Friday, April 22, 2016

Bump Update 29 Weeks

For want of a better word, bump update sounds better than pregnancy update. I suppose somewhere in the busy, toddler filled, whirlwind working mommy life, I don't wanna forget the fact that I'm actually also, irrevocably pregnant.

There's already tell tale signs of this one being almost forgotten if there wasn't so much reminders of how to take care of yourselfs out there. For the sake of comparison, the first time around I never missed a vitamin pill, even adding MORE. This time around, eating a vitamin is like a passing thought. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.

But, to be fair, I did buy a pregnant lady-specific powder milk, just to compensate my cavalier attitude towards this pregnancy. I take milk--- fairly enough. So yay!

It's true what they say about a second pregnancy. They're almost always true, those stories. My pre-formed thoughts about raising the second one is also pointing towards fulfilling 'those stories'. You know, the one where the first one can't even go anywhere without me trailing, even almost growing eyeballs at the back of my head. And where the second one gets to pick up food from the carpet without me even batting an eyelash.

Oh no. I really really hope not.

That's why I'm doing this. To commemorate, to celebrate this pregnancy. Because somehow my body and the baby deserves it.

On to the Journal updates.

WEEK 29

I just checked the pregnancy calendar and will you look at that.. I'm in my 3rd trimester. This pregnancy is going by too fast. I remember buying that kit yesterday and looking at daddy's annoyed face when I didn't tell him I was doing a test. Same as during Naila's turn. Yeah so I'm a bit impatient.

The same as the first pregnancy, I'm starting to feel the panic. I know I'm a bit weird... Everyone else is just excited at having a new baby. I panic. It's the feeling you get knowing final exams is tomorrow. Thinking about the long sleepless nights, the bfs. Okay relax. Another 3 months to go. I got this.

We just found out you're a boy 2 days ago and that's got me a little excited. A little boy! No wonder I had back pains. It's what people say. Back pain, boy. Hubs was like, good job baby, we've got a heir. Lol.

Baby is almost 1kg. Doctor Norshida told me to continue whatever I'm doing. I only gained 0.5kg since last month. So I'm about 57kg now. Looking at history, my babies are bound to be overdue so we don't want him to be too big. Because of the whole > baby = > pushing.

My emotions are somewhat haywire. They swing like a pendulum. One minute I feel super happy, one minute I feel depressed. We're moving soon, so that makes me really depressed.

I don't have any cravings. During my first pregnancy, I woke up a few nights thinking about cookies & cream ice-cream. Nothing like that this time around. The baby isn't angry when it's hungry, not like Naila. When I say angry, I mean kicking up a storm in the uterus.

Energy wise I'm relatively fine. I swim every week, doing a few laps. Although I did get breathless the last time so I had to stop after 2 laps. I walk alot at the park, at the mall. I was more tired in my first trimester comparatively but we'll see how it goes as we progress into the final 3-4 months.

Same as 1st pregnancy, I hate pregnancy pillows or any pillows at all. I gave away my pregnancy pillow because I never use them. Hubs really took a jab at me when I bought a RM200 huge*** pillow last time but never using it. Well how am I suppose to know that I won't like em? Everyone else swears by their pillows to get through the night! Seriously -_-

Okay till next week!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Searching for the Best Playschool in Malaysia

So the title exaggerates a bit... it's just the best playschool in Cheras actually! 

The playschool in my list includes:- 

1. Brainy Bunch
2. Genius Aulad
3. KinderKaizen
4. Alimkids
5. Smart Reader

I was actually looking for a school with a play yard. Kids need to play outside alot. Naila's only 2 and half, so in my ideal world, she should be outside about 2 hours a day. 

But I think it's a trend now to have child centres in the shoplots. Only really old, established centres have play yards. Must be something to do with licenses and stuff. 

I visited all of them, except KinderKaizen. My conclusion is, Smart Reader and Genius Aulad are catered for older kids. Leaning most towards Brainy Bunch and Alimkids. Out of the two, Brainy Bunch brands itself as Islamic Montessori and AlimKids is Islamic play-based learning. 

The only reason why KinderKaizen is out of the picture is because it's too far! Otherwise, it would've won hands down. 

Let me back up for a second. Why send her to school in the first place? First, I think she's ready to go to school and play! She's bored at home and I can't entertain her enough anymore! Second, I admit that I've been slacking in terms of spending more time with her. Used to do activities everyday, but now I'm focusing more on De' Bams & feeling physically tired because of being preggers. So I left Naila with my helper! 

Obviously at this point I don't expect Naila to be in an academic environment. Again, she's only two. I'd pay just to have her interact with friends, learning coordination skills, social skills and pick up language lingo; just things I can't provide at home. Bonus if she learns her alphabets and du'a, stuff like that. 

She can learn her solat, du'as, simple abcs at home, insyaallah. 

Looking to enroll her in May... decisions, decisions.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

How to Entertain Toddler on a Long Distance Drive or Long Flight

A short break from Krabi posts to talk about something really important. So important that if you weren't prepared, the whole road trip will be a disaster. It's how to entertain the little monstah during a long distance drive. 

1. TIMING

Timing is everything! The best timing is when the toddler is asleep! Me & hubs always choose to wake up really early in the morning to travel long distance. For Krabi we started the journey at 4am. For trips to Kuala Terengganu, for example, we woke up at 3am. You can also travel through the night, but we aren't really night owls.. so we prefer to catch some snooze before starting on a long journey. 

2. A CAR SEAT TRAY


Also known as a snack & play tray. You can get it from Lelong.my for a cheap knockoff or look for the real thing at baby specialty stores. I got mine for RM20 off Lelong. The table is sturdy but not hard. This is important in case of an accident, the tray won't hurt the toddler. You can use the tray for activities, and for food. Very handy. 

3. STICKER BOOKS

I scoured the internet for ways to entertain a toddler in the car or flight. For kids above 5 years old, loom bands are a favorite. For 2-3 year olds, It's sticker books. I went to a few shops looking for sticker books, and I found one in Aeon Big for RM10. Sticker books kept Naila occupied for 30 minutes at a time. 


Mickey mouse sticker books does the trick! 




4. TABLET WITH SOME NEW MOVIES & OLD FAVORITES

This works the longest. Naila has very limited screen time at home, so she's usually very excited for more. No complains when we let her finish a movie in the car. That's 1.5 hours off our hands. We wanted to bring headphones for her but forgot at the very last minute! 



5. SNACKS

When traveling, we allow things we don't usually allow, like eating chips and lots of biscuits. And kerepek. Or kerepet as Naila calls it. Plenty of milk cartons. Food saves the day when we were stuck at the Thai border for 3 hours. 

Also make sure to stop by for toilet breaks and freshening up every 2-3 hours. Makes all the difference in the world. Any other tips for long distance travel? 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Driving From KL to Krabi with a Toddler

We started the journey around 8 am. We had breakfast, all was good. The plan was to drive all the way to Alor Setar and spend the night there before heading to Krabi. Having done many long distance drives with Naila previously, it wasn't too difficult, luckily.

We arrived in Alor Setar around lunchtime. We checked into the hotel room first, and took a nap before heading out sometime around 4pm. We looked up popular places to eat. Having stayed in KL all our lives, it felt funny that most of the eating stalls in Alor Setar only opens up in the evening! One place we went to seems to have open for business. Turns out only Nasi Ayam is available. Their popular char kuey tiow kerang can only be ordered at 6PM.

Feeling a bit flabbergasted, we decided to go to a popular mamak stall in Alor Setar named Restoran Mikamal. I ordered their mee rebus. Very hearty, worth trying.

Naila finally falling asleep at Restoran Mikamal. 

After that, we went to Alor Setar's famous landmark to take photos. You know, typical Asian tourist stuff. 


Naila was feeling crabby for travelling the whole day, so we took her to the playground afterwards. 

What a driving day. 

We returned to the hotel after running around at the playground. That's the end of the first day. How easy and straightforward was the journey. 

Little did we know what was waiting for us the next day. 

The following day, we left the hotel around 5am. Headed straight for Changlun to obtain Thailand border pass. The passes are RM1 each. We spent almost 45 minutes here, despite arriving early. Turns out this place was popular with busses and they usually bring a big crowd to get border passes. Maybe we should've gotten the passes the day before or wait until we get to the Immigration office. 

For more details on crossing the Thailand border and documents needed, please visit here

We chose Bukit Kayu Hitam crossing, thinking this was the big gate, therefore it's efficient. Not efficient enough for a Chinese New Year holiday I suppose. By the way, don't bother stopping at the Malaysian free-trade zone unless you're looking to shop for perfumes and stuff. It's really not worth it. There's no surau or eating place. Even the toilet is located OUTSIDE the air conditioned building, and not that clean either. 


We were greeted by the LONNNNGGG queue at Thailand Bukit Kayu Hitam border.

Halfway through the queue, I got down and queue on foot for the Malaysian side. Then walked about 500 metres to the Thai immigration all the while thinking it will speed things up. Oh yeah give way to the pregnant lady.

Annnddddd I was greeted by this queue at the Thai border. It was very confusing, people were short on temper, the guards were like tigers. They growl in Thai if you ask questions. I wasn't even sure if they spoke Malay or English at all. I made sure to look extra pregnant to gain sympathy but unfortunately there's no pregnant mommy lane here.

The horror. 

Hubs and Naila arrived half and hour later. 

Thankfully she was in high spirits and find the whole thing quite amusing.

I was sweating in fear of queuing up at the wrong line. That would set us back 1 hour. But earlier I've inquired from the insurance booth on the Malaysian side as to where to queue up, and luckily I was in the right lane. 

Make sure to prepare a few Ringgit per person for 'tips' when they chop your border pass. Hubs put in RM1 in each passport and we were growled at. Ok rude. It's pretty cold up here, compared to KL. I dunno what they're complaining about.

All in all, we spent 3 hours at the border for Malaysian passport clearance, Thai passport/border pass, and for car grant/information of conveyance. It does *(#*)% on your driving morale. 

By the end of the ordeal, we were so tired even though it was only 9.30am. One word for the border experience: grueling. The border is where I felt regret for agreeing to undertake this 'adventurous scenic travel'. 

Although, I don't think it's as bad on normal days. Maybe it's just our timing. 

Welcome to Thailand, finally. 

The drive from there is again, pretty straight forward. Just do note that our Waze started showing weird routes to Krabi, almost doubling travel times so we decided to switch to Googlemaps. Thailand trunk roads does not have tolls. The roads are spacious and free of pot holes. It was a pleasant drive overall. 


For most of the journey you'll be looking at plantation. Only till you enter Krabi province will you start seeing tall limestone hills. 

After another 4 hours, we finally arrived at Ao Nang, Krabi. 

As a conclusion, the travel from the border to Ao Nang took 7 hours including the border crossing and the total distance is 800KM from KL. Is it worth the trouble? I'd say if you were without children, yes, why not cross it off the bucket list. If you're with children, you gotta be extra patient, and employ strategic planning especially at the border. 

Next post: Ao Nang, KRABI 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

KRABI, THAILAND IN A NUTSHELL

I meant to write all these posts in February but oh well. Here goes :)

Our recent Krabi trip was very enjoyable, filled to the brim with activities and we wished we could’ve stayed for longer! So many islands to visit! So much food to try! So many things to do! With only four days to spare (2 ½ days if you minus the travel times), it’s a case of too much to do, so little time.



On the first day arriving there, we were kinda tired from the long drive. But seeing the tall limestone hills, the green and the crystal blue sea made the drive so worth it. As we arrived at our resort, we were welcomed by somebody wearing scarf!

THE SUNDA RESORT

Sunda resort is a muslim-owned resort, which I googled after hearing about muslim resorts in Krabi. There are a few actually, but the sparkling reviews of Sunda Resort on Trip Advisor made this the winning choice.



The walk towards our room is surrounded by lush greenery.

Why a muslim resort? First is the convenience of halal breakfast, and also the feeling of being home listening to the 5 times azan. They aren’t intrusive or loud, but more like a background sound, very soothing.  

We decided not to drive in Krabi. To be honest, in the beginning we were a bit put off by how far the resort is to the beach. It could easily be 2-3km to Noppharat Thara beach and more so to Ao Nang Beach. But they told us there’s a complimentary van to and from both beaches, so that’s settled!


The rooms are generously big, overlooking the canal and little jungle as we call it. There’s a small sitting area at the back where I like to spend the mornings before both hubs and Naila woke up. The bathroom is also huge, with an open roof so you can hear crickets at night while showering. The bed is big enough for the three of us.

We love our resort and will not hesitate to come back here again!

FOOD

One the best things about being a muslim in Krabi is that you’re actually spoilt for choice of food. What a refreshing change compared to other retreats outside of Malaysia. Before going to Krabi, I surveyed the internet for Halal good food in Krabi and people mentioned the area in front of the Ao Nang mosque is a good place to look for halal food.

Truth is, you can find food anywhere you are in Krabi. The streets are lined with food vendors, restaurants, shacks—you name it, they have it. If you want to have a nice dinner at an upscale place, you can try the restaurants at the big name hotels, they’re mostly halal.

Another thing about Krabi is that, you can choose a stall at the side of the road and their food would be so good! The choice of delicious food is plenty.

One food stall I’d like to mention that became our favorite is May & Zin. Hubs dubbed their Siakap sweet & sour as 5 stars and I agree!


A Trip Advisor favorite, and we decided to try it! 




We also tried the Malaysian favorite Bamboo restaurant, and sidewalk stalls selling the famous Krabi pancakes in a variety of flavors!

ACTIVITIES IN KRABI

Krabi is not an island. Yup, it’s actually a peninsular reachable by road transport. That explains how we got there by car. But, Krabi is surrounded by numerous islands, too many to count. Activities mostly covers water sports, there’s elephant riding, hiking, rock climbing, horse riding, island hopping and sight-seeing.

A few operators organize ‘sunset cruises’ whereby they take you around the vicinity of Krabi’s islands, go snorkeling, cliff jumping, then you’ll be served with dinner while watching the sunset. If you ask me, there’s so much to do. With only 4 days to spare, we cannot possibly cover everything we wanted to do, plus the activities we choose had to be suitable for Naila who’s only 2.

So we did kayaking in Ao Tha Lane (6KM in 2 hours!), and spent the day relaxing in one of the most beautiful beaches in Krabi which is Railay Beach. Hubs also snuck in a scuba diving trip at Koh Phi Phi. Seriously, I WISH I had 10 days in Krabi at least. That’s not even counting the bigger islands people were talking about like Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta.

Like I said, we had to pick and choose the most suitable things for Naila and for that amount of time. It was sooo hard!!!! 

BEING BABY FRIENDLY

I was very surprised at seeing how many families there are in Krabi. I had a feeling that we’d be the only one toting a toddler but boy I was wrong! I didn’t bring a stroller (the horror) because of how wrongfully I judged Krabi before going. For the record, the sidewalks were so smooth and generous, perfect for strolling around Ao Nang or any other beaches. I even saw strollers on the beach!

Babies were everywhere! I love it. The place felt relatively safe, the people were polite; it made the trip so much easier and comfortable. So comfortable that, on the third day, I took Naila to Railay beach on my own by long tail boat! I’ll talk about our activities in Krabi in a next post. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Potty Training for First Time Mommies

My Potty Trained Girl

Gahhh. The horror. First it was the sleep training. Now the dreaded potty training. I wasn't sure when to actually start. Some people say when the baby is 18 months, you can already start. At 18 months, Naila doesn't even let out a squeak if she poo. Not a hint, except the smell that comes afterward. So I know she wasn't ready back then.

She's now 2 years old and 5 months. I can understand her clearly when she speaks so I thought, what the heck.. it's now or never!

FIRST DAY
We rolled up all the carpets, playmats, yoga mats, sejadah mats and hid it in the corner. I prepped Naila that she's not wearing diapers anymore a dozen times the day before. I think she gets it when she nods ok.

That morning after shower, I put on her shirt and airy pants only minus the undies. I started timing my phone every 15 minutes to prompt taking her to the toilet. She did her pee for the first time! YAYY! Success!

The 15 minutes toilet break went on until afternoon. Then I got complacent. I stopped asking every 15 minutes. Naila went on to pee on the floor about 3 times that day.

No poo on first day. I went all... hahaha let's see how long can you hold it in!

SECOND DAY
Peeing session a success, although she still refuses to say, "I wanna pee." Instead she makes faces. So we had to be in tune with her face. If we miss it, then another round of moping. By second day, we know to put on her diapers when she naps. Because she'll pee when she wakes up. She manages to poo in the diaper. Sneaky.

THIRD DAY
Caught her squatting down and making faces. Sprinted to the toilet! First poo in the toilet! Yayy. See?? We parents aren't that hard to please.

When she's absorbed in playing something, she forgets all about the training and pees on the floor. We still had to ask if she wants to pee or not.

FOURTH and beyond. 
I read somewhere that you can potty train in 3 days. Maybe if it was really intensive, no diapers 100%. But I always went out with Naila during our potty training week and she wears diapers outside. So that might've confused her a little. Plus she also wears them at night and during naps.

I can safely say she's reliably potty trained at the end of two weeks this way. The carpets go back on the floor after 2 weeks. It's pretty tiring when she 'forgets' to tell us. But in all fairness she manages to let us know in advance most of the time.

She gets especially excited when it comes to flushing her No 2.
The other day after doing a no. 2, she cried, "I made a banana!" OKayyy. Lols Ew.

Another time she said, "Naila poo. Gross. Don't touch mommy. Let's flush." That's a bit better.

WHAT YOU NEED
1. A mini potty seat to go on the regular toilet bowl (we don't use those standalone potty, I can't stomach cleaning up the plastic afterward)

We used something like this. 


2. A ready toddler
3. A timer/ handphone to remind yourself to take the little one to the toilet
4. Alertness to her facial expressions
5. A lot of patience
6. Courage & a little bit of gusto

Go for it! You know, I can already feel the diaper savings. I used to buy those diapers in a bulk of 4, now reduced to one a month! That's more than RM100 savings. Awesome.
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