A Reminder

It really saddened me to hear the news of the lady who passed away after jumping out of the car which her ex husband was driving – he kidnapped her. They’ve been divorced for 4 months and he was an abusive spouse. I heard the news over the radio this morning while driving to work that she passed away after 4 days in coma leaving behind two sons.

But it just broke my heart to pieces when I saw a picture of the two boys in the newspaper, taken while they were waiting for their mother’s body to leave the hospital. I cannot imagine their pain and sadness. I wish I could hug them and make them feel better, even if slightly better though I know nothing can ease their sadness except for Allah’s grace to grant both of them ease through this very tough times. They were pictured with their grandmother.

It is a reminder for us to cherish what we have, really cherish. Be grateful and give many thanks to Allah for his blessings. And shower our loved ones with as much love as possible and provide them with the best care we can and most importantly guide them with the intention of having a permanent life with them in Jannah in the Hereafter Insha Allah. This life after all is temporary.

We sometimes get too caught up with this world that we forget death is inevitable, and therefore so is separation with loved ones.

This is more a reminder to myself than anyone else. I seek Allah’s forgivness for my sins, the sins of my family, friends, may He protect us all from Hellfire and grants us a place in Jannah.

Message for Seth Omar

I was telling Dad while we were sitting on the buai (swing) by the river enjoying the Sunday breeze – how lucky we are to have the weekend home in Gombak.

It was my dad’s project (more like hobby actually) for a whole year. The house (can even call it a complex) was designed and built by him from scratch. He didnt lay the bricks of course, his team did, but he was on site almost everyday supervising the whole process.

Now, we are enjoying the fruits of his efforts, including his grandsons, Seth Omar and Noah Iskandar, who are such itiks! They love spending time in the pool, kolam mata air, the river, and they are so blessed to wake up and be around such greenery. Their parents i.e. us are lucky that we dont have to travel miles to enjoy such beauty. Our weekend home is just 15 mins away from KLCC.

Dad loves taking both Seth and Noah for walks in the morning, he has been doing it with Seth ever since habis pantang. And a pit stop by the river is a must.

A message for Seth Omar:

My dear Seth Omar, Atok looks forward to you waking up every morning. And the minute you do Atok carries you and takes you for a walk, without fail. He would walk around the whole compound with you. All the way pointing out things for you to observe and enjoy. Mommy would use this time to prepare your breakfast. When Atok is older you must remember that despite your weight (12+ kg and counting), Atok never complained or got tired of carrying you and bringing you around to enjoy the morning. You should never tire too, to make him feel the same joy you feel when he dips your baby feet in the pool, or points out to the fishes in the pond, the big trees surrounding the house. Never compain sayang..try and bring as much joy to Atok and Opah as you can. Both Atok and Opah love you unconditionally and have already done so much for you. Be a good cucu sayang, never ever hurt their feelings.

Traffic Madness

I’ve been having difficulty sleeping at night; just dont seem to be sleepy until about 4:30am and finding a comfortable position is tricky too. If I werent this far along in my pregnancy, I would have gotten one of those massive long pillows which is supposed to be heaven-sent for pregnant moms. But I will be turning 34 weeks soon so best to just make do with the bolsters and pillows.

Anyway, bad enough that I only sleep at 4:30am, I have to get up by 6:15am for Subuh and leave for work before 6:45. Yes, that early because the traffic jam is just insane! I left at 7am yesterday morning and only reached the office at 8:40. Close to 2 bloody hours on the road. While stuck in the not-moving-at-all traffic, I was seriously concerned if one of these days I might just go into labor while stuck in a jam! (Nauzubillah). I would make the news for sure! haha.

Thankfully I did some research and spoke to a few of my colleagues on the best route to take. It is a science! — A mere 10 or 15 minutes makes a big difference i.e. leaving then house just 10 minutes earlier/later would decide whether you enjoy smooth flowing traffic or get horribly stuck.

The traffic condition has worsened ever since I got back from Paris — due to the MRT, LRT road expansion works that are going on. I guess its a necessary ‘pain’ we have to endure for now to make way for easier and more accessible commuting in the future.

I am at least glad that I’ve found a sane route to work (but I must leave before 6:45am) and I’m definitely looking forward to my maternity leave when for a while I will be spared from this traffic madness.

Love hard

So 33 weeks along Alhamdulillah. How do I feel? Heavier – yes. Difficulty sleeping – yes. Excited for PCIII’s arrival – yes, yes and yes. Can’t believe Seth Omar will be an abang soon – yes, my darling baby boy, all grown up, well not too much, you are still mummy’s baby until you’re 30? err ok la 25 haha.

I have been working from home the past two weeks, and I must say its an arrangement that I can definitely get used to. Seth Omar plays in the study with me while I work, and when he needs attention I take a break, its not all smooth sailing of course; he sometimes insists to sit on the chair with me and help compose the rest of my email (i.e. wants to hit the laptop keypads). But I can get about 1 hour of work done. Real solid work starts when he is down for his naps – that when I start rolling!

I like the ability to be with Seth Omar all day and still work (not like taking care of a toddler is not work, it most definitely is), what I meant was office/career work. Working from home allows me to have additional interaction time with him, meals together, snack too, AND he gets to watch me work. I believe that’s important. I want Seth Omar to learn to work hard, play hard and love hard! Give it all. He cannot expect things things to fall on his lap, nor expect others to pick up after him.

Sidetracking a bit — Malas is one thing I will surely not tolerate in Seth Omar, Nauzubillah. Malas is the root cause of many problems and eventual failures. Being responsible is key, that is a trait I hope Seth Omar picks up and I pray I will be able to instill in him from now. Just the simplest of things like cleaning up after you play is responsibility. Don’t expect mummy to do it. It takes discipline too to ensure he practices it.

Now back to the work hard, play hard, love hard motto – I’m not really a ‘work smart’ believer, success needs real sweat and unfortunately tears too. Its the same with raising a child. Its take real effort; from the parents, not more the maid than the parents. Seth Omar has swimming lessons every Saturday morning, bright and early at 9:30 am. It takes effort for me to go in the pool that early haha but its rewarding. Watching him hold his breath as he takes a few seconds dive in the pool is amazing, and its just pure fun!

I hope there will be an opportunity in the future to make working from home a permanent arrangement, maybe not all 5 days in a week, but ultimately less time in the office. Especially now that the team will be expanding with the arrival of PCIII insha Allah.

In the meantime, I do the best I can, cos thats what I should do and the only thing I can do.

Marche Noel, Strasbourg

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Everyone has been raving about the Christmas market in Strasbourg and how it would be a complete sin to miss it. So I thought ok, I better do this, or it might haunt me for a lifetime, or annoy all the nerves in me if someone were to say “What? You were in Paris in December and did not go to the Marche Noel in Strasbourg?!”

So I bought the train tickets and booked the apartment. The apartment was slightly pricey but worth every Euro cos the location was absolutely perfect. Just 2 minutes’ walk from the famous cathedral and the market (of course), AND it was on the prettiest street in Strasbourg; the shops had the best Christmas decorations and façade, hands down! And in Strasbourg Christmas décor is serious, I mean serious business, as is evident in the pictures I’ve posted. My favourite is the giant gingerbread man at the Office de Tourisme. Too cute.

Weather was as expected; chillier than in Paris. Seth Omar still insisted on removing his gloves. But the moment he shuts his eyes for a nap, I take the opportunity to put it on again. My adult hands still feel a bit sejuk despite having leather gloves on, what more his baby hands!

I bought everything I liked and especially those that would remind me of Strasbourg, I know I would bound to regret if I didn’t. Oh why did I just buy one of these? I should have gotten the set of table napkins.. etc etc. Leaving no room for regrets, I came back to Paris with a good amount of stuff. Pat on the back!

I am glad we only stayed for a night, the city is beautiful especially with the Christmas décor and all, but two nights would’ve been too much time in the city. We got first class tickets for the train, so it was a very comfortable ride to Strasbourg and back to Paris.

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Opera, done!

I had the experience of a lifetime last night; well it adds to a list of other lifetime experiences I’ve been fortunate to have, Alhamdulillah including listening to the national orchestra of Paris under the Louvre Pyramid, landing in South Africa (yes, I don’t know why I got so emotional when I arrived in Cape Town), standing just a glass display away from the Prophet’s sword, a strand of his beard in Topkapi, Istanbul, and of course nothing tops giving birth to my two darling boys, Ali Omar, insha Allah Mummy will see you again in Jannah, and Seth Omar whom I pray will also be a member of Jannah. May Allah keep all of us away from the Hell fire.

Back on the topic of lifetime experiences, last night I watched my very first opera! It was a hair-standing experience, literally. When the tenor hit the high note, my hair stood like it was listening to the national anthem of Hair Country!
It was at the Opera House in La Bastille, not the Palais Garnier (opposite Galaries Lafayette). It was a decision between charming classic venue and the performance. The only ones available at the moment in the grand Palais Garnier is a ballet performance. But at La Bastille, it was Tosca by Puccini, according to my all-things-art enthusiast, was the perfect opera.

The decision was not tough, I have seen the architectural splendour of the Palais Garnier, but I would bet that we won’t be having any good (what more excellent) opera performances in Kuala Lumpur. Come to think of it don’t think we’ve had any opera shows in KL, ever. So there, I wanted to be able to cross “watched an opera” of my to-do list. And Tosca is an Italian opera, so all the drama, the tenor, sopranos, of course tragic plots were there. I enjoyed myself, the tones and sheer power of their voices was beyond amazing, the well thought stage production, fully packed auditorium, and I must say elegant crowd (tres chic!). It was an excellent evening.

We had two intermissions; and the mom in me saw me whipping out my phone instantly to check on Seth Omar. He did go hunting for me around the house, and slept way past his usual bedtime, but all was well. I paid for it this morning of course, he would not let go off me. The type of situations where I wished I was a home-maker and did not have to work, or I owned my own business which was doing well enough to run without me occasionally, with the help of professional managers. Yes, yes a girl can dream, but who knows what the future holds, my dreams may just come true (Amin!)

I am not fond of OOTDs, but wish I took a shot of myself yesterday, wore a knit dress, straight cut, which hugged my bump perfectly. Side note on OOTDs, I think Instagram has caused a lot of people to become vain (for some, very vain) posting pictures of their outfits every day or outfits which they think would get them 1000 likes. May Allah protect us from becoming those.

It was raining when we got out of the opera house, and of all days I left my umbrella in another bag. But I must say it was the perfect weather to complement the evening. Slight rain, coolness in the air, joining the crowd making their way to the Metro station, with the La Bastille statue standing proud behind us. Ah, what an evening. Thank you Allah for this blessing.

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Of cool weather and clementines

Weather in Paris is a lot cooler compared to when we arrived in March, expected since its autumn. I personally prefer cooler temperatures than the warm summer days that we had. There were days in summer that was so hot, all that was missing is the humidity and it’d be KL weather, well almost.

I have the luxury of walking to work; a pleasant 6 minutes walk; slightly longer in heels (which I wore almost every day but stopped the last two weeks, cos the bump is getting bigger and I want to avoid damaging my back, but have not gone completely flat either, have opted for the convenient in-between, wedges!)

Anyway, yes its a short walk; joy compared to the the horrible traffic we go through in KL. I make it a point to take deep breaths during these walks, breath in the cool air, visualise it being passed on to PC III. I really hope you’re enjoying it as much as Mummy is sayang. I attended a pre natal yoga class once and the instructor mentioned that taking deep breaths is one of the best gifts you can give your baby.

Have been snacking a lot on clemetine and strawberries in this trimestre. In the first trimester, it was peaches and apples. But peaches are now out of season, and clementine are in, so clementine it is. I have been taking decaf cappucino (read decaf) once in the morning when I’m at work, a small cup, about 2 oz. I cant take any more than that, wont be able to finish. The only coffee I CAN finish in tall, is Starbuck’s caramel macchiato; but have not had that in a long while. I hope my decaf coffee intake does not add extra ‘ligat’ miles with PC III later when PC III makes the debut insha Allah.

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Saint Malo

It was refreshing to be out of Paris, even if it was just for the weekend. And Saint Malo turned out to be the perfect choice. Just 3 hours away by train from Paris, Saint Malo is a walled-city surrounded by the sea, in the region of Britanny or Bretagne in French. I was worried that it might rain, but weather was just right, cool wind and sun – the best weather condition combo.

Seth Omar needless to say enjoyed his time by the beach. It was such a sight to see him walk on his own, with the occasional fall-on-butt (FOB). He got sand on his hands (of course his pants etc too) each time he had a FOB, but I was very pleased that he made no attempt to lick the sand of his hands, or rub it on his face. He would just glance quickly at his hands with an “Hmmm I got more of this grainy stuff on my hands” look, then continued walking.

We also managed to squeeze a short drive to Cancale, just 18km away from Saint Malo for some fresh oysters. And the oysters don’t get any fresher than this, literally just out of the sea. Marie Christine, a good friend of mine whose parents live in Saint Malo, and happened to be back for the weekend drove us there.

Before we get to the oysters, I must write about the pier … we walked on the pier in Cancale, and it was one of those moments; the type you would remember till your memory fails you. At the start of the pier, Seth Omar motioned to get off his stroller, so I removed the straps, put him on his feet, held his baby hands, and we walked along the pier hand in hand all the way till the end. With the cool wind blowing, I made sure to take deep breaths so Precious Cargo III could get a taste of it too. The walk on the pier was like detox, I am sure it took some months off my ageing process (exaggeration, but seriously, it was THAT refreshing).

Now, back to the oysters! There was a small marche just by the beach. About 6-7 stalls, all selling oysters of different types. Cancale is lined with restaurants offering oysters too, but I preferred getting them fresh from the sellers, have the oysters being cracked open right in front of me, then sit by the beach and enjoy them. It was excellent. I don’t like anything on my oysters, love them raw as is. No lemon, nothing.

I’m glad we managed to go on this short getaway; the fresh air definitely did us some good, slept so well and reenergised to face work. I am definitely a beach-sorta person. I love it more than the city. I am quite sure Seth Omar loves the beach too.

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Seth Omar’s First Walk

Our little one walked for the first time last night. He stood up, which he has mastered for a while, saw him take a step which he has also done, then I saw him taking ANOTHER step, then another, ok I.held.my.breath. did not want to say a word, to not break his streak, he took one step after another from the couch to the TV, a total of 10 steps before plonking himself down because the TV was in the way (damned the TV, or else we could’ve witnessed 10 more steps at least!)

I was so so proud. I immediately glimpsed at the clock, 7:40pm, 2nd October 2014. Another moment I need to record in his journal. I am sure his children or grandchildren insha Allah would love to see the date he first walked along with other milestones penned down nicely.

Several babies I know who are younger than Seth Omar have started walking months earlier, mostly girls. But I remember my late aunt telling me she was worried that my cousin Khayum took so long to start walking, then her mother (Khayum’s grandmother) said “ Don’t worry, what’s the rush, he has his whole life to walk”. I absolutely love here reply. She hit it spot on.

He does have his whole life ahead of him, one that is blessed, exciting, fulfilling, and gives him a place in Jannah insha Allah.

Seth Omar is growing up

Sometime after Seth turned one his sleeping pattern at night began to change. He used to wake up once in the middle of the night for a feed say at 3 am, then again about 6plus. When this pattern changed, he would wake up every hour after 3am. No need for me to illustrate how tiring this was. I am about 3 months along now with Precious Cargo III, and the night feeds hit a new point of on the unbearable metre. I was beginning to get disgruntled.

I had a conversation with one of my colleagues who told me that her son started doing his nights (as they call here in Paris) when he was 1 month old. I was just so jealous. I wanted to follow her every step, but she told me it had to do with her son being a very big baby, weighed 4kg at birth. So she suggested giving Seth bigger meals, especially dinner. And so we did (but Seth always had a good appetite and is not a fussy eater, so I wasn’t that convinced that this was the problem). The big meals didn’t help. What did help eventually was when I fed him formula instead of direct feeding. If you ask why did I not this earlier, I did, but he would push the bottle away as if it was the most horrid thing I could offer him. But now somehow he accepts the bottle willingly.

I read that at a certain stage in the pregnancy milk production begins to fall, and I’m guessing I’m at that stage now. It is very sad weaning Seth, breastfeeding has been our special moment, just us. We still have many of those, but it was special. But this is part of the process, things have to change to make way for progress, my body is now focusing on his sibling, and Seth Omar you have begun your Abang duties my dear son, sacrificing for your sibling. May Allah keep you under His protection always sayang, Amin.

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