|January 16, 2014||Posted by Mabel under Parenthood|
My kids love vegetables…and I have no idea why.
Maybe it’s because…
1) We eat a lot of veg – raw and cooked.
2) We shop for a lot of veg…
3) We grow veg and the kids help out with caring and harvesting.
Prime example was today when I harvested my baby bok choy and HK choy sum. Noah helped with putting the harvested veg in a big container. He got to touch, molest, pull and basically get to know the veg on a sensory level. Later, dinner was punctuated every so often with “WAHHHHH” and “Mum mum” from Noah – they finished every single bite of veg!
So yes, a rather “cheap” and educational activity like growing vegetables may also help with getting kids to eat!
|January 13, 2014||Posted by Mabel under Parenthood|
I am home alone. Well, sort of.
The children are asleep and it’s nightfall. The husband is away on a business trip. He has been away for the last ten days.
When things are this quiet, I start thinking about how my life has been so far, what has changed and what my future holds for me. I can’t say for a fact that I knew this was where I wanted to be. If you asked me ten years ago where I saw myself, it would not be a person who wears the same clothes all day long – pyjamas, to be exact – and has to struggle to make time for the simplest of things like a shower, hair wash, brushing my teeth and so forth. It would not be a person who does nothing but care for two children, cook, clean, run errands and not have time or the opportunity to meet anyone. It would not be a person who has a ton of hobbies just to remain sane.
Ten years ago, I could enjoy a good eight hours of sleep and more on the weekends. Then when my daughter came into the picture, I got by with six to seven hours of sleep – no more and a whole lot less sometimes. As she got older, things got better. Suddenly, I find myself back to square minus-one, if there is every such a thing. In the past 144 hours, I, perhaps, only slept 30-35 hours. I joke about functioning on adrenaline.
Ten years ago, I used to enjoy a drink, a late night out, movies as often as I liked. Then when my daughter came into the picture, I got by without all those things. I improvised by watching movies at home and since I’m already having late nights (minding a baby – then), I treated it as my late night out. Date nights with the hubby were far and few in between but we made do by including our child whenever we are out. Suddenly two turned into three.
Ten years ago, I loved to shop. I could shop for clothes, shoes and books like there was no tomorrow. Then when my daughter came, I shelved shopping for clothes and shoes. Instead I ended up shopping more for her and my husband than myself. In one year, I bought – at most – two pairs of shoes. A far cry from what I used to get for myself.
Wow. What happened?
I kid you not. Children happened to me.
Before you freak out and decide not to have children, do realize that not everyone changes this drastically. To be fair, children was not the only thing that happened to me. Age caught up with me. And well, priorities and desires change.
I no longer want the latest fashion, make up or books. I realized that I can survive with a limited amount of those things and since I do not need it, it is only logical (and insanely practical) to not get any. My career in the working world has taken a back seat to my career as a mother and wife. I prefer to leave a lasting legacy in my children than live a short stint on the corporate ladder.
Simple things like knitting, crocheting, sewing, spinning and soapmaking not only relaxes me but plays a functional role in my life. By going back to the basics, I learn to appreciate the quality and price of handmade items. I learn from creating and from working with my hands. Suddenly a simple bar of handmade soap makes me beam; a well-baked cake brings a smile to my face and a finished knitted or crochet item makes me proud. Then I look at my children and realized that I am still creating. They are, in actuality, WIPs (a knitting/crochet acronym for Work-In-Progress).
So what happened?
To put it simply, I grew and took a different path in life. I cannot say for a fact that this is not where I want to be – it is too soon for that conclusion. All I can say is that I am growing and my journey is still not fully defined. Until then, lets see where it takes me.
|November 24, 2013||Posted by Mabel under Parenthood, Playtime Learning|
My kids have been surrounded by plants from a young age. I keep plants such as aloe vera, peace lilies and what-nots indoors and the kids have been taught to appreciate and care for these plants. With Eva, we moved a step earlier when she hit 3 years old. It was the summer holidays and we were at my mother-in-law’s place. She has a huge garden with tomatoes, trees and bushes so we got Eva to harvest some vegetables, flowers and yes, water the plants.
When we arrived in Penang, I decided to try my hand at planting vegetables. I thought it would be a fun way to let Eva see where food comes from and to appreciate how much work it takes to grow the vegetables that we eat every day. So apart from the usual home staples like aloe vera and peace lilies, we bought some planter boxes and pots to get started on our balcony garden.
We started with angled petolas (which didn’t do so well due to constant bug infestation so I removed them) and choy sum. As you can see above, the choy sam fared pretty well although growth was a little on the slow side since I went the organic route and only used hummus fertiliser, goat manure and some Epsom salt. We got our first harvest two months after sowing and germination. The bunch you see is from three plants – I lobbed off the top and kept the bottom most two leaves and roots in to see if I could get another round of veg from it. The planter is still pretty full and I’m starting to see some flowers being put out so another harvest might be in order soon.
Since the harvest, we have purchased another two (albeit smaller) planter boxes and this time, I have sowed some bok choy and Hong Kong choy sam seeds. Our ginger plant is doing quite well and we also decided to plant another small bulb as it was sprouting. I also have some mint going in a large pot! Eva is pretty excited about the garden and I’ll be getting her to help me fertilise and water these boxes every few days. Hehehehe.
|November 10, 2013||Posted by Mabel under Just Eva, Parenthood|
I’ve been toying with the idea of enrolling Eva for dance or music lessons for a while now. I remember her being very interested in dance as a toddler and then as she got older, well, it became more obvious that she had this love for dance.
That’s one of her performances during a school concert and just yesterday, when I sat down with her teacher for a year-end conference, I decided after that to start hunting for a dance school just for her. “She loves dancing and responds very well to instructions.” This is no mean feat, especially when you consider that she joined her class in August and didn’t have a long time to prepare for the performance.
I could explore the other option which is music and buy Akai MPD26 stuff but I think we’ll give music a go first and see how that works out.
*cross-posted on the main blog*
|October 6, 2013||Posted by Mabel under Just Eva, Just Noah, Parenthood, Videos Galore|
The past couple of weeks have been peppered with activities as the kids were quarantined after Noah’s brush with HFMD. They played together most of the time with Noah trying to get in on some of Eva-only activities like reading and Playdoh work.
So just to keep him (and poor Eva) happy (otherwise, he’d been bugging her non-stop), we got him his own book and Playdoh materials.
And oh, the biggest milestone ever arrived…
But it doesn’t mean that he’s ready to ditch crawling completely! The little tyke is still contented to hold someone’s finger and waddle his way around. Despite that, he has discovered the joys of walking up and down stairs, the escalator, travelator…I reckon he’ll be zooming about pretty soon. Just needs a little bit more courage and confidence. Hehehehe.
|August 23, 2013||Posted by Mabel under Parenthood, Thoughts & Emo-ness|
The photo above is of me (in red) doing an Indian dance during a school concert. I was around 11-12 years old at the time. Next to me was my best friend – she’s Indian, btw – and my two Malay classmates. Our choreographer, trainer and instructor was none other than our Indian math/class teacher. I don’t really remember how I got roped into the whole thing except that my best friend told me that they were performing for the school concert and that I should try it out. At that time, I was hanging out at her place quite often and sampling Indian food, being exposed to Indian culture so I thought why not? Turned out to be one very interesting and memorable experience.
I grew up in a multicultural environment. I studied in a multicultural environment both at primary, secondary and tertiery level – my good friend in college were Malay and Maldivian respectively. I worked with people from different backgrounds and ethnic groups – I had lunch with my Malay and Indian colleges. In fact, at one office, I ate more chapatis, dhaal and Malay mix rice than I did Chinese food!
When I moved to France and Switzerland, I said goodbye to this and settled for a predominantly white-European environment. While there are a myriad of different cultures and communities in these two countries, they are not as prominent as in Malaysia or obvious – perhaps because I live in a small town and not in the cities where it is highly diverse and dynamic. In France, Eva was one of the handful of kids who had immigrant parents (me la) – there was a child whose parents were from Madagascar, another one from Algeria, one from China but that was it. Traditional costumes are not commonplace – in fact, at a school carnival, Eva was the only one dressed in one (a Nyonya outfit).
A far cry from my experience where people wore Punjabi suits and baju kurung to work, baju Melayu during Hari Raya, cheongsam for Chinese New Year, saris and lenghas for Deepavali, etc. Credit must be given to my hubby for being utterly supportive and even persistent about me exposing the kids (and others back in Europe) to Malaysian culture and heritage. He would insist that I wear a kebaya to a friend’s wedding even though it would have been cheaper for me to just go out and get a regular dress. Even made Eva wear the same Nyonya outfit as well.
So when we moved back to Malaysia, I jumped at the opportunity to expose my children to the very same things that I grew up with – the different foods, culture, festive occasions and so forth. Her kindy is filled with not just expats but locals as well (in fact, locals outnumber the expats) and her teachers are locals too. We arrived just before Hari Raya and got a chance to look at the various Raya decorations at shops.
A few days ago, I got a note from the school stating that they would be having a Raya party and children were asked to come in a traditional outfit. I had missed the Raya sale and while I could settle for a normal baju kurung and baju Melayu for the kids, I went and got the kids a lengha/lehnga and punjabi/ali baba-styled outfits. As Eva paraded around in her lengha/lehnga, I am reminded of my own multicultural experiences.
If there is anything amazingly awesome about being in Malaysia, it is this – a Chinese girl can dressed up in a sari and perform an Indian dance with both Indian and Malay dancers.
*Cross posted on the baby blog*