Saturday, February 28, 2009

The mother's dilemma

I'm a bit short-staffed now at the shop, so hubby sent the kids home early last night. Despite their protests and insisting to stay with me, I had to send them off because they were causing such a ruckus at the shop and I couldn't work while shouting at them and refereeing fights at the same time!

So, I had some peace and quiet at work for an hour before going home. For those of you who wish you could quit work and become a full-time housewife, I strongly urge you to reconsider! Don't get me wrong, I love spending time with my kids, but 24hrs a day can get to be too much.

When you only have precious few hours a day with your kids, you treasure it, so you try to be more patient and make the most of it. When you're with them the whole day, the whining and crying can really get to you. With frayed nerves, you become agitated and snap at them easily. Then you feel guilty and think you're a bad mum. That said, when you're at work the whole day, you also think you're a bad mum for not spending enough time with your kids. The mother's dilemma.

I guess the best situation would be part-time work and part-time housewife? That should make for happier mummies, thus happier kids I think. Thank God for school, is all I can say. Those few peaceful hours in the morning keep my sanity intact.

Anyway, when I got home last night after closing the shop, Annie told me Eva got a marker pen from the kitchen drawer, went to sit on the potty for a poop and was drawing on both her legs. Now she was starting to nod off! Eva has this talent of falling asleep anywhere in any situation! It was hilarious! Her sisters kept laughing at her so she started crying too, in between nodding off. Poor thing! Being the evil mummy that I am, I had to get this on camera. I only had my phone with me though, so this was all I got. Oh ya, also I don't know how to rotate video clips, so sorry for any stiff necks!

Who wants to be a millionaire?

I've finally watched 'Slumdog Millionaire'. The funniest part was the cute little boy diving into the pile of sh** whilst keeping his treasured photo safe overhead! I watched it at home with hubby. Okay, so I bought the pirated DVD. How else am I ever going to watch a current movie otherwise? Going to the cinema is pretty close to impossible, what with 4 kids demanding your presence. Even while watching 'Slumdog Millionaire' I had to keep the tv control in my hand to adjust the volume when it got to the loud bits so as not to wake the kids! Then I had to pause the movie to see to baby Solomon who woke up a few times because of the racket and also once for feeding. But I saw it anyway, not complaining...

The movie was great, I think it deserves the best movie Oscar, but I haven't seen the other nominees, except for 'Changeling' (yes, pirated). Was that one a nominee? Anyway, the songs in 'Slumdog' were cool too.

I remember when I was on the Malaysian version of 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire'! It all started when I was in confinement after having Annie. Any asian mother can tell you confinement is a really boring 30 days. So I was watching tv most of the time and 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' was the most watched gameshow at the time. When the host, whatshisname, Jamalludin?... something starting with 'J' (the corny actor with the Datuk looking face), said, "If you want to be a millionaire, call now". Since I was bored out of my wits, I called.

There were a few general knowledge questions you had to answer, then you left your name and number. I must have answered them correctly as they called back a couple of weeks later. I was rather surprised as I had already forgotten about it by then. Well, they asked another question but this time it was an impossible question. I forgot how it went exactly, but it was one of those which started with, "In what year did bla..bla..bla..". I had totally no idea so I asked her to repeat the question to buy some time. Then told her I didn't know but would just try 1946! She did not say whether I was right or wrong and just thanked me and hung up.

A couple more weeks later, they called back and asked me to attend the taping of the show in KL, as a contestant. I am quite sure I didn't give the right answer in that last phone call, but I suspect they were just trying to see if I would be able to make small talk with the host instead of clamming up while grappling with a difficult question.

So, hubby and I flew to KL and went to NTV7's station at Shah Alam. I was told not to wear small stripes as it did funny things on screen. We were briefed and given 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire" t-shirts (yay!) and asked to fill in a form. Among the questions asked was, "What type of question do you most dislike?" or something to that extent. I was debating on whether to answer it honestly. I still wonder how they use that bit of information. I'll bet if you reach the last stage, they'll give you precisely what you hate!

Anyways, I didn't get through the initial stage even, the one where you key in 4 answers in the right order and the fastest gets to play. During the rehearsal I was the fastest though, I'm usually very fast with my hands. So I did get to sit in the chair at least, even if it was only a rehearsal. The question was to arrange the months in ascending order.

During the actual taping however, the first question was to arrange the 4 words in alphabetical order. I'm a bit slow at that and was also nervous. So the first guy went up and tried to become a millionaire while we sat in the background. When his luck ran out, we got another chance. I was determined to relax and nail the next one.

Unfortunately, the next question was to arrange the toll booths in order from north to south. Since all the toll booths were in West Malaysia, I hadn't a clue. I should've just punched in A,B,C,D, because that was the answer! Well, that was the end of my million dollar dream! At least we could say we were on the set, which was exactly the same as the ones in every other country, just like the one in 'Slumdog'. Oh ya, and I also had the t-shirt... don't know where it's gone now, and I can even tell my kids mummy was on national tv (a bit embarrassing, since I didn't even get past the first round)!

All in all it was an experience. Will upload a photo of me on the set if I can find it!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Somebody please move my cheese.

It's been a month since Chinese New Year and I still have 1/2kg of cream cheese in my fridge. It started about 2 weeks before Chinese New Year. I had this urge to make cheesecake. You know what it's like when you suddenly have this drive to do something and you have to ride this wave of creative energy before it fades out, which it usually does pretty quickly.

So, I had the sudden desire to make cheesecake. Lots of it, to give to my sisters, dad, aunties, etc... for Chinese New Year. Out I went to get all the ingredients. I bought the cream cheese at Choice Premier. A 1kg block was selling for around RM42 and a 2 kg block cost around RM58, if I remember correctly. It was therefore simple logic and elementary mathematics which commanded that I must buy the 2kg block. The fact that I only needed 1kg was not essential! (I get my cheap thrills from getting good deals when shopping! I am a self-professed sucker for 'sales' and 'discounts'!)

Okay, so now I had everything I needed except for gelatine. This was the type of cheesecake you freeze and not bake. Thus began 'The Great Hunt for Gelatine'. I was everywhere, Choice Premier, Choice Daily, Everrise BDC, Cold Storage, Ta Kiong... either everyone was making cheesecake for Chinese New Year or someone was filling his pool with jelly! Well, a week later I finally found it at a small baking goods store. They had tonnes of it! Hooray! I found the gelatine! What did I need it for again?

Cheesecake. Right. By then my wave had pretty much diminished to a teensy weensy ripple. Sigh. I managed to crank out 2 small cheesecakes at least. That used up 500g of cream cheese. So now I had 1 1/2kg of cream cheese sitting in my fridge.

Now I'm one of those people who detest clutter. Therefore, starting about a week ago, the cream cheese achieved high priority status on the list of 'things to get rid of'! Everytime I opened the fridge, I saw the cheese staring at me. Yet I couldn't toss it out before it turned a suspicious shade of green. No, that would be wasteful. So, I went online in search of recipes for anything that needed cream cheese.

One thing I now know; you cannot trust everything you get from the internet. I tried a quiche recipe and it puffed up like a souffle in the oven only to collapse later upon cooling. The texture was not right. I had to throw away some leftovers. But the good news was, I was now left with only 1kg of cream cheese!

Then, I made some cream cheese frosting for a brownie recipe which I had made successfully before. I thought that turned out pretty ok, but the kids scraped off the cheese before eating the brownie! Nevermind, now I was down to 750g.

Then I came across a really simple recipe. Oreo Cheeseballs. Only 3 ingredients and no baking! Oreos, cream cheese and candy coating. It was heaven-sent, as I also had 3 packets of Oreos sitting in my kitchen cupboard (they were Oreo cheesecakes you see). You crush 2 packets of Oreos and mix with 250g cream cheese, roll them up into balls and dip into melted candy coating. I modified the recipe a bit. I beat sugar into the cheese, because I find cream cheese a bit too salty. Added the Oreos and rolled them in chocolate rice and 'hundreds and thousands', because I have no idea where to find candy coating.

It's good that it needed no baking so the kids could help and it didn't matter if some were marbles and others golf balls! They also turned out to be pretty yummy in fact! The diet issue was set aside for a while; getting rid of the cream cheese was more important!

Finally, I am now left with 1/2kg of cream cheese in my fridge. I see green mould in my crystal ball and predict cream cheese in the dustbin, in the not-too-distant future. But for now, it has a season parking spot in my fridge. At least it's smaller and not so 'in-your-face' anymore! So if anyone needs cream cheese, feel free to drop by!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fruits and vegetables

Have you ever seen a ciku fruit uncut? I saw it at the supermarket the other day and wouldn't have known what it was, if not for the labelling. It looks like a smooth potato. So I bought a few and cut some yesterday. They were not very ripe yet so they were a bit... what's the English equivalent for 'siap siap'? But they were still super sweet and had that characteristic grimy texture. Will keep the rest for later when they've ripened more.

Remember the diet? I'm trying to get more fresh fruits into the picture. Kids are not very adventurous though, only Annie tried the new fruit and complained that it was 'sandy'. I remember the last time I resolved to give the kids healthier food. Claire loves meat and would choose chicken over a lollipop any day. It's quite hard to control their intake so I figured I'd give them fruits to bring to school. That way, they have no choice but to eat the fruit as there is nothing else and they won't throw a tantrum because mummy isn't there to see it!

On the way to school that first day of the fruit endeavor, Claire did a routine inspection of her lunch box. She burst out crying when she saw the papaya sitting inside! They're used to grandad buying doughnuts and cakes from the bakery, you see. Poor thing. She really loves her food.

Last Halloween, I asked them what they wanted to dress up as. Annie suggested the usual faries and princesses, whereas Claire wanted to be a chicken! I assumed she wanted to be a cockadoodle doo, live chicken, but later on wondered if she meant KFC chicken drumstick, chicken... Anyways, she became a bunny rabbit in the end because it was a much easier costume to make.

Back to fruits. I have to bring Paula my maid to Dad's house this evening to dissect the jackfruit which dropped off dad's tree. It's a messy chore with all that sticky sap.

Dad is into organic farming. He has jackfruit, four angle beans, winter melon, sweet potatoes, etc.. The fruits and vegetables thrive on ammonia provided by dad. I mean literally. He collects his urine in a bucket by the side of the garden. It is covered with a board. I think the whole neighbourhood knows when he answers the call of nature. The piercing aroma can wake the dead! It's no wonder the kids get a bit worried when they find out that the vegetables on the dining table came from kung kung's garden!

But seriously, it's good to have food which you know for sure does not contain pesticide, preservatives, colouring, bleach, melamine and only God knows what else. So if you have garden space at home, you should really consider putting your urine to good use!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Angels and babies

Annie is sick with fever again. Possibly she didn't fully recover from the last bout and over exerted herself over the weekend. She slept over at her cousin Amanda's house Saturday night and as usual went to sleep real late and woke up on Sunday earlier and happier than on a school day!

Claire (no.2) woke up this morning with a red eye, so no school for her as well. Upon learning about these latest turn of events, Eva (no.3) quickly declared she had a red nose and therefore had to be excused from school also! Since she just goes to play school and learns words like "squareangle", I figured missing school wouldn't be such a big deal. So 'yay', school bus driver mum has a day off today.

It's funny what goes through the minds of children. Hubby's uncle passed away on Friday and I was explaining his death to them. Annie took it quite hard as grandaunt and granduncle took care of her when she was a baby. The smaller ones couldn't quite grasp the concept though. When I told them he had passed away, they asked me what that meant. I told them he had died and Eva asked, "Died? Squash, squash, squash?" Well, you have to excuse her as the only death she has encountered is that of ants and other insects!

Anyway, I told them he had gone to heaven with God. Then they asked me where heaven was and what they had there. I told them it was far, far away and had angels and quickly changed the subject... The questions were getting harder and harder! I'll have to refer them to their uncle, Fr. Richard soon.

Life and death are all part of the cycle of life and children have to learn about it sooner or later I guess. Only days before, they were all excited about the birth of a new cousin. The first one on their dad's side. Little baby Hugh is in Miri, so they can only see his picture for now. He's not so little actually, 3.9kg at birth!

The gift of life is awesome isn't it? It's so amazing to see a baby look like you and in the next second look like your other half. If I wasn't so scared of morning sickness and taking care of kids I'ld have myself a few more! Hahaha.. no I'm not serious...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Father's four fractured ribs.

I brought dad to Normah Medical Specialist Centre yesterday to do a bone mineral density scan. It basically tells you how strong your bones are and how prone you are to fractures. It's mostly done by women who worry about osteoporosis. So why did dad have to do one? Long story..

Okay, lets rewind to November 2008. School holidays. The whole clan went to Singapore to visit the 2 sisters and brother who defected from Kuching. 8 grandkids from Kuching, (some were left behind, mind you) plus 2 in Singapore, equals 10 grandkids, all below 9yrs of age, together for 4 days. Recipe for disaster perhaps?

The kids went crazy playing with each other and especially had a great time at Wild Wild Wet. That must've been the last straw for dad who was later diagnosed with pneumonia back at home!

So dad was prescribed 2 types of antibiotics, on top of medication for fever and cough. Now he's one of those people who do not like to take drugs, unless absolutely necessary and in this case, it was either oral medication or admission into hospital for intravenous drugs! Obviously he chose the former.

When he recovered, sis no.2 and I brought him to a Chinese physician. He prescribed more medication to strengthen his lungs which were scarred due to either working at the shipyard or heavy smoking in his younger days!

Then, dad decided he was strong enough to go play golf. The next day, post 18 holes of golf, he blacked out and crashed into a table before ending up on the floor. The A&E doctor declared 2 fractured ribs. Much later, the lung specialist spotted another one and geriatrician sis no.1, who flew back from Singapore, spotted another one! So the grand total was 4 fractured ribs! Which brings us to yesterday's bone scan.

Poor dad had to give up gardening and golf till after Chinese New Year. We children blame the golf for the blackout. Dad however, blames all the medication his children forced down his throat. Okay, so there was also some complication arising from the calcium we made him take, it constipated him, which led to him having to take laxatives as well... Oh ya and also before that, the antibiotics caused diarrhoea and obviously diarrhoea medication followed. Well, what can I say, that's what you get for having a doctor and pharmacist among your children (btw, there are 6 of us, which explains the 14 grandchildren).

Whatever the case, dad is doing great now. Gardening, golfing and even fishing. I hope we'll all be as healthy as him when we reach our 70's!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

KY jelly and suppositories

Solomon is just recovering from a throat infection. 3 days of high fever... meaning 3 days of lost sleep for mummy. His temperature peaked at 38.9 degrees Celsius. So out came the KY jelly and Voltaren 12.5mg suppositories. I have a phobia of high temperatures.. especially after hearing those scary stories about young children, high fevers and brain damage. Since Solomon is number 4, I'm already considered much more relaxed. Back when Annie (no.1) was sick, I had to set the alarm clock to go off every half to 1 hour just to make sure she wasn't burning up! Obsessive compulsive? Wait till you have kids..

So anyway, Solomon's better now. Today's his last day of Klacid suspension. He must have gotten the bug from Annie, who got sick after swimming everyday for 4 days in a row (some days twice)! Hubby wanted to see what it takes to make them beg you not to swim instead! Haha.. not happening..

During his visit to the paediatrician, Solomon weighed in at 9.1kg. At 6 months old, the doc said he was way overweight; 9.1kg was the normal weight of a 10 month old. So my poor baby has to go on a diet. Actually no.2 and no.3 are also overweight, so I guess the whole family (bar Annie) is going to have to shape up! Yup, mum and dad especially. As if it's not hard enough to cook for fussy kids. Now I have to think of dishes which they'll want to eat and which must also be healthy and low in fat! In other words, I'll have to learn the art of disguising veggies and fruits. Good luck to me..

Monday, February 16, 2009

I have my own blog!

I have my own blog! I am so proud of myself... only months ago my husband and I were looking high and low for the "hole" in which to stick in the square diskette of yesteryear, on his new laptop... *blush* apparently nobody uses those anymore. "Technologically challenged" might be the politically correct phrase we are looking for here.

So, how did I get here? Initially, the thought of earning money from writing nonsense online, during my free time, was the main trigger. It sounded very appealing indeed! I can write! I have free time! I like money! Who doesn't? But really, I do enjoy writing and I suppose I must have a streak of exhibitionism running through me. So, next problem, how did people do this? I had no idea where to start. Some googling eventually led me here though... so I guess I'm not as daft as I thought I was.

Upon further pondering, blogging seemed more and more attractive. It could help kill some of the boring free time I have between serving customers and even act as a channel to vent my stresses of being a mother of 4 slightly crazed kids! If the everyday madness I'm forced to endure could be put to good use, that would make it much less stressful. Daily disasters and "tests-of-patience" could be viewed as blogging material instead of premature heart attack material.

So, I decided to forge ahead despite my paltry internet knowledge.. the worse case scenario is I get to kill some time and the best case scenario is I earn a fortune from blogging and also become the world's best mom in the process! Muahaha!
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