Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Feet In the Ground

In my twenties, I was so focused on my own problems. Going into 30s, It finally dawned on me that everyone has real struggles, most times even more so than me. And also sometimes, the world feels bleak, especially when you read too much news. I don't really read the news anymore. Except property updates and the only time I actually listen to the live news is during the budget presentation.

I'm slowly getting a sense of self again, finally emerging from the fog of diapers. Sometimes I don't know who I am and how am I supposed to act. I feel so young inside after going through everything. I'm still hopeful and I can see the person I used to be before the kids.

I think it's so important to retain a sense of self when you're going through tough times. I'm not talking tough times as in raising children, but a culmination of what happened in the past few years. It's so important not to be fearful and continue to let passion drive you. I'm hoping that the dark days made me wiser. At the time I remain positive and still willing to try new things.

That's why it's such a hoot to meet arrogant punks once in a while. My head is reeling with comments such as, "you've NEVER fallen, just wait. And you'll never be the same again."

Always be humble, keep your feet in the ground. Dig in and bury your feet even. If the slightest arrogance creep into your head, punch it dead.

p/s: It's funny I talk alot in my head. But it takes so much effort to talk alot in real life.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Brainy Bunch Mahkota Cheras Kindergarten Review

*Disclaimer: This review is based on our personal experience and opinions only. It does not reflect others opinion, as everyone can have a completely different view based on different needs. Also brace yourself for a long post. 

So where we left off in my post 2 years ago was that I enrolled Naila into Brainy Bunch Mahkota Cheras, at the time, a newly opened branch. After reviewing other options, me and hubs really liked the Brainy Bunch concept.. Montessori and all that.

The classrooms were attractive and fun to look at. We also learned that they teach classes in mixed-age groups which I thought was unique.

First, to talk about what I expected from Naila in 2 years.
I wanted her to:

1. make friends
2. be able to communicate with teachers (not scared etc)
3. be exposed to Islamic values with a progressive and modern approach.
4. to have a fun learning experience


In 2 years, did Brainy Bunch reach my expectations? I'm going to answer with a simple yes. There were hiccups and challenges without a doubt, but the end result is beyond what I expected in some aspects.

Naila was 5 when she joined Brainy Bunch. I asked the usual question "anything interesting happen today in school? Did you have fun?" She always has stories to tell.

In the first year, I noticed that there was a period of time that she refused going to school. She was really upset on some days. The teachers would say nothing out of the ordinary. So I prodded Naila a little bit. Then I found out that she was feeling a little bit left out because "she doesn't know how to read her ABCs and 123s" whereas her friends who started early from 4 years old are already well versed.

She was so stressed about being left behind and even cried about not wanting to go to school.

At that time, I met with teachers and discussed about Naila. I feel that the teachers really took into consideration the things I shared with them and Naila's mood improved considerably from then on. Naila has the tendency to clamp up in fear of being wrong. I just honestly said, I can't do it but I hope that you're patient with her and try to encourage her to keep trying. The teachers took it in stride.

Honestly throughout the year when she was 5, I wasn't worrying about her reading and math because I knew she could do it once she's ready. But she did slowly started to hafaz some surahs and sometimes she'd read her zikir while playing.

By the time she was 6, most parents concern was about being able to read. I can tell you that by the end of the year, she progressed by leaps and bounds and she had been reading Enid Blyton books herself during the school holidays. She was also doing well in math, doing addition and subtraction. She's started memorizing the timetables for multiplication.

I know some parents in other Brainy bunch schools took their kids out and put them in intensive maths and reading classes. It's a pity because honestly, kids will eventually grasp reading and math when the time comes, but they seldom get to learn in an immersive Islamic environment where they learn to pray together, and being taught Islamic values on a daily basis that it becomes second nature.

Anyway, by the time Naila was 6, I knew that she loved the science activities in class and she looked forward to it. She had good friends and aunties (teachers in brainy bunch) reported that Naila is doing well in school.

At home, she's a loving sister to her 2 younger brothers, always helping out. She's physically active and gets bored easily.

Which brings us to the cons.


Naila was in the full day program which means that she stays there until 6. She often complains her day is boring because after 12 there isn't much to do. She told me that she couldn't "run and play" and having to sit down and do quiet activities. She also complains about having to "nap" even though she doesn't want to.

At night, she goes to sleep at 8.30pm, therefore I didn't think the nap was necessary for some kids, although I understand that they probably needed some quiet time. Teachers allow her to lie down quietly without having to nap, provided she doesn't disturb others.

One of the things that me and hubs complain about since she was 5 is the management of sports day, school trips and concert. First, we had to pay an extra RM100 for each extra event which we wouldn't mind if other points are addressed. Second, the Brainy Bunch HQ lumped many schools together during these extra events and always held it at Cyberjaya. Frankly the experience for us parents aren't very good.

What I didn't like about them: 

1. The sports day isn't very competitive. I'd have preferred traditional games such as running, gunny sack, even ping pong in a spoon. Or anything that made the kids sweat and maybe shout. It's called a sports day after all. Both years, the kids were smiling shyly while going through the intensively built course that's overly safe and not competitive.

I expected the kids to at least fall down on their knees, or run helter skelter. But alas, at the end of the course, they're all dry and gets to collect a medal. I'd prefer them to be all out of breath and dirty marks on their knees and maybe crying. Or am I just being extreme here? There's also no parading around the field. I don't like the segmentation and the parents lined up all the way blocking each others view. Frankly, I don't like the sports day at all. It wasn't a good experience for us parents and worst of all, the kids couldn't care less.

2. We opted out for school trip when Naila was 6. Because we didn't want to pay RM100 for a trip to a place we didn't know about. I expected trips to the zoo. The petting zoo. The fire station. Something along those lines perhaps.

3. The concert day was too long for 3 hours. We were surrounded by so many food and toy vendors. It felt like a trap we couldn't escape from. We loved watching her perform and Mahkota Cheras performance was so outstanding that us parents can't stop raving about it on whatsapp group afterwards. Credits to the dedicated teachers who tirelessly trained the kids every day. However it was too long by combining 3-4 school performance at once. Again it wasn't a good experience for us parents, especially when we also have smaller children to take care of.

We stood by the school particularly for it's environment, dedicated teachers and Naila's friends. We closed our eyes to the Brainy Bunch HQ bureaucracy and some things we didn't agree on. At the end of the day, Naila only sees her teachers and friends everyday and we only occasionally have to go through the other things.

So do I recommend Brainy Bunch Mahkota Cheras? Resounding yes. Naila experienced the things I expected and academically, she's ready for standard 1.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

You Won't Be Able to Stop Time Even If You Want To


So this is the year that Naila starts her standard one. I can't believe I've been a mom for 6 years! 6 years since my life changed forever and having to be an adult. Before long, my two boys are going to follow suit. Oh please slow down time!

I'm going to miss my boys saying "I Loove Mommy! Love Mommy!" before going to sleep. I'm going to miss Naila say "I want 3 kisses." Yes! they do that every single day. And it makes me laugh that lately, Ibrahim's way of softening a blow when he wrecked something is by starting with "I loove mommy" out of a sudden.

Life is fleeting, kids are tiring but wonderful.

And though they're very young, I try to be as transparent with them as possible. Naila's starting to rationalize and is a keen observer, so I keep my explanations honest and simple. Sometimes she gives her own explanations and I get dumbfounded by how insightful she is. I'm like, I'm raising a smart kid... I have to buck up.

The other day, she asks, "why does Allah let good people die." It took me a second to answer that.

Where to enroll for standard one is one big question after preschool. She's had such head start by attending Brainy Bunch for 2 years and it's such a pity to not continue her studies in that direction. All the surah's, the ideology, the theories, stories, is something that I can never teach her alone. So this is the responsibility that me and hubs are taking for her. We enrolled her in a private islamic elementary school which I might share about later.

As of now, I'm enjoying the December slow down, cuti-cuti Malaysia and all that. Looking forward to a new year full of challenges and possibilities. 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Mental Health Well-being

I blogged about starting to exercise before. By now, I've made it a commitment to do it every single day except the weekend. The things that it does for my overall well-being is just short of amazing.

I don't know how to NOT make this sound like an advert but gosh. I just needed to say something somewhere. When I say exercise, it's actually short 10-20 mins bursts of HIIT. So it's quick, intense but so so effective.

So my morning routine goes like this:-

6.45/7am - Wake up, gets kids ready for kindy & daycare, breakfast
7.15am - Hubs send oldest to kindy & goes to work
8.30am - Send the toddlers to daycare
9am - Reach home, vacuum the house, feed cat, water plants, feed fish & tiny home touch ups
9.30am - Start HIIT. I LOVE Pamela Reif's
10am - Short shower
10.15am - Start work

I've been doing it consistently almost everyday since early of the year. I don't even think about my weight anymore because doing this, you get toned up so you don't really care anymore. Most days, I work on abs because hello three kids really mess up your middle! But yeah omg if you work on it everyday, you start seeing the muscles toning up and you start losing anything extra.

Plus it's so motivating when you start seeing some parts shrinking and lifted!

It sounds so simple, I started with 10 mins only, but the key word is EVERYDAY. Well, weekends for me is impossible because kids climb on me when I'm planking, so no thank you.

On the days that laziness start creeping in, I quickly remind myself that I have this amazing time in the world that I didn't have just one year ago. If I'm not using this time to get in shape, then what useless piece of meat am I? I choose to work flexible hours so I get to do things I can't normally do if I work 9-5. So I do have lazy days but I'm happy to say to I've been fairly consistent.

What's the aftermath besides feeling fit? Being in my line of work, you tend to get more rejections than yesses, so being fit also helps me feel a lot more positive. You also get less tired and more energetic. You sleep well.

I don't know if this is a plus, because you have to spend money (!) but I've swung from S size to M size but now definitely back to true S size.. so alot of my M sized clothes are baggy on my frame now.

So there you have it.. some of my friends have commented that I looked the same from uni days, but it isn't true because if you've gone through pregnancy, giving birth and nursing (x3) you are definitely NOT the same. It's a conscious effort to keep fit and to control eating habits. But I'll share that next time. 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Raising Daughter

Do you have a goal for your kids? Sometimes I look at my kids and wonder, is it enough to feed and clothe them. Is it enough to expect they will learn something by looking at us?

I admit the first years of their lives is extremely tiring. Any plans you had about anything can be thrown out the window because you can barely think most of the time. I fought hard to work past the maternal fog in the beginning and it slowly cleared without me noticing it.

Now I'm back to 100% in terms of brain power, I'm pretty sure. Then I realized that I've been on autopilot for so long that I barely planned anything for my kids, which pretty much deviated from my original parenthood dreams.

The time is now to change though.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Annual Krabi Trip

First it's what you look for in a holiday. Is it peace of mind, new adventures on the off beaten path & food heaven? Then YES, that's why we go back. In fact this place has more variety than our east coast islands, although those are heavenly too. 

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