Tuesday, 27 February 2007

The Hajj journey: Mina

This is a delayed post for my hajj chronicles.

After we finished our tawaf and sa'ie, the bus picked us up around 5.45 p.m. The 7 km journey from Makkah-Mina took about 4 hours due to the traffic jam. We do the stoning at Jamratul Aqabah around 11 p.m. and yes, we finally had our tahalul thani! :)

A person close to me once said that our true colours will be shown in Mina, about being able to hold your patience, about being an adult, about knowing whether our Hajj was accepted by the Almighty Allah.

It is because we have to live in the city for 3 days, as part of our wajib haji (bermalam separuh malam di Mina).

The camp was crammed, the food was not OK (it was prepared by the Arabs), the toilet had such a long queue. But I had come prepared with bottles of mineral waters and dry foods such as IndoMee and biscuits. Everyone keep complaining about stomach upsets due to the food was not well cooked, but I managed not to go to the toilet because of stomach ache. Long queues to the toilet prompted us to take our wudhu' with mineral water that we bought at Makkah, and our wudhu' hanya sekadar cukup syarat according to mazhab Syafie.

Alhamdulillah, since I treated the Mina experience like a camping outing, it was fun (eventhough I know, 99% of the jamaah will not agree with me on this.. heheh). It really was a test, and taken its toil for the older people. We even had cat fighting in the camp -huh, talk about being an adult (rasa macam budak sekolah pula, not matured, bergaduh dalam khemah). And it was saddening to see these old people could not stop complaining about the condition at Mina.

BTW, we do our stoning for the next 2 days with such an ease due to reconstruction of the jamrahs. The jamrahs was built with 2 floors and it was so easy, alhamdulillah. After we did our stoning, we would supplicate to Allah since ustazah keep mentioning about makbulnya berdoa selepas melontar jamrah.

After the last stoning on the 3rd day at Mina, we went back to Makkah. The journey took us about 2 hours.

I was feeling elated and at peace, we have finished our Hajj...

Monday, 26 February 2007

Anak-anak dah gelap

The weekend was spent at Summerset Rompin with the kids playing under the hot, sweltering sun.. with each swimming / lepak-lepak at the beach trip took more than 1 hour.

The journey to go there was 4 hours long, since the KL-Rompin route is about 350 km.

Love the beach, love the sun, love the sands (eventhough the room service is quiet bad). The kids were screaming the first time they saw the beach - due to being afraid of the ombak bergelora. Their sand castles were ruined, there will be someone who trampled it during its' progress and my father had to handle his 3 grandchildren alone.

The trip to the pool (they have no lifeguards, BTW) was fun for the kids.. sebab tu anak-anak dah jadi gelap sangat.. 2 hours were spent for each pool session.

Ada budak berenang macam pandai, sampai muka pun masuk dalam kolam. Kena sokmo buat sesi lifesaving.
Ada seorang budak lagi, suka sangat main motor dalam kolam.
Ada abah dia layan, sampai budak-budak ni pun buat abah dia macam motor - ingat abah tu larat ke nak pegang seorang budak 16kg, dan seorang lagi 13 kg?
Ibu dia buat apa ye? Oh, ibu dia masuk pool juga, tapi ibu dia tak jadi motor.

Stress free weekend ok, tak larat nak bising dengan budak-budak yang tak nak keluar dari kolam.

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Have a break!

Softlan's commercial by Amni.. :)


Kodomo Lion's commercial by Amin - sparkling set of teeth, eh?


I am having a break this week - with the long holiday and workshop comin'! Enjoy the commercial break, eh?

Thursday, 15 February 2007

When Breastfeeding Doesn't Work

By Kristen J. Gough

For some women breastfeeding isn't easy - making the decision about whether to continue nursing or stop can be a difficult choice. Learn how to decide what's best for you and Baby.

Before the birth of her first child, Stephanie Meredith of Canton, Georgia, thought she was prepared for anything. An avid researcher, Meredith knew she would nurse her baby. Beyond studies from the National Women's Health Information Center showing breastfed babies are healthier, smarter, and a host of other benefits, Meredith felt it would be the best way to bond with her baby.

After a difficult delivery, Meredith learned that her baby had Down syndrome. Although babies with Down syndrome have greater difficulties nursing due to weak facial muscles, Meredith was determined to nurse. Yet after five weeks of carefully recording every aspect of her baby's nursing habits from one and one-half hour feedings to different positioning, Meredith could barely function. Her baby's occupational therapist gently prodded her to bottlefeed, pointing out that her son was expending more calories trying to nurse than he received from breast milk.

Meredith started bottlefeeding her infant but was racked with anxiety. "I felt tremendously guilty because all the research says that nursing is better for your baby-even improves the IQ," explains Meredith. "I knew I already had a baby with special needs, who was going to have challenges. I felt like I was making it worse by not breastfeeding him, by not giving him every advantage I could."

Meredith sought out a therapist to help her deal with her feelings. On the first visit she explained everything she had tried and offered her detailed five-week notebook as proof. "I'm not a quitter," she recalls saying. The therapist told her to throw away the notebook. "After I did, it was such a release. I finally started to relax and feel like a mom."

With pressure from many sources, such as the National Breastfeeding Awareness campaign, pushing for women to breastfeed, moms like Meredith are in a bind-they desperately want to nurse their babies and yet it just doesn't work out for them. Healthcare professionals who, with the best of intentions, might push women either to nurse at all costs or advise them to stop nursing even if the mother wants to continue, complicate feelings of failure. Add to that pressure from friends or families to stop or continue and some women are left emotionally drained.

National Breastfeeding Trends

Since 2003, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been tracking breastfeeding patterns in the United States. In 2005, the CDC found that just over 72 percent of women tried breastfeeding at some point. Around 60 percent of women were breastfeeding exclusively when their infants were seven days old. When babies reach five to six months old, breastfeeding rates drop dramatically to 19 percent at five months and just under 14 percent at six months.

Women on the West Coast are the most likely to breastfeed their babies exclusively, while women in southern states were the least likely to nurse. A study reported in the December 2005 issue of Pediatrics indicated reasons why many women stopped: "[Those] who discontinue breastfeeding early are more likely to report lack of confidence in their ability to breastfeed, problems with the infant latching or sucking, and lack of individualized encouragement from their clinicians in the early post-discharge period."

Healthcare professionals like Dr. Lauren Feder, MD, a homeopathic physician and the author of Natural Baby and Childcare, say that few medical conditions rule out nursing—chemotherapy or HIV status among them. But more often, "there's a difficulty on either the mother's side or the baby's side," says Dr. Feder. "Many women go into breastfeeding believing that it is some kind of innate behavior. A lot of women are surprised by how much education it takes to nurse."

Feeling Blamed for Not Nursing

Looking back, Lindsey Johnson points to everything she did "wrong" when she tried nursing her first baby two years ago. Her baby stayed in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for the first few days of her life. "I knew I wanted to nurse her," says Johnson who lives just outside New York City, "but I didn't think anything about nurses giving her bottles or pacifiers, I was just so concerned about her health."

Today, Johnson doesn't know if it was nipple confusion (when babies mistake the breast for the bottlefeeding from a bottle requires less effort and a different sucking technique), a lack of adequate milk supply, or simply her daughter's stubborn personality that made her baby refuse to breastfeed after they left the hospital. Johnson resolved her baby would have breastmilk—she pumped every three hours day and night when her baby was still an infant and kept pumping until her daughter reached nine months old.

"I would cry everyday," recalls Johnson. "I blamed myself because I thought, 'Obviously, I'm doing something wrong.'" Soon Johnson resented around-the-clock pumping and felt like her relationship with her daughter suffered. Along with her personal grief, Johnson felt bombarded by seemingly helpful advice, which compounded her feeling that her baby's unwillingness to nurse was her fault. "I can't tell you how many times people would tell me that I just needed to do this or that, like put corn syrup on my nipples."

Working with Your Healthcare Provider

"As a healthcare professional, my job is to support women exactly where they are at," says Dr. Joanne Motino Bailey, PhD, a certified nurse midwife who also teaches Women's Studies at the University of Michigan. "Yet sometimes women feel a lack of support (for their difficulties nursing) from healthcare professionals because the party line is that breastfeeding is best. And even providers can be caught in the trap of not listening to the individual woman about her concerns." Dr. Bailey suggests that you state your concerns clearly to your healthcare provider, and if you feel like you're still not being listened to, "find someone else."

Getting Past the Guilt

Meredith and Johnson both expressed that they still feel the need to justify their decisions to stop nursing whenever the subject comes up. Hearing their stories, Dr. Bailey admits, "Women are often too hard on themselves. First of all, we live in a society that implies guilt on a mother for everything, implies that you should be perfect. The idea is expressed in a variety of different ways, and breastfeeding is just one of them."

"In my own parenting and what I share with my clients is that we all do the best we can given our circumstances." Dr. Bailey continues, "If you take a step back and feel like you're not producing enough milk and you supplement with formula, you need to realize that that is part of making a good decision-using all the information you have at any given moment to make the best decisions you can."

Dr. Feder adds that she "applauds any woman who breastfeeds for even the shortest amount of time."

Moving On

The good news is that women who have difficultly nursing one baby often find that they have better success the second time around. One small study published in a 2001 edition of Practice Nurse indicates that women had an increase of milk supply with their second children versus their first. Dr. Bailey has observed this in her own practice. Recently two clients who'd had difficulties nursing their first babies found success with their second. "I would attribute it to multiple things," suggests Dr. Bailey. "Before mothering was an unknown entity-huge and scary. With the second baby, each mother had worked through a variety of nursing issues and felt more relaxed."

With her second child, Johnson was surprised at her baby's nursing prowess. Though she had some nipple soreness the first few weeks, her nursing experience improved and she has had an easier time bonding with her baby.

Meredith expected her second child's nursing experience would be far easier, yet her daughter never seemed satisfied. Meredith stopped breastfeeding after two weeks, rehashing her old feelings of inadequacy. It was not until the birth of her third child that Meredith was diagnosed with a medical condition called breast hypoplasia, which limits her milk supply. "I felt so vindicated," says Meredith. Yet she found success the third time around. "I went into nursing thinking I would take it one day at a time. I didn't say, 'I'm definitely going to nurse or not nurse,' but I thought, 'I'll just wait and see how it goes.'" So far, her three-month-old daughter is nursing well.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

The Hajj journey: Makkah

The first batch of buses from Arafah - Muzdalifah - Mina started from 9.30 p.m. and ends at 11.30 p.m. Annoucements were made by TH that the next batch will be coming after midnight, so we get some rest inside the camp. The problem is, we were anxious when we will be going to Mina, since Brunei's pilgrims (which is stationed next to our camp) had long begone.

Our buses arrived at 3.30 a.m., and it started moving at 4 a.m. We were inside the bus for 7 hours (2 hours was spent at Arafah) with the bus driver and the mutawwif (both cannot speak other languages except Arabic) - so imagine us being in the 'ayam dan itik' situation when talking to them.

It was a test of faith and patience.

We never entered Muzdalifah in the first place, thus ustaz did said that this already falls under uzur syar'ie, since the condition does not permit us to 'bermabit di Muzdalifah'. Our bus had been going in circles, round and round for 2 hours at Arafah, then at around 5.45 a.m. the bus finally went to Mina.

Due to haji akbar, the traffic jam was really, really bad that our bus crawled at such a slow pace. Luckily, and alhamdulillah, we entered Mina at 9.00 a.m., but we cannot stop inside, thus the bus had to leave Mina (and I was feeling, it is so close, so very close, but unreachable - imagine my frustration), but Allah gave us a much better bargain. After calling TH people for help, they gave instruction through someone handphone's (directed towards the mutawwif) that our bus should enter Makkah so we can perform our tawaf and sa'ie.

So there we were, arriving at Makkah around 11.00 a.m. and the TH people were quick to point out that we can do our tawaf and sa'ie haji for tahalul awal (you can choose to tahalul awal by 1: tawaf, sa'ie and bergunting / 2: stoning at Jamratul Aqabah and bergunting). My husband and I were rushing to go to Masjidil Haram, to finish off tawaf and sa'ie, but then, masya Allah, the place near Kaa'bah was so jam packed that we decided to do our tawaf on the first floor. Each tawaf took us 20-25 minutes to complete. We did our sa'ie on the 2nd floor since the 1st floor is already jam packed with pilgrims from Africa (yang tinggi macam galah dan seperti pelari kebangsaan dunia). Our sai'e lasted for 2 hours and we finished everything (including bergunting) at 3.15 p.m. It was so easy to finish it (eventhough we were in a jam packed lautan manusia), that I realised if we hold our patience just enough, then Allah will ease the way.

I was smiling all the way when we went back to our hotel because we were already in tahalul awal.

Insya' Allah, my next posting shall be recounting my collections at Mina.

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

The Hajj journey: Arafah

We were there for 47 days;2 days in the flight, 8 days in Madinah, 2 days in Jeddah, and that leave us with 35 days being in Makkah alone. We were in the earlier flights, thus giving us advantage of living there much longer.

I should be writing about this after reading PB and the-kek recollections about their journey.

Before I started my Hajj journey, I received a surprise birthday card from the kids and a card stating 'We miss you'. I was crying after I opened the card, it has been nearly a month when I realised that I did not miss the kids at all, due to our hearts aim of going for the solat in Masjidil Haram. The card bring tears to my eyes till today, on how I always take for granted about the kids being in their best behaviours.

To start off, the journey to Arafah was so easy, that I do not have any complaints at all. Our camp were situated next to Brunei's pilgrims, and we can hear the ustaz giving talks about Arafah and Allah's forgiveness. We arrived on the night before the wukuf. Everything was excellent, the food was OK and the toilets were very clean, never did I expect that.

On the next day, after Zohor prayer, ustazah came to our camp and do zikir munajat with us. It took us nearly 2 hours to finish the zikir munajat, but I was feeling happy and sad at the same time. When the ustazah said that we should ask for forgiveness and mengenangkan segala dosa, I cried. Especially when it comes to the part that she said this

"Kenangkanlah dosa kita, banyak dosa kita kepada Allah.. (and she continues with other peoples etc.), dan kenangkanlah dosa kita kepada suami sendiri"

Ya Allah, I was crying really hard at that time. I thought at first that it wasn't easy for me to cry, but then when I remember how many times I am not a perfect servant to Allah, not a perfect wife, not a perfect mother, not a perfect daughter, not a perfect employee, the tears came out easily. I remembered Ustaz Daud saying that we should be crying at Arafah, and ask for forgiveness, di mana Allah akan membuka pintu taubat seluas-luasnya.

After the session with ustazah, I searched for my husband, and we did our wukuf together. Here is the place where, it is promised by Allah, all the do'as will be entertained by Him, masya Allah!

We make do'as and stood under the heat, eventhough the weather is cold. I was still crying making my do'as and my husband had to calm me down.

Our journey to Mina started only at 4.00 a.m., and we falls under uzur syar'ie, since we cannot stop at Muzdalifah.

Next posting (insya' Allah): Makkah and Mina

Saturday, 10 February 2007

The maidless system

I am writing this late at night, the kids are asleep, while my husband is watching his football game. And here I am, trying to figure out what should I write, about the magical Hajj journey, which still bring tears to my eyes, or about our family.

I think I will reserve my writings about the Hajj journey, I am still melancholic thinking about it, and reading two bloggers' account about the journey makes my heart yearns for the spiritual journey again.

Oh, on being maidless, it is not a doom, after all. Not the end of the world. I know I can cope. Here goes about my household system:

Laundry
I wash the clothes every other day, or based on the 7-kg capacity of the washing machine, when it is fully loaded, then I will start the machine.
I do not burden myself on washing the clothes everyday, but Friday is a must since all the kids' things come back from the nursery (including towels and bags). I will just throw everything inside the machine.
I do my laundering of the household items (bed sheet, bath mat, towels etc.) during the weekend.

Clothes folding is done on daily basis, as not to burden myself with piles of clean but unfolded clothes.

Ironing
To make ironing seemed simple, I ironed everytime I saw like 3/4 pairs of clothes inside the ironing basket.
To make it seemed much easier (and forced me to do the task), I ensure the tudung that I should wear tomorrow will be ironed the day before with all the clothes inside the laundry basket. Ada alasan la sikit nak gosok baju, sebab nak gosok tudung yang dipakai esok hari :P

And to make me looks efficient, I sometimes do my laundry, ironing and cooking at the same time. Yang ni memang flat sungguh la, tapi rasa macam superwoman pulak!

Cooking
I do not force myself. As I said much earlier, if I have the time, then I will cook. If not, we resort for takeouts. The kids are OK with it, since they also noticed I didn't cook much (who says mother should be perfect in every sense?)

Cleaning the house
Toilet cleaning - once every fortnight

Kalau rasa rajin, mop la lantai. Kalau terlebih rajin, basuh la langsir. Kalau tersangat rajin, semua benda nak dibersihkan. But please note, that I do some sort of cleaning everyday, yang kecil pun jadilah, janji rumah memang sentiasa kemas. Tapi kalau rasa rajin, sambil basuh pinggan tu, multitasking la sental sink lepas membasuh pinggan :P

Ok la kot, my imperfect system seemed to balance with our life of not having a maid. But my husband is such a great help, and I can depend on him most of the time. Keyword here: suami pun kena la ringan tulang, ye tak? :)

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

On having 2 kids

Yes, it's hard. On having these 2 small kids for the moment.
My 2-week of life has been with its down most of the time. I am much more sensitive nowadays, my husband remarks that. Sikit-sikit burst to tears. Kena uji sikit dah menangis. Aduh-aduh, so many heartaches during these 2 weeks.

So when I am moody, and I have to think to solve others problem (well, certain people knows about the problem), I feel like it's a burden to me to be happy for a while. Yes, so many things happened.

Kakak and Amin were scolded, but then I realised, Ya Allah, it was so hard being a good mother and supplicate to Him to remove the burden from me. Memang penat, hari-hari ada saja kerja tunggu kat rumah. No, it's not that I am complaining about not having a helper to do with the household chores. I feel much better when we decide not to take maids anymore, after the incident that happened last 2 years, and with the anecdotes from our close family (about them having runaway maids and burdening someone else), I think it is really a wise decision after all.

I think we have established lots of system to smoothen the household chores. The kids being more responsible in performing their own task (eg: tidying the toys), Amni with being diaperless at the moment (tempers flying everywhere for a few days, since she didn't tell us she wants to do her business), I am having a laundry system that works well with the ironing system. As for cooking, if I have the time to do it, then I will try, if not, we resort for takeout (you would be amazed that your kids know about 'McDonold's'- which shows that we made frequent trips to the outlet).

I should be grateful that the kids were healthy and happy. I should be grateful with lots of things that is happening to me right now, it shows that Allah still remembers me when I am in dire need of Him.

Signing off,
The mom with so many loopholes

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Ya Allah, Kau lapangkanlah urusan hambaMu dan lapangkanlah hati hambaMu ini.

Amin.

Monday, 5 February 2007

The boy: Abah ni, asyik tengok bola je (on being observant on what his father watches)

Cik Ya: Fawwaz, Fawwaz buat apa tu?
The boy: HOI, ORANG DAH KENCING LA (on being diaperless at his grandma's house)

Ibu: Ibu bagi air kosong, ok?
The boy: Taknak, Amin nak air CoOke (on being selective on what he should drinks)

The boy: Amin taknak pakai baju ni, taknak, taknak
Abah: Baju ni lawa apa
Ibu: Biarlah.. kang menangis tak sudah nak pakai baju (on being selective on what shirt he should wears)

The boy: Abah, CICAKMAN mana?
Abah: CICAKMAN dah balik, dah
The boy: Huh (and runs to his father)

Friday, 2 February 2007

True friends, even though you never know them

The one thing occured to me this week, is when I realised, I had so many good friends out there in the cyber worlds, that their words soothed me when I was down. I was planning to continue the story on Hajj, when something happens. It was, nevertheless good to know, that your friends are still pining for you, even though (you know) you have never contributed significantly on them.

Let me relate this, I had a perfect bond with the moderators of one Islamic forum. Before I went to Makkah, we had informed the chief of moderator (who works in Jeddah), that we were going there. He was so excited to meet us in Jeddah, but alas, our flight actually entered Madinah's airport. He even asked his ticketing agent to change his flight ticket from Malaysia-Jeddah (as at that time, a few days after we stayed in Madinah, he was going back to Malaysia for his long overdue holiday and was supposed to be back in Jeddah on the same day we went back to Malaysia). However, even though we could not meet him, and he could not change his flight ticket, we were glad to know he was there when we needed him for advise..

And another moderator, who happens to be my ex-schoolmate (small world, eh?), made his journey to Madinah and Makkah during our Hajj. He took a bus from Jeddah to meet us in Makkah, but due to the Hajj peak season where most people just came back from Mina, we never had a chance to meet him. He entered Makkah, prayed for Isya', and went back to Jeddah, since he couldn't find us amidst of the people. We were touched that our friend made the journey to meet us.

And as for now, I feel better after reading this;

SALAM,

Puan Limau yg dikasihi,

Pertamanya, ana bersimpati dgn apa yg enti alami. Semoga Allah memberi kekuatan kpd enti dalam menghadapi hari-hari enti...

namun apapun, kita perlu bersabar. Dugaan dan cabaran sentiasa akan ada walau kat mana kita berada. Menjadi lumrah dan fitrah kehidupan manusia yg setiap insan pasti ada halangan hidupnya. Tetapi yg membezakan antara satu dgn yang lain adalah kesabaran yg ada pd diri seseorang insan itu.

Demikianlah kejadian Allah. Semuanya diciptakn dgn adil sekali. Kadangkala manusia itu dapat memikirkan keadilan Allah itu. Tapi kadangkala juga, pada akal manusia ia tidak adil. Tetapi sesungguhnya ia lebih adil dari segala keadilan yg wujud di muka bumi ini. Allah yg maha Adil lagi Maha mengetahui apa yg Dia ciptakan.

Limau,

Dalam ktia mengharungi dunia dakwah, tidk dapat tidak, kita kan menghadapi tentangan. Samada tentangan itu atas dasar haq ataupun batil, kita saja yg dapat menilai. Jika apa yg kita pertahankan itu sesuatu yg haq, moga2 Allah memberikan
ganjaran yg sewajarnya kpd kita. Tetapi jika apa yg kita pertahankan itu pula adalah kebathilan, kita bermohon kepada Allah agar mengampunkan kita.

Manusia ini byk jenisnya. Antaranya ada suka melihat kita bergaduh sendiri. Tetapi mengapa perlu kita mengalah ataupun mengikut kehendak mereka? Tidakkah kita terfikir, dengan mengalah itu satu kemenangan buat mereka?

Kalaulah batu api menjadi alasan kpd penarikan diri, masakan Ali ra yg pertama menarik diri dari tampuk pemerintahannya di ketika umat pada ketika itu bertumpahan darah akibat fitnah org2 munafik dan syiah.... tetapkan perjuangan sdr. Moga2 Allah membantu kita....


Thanks for such wonderful wordings, my friend.. Insya' Allah, my heart
will be firm with Islam