ilyas behaving unnecessarily (as in my perspective), I got the feeling that my baby is naughty and not well-behaved like other babies at his age. After consulting with the Doctor, I was told that those actions are the indicators that my baby is healthily developed; his cognitive, physical and psychosocial development are expanding, Alhamdulillah.. =) So, here I would like to share a few advice sought from the Doctor and of course through my readings and observations in regards to the first year of a baby's development:

When he was 1 year old

Cognitive Development 
(Definition : Pattern of change in mental abilities; learning, attention, memory, language, thinking, reasoning and creativity)

  • We used to think that babies do not have bigger space of memory storage as compared to adults. It is true indeed but do you know that babies have the ability to learn and remember things since their early weeks at birth? That is why babies can easily recognized the mothers (especially) as they have stored the memory of their mothers' face, smell, gestures and voice since birth. The ability to remember is there, thus please interact more often with the babies and you will be surprised when they can easily smile only by looking at your face =). But this only applies for a simple event such as recognizing faces and voices as babies could not remember specific events until they are at 3 years of age because the brain is not yet developed to store those memories during the first two years of age. This is called as infantile amnesia.
  • Apart from memory ability, I would like to share another aspect of mental ability which I believe is really important --> language ability! The first two years of development is crucial for language development. My Darling Hubby raised a question asking me to speak English with my son more often than Malay language. But it is not that easy especially when the environment doesn't cater for the needs of applying the second language. In preparing your child to be a bilingual at early age is very challenging as you need to ensure that you do it the right way for the language acquisition to take place accordingly.
  • For instance, when I want to ask my baby to pick up the toy, I will say, "Ilyas, please give me the toy" (at the same time by pointing at the toy). Why talking and pointing must be done at the same time? First of all, my baby is in the learning process and he wants to synchronize the objects with the sounds (he is aware of the sounds before he knows the real meaning of the objects). So, when I say TOY (sound), and pointing my finger to the TOY (object), Ilyas will understand what I am saying. Secondly, don't blame your baby if he refused to pick up the toy for you. Why? Because he only learns to relate the sounds with the objects and yet to learn on listening to your instructions. Therefore, you have to show him the manner of giving the toy. You know what you've taught him by now? You taught him the name of the object (TOY) and you taught him on how to obey instructions (giving the object (TOY) to someone).
  • However, if another person asks him to do the same thing but in other language, it might take a while for him to relate, "Ilyas, tolong ambil kan mainan tu" instead of "Ilyas, please give me the toy" (unless you show him what you wanted him to do). He can easily imitate, no worries. What I'm trying to say is, avoid giving the same instructions by using different languages at a time. If you want to acknowledge the cat as a CAT, then use the word CAT whenever you see the cat. Don't confuse your baby by translating the word CAT into KUCING as at this age, he couldn't store too many input. If you want them to be well versed in English language, kindly ensure that you use the language correctly and minimize the interruption of other languages during the learning process.
  • Furthermore, when your baby is pointing at a new object, respond to him by naming the object. When your baby wanting to pluck the flowers, let him touch the petals at the same time teach him the name of the object. Please do not give up teaching your baby new vocabulary everyday as he needs your guidance in EXPLORING the objects around him.
  • A gentle reminder to all; please do not use 'baby words' with your babies to avoid any problems with the speech articulation later on. If you want to say, "su-su", say it with the right pronunciation, do not say, "cu-cu" as if it is so 'baby friendly'. Why do I stress on the pronunciation? Like I said before, your baby is imitating whatever sounds that he hears from you and if you articulate the sounds clearly, he will imitate the exact sounds that you've pronounced (except for certain consonants that he might not be able to produce yet such as 'r').

Physical Development
(Definition : Growth of body and brain, including patterns of change in sensory capacities, motor skills and health)

  • When I mentioned that my baby is in the EXPLORING stage of development, it covers his physical growth as well as his brain growth. Physically, at one year of age, babies shall be at triple their birth weight; so do the calculation for your babies. If your baby's weight is below triple from their birth weight, please consult your pediatrician as we do not want our babies to be lacking of any nutrition.
  • Besides that, please bear in mind that the senses are gradually developed from time to time. That is why at this moment, you will find your baby busily looking and pointing at things, touching different texture of object such as the bubbles, foam, sand, rice, fruits etc. and babbling repeatedly as he is trying to absorb all of the new info from the senses to the brain. It is good when your baby is being overly excited responding to something which capture his interest as this shows that his senses are properly developed and he is adapting himself positively with the environment.
  • This is also the time when you can introduce variety of taste to your baby. When preparing your baby's food, add a little bit of salt, sugar or pepper just for the sake of varying his taste buds. I know that we are not advised to let our precious to be consumed with sugar or salt at the early age but please allow a little space for TASTE EXPLORING. Believe me, your baby will enjoy meals time more than before.
  • Other than the senses, do take note on motor skills developmentMotor skills can be divided into gross motor skills (using large muscles) and fine motor skills (using small muscles). Do you know that research shows that boys are using more of the gross motor skills while girls are more advanced with fine motor skills? So, don't worry if your baby boy is hyperly running, jumping or rolling all over the places as that is how their large muscles functioning. On the other hand, don't be surprised if your baby girl is showing a very good skill in drawing or using fork and spoon accurately. The fingers are working perfectly for her =)
  • Just a quick recap; please monitor your baby's diet (less sugar and salt, perhaps once a week?) and allow more freedom for motor skills enhancement and not to compare your baby's physical appearance with other babies. As long as your baby is healthy and active, it is more than enough. Like my Darling Hubby said, "Badan cergas, otak cerdas"

Psychosocial Development
(Definition : Pattern of change in emotions, personality and social relationships

  • Crying, smiling, laughing ---> All of these are normal expressions from a baby to indicate his or her emotions. But how about if my baby is crying excessively and throwing all things out when his request are not fulfilled? What should I do? Is this normal? Yes, this is a normal situation in which parents should know how to go about it. 
  • Have you heard about tantrum? Tantrum is an example of a negative temperament which occurs to most of the toddlers. I will not be discussing more on tantrums, but I would like to dig more into the actual meaning of temperament. Temperament is a style of approaching and reacting to situations (Thomas & Chess, 1977). It can be either positive or negative. Positive temperament is easily controlled but negative temperament is like a nightmare to the parents. How do parents deal with temperament? Be more responsive to your baby's signal of emotions and make sure that the environment is conducive enough for your baby to express his temperament. For example, if your baby is crying when his basic needs (food, sleep, nappy change) are not fulfilled, do not scold your baby as he is not capable of saying it out loud but will express the emotions by crying out loud. Other than that, if all the basic needs are fulfilled, but he is still crying, look at the other signals --> maybe he wants to play outside, or he wants you to play with him or maybe he is not feeling well (fever, stomach pain, ulcer etc.). All of these signal of emotions are usually expressed openly and it is our responsibility as parents to understand the signals.
  • I realize that Ilyas has now become more independent and always wanted to do everything on his own. This is the sign of showing his independence. Erikson said that it is better to let your child being socially independent so that he will become more confident as he grows up.
  • Some of the ways that I can apply to promote independence in him:
  1. Let him walk and run freely without holding his hands.
  2. Let him choose on which clothes that he wants to wear.
  3. Let him decide where to go first after getting his shoes worn.
  4. Let him talk first even though the words are not clearly spelled out.
  5. Let him unbutton his shirt or unzipped my handbag.
  • At this age, your baby is EXPLORING more ways to develop relationships with others. As for Ilyas, since I'm working he has to stay with my parents and since then, he has developed more attachments with others. He doesn't need me all the time as he can divide his attention to other relationships as well. At first, I was afraid that my baby will be lacking of my love and attention due to the separation but as time passes by, I found that I've managed to instill positive social relationships in Ilyas. He can now play and interact with others happily and I'm happy to see his progress. Alhamdulillah...
  • In conclusion; let independence developed gradually and do not hinder your baby's wills to EXPLORE the environment. Always make your baby feel secure when he is with or without you. In other words, allow positive interactions among your baby and the caregivers as babies need interactions in order to feel secure, safe and loved

Thinking of ways to feed the fish or to jump into the pond

As parents, we are more concern on our child's development especially on his or her cognitive ability. We can find lots of educational books and toys which can improve our child's cognitive development. But one thing that we must take note; a child develops at his or her own pace. Intelligence is unpredictable. Do not force intelligence but find ways to promote intelligence. In terms of physical development, some of the development is genetically inherited. However, parents can also play their roles to monitor their babies' diet to avoid further health complications later on. I will touch on physical activities for babies and parents in my next entry. So, do check it out ya! =) While for psychosocial development, considering the fact that current situation is socially daunting, let's keep ourselves attached to our babies no matter what happens.

The end. Thank you! =)    

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

A Wonderful 18 Months

Happy 18th months, baby!

Syukur Alhamdulillah... I'm a happy Mama as today is Ilyas's 18th months of age. 

Why am I so happy of him being 18 months? 

First of all, I am so thankful that Ilyas can now accept formula milk easily as compared to before. Maybe my milk production is decreasing and Ilyas is in need of more milk supply as he is growing up at a fast pace. Looking at him enjoying the milk makes me feel relief and worry at the same time as the milk is currently OUT OF STOCK

For age 1 year and above

Since Ilyas was at 9 months old, I started giving him goat's formula milk - KARIHOME. I was inclined not to give him formula milk at the first place but since Ilyas did not really favor frozen EBM, he has been losing weight for nearly two months. It was frustrated and I told my parents that I wanted to give him goat's milk, will there be any goat's formula milk for infants? My parents searched for it and they found this product at Jusco Bukit Indah. But this product is rarely seen in the hypermarket and I usually buy it at Sensei outlet. The standard price for 900gm is RM89.70. So, for those who wanna try this, I suggest you to buy the large container as it is more cheaper than the small ones.

Secondly, Ilyas is beginning to articulate more comprehensible words. No more babbling. He can say words like Mama, Papa, Cat, Air, Lapar, Car, Cow, Dalam, Bye, Nenek and a few more correctly. Now he is trying to produce two words at a time and the one that he normally says is Tak Nak. I'm happy when he can utter the words and able to relate the words with the objects. At least I know that he understands the meaning of the words. Now that he is able to talk, he also can follow instructions. Ilyas is a person who will be more motivated when we praise him (it is normal, right?). So, whenever I wanted to teach him a new lesson, I will make sure that praises, hugs and kisses will follow after. Now he can help me to throw the rubbish inside the dustbin, putting back his toys in the container, sorting the laundry, taking his own shoes or my shoes before we go out and other simple instructions; "Ilyas, tolong ambil kan handphone Mama"; "Ilyas, can you please pass the remote to me? There, in front of you"; "Ilyas, tolong panggil kan Pak Cu turun makan. Cakap, "Pak Cu, turun" --> He will go the the stairs and say it out loud "Cuuu! Uuunnn!"

Drilling on Parts of the Body (in Malay language)

Thirdly, Ilyas is very keen to try different taste of food. He loves the spices! And the carrots as well! Whenever he looks at the food on the table, he will definitely want to taste it. Once he tasted it and the taste did not suit his interest, he will not be asking on the food again. So, the best approach to encourage him to eat different food is by sitting down together with him and provide variety of food choices on the table. My Darling Hubby always say that Ilyas will eat more when he combined rice with honey stars; porridge with maruku; bread with coffee and many other combinations that do not look tasteful to my eyes and my throat. But if that's how he enjoys the meals, it will be fine with me.

"Hmmm, I want to try the prawn (even though I will be getting allergic reactions to seafood)"

"Hye, can I order my drinks now? Why you don't even look at me? Hello, I'm here..."

"I want my meals now!"

And one more thing, Ilyas can kick the ball! Papa must be really happy!

Go, Ilyas Go! 

Oh, it's almost 5.30pm and I need to pack my things. It's time to kiss the birthday boy yawww! That's all I can share about my baby boo's development as at 18 months of age. I believe other babies might have the same development as Ilyas and as his mother, I am so happy that my baby is progressing well and Alhamdulillah, I can still breastfeeding him at night without failed regardless how much of the amount produced. Last but not least,

My Dear Ilyas Hidayat,
I might not be able to see you growing up in front of me as often as I can. I might be missing out the first moments when you can utter new words, showing new skills and I truly regret that I can't fully breastfeeding you anymore. But I know Allah knows what is best for both of us. As long as I live, I will make sure that you will not be lacking of my love and attention even though you can now slowly accept the fact that I could not be with you ALL THE TIME. In Sha Allah, one fine day, I will always be with you and I will not leave you even for a second (except for any urgency). Ilyas, I love you so much and no one can replace you in my heart. May Allah showers you with His love and blessings for the rest of your life. Aamiinnn...
Love You Forever, Mama, 11/02/2014, 5.28pm 

The end. Thank you! =)