February 2010


In each family, there is one very unpopular character that a child is afraid of, for reasons only known to him/her.  The family member who possesses such criteria is my youngest brother, Ridwan.  From the very beginning, Iris is terrified of him despite his efforts to be nice to her.  Around him, the niece acts like a pigeon. You can see but you cannot hold – so it seems.  She only listens to her unc while the rest of us are literally under her thumb.

My brother naturally doesn’t talk much, does his own things and often holds an indifferent attitude towards Iris. Perhaps his job as a medical officer requires him to work more and talk less, get his job done quickly so that he can treat other patients, therefore less time for personal contact.

The indifferent uncle.

With the fear to her unc, I introduced the “Uncle says…” doctrine.  Whatever uncle says, she will adhere without protest.  It worked well indeed – perhaps too well for her own good. Following are the incidents established under the doctrine:

Incident 1 – I have been rocking her hammock for quite a while but Iris just refused to sleep. The round eyes were actively scanning her surrounding till I got this idea of selling my bro’s name. “Uncle says mimi...” was all I said and she quickly shut her eyes. Ten good minutes later, she drifted into slumber land.

Iris will never voluntarily sit next to Uncle Ah B in any occassion... Hehe.

I guess she feels so much safer in Atuk's arms.

Incident 2 – Iris was bouncing up and down the sofa while we were watching 2012. Uncle casually said “Iris don’t…” and she dissolved into tears.  Took me a while to calm her down and when she finally did, we paid attention to the movie until she finally decided to join her popo in the kitchen an hour later.

Incident 3 – When it comes to milk, her consumption is often very little – 4 ounces tops and her standard is 2 ounces. That night, she stopped after 1 ounce and Ridwan decided to monitor her like a hawk. His gigantic structure was towering over her, so she had no choice but to drain her milk especially when uncle said “Nenen”. Little did I realize that she was still forcing them down even when she was couldn’t stomach it anymore and the next thing I knew, she threw up and the content included among others, the ketupat eaten from our visit to Mr. Leong’s one hour earlier.  After that incident, I was convinced that she is petrified of Ridwan. On the other hand, my bro decided to be more “gentle” on her, so much so that he refused to give out commands from then onwards.

Incident 4 – Ridwan was cuddling Tattoo and persuaded his niece to stroke the stressed cat.  If she agreed to it, the distance between them is Tattoo’s body width and that will be closest gap between them.  Analyze the situation: she is terrified of him, yet Tattoo is the only thing that she wanted to touch most. After a calculated decision, she chose to abandon Tattoo – which guaranteed reasonable distance between her and the not so popular uncle.  See, at a very young age, she has absorbed the concept of cost and benefit analysis.

Until the next entry, chioau!

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Amanda is 2 years older than Iris and she lives next door.  Every morning she calls out to “Irish” and my girl will respond with only the last syllable of her name “..da!”  Amanda is taken care by her grandma, whom I believe at times, worries about how I handle my daughter’s needs and wants.  For instance, Iris wants a dip in her bath tub on a hot sunny day at the washing area (located at the back), I do let her and she can play like crazy in the tub only for about half an hour before applying psychological blackmail on her (I threaten to lock her out if she refused to leave the tub. Works every time!).  Nenek, on the other hand, doesn’t allow Amanda to have that kind of excitement for she is afraid that her only grandchild will fall sick.  She asked me once, “Tidak demamkah Airis kalau main air macam tu?” (Won’t she fall sick playing water like that?).  From my experience, quite unlikely, Nenek.

Amanda at the background. Before this picture was taken, she complained to her grandma that Iris took her hp (notice one blue item in her hand?). Hehe, kids!

Talking about getting ill, I am very thankful that Iris is often under the weather because of teething, and not because of other reasons.  Of recent count, she fell ill once after a jab from the clinic, flu (that one time because she caught it from Mat when she was 4 months old and it lasted for 2 weeks!) and some fake measles because it is time to get a dose of it?  Whenever I sensed a sign of flu, she is given liquid piriton immediately to prevent the sniffles from evolving into full blown flu which often coupled with cough – which to my strong suspicion that she won’t like it a bit.  Neither do I.

p/s: After her 41 degrees condition several months back, the experienced me remained calm when her fever hit 39 degrees last week (teething again, arrrgghh!).  It seems that those teeth are the real culprit all the time.  Therefore, when it comes to something external like a dip in the tub or spraying water like mad; mummy tends to be more flexible.

Anything to make her occupied so that mummy can grab a quick lunch (usually over the weekend) while watching her princess wasting good resources.  Thank God nowadays it is raining cats and dogs in Samarahan.

Whoa… it’s 2:28am. Need to join Iris in bed.

Till the next entry, Happy new year peeps… This goes out to Apek @ Arang Road: “Gong xi gong xi gong xi ni…”

Came home early today and played with my girl while watching Shaun the Sheep.  It is Thursday and her nanny needs to visit her kids at the boarding school.  She has three kids staying away from home and the youngest is 10 years of age.  Usually at this time of the week, she gathers their dirty clothes and other stuffs so that when they go home on Friday, they have small loads to bring with. Hence, on Thursdays I make it a point to reach home at least by 5:00pm so that she can leave early and therefore will be able to spend more time with her children.

With her house across river, she takes the ferry every morning, then hops on a bus to get to my place.  Since she can’t catch the 4:30pm bus in the evening because of my working hours, I offer to send her back to the ferry point in Muara Tuang everyday.  Iris loves the evening outings so I guess, the intention serves two purposes.

We were waiting for Kak Halimah to get ready and when she was all set to go, Iris intended something mischievous and her nanny raised her hand. My daughter immediately uttered “Kit ah… Kit…” (sakit = painful).  Suspecting something, I asked if Iris was “punished” today and kakak said yes.  I wanted details.  Apparently Iris asked for water and when she was given a cupful, she poured the content and smeared the water all over the kitchen floor. OK, reasonable enough for a smack on her hand.  She showed me exactly where the nanny hit her. I was impressed.  “Ini budak sudah pandai report…”

The water pouring incident sounded extremely familiar, most probably because she did that under my nose as well.  Once she purposely toppled a cup full of Milo onto the rattan mat,  sometimes soup and if fortunate, it is only diluted Ribena! Iris is often punished (smack on her hand) with each successful attempts, and every time without fail she responded with a cry which lasted for about 3 minutes, later coming to me as if asking for forgiveness. Since there is no other person in the house, I have to play both “good” and “bad” parents.  Perhaps that is why her penalties doesn’t really sink in.  Ideally, each parent should adopt a role. One punish, the other explains where the kid went wrong.

If smacking her tiny arm is one of the many ways to discipline her, then by all means, her nanny has all the right to do so. After all, it is for her own good.  I don’t mind her being strong headed for the right reason  – but most importantly she needs to learn how to be respectful to others.  Once this quality is achieved, the others will fall in place nicely. Melentur buluh biarlah dari rebungnya.

One example of respect: Salam with Papa before he heads back to Sri Aman.

“Shaun the Sheep” is a production of Disney’s channel and as recent as last weekend, Iris fell in love with it.  I could see that she enjoyed the herd more than Little Einsteins, maybe because she can relate the characters better with the things that attracts her  daily.  For instance there is a dog assigned to guard the herd and she calls out “uk-uk” when she sees it because the character reminds her of the short fluffy hairball across the street.

The brown "uk-uk" on the left.

Almost everyday she asks for “Me-Mek” while shoving me ASTRO remote control. Unfortunately the series is aired twice daily and her mummy is no wizard who can make the herd appear instantly on TV, hence she has to wait until 4.30pm.  And between 4.30 – 5.00pm, she is quiet and putting her utmost attention to the show, and the routine only started yesterday.

100% concentration

Two nights ago, I saw the replay at 10.30pm and I was inclined to wake her up since her effort to look for “Me-Mek” went futile for 2 days in a row.  Fortunately I didn’t have to disrupt her sleep  as she somehow woke up looking for her bantal busuk (stinky pillow). I immediately carried her to the living room. She had a great time watching her “Me-Mek” despite almost “drifted away” several times during commercial breaks but managed to open her eyes again once Shaun was back on screen.

Perhaps I should go to the store and get the DVD for her? Or maybe I should just let her wait – just to train her a little bit about patience and time discipline, no?

I am a thrift spender.  I am so thrifty that I often borrow the faculty’s camera for work cum leisure and the camera will always in my possession for months.  During the last raya haji, I brought the camera back to Sri Aman, and the memory stored the footage we captured at Damai Puri.  Iris like the footage a lot.  It was about her running around in her blue swimming attire, and it never bore her despite playing it over and over again.

That first night in Sri Aman, she couldn’t sleep and grew very cranky. Cried a lot and I was afraid that she would wake the whole street.  Our attempts to pacify her went futile until I shoved her the digital camera and she handled the gadget like one shouldn’t. The next thing I know, the zoom lense got jammed halfway and I couldn’t get it back in no matter how much I pressed the on/off button.

There were two options, to repair and if that doesn’t work, I’ll need to replace the whole unit. However, with the faculty’s procedure I couldn’t simply buy another camera and replace it because it involves inventory and stuffs.  I kept my fingers crossed that the first alternative didn’t fail me.  Brought it to Sony Service Center and the repair cost was RM250.00, which I accepted gladly, and a week later, it was all fixed.  As good as it was never jammed.

That incident taught me a lesson not to pinjam-pinjam things anymore.  If you can afford it, get yourself one.  Whatever that happen to the camera later, if you sent it for fixing although it might cost you RM1000, it is still yours.  Even if you have to replace it, the item is still yours.

With that in mind, I decided to invest in something more advanced that the model I usually handle, but less complicated than a DSLR.  Hence, I purchased a Sony HX1, a bridge that falls in between a compact and a DSLR.  It comes with sweeping technology that allows me to capture panoramic images with a glide.  Sweeeeeet.

My new found love: HX1

Iris is forbidden to lay her hands on my recent investment.  “Can see, no touch” is the best expression and she is currently in terms with the policy.  Good girl.

Sorry folks, this entry’s ending is rather abrupt because I am rushing to get home.  Anyway, tata for now people.

Two weeks ago as I was getting ready for work, my babysitter (Kak Halimah) voiced her concern about Iris’ refusal to take milk.  It seems that her milk consumption is getting less and less.  No wonder the milk supply lasted longer last month.  Ok, that is not a good reason to celebrate… I was concerned too, I knew the reason yet I sheepishly asked why aaah?  That was when I took life in my own hands.  Stupid respond.  Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

It started after I introduced Milo Kurang Manis to my daughter.  I stocked up two dozens of medium-sized pack for her at home (stashed in the store room).  At first, it was only a pack a day, two months later escalated to two packets daily.  I thought it was OK to give her Milo because “Minum Milo anda jadi sihat dan kuat, remember?” The peak of the intake was recorded in Miri, when both me and my dad piled up the green packets at a place visible to those ever-exploring eyes.  She asked for “Num-Num” every time she passes that “magical” shelf.  Don’t ask me why we gave in. We were not as adamant as she was, esp. my parents (easy to point fingers; bearing in mind that it was her MOTHER who started it). As a result, her milk consumption dropped and the trend remain unchanged on the day we flew back to Kuching.  No matter how much I wanted to give her “Nenen”, she preferred her “Num-Num”.  Alahai…

Milo aka "Num-Num" (Source: http://www.nestle.com.my)

I anticipated some kind of respond from Kak Halimah on the first day she came after our long break.  Sure kena punya, and I waited. Nothing came from her until a week later, and it was triggered by my idiotic respond. Her words were something like this:

“Yalah kitak ya merik nya minum Melo (her kampung style of pronouncing Milo).  Bila nya udah cerik rasa kuat macam ya, ney nya maok minum susu agik…  Nemiak tok, makan ya sik berapa penting gilak.  Yang penting tok, SUSU nya…..  bla bla bla…”

And something on the importance of formula for babies….

Plus how difficult it is to give Iris milk now… Really need to persuade her so that she drinks…

And the final point, don’t give her “Melo” anymore…

So, I stopped her Milo supply, hoping that she will fall back into her previous routine.  However, it was no cold turkey treatment.  We still put a scoop of Milo into her formula.  Sometimes we use a tall cup and straw, instead of a feeding bottle – to create a sense of difference just to motivate her to drink more (although it means that we have to clean the rattan mat more frequently now).  The strategy shows little progress but at least there is some positive signs.  As of yesterday, her milk intake improves, although not much.  On the brighter side, there will be no morning nags for me, at least for now.

p/s:  I was not offended when Kak Halimah preached at me that morning.  She was worried about little Iris.  As an experienced mother, she is not afraid of saying the right thing.  I appreciate her for her boldness and because of what she did that morning, I knew (as I have already noticed some time ago) that her affection for my daughter is genuine.  Suffice to say, she is the best thing that happen to us.