(Disclaimer: This posting is based on my own experience flying short-haul flights (2 hours and below), and does not reflect on any airlines' standard procedure nor endorsed by health professionals. Readers are recommended to seek relevant info from the airlines' website or speak with their baby's doctor prior to air travel. These tips may not always work out with other infants and I will not bear responsibility for any outcome after following these tips).

'Macamana ko boleh bawak dua orang budak naik flight sorang-sorang ye?'

I get questions like this (insert awed look, triple exclamation marks and incredulous tone) after coming back from our balik kampung trip. My answer is always simple - 'Macam tu la, macamana lagi?'

Hehe. The truth is, when I do have to fly with a small baby (what more to say with two small babies), I will plan the entire journey with military precision - right from a few days before the journey down to after leaving the airplane! No kidding! Better be safe than be cursed by 100+ passengers upset by my screaming baby, right? Right???

Have baby sling, stroller, well-equipped diaper bag and milk supply - will travel peacefully!

I'm writing this post to share my experience with a new mommy, Amy Maria. Good luck traveling with your lil' boy, Amy!

Tips #1: Avoid early morning flights - unless you are prepared to miss your flight

I speak from my own experience of missing our 7am flight. I stayed up late to pack the night before, lay out our outfits and make sure that nothing is left out. But fate has it that we woke up slightly later than planned (5am, actually), then had to prepare ourselves and Khayla, and ended up missing our flight. When you are traveling with kids, anticipate longer preparation time and factor in all possible scenarios that could happen and cause the delay. If you still could take early morning flight after considering all these - well, kudos to you! (I know I can't!)

Tips #2: Request for baby bassinet

When traveling with a small baby, I make sure that both baby & I are truly comfortable throughout the flight. Holding a baby for 2 hours can be tiring. So I try to plan ahead, and get seats where I can utilize the in-flight baby bassinet. Some airlines require you to notify in advance to use this facility. My experience with Malaysia Airlines have been terrific as they have this facility when I booked front seats, and they accommodated my requests whenever I need to let my baby sleep in the bassinet.

Khadeeja, aged 2 weeks, sleeping peacefully in the bassinet

But what do I do when the seats are already assigned to someone else and I can't use the baby bassinet? This is when a baby sling comes in handy (literary and figuratively speaking). I use baby sling to free my hands and let baby sleep snugly in the sling. Baby sling and nursing cover are truly, man's greatest inventions!

Khayla enjoying her bottle of milk while lying on my lap, and Khadeeja napping in the baby sling

Tips #3: Have baby's identification ready for checking (and ours too)

Due to safety reason, some airlines don't allow infants younger than 7 days old on-board. Parents must also furnish the infant's birth certificate during check-in, so make sure it is not left at home or kept in checked-in baggage!

Tips #4: Pack right, pack light!

When you become a new parent, forget about your designer handbag. Now your baby's diaper bag becomes your handbag! Unless of course you are one of the Kardashian sisters who can afford Prada diaper bag (wow, Prada has diaper bag!).

Prada or not, its function is the same

I've learnt not to under- or over-estimate packing my baby's bag. It has to carry all the essential stuffs yet light enough and not cramped with all sorts of unnecessary items that I could not find anything when the need arises (and that need can escalate to a shrieking fury as baby gets distressed while mommy desperately rummages through the diaper bag that people may actually think you are digging into the black hole!).

Only bring necessary items for hand luggage and check in the rest. Here's an interesting fact for passengers of Malaysia Airlines:

For your convenience, Malaysia Airlines allows for an additional 10 kg of purely baby essentials (including a bassinet or carrycot) over and above the free baggage allowance as allotted to an infant’s accompanying adult passenger.

How awesome is Malaysia Airlines? :D

These are the 10 MUST-HAVE items in the diaper bag according to yours truly:

1. Spare clothes (warm clothing, long-sleeved baby rompers are ideal), in case baby poops or spits up milk all over her dress / shirt. Only a pair is necessary for short travel.

2. A small towel or baby bib - to wipe spit up milk or burp baby.

3. A new pack of baby wet wipes - I make sure there are still plenty before the journey.

4. Diapers - Khayla is currently using disposable diapers while Khadeeja is using cloth diapers. For Khayla, I normally pack 3 pieces of disposable diapers in the bag (theoretically, one each for change at the departure airport, during the flight and at the arrival airport). Unless your baby is having diarrhea or you are experiencing terrible delays or in a flight of more than 5 hours, I reckon you won't need all 3 diapers. At the most, you will use only one diaper.

For Khadeeja, I will bring an extra diaper, and additional 2 soakers. However, since discovering biodegradable soakers that can be disposed of without worrying about the environmental impact, I've gone hybrid and gotten one of those biodegradable soakers to use with CD shell (that way I don't need to bring a lot of CDs, or worry about washing and drying them while on the go. Pretty cool, huh?). I use Grovia biodegradable soakers (which costs me RM35.90 for 30 pieces) with Lunatots CD, and once soiled, I just throw away the soakers and re-use the outer shell. You can purchase it at any leading baby store.

As the pack indicates - the perfect solution for cloth diapering on the go :)

5. Diaper changing mat / baby blanket - if your diaper bag doesn't come with diaper changing mat, then you can also use your baby blanket provided it is wet-proof. Some infants like to be wrapped in baby blanket, so remember to bring it along as well.

6. Diaper cream / rash cream 

7. A bottle of milk - when I have to travel alone with my baby, I prefer the convenience of bottle feeding EBM to my baby. I would pump milk before leaving home and store it in the baby bottle (so no hassle of transferring from storage bottle to baby bottle). EBM can stand in room temperature for up to 5 hours so you don't have to chill or freeze it before. Just keep away from sunlight and it is good to go. You can also ask for help from the stewardess to warm up the milk but be sure to provide specific instruction i.e. what temperature of water to use to heat up the milk (Once, I asked one of the flight crew to warm up the chilled milk and when he came back, the milk was too hot to consume straightaway and all nutrients destroyed!).

Once Khayla started on formula, I pack the formula in small air-tight container and prepare the formula on board. If you are flying MAS, you don't have to bring hot water flask as everything is provided. Heck, even if you forget the formula, they have 'a limited quantity of baby formula' for your baby's convenience. However, if you are flying AirAsia, I highly recommend you come fully prepared.

8. Nursing cover - This comes in handy when I don't have the time to pump in advance and can nurse my baby on board. Additional tips - get a window seat for more privacy, and don't be shy to request for a pillow to support your baby. When not in use, nursing cover can double as baby blanket so you don't have to bring both at the same time.

9. Pacifier - pacifiers are Khayla's and my best friend whenever we had to travel last time (now she has outgrown the pacifier, thank God). A pacifier can help balance the air pressure inside baby's ears, keep them soothed and help them sleep better. To avoid accidentally dropping it on the floor, clip it using pacifier clip to your baby's front shirt.

Some parents oppose to the use of pacifier as many baby experts say that it is not hygienic, disrupt with baby's appetite for milk, delay speech development and it will be hard to take it away once baby has become attached to it. My experience with Khayla using the pacifier proved that it is not necessarily true, because pacifiers are only used at certain times (helping her to fall asleep, during flight take-off and landing, during long distance car trips, distract her from teething pain, etc.).

10. Baby's medicines and oral syringe - it's better to be prepared than be sorry. So wherever we travel, we will also pack the kids' medicines and oral syringe to administer the medicine. It's also good practise to have a small stash of band-aids, hand sanitizer and Dettol in your baby's diaper bag.

Khayla flying back to Miri at night - dressed in warm fur coat

As the baby grows older, I add a few more essentials like:

11. Baby food - dry finger food like baby biscuits or cut fruits are easier to store, less messy and easier to clean up afterwards compared to rice cereal or puree. Yes, it is less nutritious but considering that a spoonful of that rice cereal could end up on somebody else's hair or clothes (babies can be notorious during meal times!), it's best to opt for something less messy.

Ration for the flight journey

12. Baby teether - for teething babies. They get more miserable when they are confined to the plane seat and not allowed to crawl anywhere and bite everything!

13. Baby's favourite mobile toys or books - rattle, mobiles etc. I'm one of those shameless moms who dole out iPad for my babies to pass the time :P Anything to stop them from quarrelling and crying during the flight! Just sharing my experience, Malaysia Airlines also give out free storybooks or activity books to keep them entertained. I heart MAS! :D

Optional item - breast pump, accessories and storage bottles. I pack these separately but carry them as hand luggage (I'm using Medela Freestyle which I stow in my handbag to minimize hang luggage).

Tips #5: Dress practically!

Normally, I dress my kids in layers that can be removed according to the climate - loose, comfortable clothing that is easy to take off whenever I need to change their diapers (e.g. rompers with not so many complicated buttons or dress with underwear); jacket or cardigans that can be taken off and stash in the diaper bag when it gets too warm; socks and comfortable shoes. Don't go for one-sies that you have to unbutton numerous buttons to get your baby out of it. Leggings are cute and warm but when you are changing a wriggling baby in the plane's toilet amidst air turbulent, it can be unbelievably exasperating to put back on!

Khayla aged one year old, flying to Kota Kinabalu

Likewise, I plan my own outfit to suit the journey as well. My outfit has to be nursing-friendly, like shirt with button opening, kaftan top and loose dress. Jubah robe, maxi dress, baju kurung or fit blouses that can't be lifted up single-handedly or snug around the chest area - are a no-no.  Secondly, when I travel alone with my baby(s), I opt for jeans or pants with pockets to keep the boarding passes and Mykad/Mykid. This way, I can save time rummaging around in my handbag / diaper bag (remember, I'm carrying a baby, a diaper bag and a handbag at the same time so no free hands to look for small items!)

Tips #6: When necessary, bring the stroller

I have a confession - I am hopelessly over-dependent on a stroller. Maybe because of age or the lack of calcium, I get backache easily when carrying my baby for long period. Khayla also gets extremely grouchy and uncooperative if we forced her to walk. I depend on strollers so much that I even bought a tandem stroller - Babyjogger City Select that can switch from single to double stroller whenever I go out with both Khayla and Khadeeja!

I splurged on this stroller but no regret at all since it really fits into my busy lifestyle

So even when I'm flying, I will bring a lightweight buggy knowing Khayla only too well. Both MAS and AirAsia allow parents to check-in stroller and use it up to before boarding the flight. When flying MAS, I had to fill in a simple form which they will attach to the stroller tag for identification when collecting the stroller upon arrival. AA doesn't require any form-filling though. Both airlines require parents to close the stroller before they store it in the cargo compartment. 

Tips #7: Bring baby's medical record / hospital book everywhere in case of emergency

Of course, we never know when accidents can happen but being prepared can be a life-and-death decision. If ever we were involved in accidents, I would like doctors to know my baby's age, what kind of immunization my baby had taken, her blood type, if she has any allergic reactions to certain medications before, etc. All these are recorded in her medical book so make sure to bring it anywhere you and your baby go.

Tips #8: Know about immigration clearance procedure

I'm referring to domestic travel between Peninsular and East Malaysia. Peninsular Malaysia citizens bringing their baby to East Malaysia (you can look up info from the Immigration Department website), are no longer required to fill up any form or produce passport when they fly into Sarawak or Sabah. They are however issued with a white slip (IMM 114) as alternative to passport, which they must keep and show to the immigration officer when flying out of the state. Likewise, parents just have to show baby's birth certificate at the airport immigration checkpoint when traveling with infant. Still, the 90-day social pass thing-y is still enforced on both parents and kids.

Parents / parent of Sarawak origin (like myself) don't have to worry about the grace period as their kid will be accorded same status as any other Sarawakians. Initially I was worried because both my kids' birth registration number don't carry Sarawak registration number (13) since they are born in KL. Turned out no matter where they were born as long as one of the parent is Sarawakian, the system will recognise them as Sarawakian as well. Phew!

Tips #9: Adjust your baby's sleep routine prior to the journey

Babies are predictable creatures and they love routines. When their routines are interrupted, that's when they get ill-tempered and fussy. So if you are flying in the afternoon, start to encourage your baby to sleep around the time you'll be catching your flight a few days in advance so it will be easier to put her to sleep on D-day. Night travels are more relaxed for me because it takes little effort to put the kids to sleep after an exhausting day. 

Another tactic I used is letting my kids stay up as long as they like, and then waking them up early. This way, they can catch up on sleep during the flight. But there's also a risk to this strategy - baby can also get so high-strung from lack of sleep and unfamiliar environment and go into tantrum mode before finally winding down (which is more often than not, by the time the journey ends).

While adik sleeps in the baby bassinet, Khayla admired the reading light

I also try my best not to let them fall asleep before and during the flight take-off or in other words - I save the nap only for during the flight! 

Remember. Nothing is more harrowing than trying to pacify a bad-tempered, tired and frustrated baby when everyone around you is giving you annoyed looks.

Tips #10: Don't be shy to ask for help from strangers!

Really, Malaysian people are a bunch of nice people who would not mind lending a helping hand, ONLY IF you ask nicely. Most of the time, people are shy of offering their help because of the Asian culture of saving your face ('maybe I'll embarrass her more if I offered my help when she doesn't ask for it?'). I am never a shy one when it comes to asking for help when I truly need it!

Do you have more tips to contribute? Please share in comment column :)
One of the great things about Eid celebration in Malaysia is it can last for the whole month, equivalent to the number of days we fast during Ramadhan. It's nothing to do with religious obligation, it's just we Malaysians will find any excuse to feast on mouth-watering dishes especially when they are FREE! But more importantly, that's how we bond with each other. Over succulent lemang and scrumptious cookies, we catch up with each others' lives and share juicy gossips as juicy as the tender chicken rendang because this kind of opportunity rarely presents itself during other non-festive months where everybody is busy with their own career.

Likewise, our bunch of friends (fondly known as Geng Kamie) are also finding this the perfect excuse to meet again and celebrate Eid together. To tell the truth, the initial plan was just to have a simple tea of banana fritters or cucur ikan bilis at Kak Retna's place, while we help to finish her Hari Raya cookies (or what's left of them).

So last Sunday at 4pm, right after attending our neighbour's open house event, we straightaway drove to her place with a container-full of piping hot anchovy fritters (cucur ikan bilis) that we almost burnt in our hurry to reach her place (which is just 10 minutes away!) and some cookies that our neighbour gave. Little did we expect that Kak Ret, Kak Diella and Sodep went all out to prepare all these yummy dishes for us:

Clock-wise: Nasi himpit, sayur lodeh, Hari Raya cookies, sambal sotong, bihun goreng, cucur ikan bilis and lemang. Makanan banyak, orang nya sikit je nak perabis! (Photo credit: Sodep)

Chef and host of the day, Kak Retna! Bertuah bakal suami kan, Kak Ret, kan?? Hahahaha! (Photo credit: Kak Retna)

In fact, when we came, they were still busy cooking so while waiting, we watched TV while Khadeeja busied herself with some new toys that actually belong to Kak Retna's nephews:

Suka sangat dengan lori bancuh simen ni! (Photo credit: Kak Retna)

As usual, we like to take photos of us eating, lebih-lebih lagi aku yang pakai baju raya sakan ni la:

Oh slim nya aku dalam gambar ni padahal badan cam anak badak je! (Photo credit: Sodep)

Naz came a bit later with her boyfriend and she brought ice-cream and Dunkin Donut for dessert. Apa lagi, sambung melantak la kiteorang!

Potpetpotpetpotpet sampai anak aku pun kena sumbat dengan nasi himpit! Kak Diella ternganga tengok makanan sakan tak hengat! (Photo credit: Kak Retna)
At 9pm, we decided that was it for the day. Apatah lagi, since Sodep launched into ghost stories (The Conjuring and Mama, and he can really tell a story sampai laki aku mengigau malam tu!), and we don't exactly feel like driving back with extra 'passenger'. Hahahaha!

One last picca, the end of Hari Raya entries this year!

Geng Kamie selamanya! (Photo credit: Kak Retna)

Hari Raya keempat, kami balik ke kampung Suami Terchenta di Kampung Meranek, Samarahan, Kuching Sarawak.

Sepatutnya bertolak pukul 7 pagi lagi sebab dari kampung aku (Igan) ke Kuching ambik masa 10 jam gak la. Tapi akhirnya bertolak pukul 9.30 pagi sebab ada miscommunication sikit (Suami Terchenta salah dengar - Pak Su kata pukul 7, dia dengar pukul 10!). Tapi memang kalau ada budak kecik, susah sikit nak bertolak awal pagi. Sebab tu kalau boleh kiteorg memang tak penah ambik flight awal pagi walaupun lagi murah sebab dah penah merasa kena tinggal flight gara-gara lambat nak siapkan anak kecik!

Berbalik ke perjalanan 10 jam. Lama tak? Kalau korang rasa lama, kiteorang yang travel dengan budak-budak kecik ni rasa laaaaagiiiii lama! Flight 2 jam je pun dah rasa jenuh nak melayan budak-budak ni terutama Khadeeja, apa lagi 10 jam! Baru setengah jam dalam kereta, dia dah melalak sebab bosan tak boleh bergerak sangat. Khayla pulak rilek je main iPad. Terpaksa la kami berdua bergilir-gilir  meriba dan layan dia. Penat!

Dalam perjalanan, sempat lagi singgah di rumah Pak Lang di Sibu (kami panggil Long Unus, jangan tanya apsal panggil 'Long' pulak, bukan 'Lang').

Keluar dari kereta je, Khayla dengan Khadeeja jadi macam kanak-kanak Ribena. Riang tak hengat dunia sebab dah bebas! Bila nampak kucing kat rumah tu, bertambah syok la dieorang sampai tak nak naik kereta balik:

Khayla especially suka 'cat' ni, buat macam anak patung pulak dukung ke hulu hilir

Khadeeja tumpang tengok je sebab kakak tak bagi pegang 'cat'

Dari Sibu, kami teruskan perjalanan dan singgah di Betong untuk pergi toilet dan isi minyak. Ingat nak singgah makan tengahari jugak tapi tak jumpa pulak kedai makan orang Islam. Mungkin tutup sebab ramai yang masih nak beraya kot. Pukul 8 malam barulah kami sampai di kampung Suami Terchenta. Badan aku dah sakit-sakit sebab melayan dua-beradik dalam kereta! 3 hari baru hilang sakit badan, tu pun aku kena makan Panadol dulu baru beransur pulih.

Kat kampung Suami Terchenta tak banyak sangat agenda kami sebab masa tu ramai yang dah start bekerja so kami cuma berkesempatan melawat sanak-saudara terdekat je - nenek Suami Terchenta, Mak Ngah, sepupu rapat Suami Terchenta sebab wife dia baru je deliver anak kedua dan jugak sepupu aku yang baru lepas eksiden tu.

Khadeeja dengan sepupu dia, Aqmal

Syukur masa eksiden tu, Aqmal dengan atok dan nenek dia. Cuma abang dia, Aqil je yang ada dalam kereta, tu pun dia duduk dalam baby car seat sambil pakai tali pinggang keledar. Wife sepupu agak teruk sebab masa eksiden tu dia tak pakai tali pinggang keledar gara-gara nak bancuh susu untuk Aqil. Sebab tu la aku memang pantang bab safety ni, kalau naik kereta mesti akan pastikan anak-anak aku duduk dalam car seat. Biarlah Khayla dan Khadeeja meraung tak nak duduk dalam car seat, aku tetap bertegas sebab malang tak berbau kan? Aku buat pekak je la masa driving. Hehe. Sampaikan Suami Terchenta sanggup bawak car seat dari KL balik ke Sarawak semata-mata sebab kena travel jauh dari Igan ke Kuching!

Selain dari tu ada jugak la buat sesi makan-makan kat rumah Pak Long aku memandangkan dia dan adik sepupu yang seorang lagi tu tak balik beraya di Igan tahun ni. Sempat jugak kami bersiar-siar di The Summer, shopping mall terbaru di Kuching sebab dekat sangat dengan kampung husband. Harus la menjengok jugak kan!

Khayla & Khadeeja kat The Summer

Kami kat kampung husband dari hari Ahad sampai Selasa. Rabu, kami dah fly balik - aku ke Bintulu dan Suami Terchenta balik ke KL. Kali ni dalam flight adik yang tido nyenyak dan terjaga bila nak landing, kakak pulak yang hyper tapi bila nak sampai dia boleh tido pulak. Hish budak-budak ni...

Nasib baik bila aku kejutkan Khayla, dia tak mengamuk walaupun mula-mula dia marah sebab aku kata dah sampai. Tapi bila aku sebut 'Makyeng is waiting for us', dia terus capai teddy bear dan jalan ke tangga sambil kata, 'Let's go home, mak. Bring bag, mak.' Baik betul anak aku yang seorang ni, tak menyusahkan aku langsung.

Tapi yang tak syoknya sementara tunggu mak aku sampai, boleh pulak dia terkencing depan kedai kat airport tu! Rupa-rupanya pampers dia dah penuh sangat masa dalam flight sampai bocor. Nak marah pun tak guna so terpaksa la sambil sorong beg dan dukung Khadeeja aku bawak dia pegi tandas untuk salin baju dan buang pampers. Hmm.

Sejak balik Sarawak dia dah terbiasa dengan pampers yang bapak dia pakaikan sebab malas nak bawak dia pegi tandas bila beraya di rumah orang. Lagi satu toilet kat kampung Suami Terchenta pulak jenis yang mencangkung tapi Khayla cuma reti 'shee-shee' kat toilet duduk, so bila tanya nak pegi toilet ke tak, laju je dia geleng kepala. Ada sekali tu dia terkencing kat rumah sepupu Suami Terchenta, sebab aku bebel kat Suami Terchenta yang suka pakaikan dia pampers, penat je aku ajar dia kencing kat toilet. So malam tu, Suami Terchenta pun tak pakaikan, sudahnya Khayla pun tak sedar dia tak pakai pampers dan terkencing...

Kat Bintulu pun aku sempat lagi sambung beraya. Kali ni aku pegi rumah kawan sekolah dulu. Memang kecoh la malam tu kami bercerita tentang kisah dulu-dulu, kawan-kawan dan di mana dieorang sekarang ni. Best sangat raya kali ni dapat berjumpa kawan-kawan sekolah dari sekolah rendah sampai sekolah menengah dulu! Sekarang masing-masing dah beranak-pinak, tapi malam tu aku la yang paling ramai anak sebab kawan baik aku, Hester dan kawan rapat masa sekolah rendah, Jessica, masing-masing baru ada satu 'handbag' (kawan kami Asma yang gelar junior kami handbag. Hehe).

Dengan kawan-kawan sekolah dulu - masih berhubung walaupun dah bertahun-tahun tak bersua

Khayla dan Charlene pun berkawan dengan cara dieorg sendiri!

Fuh. Tak sangka panjang-lebar pulak entri raya aku tahun ni. Kesimpulannya, memang rasa seronok sangat, walaupun persiapan raya kami sederhana je. Yang penting masa yang diluangkan dengan kaum keluarga dan sahabat-handai :) Betul tak?
Akhirnya pagi Raya menjelang tiba. Dah la tido lewat malam sebelumnya, ditambah lagi takde air pagi-pagi nak menguruskan dua orang anak kecik, hai… Dan, bila pakaikan baju Khayla, rupa-rupanya baju tu kecik.

Tulah, gara-gara tak de masa nak pergi shopping baju raya, sehari sebelum balik kampung baru ada masa pergi ke KWC cari baju kurung. Memang silap besar la sebab tak banyak pilihan dan takde saiz yang sesuai. Last-last aku cuma belikan baju kurung sedondon sepasang seorang, tapi bila pakaikan kat Khayla baju tu memang dah pendek macam kurung Kedah pulak! Kalau baju je pendek takpe gak, ni kain pun senteng. Worse, cuma ada sepasang je baju raya yang sedondon sebab aku ingatkan mak aku sempat nak jahitkan baju kurung macam yang dia plan nak buat. Tapi tak sempat pulak. Kesian anak aku!

Memang aku rasa takde mood langsung nak beraya! Sudahnya tak de gambar family pun tahun ni :( Bila aku fikir-fikirkan balik, aku rasa menyesal sangat sebab buatkan mak aku sedih pagi-pagi raya gara-gara aku takde mood nak bergambar raya. Mak, orang mintak maaf ye mak?

Aku rasa sedih jugak sebabnya ni tahun pertama sambut raya dengan Khadeeja. Masa Khayla dulu, kemain la meriah dan ceria sebab first time sambut raya dengan anak kata kan, tapi bila turn Khadeeja, aku pulak yang buat hal di pagi raya. Maafkan mak ye Khadeeja… :'(

Akibatnya ni je gambar yang sempat snap Hari Raya pertama:

Khadeeja bermain kat bawah meja...

Khayla dengan Khadeeja memang suka bertandang raya. Khayla suka sebab kalau bab-bab berjalan ni, dia memang nombor satu! Lagi satu, dapat rasa kuih raya kat rumah orang. Dia paling suka 'kek belacan', kek kukus ni memang tradisi raya kat Sarawak. Hampir kebanyakan rumah ada hidang kek ni. Memang sedap pun, sebab buat dari koko / milo kalau tak silap.

Khadeeja pulak gemar main bawah meja. Kat hampir setiap rumah sanak-saudara yang kami pergi, dia pergi merangkak bawah meja. Aku dah speechless. Biarlah, asalkan dia bahagia dan tak meragam! Tak tau la apa yang best sangat bawah meja tu, sekali pandang memang comel dengan pakai baju kurung merangkak ala komando bawah meja. Hahaha!

Hari raya kedua, kami pergi ke Mukah pulak, sebab ada saudara kami buat open house kat restoran dia. Seperti biasa singgah kat rumah Mak Ngah kami sebelum pergi open house:

Khadeeja silap orang, ingatkan Pakyeng dia yang dukung dia (ni adik bapak aku / Pak Lang aku)

Kat open house tu, Khayla suka la sebab restoran tu atas air. Dia suka tengok sungai sambil tunjuk, 'Blue boat!', 'Water!', 'Green boat!' Lagi-lagi ramai yang beri perhatian kat dia sebab suka melayan dia speaking. Hehe. Khayla memang prefer berkomunikasi dalam Bahasa Inggeris sebab dah terbiasa kat sekolah cikgu bercakap dalam English dan Cina. Dia malas nak alih-alih bahasa ni :p 

Khayla: 'Look! Boat… blue boat…'

Kakak suka dapat perhatian ramai… Lagi suka sebab kat open house ada lollipop!

Khadeeja pulak tak suka sebab ramai pakcik dan makcik yang dia tak kenal nak dukung dia. Sejak dah kenal muka orang, dia memang takut kalau orang yang tak kenal dukung dia!

Khadeeja dengan adik sepupu - muka kelat je tak suka orang lain dukung dia :p

Apapun rasa sangat puas sebab aku tengok Khayla & Khadeeja enjoy je balik kampung. Khayla sebab dia boleh main kat jambatan belakang rumah, Khadeeja pulak sebab rumah kampung luas so dia boleh merangkak sesuka hati dia!

Kat jambatan ni la kiteorg amik gambar pertama as hubby & wife.. 7 tahun kemudian Khayla pulak berjalan-jalan kat jambatan yg sama

Main 'peek-a-boo' dengan kakak

Hari raya keempat pulak, kami balik ke kampung sebelah Suami Terchenta. First time balik ke Kuching guna jalan darat. Sebelum ni naik flight MasWing dari Mukah ke Kuching tapi masa nak beli tiket flight, dah penuh pulak. Nasib baik Pak Usu aku sudi tumpangkan kiteorang naik kereta Alza dia sebab rumah dia pun di kawasan Samarahan jugak. Nanti aku sambung next posting pulak ye :)

Hujung-hujung bulan puasa memang meriah sebelah family aku. Boleh pulak berat aku naik semula sebab hari-hari mak & kakak aku masak best2 punya... Sepanjang bulan puasa kat KL kami agak busy kat kampus, tambah pulak setiap hari aku kena masak untuk bukak puasa dengan nak menjaga dua beradik tu. Hish, memang tak menang tangan la sampai turun berat aku masa tu. Tapi tak sampai seminggu balik kampung dah naik balik. Hehe. Takpe janji enjoy sakan dapat berkumpul dengan adik-beradik semua :)

Masa kat Bintulu, sempat gak aku bawak Khayla & Khadeeja pergi gunting rambut kat home salon dekat dengan rumah mak. Murah je, gunting rambut dua beradik tu cuma kena caj RM7. Tapi makcik Cina tu syok sangat kot gunting rambut Khadeeja sebab dia tak meragam sampai habis rambut ikal dia pun kena trim! Hasilnya Khadeeja dah macam boy pulak dengan gaya rambut tu!

Khayla nangis masa kena gunting rambut sebab tak suka orang pegang kepala dia

Khadeeja gembira sebab rambut dah tak masuk mata, kepala pun rasa ringan kot!

Sehari sebelum raya, kami semua balik ke kampung bapak di Igan untuk beraya dengan keluarga besar - adik-beradik bapak, Nek Usu, dsb. Dari Bintulu ke Igan konvoi dua kereta. On the way, sempat singgah di Mukah rumah makcik kami untuk berehat, jamak solat, mandi-manda dan beli barangan dapur untuk masak juadah pagi raya kat kampung. Ni memang tradisi keluarga kami dah bertahun-tahun. Tapi memang nasib baik kami semua mandi siap-siap kat Mukah sebab mcm tahun-tahun sebelum ni kat kampung memang bekalan air problem menjelang raya!

Khadeeja sempat bergolek2 kat rumah Nek Ngah. Dia memang tak suka travel naik kereta sebab tak bebas

Tahun ni sedih sket sebab tak semua keluarga besar dapat pulang beraya especially keluarga Wa (pangkat Pak Long). Sepupu aku dengan wife dia eksiden masa on the way balik ke Mukah (kampung wife dia), so dieorang terus cancel plan balik kampung dan tak beraya tahun ni (kesian, wife dia kena 13 jahitan dan muka lebam-lebam akibat eksiden tu). Adik dia pulak tak dapat balik sebab wife tengah sarat so takleh travel jauh-jauh. Nasib baik sepupu perempuan kami yang mulut kecoh tu dapat balik beraya, so berseri la jugak suasana raya tahun ni.

Masa kami sampai di kampung, yang lain pun baru sampai dari Sibu melawat wife sepupu yang eksiden tu. Ngam-ngam sampai, masuk waktu berbuka. Apa lagi kecoh la satu rumah bila dah ramai-ramai berkumpul! Makcik kami yg datang dari Sabah tak sempat nak masak pun, nasib baik makcik di Mukah sempat belikan ayam KFC sebelum bertolak ke kampung. Bila berbuka ramai-ramai memang meriah rasanya.

Malam tu kami bergotong-royong di dapur memasak juadah pagi raya (laksa Sarawak & kari ayam), potong kek lapis utk susun dalam bekas kuih so tinggal nak hidang kat tetamu je besoknya, dan bersihkan rumah. Khadeeja pun tumpang sekaki - tapi tumpang menyibuk je la. Dia sibuk jelajah ruang tamu, panjat sana sini!

Malam sebelum raya tu adat la kena tidur lewat supaya esok tak kelam-kabut sangat. Aku especially sebab nak kena siapkan dua beradik ni - lebih-lebih lagi dengan takde air. Leceh betul :(

Erm. Dah citer panjang lebar pulak tak masuk lagi citer hari raya dan lepas raya. Post bersambung...
Rasanya belum terlambat utk wish kawan2 semua 'Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri', kalau ada salah & silap harap dimaafkan la ye :)

Kali ni aku tetiba teringin nak blogging dalam Bahasa Melayu. Barulah ada feel nak story-mory pasal raya. Hehehe.

Tahun ni first time aku berpeluang balik kampung awal sejak aku kawen lebih 6 tahun lepas. Sempat lagi buka puasa & terawih kat masjid dengan mak & adik-beradik aku. Seronok betul. Mak aku orang yang paling gembira sebab akhirnya semua adik-beradik aku balik beraya serentak tahun ni - sebelum ni kalau bukan aku yang takde sebab giliran raya kat kampung Suami Terchenta, adik aku yang takde sebab beraya di Jepun. Tahun ni je kami semua dapat berkumpul.

Lepas solat terawih dengan mak dan adik-beradik

Anyway, tahun-tahun sebelum ni tak berkesempatan bukak puasa & berterawih sesama sebab kami husband & wife masing-masing bekerja, so tak boleh spend time lama-lama sebab ada dua kampung yang kena lawat - belah aku dan belah Suami Terchenta.  Kiteorg dah la duduk jauh di perantauan (ececey, macam la dok overseas!), raya je the only time kiteorg boleh balik kampung. Maka balik kampung cun-cun esok nak raya baru balik supaya dapat spend cuti kat dua-dua belah family.

Balik ke tahun ni. Memandangkan Suami Terchenta masih ada kelas & cuti pun tak banyak, maka terpaksalah aku seorang je fly dengan dua orang budak kecik ni. Lagi pun masa tu tiket still murah (3 orang = RM250 total), so beli je lah.

Tahun ni jugak kami bersemangat hantar kad raya kat sanak-saudara & kawan2, sesambil buat aktiviti menarik utk anak2 i.e. buat cap tangan & kaki dieorg utk kenang2an!

Ni kira first time aku fly sorang-sorang bawak dua-dua budak kecik ni, maka haruslah aku pasang strategi supaya tak huru-hara sepanjang flight 2 jam tu. Pertama, luggage memang kena check in, so bawak beg diaper dgn beg tangan je. Kedua, stroller pun kena bawak sampai ke tangga nak naik kapal terbang AA, sebab si Khayla ni dah terbiasa duduk dalam stroller je. Mau aku kena dukung dua beradik tu kalau takde stroller...

Ketiga, kena ada baby sling untuk dukung adik. Keempat, sediakan susu siap-siap dalam botol susu untuk dua beradik ni sebab memang la tak akan ada masa nak bancuh kemudian (dan tak selesa nak bagi susu direct kat adik dalam flight in case ada penumpang lain duduk sebelah). Snek (biskut baby dan kismis kegemaran kakak) pun tak boleh lupa. Segala bendalah mak nenek macam lampin, nursing cover, wet tissue, etc pun siap-siap simpan dalam diaper bag.

Siapkan bekalan untuk perjalanan dalam flight

Kelima, entertainment utk dua beradik ni (pacifier, iPad utk kakak) pun wajib ada supaya dieorang tak bosan dalam flight. Keenam, aku sengaja book seat kat belakang supaya dekat ngan toilet in case kena tukar lampin / Khayla nak 'shee-shee'. Lagipun biasanya tak de penumpang lain kat seat belakang. Last sekali, aku make sure pakaian bersesuaian utk aku & dua beradik ni contohnya aku kena pakai baju yg senang nak selak kalau tetiba adik melalak nak susu, seluar pun kena ada kocek utk letak boarding pass & IC senang tak yah nak selongkar beg nak cari 2 benda tu. Budak-budak pulak aku pakaikan baju tebal sket sebab dlm flight sejuk biasanya.

Kemain lagi kan, preparation nak travel padahal 2 jam je journey. Detailed, sampai ke baju apa yg nak dipakai pun kena fikirkan jugak demi keselesaan masa travel tu nanti. Kalau tak, haru jugak nak melayan dua orang budak kecik yang menangis sebab tak selesa masa dalam flight nanti!

Seperti biasa kakak senang je bila travel ni. Bagi susu, pastu dia 'off' sepanjang flight. Yg leceh sket nak melayan adik sebab dia jenis yg tido-tido ayam je. Masa boarding dia tido, tapi bila nak take off dia bangun dan teruslah berjaga sampai landing. Hmm. Nasib baik takde passenger kat seat sebelah, so aku biarkan je la adik panjat-panjat kerusi ikut suka dia. Tapi aku nak tido tak boleh la sebab kena layan dia. Khadeeja, Khadeeja...

Adik yang hyper masa dalam flight!

Alhamdulillah masa nak naik flight dan turun dari flight, ada hamba-hamba Allah yang sudi tolong dukung si Khayla naik dan turun tangga AA tu, memandangkan aku kena bawak beg dan dukung Khadeeja. Masa nak naik flight, aku mintak tolong sorang mamat Jepun ni dukung Khayla. Khayla pun tak meragam bila strangers yang dukung dia, sebab dia faham kot aku tak boleh dukung dia. Ada sorang lagi mamat Melayu ni pulak tolong aku tutup stroller sebelum staf ground handling AA masukkan stroller dalam kargo.

Mamat Jepun tu memang baik sungguh, sebab bila dah landing, dia sanggup pergi semula ke seat kami yang kat belakang sekali tanya sama ada aku perlukan pertolongan dukung Khayla turun dari flight. Tapi aku segan la asyik mintak tolong dia je kan, aku cakap, 'It's ok, thank you!'. Lepas tu mintak tolong pramugara AA je.

Masa nak ambik barang-barang kat baggage area pulak, sekali lagi berdepan masalah sket. Ingatkan bapak aku dah sampai airport, boleh la aku pass budak-budak ni kat dia sementara aku collect beg. Tapi rupa-rupanya dia still on the way. Sekali lagi, Alhamdulillah, staf ground operations AA tolong aku angkat beg dan kotak dan letak atas troli. Lepas tu dia tolong tolak troli tu sementara aku tolak stroller.

Tulah kisah perjalanan balik ke kampung hari pertama. Phew! Nanti aku sambung pulak kisah seterusnya ;)

To my little angels on earth,

Last couple of weeks you both turned a month older, Alhamdulillah. It's almost hard to believe that a lifetime away I was just obsessed about work, but now I'm obsessed about your milestones and oh boy, what many milestones you girls have achieved so far!

To the sweetest baby in the world named Khadeeja,

The day that I feared has finally arrived - all of a sudden you started to talk back to us and giving your own opinion! Not funny that you love repeating us telling you 'No' - 'No Khadeeja, don't climb the TV cabinet!' 'No Khadeeja, don't eat that thing from the floor!' 'No Khadeeja, don't pull your sister's hair!' And you cheerfully replied, 'Na, na, na, na...' Occasionally you said, 'Ta, ta, ta...' too. Sometimes when you get all excited you punctuated your babbles with loud shrieks and flapping of arms to stress your point. All in all, you are the most expressive baby I've come by and that worries me a little because it means the day we argue on every single thing from boys to clothes to how to fry an egg are fast approaching!


Last month also had been a challenging month as it was the fasting month and we were super busy supplying food at the campus. What made it challenging was not the cooking or the food packing, no. It was because you simply hate to be left on your own even though I was just a few meters away in the kitchen. When I put you on the floor or in your walker, you started to wail and cry big fat tears that will turn to a full-blast tantrum till you were blue in the face. You can really cry hard till no voice came out - you were that determined to force me to stop my work and carry you.

I could ignore your cries if you just stay put in one place but no. Since you could crawl and stand up against my legs, you made it difficult for me to ignore you! So in the end I had no choice but to schedule my tasks in short bursts and scuttle around doing a lot of things while you took short naps, but oh boy, it was exhausting!

Climbing has become your latest skill!

My sweetheart,

On the bright side, you have become less fussy and could sit quietly in your car seat as we made our daily trips to the city campus in the evening. The reason is because you have shown strong interest in this awesome thing called baby CD which I put on in the car before we started our journey. You love watching this CD of nursery rhymes called 'The Wheels on the Bus' series and could get so preoccupied with it throughout the journey! :D The moment I put you in the car seat you would automatically looked at the TV screen expecting to see the cartoon played!

Cartoon fan

And you also gained so many admirers on campus who think you are the best stress-buster. You are probably the most popular person on campus as we got so many requests from fellow students wanting to carry you during break time. There's this lady from China who adores you so much that she would stop by every day just to say hello and kiss you :) awww... 

Helping to sell the food by being oh-so-cute!

My precious gem,

Another happy progress is your enthusiasm for new food - the flavor of the month happened to be puréed avocado which you love with a gusto. You also love trying out various other food from jelly to noodle, and I hope your healthy appetite will continue on, Amin.

Uncle Sodep helping to feed you

Now to my darling firstborn, Khayla,

My singing bug. My talkative parrot and hilarious copycat. You are my sweetheart, the one sunshine that brought so much joy, especially at this age. Sometimes you can try my patience too when you become so stubborn and have discovered that you have control over your own life! 

Must watch BabyTV first before going to school

Khayla sweetie,

Let's talk about this stubbornness that suddenly popped out of nowhere. You have become pretty much independent lately and have your own opinions on what you like and dislike. For instance, the other week you wanted to put on your shoes by yourself but because we were in a hurry, I helped you with the task. You flew into a rage because you wanted to do it yourself! So you insisted to take the shoe off and then put it on again unassisted.

The same thing happened when you demanded to sing your favourite tune. If I dared to sing other songs, you would shriek, 'Noooooo!' and become so upset. Your favorite song now is 'Please don't cry', which you never got tired to ask me to sing it for you, 'The Wheels on the Bus', complete with cute actions (and you would correct me each time I sing 'round and round' instead of 'up and down' like you want me to), and recently you also love 'Xiao Lau Shu', a Chinese nursery song you learnt at school about a little mouse.

Khayla at her first school trip

After fetching you from school, you normally refuse to leave the car and walk by yourself to our apartment. This is where my parenting skill have evolved - at first I used force and we would have a screaming fit and huge tantrums as I attempted to drag you upstairs while balancing Khadeeja on my hip. On days I don't have the energy to fight with a feisty 2-year-old, I would simply carry both of you upstairs but it became terribly exhausting during fasting month.

So, I changed tactics to bribing you to a short trip to the playground. You love the playground! Mention the word 'playground' and your stubborn demeanour resolve, and you would skip your way to the playground :)

'See-saw, mak...'

My super adorable tot,

In terms of food, you are a typical two-year-old true and true. You and food don't get along well unless the food is coated in sugar, chocolate or cheese - otherwise known as 'junk food' or 'snack'. The best healthy food you could stomach are raisins (your all-time favourite snack which you could finish the whole box in one sitting), and certain fruits (apple, banana, corn). Other than that, you are happy to go without food. Whenever it's mealtime, I have to chase you to get you to eat a spoonful of rice, and if I am lucky, I could get you to eat chicken or fish with rice. So far, any attempts at getting you to eat vegetable have been futile. Seriously, secretly I think your teacher was just trying to cover your back when she mentioned that you could finish your greens at school, where else at home you would rather vomit than eat anything green! (except the green M&Ms!)

Another thing my dear, is your relationship with your sister. Somehow, this month you are back to treating your sister like an annoying bug. Why, Khayla? I simply could not understand why you could not get along with Khadeeja where else Khadeeja simply adores you. Whenever Khadeeja was happily playing (or poking around with stuffs at the tv cabinet like any curious 7-month-olds), you get upset easily and would pull her with a loud command, 'No, Khadeeja!' Then Khadeeja would tumble down, sometimes knocking her head on the floor with a surprised look on her face, before wailing in hurt!

I get very upset too. I would pull you back, and demand why you treat Khadeeja like that. You have that 'uh-oh, I've done something bad and I just realise it' look on your face. As a punishment, you would have to sit in a corner. After a while, I would call you and you would kiss my hand and caress Khadeeja's head to say you are sorry, but half an hour later, you would do the same thing again!

The rare moment when you could be sweet to Khadeeja

The other day, Bapak caught you in the act of pulling your sister and making her bump her head on the floor. I think it was just a thoughtless reflect - he pulled you back and smacked you hard on your hand. You looked dazed as Bapak shouted at you for hurting your sister, but you didn't cry. You stared defiantly at him as if saying that you did nothing wrong teaching your sister not to touch with Mommy's stuff, that I felt sorry for you. Still, I intervened and you knew immediately what you have to do, even asking me, 'Sit there?' and voluntarily went to the corner to sit and punish yourself!

Both sisters enjoying cut apples

My cheeky Khayla,

Despite your stubbornness, your less-than-sisterly act towards Khadeeja as well as love for junk food and playground, you have improved your vocabulary by leaps and bounds. You can name a lot of things now that I cannot list them all here, complete with adjectives to describe them. And, you have very good memory too. You especially love the puzzles games in my iPad and can memorise which piece goes where after just a game or two. Bravo my darling!

Baby girl,

I just hope that in your heart, you would find the mean to accept Khadeeja as your little sister. I know you still want us by yourself, it shows my sweetie. The way you nuzzle your head against mine, the way you hold my hand so possessively, how you love it so much when I choose to hug and cuddle you over your sister. But remember I told you last time that I love you both equally, not an ounce more or less?

Smiling with each other

Well, sweethearts, I love you both dearly.

With all my heart,