my babies

Friday, April 29, 2011

Malorca, arrival

Despite feeling rather ill, Adam was still pretty excited about going on an aeroplane. He slept in the plane and the moment we land, we woke him up. He was groggy and all of sudden, projectile vomitting all over the place! He didn't even eat hisdinner so it was all his lunch thatcame out. Poor baby..

After that he did feel slightly better and told me he didn't want to go home. He said 'Nak lain house' meaning he want to go to a hotel. I said,yes thats where we're going. When we arrived at the apartment, he was happy and suddenly he realised there is no television. 'cannot find tv mom. i cannot find tv..' over and over again. 'Lets find lain house mom' It was 2am.

Oh dear.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Daddy's Birthday trip

We're off to the airport for Daddy's birthday trip.

The location is a secret, the birthday boy doesn't know yet where we're going. All of us are not 100% well. Adam has quite a bit of fever, Mia's nose is runny but luckily it doesn't stop her from being her usual cheeky self. We have plenty of Calpol and Lemsip packed up but please pray for us!

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead.

Monday, April 25, 2011

To my dear husband

Yesterday, at the tube station, you carried Adam in his stroller down a flight of stairs. When we reach the bottom of the stairs, there was a lady with her child in a stroller too, struggling and looking around for help. Without a moment's hesitation, you offered to help and then proceeded to carry her child in the stroller up the stairs.

This simple act of kindness reminded me again of who you are and why I love you.

You have a heart spun out of pure gold. May Allah bless you always, my love.

Happy birthday.

Friday, April 15, 2011


I remember calling my father on his 47th birthday in 2002. I wished him Happy Birthday. I remember him saying ' Abah dah tua, Kak Long...' in a very sad tone, which was very uncharacteristic of him. A year later he was diagnose with cancer. And then began a painful journey of illnesses after illnesses, that claimed his body, his mind and eventually his life.

I want to remember all the good happy memories with him. There were so many of those. But somehow this is the memory that keep popping in my head today.

There are so many things I wish I could've done, things I wished I could've said.

I miss him so much...

I would give anything to have him back..

But I pray and trust that the Almighty is looking after my dear father in the afterlife.

He would've been 56 today...

Happy Birthday Abah...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The British Museum

London is full of great museums and most of them are free. Last weekend we decided to explore the British Museum. We haven't been here before and was pleasantly surprised..

The museum building itself is rather old and magnificent.

They have a stunning display from Ancient Egypt..even Adam was quite entranced..

Also, an exhibition of mummies...although, i found it quite creepy...i mean...there are dead people in there!

Their African section was very interesting...especially the African textiles..

This piece of work was my favourite..

They also have an Islamic History exhibition with some beautiful, interesting pieces...

The museum was so huge we didn't get to visit all the exhibitions but it was a really good Sunday trip nonetheless...and after the museum we walked leisurely around towards a tube station and stumbled across a lovely park that the kids really enjoyed...i think that deserves its own blog post actually....

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I Knit, London

Why is it I always 'blog' inside my head and not on the computer and then before I know it there's a backlog of unwritten entries unpublished? Oh well. Let's just get on with the entry before my cheeky daughter wakes up from her nap and I finish the entry in my head again..

One of the things I love most about living in London is that the city never fails to surprise me. After 2 years, we are still constantly discovering new things to do and new places to go. I realise that London has plenty of beautiful local yarn shops, but I normally do my yarn shopping online or on Oxford/Regent Street. But I have since discovered that there are plenty of other cozy charming shops, and that a lot of knitters travel a long long way just to visit these shops. So I made a point to visit one of these shops. I didn't really go to buy any yarn, just to stare and oooh and aahh and fondle the gorgeous yarns. Even if you're not a knitter, I'm sure the sight of these beauties might be quite inspiring.

This is the shop. I knit London. Small, but very popular in London.

This specialty yarn is made out of buffalo hair! Can you believe that? Somewhere on the underbelly of the buffalo, i think? It is quite soft! And, it costs about 35 quid a pop! I suppose it would cost quite a lot...afterall buffalos don't have that much hair...

gorgeous colours...i wish i can decorate my home with yarn like this...but my kids love to play with them too! (they call them ball, or snake, or 'mommy bag knitting')

This yarn is very rare! with stainless steel. I can't believe I missed this! I didn't realise it was there so didn't get to feel the yarn..My husband was the one who took this photo...

Oh man this is the stuff...I've been eyeing this yarn from The Natural Dye studio for a very long time. It's 100% silk and just soooo beautiful and soft (also so expensive).

I came home with a magazine on light spring knitting and some needle blocker. And a bucket full of inspiration. Anybody want to join me go to their knitting group?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Big Fair Isle

I realise that my previous post may make some people uneasy, which is understandable because it contradicts a lot of things we believe in. But it's ok, it's important to questions things, get out of our comfort zone for a little bit and not to just follow everything blindly. At the very least, exploration of this issue has made me look at my children and at life differently, and helped me appreciate my children's innate ability for unprompted learning. I am making a point to learn more about unschooling, and to observe my own children's fascinating capabilities. Maybe we will explore this topic further in another entry.

For now let me distract you with this BIG Fair Isle project I was working on.

The colours are just amazing. The pattern and yarn are from Alice Starmore. I love her work.

The buttons are from Liberty. They have the loveliest buttons there. I chose ones that stand out because of their shape and not colour (so the colours of the fair isle work stands out more)

I am in love with this vest. I want to wear it, sleep in it, rub it in my face, put it on my wall, stare at is a quite a BIG disaster!

Did I mention BIG?

There's about 10 inches of positive ease..

Kinda make me look like a BIG silly monster...hehe...

But I love it anyway. Sigh. You don't choose who (what) you love, you know? I learnt so much from knitting this - continental knitting, stranded knitting, fair isle, knitting with both hands at the same time, colour blends, and steeking! (i'll try to explain more about this amazing technique. i have met knitters who has been knitting for more than 20 years without ever trying out steeking). this is the most fascinating knitting project I have ever done and I do not regret knitting it at all, even though it doesn't fit...any ideas what I can do with it? I was thinking I'll hang it on the wall of my (future) dream studio...hehe...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Unschooling - a brainstorm

After I wrote this I realise my thoughts have formed a sort of long novel here. Please bear with me as I brainstorm this idea. And join my process if you wish.

Recently I have been thinking a lot about Unschooling. Unschooling is similar to homeschooling, but it is different in the sense that the children are given the freedom to lead their own learning and education. There are no set schedules, exams and testing, curriculum, or set subjects to be studied. The role of the parent is merely one of a facilitator, to make the resources available to them and to answer questions. When I first heard of this, it seemed too far fetched to me. What about University? What if the child doesn't know what he needs to learn? Is it just about having fun and nothing else? How does it work with multiple children - how does the parent cope with teaching their own children (I question this with homeschooling too), how is the support for unschooling in Malaysia?. I had too many unanswered questions and put off the idea for a while. Lately I came across this website, and after spending time reading about it...I am starting to question my whole belief system in regards to child education.

Unschooling is based on the concept of TRUST in our children. Trust that they want to learn, trust that they know what they need to learn, and trust that they know the best way to learn. We love and trust our children, but why is this concept feels so alien? It is so ingrained in our bones that if children are left to their own devices, they will naturally NOT want to learn anything. If nobody told them to when and what they must learn, they won't. And we prove this point by looking at other school children, or at our own experiences as school children - at weekends or whenever children had free time, all they want to do is sleep or rest or laze around and play. Perhaps the very fact that we have been forced to learn what other people think we must learn is what hinders our learning in the first place. Perhaps we were so tired from learning 'hard' things we don't really see the use for, that caused us to feel like relaxing and rewinding whenever we get the chance. Think about this carefully and observe our own little children, the ones who hasn't been to school yet. Are they lazy? Do they learn nothing at all if we didn't try to teach them something? The answer is quite the opposite. Little children has the passion for learning with more force that we adults can keep up with. Let's look at Adam, for example. We are pretty easy-going about Adam's 'education'. I have never told him to learn the alphabet, or numbers in either a gentle or firm way. I haven't suggested that he memorise the alphabet song and I have long since given up on flash cards, even, because he showed no interest in it. But I love reading for myself and we do have plenty of books around the house, most of which are about things that he likes - animals, trains, other vehicles, dinosaurs, maps. And we only ever read these books when he asked to be read to. Now despite (or probably because of) this relaxed attitude, our nightly story time is one of his favourite time of the day. We let him choose his books and he would try and choose as many books as possible. A while back he has taught himself how to use the computer so that he can play games on the Cbeebies website. and from there, he has taught himself Phonics because he wanted to play the Alphablocks game. I myself only have the vaguest idea how phonics work. But i sat by his side when he asked me to, to help him win the Alphablocks game. Before I know it, there was another game on Ipad that he wanted to play, and while watching him play that game (another phonics game) I realised that he already know most of the sounds of every letter! Mia is already able to pronounce some of the phonics sounds just by listening to Adam. Honestly, their ability and passion for learning goes beyond our wildest estimation. Now, does this apply to older children? As they get older will they have the same hunger for learning to be able to learn what they need to learn? Perhaps, if they are given the freedom to learn whatever catch their interest (instead of learning what other people deemed necessary), they will have a lifelong interest in learning.

Now I thought deeply about how this apply to myself and my husband as the 'product' of schooling. We spent many many years at school and university, but how much of that 'education' did we retain? I was a straight A student, a first class student and yet....can I pass any of the tests I took if I take it now? More importantly, are we using the subjects we learnt at school in our real daily lives, or in our jobs even? We always say ' Our degree certificate is merely our ticket for a job'. What is implied is that we hardly even use what we learnt and took exams for, even if we work in the specific area that we studied for. Now for me, I have had a job as a Chemical Engineer and now I am a housewife. I am not using any chemical engineering at all in my life. And yet I have taught myself many things that had nothing to do with what others have told me to learn. I learnt sewing, knitting and parenting with a passion and joy that I have not known any other time in my life. I seek these knowledge myself and I found them infinitely rewarding. My husband is the same with photography and football. We never had any classes in these subjects and don't even think of them as subjects. We just want to learn them! Now, think of all those years we spent in school - imagine if instead of wasting our time learning what other people think we needed to learn, we use that time learning whatever we wanted to learn? We could've been whatever we wanted to be! Now I am thinking of how amazing it would be if my own children had that opportunity and the time, to be what ever they wanted to be.

Am I qualified to educate my own children? Perhaps the question should be, who is more qualified than I am to teach my own children? It is not the fault of the school, or the teachers, really. How can a teacher, with a classfull of 30 students, possibly be able to cater to the very individual interests of her 30 students? The best she can do is teach the subject matter that is handed to her, to the best of her ability. But for an unschooling parent, she does not have 30 students, only her own few children, whom she know by heart their interests and personalities.

My biggest concern was University. My husband share this concern too. I read and read and then it came to me. Yes, there are ways for unschooled children to enter University if they wanted to. They can take entrance exams and there are ways to prepare them for it. But the whole idea is that - IF THEY WANT TO. They don't HAVE to enter University. Too radical? Yes, it seemed like that to me to at first. We are the product of years of schooling. The Path has been laid out to us and we believe and follow it - Do well in school to get to University, do well in Uni and get a good job. But now, I am starting to rethink this whole idea. Does it matter if we become engineers, or doctors, or scientists? What if a child wanted to be a farmer? Not because his father was a farmer, but because he finds it so fascinating? An unschooled child could've explored this idea early on in life, and possibly become a successful farmer before he even becomes an adult. I have friends who studied engineering and other 'serious' subjects but ended being successful farmers, business women, photographers, famous crafters. They did this admirably by leaving behind their years of study and pursuing their dreams. Now imagine if the same people had not wasted their lives learning things that they never use but instead pursue their dreams from early childhood?

Now these are just my thoughts right now. As you can see this is mainly a rojak of my questions and opinions about unschooling. I do not know whether I will eventually choose unschooling for my children or not. But it is very thought provoking way of life. So radical that I wonder if executing it would harder than trying to convince others around us that it would be the right decision for our children all their lives. How is the unschooling community in Malaysia? Do you have any thoughts on this? Please, let me know.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

To all you beautiful, wonderful mamas out there - Have a blissful and hopefully restful Mother's Day today. You sure deserve it!

Happy Mother's Day especially for my mom and my mother in law..

To my sweet husband and kids, thank you so much for the lovely day you're treating me to...I must be the luckiest mama in the world..


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