Tuesday, 26 February 2008


A lot of people have asked me this question......

Traveling alone with Maryam

I have done this once - KL London when MAryam was 1 year 2 months ( that would be June last year).

I packed one medium sized bag for me & Maryam & one back pack for the flight. If it is to a cold country put your winter coat in your check in luggage. Pack smart..what you can't bring, just be prepared to buy. However i still bring formula & diapers from MAlaysia - coz the baby may not want to drink unfamiliar formula & diapers can be VERY expensive.

You need a pram. One which is easy to carry if folded & light enough for you to handle alone & if possible small enough for you to carry on to the flight. If you check in at the door you should request for the pram to be brought to the plane and not to collect at the carousel. I had one experience when ALL the kids wanted me to carry them & i had to carry Ameera from one end of the airport to the other! I think next time if i can't have my pram i want to request the airport car or a wheelchair to wait for me at the gate.

In the back pack were 4 pre-measured containers of milk formula for Maryam ( the one with compartments), 2 bottles, biscuits & food that she likes, 1 pajamas for Maryam, 3 change of clothes (in case very messy or she throws up), 10 diapers for the 13 hour flight, wet ones ( to wash & clean diapers in the flight), one small bottle of flu medicine (in case her nose starts to run in the plane or she gets too hyper and needs some help to rest - or i need to rest...). Also cleansing wipes for my face - easy to rehydrate & cleanse face without using too much water in the small toilet. I don't bring telekungs, just socks & sarung tangan.

I stopped by at the toy shop in KLIA international terminal to buy a doll for Maryam ( i usually get new toys each time we leave.....according to her current obsession....recently i bought her a gorilla- refer to her gorilla story). A familiar book or magazine could also help to entertain the child.

Carried a sling bag to fit my purse, mini makeup case & our passports.

If you have not purchased a seat for the baby, you can try and ask the flight desk to block the seat next to you. If the flight is not full, chances are you may get 2 seats for you and the baby. When MAryam was smaller i used to ask for a bassinet seat, but now i prefer an aisle seat coz if there is no one sitting next to you you can lift up the seat handle and baby can lie down.

In the flight, get as much help from the crew as you can. Now Maryam is older she will watch the cartoons or National Geographic on the screen. I will feed her part of my food & then change her into her pajamas to get her to sleep.

To go to toilet - with a walking toddler it is much easier coz she can go with you....you just need to practise being a bit discreet in doing your 'business' in the toilet. Or else you can ask the crew to help you. As i keep telling them - "Here is your IN Flight Entertainment".

Make sure baby drinks loads of liquids in flight. Maryam gulps down orange juice all the way from here to London!

When she is awake you can walk around the plane....but don't over do it coz you may end up not sitting at all.

Bring some crayons for your toddler. Maryam will scribble in her little colouring book or on any paper i provide her. Now she likes glossy magazines & catalogues, so we will browse the catalogues pretending that we are going to buy something.

hmm...13 hours can be very long if the baby is crying but can be quite fun if she is co-operating.

Alhamdullillah, everyone seems to be in sympathy of me & child , they usually offer me short-cuts & help ( so u have to act a little bit incapable.....).

If possible, go to the loo befor eyou land coz it wuld be terrible to get to the loo once you hav eyour child, hand luggage and big luggage with you upon arrival.

Once you have the luggage, what you do is put the backpack on your back or on your pram, push the pram with one hand and pull the big luggage with the other hand. This need manouvering and eyes at the back of your head, but insya Allah should be okay. Try and arrange for airport transfer - butif you are familiar with the airport & destination ( i know exactly where to get a black cab from London Heathrow to Bayswater), then this should take less then half an hour. If your child is cranky, calm her down first befor eyou set out on your journey.

Throughout the journey, you may seem like a crazy woman coz you need to talk aloud to the baby (well it works for me)....a one way conversation it may seem, but the child is usually soothen by the sound of your voice. So i sing songs throughout the flight & do all sorta funny things with her & insya Allah we enjoy the whole journey.

Hmm...you are usually bushed from the flight , so the moment the baby sleeps, drop all that you are doing and SLEEP!!!!! I usually sleep with one hand on her in case she gets up and decides she wants to pilot the plane.

Okay...more later on how to travel with 4 kids.......

Credit card mess

Thank god this story is not about MY credit cards which are undoubtedly in a mess due to the two unscheduled trips to London in 2 months.....

Anyways, mummy's bag was picked in London (long story) but to make it short her credit card was replaced by one bank & sent to UK. The other bank said no such privilege - must send to a local address....so mummy has to make do without her Platinum **** card.

Ok. I am back in Malaysia , so i had to run around and get the certifications and what not that the card was indeed on its way and that mummy will recieve it.

Try calling the Card Centre from London - in different time zones and the long
"sila tekan 1 untuk Bahasa Malaysia, 2 untuk Bahasa Inggeris"
ding-dong ding dong
"sila tekan 1 untuk customer service" "2 untuk kad kredit"
yada yada yada ding dong ding dong
"harap maaf telefonis kami tidak dapat melayan anda, sila tunggu sebentar"
ding dong ding dong.....

Hello! This is a overseas call and it costs MONEY..........

and the irony of it all

"harap maaf. telefonis kami masih sibuk. Sila telefon semula sebentar lagi"


From our experience - DO NOT LOSE YOUR CREDIT CARD OVERSEAS. If possible - keep credit cards in 3 separate bags. Carrying cash is also dangerous coz very professional pencuri from the most unsuspecting persons.

Anyway......she had to get a new receipt from the company where she bought something so that she could claim VAT. And the company refunded her for the first bill ( as if she was returning the product) and issued a new one.....but later after investigating - we found that both amounts were credited from her account - ie meaning she paid 3 times for the same item!!!!!!

As if that was not enough......the system showed that Holiday Villa where we were staying had charged us 3 times on the card. whereas we only paid twice which was correct on the Holiday Villa activity printout. Turns out when the system declined mummy's card due to system failure, the amount had already been credited from mummy's credit balance and would only be refunded 7 days from that date. Aiyo..no wonder credit limit haywire!!!!!

It's okay if you are in Malaysia ada ATM and banks - but when you are overseas it can be a disaster - as we experienced.

what a trip.....may Allah guide us for the best.

Monday, 25 February 2008


MAryam loves gorillas...i mean she likes other animals as well..but say the word gorilla and you will see her eyes light up....."bukan orang-utan ummi" - gorilla!

Her animal vocabulary at 22 months is fantastic....she can recognise rhinocerous, hipotamous(that's how she pronounces it), giraffe, zebra, orang utan, penguin, cat, dog, bird, rabbit, kitten cat, puppy dog, bear, teddy bear, POLAR bear, lipas, cicak, shark, crab, semut, horse, gorilla, monkey, whale, mouse, sheep, chicken, turkey, meer-cat, leapord......waduh...when we make the mistake, she will correct us......

Hence, she enjoyed her trip to the London Zoo..where she saw animals she had not seen in the KL zoo. And her first encounter with GORILLAS!!!!

MAybe next trip we will visit the Sinagpore Zoo pulak.

The love-affair started with Tarzan and the National Goegraphic MAgazine JAnuary edition. Hmm....now it's gorillas everywhere.

Now i need to go and get Gorillas in the Mist (though she may find some parts disturbing...) and avoid her from hounding me to watch KIng Kong.

With Aisha - it is horses. But i suppose that is not so difficult to entertain coz ou can get horses everywhere...but GORILLAS????

But then seeing her cutey-pie walking everywhere with her gorilla "Tarzan"....you would think they make a real cute couple.....

Thursday, 21 February 2008

I give up...almost.....

Don't get me wrong -
i can cook for the kids, wash their clothes, organise the house, get the groceries, help them through every subject in school, discuss book reviews with them, stay up watching god knows what stories with MAryam just to keep her from slobbering on my face, breastfeed till wee hours of the morning, pack school bags, walk them to school, give the kids massages &facials & hair washes salon style, yell at discipline issues, share secret crushes, deal with puberty...all in the can EXCEPT


THIS IS THE TIME I NEED MY HUSBAND!!(He holds the agama side of the kid's education while i hold the academic side.....)

There i was last night poring over my hubby's thick Arab dictionary with all the nouns and what nots yang i know not head nor tail of....looking up occupations....trying to decipher the pictures in the textbook - what on earth is this guy working as. (try doing this with MAryam breathing down your neck askingfor ne-nen) It gets even worse when there are NO pictures and you have to guess intellectually what the word means.

But, me being me......called Mukh in London asked him for guidelines and managed to painfully figure out that the words referred to lawyer, director/boss, policeman, doctor (that was easy -tabib was the key word), teacher, engineer (the picture was of a woman holding a roll of paper with a construction worker hat)......

This is Standard 4 Arab for JAQF.

Deciphering Maryam's babble is easier......

Bila tudung class?

I wish i could say....

Lately dengar orang buat free classes tudung styling...and informing the callers - "jangan confuse ye...ini bukan class Munawwarah" even though the caller tak tanya pun.......

Ada orang jual tudung Munawwarah......tapi bukan Munawwarah pun....

Hmm.....as my mom always say, you can have my body, but you cannot have my soul.....

Anyway...classes have to take a seat back until after the sale. At the moment my hall is full of stock........and my shop is full of people.......so we have to wait until the tide recedes..banjir dah reda, baru boleh start with fresh tudungs & fresh new looks....insya Allah.....

So in the meantime stick to safe & easy ways...enjoy our tudung as it is part of you and your life...not just a piece of cloth or ornament on you!!!!!

Notes from my Facebook.....London - here & back again

waduh..it has been a hectic 2008 for me ( as if i tak hectic all the time....).

Chapter One (revisited)
As you guys may recall i was in London middle of January,to settle some work over there. Went with my mom & Maryam. On the day i came back, i went to IKIM.FM to do my radio show, the next day went to do a tudung demo for Perkampungan Hadhari Shah Alam and for one whole week did the sale preparations ( yes! the Munawwarah sale is still on until 29th February...) - started the sale on 1st February.

Chapter Two (surprised????)
Suddenly, something came up & needed to fly to London again. But this time - out of a spur of the moment decision - mummy decided to bring ALL MY DAUGHTERS!!!!!!! So on 7th February - i flew to London with my mom & brother and amy 4 girls. Mom & bro flew business class (apa guna banyak enrich points!!! upgradelah) while me & the girls flew economy. YEY! Seronok betul my hubby - kononnya dapat mengecapi keindahan hidup bujanglah.....(usually when i fly off i leave him 3 daughters...).

The story goes on - I settled my work the first few days i was there and then we had a good time in London ( sniff!takde budget nak shopping - sightseeing jelah....)went to the
a) ZOO ( due to the weather - London zoo was fully airconditioned...ha!ha! sejuk gila! Maryam thrilled to bits coz dapat tengok gorilla live....),
b) Natural History Museum ( tengok T Rex & dino fossils!),
c) Oxford Street & Harrods ( meleleh tengok beg terkini),
d) Hamleys (Mr Magorium Emporium for the kids!!!!),
e) experienced an emergency evacuation from Debenhams due to fire alert (turned out to be a false alarm) and
f) visited Tengku Puan PAhang at her house in OXshott , Surrey. Fun-fun-fun & the weather was beautiful - sunny, about 14 degrees and simply beautiful.

And all through this - we missed my hubby & i think he missed us too. There is only so much you can do as a bachelor-revert....he had his futsal night, his bowling night...and suddenly he called and said - "I 'll be arriving in London on 14 February malam". Ha!Ha! Missed us after all!

nd so once he arrived, we took the kids on the Hop on Hop Off to see London. We saw that changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace ( sejuk gila....about 7 degrees....), ambik gambar outside tower of london ( nak pergi tak sempat coz nak balik for solat) and took a river cruise down the Thames to see the buildings from the river. Funny how mat salleh sibuk ambik gambar Maryam rather then the sights by the river.....

Sorry Nurul tak sempat attend your reception....

Lovely to have met you Wati..can't wait to eat our tasty pastry & cakes when you come back!!!! Sure ada bunga gulung-gulung.....

Hmm...and the adventure thickens when i had to fly back with just the kids! The flite was full of the mat sallehs coming to Malaysia on holiday - and they seemed sceptical that their flight was going to be smooth with this small woman handling 4 kids.....but alhamdullillah berkat doa sepanjang perjalanan ke kapal terbang - my daughters were perfect angels......Ameera even presented the crew on board with a thank you postcard she made on the flight to thank them for making her very comfortable. with all the kids in tow, i still had the opportunity to play games ( hah!) on the screen...and read magazines....yey for my kids and me!!!!!!!

So right now, i am a temporary single mom until my hubby comes back on 25th (dia ada kerja kat sana) and a single person in charge (coz my other team members & my mom is coming back on 27th)....juggle jangan tak juggle.

Jet lag? apa itu?????

My kids got up at 12 midnite two nights ago asking for food - so i had to goreng nasi for them.......I have yet to get some good nite sleep....but let me hand down some tips i use to shake away jet lag
a) get at least 3 hours rest upon arrival ( my house was a mess - so i called one of my cleaning staff to help wash the toilets, mop the floor and iron school uniforms while i napped. once i was up - i washed clothes, unpacked the bags, cooked lunch & other kemasing duties).
b) at night i drank the night B Young. The napped for 2 hours before i had to get up again to cook for the kids (see above).
c) in the morning i drank the morning B Young, drank loads of water and set out to walk my kids to school (please note i still don't drive). Honestly the 10 minute walk freshen the kids so they were not sleepy in school either.
d) ate only light meals so that my tummy tak upset due to the change of time & weather

hmm...so far i am still up - but i think i need to get a massage later today......