Monday, October 31, 2005

Mommy's Time Out

Every mother needs a timeout. No, not the kind we give to disobedient children. The kind that allows the mother to temporarily escape from the chaos of daily family life. The kind that is also widely known as "Me Time." Mothers are like a bank account. If you keep withdrawing funds without replenishing, the account will eventually close down. Yes, yes, I see all you mothers reading this nodding your heads in agreement. I hear ya fellow moomies.

Anyway, I was reading of Min's getaway adventure to Bangkok and wondered if I would ever get a chance to do that. AND if I did, would I do it. Sometimes we mothers are kinda hard to figure out. When we are at home with the screaming kids, we wish to get away. When we have a chance to get away, we fret that we will miss them too much. Then we worry if DH and kids can live without us? We wish them to be independant but we also like to think we are indispensable. Ok, psycho mothers is not today's topic. I was actually wondering what mothers do to freshen up their spirits. Well, below is a few (very few) things I do:

  1. Chilling out at a bookstore wishfully looking at books I know I don't have time to read.
  2. Curling up in bed with some girly or hobby magazine. At least I will have the satisfaction of reading it cover to cover.
  3. Listening to Jon Schmidt. What a fantastic, awesome piano player. Discovered him during my uni days. Unfortunately lost a couple of his CD's during my move home. But now found his Sound Box where I can listen for free! My favorite is a track called "All Of Me". Very uplifting and envigorating. You can feel the intensity of his playing. You have to listen to it.
  4. Going out for supper e.g. roti canai, icy dessert etc....
  5. "Makan" (Eat) out with good friends, especially if it involves seafood like Marmite Crabs. Yummmmm. But at this time I will also take eating banana leaf rice or nasi kandar.

Here are some things that I found or wish to do when I overcome my "psycho" syndrome:

  1. Something artsy-fartsy like going to MPO or a live play.
  2. I found out today that there is actually a bookmeet thingy in KL.
  3. Facials, massage, jacuzzi etc....
  4. Girls only retreat.
  5. Line dancing

Ok, so what does everybody else do? Please share-share.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Am I Too Young To Be A Geek Mommy?

"I am a geek!" This is the phrase that my DH has been teaching my little Damus. Can't blame him though as Damus has been kinda hooked on the computer. This little 2 year old can maneuver himself around his kiddy websites. Quite amusing to see him clicking, singing and sometimes giggling away. Karina also started on the computer at around 2 years old. Anyway, it brought to my attention a new set of challenge that parents have these days. Read my article on this topic of computers and children over at The Parenting Weblog.

Below are links to some interesting reading:

1. So, Are Computers Good for Children?
Lowell Monke is featured in this article. He is a professor at Wittenberg University in Ohio. This is the "why you shouldn't" part of the debate.

2. Six Myths about Young Children & Computers
Taken from the book: Young Children & Computers, A Parent's Survival Guide (published in February, 1998). Find out the truth to statements such as:
i. Computers will make my child smarter.
ii. Sitting close to a computer screen will damage my child's eyes.
iii. Computers give off harmful radiation.
iv. My child will become less social by using the computer.
v. My child should understand how computers work.
vi. Making my child computer literate now will better prepare her for the future.

3. Stretching is important for Healthy Computing!
This is more for the parents. Exercises to do when you find yourself spending too much time on the computer.

4 . Computers in a child's world
Article by Brenda Casey, an Early Years Advisor. She writes how computers can be used for good.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Are You A Happy Parent?

I have been invited by my former secondary school to be the guest of honor during their "Quality Day for Cocuricular Affairs and Student Affairs". They requested that I come to inspire and motivate their students to strive for achievement in cocuricular activities seeing that I've had many successes during my golfing days.

Anyway, this is not my topic for today but it sets the background for it. You see, for me to attend the function, I would have to stay overnight at my mom's and have her drive me there the next morning. As I was making arrangements with my mom, she brought up a couple of questions that sort of surprised me. It also made me a little upset as those questions represent the viewpoint of many others I have talked to. Here is a gist of our conversation (may not be the exact words but sums up what happened):

Mom: But you're not playing golf anymore (referring to why they would invite me).
Me: Yeah, but I was successful when I did.
Mom: Do you think you are successful now? (referring to the fact that all I do is stay at home to care for my kids).
Me: Yes I think I am successful now. The fact that I stopped my golf does not erase what I have accomplished in the past.

Isn't it sad that many people think that being a SAHP (Stay at Home Parent) is a death sentence to a person's talents, education and success? It grieves me even more to hear a woman, especially one who is a mother, adopt that kind of thinking. Even worse is when they try to convince others that they are right. I have had many people ask me when I was returning to golf? Or why am I wasting my talent staying at home? I also get comments such as "You could be making so much money on the LPGA. Just look at so-and-so."
It is this sort of thinking and comments that give birth to many unhappy parents.

How can we (SAHP) raise above this negativity and senseless talk? Believe in the following instead:
  1. Parenting is NOT for no-brainers. It not only requires much talent and education, it also gives opportunities to create more talent and education that cannot be offered or found even in the best educational insititutions. Caring for another being is not a job to be taken lightly.
  2. No regrets. Do not look backwards and ponder on the "what ifs". Look forward and focus on the "what can be."
  3. Success is measured in more than one way. Believe that what you are doing is worth more than money, gold, fame, power etc.... You are investing in people and relationships which is of far greater worth.
  4. Occasional set backs do not make you a failure. It does not erase past achievements and do not define who you are. There was a time in my life I would feel like such a loser whenever I lost a tournament or had a bad round of golf. I felt pressured as I believe I didn't live up to other people's expectations. It was then that my father taught me a very valuable lesson. He reminded me that a bad day or a bad tournament does not make me a lesser person. I was still me with titles to my name and opportunities to do better.
    And so it is with being a SAHP. We have our bad days and our challenges. People may not think very highly of what we do. BUT it does not make us a lesser person. You are still you with all your past achievements, potentials and a future that is still very bright.
  5. There is a time and season for everything. This is the chapter in your life that spells "FAMILY". There is nothing wrong with that and nothing to be ashamed of. Plus, it is not the last chapter in your life.
  6. "What happens in your house is more important than what happens in the White House" - Barbara Bush.
  7. "No other success can compensate for failure in the home" - David O. McKay

People, we need more happy parents in this world. Stop the negative talk, the belittling and the put downs. I say with much conviction that I am a happy parent! Don't try to convince me otherwise.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Mommy Monster Is Back!

This anger management thingy is really tough to do. I'm like a drug addict trying to be rehabilitated but get's drawn back into the nasty stuff. There were plenty of bad vibes the last couple of days - screaming, threatenings, cynical remarks, anger etc.... Yech! As I'm talking with a raised voice I can hear a smaller voice inside warning me. BUT it's difficult to stop a bullet train.
Anyway, finally had a counseling session with my DH. No, he is no Freud with a couch but he gave very good insights. Hmmm... when did he travel to the higher plane?

Basically we came to this solution: Ai Lian needs to get rid of the spirit of contention by learning to have more CHARITY.
Not the give-away-money kind of charity, but the pure-love-of-Jesus kind of charity. The one that spells unconditional love, patience, selfless, forgiving etc....

Since becoming a parent I've been reading "how-to" parenting books. Tried to read another one the last few nights but was unsuccessful. Mainly because I felt like a hypocrite and it would prove useless. Useless? Yeah, it's like trying to improve your golf game. You need to work on your weaknesses and not your strengths to get better. I can score an "A" in the theories of parenting but am currently flunking in the practical exam.

My DH is right. If I'm going to win this battle, it's got to be directed by a higher law - CHARITY. All the theories, tips and tricks I read and conjure up ain't gonna work if I don't have the key that governs it all.

So today I decided I was going to do the right thing. BUT before noon, I was back to being Monster Mom. Getting my daughter to finish her homework tends to do that to me. Anyway, I have blogged before on how to make this preschool homework less stressful for parents. So how come I'm not taking my own medicine? Well, bad habits die hard but they can be killed. Charity... I tell ya, that's the weapon to use.
Remembering about getting rid of contention, I took some time out and asked myself:

1. "Is she the enemy?" - NO. So stop talking like she is.
2. "What should your intention be?" - Helping. Teaching. Stop trying to teach her a lesson.
3. "What are you doing to help?" - Nothing at the moment. I'm just making things worse.
4. "What are you going to do?" - Show her I care. Make sure she FEELS that care. Use positive words.

So looking at my daughter with new eyes and a changed heart, I asked her to sit on my lap and we were going to do the homework TOGETHER. At first she was very negative. I told myself that I must not blame her for that as I was the contributing factor to that "wall of defense."

To cut the story short, I manage to get my daughter to finish her homework in a very short time, without complaining, and she had fun. All I did was say, "ready, set, go 1, 2, 3, 4...." As she wrote, I counted. And the fun was to see the different lengths of time she took to complete one word. And she thought it was fun to beat the previous timings. So she wrote faster and faster. See! Charity works.

Man, it's going to be an uphill battle for me to shed myself of a bad habit and replace it with CHARITY. I know there will be times I'm going to slide backwards. And when I do I will go back to the picture I have of Jesus with this saying "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it."

Monday, October 17, 2005

Don't Kill Me With Criticism

My poor son is down with Hand, Foot and Mouth disease (HFM). The house has been rather quiet since yesterday. My bouncy toddler has lost all appetite whatsoever. So far he's only had a few spoonsful of nestum and a little bit of steamed egg. Trying to get him hydrated is also a losing battle for me. The only thing he is willing to drink is his chocolate milk. And thank goodness he is a die-hard breastfeeding toddler (I never thought I would say such a thing after many failed attempts at weaning.) At least I know he is getting some breastmilk.

Talking about breastfeeding my toddler brings me to the topic of the importance of complimenting children. How does the two relate? Well, it so happened that I was talking to my mother about my son's condition. And I mentioned about how glad I was that he at least was able to take in some breastmilk. My feelings of gladness was immediately killed with this comment "Aiyah, your breastmilk is not nutritious anymore. Why don't you give him some formula milk?" Well, thanks for the vote of confidence mom.
This is not the first time I'm dished out criticism when looking for support. Yeah it's good intentions on her part, but it didn't make me feel good. It's like opening a present only to find worms inside.

I realized lately that I tend to get very contentious with my mom. Like when I found myself getting defensive with her followup calls today suggesting how to help Damus e.g. boil barley water and get a certain chinese medicine for ulcers. Good intentions? Definately. So why the ill feelings? Because it wasn't what I wanted to hear. What I needed to hear was something like "Tell me what you're doing....That's good Lian. I can see you're doing the best you can. It is tough. He's in good hands."

Anyway, this got me thinking, please don't let me make the same mistake with my children. As parents we have a tendency to think we were put on this planet to solve all our children's problems. Yeah, to a certain extend we do have that responsibility. But while we are busy playing Mommy/Daddy-Fix-It, we must not neglect to support and compliment. Don't you agree that the many times we pour our troubles, fears, and anxieties on someone else is to seek for empathy and support and not so much to seek for solutions?

We have to remember that diseases, illnesses, accidents and natural disasters are not the only killers in this world. Words are just as powerful as they effect the human soul. Let us not kill our children with our criticism. So if any of you see me playing Ms-Fix-It, kick me and remind me to do the more important, Ms-Listen-Support-and-Compliment.

Friday, October 14, 2005

How Come It's Not Funny When It Happens To Me?

Yesterday was a busy day running to the store and later to pasar malam to buy groceries. When I finally got to rest, my body crashed. So it turned out to be a computer-less night for me. Instead I grabbed off my shelf a Baby Blue's Scrapbook "Motherhood Is Not For Wimps". I love BABY BLUEScomic stips. It's so hilarious to read about Zoe's and Hammie's antics. Parents will feel an instant connection to the ups and downs of this McPherson family. In a way, it's a general representation of our parenting world.

For example, there was this strip where the father is trying to pick a new pair of glasses. He tries one on which he likes. He then calls for his kids (QC - quality control) who runs and jumps on him. Now wearing a distorted mangled pair of glasses, he turns back to the sales person to ask "Do you have anything in a sturdier frame?"
(This is so similar to what I went through about a year back. Instead of donning a lightweight frameless pair of glasses which made me look good, I had to opt for a thick, sturdy, "amah" looking pair. Looking at my old mangled pair, the sales person quickly convinced me I was making the right decision.)

Here's another example. Daryl comes home to find a very tired mommy. He asks what's wrong and she says that they just finished Zoe's homework and it took two and a half hours. Daryl is shocked that it takes that long. Mom explains "Thirty minutes of homework, and two hours of trying to get her to sit still." In the background is Zoe up on the sofa yelling, "Wanna' see me do a somersault from up here?"
(I'm sure many of you are nodding your head going "yea, been there, done that.")

After having my "feel good" time, I wondered to myself "So clever to laugh at this comic family, how come I don't laugh when my kids do the same things to me?" Humor seems to have ran out the door the moment toddlerhood walked in. I really take my hats off to parents who can face "geram" (angry) moments with a laugh and smile instead of the usual "Grrrrrr.... yell,yell, yadda, yadda, yadda."
But I believe it's important to have humor in our parenting. Like the good Dr. Larry Keefauver says, "don't major in the minors." It's true isn't it? If we react to minor things like it's something major, then what are we going to do when we actually have something major? And like the aedes mosquito, who we just learned have built tolerances to survive harsher conditions, our children will also built immunities against our daily outbursts. They won't be able to distinguish between the minors and the majors and we would have lost our effectiveness as parents.

So parents, let's seek out our long hidden humorous side. That's another reason why I love to read BABY BLUES as it reminds me that parenting CAN be humorous. I am in the process of trying to obtain copies of several Baby Blues Comic Books to be available on my bookshop. I will inform you guys if it happens. It would make a very nice gift for a friend or even for yourself as it is such a stress buster. In the meantime, you can access the Baby Blues website where they have an archive of their comic strips.

In the meantime here's a picture of Damus and his powder-capade. One of those rare moments I actually took time to consider the humour in the situation.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Creating Memories

First of all, just to report what happened after my little talks with the "Tai Kah Che" (meaning Big Sister, connotes a female gang leader) yesterday. IT WORKED ... but for how long? (Wah, why so pessimistic Ai Lian?). Karina's teacher reported that she was on a super good behavior today. She asked me in Cantonese "Cha man lei sang hei ah?" Meaning "Did you give her a shelling yesterday?" Heheheh. No lah. Talking nice works sometimes you know.

Ok, on to other stuff. Tried making some kuih bahulu today (recepi courtesy of Lia). Turned out ok except it wasn't the kind that melts in your mouth. I think the recepi called for too many eggs (sorry Lia, don't mean to be critisizing here).
Anyway, I just want to say I have a great family. Even though my baking isn't up to standard sometimes, they would eat like I was the greatest baker in the world. I asked Karina how was the "kuih". Her reply was "Yummy Mommy, mmmmmm... very good" (rubbing her tummy and giving me a look that could pass for an advertisement act.) So clever to make Mommy's heart soar.

Well, baking was not even in my vocabulary growing up. My mom didn't spend much time in the kitchen. I only started to bake after getting married. First it was to please my husband. Then after having children, motive changed to creating lasting memories for them. After reading other blogger's memes on "childhood memories related to food", there is no doubt that food can initiate lasting memories in a person. I know Min and Mumsgather will agree on this as their food blogs will make you nostalgic and drool at the same time.
I want my children to grow up remembering the wonderful aroma of bread, cakes, muffins etc... filling the house. I want them to remember that mom always took time to make a special birthday cake just for them. The other thing would be to let them get more involved in the baking (I have to improve in this area). I want them to remember the feeling of working side by side with their mom.

Other things DH and I do to create memories:
  • Reading together every night (read Strickland Gillilan's poem over at my bookshop). This is where we grab the opportunity to teach them important lessons in life. I want them to also remember those bonding moments when their mom would give them her full attention and really listen to what they have to say, no matter how silly and ridiculous the conversation may be.
  • Family outings. I'm sure everyone has memories on family outings. Of course we cannot always plan to go somewhere fantastic every week. So simple things like a walk in the park should not be underestimated.
  • Pasar malam (night market). I'm sure Karina will remember her weekly trips to the pasar malam. It's a mother-daughter thing. Damus comes along occasionally, but only when I have someone else to keep an eye on him. Even he knows where the goody stalls are located.
  • Family Home Evening. This is our once a week family time to discuss important matters and also to have fun together. I believe this time will be most important during their teenage years but the habit and idea of "family" must be cultivated when they are young.
  • Daddy play time. This is when the kiddos get to wrestle with daddy and play horsie too. You've got to do this when they are still small. Their "small" time is so very short. Before you know it, they are already so big and heavy. Then Daddy-play-time will have to morph into sport-time.
  • Family scripture reading and family prayers. We want them to remember that their parents had God in their lives and were greatly blessed. We want them to remember where to turn to in times of adversity.

No matter what we do, we are already creating memories in the lives of our children. The question would be if we are creating good memories, bad memories, lasting memories or short-term memories. After putting so much effort into my parenting role, I hope in the end I accomplish my goal of creating joy in their lives. I hope when my children are old and wrinkled (like where I am headed), they will have many good memories to look back upon and many good feelings to strive upon. That they will be happy and grateful to have had a mother like me. I know all this "wishful thinking" is in the palm of my hands now. It is in the small decisions I make e.g. to play with my child or to spend a few more minutes working, to talk with my child or to watch t.v. etc....

So I guess my thought for today would be... take time to evaluate where you are headed down memory lane. Will it be a lane where the sun shines, the birds sing and pretty flowers grow by the wayside? Or will it be a stony path, with grey clouds and "lalang" growing by the wayside?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

You're Not A Bully, Are You Dear?

Picked up Karina from preschool today and her teacher reported her little "kungfu" moment with a boy smaller size than her. Seems she had one elbow at his neck and the other hand ready to strike. Oh boy! This mother sure has much work to do. So digging into my "bag of tricks", this is what I did:

  1. "Karina, what happened?"
    It's only fair to get the whole story right? But that didn't get me anywhere. She already knew she had done something wrong, so her way out was to say "Nothing." Then she used the distraction technique by talking about what all her other friends did wrong that day.
  2. "Karina, did you fight? Were you angry at that boy?"
    This is my way of saying I know what you did so admit it. Let's try to acknowledge some feelings here. What did I get? Silence. Then more distraction methods as she carries on by telling me how her other friends were fighting and making lots of noise.
  3. "Karina, not matter what, you CANNOT hurt other people ok?"
    This is my attempt to advise and remind her of our rules on proper conduct.
  4. "Daddy, guess what your girl did in school today?"
    Yes, Daddy needs to be aware of what is happening in their children's life. What did he do? Made her write a whole page of "I will not hurt anyone." He would have made her write some more but I vetoed the idea. He believes that by writing pages and pages of the same thing, it will improve her memory. Does this work?
  5. "Karina, is it the good guys or bad guys that hurt other people?
    My attempt at using role models and the power of reasoning. She acknowledged that it was the bad guys that usually hurt other people and they either end up dead or in jail. She also reassured me that she wants to be a good guy.
  6. "Karina, remember yesterday we talked about the Plan of Salvation? Remember at judgement day what will happen? Heavenly Father will open His book and look at all the good things and bad things that we've done. You want which list to be longer, the good list or bad list?
    My attempt to have the "higher law" direct all future conduct.
  7. "So Karina, will you say sorry to the boy tomorrow?"
    My attempt at teaching her about restitution.
  8. This one I have yet to do but will definately do it. Read to her the Joy Berry book about Bullies. That book is pretty good as it takes into consideration the bully and the one being bullied. It also describes what a bully does and highlights the appropriate actions.

That's all I have in my bag of tricks. I don't know what else to do except keep on teaching about Christlike qualities. Hopefully my lessons don't sound like blah, blah, blah to her. We shall see if there is improvement. In the meantime, any other ideas?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Don't Talk Back!

Karina has learned the exasperating art of talking back. I don't need to teach her the concept of "opposites", she is already a pro at that. She has also learned the technique of threatening. Here are some examples:

(Mom observing Karina doing homework)
Mom: Karina, I don't think that is right. You've written it wrongly.
Karina: Noooo. It's correct. Who say it's wrong?
Mom: Look at how teacher writes it. That line must be longer mah.
Karina: Mom, just let me be (obviously a line she adopted from our reading of Green Eggs and Ham).

Mom: Karina look at this mess. Please clean it up.
Karina: Clean, clean, clean. Everyday must clean. Hoiyo! I have no time already.
Mom: No time for what? (scratching head).

What is a parent to do? Manners and compliance is what every parent strives for. It can really hit high-strung nerves when a child decides to use rebellious talk. Well, I contemplated on the matter and came up with a plan during last night's end-of-the-day evaluations with my husband (yes, I'm am actually doing what I said I would do in my Anger Management posting).

  1. Acknowledge our role in the development of this habit. Recognize the fact that we throw a lot of negativity her way e.g. "Karina don't", "no Karina," "Karina why you...."
    So, the plan is to sing praises before belting out criticism. It's not healthy for them to live in a negative world; it does nothing for the child's self esteem. What it does is teaches them to be on the defensive and to put up a wall to counter the attacks. We have to put more effort in how we say things. Like what Mary Poppins say "A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, the medicine go down, the medicine go down...."
  2. Acknowledge her feelings. This is something we haven't been doing too well. We get too caught up in our own emotions and focus more on letting her know ANGRY we are. She obviously has learned to do the same thing. So the plan is to acknowledge her feelings and also pay more attention on how we express ourselves. Not just to lash out but use words to explain why we are angry. For example:

    Don't say: "Stop fighting both of you. If not I will throw the both of you out of this house."
    Say: "Stop fighting. It upsets me that you both can't get along. The noise is giving me a headache. Furthermore, you are going to hurt each other if you fight like that. I don't want you getting hurt. Karina, I know you are very angry now. Let's see how you can show your anger in a better way and then let's find a solution to this."
  3. Stop the labelling. Phrases like "you always" and "you never" seem to tumble out automatically. In our fits of anger we also tend to say things like "naughty boy," "lazy girl" and "cry baby." But I noticed that my children are uncomfortable with that kind of branding and that's why they fight back. Children have an innate desire to be good and they will act according to what you label them to be. The following was an experiment I did:

    (Karina is throwing a fit)
    Mom: Stop it please. Just look at youself jumping up and down. You are acting like a monster.
    Karina: Don't say that. You say bad words (and carries on with her wailing and jumping).

    Mom: Come on, you're my good girl right?
    Karina: Nods her head.
    Mom: Little princesses don't jump up and down. They speak properly. Can you do that?
    Karina: (Stops throwing fits and calms down).
  4. End the day by highlighting all the things they did well. The family always gets together for storytime, scripture reading and family prayer before saying good nights. From today onwards one more thing shall be added... feel good time. As humans we naturally want to dwell on the negatives even though it doesn't do us any good. Take for example a typical conversation after a golf game (all golfers will identify with this). What do golfers talk about? Not about the 30 foot birdie putt they sank but rather the 3 foot putt they missed.
    Well, I'm opting for the better choice. I'm going to celebrate the little victories with my children rather then dwell on their failures.

Ok, I pray I will have the strength and self discipline to carry out my plan. Let's see if it works. If anyone has any other ideas, please feel free to share.

Here are some articles I found:
1. Attitude and Back Talk (pdf.file)
2. What Do You Do With Children Who Talks Back by Dr. Linda Koh

Friday, October 07, 2005

Attachment Parenting. That's What They Call It These Days.

Yesterday was the first time I came across the term "Attachment Parenting". Immediately the image of my children clinging onto my legs wailing "don't leave me" came to my mind. I wondered, do we really want our children to be MORE attached to us?
As it turns out, that is not what Attachment Parenting is about. Apparently it's what a majority of us are already doing. The following are just some highlights of Attachment Parenting:
  1. Breastfeeding and allowing for natural weaning.
  2. Carrying baby around wherever and whenever (sometimes it may feel like forever). The Attached Parent doesn't believe that this practice will spoil the child. On the other hand they believe the child will benefit from the closeness. Some call this "babywearing" and it advocates the sling.
  3. Co-sleeping with baby.
  4. Attached parents understand the magnitude of the mother's role in the home. In other words, they are proud to be a SAHM or strive to be a SAHM. If possible, they would try not to pass the baton of taking care of their children to others.

These are just a few things on the list. But the bottomline about Attachment Parenting is being in tune with the child. It's a natural thing. Unfortunately we have been brainwashed into thinking we must train a child to be independent right from the crib. We have been taught to "push away" our kids so we can have a life. Hence I guess the use of the word "Attachment." It's in direct opposition "Separation". It's not about bringing up our children so they depend on us, but rather a way of parenting that allows deep bonds to develop and be the foundation of our children's life. It's flexible and adaptable to each individual child.

Well, after learning what Attachment Parenting is about, I declare myself an Attached Parent. Are you one too?

If you want to know more about Attachment Parenting, here are some articles and links of interest.

  1. Attachment Parenting:The Components of a Nurturing, Instinctive Parenting Style (by Keri Baker)
  2. What is Attachment Parenting?
  3. What Attachment Parenting Is = The 7 Baby B's
  4. Books on Attachment Parenting

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Meme: 5 Childhood Memories That Relate To Food

I've been tagged by Min and so I will be a good friend and comply. But first of all, pardon my ignorance... What the heck is a MEME?????
Ok, now for my 5 childhood memories related to food.
  1. Hor Fun Konno (in Seremban). My parents are divorced so dad only comes visit during the weekends. One of the places we would go breakfast is the Hor Fun place. Really really nice as it's very soft and I haven't tasted anything like it here in PJ. It's served with Char Siu. This shop use to be in the middle of town. On days when my friends and I had to stay back in school for extra activities, this is where we would go for lunch. So, not only memories of time with dad but also memories of school buddies too.
  2. Curry Mee at the Asia Restaurant in Senawang, Seremban. Dad use to take the family here for breakfast before heading on to the golf course. I use to think why anyone would want to start the day with curry? But this place is very famous and often crowded. It's curry mee with chicken, tau hoo pok, and see ham (cockles). Now that I'm married to Andy (the chilli king), I've learned to appreciate this excellent dish. Back then I would see my family enjoy it and I opt for something safer like a "konno" (dry kicap noodles) or toast bread.
  3. Seremban's famous Hakka Mee. There is one shop located in the market upstairs and another outside the market. The shop owners are related (brothers). But the shop outside you have to be very, very patient. They take quite a while to get your orders done. But the noodles are softer (maybe that's why it takes longer). This is still a favorite in my family. Sometimes we get Mom to "ta pau" packets and packets of it for us.
  4. Fukien Chow Ee Meen with an order of fishball and a bowl of ice jelly thingy drink. Also located in the market upstairs. This was the usual lunch order after morning school (Form 4-5 days).
  5. Marmite Crabs in Seremban. Can't remember the name of the open air restaurant but it's somewhere near the market. Yum yum! These crabs are absolutely delish. When I would come home from the States for summer break, this is one of the definite places we would go so I could catch up on good ol' Malaysian seafood.

I'm sure you noticed by now that all the dishes above are hawker foods found in Seremban. Yeah, that was my life -- eating out. So actually my 5 memories is actually 1 big memory of hawker food. Yes, life not so colourful growing up in Seremban. Sigh! But now you know there are many wonderful things to eat in Seremban.

Ok, time to tag 5 other people. Wah, such a tall order for me. I just started blogging not long ago and don't have that many blog friends leh. So sorry if I don't know you but tag you.

The baton has been passed on from:

  1. Oswego Tea
  2. Masak-masak
  3. Funky Cookies
  4. Thinking Aloud
  5. Tips and Tricks to Happy Parenting

The following tagged to pass on the baton:

  1. Tyler
  2. Mumsgather
  3. Shamira
  4. Ros
  5. Manju

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

How Do You Handle Your Monster Days? Anger Management for Parents.

Are you tired of screaming at your children? I am. I know I have to stop. I'm beginning to see signs of anger MISmanagement in my children and I hate to say it may be because of my bad modelling...and my husband's too. Yea, didn't think I was going to take the rap all by myself did ya? It's tough to handle the rising emotions especially when you're tired and stressed. It's like trying to stop a bullet train with your bare hands. It's so much easier to just let it go, let it all out. But like everything else in life, easy is not the way to go. Actually, I handle myself better when the children are very, very young (like below 3 years old). Expectations are less. I realize my older daughter gets more of "monster mommy" than her younger brother. It's the expectations; I expect her to know better, know more, do more, be more and be better. You think I'm asking for too much? Yup, sometimes it does get unfair. So, here's another step towards better, happier parenting.

Lim Ai Lian is going to:

1. Stop using threats. Stop focusing on what my kids WON'T get if they misbehave. Rather focus on what they WILL get when they obey. For example:

  • Negative: If you don't pick up your toys I will throw them all away. (So easy to say this hor? The words just tumble out without thinking.)
  • Positive: If you do pick up your toys, we will have such a nice home. People won't fall down and your toys will thank you for sending them home. (Sounds so much nicer but takes so much effort and planning.)

Isn't it unfortunate that the negative is effortless and the positive requires work.

2. Breathe deeply when I start to feel the anger rising. Must try distraction method e.g. time out myself, count sheep, recite scripture (Psalm 15:1) etc.... Probably need husband's help on this one. This strategy has been very difficult for me to do as I tend to react before I can catch myself. Then it feels so good to let it out I want to keep going. You ever go through that? But I know it can be done. Take for instance, when in a crowded place and my kid is making a fuss, I don't blow my top. I am able to keep my tone down. Why?

  • Image. Don't want people to see my ugly side. Yeah, at least I know it's ugly.
  • Don't want to create a scene and draw more attention.
  • Unconsciously you worry about people judging badly about you e.g. "Wah, what a horrible mother. How can she do or say such thing?" Rather you want to act in a way that have people thinking "She's a good mother. Look how well she handled that annoying kid."

Anyway, the fact that I can do it when others are observing means I can also do it when no one is observing.

3. Focus on problem solving. Stop the blaming. Remember to contribute to the solution and not the problem.

4. Daily evaluation and planning. I have already made a pack with my husband that we are going to sit down every night and evaluate the day. What were some things we handled well? What are some things we need to do better? If a certain problem crops up again, what is our plan? What are we going to say? Did our plan work? Do we need to change the plan? I know some of you are familiar with the following definition of INSANITY = DOING THE SAME THING BUT EXPECTING DIFFERENT RESULTS. I don't plan to stay in my insanity.

So there you have it. Ai Lian's anger management plan. By the way, here are some very interesting links on the topic.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Parent's Food For Thought

"If I had my child to raise all over again,
I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I'd finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging".

~Diane Loomans

What a beautiful poem. Definately an "alarm clock" to remind me of all the things I need to improve on. I believe as parents, the toughest thing for us to do is to STOP being too busy for our kids. Fortunately, many of us still have the opportunity to do things right with our children. Let us not wait till our twilight years to ask "If I had my child to raise all over again...." Rather, let's ask ourselves this question every night that we may make tomorrow a more enjoyable day for both parents and children.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Breastfeeding Toddlers

Breastfeeding is a topic I hold dear to my heart. Breaking free from a generation of formula milk, more and more people this day and age are beginning to be converted to this practise. As a mother takes on the challenges of breastfeeding, the goal is usually to last at least 6 months. Unfortunately, the benefits of breastfeeding toddlers is less known and under encouraged. Recently I came across an article in entitled "Price of Premature Weaning". Here is a statement that we should all take to heart:

The World Health Organisation (WHO) currently recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a child's life and continued breastfeeding with adequate complementary foods up to two years or beyond.

Another part of the article I would like to highlight:

"Gribble's study, which was presented at the Australian Breastfeeding Association's international conference in Hobart this week, found that when children were asked, nearly all said they breastfed because they loved it.
"Children made comments like: 'I like cuddling Mummy, it's my treat', or breastmilk tastes 'as good as chocolate' and 'better than ice-cream'," she says."

The idea of breastfeeding toddlers is still branded as a negative thing. The following are some discouraging remarks I've heard with regards to my efforts in breastfeeding my toddler:

  • "So big boy already, still breastfeeding? Shame, shame"
  • "You still got milk ah?"
  • "I don't think your milk is nutritious anymore."

If you are breastfeeding a toddler, I'm sure there are many more derogatory remarks you can add to the list. Anyway, my reason for writing today is to cheer on these mothers who are fighting the odds. Let us dwell on the wonderful feeling of cuddling our toddlers and know we are STILL giving them the best. When the days get tough and people get you down, try to hear the voice of the little child who said:

  • "I like cuddling Mummy, it's my treat"
  • "Breastmilk tastes as good as chocolate and better than ice-cream"

Ai Lian

Breastfeeding and health benefits as published in the aforementioned article:


  1. Protective effect against gastrointestinal infection
  2. Lower incidence of otitis media ('glue ear' or ear infection)
  3. Reduced risk of respiratory infections
  4. Protective against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  5. Decreased chance of being overweight or obese
  6. Breastfeeding duration linked to intelligence
  7. Protective against some risk factors for cardiovascular disease
  8. Lower risk of coeliac disease
  9. Lower risk of developing some childhood cancers


  1. Reduced risk of breast cancer, endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer
  2. Lower risk of fracture (hip, vertebrae & humerus) -- an effect that increases with each child
  3. Lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis
  4. Greater amount of weight loss and no return of weight after weaning

Source: Report on Breastfeeding in NSW 2004 -- NSW Centre for Public Health Nutrition