Sunday, August 23, 2009

Something has happened....

Something has happened.......
and I will be away for 1 week plus.
Hopefully will catch some bloggers from Ipoh.
Since that is where I will be.

See you all again on the 2nd Sept.

Monday, August 17, 2009

"I will not cry"

We were walking in the shopping complex. Drove my car that evening since it was going to rain (my car gets to be parked in the porch since it is newer!). As usual we forgot to transfer the stroller to my car.

Christopher started acting up pulling my hand and dragging his feet and jumping each step. I could see the crowd behind us was gathering and hissing (if only they could horn, they would have BLASTED!) So, I pulled him one side and spoke sternly to him.

In an instance, he yanked my hand too hard. He was balancing on the balls of his own feet. His hand was a little oily. And he fell.....the 3-4 inches on his back and knocked the back of his head.

He had a total look of surprise.

I had let go. Mummy let him go!!!

(Not on purpose, or course. His hand was too oily for me to grasp.)

What trust a child has in us. And how we reduce it overtime.
****
Christopher is at a crying-to-show-temper stage. If we do not give in to what he wants or if he gets angry or upset, he will throw a crying fit. Of which will stop magically once his needs are met.

Of course I don't condone to his crying to get his needs met. And many a time he has sat in a corner crying for the duration it takes him to stop. And many a time I have stood at a lonely aisle in the shopping centre standing with him until he stops crying.

It is not a pleasant job. People do stare when we are outdoors. They must wonder why I am not doing anything. But I do really stand my ground. The lesson must be learnt consistently no matter where we are.

Of course, if it happens at home, he still has to complete whatever task he didn't complete before he started crying. And he still will not get that junk food he wanted to eat. But yes, sometimes after his crying when he has hugged me and followed after my "sorry mummy", he gets to watch the show of his choice.

(I am really gald I followed through on this lesson earlier. It is paying off.)

If outdoors, he just gets a drink of water and a 'change-the-subject-distract-him' talk after that.

Everytime when he cries, reasoning doesn't help. He will not or cannot listen. Giving in will be worse. Asking him to stop right there and then is impossible.

But yesterday I found a new way.

He was crying as usual becuase he wanted to watch Barney. It was night time. When at home, night time means no more DVD/VCD shows for him.
It wasn't a hysterical or loud cry. More a frustrating demanding whine. I was asking him why he was crying. He should know the rule by now that night time means no more TV for him.

When he stopped, I asked him to repeat after me.

"I"....."I".
"will"....."will".
"NOT"....."not".
"cry"....."cry".

He looked at me. We continued our business.

The next time it happened, some 1 hour later, I looked at him and told him why he could not eat an orange at 10 pm. And that I will give it to him tommorrow.

Then I said...

"Christopher, repeat after me"

"I"....."I".
"will"....."will".
"NOT'....."not".
"cry"......"cry".

He stopped crying. And I could repeat my reasoning to him. I gave him some raisins instead.

We repeated the sentence some 3-4 times that night. He stopped everytime he completed the sentence.

I am hoping this method will run its course till he learns to verbalise his feelings (that is still very much work in progress).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nut(s) over mooncake

I'm a little excited.

Partly because my colleague is already raving over Yong Sheng's White Lotus Paste Moon Cake (claims to be sugar free). She was saying that in one sitting, she could eat half this mooncake coz it was not that sweet and not oily!


I kinda like mooncakes, perhaps because it only comes out once a year. And you really can't eat alot, so usually in total, I only manage a quarter of 2-3 varieties.

Since I started working, I make it a point to get mooncakes for my parents every year. I used to get it from a shop in Old Town Ipoh (can't remember the name at this moment). The shop has been in existence for many generations and this the mooncake recipie is years old.

The reason why I only get it from this shop is because the Nuts Mooncake has the right amount of meat, nuts and 'tung kua' (candied melon) to suit my dad's taste. And my mum is not a big fan of mooncake so she goes for the traditional, homemade, cheaper kind.

This year, my excitement is intensified by the fact that my little one is not too little to participate. I wanted to get him a lantern but my mum 'begged' me to give her something FUN to buy. Hai....

We will get some mooncake, play with his lantern(s) and hopefully spot the moon too!

This year Mooncake Festival falls on the 3rd October. And my parents will be in KL 2 weeks before that coz of the multiple weddings and school closure during Raya.

So....this means we will nto be able to buy the mooncakes from Ipoh anymore! Anyone know where to get GOOD nut mooncakes in KL? I heard there is a stall (already in their 3rd generation) in a small town called "Hakk Tan San" (black carbon hill) somewhere on the outskirts of KL that sells heavenly mooncakes. Any idea? Else where do you get your mooncake?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Set an amount to love yourself

Ever since I was young, I have been taught to save.

My mum told me that in the early years, every last penny of their pay went to petrol and food. Yet as the years went by and my father got promoted, we got to learn the piano and take mandarin classes. We did not have any holidays save for the ones during festive seasons to visit my grandparents.

As I grew up, I learnt to save more than I was used to spending. We brought food from home and a tumbler of water so there was no need to buy food at the school canteen. In fact, thinking back, I don't remember ever spending much in school. Most of our weekly allowance was put in the bank.

When I was about to go to college, dad opened a joint savings account with me. I held the ATM/teller card and he held the book. Even then, I only allowed myself RM70 per week for food and any other miscellanous things I needed. I found I could survive on RM50.

When I was in Australia, I applied the same concept. Making withdrawals only once a week for the amount needed.

The friends I hanged out with were not party goers nor lavish spenders, so we coexisted well enough. And when they went to expensive restaurants, I tended to stay home instead. Not totally becuase I did not want to spend but also because I prefered to curl up at home with my book.

You can imagine I did well enough in my studies! :)

Till today, I have no problems saving. Thank God for my mum's training. I still live by portioning out my expenditure instead of putting aside savings. Force savings don't mean much to me.

In fact when I started working, my dad used to tell me that I need to learn how to spend on myself. The strange thing about my whole family is that we are alright spending on someone else within the family but not on ourselves.

I have realised that the concept of "loving yourself" does not work very well with us. And that can be a bad thing sometimes. Lack of love for yourself could result in unmet expectations (when you expect it from the other person instead) as well as emotional and physical tiredness (when you don't learn to relax).

My colleague and I were discussing something the other day. She was thinking of joining a club, membership fee about RM100 per month so that she could take the kids swimming during the weekend, as a recreational activity. However, her hubby suggested that instead of joining a club and finding that you may not even be able to go some months, why not just book into a hotel every 2-3 months and really utilise the hotel's (cleaner and better) facilities then? Meaning they will allocate RM1,200 per year for hotel (min 4 star) visits with the kids, to swim, relax and enjoy themselves.

So, here is my take. From now on, as long as I am working, maybe I will allocate RM1k per year to really love myself (i.e stay in a hotel).

Say only....don't know if I can do it! hahaha.....

How about you? Are you a spender or a saver? How do you love yourself?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Brownie and Low-fat Lemon Yogurt Cake

2 weeks ago....baked brownies. Not becuase I wanted to bake brownies, but because I had some condensed milk in the fridge that I wanted to use up.

As usual, I only vaguely followed the recipie. Bad habit!
It was hard to find this recipie since I had limited ingredients - i.e. I didn't have butter and didn't have baking soda.
Picture first

Ingredients

  • 2 cups choco graham crumbs (which I ommitted)
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I used my going to expire 3 in 1 milo)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk ( I used 3/5 of a can)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2cups semisweet choc chips (I ommitted)

Steps

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8x8" baking pan with nonstick foil.
  • In a large bowl, whisk graham cracker crumbs, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
  • In a smaller bowl, whisk condensed milk, egg and vanilla extract.
  • Add milk mixture to dry, stirring until combined.
  • Fold in 1 cup choco chips. Pour into pan and smoothen
  • Bake 20-25 min until center comes out clean with toothpick.
  • Spread i cup choc chips on top while it is still hot.
  • Cover with foil for 5 min. Spread choc chip to form frosting.
  • Cut into bars to serve.

Well....mine was cut into bars alright. Sis said it was GREAT but then she was fasting and eating only occasionally. Reckon all food tastes really good at this stage. Hubby says it was nicest when it was still warm from the oven....eaten with vanilla ice cream....mmmm...

Reckon anything with chocolate, even though it was only Milo would taste alright. Even boyboy ate a little bit.

BUT....I tell you this other cake I baked last weekend was a KILLER! It was polished up in 2 days!!! It helped that my parents were in town and eating it!! :) But seriously, this cake is a KEEPER!!! Even I LOVE IT!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt (I used the plain Nestle kind)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 whole large egg and 3 large egg white
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup veg oil

Glaze (I omitted)

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Limoncello (optional)

Steps

  • Preheat oven to 350F. LIne loaf tin with parchment paper.
  • Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in one bowl.
  • Mix yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla in another bigger bowl.
  • Add dry ingredients to wet and whisk together.
  • Fold veg oil into batter
  • Pour into pan and bake 50min-1 hour
  • Cool for 10 min
  • Combine glaze and pour on warm cake

The bottom part of the cake was a bit too moist....but this was because I was trying to be 'smart' and added the juice of 1 lemon as well. Reason being I didn't have a zest grater and grating 1 lemon zest was an accident prone act for me!

Also, I used my conventional oven for the first time instead of my toaster oven, which I had used for my brownies earlier. Was too lazy to take the instruction book out of the box earlier!!! Hai.....And now since I know how to use it, have decided to be more ambitious. Bought my baking soda already since alot of recipies call for it.

Have to visit Merryn to see how to stop the top part of the cake from breaking now. And next....going to bake some cookies. Really need to start following recipies and not being too clever!!! Have to practice enough so that next year, I can bake some CNY cookies!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Last night....

Sigh....another crying session tonight.

Christopher is at the stage where he is using his tears to get what he wants. Well....he has always done that actually but it is becoming irritatingly prominent of late.

I cannot give in when he starts to cry since it would only promote bad behaviour. I cannot discipline him when he cries since it would be useless anyway.

So, I let him cry it out. And try to reach a compromise.

It usually end up in he having to pick up all his toys first before he gets that biscuit or yogurt drink that he wanted. Or a "pleezzz" before he gets the show he wants or my laptop.

Last night, he wanted to watch some Youtubes on my laptop. As usual he started whinning in the whole process of asking me for it and waiting for me to start up the laptop.

(I hate whinning!)

So, I would usually be telling him to keep quiet and WAIT ! And he will follow after me...."wait, wait, wait" and keep quiet for a while.

Anyway....getting back to last night, I forgot last minute that I had some bills to pay so since I was booted up, I decided to pay one bill first.


OF COURSE.....then the crying started when he saw I was not going into Google Search. I told him to wait....mummy has to do one thing first then we will see his Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes Youtube.

He went on and on "I want" and pointed to his head and toes.
And I went on and on telling him to Wait.
At last when I was done, sick and tired of his whinning, crying and "I want"s, I told him to say "please mummy".

In between sobs he said "pleezzz". No mummy.
So, I repeated to him that I wanted him to say "please mummy".
Again it was only a "pleezzz".


Sigh....gosh....to give in or not to give in?
Maybe under other circumstances, I would have given in. But I didn't last night.


Asked him to call "mummy"......followed by a "no no no".
I put the laptop one side and reasoned with him. Told him to call me again. Got more cries and whinning and "I want"s.
In the end, I picked up my crying child and sat him on my lap. Then I reasoned with him and rocked him.
Tired out due to the crying, he closed his eyes and fell asleep.

Was the lesson learnt? Should I have not insisted? Did he go to bed a sad boy last night? Mummy certainly did.

At what age do they start remembering unhappy incidents from their childhood? What could I have done differently? Maybe not paid my bill last night.
****
Note : This actually happened 2 nights ago. The lesson was learnt and learnt very well. Last night when he asked again, he straight away said "Mummy, pleezzz".

Two Sides of the Coin

Ever since he was 1, I have been teaching my son to pray. We pray before eating and at bedtime. It came quite suddenly when he realised that to pray, one must bow their head, clasp their hands together, close their eyes and don't move.

Of course, the 'don't move' part is too much of an expectation....and the close eyes bit now lasts maybe for 1 second. But other than that, he does clasp his hands and bow his head.

And the wonderful thing is the loud AMEN he proclaims at the end. Reckon he does it because of the beaming smile and shuffle of hair I give him when he does say AMEN.

Sounds all good and cheery?

Last Sunday we were at my inlaws place and my little ignorant child stood in front of the Chinese altar and told my mother inlaw to pray pray! And then he went through the notions of bowing head and clasping hand. Then he started to sing......

Of course my mother inlaw was happy and made quite a big deal out of it. As for me.....well....

So, there.
Two sides to the coin.
Never in my life been more accurately used.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A short update

Just a short update on what Christopher has been up to in school.
Whenever it is drawing time, he would always request for the sun, start, moon, rain, thunder and umbrella.
And if not the weather, he would request for piano, guitar, drum.
***
Other than that, the latest nursery ryhme that he has learnt is
'I'm a Little Teapot' and would insist that I sing it over and over again while he does the actions.
***
He has learnt to call my inlaws and my parents now.
Follows us when we ask him to ponounce words.
But when we put it all together, he laughs and then shys away.
***
Knows extremely well the name "kakak" and would call "kakak" after he does his business and when he wants to wash his hands, even in the house! Maybe that is why the kakak (Malay term for sister) at school loves him so much! hmmm......
***
Current favourite food = pasta. And of course soup!
He can even take pasta in herbal soup! Hmmm.....

***
Also loves to watch performances, judging from our last Sunday Church Anniversary. He sat there quietly and even pointed out a few things to us and asked us to watch when we started talking. Can put his finger to his lips and say "Sshhhhh...." ! Hmmmm.....
***

Other than that, coming of age...very cheeky.....very demanding.....tiring me out. And I am gaining weight eating chocs and ice cream to curb the stress! :)