Friday, March 15, 2019

Book Lover vs Book Worm

Growing up, I do not have much memories of wanting or loving books. I don't even remember being a young reader, passionate about books. In short, I didn't read much growing up.

But I remember Hensel and Gretel.

That was the first story book I received as present from my late father. Can't remember now why I got it as present. But I treasured the book. I kept it for years. Lost it while in transition to being adult.


That's how (technically, where) I get to love reading.

I was sixteen.
During the days when we don't have extra curricular activities after school, dad would sent me to the library and spent my time there waiting for him to finish work and collect me two and half hours later.
It was burdening in the beginning cos I was supposed to go there and study.
So to kill time, I would study the first hour sometimes half and do shelves browsing the rest of the hours. Most of the time, I ended up at the magazine section.

For a good one and half years spending my after-school time at the library, most of it ended up me chilling on the sofa at the magazine section. Reading. Magazines.

Then came the final term before the big exam.
Spent more time at the library of course. With a twist. A guy came up in the picture. One that I had crush with. He loved browsing the novel section which eventually led yours truly wandering at the same section. Ha! Kerja buduh.

There's good in that.
And you guessed correctly.
I started to read books. Well, novels precisely.

That guy is history.
But the reading continues.

Bagus juga kan pigi library?

My reading habit keep growing as I enrolled in Uni. Apa lagi bila ada room mate that was crazily in love with reading. Every night mesti baca buku before bed. Lucky thing, it impacted on me so much.
I would borrow her books at first. It then escalated to me borrowing books from the library. I remember doing a book literature review on Danielle Steel's The Ring that I borrowed from the Uni library. It got me an A! Not because it was a best seller book nor my grammar was perfect. I believe, it's the way the story absorbed into my mind that I was able to deliver the review in such a way, my lecturer loved it. Mangkali lah...

Back to present tense...
I am picking up reading again.
I only read THREE books last year. Much better compared to the year before; one.

Why the need to accomplish a certain quantity of books?
Why read?

This is funny, but I find my imagination is getting dull in recent years.

I find myself rolled eyes at love stories.
I feel my ears blocked at sad songs.
I sense my heart froze listening to happy endings.
I feel myself getting cold to the many emotions around me except the one i have for my daughter.

Despite the many things that have been happening, i'm sensing my soul is slowly emptied. Ok that's too personal to dig in for now. But yeah, i feel the need to read to fill up that hollowness. I need someone's colorful narratives to fill up my head. I want someone's perspective on life to water my drying soul. I just need to feel again. Anything.

And then the bell rang when one day I realized how I could sorta listen to books calling out to me whenever I see postings of book/s on Instagram.

So i set a target.
Twelve books at the end of this year. At least.
Currently finishing my 6th book.

How has 6 books changed me in span of three months?

I thirst for more.
More stories. More varieties. More characters. More colors. More emotions.

Not much.
But it is better than before 6 books read.

List revised.

Here I go again.
Blowing cobweb off my blog site.
After the last post...almost a year ago to be exact, in which I promised myself to regularly blog. Andddd obviously, did not.


Here again to revise my List.

Now, where have I gotten myself in that list?
To start, I had almost strike one last year;to pursue my Masters Degree. Would have been my third term now had I agreed to pursue 'there'. Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned. Circumstances. If only 'here' has a green to go, I would proudly chime the bell already. secretive aye, Carol? Yalah, in short, I am yet to strike that 'Pursue my Masters Degree' list. Belum sampai masanya...

I have keep the 'become a certified Yoga Instructor' on hold until further notice. Priority, priority. But in terms of practice, the light has never dimmed. Glad yoga stumbled on my door few years back. Aiseh. This is one of two form of exercises I have not given up although the rate did slow down.
While becoming a certified instructor is on hold, I look forward to turn my home practice (and perhaps going to class) up a notch or two. My stamina is seriously at stake. Age does play role in there. But surely, not doing much about exercising is the major culprit to my stamina yang jatuh di gaung.

No international departure (again) this year. That kinda travel have to wait. And I need to really bersabar for that time to come. Perhaps a blessing in disguise; so I have ample time to fill up my Botol Not Hijau. Ha! But at least, we get to bring my daughter to the Land of Hornbill last year. Sarawak is seriously a no play-play state to enter oukay. I mean, sure I have known this way before when I was still there to study. However considering my anak's unsettled documentation issue, traveling to Sarawak in the future is something that I will want to avoid if anything.

Sometime towards the third quarter of last year, some bunch of friends and I were eager to plan another Mt Kinabalu hike for 2019. Punya excited. Another climb down and 3 to go before I can finally strike 10 climbs in my List. Konon. Thought we could secure slot somewhere around now. We can only plan, God does the rest. A bunch of school teachers from the same work place wanting to go on a mountain hike on a school holiday? Well, mimpi saja lah. School holiday lah paling peak! And for us to get a non-school holiday dates, pun terima kasih sajalah. Ampai-ampai tidak kena approve our Cuti Rehat Khas. Baru dua orang colleague sama - sama mau CRK pun kena beliak mata, apa lagi a group of more than 5 colleagues. Tutup sekolah terus. Aaah well...let's just keep the tab open. Gunung tidak ke mana. Unless, the government decided to close the mountain for hiking. Touch wood.

The rest of the list... masih K.I.V.
Will be revised from time to time.

I am adding another list though...ha, more list. Dream on urang bilang kan.

Become (an almost) MINIMALIST.

Ok, i laugh inside.
I mean, hey...saya, mau jadi minimalist?
Mau ikut-ikut trend saja kau ini Kayul.
Barang - barang pun masih berlambak.

But, but, but.
Something has to start somewhere.

I know I have started a few steps if not many.
Like getting rid (and have them sold at school family day) of my clothes and shoes that no longer serve purpose to my life. (You know where this is going at when you read 'purpose' right? Next thing i'm gonna say 'spark'). I rearranged and reorganized our humble abode. (Thanks to parents in-law who moved out to a new home and flood. Yes, flood). Threw out some small stuffs, big stuffs and all this sparks joy! (See what i mean?)

Since then, words such as declutter,  planning, organized, clean, neat, zen, purpose, clear mind, happy dan yang sewaktu dengannya have slowly become my frequent vocab. I am yet all these words. Not yet. But i am trying to be part of it, become of it. I noticed some things (in my life) have eventually make way for me to see the path clearer. Or at least, I kinda know how and where my life trajectory is pointing at. It's exciting, really. Like seeing many doors opening up in front of me and the only thing I need to do is CHOOSE. Ok, perhaps the need to choose is already something difficult to act upon but one needs to choose before one can find what difficulty (or otherwise) lies beyond the door. And maybe, there is more door to choose while one is already in that room. Right?

Cut my yadda, yadda.

Basically, getting rid things that don't belong teach me detachment from stuffs, matters, people. Allows a clean slate of mind (that shouts happy heart) to focus only on what I need thus leads me to better planning skill. Of course, it is much easier to detach from something that you have not made connection for quite some time. Vice versa. But it'll get easier in time. And consistent practice. I know this even if I have not come to this length, fully. In time.

So yeah, an almost minimalist?
Why not?

For now, baby steps lah.
I said an almost minimalist, didn't I?

Wait, have I told you how did this triggered?

Having a child.
Having someone to give your life to in return of nothing.

I am just like any mothers, wanting the best for my child.

And how does having a child strings together to being a minimalist?
Lain kali punya cerita lagi ok?

Till next time.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Dreaded Phase

Someone asked me not too long ago if Ticia has already stepped into the Terrible Two phase since she is... urm... two.

No, I said confidently.

Yes, she had been putting up tantrums and all that but I somehow felt they weren't that phase yet. I felt she was manageable. Easy peasy konon.

Well, until she got sick recently (and the daddy suspected she had growth spurt), she has since been terribly difficult to predict. One minute she was all angelic looking, flashing smile that melts the heart you just want to hug and kiss her all the time. Then all of sudden, a simple "Ticia, please wait" when she wanted something while my hands were occupied sent her lying on the floor, screaming crazily her voice so sharp it could break my ear-drum. Even a simple decline to being carried will make her furious. Lucky this only happens at home so far.

It has gotten too frequent in a day that this time I am so sure Terrible Twos has FINALLY making a show. Late by three months but yeah, here. However, deep down I know this phase does not acquired its name cos simply.

"There must be reasons to all this happenings. Reasons why she was unhappy,"

I sound like I am in denial of having a toddler who is acting exactly like how her age should be. But, if I know what gets her upset and frustrated, I can avoid all this drama, right?

Truth is, I just want to be able to tackle and handle this phase better. Whenever she throws an unexplainable fit, I try to avoid lying hands on her. But when she kept wailing, unwilling to give in, I find myself either spanking her leg or arm. And then ended up regretting my doing.
At other times, when I have no energy to entertain her unpredictable storm, I would just let her be. Ignore her wails and act like I didn't hear a thing. But, that sent me feeling guilty as well. What lesson did I give her by ignoring her tantrum?

What did I do?
Menggoogle lah ini ibu.

Ok, firstly, I must admit that this phase is normal. No, of course I know it's normal and I know it's inevitable but I MUST ACCEPT that even if I know what to expect and what to do, at times, things will get worst that I can't expect myself to be in control ALL THE TIME. I must learn that I will be defeated sometimes. That's how it will go. And that is how I will rise back and learn from it. Sehmen! So dramatic lah kau Carol.

'The less invested and upset you get, the quicker the storm will pass' - Anne Davies

That's what I am currently doing.
Every time my little princess warrior tries to show her frustration in the form of wailing, throwing herself on the floor, throwing things or hitting I try not to participate in what she is doing. Oh, this is definitely NOT EASY. It is not easy to not get angry when your child screams her lung out, eyes staring daringly at you telling that she was upset. But I try. And like I mentioned, it's not always my game. I don't always win. I don't always manage to control my anger. Terlepas juga tangan mentapap kaki si Ticia yang sudah sedia banyak gandas.

In spite of all that above, trying to be calm, rational and not to take her tantrums personally do help me slowly in tackling her melt down. It does feel victorious if I get to distract her from being upset when I cannot let her play with the water pipe for half an hour.
"Come, we mandi in the bathroom. You can play water in the tub."

Or when I manage to avoid drama by limiting choices.
"When the bubbles all gone that means you must get up already."

Or when my calm but repeatedly stern 'No' finally gets to her without intimidating her.
Or simply ignoring her which eventually led her to coming back to me when she was much calmer.

It has only been roughly two weeks since I try being 'less invested' but I am already feeling less tortured by her drama. She still throw herself on the floor. Still screaming. Still trying to hit and throw stuffs. But key word here, LESSER.

And most important, I feel much happy dealing with my daughter's tantrums. Ha!
Jangan Carol...itu baru bunga-bunga. Bak kata my sister in-law, this is the phase where you practically don't have a manual. One thing might work today. But may not the next day.

Well until I cross that new level of bridge, let's just enjoy what I have gain today lah orang bilang kan.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

100 Things to-do

I was scrolling through Pinterest looking for ideas.
You know lah how Pinterest can aggravate your ideas from one tiny spark into fiery blaze.

So there I was, stumbling upon this pin about 100 Things To Do Before You Die.

Well honestly, I don't really fancy anything that says 'before you die'. Of course, death is certain to each and everyone of us. But, I always feel that it has some kind of negative connotation to the way I dictate my life. So, i rather think of it as something I want to do while I am STILL ALIVE. I feel the word alive alone already give a good vibration to how i want to live this life God wills on me. Power of word urang bilang bah.

Back to that list.
I do have my own Bucket List. And I list some of them in here.
Why do I have them?
Why do you have them (if you have)?

As my Zodiac and Almanac keeps pointing, I have an amount of positiveness in me that sometimes my husband thinks is absurd. Well, sampai kadang-kadang saya pun question juga kenapa baini telampau positip. But hey, that's what keep me ALIVE. That's what directs me in the paths God has laid upon me.

Keeping a list of to-do things, either long term or daily, gets me going. Never mind that I sometimes tend to ignore the list and at the beginning of next day, will still writing down the same list. Ha!
There was a particular year, I did not set any list. Not even a daily list. My intention was to go with the flow. Boy, that was really a gloomy year. I didn't look forward anything (cos I didn't know what to look forward to). I don't mind surprises (in life) but I rather something that I can plan at least properly if not perfect. Almost everyone loves having that feeling to be able to take charge of things, especially your own.

So I got back to writing a list.

Human nature; you want everything.
I want all!
But as I age, I realized that I can only do so much. Your mind is your limit, they say. But, to be fair lah, I BITE my limit, my absurd positivity to things that revolve around my family; my husband and daughter. And also, taking consideration my long time bad habit, PROCRASTINATION.

I anticipate two things to strike from my Bucket List this year. God willing.


Friday, January 12, 2018

School Time!


"Baru one o'clock."


"Almost three. Should I go get her now?"

A monologue of me and myself.

Siapa lagi, kalau bukan si Leticia Sunduvanza.

We decided to send her to play school. Yes, already.
Honestly, I would want to send her when she's about three or perhaps four years old. However, circumstances do not allow that to happen. So yeah, she is in play school now.

How has it been so far?

It was GREAT on FIRST day.
She didn't even realize we left the school cos she was too engrossed with seeing new young friends around.
Not on the second day and the subsequent days so far though. At least, not in the morning when the daddy send her to school. She would cry and worst, would start showing her worried face even while still in the car.
Fortunately, whenever I go fetch her, she would already looked calm and settled.
Some minor comments from the teacher but none that aren't normal for first timer in school.

How has it been to us parents...ermmm, mommy especially?
It was weird in the beginning, really.
Being used to having her under the care of my mother in-law, I always felt that i need to rush back to get her home because I don't want my MIL be troubled to look after this little growing rascal. She can really exhaust everyone's energy.
Ever since she is in Play School, especially when I don't have to stay back at work for meetings and what not, I keep asking myself if I should go fetch her already. The Play School welcomes parents who wish to collect their child early than the supposed time. So if I decided to go home instead and wait till it is time for her to be collected, I would have this guilty feeling for allowing her stay in school while I am at home.

It has been a week of (play) school.
Seriously, I think this is one of our best decisions regarding our daughter.
School has done such tremendous good job on her speech progress.
If you are my contacts on Instagram, you would know our concern with regards to her speech. Given a timeline to get her to show some progress in time for her next speech therapy session, I feel we are pushed to get up from our comfort zone and to NOT go with the flow. Especially when it is really not an easy job to train her to talk.
School helps us with that!
In just a week, she is already able to say some words. Well, say the word lah, not talking. But hey, that is still a progress for us. I mean, if a week can do that much for her?

So yes, I am very glad we have her gone to play school.
Despite that emotional normalities that every mother will go through, I think I am quite OK with the new routine now.

Cheers to school!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

TWO Awesome

Leticia is TWO!

Yes, how time flies.

It has been a very interesting two years of her life. And our life as parents.
Such a humble experience to learn life lessons through the life of a pure heart. Our Leticia.

Her actual birthday is next Monday, the 8th.

However, with close family members who are residing outside KK still around till the New Year and the fact that we have been postponing her birthday bash since she turned one, we decided to do her FIRST birthday party ten days early.

I have planned the whole thing since a year ago but things got serious the last two months before the do. As much as I had made plans, the saying 'nothing is perfect' rang true in my case. I wanted so many things done for her birthday but gave out less than what i had in mind. In short, what i had in mind remain mostly in my head. Poor planner I am. Lesson learned.

Having her birthday done only when she was much older seemed to be a genius idea than having it when she was just one. At least, she really gets to enjoy her party instead of sleeping or being carried around (Ticia didn't start walking until she was 13 months old). She even greeted almost every one of her guests by dashing to the front when seeing guest arrived to say Hi. Saved us half the effort to welcome the guests. Ha! And of course, she stayed up energetic until all the important programmes were done. By the time we wanted to take photos with the guests, her battery died on us when it was only a quarter of the guests photos taken. She literally slept in my arms.

P to the A to the T, A, H. PATAH!

Here are some photos of her birthday bash!

And oh, her birthday theme was The Wiggles. One of her first few favourite shows on Netflix.

Happy Two years old 
Leticia Sunduvanza!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Lembut Vs Garang

June 25th 2017

Few years back, when my eldest brother's children were still toddlers, I never understand why their father was too calm in dealing with the kids' antics. Every time I saw the kids running around my mom's house like mad cows, I would get pissed not really to the kids but to my brother who did not seem bothered to scold his children. Or when he did, it would be too kind that I didn't think the kiddos would learn from it. And I blame his psychological teaching method (Read: Be kind and gentle and understanding) in raising his children.

You see, my siblings and I, we weren't raised like that. Mom was a very strict mother. Ikat di pokok langsat satu hari kind of strict. I never attended friends' birthday parties (except one time, accompanied by eldest bro) cos mom didn't approve. If she allowed me out during day time, the Before 12 & 6 rules will automatically applied; go out in the morning must be back before noon, out in the afternoon must be back before 6pm. But of course I don't take the matter to my heart. Dulu lah masa muda-muda belia. 

As I grew up into adult, I eventually understand why mom did what she did. And the key factor to understanding her way of raising us is via her unspoken love. Yes, she is one of those people who doesn't express her love and care publicly. She doesn't hug as often. Heck, I can even count how many times she had hugged me. Seriously. And the last time we hugged each other was last year during her wedding reception.

Despite her garangness, she has proved her love for us (Ishhh, why do i even said that? Mothers do not have to prove their love bah) through her unending and sometimes annoying way of putting her nose into our lives (still is). Well, most of the time for our own good. So yes, her method of raising us from infant to adulthood had made us what we are today. Not a celebrity or a respected public figure, but yes, a person that I am now.

When Leticia came into our world making a small family out of the two of us, I thought I would become my mother. A strict mommy. A garang mommy. A no-show affection mommy. Fast forward today, with a child who is barely two, I start to absorb and comprehend my eldest brother's way of teaching and raising his children. Not that agree 100% with him but yes, I am slowly getting to understand his ways of raising the children.

My daughter is going to a stage where; quoted a friend, possesses ego at the highest. It is the phase leading up to the terrible two stage although I reckon with this girl, she has started much earlier. She starts to challenge the Nos and assume everything must be by her own way. While initially, it seems adorable cos you get to realize that she IS growing up, on certain times, especially when you have other things stressing and occupying your mind, it drives you up the wall. Yes, ALREADY.

Admittedly, I do raise my voice AND practise the tapap leg or pacik fingers as way to discipline her. Unfortunately, I find these are not ALWAYS the way to make her adhere to rules and subsequently respect the Nos. As a teacher for 12 years, I do use this method as way to discipline problematic students. Some would listen while the more hard headed ones won't (duh). We (teachers) collectedly agree that the latter acted that way because they are used to being scolded and/or beaten at home. HOME. So, do I want Leticia to be like those in the latter group because she is used to pain from home? No.

And so, in attempt to try to understand my daughter's growing up phase, I (almost reluctantly) tell myself to be less of a Tiger Mom and be more gentle yet consistent in my approach in ensuring my daughter acknowledge the rules and boundaries.

In stead of immediately shouting at her for the wrongs that she does or the rules that she breaks, I try to tell her in strong stern voice while keeping my eyes locked on her as to show my disagreement to her doings. As much as possible, I don't want to be so lenient with the pacik fingers or tapap kaki method cos I believe she will eventually get used to the pain and take it for granted.

Aaaah, this is one issue that's been pestering me ever since our girl starts expressing her disagreement. At home, she would self-hit her head on any surfaces to show her frustration. Or lie down on the floor with legs kicking. Or simply cry. I would usually hug and calm her down. If that fails, I let her cry her lungs out until she gets it, 'mommy won't come to me, let me go to her.' I don't really mind her crying if it is at home. But what if it's in public? Not that she ever does it (yet). The question persist.

Does it work? The stern voice and eye-locking method?
Sometimes. It's not that easy to restraint yourself from shouting when you are angry. So yes, this takes a lot of effort.
But who says disciplining your child is a one hit wonder?
I'm pretty sure seasoned parents would unanimously answer; A LIFETIME EFFORT.

I do get people telling me that I kasih manja anak.
To that, I rather bite my tongue than to argue.
Even if I do know (and would defend) the path I take in raising my child, it's not worth explaining my ways to people who are not there personally to raise my kid. For now, my daughter needs my utmost attention and that includes showing her love and affection as well as provide the best that I think she needs.

Raising a child is not fixed to just one method. It changes over time. It is a long journey for me (and husband) but one thing for sure, I eagerly look forward this journey cos as far as I am concern, this is by far the most interesting and challenging phase currently going on in my life.

PS: My nieces and nephews grew up to be kind and gentle children/teenagers.

Till next post!

Book Lover vs Book Worm

Growing up, I do not have much memories of wanting or loving books. I don't even remember being a young reader, passionate about books....