Monday, March 28, 2011

Tiger Mommy?

Anyone read Amy Chua's Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother?

Man, that lady is something ya!


Nyla: What are you reading about Mommy?

Me: About this woman who is a 'Tiger Mom'! *Roaaars!*

Nyla: Where?! I want to see pictures of her cubs.


And then I explained to her that she's this damn garang lady who is very strict to her daughters.


Nyla: Close the book please.

I continued and said, "Wanna know what her daughters were never allowed to do?"


Nyla nodded.


In fact, she even added comments in saying PLUS writing.

Let me share with you.


1. Her daughters were never allowed to attend a sleepover.

Shook her head then wrote,"I would love to attend sleepovers with Shiqah, Trisha, Vera , Farysha and Marsya because they are fun." And she also mentioned," I want to see their rooms...whether their beds are comfortable or not...whether their bantal busuk is smelly..."


2. Her daughters were never allowed to have a playdate.

"She no good seh!" And proceeded to write, "Playdates are fun because I have friends." (Only child mah!)


3. Her daughters were never allowed to be in a school play.

"I love to sing and dance. I love to catwalk in front of people." -_______-


4.Her daughters were not allowed to watch TV.

Nyla then exclaimed," Ask her become like you la. Watch a bit only."

"I love to watch Angelina (Ballerina) and Tom & Jerry.


5.Her daughters must play either the piano or violin.

"Just these 2 instruments?" Nyla said.

And then she wrote this:


.

.

.

.

.


"Taylor Swift's mother need to talk to her."



"Close the book Mommy. It's not good."


Chill babe. I'm just reading. Not that I aspire to be like her. You scared ah? Heee!

.

.

.

Mr E, violin or piano for our kerintingz? *Sniggers....*

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

CCB

Sick of wolves being portrayed in a negative light, Nyla made up a story about how a wolf befriends a girl in the woods.
When she fell asleep, I wrote down her story. I then asked an ex-pupil to provide the illustrations for the book. Khilfie, 12, completed the illustrations within three days. Colouring took another week.


So that's the story of how 'The Big Good Wolf' came about.

Right after that, I wanted us both to continue producing children's books together. Nyla kept telling me she wanted her 2nd book to be about a family of animals.

Last July, Nyla had a lightbulb moment at my mom's house. She just told me," Mommy, I need a paper!" She loves drawing so I thought nothing of that urgency. Nyla was so focused. Such intense use of imagination and creativity. After she had completed, she cried out to me,"Mommy! I'm done with the 2nd book!"

She presented to me this storyboard below.


And narrated her drawings to me. (And her Tok Mummy)
Man, my mother was beaming and told me, "This is definitely the 2nd book, Kin."

On September last year, I then approached my ex primary school buddy, Firdaus, who was absolutely gifted in Art back then. He still is now, only better. He just graduated from 3D Sense Media School with a DISTINCTION in Digital Visual effects and Animation. Congrats bro. :)

"Sure! Let's do this!" said Nyla's forever chirpy Uncle Furby. Firdaus, thank you for being so dedicated to this project despite your hectic schedule.

I bet the kids will love your illustrations as much as we do! :)

Our 2nd book is finally completed so without further ado, let us present to you:


Chickchickaboomz is coming your way real soon! Suitable for children aged 3 to 9, your kids will so love this entertaining yet informative read. Very BOOMZ one. :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

PSLE Oral Workshop

http://www.seab.gov.sg/examTimeTable/2011PSLEExamTimetable.pdf
So our PSixers will be sitting for their PSLE Oral examination on 18 August/19 August 2011, parents!



Last year, Jenn and I conducted the Oral Communication workshop pretty last minute.
Well, better late than never at all!
And so, we vowed that we would start the workshops early come 2011 so that parents will have ample time to guide their children as they prepare for the PSLE.



With regards to the PSLE Oral which is like a good 5 months away, can you imagine how your children will fare if you consistently help brush up their reading, picture discussion and conversation skills by using the tips we Jenn and I will share next Sunday!
We bet they'll ace it one!

Here are the details!


WHAT: PSLE Oral Communication Parent&Child Workshop (For Primary5/Primary 6)

WHEN: Sunday, 3rd April 2011

TIME: 10AM - 12PM

WHERE: onepeople.sg


I did a 'TWEET BLAST' over at Twitter last Friday regarding this workshop.
Thank you to my twitterettes for the RTs.
As of now, we have spaces for 6 PAIRS of parent/kid left!


Yes, just like our previously held workshops, there MUST be a parent PLUS child combo!
No such thing as your child attend our workshops solo hor.

However if you cannot attend because you are working, here are a few suggestions
(Inspired by our previous attendees!)

Your child can come with:
an older sibling/cousin
aunty/uncle
tuition teacher

Here are our reasons why we would like your child to be accompanied by someone close to him/her:

1) Your child will feel comfortable. Can you imagine the 'butterflies in the stomach' feeling if she/he attends alone?



2) You get to 'network' with other parents and share with them the issues you face with your beloved children.



3) While Jenn and I share tips (say pertaining to the Oral Communication Workshop...) you take down notes and apply the 'SPEEDY GONZALEZ', 'DIE' methods.. etc to your kids at home for the next 5 months!




Oh and back to the workshop next Sunday, since Jenn and I are experienced PSLE oral examiners, we will conduct a mock oral exam (we promise to give honest & constructive feedback!) at the end of the workshop.


So... roughly you can gauge how well your child will fare during the oral exam and also look out for areas for improvement.

Only that, they'd definitely do better because with the knowledge and tips shared during our workshop plus drilling at home by you parents, come August, as they come face to face with the examiners, they'll be confident communicators!

Yeeha!


If you have children/cousins/nephews/nieces sitting for PSLE this year, please do spread the word!

Email me at nuraesman@gmail.com to confirm your slots!

Happy Birthday Momsy!




My mom is my toughest critic when it comes to my entrepreneurial ideas.
Yes, she can be such a worry wart.
But after much convincing and when those ideas turn into success, she'll instantly become my biggest supporter.

Mom and I, our relationship is very intense.
Well, I'm sure you ladies will understand the complex bond mothers and daughters share.


During my teenage years, we argued alot.
Example:

I was clad in a tight tee and jeans.
'Decorated' my head with Ferragamo hairband.
Smelt like a million bucks thanks to the Roccobarocco perfume
Completed the whole ah lian look with a Sonia Rykiel bag.
Maklomlah first time nak masok Fire disco. (kentalan abis)


Mom: Where are you going? Are you going out with XXX?
Me: Erm followed by awkward silence
Mom: Bilang Mak je. I won't tell Dad.
Me: Yup! (I fell for it la!)
Mom: Where are you going?
Me: Orchard. Jalan jalan.
Mom: You're lying. (How come mothers instantly know whether we are lying or speaking the truth ah? Frustrating!)
Me: Really.
Mom: Until you tell me where you are really going, I won't let you out of the house.
Me: Promise you won't tell Dad?
Mom: Yes. (YA RITE, MOM!)
Me: I'm going for my first tea-dance at Fire Disco.
Mom: WHAT?! What if your drink gets spiked? What if they are drunkards? Kin, you're too young!
Me: Mom, come on! I'm 14 for goodness sake.
Mom: "NO!" followed by...."BAAAAANNNNNNG, YOUR DAUGHTER ADA BOYFREN AND DORANG NAK PERGI DISCO!" she wailed.


And yeap, I cried my eyes out begging her (and my dad) to let me go.
She locked the gate and hid the keys.
Sigh...

As expected, that teenage relationship never worked out.

Mom, didn't thank you then but thank you for intervening.
Now that I am a mother, I understand your worry. Like, totally.
Sorry mom, for the crazy teenage years.

After I got married, we also had clashes.
Example:

Mom: Bila nak beli rumah sendiri ni? (When are you getting your own house?)
Me: Aiya, I want to save money for holiday leh. And besides I like the arrangement of shuttling between your house and in laws.
Mom: You must learn to be independent, Kin.
Mom, didn't thank you then but thank you because you're right. Best seh ada rumah sendiri.


After I gave birth to Nyla, we also fought.
Example:

Me: Mom, you look after Nyla on weekdays can? I fetch her on Friday night okay? I'll send her back to your place on Sunday night.
Mom: You mean you will not see Nyla at all from Monday to Friday?
Me: Yup. So busy at school. Got marking and lesson planning all.
Mom: So what time do you usually finish work?
Me: Latest 5 plus.
Mom: Fetch Nyla in the evening then. No, I do not agree. Nyla must at least sleep with you every night. She needs her parents.
Me: Huh! Why? Leceh leh, have to travel to and fro to send Nyla in the morning and fetch her in the evening.
Mom: Well, these are the sacrifices you have to make. Nyla is your responsibility. Remember that.


Mom, didn't thank you then but now, thank you because you make me a better parent.

My parents (and in laws) had been awesome while I was in the civil service back then. They still are. Only that now they are especially eager when I call them to say Nyla is dropping by! They want Nyla. It’s just the child care schedule they are not in favour of and I understand now! They have their own lives and commitments. So, thanks Mom for being firm.


If only I knew then what I know now, I would have told you everyday how much I loved you, Mom.
Well, I do now. Everytime before I put down the phone, I'd say, "Love you Mom" and she'd reply, "Me too."
Thank you God for giving me a chance to be a better daughter to my amazing Mom.
Mom, please forgive me for being rude last time.
Thank you for still loving me through the hurt and pain.
I love you, Mom. All the time.
Happy Birthday.

Love,
Kikin


Bah would like to show you this video, Mom!


And then here's a message from your youngest son, Mom.


Happy Birthday Mom and I love you very much. Please don't ever throw away my bantal busuk (smelly pillow) as it is comfortable due to your decades of love...and my saliva. - Love, Nizam


Not forgetting a birthday wish from Papa J, your husband:

Love you Kiah. Every year with you is sweeter than the last. Looking forward to our golden years ahead. The best is yet to be. Happy Birthday my dear wife - S.W.A.L.K



I called Papa J.

Me: Morning, Pa, What's SWALK man?
Papa J: Your mom will know. It's a code word.
Me: I wanna know.
Papa J: I'm in a meeting Kin.
Me: FASTER JUST TELL ME!
Papa J: Sealed with a loving kiss la!

And he hung up on me. Thanks ah Papa J!

BUTTTT, PHEWEEEEWIT!
S.W.A.L.K ke paahhhhhh? Saaaaapppp!
Steady bom pi pi la, Dad!


Mom, hope this entry made you smile.
Happy Birthday!


Oh, please also proceed to http://n-y-l-a.blogspot.com/
The babe has something for you.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ooops she did it again!

2nd entry of the day!

Never mind that I am really knackered but what greeted Mr E, Nyla and I the moment we reached home really cracked us up and I must share with all of you because it is really way too funny!

Well, gotta give my helper, Juma, some credit because I never told her to change my tattered and torn plastic table mat.
She did this on her own accord.
The only problem is erm, it is not a table mat.
Nyla: Mommy, Bibik Juma is like Mr Bean. She is so funny!
And yeah, both of them are playing Twister now. No, not on the table of course! Hee!

Real Love

Real love is all about having that power to pull your partner out from the pit and help her/him reach the peak.






Early 2007, I had a 6 months trial period of becoming a SAHM aka full time housewife.



Ok ah, so you really want to quit work? I have to work very hard you know. Do not complain okay.


I’ll be the one paying the bills, you will do everything else,” he said.





I nodded my head enthusiastically!



Unfortunately ‘everything else’ grew even faster than Nyla sia!



I still remembered that particular evening after serving food on the dinner table, I was doing laundry, exhausted and resentful that Mr E had time to sit down, enjoy his food, lick his fingers one by one.


Ten minutes later, as I was sitting cross legged on the floor, (folding clothes this time) Mr E said," Can make for me coffee?"

Wah piang!
But I still made for him that cup of Nescafe anyway.



He then proceeded to sit on the couch, watched television with his two long and hairy legs on the table and then wailed,
"Nylaaaaaa, come and join me! I want to hug you!"



My heart pain can?!
I felt invisible. :(



All of a sudden, it dawned on me that my life was a trap of my own creation.


Pre- SAHM, I was envisioning the ideal and perfect world where:


At 6 p.m., Nyla and I will look out of our windows and anticipate Mr E's car to turn right into the carpark.
The house will be spick and span.
A wonderful dinner complete with appetizer, main course and dessert will be served on the table.
As we hear ‘ding dong’, Nyla and I will rush to the door and greet Daddy with our megawatt smiles, hugs and wet kisses.
We have a nice family dinner.
Daddy will make up the lost time and read to Nyla with me looking at them over my shoulders as I wash the dishes and telling myself how blessed I am.
Just like those fuzzy wuzzy scenes from Seventh Heaven.



The above scenario NEVER happened.

So what was it really like?

The house was a constant disaster.
Occasionally, there wasn't even a hint of dinner in sight, smell or sound.
Mr E got the best of Nyla and worst of me, complete with bushy eyebrows and she-man hairy legs.
Looking at the nasty pandemonium, Mr E asked me ‘Hon, what did you do all day man?"




WARNING:Never ever say this to any housewife.





At that low point of my life, I felt that motherhood ranks as one of the universe’s most thankless jobs. :(


What did I do all day?


In the morning,
I prepared Nyla’s breakfast and lunch.
I showered her.
I did three loads of laundry, the direct result of the same one girl changing her clothes like 8 times a day. Then I had to hang the laundry. Now, before there was space to hang the wet laundry, I would have to remove the dry clothes and fold them.

Ironed.
I made the bed.
I vaccummed and mopped the floor.

I played teacher teacher, masak masak with Nyla.
I played dough with Nyla. (Oh did I also mention that we made the dough ourselves using flour, oil, salt and colouring. Again, like you give a damn lor Mr E!)





In the afternoon,
I sent Nyla to school.
I waited until her school ends. (Nope. Of course I didn't mention to him about the ‘me-time’ I had reading tabloid magazines. Kwang kwang kwang.)

In the evening,
I fetched Nyla from school.
I prepared dinner.
I showered Nyla.
I read her books.
I put her (plus you!) to sleep.

And you dared ask me ,”What did I do all day?”
No insurance ah your mouth.



I wasn't at all the happy woman I thought I'd be.



I became a needy person.


I was so dependent on Mr E.


I felt so unappreciated.







I cried the day before I returned to work when the childcare leave was up.



I cried for 2 reasons:



1) I'd miss Nyla.



2) I'd never have the option of staying at home because I tried that and I didn't like the person I had turned out to be: That miserable person.





Mr E was definitely the happiest person when the six months of childcare leave was up because it was time for his wife to go back to work, which meant there would be no 99 missed calls from 'Wify'.





So you imagine the look on his face when a year later (2009), I dropped the bombshell telling him that I seriously wanted to resign.



"Babe, don't stop teaching, man. Not only will you end up crazy, you'll drive me crazy too."



Obviously, member flashbacked to 2007.



I was initially upset when he said that and accused him of not being a supportive husband.


But, yeah, I totally understood what he meant.



Indeed, I was a nightmare.






.








.








.








.








.



We sat down and discussed how to make sure I ( and him) keep sane when I quit work.
Together, we sat down and planned my exit strategy.


2 very fruitful years have since passed since I quit the civil service.


If Amy Chua is a Tiger Mother, Esman is a Tiger Husband -


For those times he refused to lend me a helping hand because he wanted me to be independent.


For those times I refused to take any more jobs because I was overwhelmed, he'd push me and say,"Don't slack babe!"


For those times I felt like giving up, (eg: distribute Nyla's book to the bookstores), Mr E would call, email, sms me this: 'Have you contacted so and so? Did they get back to you?'


For those times he appeared unsupportive by asking so many critical questions about my business plan.






So Mr E, thank you for helping me snap out of the 'nightmare' and unfold my dreams into reality! :)


And please forgive me for all the curses I've muttered under my breath. Heeeee!

-------------------------------------------------






While we were busy discussing this blog entry.


Nyla asked what were we talking about.





So I explained that I intended to write an entry which begins with Real Love is all about...........


The babe got excited and exclaimed,"Eh I also want to do!"



So click here for hers.
Very simple but true.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Like, finally

On Nyla's 5th birthday last year, we revealed to you Nyla's first published book titled The Big Good Wolf.





I guess the reason it garnered the attention of many is because The Big Good Wolf is a local children's book produced by children for children. Besides, at the end of the book, there is a fun activity which encourages creativity and parent-child bonding.

Thanks to The Big Good Wolf, Nyla also is picking up storytelling skills (as well as public speaking) when we conduct storytelling sessions at the libraries. ( We have 'attacked' Jurong Regional Library, Bedok Community Library, Woodlands Regional Library and Sengkang Community Library)


We were also pleased to have The Big Good Wolf included in the Asian Children's Festival.
Thanks Haryani! (And congrats on 'Timang'. So proud of you!)


The only obstacle we faced was getting The Big Good Wolf out in bookstores.

This part got my head and Mr E's scratching because we were clueless.

Nyla always asked me this," How come my books at home ah?"
My answer would be," I sell them online babe."

Everytime, we are at Borders...Kinokuniya....Popular, Nyla would say this:

"If only The Big Good Wolf can join these books, mommy," said Nyla whenever we browsed books at the children's section.

So I embarked on a mission to make sure the remaining books at home be "shipped away" to bookstores.
Not an easy process at all. :(

Rejection sucks but at some point of everyone's life, sure kena reject mah, so just deal with it lor.

I used to be rejected by guys last time.
To the guys who rejected me, judging by the picture above, I totally understand. No hard feelings.

I used to be rejected by NUS.

I used to be rejected by NIE (Only got through the 2nd time)

I used to be rejected by The New Paper Face 2000 (Time peak period gemok abisnyer. What the hell was I thinking? Finally made it to top 20 in 2002! Never mind that I didn't win! The experience was unforgettable.)


Everytime I faced a rejection, I'd just bounce back like a tennis ball and try again. No hal.
BUT,
Back to The Big Good Wolf.
I faced a few rejections and man they hurt BIG time every single time. :(
Because this time, they all didn't reject me.
They rejected my 5 year old Nyla's and 12 year old pupil, Khilfie's hard work.
Initially, it took me awhile to get over these statements.
"Dear Nura,
We reviewed your proposal...BUT we regret to inform you blablablablaba... We wish you the best in your future endeavours."
WAAAAAAAAIIIIILLLLLLS!
I've dealt with plentiful rejections and you know they say..after every storm, there is a rainbow- in my case, acceptance.

I nearly gave up hope until I received a promising reply by Mr Johnson Lee, the director of MarketAsia Distributors who has expressed genuine interest in The Big Good Wolf and felt that "The book is interesting as it was the work of two young children and I feel that it would inspire/motivate other children to do likewise."
He then invited me down to his office to sign a contract.
Like, finally!

All praises to The One Above!

So peeps, it took The Big Good Wolf nearly a year to finally make it to the book shelves at bookstores.
It has been a long road and I'm glad I never gave up.
Today I have a piece of exciting and important news to share with you.
Drum roll please.....

For now, Nyla's The Big Good Wolf is now available at these bookstores:

1) Kinokuniya @ Ngee Ann City

2) Kinokuniya @ Bugis Junction

3) Kinokuniya @ Liang court

4) Page One @ Vivocity

5) Select Books @ Tanglin Shopping Centre
So I have learnt that failure is not fatal nor final.
You gotta 'just keep swimming.'
Now that this goal has been met, I'd like to share a very meaningful quote by Winston Churchill.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal.
It is the courage to continue that counts.
That being said, please do head to the bookstores mentioned above and grab The Big Good Wolf, which is suitable for children aged 4 to 8, for your children, cousins, nephews and nieces.
Nyla and I thank you in advance for the support! :)
Let's all encourage a love of reading in our young children because Dr Seuss said, “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”
Have fun reading aloud The Big Good Wolf to your child and do participate in the fun activity where you can create stories togther with your child.
Have fun people because Nyla and I truly had one whale of a time writing stories together.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Teachers' "Bonus"

Good Morning!
Am back from Bintan. Went there with the whole family and it was so fun! (Except the fireflies experience! So scary mary can?!)
Nyla and I will blog about our Bintan trip soon.

Anyway, was doing work earlier when Mr E emailed me some funny stuff.
Thought I'd share with you and put a smile on your faces. Heee!

TEACHERS' "BONUS" WHILE MARKING































And this one is my favourite!
Ni Peter really mintak kena terajang!
May today be a great day for us all!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Just for laughs

So, we've heard so many maid stories.

Some sad.
Some horrifying.
And many times, hilarious.

So far, my Indonesian helper, Juma, is alright.
I just thank God she ain't a freakazoid.
I had one who was so freaky that I sent her back to the agency after 2 weeks.
She does not smile at all!
However, she looked freaking friendly on her biodata lor.
Bila posing amik gambar, smile pulak. Mentel.

She would talk to herself... (weird)
She loved listening to Tamil radio stations... (weirder)
She would answer me back in Cantonese (worked in HK before) whenever I spoke to her. (Off to the agency you go!)

Now, despite the fact that my new helper, Juma is normal (Thank God!), however, there were times she has driven me absolutely crazy.

INCIDENT 1
I am not that of an organised person. So, I am sure you can imagine the state of my wardrobe.
The kind where there will be an avalanche when you open it.
Pre-Juma, everytime I opened my wardrobe, I'd have to tahan the 'downpour' of clothes with my body. Sometimes, Nyla would join in too and help me push the clothes which were about to fall back into the cupboard. Thanks Nyla. I know I can count on you!
Of course, making the wardrobe organised was one of the priorities when Juma arrived.
So just before I left to send Nyla to school,
I brought Juma to my bedroom, opened my wardrobe and told her to fold the clothes neatly.
Juma let out a BIG GASP followed by a shriek followed by a rather loud "ASTAFIRULLAHALAZIM MAAAAAMMMMMM!"
Eh eh. Reaction no need so drama mama can?! Like as if, you damn neat. Chey!

INCIDENT 2
Now, the thing with these domestic helpers is that we assume that they know the 'common sense' stuff but in truth, due to the fact that they live in kampongs, they are not really well exposed and thus, not really knowledgeable. I had quite a shock when I opened my door one morning.

"hahaha ape sey... kalau aku perompak, sure tak jadi rompak pasal kesiankan orang yang memasang." -Haryani O.
So taught her the right way.
The next day, this greeted me.
*Rubs chest*
After a rather intense crash course (repetitive), Juma finally got it right.
Finally! Yeay! Now I can heave a sigh of relief because my gate is properly locked and insyallah, no break ins. Hehehehe!
INCIDENT 3
I told Juma to go to the shop downstairs and buy some stuff.
Mr E was watching television.
She came up to Mr E and salam-ed him la. Stoppit can! I don't even kiss Mr E's hand when I wanna go to the shop downstairs.
What the hell? And poor Mr E, he was so shocked that he actually offered her his hand! Lepak giler.
______________________________________________________________
Mr E also shared with me a rather funny story.
Last time, his mother's maid was also the kind who made a lot of boo boos.
After they fetched her from the maid agency, she actually removed her sports shoes at the carpark right before she stepped into their car. (Like how you remove your shoes before you enter a house...This one thinks that you must do just that before you enter a vehicle.)
Speaking of sports shoes, ALL my maids wore sport shoes whenever we fetched them from maid agencies. Yours leh?
Anyway back to Mr E's previous maid.
Because she left her shoes at the carpark, obviously, she walked kaki ayam (barefoot) to their home.
But wanna know of all the funny stories I've encountered/heard, my previous one, Yanti, still holds the record.
I've ever blogged about this in my previous blog then, if I'm not mistaken.
Here goes.
Papa J asked Yante to wash his car at the basement carpark one early morning.
More than 2 hours passed and she was still not home yet.
"Sure chit chat chit chat with other maids washing their employers' cars one!" I told my dad.
Batu api abis.
So, my dad told me to check on her.
I went downstairs.
No such scene like the one I mentioned to my dad.
In fact my helper was the lone ranger scrubbing a car.
And then I noticed that, that car wasn't even my dad's!!
I told her to stop and go home.
Her reply,"Ada lagi mobil belum saya bersih-in Mbak..."
(I have not washed the other cars.)
Yeap, this Bibik has helped to wash not only my dad's car but a few of my (lucky) neighbours' too.
She actually thought that she had to wash ALL the cars parked in the basement lor.
Heee.
I'm sure you peeps also have funny maid stories right?! Share leh!
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