My "Too Cute"s

Thursday, August 31, 2006


I have been trying to get Mika to go to the toilet. And there has been progress. However, progress is erratic as is my training. I only train him weekends at the moment and during this time, I take off his diaper completely and he wears underwear. There have been accidents of course but as these accidents happen in my house, it's okay. I'm on it.
During weekdays on the other hand, my Mom doesn't want to chance it so the diaper stays on. My dad is very particular about cleanliness and I don't think my Mom is up for cleaning up after Mika, anyway. However, we encourage him to tell us that he wants to use the toilet and we usually take him every hour, whether he does it or not. When it comes to peeing, Mika is okay. What he seems reluctant to do is to poop in the toiletbowl.
It was much easier to train Inez who by this age was going to the toilet already. I actually started her with doing the big business first. And the little business was a little harder to train. So, it's not a repeat success story in Mikael's case. He's very comfortable having poop in his diaper until it's all dried up and sticking to his butt. He doesn't inform anyone he has pooped. And if we take off his diaper for the day, he doesn't poop at all for that day. It's like he is scared to go it there or do it there, although to date, I think he has done it like 6 times and the toilet bowl! I promised him a big red fire truck if he uses the toilet for both businesses everyday. And that was ages ago!
I read with interest the ad in my sister's blog about Successful Potty Training in 3 days. I don't know if the testimonials are true and if it'll work as it costs a whopping RM65 to get the book and more if you order the potty training charts like USD49 inclusive of postage. I don't think it's international shipping though.
I don't know, I've tried everything I can think of including the treat chart and he's happy to get a sticker everytime he pees or poops but he doesn't seem too concerned if he loses one either when he doesn't.
Perhaps someone out there can share their tried and tested methods which hopefully gets Mika out of his diapers soon and share new ways to get Mika to overcome his fear of pooping in the toilet bowl.


"So what did you do today, Mika?"
I was curious. Inez has been going to school, what has my son been up to.
"I make Atuk laugh."
"You did? What did you do?"
" I say, Knock knock, who's there? Jok jok. Jok jok who? Jok jok you put me in a pancake and eat me!"
I don't know where he got it, maybe from Jojo's Circus but according to my Mom, that was not the reason why my dad laughed.

Apparently, my dad overheard Mika's conversation with my Mom:
Mika was telling my mom, "You are nice" but my Mom was doing something so there was no reaction from my Mom. So, Mika said again.
Mika: Nana, I say you are nice. Are you nice?
Mom: I am nice. It's very nice of you to say that I am nice.
Mika: I am nice and handsome.

My dad was doing something at that time and he couldn't help laughing.


To date, Inez has been going to kindy for 3 days. The first day she was sent, she seemed okay and when asked, she answered that school was fine. But when I asked her if she wanted to go to school again the next day, she said, "No."
"Why, Inez, don't you want to go to school?"
No reply.
"What don't you like about school?"
"It's too noisy!"
That was an unexpected answer. Inez never had a problem with noise before. Maybe it's because she's the one creating all that ruckus. However, I asked her a few times that night and the answer was always a firm 'No.'
"What did you learn today?"
"In my book."
She did some Maths equations, colouring and writing practice.
Day2: Mom just told her that she was going to school. There was no fuss. The little girl simply just got ready for school. That second day, I picked her from school and went to meet the principal and was told that my Inez was talkative (that she talked like a grown-up) and appeared okay in class (that she was not weepy or anything). However, she didn't appear to mix or interact well with the other kids her age; she interacted better with adults. She still had yet to make friends. She seemed excited to leave school.
On the way home, in order to encourage her to talk with the other kids, I told her that the teacher liked her very much and thought that she spoke very well, like a big woman and that the teacher wanted her to talk more with the other kids so that they can all talk very well like her. She seemed pleased with the idea of being a teacher's helper.
Day 3: Again went to school without fuss. Upon her return, when asked what she had learned, she replied, "Nothing." Oh dear!
Mimi, Inez's cousin, went for her first day of school on this day and came back very excited. They pretended to be chickens laying eggs. My sister told my mom that when she left school, she said, "Goodbye friends!" My Inez didn't even give school a backward glance.
She still did not seem to enjoy school. So we told her that since she didn't like school, she didn't have to go to school the next day which was 31 Aug. Hah! She actually looked quite pleased.
I found out from her teacher that Inez went to her to inform her that the class was too noisy and she wanted to get away from the noise. So Inez did some colouring and some exercises in the teacher's office for half an hour and the teacher sent her back to join the rest the kids. In Mandarin class, apparently she stayed in for about 10 minutes. Her teacher is still trying to get her to mingle with the other kids and adapt to her new environment.
Well, that will take time. All this while, she has only been in the company of adults and her brother and cousins: Mimi and Naqib. I tried to have playdates for her but she was so shy and she clung to me so hard as if she wanted to go back into my womb. The only one time she was not shy was when my friend, Fatin's son, Enver was even shyer than Inez: he hid behind the chair, he hid under the table, behind his mom that my daughter found it so funny that she lost her shyness. And they played very well together (my Inez and Mika & Fatin's Enver and Abdullah). This however, is a one time occurance.
Another successful playdate was with my friend Hasbe's son Luqman. Luqman is actually Mika's friend. Mika would say, "Luqman is my friend and Naqib is my friend." And whenever he came to play with Mika, Inez would join in and God! they play the silliest things like knocking some blocks off the arm of our sofa. The laughter was infectious, though.
There are several other instances, but they are all mainly one time occurances. We'll just have to give Inez and school a chance. If she does not pick up Mandarin, I guess I'll just have to put her elsewhere.

Monday, August 28, 2006


Guess what? I made Snow Skin Mooncake! (I wish I took some pix.) When I sent Inez for her last Art Class on Saturday the 26th, I went to Lee Bakers House at Bukit Sekilau to learn how to make the snow skin mooncake. I dragged my friend Mona along and we split the cost and the finished product. RM38 made about 12 - 13 mooncakes. If I'd known it was this easy to make, I wouldn't have spent a fortune every year for the past God knows how long buying these snow skin mooncakes. Of course this was cheating coz I didn't have to make my own filling. Imagine if I had to do that, then I'd still be spending a fortune on snow skin mooncakes. But still, it's just as good as the store bought ones! Oh yeah, you have to spend another RM10 for the mould. I bought the plastic one, which I think is more hygenic, compared to the traditional wooden kind, though I might be wrong.

Anyway, the flour for the skin is pre-packed (In the bakery, it's just labelled as bing pei flour which I think means snow skin flour, correct me if I am wrong) and prepared (because I think it's some flour and icing sugar all mixed already AND apparently the flour you use for rolling up the mooncake so that the mooncake doesn't stick to mould has been steamed first , and then left to dry for a day and then sieved).

All I had to do was mix it up with vegetable shortening that was already provided, use 150ml icy cold water with a teaspoonful of the pandan/ green tea essence (there are so many other funny flavours like banana, strawberry etc.) then knead and roll it. And it's ready to be weighed. For the big sized mooncakes, you need exactly 60 gms and the rest is all filling about 88 gms. To get the weight of the filling you need to roll some dough into a ball and put it in the mould and take it out and weigh it. In my case, the dough was 148gm. 148gm minus 60gm (skin) is the weight of the filling.

So once you get the weight, you divide the dough into 60gm balls and divide the filling and roll them into balls. If you use the store bought kind, roll until you get a shiny oily sheen. Then, flatten the skin in circular motion, either with your palm or a rolling pin between 2 plastic. Then take one ball of filling and cover it with the skin (NOT put the filling on the skin-you don't want air in your mooncake). Then, seal up dough to cover the filling completely. Next, pat on a little of the flour specially set aside for just before putting it into the mould, so that it doesn't stick in your mould.

Put it in the mould and make sure you knock the mould on every side so that the pattern comes out clearly on your mooncake. And your mooncake is ready to be eaten.

The first day you have to keep in refrigerated without covering it, but after that, you need to close the box or container so that your mooncakes lasts longer.

Even though I bought the lotus filling with less sugar, it was still quite sweet. I was told that if it was less sweet, the filling wouldn't last as long.

Here I have found some mooncake recipes for the baked variety and the snow skin variety, for
those who would like to try it without cheating like me. :)

Anyway, this 23rd, if I am not busy, I will go to the bakery again to learn the baked variety.

Aboard the MV DOULUS

Yesterday was the last day the MV Doulus would be docked at the Kuantan Port. So my husband and I thought, "Why not, it's not every day a ship two years younger than the Titanic docks in would be an experience for the kids."
Hahahahahaha my kids weren't even excited going up the ship until they saw all the books. So many books and most, mainly for kids and Christians. I spent nearly RM200 on books. Having committed myself to sending Inez to Mandarin school, I bought a Hanyu (?) Pinyin Puzzle, tiny Mandarin board books, and books of common Mandarin verbs as well as a Phonics poster (English), Multiplication Table and Telling the Time poster. If I had more money, I'd buy recipe books. I kept stealing glances at the yummylicious pictures of FOOD that graced the covers of the recipe books. I also bought some work related books...which I hope to read...soon, real sooooooon.
My hubby was like, "You know what Ju, this is like a huge bookstore minus the air-cond," and I gotta agree with him. If sweat was drinkable, collectively, we'd probably have two teacupsful.
So, my lesson learnt was, "What you think would be interesting for your kids, might actually be not...and you might end up spending money you didn't plan on spending." So there goes the big pot I wanted to buy for my garden, and my lunch money for the next ten days. :-)

Friday, August 25, 2006


Hmm, to have or not have a maid...that is always the question.

One main concern is that children will become spoiled or lazy since a maid is always around to pick up after them, but that is not necessarily the case. When I was around 11 to hey, I don’t remember how long…3 years? 4 years? (Ja, help me out here!), we had a maid because my mom worked and she wanted someone to cook for us, help out with the cleaning and washing. She was a local maid and she worked weekdays only and she was not a live-in. She was like family. Every Raya, she would come and bring us ketupat and raya goodies even though she was not working for us anymore. But we've not seen her for a long time since we moved from Kelantan. That's like 7 years ago.

The point I'd like to make is that even though we had a maid, Mom always maid sure that we helped her clean-up our rooms and we had chores to do as well. Mom said the maid was not our slave and she was hired to assist us. And during weekends, my sis and I did the housework and helped with the cooking. Having a maid did not make us spoiled kids, and when it was my turn to have a maid, we tried to make sure that the kids helped out in tidying up their toys and that they put their milk bottles in the sink and that minded their Ps and Qs.

We ourselves didn't like the idea of getting another maid because of what happened to my sis; but we learnt that if you wanted a maid,
1. the maid has to be supervised. If the maid is not supervised, then the maid can simply leave the house, or bring a man into the house (that was what my sister's maid did. On top of that, she was also a thief, and she hit my niece, who was 2 at that time, on her head, so that you can't see the bruises. Looking back, no wonder poor Mimi didn't like her and didn't want to follow her.)
2. remember to treat the maid the way you would like to be treated if you were a maid (i.e., treat the maid firmly and fairly), after all, a maid comes all the way here to work, it is a foreign land and we are all she has.
3. remember that some maids don't know their own strength, and that they don't really know the value of money (i.e. the value of your things), and as a result, a lot of things can be damaged by them (On her first day, my maid broke some small part of our Electrolux vacuum cleaner). 4.remember that maids are not entirely honest. Even though they did do it, and right before your very eyes too...they'd say 'No!'. It's like their defence mechanism. They are afraid that they'll get a scolding or worse!
5. remember that miscommunication can happen because although sometimes the words are the same, the meaning is different, and you don't have to go far to discover this. In kedah, the word for biscuit is roti, in Kelantanese, kelmarin means yesterday and kelmarin dulu means the day before vs. KL malay in which semalam means yesterday and kelmarin means the day before etc. For Kelantanese semalam or malam semalam means last night. (I think)
6. remember that the maid may do work at a superficial level only (i.e., you'll find out after they left that they don't sweep where they can't see)

Anyway, the reason why we got a maid was to help out my mom who offered to take care of her four grandkids (2 are mine and 2 are my sister's) and with the kids to occupy her, there was no way she could do other things, including going to the loo.

So it has been two years, there are pros and cons of course but luckily for us, she was not the gossipy type, or the type that brought men into the house. She was okay with the kids but she loved to watch the TV and when the TV was on, her attention drifted to the TV. Also when we gave her specific instructions to never leave the baby unattended, we found that sometimes she did, to go to wash dishes in the kitchen (which we think or thought, could wait). She loves to cook, though some dishes were weird because of strange combinations of vegetables etc. and was good at remembering directions (which was good coz I am really bad at it!)

Since my sis has finished her studies, her kids are back with her and my kids are older now and my eldest will be going to kindy soon, my mom says she's okay without a maid so we did not renew our maid's contract.

And we're doing fine! So get a maid only if it's totally necessary and let there be supervision if possible.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Is my Inez lacking?

I guess I am a laid back mom. Either that, I am clueless and oblivious to what's going on out there. FYI, we forgot to register Inez for school. It's more like we weren't aware we had to already. In our minds, Inez is still 4 going on 5 because she was born in December. Then, one day, we saw those registration banners hanging from a fence of one of the schools and it was then we realised we had to register our first-born.
Thankfully, the lady at the school was very understanding. It tuned out that she too had forgotten to register her child. So now, Inez is registered for school. Seriously, I don't know how she'll cope. I've been going into some parenting forums and from my reading, I've come to realise that Inez is seriously lacking academically. Apparently, some parents of 5 year olds and 6 year olds have kids that are so academically advanced that they are moving on to learning to write paragraphs and learning grammar! Should I be worried?
I am a little worried. At the moment my Inez is homeschooled (this means my mom, who takes care of her teaches her simple words like Mummy, Daddy, cat, dog, monkey, donkey, bear, and colours and some simple addition and subtraction. Her 'classes' are only on weekdays and is about 1 hour. :) Sometimes, she gives all sorts of excuses and falls asleep on the job.) Maybe in some parents' eyes, she's a failure at 5 coz she can't read independently yet and her writing isn't that nice BUT Inez can hulahoop (2 hoops at a time), she can do puzzles (over 100 pieces; 500 pieces is still too much for her) and she can draw and colour quite well.
I had thought of sending her to kindergarten earlier but after second thoughts, I sent her for Art classes instead because she loves to draw and colour. Then maybe later, I'll send her for drama lessons, and music lessons, depending on what she likes. I really don't want her to be bored at school later on. I dunno. Would she be bored at school if she already knows how to read and write and spell? I am really curious.
Anyway, since the school I registered her for is a Mandarin school, I will be sending her to a Chinese kindy next month or maybe next year. So, I am scouting for good kindies in Kuantan at the moment.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Guess what? I came home and saw my kids on their bikes. Key word: bikes. What a wonderful sight!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Tale of the Two Bikes

Yesterday, Nana bought a new bike. Apparently, the kids have been fighting over the existing bike that they have. There are already two but one has been outgrown. So usually the lil' ones will take turns cycling the black bike which is much faster. But when it's Inez's turn, Mika will usually refuse to come off the bike
"Not chet, Inez, " he will say.
So my mom thought if she got another bike, they'll each have a bike and be happy. hahahaha....right!
Now nobody seems to want to ride the old bike, both preferring the new blue and red bike which has a bell and a basket. With Mika screaming and Inez whining, yesterday's outing ended with their father taking away both bikes. However, they soon forgot about the bikes coz they realised they were at the beach. Both came home wet and happy.

Ol' Yeller

Guess what? Mika has started yelling in order to get his way. It's a new behaviour and I don't know where he gets it coz he doesn't go to school. Turns out it's a variation of Inez's screams. While Mika yells, "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrggghhhhhhhhhhhh!" like a crazy monster, Inez will yell, "Mooooooooooooooooooooooooooommmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!! OR Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaadddyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!" if our attention is not on her, which can sometimes be annoying and rude too. Will usually get her to ask us nicely or properly or we won't entertain her.
Mika, on the other hand will turn his yell into a loud cry. Irritates the *toots* out of me, and I will usually put him in the corner. Or give him a light smack on the mouth. Just two days ago, we were out in the garden and Mika likes to play with the small spade to dig up the sand; Inez wanted it too. And he was practically yelling for the whole neighbourhood to hear. I warned him that if i heard another yell, he'd go into the corner. He did and I marched over to him and carried him back into the house. He started crying and we ignored him. Suddenly, I heard a little voice say, "I'm sorry, Mommy." Boy seems repentant. I went to him, hugged him, and told him he shouldn't scream. The next day, he was at it again. I truly hope it's a phase that will pass very soon coz the sound is annoyingly loud.

Monday, August 07, 2006


When Inez turned 3, she asked for a doctor’s kit. She was adamant that she wanted nothing but to be a doctor. We went to a few places and finally settled on one from Toys‘R’Us. It is a red hard bag with a stethoscope, a syringe, two bottles of medication, a thermometer, torchlight, doctor’s glasses among other things, and that long-handled mirror thingy that a doctor would use to check your throat.
Now my son, Mikael is turning three. It’s like history repeating itself. He seems very keen on becoming a doctor too, although if you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up, he‘d say a firefighter. My daughter would chirp in and say that her dream job is to be a gardener! Haha, whatever! I don’t really care what they be when they grow up as long as they contribute to society and they’re the best in their chosen field.
It’s been nearly two years and the doctor’s kit is still ‘all there’ including the broken syringe (Mika broke it); and it’s really fun to watch the children playing doctor.Last night, I was the ‘patient’ and Mika, in his oversized plastic blue doctor’s glasses, came to me with the torchlight and long handled coin sized mirror. He wanted to check me.
“Open your mouth, Mommy.”
“Say ‘Aaaah’”
Dr. Mika seemed happy and announced, “Yes, got teeth.” I couldn’t help but laugh. Silly doctor! And he proceeded to be funnier. He checked my right ear and told me that I had the hiccups!Apparently he seemed to be the teeth and hiccup expert `coz Inez came down with the same thing! We both had TEETH and HICCUPS!


It’s amazing! My skinny daughter can still fit inside her GRACO swing! My husband bought it when he was in the States. She never cared for it much when she was little. Now she’s going five and the swing can still hold her weight of 13 kgs. Even her brother Mikael is heavier.
I dunno. Methinks sometimes, she’s going to be vegetarian. Some parents have problems getting their children to eat vegetables but I don’t. She opens her mouth willingly for carrots and broccoli which she calls ‘trees’ by the way. If I want her to eat some meat, chicken for example. I have to get her either McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets or Satay. Even so, she has her mood, whether she eats one or half or two or more. It’d be nice to know what other moms are sneaking into their children’s diet to get their fussy children to eat.
She’s okay with Mac and Cheese but my son especially loves it and goes through the mac and cheese phase when he wants to eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
She’s not that crazy like him.
Sometimes, I have to read out stories or make up my own to get her to eat. One page, one spoonful of rice. It’s a challenge. The Treat Chart is helping. I got the idea from the first issue of UK's SUPERNANNY magazine. I encourage all parents to buy her book (I'm sure it's in all major bookstores) or the magazines - though I don’t know if the SUPERNANNY magazines are available here in Malaysia. I got to know of her when I was watching OPRAH. (That was back when I was not working. Uhm, that was my favourite past time. OPRAH's very informative and entertaining, as well.) Anyway, SUPERNANNY’s advice is very practical and some of my friends have tried the treat chart and it’s working for them. The mag features the SUPERNANNY’s success stories and it’s really nice to know we aren’t alone with whatever challenges we have. However, you have to be consistent. I guess the treat chart will be my next post.


We've just discovered a new pizza place! Forget about Pizza Hut or Domino's or Shakey's. Eat Canadian Pizza! It's cheap too. It's buy one pizza and get the other free. You can find it at Bangsar, TTDI and Subang Jaya.My daughter Inez (she'll be 5 in December) is the skinniest little child you'll ever get the chance to meet and she's skinny by choice `coz she's soooooo fussy about eating. My mom calls her a 'robot' because she can go without eating and yet still be very active throughout the day.She looks at food as though it's poison and I have tried various methods to get her to eat: from coaxing to threatening and even bribing. There's a TREAT CHART on my wall now. Everytime she eats, she gets to put up a sticker which she herself drew or coloured. When the chart is full of stickers, she gets a treat (could be anything, even a day out watching the BIG TV [i.e. going for a movie if you want to translate that into adult language], or even a toothbrush!)Anyway, she's very into Canadian Pizza: the one with 3 different types of cheese as topping! She calls it the super duper delicious yummy pizza. "Mom can I have the super duper delicious yummy pizza? The one with the cheese on it?"Even for adults, the pizza is delicious. I haven't tried every topping yet. Just the cheese one and Greek Classic, which is my husband's favourite. It has minced meat and capsicum and whole lot of tomato sauce and cheese! And the crust isn't that thick. Mmmmmmm, my mouth is watering already. Alas! we can only get it when we are in KL. At least we know what we are getting when we are there.