Month: April 2013

Say ‘No’ to Pasta

I’ve tried feeding Isa with pasta before when he was 5 months old, inspired by Annabel Karmel’s suggested recipe. Isa loved it, as I have written before, but had a hard time passing stool the day after. However, at that time I could not confirm that it was due to the pasta, since he was also starting on combined feeding – where I fed him a few bottles of formula.

So on Friday last week, as I was preparing tuna bolognese, I thought maybe I could set aside some for Isa – and have his portion blended. After all Isa is already 11 months old.

And again, Isa was constipated – he didn’t have his usual morning call for both Saturday and Sunday. Dush! Mommy should have taken heed of the previous occurrence, I know – and we had to have prune juice came to his rescue. He had one ounce of prune juice diluted in one ounce of plain water and within two hours all was out! Praise be to God.

So here’s a note for me: Pasta causes constipation for Isa. No more experiment. Full stop.

KL Bird Park!

I ranted about my husband’s near-crazy work schedule in many posts before, but the past two weeks have proven to be the hardest so far.

There was one evening where we reached home at 11pm. Yes, 11pm. Thanks to his workload, workaholic boss, and the terrible flash flood in KL on that day.The earliest we got home on that week, was 7.30pm for the record.

You see, if it’s just me, I’d be more than okay. I can go hang around wherever I want until my husband finishes his job.

But Isa –

He could not.
My heart breaks everytime when we are waiting in the prayer room for 1.5hours and he’d cry whenever anyone leaves the room.

My heart breaks when at 8 pm Isa is still not comfortably in his bed.

So last weekend, the mommy’s guilt has forced me to force my husband to bring us out – to KL Bird Park.

The sole reason is that Isa likes bird (from our previous encounters with these creatures) and I thought it would be exciting for him to see them.

It cost us a total of RM50 (RM25 per person for adult, free for Isa) and our mutual friend who loves Isa so much wanted to tag along.At first I thought it was expensive, but after 2 hours in the park I felt like RM25 is not enough for the good work they did with it.

Isa creamed in excitement to see the peacocks roaming around and also some storks that kept following us we thought they were spies!However, halfway through Isa got tired and sleepy – his eyes were almost half shut, but he forced himself to stay awake. This must be an overwhelming experience for him – thousands of new stuff must have been flooding his little brain. Managed to make a pit stop for him to nurse before we finish the full round.

Oh, seeing Isa so happy made my day!

From a cradle…

 

Among many things that both my husband and I agreed as parents is that we won’t be using a cradle for Isa. My husband is very persistent with his stand of not using it, while I almost stumbled during my confinement period when putting Isa too sleep proved to be too challenging. His reason is so that Isa won’t be dependent on it that he could not sleep without it.

 

My mother who helped me taking care of Isa during the early days has hinted, quite frequently, about how Isa will sleep better if we are using a cradle (FYI, my baby rarely naps during the day, even until now), but respected our choice as his parents and kept the cradle away.

A few weeks back when we were visiting my parents’ old friends, we saw a traditional cradle hung to the ceiling and thinking that it could be fun, we put Isa into it – and look at his expression!20130412-120055.jpg

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He remained in that position – stunned, and in silence – for a few seconds before screaming his lung out asking to be taken out.

Clearly, he has been trained well that something as comfortable as being rocked in a cradle feels annoying to him.

The Trade

What a consolation.

What a consolation.

My head of department is old I dare say. And with him being old, he is wise as well. He’s very keen on teaching us and transferring his knowledge and skills to us the subordinates.

On Tuesday morning I had to sit down with him. It was a long-delayed assignment on my side, but since the priority is low, he just ignored that fact instead of, say, screaming at me.

Anyway, the point of this post is about what we discussed at that time. He was telling me that getting sustainability to be an integrated part of us doing business is a long winding road. It will never be about the Board Papers you submitted for approval only. It is also about the softer side of things – building the foundation for the organisation to accept and buy in the idea of sustainability requires proper networking.

And then we agreed that it needs time.

He confessed to me that being a leader means that sometimes family becomes number two. That’s why he said, some leaders just fail in this part – broken families, neglected children are often the consequence.

Then he said that he finds comfort on the fact that work is also a form of worship, but warns me, rather softly, that sometimes we need to make a choice if we want to a leader – Family or career?

I fully understand why he said that to me. He often sees Isa and sometimes my husband waiting for me to finish my urgent works. He understands and often reminds us that family does matter, and most important. I also know that he said that not because I am failing to perform – my immediate boss will testify that I do well. But I know he just feels it strongly that he needs to say it.

It is a cross street. I love what I am doing and of course I want to progress professionally, if you ask the go-getter side of me. But if it is my family at stake, I am slowing down.

This morning has again defined  ‘slowing down’. I arrived at work seeing my junior colleague holding his passport, and I regret asking him where he was going, only to see his excited face (by then I knew that he’s so eager to let me know) telling me that he’s off for a conference in Switzerland.

Damn it. At that point I found myself almost crying: What the hell has happened to my life?

My work could have led me going around the world if I plan it to be that way – but for the past one year and more I have chosen to be stuck looking at my laptop in the office. I will find every possible way to not extend my working hour beyond 6pm at the risk of my teamworking reputation.

I almost lost a dear friend of mine because of my limited capacity for social life.

All for that little one. My little bundle of joy, and my huge bundle of responsibility.

I know it is going to worth all those that I have been and still am missing, but for the time being, just let me sulk.

5 Baby Items I Don’t Regret Buying

Any expecting mommy can easily find a comprehensive baby checklist  on the Net. I used one too, and found it very useful. However, having a frugal husband who tends to question the necessity of every spending, instead of rushing to buy everything on the checklist, or influenced by all the must-have advice I received, I went to get some practical advice from my dear elder sister, a seasoned mother of one.

There are certain items on the list which might seem like things you can live without, but in my case I found these 5 items (which I thought I wouldn’t need) which I didn’t regret every single cent spent on it:

1. Medela Freestyle Breastpump.

This costs a bomb.

In fact, this is the single most expensive baby item I bought at RM1450 without warranty.  Some dubbed breastpumps as best friends to nursing mommies, I reckon that is really true. I recalled the first six months of my breastfeeding, especially since I was back in the office, this thing has been with me and proven itself to be very very useful. It is quick, not painful, efficient, silent, double, and versatile in a way that I can pump even while doing house chores or even driving! And the fact that it can work both plugged and unplugged (i.e. on battery) allows you to pump almost in all occasions. And though the pump you used won’t dictate how successfully you can breastfeed, it does help in a way that it will make it more efficient should you choose the right one.

So I’d say go for a Medela Freestyle breast pump before expensive, over-engineered stroller!

2. Nursing Pillow

I didn’t know that this item which I crossed out pretty confidently on the baby checklist as an item that I don’t need turns out to be a saviour. Well, in a way. I think how highly you need a nursing pillow depends on your situation post delivery. In my case, I was badly torn out, had haemorrhoid, had a relatively big baby (Isa was 3.29 kg at birth) who wanted to be fed very often, and I couldn’t confidently breastfeed lying down for fear of suffocating my baby. All these factors meant that sitting down, for more than 15 minutes would be very painful and tiring. Finding the right, most comfortable position took a long time and a lot of pillows (I needed at least four at one time, to support my leg, my elbow, to put on my lap, and at my back) – hence a nursing pillow which arrived two weeks after birth was a mercy. I bought it online at RM45, after 50% discount. The typical price was RM89.90, some are priced above RM100. Pretty expensive for a pillow, but I really, really suggest this for a first-time mom who will almost definitely struggle with breastfeeding. It allowed my arms to rest as it held Isa just at the right height and put Isa in the position where he could face me easily without me having to support his body all the time. Then I can have my another hand free for my iPhone!

Please note though, that depending on how quick your baby grows, this item will not be needed as soon as your baby reach 2 months old. Isa was too big to be put on a nursing pillow beyond that.

Even better if you could make it yourself – I know a friend who did and that sure helps in a money-tight, baby-expecting situation most soon-to-be parents are facing!

3. Pigeon Nose Cleaner

I had two bulb syringes once Isa was born, but none of them proves to be helpful when Isa was down with his first cold at 4 months old. Luckily, at one lunch time when I was breastfeeding Isa in his crèche, my colleague showed me hers, and I was like ‘I should get that NOW!’. It was easy to use, no need for anything to be put into the nostril, and you don’t need to suck really hard to get the goo out. I bought one of Pigeon brand, if you are in Malaysia you can find this in Sogo – it costs me around RM15. Get this thing on standby – I fully recommend it!

4. Ear Thermometer

This is in all baby checklist I assume – it’s even more important for a baby because any increase in temperature should be monitored closely so that you can precisely report it to the paed later. I had a cheaper, more conventional rectal thermometer, but hell no, that one is too challenging for me to do with one baby who won’t stay still for longer than two seconds. Ear thermometer could be expensive, mine costs RM120 if I am not mistaken, but it is so easy to use. I strongly suggest for all parents to have one ready by the time your baby has his/her first fever. Just in case it goes beyond 39-40 degrees Celsius you can sprint straight away to your paed.

5. Baby Napkins

I didn’t plan to use the traditional cloth napkins for my son, so I almost cross this one out in my checklist, until my sister intervened saying that this thing is so useful in more ways than I could imagine – and it is indeed! It is so cheap, sold in dozen – it doubles (if that is a correct term) as ad hoc blanket (remember that I live in a tropical country) against the cold air-conditioned buildings, baby head cover when you are running to your car through the rain with no umbrella, to wipe off any mess, as a swaddle or semi-swaddle if your baby if small enough, travel diaper changing mat… and so the list goes. In short, just buy it. A dozen will be great.

So those are five items I could think of now.

If any more stuff qualifies, I will definitely write again.

Muslim Birth Rites #4: Naming the Child

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Giving our first born a name was rather a long-winding road.

In the midst of the current trend of giving long, bombastic names to babies in Malaysia, both of us agreed that ours should have a simple name. As Muslim names in Malaysia are patronymic (officially registered with ‘bin’ which means ‘son of’ or ‘binti’ which means ‘daughter of’), and my husband’s full name is long (it has three words to be exact), and our son is to have the pre-fix ‘Wan’ like my husband (as a Patrilineal Noble descent), it just makes sense to ease our son’s life with a short name. Imagine if he’s sitting for an exam, and having to write the full name – wouldn’t it be frustrating to have to write six words in such urgency?

I remember telling my husband, just a week after we both knew that we were pregnant : Let’s make a deal. If it is a girl, I’ll choose the name, and if it’s a boy, he will pick the name. And me, being impulsive and decisive as usualm already had a name (though it was not yet 5 weeks into pregnancy!) for a girl. It was Maryam, after the Virgin Mary, or Maryam as mentioned in the Holy Quran, one of the four noblest women in Islam.

But upon scanning for the gender, we knew that it was going to be a boy (I knew it even before that actually, thanks to my motherly instinct) at the fifth month of pregnancy. And since then, I kept bugging my husband to suggest a name. My argument was that I want my unborn baby to be addressed by his name even before he’s born.

It took my husband four months to figure it out.

My husband loves to read historical books – precisely on Islamic history. I remember at that time he was finishing a book on a Muslim commander named Khalid al-Walid. He since then had been toying with some historical names of famous Muslim warlords – but none really stuck.

It was not until nearer to my due date that we finally managed to choose a name.

We’d love initially to name our son with the name most loved to Allah – which is either Abdullah (Slave of God) or Abdurrahman (Slave of the Most Merciful), but combined with ‘Wan’ these names are going to be too long to our liking. Plus, we want to eradicate the possibility of his full name being shortened until it loses its good meaning.

So we moved to names of 25 Prophets mentioned in the Holy Quran, listed them one by one and crossed the names we thought are not suitable:

  1. Adam – it’s my nephew’s name, so NO.
  2. Idris – those with this name is normally called ‘Deris’ so NO
  3. Nuh – our mutual friends’ son’s name. Sounds weird when we put ‘Wan’ before it. NO.
  4. Hud – our mutual friend’s name. Also sounds weird when we put ‘Wan’ before it. NO.
  5. Saleh – My maternal grandfather’s name. NO.
  6. Ibrahim – our mutual friends’ newborn son’s name. NO.
  7. Lut – Sounds weird when we put ‘Wan’ before it.
  8. Ismail – Usually shortened to Mail. NO
  9. Ishaq – People are normally confused on how to pronounce it, and most do it wrongly. It should be IS – HAQ, not I-SHAQ. So NO.
  10. Yaakub – NO. Can’t remember the reason though.
  11. Yusuf – We have a friend with the exact name of Wan Yusuf. So NO.
  12. Ayyub – MAYBE
  13. Shuaib – MAYBE
  14. Musa – NO. I just thought this won’t match my son. Just mommy’s irrational instinct.
  15. Harun – MAYBE.
  16. Zulkifli – NO, just because it is too long.
  17. Daud – MAYBE
  18. Sulaiman – NO, it’s too long with the risk of being nicknamed.
  19. Ilyas – My cousin’s name. NO.
  20. Alyasa‘ – MAYBE. My husband actually likes this one.
  21. Yunus – MAYBE
  22. Zakaria – NO
  23. Yahya – MAYBE. My husband likes this one. It’s a special name given by God he said.
  24. Isa – MAYBE. Though it’s our mutual friend’s name.
  25. Muhammad – My father’s name. NO.

After coming out with a short list, we finally agree that Isa would be it (and save the other agreeable names for the next son, if there’s any).

Isa.

In the Quran, there are not many specifics on Isa, except that He was one of the four noblest Prophets/messenger of Allah due to his steadfastness and patience in trials and tribulations.

And Isa is often described (without quoting any particular source) as a prophet who had great wisdom and knowledge, an obedient son to his mother, who spoke the truth and confronted materialism, persistently calling others towards worshipping Allah. And I wish for my son Isa to have all these beautiful traits and characters – the underlining prayer whenever I call him ‘Isa’.