Been a while since I last wrote about anything other than my darling, precious babies. LOL! I'm also nearing the end of my MBA studies, and fervently hoping that I could graduate by next semester! Initially the plan is to graduate by this semester, but turned out there's too much work for my thesis that I did not anticipate so I have no choice but to revise the plan and do my thesis in two semesters instead.

Since discovering the world of cloth diapering (or CD-ing, among the cloth diapers supporters), I've been hooked to CD that even my thesis is about modern CD. For a product that is time-consuming, high maintenance and not as straightforward as disposable diaper (termed DD by the same supporters), still many people choose to use CD and shun the disposable one.

Khayla wearing CD

It gets me wonder and reflect upon my own decision. For me, I chose CD because I like to think that I am concern of the environment (for the sake of my children), it is value-for-money (think of the long-term savings when we don't have to buy diapers every month), and to certain extent, the diva side of me is attracted to the various cute designs available on the market (although I only bought one such diaper and the rest are plain but brightly coloured design).

In other words, CD appeals to various dimensions of consumer value which gives people favourable impression (attitude) towards it and because of that, combined with the fact that people love sharing about everything on the Internet nowadays, they get the words around and try to get other people to love this product as well.

Maybe some moms love CD because they can make more friends who are also using CD, so that they can swap reviews about different brands - known as social value.

Maybe another mom who loves the fact that it is economical and to certain extent, performs as good as DD and wants to share this knowledge with other people - efficient and excellence value.

Or the fashion-conscious one likes the various patterns and colours available on the market and buy more and spread the news about where to find the cutest design - aesthetics value.

Or maybe only those who loves the environment are the ones likely to say good things about this product - altruistic value.

Or… maybe some just can't say why they like it, they just do. When they use cloth diapers, it gets them excited, happy, and gives them so much positive emotion that they just want to tell other people about it - play value.

I also notice that of all the various green products available on the market, CD is the only one that garners support groups. You don't see a Facebook page dedicated to say, energy-efficient fridge. Or woven bags. Or recycled products.

But cloth diapers? Google 'cloth diapers' and you will find plenty of support / fan groups all over the world. The discussions can range from which brand is of the best quality, which inserts could hold more urine, which type is the best for newborn, where to buy the cheapest CDs, how to wash CDs correctly, and so on and so forth. All the hype just over cloth diapers.

Then I looked up studies on modern cloth diapers but there are only a handful found (in fact I only found one study in the UK), and none in my own country. Some of my lecturers have never even heard of modern cloth diapers.

So I want to do justice to this wonderful invention. This product that have the potential to save our Mother Earth, and gives us so much joy at the same time. No doubt, it will be a challenging task getting people to participate in the study (filling up forms can remind us of the good ol' exam days, no?), but I'm going to try nonetheless. If I can increase awareness on this product at the academic level, it would be a wonderful step towards making this product recognised at higher learning institution level.

Please click this link to go to my online survey.

If you fulfil the criteria, maybe you can also help me out. I'll be extremely grateful.

Please help my mom graduate! ~ Khadeeja
Dear precious daughters,

This month you both turned a month older - Khayla, 35 months and Khadeeja, 11 months old. I know this sounds cliche but wow, time sure flies fast, right?

My angels,

This year our lives took a little detour from its usual routine. I stay home to take care both of you and at the same time, finishing my studies. 

Sure money isn't as free-flow as it used to be when I was earning my own income. I could not afford to buy new clothes and toys at branded outlets. We don't stay at fancy hotels for Mommy's working trips this year.

But that's ok. The time we spent going swimming, shopping, and those trips to the playground made up big times though. We could all nap in the afternoon and go for walks in the evening more than we used to, right Khayla? Most importantly, I am around all the time for you both which you love so.

Ice cream moment!

Who needs new toys when we could make our own play dough, and construct  a make-shift playhouse from the sofa cushions? Who needs branded clothes when we could buy similar but not so original version from wholesale outlet, right?

My sweet babies,

Although I do admit that sometimes I feel sad that I can't afford one of those expensive toys for either of you when I see friends posted toys they bought for their kids. But that's only one side of life. They also complain about leaving the office after dark due to workload only to find their kids already asleep when they reach home, and for that I wonder whether the toys are really worth the time spent at work? When you grow up, you will learn this concept. It's called 'opportunity cost'.

Enough rambling for now. I want to address this to each of my darling daughters, may you be reminded of how much I love you girls.

Khadeeja my dark-eyed adorable angel,

You probably don't know this but a year back, just slightly over a month before I delivered you, I woke up in the early dawn to the dull pain which later grew stronger and stronger till it alarmed your father he immediately rushed me to the hospital. I was alarmed too - for all the wrong reasons. Who is going to finish my job if I delivered 6 weeks early? 

Thankfully you didn't come out that day and still refused to come out a month later that the doctor had to drag you out from inside me, screaming at the top of your lungs. 

So much time has passed right, baby? Now you are almost a year, perfecting your walking skill and growing more teeth (you have eight now). The other day, Makyeng sent a video clip of you playing peekaboo by yourself, giggling as you drape a towel over your head and then pulling it off your face.


Sweet baby in the red cap

Even though you and your sister are born on the same date, you guys share very few similarities - where your sister is very manja and likes to cuddle, you are more independent and always on the go type. Yet you adore your sister very much. You follow her everywhere, and even though you sometimes scream when she pushes you back or yells no at you, but you still want to be around her and do whatever she does. Sometimes it saddens me that you are kinda in a hurry to grow up when I still need a baby to smother with kisses and cuddles. But at times I'm relieved as well - if you had been more dependent on me, I don't think this whole long-distance parenting will work.

On the day you sent me to the airport

That doesn't mean that you don't need me too. Whenever I'm around, you love checking on me. Losing me from your sight upsets you big time that even when I'm in the bathroom you would stand outside the door banging and crying. But when I came out, hey, there's not a single tear! At 11 months, you could fake a cry!

You take so much after me that I worry that you will grow up a worry-wart like me too. You laugh less often than your sister at this age, it takes quite a complicated trick to make you giggle in a carefree way. You tend to frown when you concentrate on something (like throwing out all the toys from the toy bin). Which I don't get it - because when I was pregnant with you I was almost stress-free where else when I was preggy with your sister, I was constantly worrying about a lot of things!

Giving that appraising look of yours that is just me

You know the best moments that I had when I was back for semester break last couple of weeks? The time when you fall asleep in my arms. Your hand draped across my chest so possessively (yes, you are jealous too when your sister gets near me), your head on my arm. I just love staring at your long, long eyelashes (something that both of you have, but yours are longer and thicker). And, watching you dance (swinging your body side to side or rocking back and forth as I clap and sing for you) is also a precious moment indeed. You are cute in that way, so adorable I just want to gobble you up and then give birth to you again, back to that little baby who scream so much about being born.

Always so inquisitive and curious 

Now to my eldest daughter, Khayla,

People say - good things come in small packages. That is apt enough to describe you. The joy of everyone's life, always singing and saying the darndest thing ever! You love exclaiming, 'Lailahailallah!' to everything wherever possible. It's good that you can mengucap already but I am pretty sure you don't know what it means!

Whenever you come up with new phrases, I get totally blown away. Like that week when Makyeng sent an audio clip where you were singing 'Ana Muslim' (as usual) and then suddenly you stopped and asked Makyeng in an injured tone, 'Why you like this? So how leh?' I'm not sure what Makyeng did to make you feel so hurt but your helpless yet indignant tone is just too cute!

Watching boats pass by

The other day, Makyeng texted me about your new game. You have started to play imaginary roles, first asking in a normal voice, 'Do you want to eat Koko Krunch?' and then answering your own question in softer tone as if you are a second person, 'Yes please…' Every day you surprise us with something new - a new song, a new act, a new phrase. With you, every day is a new discovery which everyone is anticipating to find out.

Let's talk about food, sweetie. When it comes to food, I'm still fighting a losing battle with you. If you can sustain by just breathing air, I'm pretty sure you would be one very happy toddler. Well, occasionally you do show a slight interest in food - but always the same food. Corn for example. Or fries. Or chocolate. Or candies. Vegetable? Fish? Chicken? What's that?

Enjoying your lollipop

As time passes by, I think you have begun to accept your role as a big sister even though you and Khadeeja still fight pretty much of the time. Sometimes you can be really concerned with her, giving her toys to play, asking her to finish her milk and even asking her whereabouts when things get quiet. I think it's lovely the way you are turning into this big girl, but at the same time you still want me to treat you like a baby.

Playing the big sister
It gives me a warm feeling inside when you sometimes still want to nurse with me, because we still share this unbreakable bond - nothing ever really matters in the world when I hold you close to my heart, my baby. 

Khayla & Khadeeja, you two will always be my inspiration.


Love you always,
Mak
This one is not so fun but what the heck.

Khayla hates showers. She will do anything to skip this routine. She runs away, cries, dodges, hides and puts up a fight when she's forced to. But once she's in the tub, she's most reluctant to get out because she has too much fun playing with water!


Khayla likes to exclaim, 'So how leh?'

Occasionally she breaks into incomprehensible Chinese language like, 'zai zhi le!'

True facts :p


Whenever she gets excited about a new toy / a bottle of milk / an invitation for a car ride / a trip to the playground, she will flap her hands, jump up and down and shout, 'webek2!' That sounds much like a frog croaking 'ribbitt2'.



Dear babies,

I am starting this letter with a prayer that you both will always be in Allah's protection as He has protected me at all times.

You see my children, today I had a close call of walking into a crime scene, and probably being a collateral damage. I was debating whether I should take LRT or drive to KLCC. My gut told me to take the car, go to UM City campus first then drive to KLCC.

But my logic argued that I should take the LRT because the parking fee at KLCC is so expensive. Plus I'll just waste fuel because I would go to city campus this evening anyway.

So I decided to take the LRT. The traffic light to the LRT station was faulty so I took it as my way. I took some time searching for free parking lot, I parked, I got out, passed the booth selling sweet corn without much notice, decided against withdrawing money from the ATM because I was late, and then boarded the LRT at 10.40am.

Seems like pretty ordinary right? That's right, it started as ordinary day for the Aunty and her worker selling those sweet corn at the LRT station except by the time I came back they were dead.

Some lunatics went out of control, ran amok and stabbed them both just half an hour after I boarded the train. I came back to find blood trails on the floor, the area cordoned off with the police yellow tape. My blood ran cold. I thought of both of you.

Maybe Allah just wants to remind me that death is not that far away, why am I wasting my time. Why am I here and you are there, when it's my job to keep you safe?

There's a lot of maybes but I have no answer to those. My sweethearts, if ever anything happened to me, I just want to let you know how much I love you, how much I regret not kissing you both every day when I had the chance, and how much I want you both to stay true to Allah and not neglect your duty to Allah.

I love you both from the bottomest of the bottom of my heart.
Girls,

I'm really missing you both right now. Counting the days till I meet you again. I love nothing more than cuddling and snuggling up to you both this weekend. I need you girls this moment to tell me everything is going to be ok.

Sweet dreams my lovely daughters.
To my two most favourite little girls in the whole wide world,

Almost a year has passed, it's almost unbelievable how much you both have grown since then!

This month has been a bittersweet moments for all of us. In my high hope of graduating this year, we had to make a painful decision of sending you girls to stay with Makyeng. The day you girls went away will always be etched in my mind like an ugly scar - Khayla crying while Khadeeja didn't even have the time to react. I'm so sorry sweetie, but I certainly hope that you girls are having fun being around Makyeng.



Khadeeja my independent baby,

This month you started walking. Walking, Khadeeja! At 10 months old, I must say, you really take after me in that department! To be frank, you have started to walk at 9 months but those were unintentional because when you realize that you are taking a few steps you lost balance and fell down.

But now you are pittering-pattering everywhere according to Makyeng. She sent a video of you walking from the shoe cabinet to the living room, and when you almost fell, you reached out to the wall and balanced yourself. You could pick yourself up, standing on your own and taking those cute albeit clumsy baby steps, at 10 months old! High-five, sayang! *clap hand*



Something that I didn't expect is you are starting to practice your speech. You knew how to call me by 9 months but this month, you even started to count! I almost fell of the sofa when I saw the video of Makyeng counting '1,2...' and you promptly answering Makyeng, 'Weee....' (three!) Khadeeja, leave some of those baby moments for me, will you?



My Deeja-licious cupcake,

One thing that I was so concerned and dreaded when you went back with Makyeng was how you were going to fare being away for long period without direct breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is your most favourite pastime! You can't sleep without it, cry endlessly and most stubbornly as well as passionately for it... And suddenly, you had to stop.

Makyeng said the first few days were challenging because you rejected pacifiers as well, but after 3 days you were okay. I was relieved of course.

Then another challenge came up - how to re-establish direct feeding after 2 weeks away from you. The first few hours were pure anxiety as you seemed to 'forgot' what to do - you grinned adorably but most frustratingly, and then you turned your head away and refused to suckle. I coaxed, and coaxed, and even got bitten as you slowly recalled how to, but eventually when I was almost bursting into tears from sheer frustration, you became sleepy and finally opened your mouth and suckled most contentedly like you've always done before we were separated!



From those moments until I went back to KL, you were most contented snuggling close to me and nurse yourself to sleep. I know that deep down you miss me so much, it breaks my heart :(

Moving on my little one, 

As we celebrate Hari Raya Haji this month, we finally get to carried out your aqiqah. Although there was no special ceremony or berzanji for your aqiqah, the most important thing is we no longer owed you your aqiqah. I still feel quite bad for you but hey, I stayed home to look after you instead of sending you to daycare right?

Some day precious child, you will understand and hopefully appreciate the meaning behind this sacrifice.


Next, to my beloved firstborn, Khayla,

When you are not around my angel, it's like my world is plunged to darkness - it's a quiet and depressing world without your delightful presence.

You are simply that, beautiful. The sunshine that brightens up any day, so full of happiness and mischief, so affectionate yet fierce...


Angel,

At this age you have more or less become more social and outgoing compared to when you were little. I still remember your babysitters and teachers telling me how much you hated people touching you, that you cried every time it happened. 

Now? You held hands with other kids at the playground even though they are strangers, you played chase and laughed and when it was time to leave, you waved bye-bye. Of course, that was after begging and negotiating with us, 'Last one?' for I don't know, the umpteenth time?


I noticed besides getting better at expressing yourself with words, you have also gained understanding on other's feelings. Like the last time we visited you girls, I was coughing badly in the car and you automatically reached out and patted me in the back. You knew that I was not okay so patting me was your way of helping me feel better. I'm so touched, love!

But the best thing about you Khayla, is you never grew out of your affection and 'manja-ness', always asking for a cuddle even more than adik. To me, you are and always will be my baby.



Happy 34 months & 10 months birthday, sweethearts. 


Love you girls forever,
Mak 
Dear Khayla & Khadeeja,

Words can't describe how glad I am to chat with you just now. I am so relieved Khadeeja, that you managed to fall asleep so easily and without a fuss. One minute we were saying hi to each other and the next minute you were already off to dreamland! Nighty-night baby. Mak love you sayang.

Khayla,

More than anything I miss you sweetie. Your cheerful chatter, your laughter. Half of the joy in this house is gone when you are not here. I was so excited when you greeted me so cheerfully just now, exclaiming, 'Mak, where are you?' It sounds like you are also bitten by missing  bugs, like me!

God, I miss you both! I can't wait darling, to meet you two next week. I love you both so very much, nothing in this world means to me more than you two. Sleep tight and dream of me, my babies.

P/s: sorry I miss your letter yesterday. I was too tired from working so hard on my thesis framework :( but you are always in my mind and heart.
My sweet angels,

It's been a busy day as I try to sort out my thesis writing so that it makes more sense. The truth is darlings, I am working at slow speed and I feel really frustrated about it. 

My problems aside, how are you both cupcakes? Did life settle down to the usual humdrum before our visit? I'm trying not to think about you both too much because I want so badly to finish my work on time so I can quickly fetch you and be your mom again.

I miss you both. I can't wait till this is over so we can be together again. Till then, good night my loves. Dream a little dream of me.
Dear Khayla & Khadeeja,

Tonight we are back in KL without you girls. I'm so proud and yet sad at the same time that you girls didn't cry when we left. Although adik stretched your hands towards me but when I kissed you, you didn't protest. Khayla, are you mad at me sayang? You seemed a bit distant to me, preferring your Bapak to me, and rejecting my affection. I'm sorry to make you feel that as if I favored adik to you, but sweetie she's still a baby. 

Khayla,

I'm pleased that you are bonding well with your Udak and Usu, but especially so with your Udak. You see, last time she didn't even want to hold you because she's scared of small babies and little girls. But I think it's very hard for even the hardest of people to reject a sweet, cheerful and adorable little tot like you. When you constantly follow her around and playing with her, I think she just succumbs to your sweetness!

Adik Khadeeja,

For a while you had me thinking with horror that you are over with our special breastfeeding moment. The first few hours we were reunited, you rejected bf and even balked when I tried to persuade you to take it. Eventually when you were tired and sleepy, you finally relented and directly fed from me. But the moment you did, it was as if it's all coming back to you - and you didn't let go for the next 2 hours! 

The night before and the whole day today you seems to sense that I will be leaving you again and so you refused to let go. You clung to me like a magnet, and cried when I put you down. Khadeeja, at the airport just now you leant your head against my shoulder. I sensed how much you adore me and baby, I am already missing you so much :'(

Till we meet again my precious ones. Be good girls always. Love you so very, very much.
Dear Khayla & Khadeeja,

9 more hours to go sweethearts, then we will be reunited Insya Allah. We went shopping and bought a few things to bring back to Bintulu. We did laundry, ironed our clothes, packed our bags and most importantly, packed the EBM that I have been storing over the past 2 weeks for my beloved Khadeeja. I hope Makyeng will be relieved to receive new stocks!

My sayangs,

Can't wait to see you girls, oh Allah, I hope they will be meeting me at the airport tomorrow. Because each passing minute that is bringing us closer feels like a month away. My babies, please wake up early and see Mak tomorrow.

Love you girls so many many many times! Sweet dreams my little butterflies.
Dearest Khayla & Khadeeja,

Every night the same thing happens - I lie thinking of you two. I play videos of you, thanks to Makyeng and Ngah Bob. I kiss your still images, so in love am I with the two girls who rock my world and it is never the same again.

I walk this lonely path to finish something that I started 3 years back. When it's done, oh babies, I will hug you tight and never let go again. For now, sleep soundly and dream sweetly of me.
Dear girls,

Once upon a time someone told me that a mother will never forget her children until the Day of Judgement comes. I used to think how is that possible? Surely for a moment she will cease to remember, like when she's engrossed or her children have grown up.

Well baby girls,

A mother NEVER forgets. Even when I woke up in the middle of the night my first thought would be, 'I wonder how my girls are doing.' When I walk, drive, do my research, I have you tucked safely at the back of my mind. Ever present, ever ready to surface when I pause and remember.

I miss you, I will say this every day without fail. Sweet dreams my sunshine and star-light, I love you.


Dear Khayla & Khadeeja,

I hope everything goes well in your life now. It seems that you are enjoying yourself very much with daily trips to the playground and eating out. Counting the days till we meet again sweethearts!

Today I didn't call again, even though it took me a great amount of effort not to pick up the iPad to open Tango. I paced, I did the laundry, I pumped while thinking about Khadeeja, I watched tv as I think about you girls...

Then Makyeng sent me a video of Khadeeja, I wanted so much to call... Instead I went downstairs and did 10 laps at the swimming pool... Then I felt a bit better. I know, you are too busy exploring the world I doubt you even remember that I am not there.

The past few days I struggled to produce as much milk as the first few days. Normally I could pump around 18-19oz of milk daily. As at tonight, I barely made it to 18oz. Barely. There's something wrong with the pump, I think I better bring it to service centre to get it checked out. But fret not Khadeeja, mak will try my best to bring you enough milk supply to last you for a few more days. And... I trust Makyeng will make the ration last long enough while I continue to give my best to feed you with nothing but the goodness of breast milk.

Khayla,

I am not so worried about you darling, I know you are having a fun time there. You are very good at adapting yourself and as Bapak noted, you seem to love being in Bintulu more than here because Makyeng can bring you jalan2 everyday and Pakyeng's place has many cats to chase and plenty of space too.

Khadeeja,

I'm really quite sad to see that you are starting to lose your baby self as you learnt to stand up by yourself at this age. I'm even sadder that I'm not there with you and being the one to teach you how to walk. I'm so sorry my cupcake. When this is over, I'll try my best to make it up to you sayang.

It's 12 midnight now. I have a long day tomorrow and I am pretty sure you both are already in dreamland. So sleep tight my babies. Dream a little dream of me.
Dear  Khayla & Khadeeja,

How are you darlings? I sure hope you are doing good, happy and thriving in the good hands of Makyeng. Do you miss me? I do, lots and lots. I can't wait for Saturday to come it feels soooo slow!

Sayang,

Today I decided not to call you. Not because I don't think about you both today. Every day, my mind wanders to the thought of you. Every hour of the day. When I sit down to pump more milk for Khadeeja, I take a deep breath of her worn shirt because that way I can imagine she's snuggled in my arms ready to be breastfed.

Well, not that I'm too busy either. I read some articles, did some laundry, did a few rounds of pumping milk, and worked on my assignment. Always during those tiket my thoughts revisit you two.

I know you are having a grand time over there and it saddens me that I can't be there with you both. I can't ask about your welfare, for fear of offending your Makyeng (it's not her fault babies, maybe it's the way I ask her that might sound across as accusation? Or maybe because Makyeng is just tired and rest-depraved from watching over you two active girls). Just that, Makyeng has done a lot of good stuffs and I have absolute trust in her.

But if I can't ask about you then what will I ask? So in the end I decided not to call. But don't be sad my sweet ones. This weekend we shall be reunited, Insya Allah. Then I can plant real kisses on your cheeks instead of just doing that in my head like now.

Kisses to you both my angels. Sweet dreams and dream of mak.
Dearest children,

Today marks the 7th day of our separation. Like I said yesterday, it's still very painful for me to take each day in its stride. I am looking forward to meet you girls this weekend, so badly sayang! 

My babies,

I have had a troubling thought today. I am compelled by guilt to your Makyeng for dragging her in my problems. I know how much Makyeng treasures her independence - after so many years of raising children, she could finally have her life back. To spend the day as she pleases, to meet and hang out with her friends, to have their community activities that no doubt give her a sense of belonging, recognition and achievement. When you grow up, you will learn about this theory - it's called Maslow's Motivation Hierarchy. 

And suddenly I give her so much responsibility of looking after you girls because I'm too busy chasing my own achievement. Not only that, I am giving her lots of pressure to leave her comfort zone and stay here to look after you girls because I couldn't bear to stop breastfeeding or be away from you both.

Who am I to say my achievement is more important than her achievement? Who am I to make her leave her place just for my sake? I am her child, not the other way around. I should be the one playing the obedient role, not vice versa.

But I am your mother too, I have no one to turn to except the one person whom every child turns to in difficulty - my own mother. It's bad enough feeling guilty towards you girls for not looking after you two, I also feel guilty towards Makyeng for imposing on her life.

My precious diamonds,

You must be nice to Makyeng. Don't be naughty, don't quarrel and cooperate with her. You must be thankful that your Makyeng loves you very much that she's willing to look after you even though it means she has to sacrifice her personal time and not be with her friends.

Thank you Makyeng. We are sorry for putting you through this. We love you very much. May Allah reward you in plentifuls.

Khayla & Khadeeja,

Stay happy, healthy and good girls always. Mak love you lots. Dream a little dream of me.
Dear Sweethearts,

This year I strove to write a letter to both of you for each month you turned older. I'm sorry that I missed last month's update. It may be trivial to most people but to me, it means that I have lost the chance to capture the little memories I have with each of you, and the big milestones that you achieved as your bright minds absorb new knowledge and skills.

Let's take you as an example Khadeeja,

Last month you celebrated your first ever Aidilfitri. You were excited of exploring new places (huge space to crawl about back at the kampung!) but fretful of meeting new faces. Your first Hari Raya outfit was yellow kurung with purple polka dots and purple sarong, and I was so excited about putting on identical outfits for you and your sister.


Khadeeja crawling under a table at a relative's house!

A memorable thing about you this raya is how you liked to crawl under the table whenever we went raya visiting. Naturally that's you, always giving in to your budding curiosity and exploring your world. My little sunshine, I have every confidence that when you grow up you will be the brightest little girl in your class :)


My adorable mess :)

My precocious Khadeeja,

At 8 months old, you have grown 6 teeth, learnt how to stand and even how to climb. Yes, climbing. When other babies this age have just mastered the skill of sitting on their own, you have gone beyond that and are now climbing out of your walker. Mommy pengsan!

Climbing out of the walker!

Well, to give me even more headache, this month you upped your skills by walking baby steps. Walking, my mocha latte! A couple of times I caught you standing without holding onto anything. Then you took a few steps but when you realized that you were not holding onto anything you stumbled and fell on your cushy bum!

The good thing about you is you don't cry easily when you fall down. You simply continue crawling or trying to stand up again - life moves on for you. That's the spirit baby! You only cry when you are sleepy, want your milk supply, a cuddle, or when you fight with your sister.

My super adventurous Khadeeja

Speaking about sister fight, oh yes. Somehow some time between last month and this month, you stopped being meek and helpless when your sister pushes you or takes away your toys. Instead you fight back - shrieking, grabbing your sister's hair, pinching, and most recently, you even resorted to biting! Oh no, Khadeeja!

Both crying when fighting

I'm amazed but appalled at the same time - what kind of girl am I raising who can fight back at the age of 9 months? The things you can do Khadeeja, can leave me speechless. Not you though. When you are in a passionate mood, you will let the world know your feelings - shrieking in fury, or in excitement during one of those days when your sister obliged and played with you.

Loving your first swing ride all by yourself!

But above all, your most awesome achievement this month is you uttered your first word. Unlike your sister whose first word was 'Bapak', you opened your mouth and spoke, 'Mak.' I felt like bursting into tears! It felt so good to being acknowledged by my 9mo baby!

Helping mak to clean the bowl after baking is done

And then there's my beautiful little Khayla,

If Khadeeja is the apple of my eyes, then you are my rainbow that lifts up even the gloomiest of my days. Khayla, once upon a time, I used to fret because you weren't talking in full sentences when others your age have done so. Last month you stopped going to school, but strangely your vocabulary started to improve and you are now talking properly. To make it more amazing is, you chose to speak in English, even though we spoke in our mother's tongue to you.

Among your favourite expressions are, 'I have an idea!' 'I have another idea!' 'So how leh?' (a mixture of English and Mandarin), 'I see...' and the most frequently used, 'Khadeeja, no. Dangerous!'

'Don't run, mak. Dangerous!' while running herself. Hehe


The most adorable thing about you and your little speech is the fact that when you do something nice to others, you would prompt them to thank you. Like, when you give a toy to Khadeeja you would stand in her face and repeatedly say, 'Thank you Khadeeja?' And since your baby sister still could not understand the concept of gratitude, I had to step in and thank you on behalf. Only when you receive your thanks, you would move away and continue your life.


Sharing your book with adik

Darling,

Back to your English-speaking nature. Your father thinks you prefer English because you love watching BabyTV, and the cartoons speak English and nothing but English! Maybe you don't give a flip about this now, but some day when you grew up and became a rebellious teenager, I'm pretty sure you will bring this up and place the blame totally on us o_O

My sweetheart,

One thing that has not changed since you were a baby is your fondness for going out and exploring the world. Ok, I'm sure by the time you can read this letter, you will roll your eyes at me and point out that it's a typical 2-years-old behaviour. So what's new? Gee mak, can you come up with a much more original observation? I know, I know, Mommy's being lame… But you have to know that at this time I'm too much preoccupied with my studies and the fact that I could still notice your development takes quite a bit of effort ok sayang.

Going out to the mall - your favourite pastime ever

But one thing for sure, I would always have my eyes on you and Khadeeja. When you both went to bed, I would spend a few minutes stroking your hair, thinking - God, they grow up so fast. I wish they would stay babies for a while longer. Please, let them be my babies for the rest of my life.

I love you both, most passionately, fiercely and tenderly.

Love,
Mak
Kehadapan anak2 mak sayang,

Hari ke-6... Rindu mak terhadap Khayla & Khadeeja semakin kuat, cinta. Malam ni mak masih tak boleh tidur, mak masih terbayang2 wajah kalian. Senyum tawa kalian memberi semangat kepada emak. Bila kalian tiada, mak gelisah.

Khadeeja yg emak rindui,

Malam tadi rindu mak tak tertahan, mak ambil baju Khadeeja yang belum dibasuh. Mak cium, mak pegang erat, peluk dan bayangkan Khadeeja dalam dakapan mak. Sungguh mak rindu Khadeeja!

Mak dapat rasakan Khadeeja hadir dalam mimpi, bau Khadeeja buatkan mak hiba. Mak tak sekuat yang disangka... Malam2 tidur mak masih berteman air mata. 

Ya Allah, kirimkan cintaku kepada anak2ku. Kepada Khayla yang sentiasa menceriakan hidupku, dan kepada Khadeeja yang masih kecil mulus, namun seluruh cintanya milikku.

Sayang emak,

Mak sedih setiap kali mak dengar lagu Hafiz 'Bahagiamu Deritaku'. Air mata mak mengalir bila mak dengar lirik, 'Mengapakah aku jadi lemah, sungguh ku tak sangka, dia membawa jantungku bersamamu...'

Kerana mak tau bagaimana rasanya bila jantung hati dan wajah kesayangan mak dibawa pergi jauh dari emak.

Selamat malam sayang. Mimpi kan emak selalu.
Dear girls,

I miss you both. When I go somewhere and I saw girls your age, I start to think about you. Have you eaten? Are you ok? Are you happy?

Life feels incomplete without you. I thought I could pretend that my life has been reset to the time before you girls came into my life but no. I can't. Every part of my life, every cells on my body, every thoughts that go through me - have been touched by your presence. How then do I undo all those?

My loveliest daughters,

Right now, what wouldn't I give to take you both in my arms and kiss your cheeks, breathe in your hair and skin, knowing that I am the most blessed person in the world to be given a pair of angels - my very own angels.

Goodnight babies. May Allah help us in going through this struggling period.
My dear children,

I pray to Allah that you both are in His protection as you and I have always been. It's been a rather laidback day compared to the past few days sweethearts. I've passed my Chapter 1 yesterday, done my CB report and was supposed to present today but my partner took sick leave so no presentation.

At times like this I wish so much that you girls are here. The house is too quiet without you both. I didn't find tv so entertaining, and preferred watching you both during vid-call.

Today Makyeng uploaded a few more photos of the two of you playing a piano at her friend's house. She made a funny caption which, when people look at the photo it seemed to fit the caption. Haha, funny Makyeng.

Then at night Makyeng sent a photo of you standing by yourself, Khadeeja. Aww.. Please darling.. Don't grow up too fast. I still want to savor your babyhood moments. It seems a while ago that I gave birth to you :(

Anyway sayang,

Makyeng told me that you seemed upset today after our vid-call last night. I was pumping while watching you with Makyeng and you saw me doing that and suddenly you remembered that you haven't had the real thing for a few days now. You cried and refused the bottle. I'm so sorry munchkin!

She also said that you kept looking behind her Notes phone because you thought I was hiding behind it. That was certainly sad :( mak didn't mean to make you feel terrible sayang. Be patient ok, I'll be there in a couple of weeks.

Khayla,

I wish we could chat a lot longer just now, if you didn't conquer the phone and became distracted by the games function! Seriously sayang, I miss you and want to see your face and listen to your babbles, hear you call me, 'Mak' or 'Mommy' in that manja tone. Not to play games! I'm sorry I ended the call earlier.

Girls,

Something great happened today. I was looking for business attire for class presentation today, so I tried on my old knee-length blazer and a blouse I bought from Banana Republic which costed me RM200+ 3 or 4 years back and somehow couldn't fit into it again after I gave birth.

Guess what? Now I could fit in those clothes again! I'm so happy! 

Another thing that made me happy today is I managed to pump close to 19oz BM (9oz in the morning, 4oz+ in the afternoon, and 5oz+ at night). That's an increase from the past 2 days, hopefully I will collect enough milk to last you for a while, adik.

Ok sayang, I really have to be off. Counting the days till we meet again. I love you both with all my heart. Sleep tight, dream a little dream of me.

Dear Khayla & Khadeeja,

What are you both up to today? Makyeng sent a few photos which makes me feel happy, but also missing you terribly and even more. Love is weird that way, darlings.

I miss you both dearly, but I know if you both stay here with me, it will not be for the best of us all. You girls will be neglected, crying and miserable because I have to rush with my deadlines. I will not be able to accomplish anything at all and that will make me feel stressed out. So, I hope you will understand  the reason we sent you to Makyeng's, apples of my eyes. We want only the best for you girls. See, you have ample space to play at Pakyeng's place, and you get to go on shopping trips with Makyeng. Isn't that fun?

Kakak,

I love seeing you wear your new shirts. You look so girly, and seems that you enjoy your outing. Have you been nice with adik? Makyeng told me that you woke up late today, maybe because you slept late last night?

Adik,

Wow, 20oz? Seriously? Mak will try to increase pumping sessions and eat more so you could have more milk when we come visiting in a couple of weeks. But overall, I'm just glad that this separation has not affected your appetite and you seem to be taking it in your stride. You are a survivor - just like mommy!

Well my dears, today I managed to complete my Chapter 1. There are a few amendments to make here and there, to beef up certain parts and all other details but I won't bore you with those details. I feel quite happy to be making some progress, so I hope this happy feeling will mean that I will produce more milk. Yeay!

I think I'll stop here, daughters. I hope you girls are already safely in dreamland, dreaming a little dream of me…

You girls are my everything, everything. I love you both.


Assalamualaikum kakak and adik,

I trust that you are happy and settling down fine in Bintulu, my sunshine and moonlight. We have passed day 1 but it has been very hard for me. I hope it was not so difficult for you both, but I'm sure adik still miss mak kan, sayang?

Last night I could not sleep a wink. I looked at your photos and your video and wrote a letter to you. At around 2am, I felt so lonely and the house so quiet without you that I started to cry silently. It was hard, my sweethearts. My tears kept trickling out until my heart felt like bursting and I let out a low sob. Bapak woke up to find mak crying, pining for you girls especially for Khadeeja.

This morning, I woke up and I could not open my eyes for a few minutes because they were so swollen. When I did open them, I searched for adik's pyjama that you wore yesterday and buried my nose into it. It brought little relief, but at least I could imagine Khadeeja's presence even when it only exists in my heart.

My dear daughters,

Tonight after class, I checked Makyeng's Facebook and saw that she has updated some photos of you girls. I see that you are enjoying yourselves already in Bintulu. Khadeeja, I can't believe that you are already riding that tricycle :) Makyeng told me that you finished around 12oz of EBM so far, that's great darling. Keep it up. I am also making sure that I pump as frequent as I could, so that I will bring home more supply for you ok?

Khayla, listen to Makyeng sayang… Take your bath, no arguing and no running away. Like Bapak always says - 'No hiding-hiding!'

I am glad that you both are happy and getting all the love and attention that you girls deserve. Bapak and mak are sorry that we could not be there for you girls at this moment. Take care my cupcakes. Be happy. Be well.

Dream a little dream of mak tonight.

Dear Khayla & Khadeeja,

How are you babies? Did you have a good flight just now? I hope you both are settling down well at Makyeng's. Khadeeja, mak pray tonight you will sleep soundly and sweetly - even when it's your first night away from me. 

Just now on our way back from the airport, mak cried buckets of tears thinking of both of you. The memory of Khayla crying and stretching your hands towards us as your Ngah carries you to the departure hall keeps re-playing in my head like a broken record. It just breaks my heart that we have no choice but to do this - to send you both away so that we could concentrate on our studies.

My sweeties,

Are you feeling sleepy already? Have you had your dinner? Mak is wondering what are you both doing now. We had so much fun last night, playing rough-a-tumble. When I caught you girls by your ankles and turned you in somersault, you both giggled so hard. Khayla, remember you kept asking me, 'Some more angkat, mak! Angkat Khayla!' And after your turn, you remembered to take turns with Khadeeja and asked me to lift your baby sister. So much fun (even though it's tiring for me!) wasn't it?

Hush adik, go to sleep. Makyeng is tired after a long journey today. Thank God for technology nowadays, I could make video calls and watch you girls from afar. Khayla, have you stopped jumping on the bed? It's time to sleep ok. Khadeeja, no crying. Else mak will start to cry too.

Adik, tonight mak came home to an empty house. Mak is so used to receiving your greetings - Khayla opening the door, Khadeeja crawling from the living room and throwing your small body at me. So much love, so much adoration reflected in those huge eyes, that dimpled smile... Masya Allah, I just melt inside every time I look into those beautiful eyes. It reminds me of Martina McBride's song - 'In My Daughter's Eyes':

In my daughter's eyes I am a hero

I am strong and wise and I know no fear

But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna be
In my daughter's eyes

And when she wraps her hand

around my finger

Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about

How I wish I could have your fingers wrapped around mine right now, darling. Khayla & Khadeeja. So many nights we fall asleep together, both of you lie with heads nestled in the crooks of my arms, Khadeeja reaching out to my lips as you breastfeed, and Khayla running your hand up and down my arm. Oh my babies, my heart is aching for you now!

Khadeeja,

In the car when we were going to the airport, I cuddled you and let you breastfeed. You stared at me throughout half of the journey, as if you could sense our separation. Such a wise child you are, wise beyond your 9 months of age. I told you to be a good girl, to listen to makyeng and not to bite your sister.

Before you left, I hugged you tight and desperately inhaled your scent. Locking all essence of you in my memory. Your thick lock of hair smelled of sweat from your strenuous efforts of taking baby steps at the airport. Your chubby cheeks smelled of your saliva, they say it's the smell of baby's breath and it is the sweetest smell in the world. When I buried my face in your neck, you squirmed but you let me do that. Baby, only Allah knows how sad I am for I would be missing this time of your life. I would probably miss your first proper walk (although you did attempt and manage to walk 3-4 steps on your own towards me the night before). You are only 10 months old once!

Khayla,

I miss our conversations already. I recall a few nights ago I was doing my assignment when you wandered in to check on me, 'Mak what are you doing?' I replied, 'I'm studying, sayang.' You nodded in understanding and commented, 'Study? I see...' And I wanted to grab you and plant kisses on my cheeky little tot! Sometimes I forgot that you are only 2 and a half, because you sound so grown-up now. But when you climb into bed next to me and throw your arms around me, it never fails to make me realize that you are still so small, still my little baby of 31 months old!

I'm going to stop writing now, my angels. If I continued on, I might get teary-eyed again and cried myself to sleep. I want to go to sleep dreaming of your sweet smiles and baby laughter. Sleep tight darlings. Say nighty-night and kiss me. Dream a little dream of me.




This is a story about honesty. About friendships. About life in Malaysia and how blessed I am to be a Malaysian. I love my country in all her flaws and imperfections, but it is perfect for me.

Story #1: The lost and return

On Merdeka day, I lost my purse at The Mines, most probably at the baby changing room because I was in a hurry to go to the toilet. After changing Khadeeja and strapping her to the stroller, my husband showed up and I hurriedly asked him to 'look after stuffs' and went off to the toilet.

Us happily posing at The Mines before the missing purse incident


Yes, yes, I know. This is my second time losing my purse. Perhaps because I'm not working now (hence hardly paying out of my own purse!), I have become careless when it comes to looking after this one possession which used to be so precious to me.

Then again, there's the tedious process of replacing all my bank cards, my student card and most importantly my identification card and Khadeeja's. Darn. Nowadays citizens who lost their Mykad have to pay penalty of RM100 for each time they lost their Mykad. I've lost mine for the second time, so that means I have to pay RM200. Plus Khadeeja's Mykid. So that's RM300+ just to get a new Mykad and Mykid. That's excluding my driving license (RM20, plus I have to take photos for the new license), my bank cards (RM12 each to get new ATM cards), and… what with the new semester coming up next week. Serve me right for being careless!

Right away, I blocked my ATM cards and credit cards. So it was just a matter of making a police report so I could proceed to JPN to get new Mykad. Everything revolved around Mykad. My bank cards could only be issued once I have Mykad. I could only pay my semester fee once I have my credit card. Can you see the link here? Pfft.

So today, as I hurriedly got ready to go out to make a police report, my phone (thank God I didn't keep it in my purse!) rang. It was Khayla's teacher. I answered the call and breathlessly told her I was in a hurry so could I return her call later? She quickly cut me and said, 'No, no. I'm not talking about Khayla. I just want to ask whether you've lost your purse at The Mines yesterday? Because a Malay guy called me up and said he found your purse and wants to return it to you.'

I was elated! So this evening, we met up at Putrajaya and the guy came with his family (wife and two young sons). He gave me the purse with everything intact. According to him, he saw the purse at the changing table, and was in a dilemma whether to leave it there (thinking that maybe we would realise it missing and come back to the room again), or to keep it safe. He finally opted for the second decision as he noticed the purse contained Mykad and Mykid, which would be dangerous should it fall in the wrong hands. He also tried calling all the numbers he could find in the purse (the membership cards, not so helpful unfortunately), and finally found a receipt from Khayla's school, which is how he ended up calling u Khayla's teacher.

We strongly insisted to give duit raya to their sons (which they strongly refused but somehow we won). They did not expect us to give them anything for their honesty.

Terima kasih En Mohd Faizal, kerana masih lagi meyakinkan kami bahawa rakyat Malaysia masih ada yang jujur dan amanah :)


Khadeeja with the returned purse, in front of Masjid Putrajaya


Story #2: Lunch date with Mr & Mrs Chen

It's been more than a year ago since we last met at the hospital where I was being treated for severe dehydration due to morning sickness. My dear friend, Jen was also pregnant and suffering from morning sickness but she came nonetheless, the two of us miserable with our pregnancy state. Hehe.

Fast-forward a year later, she has arranged for a lunch date together, to meet each other's little ones who were responsible for our sorry state back then :p Khadeeja and Wei Ying were born only 3 days apart but they were so different in terms of size! Khadeeja were the more petite one, weighing only 6kg+ because she can't keep still and forever moving around, while Wei Ying is a healthy 9kg 8 months old.

We had our lunch date at Lazis restaurant in Mont' Kiara. In a Middle East restaurant, a Chinese couple and a Malay couple sat together having lunch and catching up on each other's news. Later, our kids played together and laughed with each other:

Jen carrying Khadeeja, yours truly carrying Wei Ying (even tho WY heavier, but less tiring than carrying a hyperactive Khadeeja!)

Khadeeja sayang Wei Ying who also chuckled in delight

Khayla and Wei Jiun running all over the restaurant, copying each other's antics!


At the end of the lunch date, Wei Jiun asked his mom whether he could follow Khayla in our car. Hahaha! The innocence of a small boy…

We may be different in skin colour, race, culture and religion but we agree that our kids are lovely and the nasi briyani (which was their treat this time!) was simply delicious!

Story #3: Meeting My University Best Friend

A couple of weeks ago my best friend was in KL so I decided to spend the day with her, doing girly stuffs which I had not done for a long, long time!

We had lunch, then shopped (me for my baby's stuff, she for a lot of people in her family including herself!) and finally ended up in i-City, camwhoring like crazy:

Camwhoring at the mamak

Camwhoring at i-City with Khadeeja

Konon-konon nak buat simbol 'love' tapi tak jadi!

Advance Christmas postcard shoot, kata Agatha

Over delicious tea at SACC Mall, we discussed about how her marriage to a Catholic guy will shape her kids' life (whether they will be baptised and raised as Anglican Christian in their mother's faith, or her husband's). Later at the hotel (she begged us to stay over since her room is really huge!), she offered a place for us to pray, but we declined out of respect even though there is a sign showing the qiblat direction in the room.

There is no such things as taboo, because we respect each other's religion, and we understand where our similarity in faith meets, and where it ends.

Dear Allah,

Thank you for making me a Malaysian, for giving me the opportunity to meet multi-racial friends, for surrounding me with honest people, and for the peace and little pleasures that we more often than not, taken for granted.

Alhamdulillah. May the common things among us precede our differences, and our differences complement rather than be a source of dispute among us.
Oops. I thought the makan-makan at Kak Retna's place was the last entry about Raya, but apparently it was not! Out of the blue, hubby decided to host this year's open house at the very last minute, itu pun after Syawal ended :P Err… makan je lah!

This time we decided to do it on smaller scale though, unlike the one we did last year. Orang kata, sekadar cukupkan syarat je. My hubby's boss has been nagging him about having one, so he also nagged me about cooking for the open house until I said, ok la. Do la.

Since we are having friends and neighbours over for the open house, I invited my dearest friend, Jen and her family as well. Jen has been enjoying some freedom (probably because she complaint a lot in our Whatsapp conversation about how she can't go out during weekend with her kids no thanks to her hubby blablabla, and guess what, she is using her hubby's handphone to Whatsapp some more hahahahha!) and she was more than happy to come so our kids could play with each other again.

For this open house event, my mom and I prepared a new, never-been-served before dish called 'mi belacan', which is a cross of yong tau fu and kangkong belacan. I was also super rajin and baked a few cookies and chocolate cupcakes, which I decorated with icing with the help of Khayla:

Khayla gigih menghias cupcake. Pagi2 celik mata dah tolong tabur manik atas cupcake!

My first time decorating cupcakes :)

Mi belacan. I just found out Malays don't eat centurion egg (we Sarawakians do!) (Photo credit: Kak Retna)

Even Omar Ariff, the TV presenter came over!

After some guests left, we changed the kids' clothes to their swimsuits and brought them to the pool. Khayla initially refused to swim on her own, but when she saw us clapping at Wei Jiun's first time effort swimming on his own, she dived right in and swam towards him! Same thing happened when WJ was eating a cupcake, Khayla came up and even asked for a cupcake. The power of peer pressure! Hahahaha!

Kids having a good time

Our two babies are also bonding well, even though Khadeeja was not her usual bouncing, active self because she just woke up from sleep:

Wei Ying looks so happy to see Khadeeja

Ok. Wei Ying just looks happy all the time! Hahaha!

Fab food. Great company. Feel like doing this every week, HAHAHAHA! *hubby pengsan*