Its not just a comic book

Initially, I wanted Ee to read REAL books. Like I did when I was his age. I had the whole penyiasatan Salma series on the shelf. I bought lots and lots of Enid Blyton with my pocket money. I read the encyclopedia for kids on repeat. Comics, apart from Doraemon was not really my first choice.

Hence I was a bit disappointed when Ee dislikes reading Peter and Jane but prefers Boboiboy Galaxy Comic instead. I was desperate for him to learn English. To speak English. To dream in English. But it was not happening.

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However, I then realized that if I put his comic books in a positive light – there are some perks after all.

  1. He is Reading. Unlike most kids his age who has strong affinity towards gadgets and online games, he still loves the traditional way to play. With robots, figurines and cars. He role play with these toys and interestingly the dialogues came from the comics he read. I also have to mention that when he reads, he reads the comics aloud. At first, the tone is monotonous. But with subsequent reading sessions, it got more animated as he uses different pitches for each characters. I thought that was a wonderful achievement.
  2. He is sharpening his skills. Once he enjoys the stories, he began to explore other parts of the comic. Such as the Fan Art segment. Where fans send in their drawings to the comic book company to win prizes and be featured. And now he wants to be a part of it too, and is practicing on his drawing skills. it’s still ugly but he is working on it. 
  3. He learns how to save and spend money. With a sprinkle of patience which could hopefully teach him a thing or two about delayed gratification. Each of these hard cover comic book retails at RM 19.90. That’s a long way to go for kids.

The NILAM reading programme at his school is also helpful in cultivating the habit to read. Basically, a student is required to make a record in the NILAM book after finishing any form of reading material (including comics). The student with the highest number of books read will be rewarded at the end of the year.

I have not given up yet. I am letting Ee read his comic books under supervision (lol) as I revise my strategy to get him read real books. Gambattene!

Sick kids – The Mummy vs Daddy at work

My little bub was ill last Friday. Daycare called me at work and informed me that she has a fever of 38.5 Celcius and they had taken measures to cool her down ( tepid sponging). I acknowledged their efforts and mentioned that I will have her picked up from daycare as soon as possible. Now here comes the difficult part. 

Which is informing my boss and colleagues that my child is ill and that I may need to take the afternoon off – so I could nurse my baby back to health while leaving my workload for others to tend to.

I irk that feeling of uneasiness and guilt – rooting from that judging look people give you when you need to scoot off for your family/kids. And it even happens when you work in healthcare. While some may understand, there are a few ( unfortunately with bigger voices and authority) that will question things like, “again?” or ” which child is this?” behind these moms backs. They will still let you off but with a poker face that hid a sigh underneath on top of that “make sure you find someone to cover you before you go home” sentence.

padahal kita mak kot.. 

But its different with dads. They emit this very gallant Mr Incredible aura. They look very responsible and give off this hands on sorta family guy vibe when things like this happen. And the approval they get to save the day is almost always a big yes. It’ll be like “go, don’t worry about work. We will sort it out for you”.  I really need to understand the psychology behind this.

At my current workplace – from what I’ve witnessed, my colleagues have so far been great and empathetic towards each other when needs like this arise. I cannot say the same for the boss’s point of view as I have not experienced much of this yet, albeit I still remember what happened when I wanted to apply for proper leave to take care of my children while Mr Husband went for umrah that time. It was not approved. I had to import a manny (my younger bro) to help me.

Anyway, the feeling of being rejected and disappointed at a time when you really needed a kind consideration still lingers. HA ha ha. It scarred me till now. So instead of going to my boss and explaining the sick baby situation – I decided to use The Caring Dad Card. I called up my husband and asked if he’s finished with his talk for that day. He said he was and alhamdulilah – he could fetch the baby. And guess what, he was allowed to have the noon off just like that by his boss.

Running Errands.. and that scary place for any child

I had a lot on my plate on that one particular day. My biological engine was practically already up and running by 430AM. And I’m still doing the 2 till 3 hours ‘patrol’ check around the house since baby is still waking up for her feeds at those intervals as well.

I made early breakfast for myself. Nothing fancy. Plain ol coffee and 2 slices of bread. Then, I prepared my son’s lunch for school (yesterdays leftover) and his breakfast. After my breakfast, I had my early shower because well.. once the baby is up.. there is no way you could take a dump. I try to be fully dressed by 6AM and have my Fajr prayer in peace.

Often, I am tempted to just wear my kaftan to send Ee to school but since I have a wild imagination like what if my car breaks down sorta thing – the last thing I wanna do is step outside the car, bra less in my sleepwear. So yeah..

After the school run, Ninie and I went home for a while so I could clean her a bit before we then again scooted off in our little car to the clinic. My Mantoux test for pre-placement Tuberculosis Screening was due. That itself took me about an hour.

Then, I had to bring her to this scary place. It is not the hospital. But it is crowded. In fact, a homicide took place here a few months ago – THE STATE CENTRAL BUS STATION. A place with people free to move in and out of the state or country is never a good place to bring your young kids especially when you don’t have backup. But I needed to go to this photo shop which could print my passport sized photos. So I had to be prepared. Some of the things I did;

  • park in the proper area. pay for the parking fee. do not be stingy like most people. HAHAHA. even if its only for a while. you can choose a spot near the entrance so you’d be less vulnerable to opportunistic criminals in the parking bay. plus, there’s security on guard.. just in case.
  • locate the photo shop I want to go. No unnecessary detour. take note of its opening time so I wouldn’t have to linger at the station for too long. Locate the police station within the premise as well. There’s always one.
  • choose to run errands on weekdays, if possible – if you have to do it alone. for easier movement as there are less people.
  • if you have to take a meal, choose a place where it’s comfortable and not that open. You want to protect yourself from the eyes of evil. I had to have brunch because even if the photo shop said it opened at 9AM and i was there by 930AM, it was only opened by after 10AM. I chose SUBWAY because apart from it having air conditioning, there were not a lot of customers and if, Allah forbid, someone tries to snatch the baby – he/she would have to make an effort to open the glass doors first.
  • Keep the baby close. Be weary of people getting too friendly. Cause sometimes they work in teams. One to distract, one to extract. Never leave the baby alone. While waiting in line at subway, a kind young man said I shouldn’t put the baby car seat on the floor because of health hazards. I understood his concern, expressed my sincere thank you (people still care, alhamdulilah) but kept my Ninie close anyway. There is no way I’m letting that person at the next table to help me ‘watch my baby’
  • As for myself – to dress practically. Mothers need to be ready to run fast and fight!

It went well and soon after it was already time to fetch my son from school.

Another solo run with the kids afterwards. Ee needed a bigger bag for his religious school. His ustazah was saying that there was no timetable and that they have to bring all their books to school. I can’t quite figure why  they can’t at least say ” for monday, please bring this book and this and this”. I don’t mind them not having a fixed schedule but at least a teaching plan for the coming week?

We ended the run at Aeon with Ee’s favourite meal – the Beef Gyudon at SUKIYA. Then, it was time to go home so he could finish all his homework. Phew.. it really is tough to do all this without an extra pair of hands and eyes. You really do need a village to raise a child.

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My son did not win the colouring contest but it was all not in vain

Last weekend my son participated in a coloring contest organized by PhysioMalacca Day. The winners would be judged based on certain criterias beknowned to the judges. It was apparently a popular contest as more than 80 minions kids were present – all fighting for a spot to get on with their coloring and such.

We set up Ee and his cousins little table as a flat surface for his coloring near the kindie kids. I knew beforehand that he was not going to win. Yeah – a very realistic mom. I know what my kids abilities are but I was hoping that he would at least finish off the task.

To my dismay he didn’t. He got distracted. While my 4 year old niece was very focused on her coloring, Ee had his eyes and attention wandering everywhere. He watched the other kids playing sukaneka. Then he eyed the girl next to him , probably wondering why she got scolded by her mother too much for using the tiny green color pencil instead of the much bigger one. Even I was perplexed. Mewarna je kot. Bukannya nak design bangunan.

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Halfway through the contest – which is like 8 minutes into his work he already had The Face. The Face he makes when he gets bored, merajuk or simply malas. The Face that makes any mother go ” awwh.. come on boy.. sikit lagi kot”. He began to slouch which aggravated his facial expressions. He had his chin stuck in his palm. At the end of the contest, he just refused to finish his work and even insisted on not handing it in. I had to put my foot down, took away his paper and have my niece sent it in on his behalf because he ain’t moving from the ground.

And boy I can’t wait to impart on his life lesson during the prize giving ceremony.

Of course he did not win. Ntah2 was disqualified for not completing the assignment. I could tell he was sad when he saw other kids walked up the stage to receive their colorful wrapped packages. And have photos taken with the VIP.

Ee later asked why he didn’t get a present. I asked him back why did he think he deserves a present. He said because he participated and color the picture. I told him he did not finished his work – and proceeded to further ask whether someone who didn’t complete his homework at school deserves a star by his teacher. He said NO.

I then told him that the same goes for this contest. Surely you don’t think you should get a prize when you didn’t even do it properly, right?

I think he kinda got the concept of “working for something to get rewarded accordingly”,  because he gave me a weak nod. With his almost tearing eyes. Grrr… those puppy eyes. We went home after the prize giving ceremony and Ee was so quiet in the car. I caved in to his misery and stopped at 7Eleven to get those bottled drinks and cookies he liked on promotion. Problem partially solved. I shall leave the lesson of losing despite working hard another time.

 

Being a parent is to be present

The thing about kids is that they only remember the moments when you are not there. Contrary to adults, QUALITY may not be the best way to go as they tend to value QUANTITY more. At least not until they’re 7 or something. So I have to thank technology for camouflaging the fact that I’m not physically there with my son.

For instance, Whatsapp with their voice recording feature. Sometimes when I am oncall, my boy would send me a voice message illustrating his very important day/night acitivites and achievements – like how he managed to not pee in his diapers overnight and woke up dry! Or the time when he was coached by Mr Husband to say that he loves his daddy more just because he bought a new toy. Ha ha.

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But yes, it got me thinking. Here I am being this young working mother trying to adhere  to all these modern, urban parenting advice dispensed by those with more experience. Less TV time, no phones, spend productive and efficient time with children etc. While these parenting theories or how-tos are useful  – I still think to make parenthood magical is up to you.

Use them as guides to make better decisions. To suit your lifestyle and such. But follow your maternal instinct at the same time. I once envisioned myself teaching Ee 3 different languages but ended up feeling okay that he knows how to say ‘thank you’, ‘please’ and ‘sorry’. I wanted him to read the encyclopedia by 8 years old but I suppose I’m content that he knows how to read his age at the moment. I know that I could teach him to be a better person if I was there. If I make a presence. So he could see me, mimic me, listen to me, hug me and laugh with me.

Didiklah anak seiring dengan zamannya

There’s a lot more to know and understand about parenthood and husband-wife relationship with a child in the picture. Being an MD does not make me know about everything there is to know about raising a kindie.