Month: August 2014

What’s Your Child’s Love Language?

I knew about Gary Chapman’s Five Love Language some time before I got married, and it has been a long time since we husband and wife discussed about it. We did talk about it briefly before the wedding as part of getting to know each other, but at this moment I could not remember what he said at that time. After three years of marriage and knowing him more closely, I think I know mine and his love languages better.

It was not until a few weeks back that I was reminded to analyze Isa’s love language. He is still a toddler, and perhaps all toddlers need a bit of words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, receiving gifts and quality time. Nevertheless, I can spot some particular habits of his that points towards a specific language.

And I suspect his primary love language is physical touch.

Isa is a big ‘hugger’ for instance.

There was one occasion when my family members were sitting together and he started to hug each one of us – me, my parents, my sisters, my brothers and his cousin. He was barely two at that time, and my nephew (whose development I followed quite closely) has never shown such behavior. And he still does that often with family members.

Whenever he noticed that I am angry with him – or when I made it clear through “Mommy is upset with you!” – his reaction was priceless; he’d immediately scream “I want to hug mommy” a few times.

These days it is even clearer. Sometimes in the car, when he is safely secured in his carseat, he would ask for my hand “Mommy, I want to hold your hand!” – which often results in my hand being overstretched to reach him from the co-pilot set, and at some extremes – he insisted on hugging me from the passenger seat which is of course impossible.

He also loves backrubs – which according to this slide is a clear clue of his primary love language – physical touch. I’d offer him backrubs when putting him to sleep, and there are days when he’d move his clothes just to have my hand directly touch his skin. I mean, that is a really clear sign, no?

It is true that we should not assume that boys need physical touch any less than girls – my son could be an example.

And I guess Isa is just lucky to have a mom whose primary love language is physical touch too, that his inclination is, well, more than happily received.


Reading List Update – August 2014

My office mates are keen on celebrating anything that one suggested that each of us set a personal target, so that we can rightfully celebrate once the deadline is crossed. Since I was already two books behind in my one-a-month target, I told them that my aim (a month ago) was to read 5 books by end of October 2014.

So far I have finished two (and just announced it today during our monthly department meeting). I managed to pick up ‘Superfreakonomics’ again, and completed it after a long, long delay. I also finished reading another book of essays – Ukuran Pembangunan: Pendekatan Kapitalis dan Islami (Development Indicators: Capitalist and Islamic Approaches).

I have another three books to finish, so currently I am savouring these gems:

Purification of the Heart: Signs, Symptoms and Cures of the Spiritual Diseases of the Hea

The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands

Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn–and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less



My read list is now updated as follows:

 Al Muhaddithat

 Sustainability is for Everyone

 Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China (Reread)

PhD: Kecil Tapi Signifikan

SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes And Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance

Ukuran Pembangunan Pendekatan Kapitalis dan Islami

This entry is part of my ‘Read-a-Book-a-Month’ attempt.


Hyperemesis – It’s Almost Over

This could be premature, but for today’s lunch I had fried rice with salted fish. Half way through the plate I felt like crying. My appetite has come back, my taste buds have started to be normal again. It feels like forever living with hyperemesis gravidarum – but I believe now it’s almost over. I savoured every taste of that simple, RM6 fried rice, while trying to stop my tears from flowing.

O Allah, what a lesson. 

Alhamdulillah for every morsel of food You give me.

My Little Chatterbox

I read in my favourite book ‘Einstein Never Used Flashcards’ that children, all children in fact, are wired to learn language. It’s in the God-given DNA that we human are able to learn language in ways that the experts are still trying to find out.

I agree to the statement, solely based on my observation on Isa’s language and verbal development. Isa has been starting to string more words together constructing more sophisticated sentences each day, and there are no days I am not gob-smacked by the capacity of a human being to learn, especially given the right support and catalyst.

These days I noticed that Isa has started to use conjunctions (Malay: kata hubung), or rather attempted to do so. His attempts include trying to use the word ‘tapi’ i.e. but. He got it wrong the way he used it, of course, but guess what, he gets the intonation correct! It sounds so dramatic like “Isa wants this, buuuuuuut….” I guess he picks it up somewhere, and yet to figure out how to use it properly.

By the way, he has started the “questioning” phase, which sometimes startles me. The last few days we’ve been seeing my GPs and we brought him along into the consultation rooms, only to face a lot of questions from him, after his brief observation period:

“Why is the ‘sister’ here? (Referring to the chaperon)”

“What is the doctor doing?”

“What is that on the table?”

And that curiosity warrants a free vitamin tablet from the doctor each time – which he likes – so I guess he won’t stop asking questions soon!

The Life Lesson from Hyperemesis Gravidarum

I have always felt that my biggest strength and also my biggest weakness is the optimistic, I-can-do-it-if-I-want-to attitude.

It is on the most extreme end of the spectrum if you look at it from a difference perspective.

World-wise, of course, the more optimistic you are, the more determined you are, the more valued you will be by others. You are self-sufficient and can stand on your own. Those are indeed much-praised characteristics.

But spiritual-wise, such attitude can bring you far from the understanding the ‘hope and faith’ principle required in a living a life with God. The closeness and connectedness are very much related, even if not solely, to how much you feel you need Him and how aware you are that there is not much you can do without His help and mercy. It is understanding and living the delicate balance of working your ass off (because God won’t help anyone unless he helps himself) and relying on Him for everything  (the strength, the perseverance, the guidance to do that thing right).

I may have lost the battle of balancing a long time ago that God has sent me yet another lesson on that. To tell me that : ‘Stop! You may think you can do a lot on your own, but certain things within you are really beyond your control.’

And I truly thank Him for that lesson.


You  see, I am pregnant, all thanks to Him. I am 11 weeks into pregnancy by the time I am writing this, and indeed it is a blessing in more ways that I can think of.

But now I can always joke : The easiest way for me to lose weight is by getting pregnant, and obviously, breastfeeding.

I have lost nearly 4 kg now, 6 weeks after knowing that I am pregnant. It was not much different from my first pregnancy – I lost a significant 5-6 kg in my first trimester last time.

But this time the nausea, the vomiting, the fatigue seem much, much worse. The truth is I am getting older, and with an active toddler living  with me, I am deep buried.

I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum right into my 7th week of pregnancy.

There are days even a morsel of food won’t be tolerated by my body. My mouth feels extremely bitter all the time. My heightened sense of smell doesn’t help either.

I tried to fast though, during Ramadhan. It is actually a blessing in disguise for my condition. Ramadhan’s coming means that I don’t need to think about food (which makes me nauseous too) or forced myself to eat. But by the end of first week I surrendered. My GP got my urine analysed and confirmed that I am almost severely hydrated. My  losing weight was not a good sign either. And with that too came the painful  UTI. She just had to refer me to a medical centre, and the assigned O&G could not blame me enough for thinking that this and everything that I felt was normal. Losing weight is not normal for a pregnant woman, he said, and I am just extremely lucky that my baby was still healthy and living.

I was hospitalised.


My  days in the hospital, was unexpectedly stressful. Being tied and bound by the IV drip made me restless. I was hungry, but I could not eat. Sure, whatever they fed me through IV would be sufficient for my body, but it didn’t satisfy. I want to eat, but as much as I want, or whatever strength I could gather for that purpose, my body will defeat me.

In the end I surrendered. I can only do so much. Only so much. He is the One who dictates, and sometimes I did forget that.

Two nights, and I felt worst. I’ve never been hospitalised in my life, except when I gave birth to Isa.

There I learnt the lesson. I tried to imagine those with critical illnesses. Those with perhaps no hope of getting healthy again. I tried to put myself in the shoes of those with cancer – how does it feel to know that you won’t know how this end; if it will relapse or not, if you’ll survived or not. How life-changing, stress-inducing that must be.

And compare that to my condition: the worst it could be is 9 months. If I’m lucky, it may be over by 21 weeks, or if I am as lucky as before, this horrible experience will be over by 14 weeks. I know when this will stop. That is indeed a game-changer.

I wish I could be more consistent in praying that Allah will remove this from me. But deep inside I could not do it. What  if through  this experience He actually want to teach me a valuable lesson? What if through this trial, as trivial as it may seem to you, Allah wants to wipe out my countless sins? I dare not to ask for things I do not know, but I pray that if it is so, He’ll make it easier for me to comprehend, to change according to His divine will, and to grow out of this.

It hurts and makes me feel helpless that I could not do a lot of things I want to do, and have to rely on others to do it. But that is life. He wants me to appreciate the intricate links and needs between me and others and remove whatever preconception I have subconsciously built in my mind that I may not need others to live my life.

I do.

As  of now, as advised by survivors of HG, I learn to focus on living by day. 14th  week seems far away with HG. What more 21st week or 38th  week.

Alhamdulillah ‘ala kulli hal.

I praise you Allah, for all matters.

p.s. My  GP thought I should be admitted again. The second time. *Sigh*