Saturday, 27 February 2010

Gecko family watch..

I haven't really done any animal watch around the house lately, since my spider was gone.. However, the other day, I just thought about looking through the back of the big painting in the back terrace to take pictures of the geckos.

There have always been two geckos there, but when I lifted the painting, I found THREE! The new one was still quite small, only slightly bigger than a normal 'cicak' -a little lizard-.

I was very happy because I managed to get good shots at them...

Anyway.. here are the pictures..

I managed to capture the three geckos on my mobile phone screen, but the little one (you can see the tail on the right) was afraid of the flash and tried to get away..

This big red gecko was looking at me as I was taking its picture, but it turned aside at the sound of 'click'..

This green one is the biggest (and looks the meanest), I don't like being too close, so I was just happy to take a shot of its back.. sorry..

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Why the change??

If any of you notice the change in my writing style.. you might be wondering what has happened to me..

Well.. development, I hope!

The first time native English speaking teacher system was introduced in Indonesia, the teacher I had in my English course was an English lady and my course place was British oriented, so, I learned English the British way..

Moreover, during that time (when I was growing up), the books that were popularly read by teenagers were the series written by English writers, one of the famous ones was Enid Blyton (my sister and I pretty much grew up with her stories)..

However, as time went by, more and more books from the US come into Indonesia, along with the TV shows and movies. This certainly changed the English learning trend in Indonesia.

In case of school curriculum, the difference was not visible, but in the case of everyday use, there was a big difference, as American expressions and slang were becoming more and more familiar with Indonesian youth.

When I graduated from high school, I went to Australia to do my university study and in Australia, both British and American English is accepted in academic are, as long as one method is applied consistently throughout a certain essay/thesis. Since I always tried to write my essays in as simple language as possible, I did not have too many problems regarding language method. Plus, I was an overseas student, which meant, as long as my sentences made sense in terms of topic discussion of the essay, little grammatical errors would not cause me to lose marks.

After graduating from the university, I worked for an Australian institution for about four years, so I did not feel any difficulty regarding my English use either..

I started to feel the difference when I started writing my blog in English.. I tried to do part-time writing jobs, and most clients asked for American English.. which I was not very comfortable writing in, because I would not know whether I was making a mistake or not, and they said I made a lot of grammatical mistakes!


Last week, I received an offer for an online grammar check software. I decided to try it, and I actually think it is a good software.. When I was about to download it, the software asked me if I was going to download the British or American version..

I hesitated for a moment..

Which one should I use? What will happen to me if I consistently change my style to American English? Would it be a problem for me?

I have been trying to be consistent in using British English until now, but I have to admit that people and the world around me have been doing things differently, and I often feel that I can't move on without some adjustments..

Moreover, I have started confusing myself too at times because automated spell checks keep throwing me off my balance!

Will I lose out because I change my style? I hope not.. and really, I don't think so..

I would like to think of this as an enrichment process for my English skills, and a step further in pursuing bigger opportunities in the future..

Will I completely forget British style English? I don't think so either.. people don't easily forget the things they grew up with.. :-)

So.. here I am.. getting my little finger used to hitting the 'Z' instead of the 'S' .. and .. not forgetting to put 'a', 'an' or 'the' before a noun.. -this is just a start- ..

Let's see how this works out.. ;-)

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Expressions in artworks..

The best thing about Ariq.. is that he never gives up!

He did not stop being creative even when he was feeling very uncomfortable (before and during the first few days after he had his tonsils operation)..

This was the artwork he did four days before the operation.. At that time, his tonsils were swollen and the fish bone was stuck on the right one..

These are the artworks he did on the day after his operation.. He was still feeling very sleepy from the painkiller and his throat was still feeling 'funny'..

These are the ones he did two days after the operation.. He strongly refused soft food at this stage (except noodle soup) and he was quite grumpy when he was hungry, because he couldn't wait to start being active again..

Finally, this is the one he did four days after the operation (after he had his first 'normal meal').. He was feeling very happy about the great meal, but his throat was having its first 'real' adjustment to solid food.. so, he was having quite a mixed feeling..

Somehow I think, Ariq's artworks always do a good job expressing his feelings and moods.. :-)

Monday, 22 February 2010

I found more of Aza's work on my computer..

I kept reminding Aza to close all the applications and games he plays with every time he is done with them, but somehow, he keeps leaving his arts open..

Maybe.. just maybe.. he has been doing it on purpose (without realising it). Maybe.. he is not sure of how to save his works and leaves them open for me or Ariq to save them for him?? Clever boy!

Now, every time I walk back to the computer, I always find something interesting on the screen, so I save them..

Aza's art works are really getting better every time..

I found these ones during last week..

These are the two I found today (the purple one only had a few square shapes when I found it, then Aza worked back on it with Ariq when I asked him about it)..

I hope he keeps making more cute art works..

Aza was having two busy weeks..

The week before Ariq had the operation, Aza asked if he could stay with my parents.. well, to be exact, he refused going home after visiting his grandparents that Sunday night..

At first we were not sure if he was serious. Dad thought he just didn't want to turn his movie 'Monster House' off, but mum thought he looked confident and sure about staying over, so we decided to let him stay after promising not to ask to go home the same night.

To all of our surprise, he stayed the whole week! ONE FULL WEEK!


The most amazing part was, he called home every day -twice a day, at least- and asked to speak especially with Ariq. They would talk and laugh on the phone about things that only they knew about.. I always giggled listening to them because I thought they were cute.. :-P

After a week, we met at the hospital, because my parents were having routine checks and I was going to have routine pregnancy check. Aza didn't stay long though, he was hungry and he decided to leave with my parents while I was still waiting to see my doctor.

The next day, Aza stayed in Ariq's hospital room, while waiting for the scheduled tonsil operation, and again, he asked my husband to take him back to my parents' house around lunch time..

The next day, Monday, Aza decided to come home with us and Ariq. He said to my parents that they would make plans again for next stay-over..

At times like those, we felt like he was older and more mature than his real age.. which was only 3.5 years old!

Aza has been home for one week now, and today, he is finally back to his routines for meals and naps.. Apart from the fact that Ariq was resting at home all week last week, Aza was also having some adjustments. The whole week he was staying with my parents, he was having a great time with his cousin, Irfan -my sister's son- who has a very different daily routines..

Aza hasn't gone to school yet, so he usually takes a nap between 11 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. and goes to bed at night at around 8.00 - 8.30 p.m., while Irfan has gone to school and takes a nap between 1.30 p.m. and 4.30 p.m. and goes to bed at night around 10.00 p.m. (my sister works, so Irfan likes to wait up for his mum to catch up with her before going to bed).

The different routines did not really cause any problem since Aza does not go to school yet, except that he always asks Ariq to help him with every problem he found while playing games on the laptop or computer! Sometimes Aza asks me for help, but of course, Ariq could help him much better than me.. :-P

So, my husband and I thought that Aza should be adjusted back to his old routine, so that Ariq wouldn't have too much problem when he goes back to school..

We slowly did this, not to make it hard on Aza.. Thanks to Ariq's great cooperation in following our requests to gradually adjust Aza, the process worked well.. Last night, Aza finally fell into deep sleep around 9.30 p.m. about half-an-hour after Ariq.. ;-)

I'm glad that the boys are sleeping on time again now, but I'm also glad about the time they were having the late nights.. they were really getting along very well.. doing arts and crafts in bed together.. no fighting.. no yelling.. just having great times together..

Nothing more that a mum can ask for.. and here are the pictures they came up with during those nights..

As today is the beginning of a new week, it marks the end of Aza's busy two weeks.. He took a nap at 11.00 today, and now (7.25 p.m.) he is almost ready for bed.. which means, it is almost bedtime for me too.. ;-)

Chicken with sweet soy sauce, pleeeaaaseee....

Ariq is starting school again today.. That is why I can write in my blog again.. ;-)

Since the day after the operation, Ariq has been complaining about the food.. all the soft food he had to eat during the healing process (the first few days after the operation)..

Ariq doesn't like porridge.. He likes eating his rice with chicken or fish, then he has his vegetable soup separately.. So, the first couple of days, when he could only have oatmeal porridge and soft pudding were a complete suffering for him!

From the second day after the operation, Ariq has started asking for rice and chicken with sweet soy sauce (his favourite dish).. I had to hide from him every time I had my meal so that he wouldn't be tempted.. but once, he found me when I was having lunch and he begged me for a little taste.. so, I gave him about five tiny bits of rice in a spoonful of clear soup.

He chewed on the rice slowly while closing his eyes, as if it was the first time he ever ate! Then he looked at me, "Thanks, Mum! That was very delicious.."

I quickly asked him, "Does your throat hurt?"

Ariq shook his head, "No. Not at all."

I was battling inside, whether to let him eat some 'normal' food, or keep asking him to be patient until the post-operation check up. I finally calmed myself down and asked him to wait.

Ariq is not a picky-eater, as a matter of fact, for a child his age, he eats healthy and I have previously received some thanks from other mothers at school because their children started asking for vegetables because they saw the food Ariq brought from home.. (Ariq often brings stir-fry broccoli, vegetable soup, chicken in sweet soy sauce or fried fish to school).

Ariq is not a big fan of soft-drink or fast food either.. for drinks, he always prefers fruit juice or fruit-flavoured tea, or.. milk (his all-time favourite drink), while for food, he prefers chicken noodle or spaghetti (bolognese or cream sauce). He still likes fried chicken (like KFC, etc.), but most of the time, he leaves the skin/flour and eats the meat with steam rice instead of fries (in Indonesia, fast food outlets offer steam rice and fries as side dishes).

So, when he is healthy, it is not that hard to get Ariq to eat, but once he is sick -with something related to throat or stomach- it would then be a challenge to get him to eat!

After the tonsil operation, it was exceptionally difficult to get Ariq to eat because he really needed to start very slowly on eating.. it wasn't only a challenge for Ariq's patience, but also everyone else's at home..

I kept praying that everything was well when we had to see the doctor on the post-operation check-up, so that Ariq could start eating something more solid, as he really needed the energy to get him 'up and running' again.. :-)

So finally, last Thursday was his post-operation check up.

*You would seriously laugh if you had seen him in the doctor's room that afternoon*

The doctor smiled to Ariq as he was entering the room, "Come in, Ariq. You are not afraid of doctors anymore, are you? Please have a seat on the treatment chair."

Ariq sat on the treatment chair and the doctor started examining his throat.

The doctor asked Ariq, "What have you been eating, Ariq?"

Ariq quickly went sullen and looked at me! And I exhaled..

The doctor turned to me, "Has he been eating normal food or still soft food?"

I answered honestly, "He doesn't like soft food, but I'm not confident enough to let him eat normal food yet.. I think he lacks of energy.."

The doctor smiled and asked, "Does he feel any pain?"

I shook my head, "He said not all, except some tingling."

The doctor laughed, "It looks like his throat is fine. He can start eating normal food."

Suddenly Ariq stood up, holding the doctor's table, "Really? I can eat normal food?"

The doctor looked at Ariq and gave him a confident nod, "Yes, you can."

Ariq asked the doctor again, to be sure, "I can eat chicken?"

The doctor laughed again, looking at Ariq's excited expression, "Yes, you can! You can eat anything you like now.. except snacks like chips, etc. .. and while it has been raining, you should hold off the ice cream too."

Ariq looked at the doctor for a few seconds but then replied, "OK. No problem."

The doctor looked at me for assurance.

I replied calmly, "Ariq is not a big fan of snacks and ice cream anyway, Doc. It won't be too hard for him to stay away from those things.. It would be harder for him to stay away from his chicken and fish.."

The doctor nodded, "Good! Then he should be fine and better very soon.."

The nurse was giggling when Ariq asked her as we were walking out of the doctor's room, "I really can eat chicken now?"

The nurse nodded with a big smile, "Yes, Ariq.. You can eat chicken and everything else.. just no snacks or ice cream for a while, OK!"

Then, Ariq was jumping up and down with excitement, with his fist on his side, "Yes.. Yes.. Yes.."

My husband arrived as we were waiting for the payment to go through, and Ariq quickly asked us to have a dine-out. He couldn't wait for his first 'NORMAL MEAL'!!

For dinner that night, Ariq chose grill chicken in sweet soy sauce in 'Chicken Story' (his favourite outlet).. I had to remind him to eat slowly and take a sip of his lemongrass ice tea in-between bites. At the end of dinner Ariq said to me that it was a great meal and he asked me to order take away for his breakfast! Hahaha..

I just love him and his appetite!

Ariq has started to eat well again now, and I can't wait to see him gain weight in a week or two. He still feels some tingling in his throat, but he loves the fact that he can eat normal again and that compensates the tiny pain..

I also still need to remind him to drink water every so often.. but he has been cooperative about this..

Some of my friends at times tell me about how worried they are whenever their picky-eater children get sick, because getting them to eat when they are healthy is already quite a challenge..

Well, now I can also say that feeding a healthy-eater child when he is sick is also quite a challenge.. :-)

I guess we all want our children to stay healthy and eat healthy.. ;-)

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

What an unexpected weekend..

Ariq had been complaining about the pain in his throat, since he came home from school on Wednesday afternoon.. There was a little trace of white on his right tonsil, which could have been a fish bone or a scratch from something that hit it on the way into his tummy..

I tried to persuade him to see the doctor, but he was still afraid, although at the same time, he was struggling with anything going in his throat.. He finally agreed to see the doctor on Saturday..

We got an appointment for him to see an ear, nose and throat specialist (THT) at the hospital, at 2 p.m., after my appointment with the obgyn (for routine pregnancy check up).

When the doctor checked Ariq, she believed it was a fish bone. However, Ariq was very uncooperative during the treatment -he kept pushing the doctor's hands by reflex, but he also refused to have his hands held by his dad- so the doctor gave up after Ariq came into her room twice!

We decided to go to the special hospital for ear, nose and throat, where I often take Ariq and Aza to have their ears cleaned. We were hoping with the familiar place and faces, Ariq could feel more comfortable.

However, it didn't happen like we expected!

The exact same thing happened, and the doctor didn't want to push Ariq too much, afraid that it would cause a trauma for him.

At the same time, the doctor told us that Ariq's tonsils were very big, and they would be a problem in the future -if they hadn't yet-. We explained to the doctor that Ariq very often suffered cough and fever for every little thing, from getting unexpected rain, eating snacks, etc.

The doctor suggested to take Ariq's tonsils, which would mean, saving Ariq's the problem in the future, and the fish bone will be taken out too.. The operation would be very short and quite safe.. Ariq would only need to stay one night at the hospital.

So, we agreed to take Ariq back to the hospital on Sunday morning to be observed before the operation on Sunday afternoon. Throughout the observation, Ariq looked well for the operation.

He put up quite a fight when the nurses were taking his blood sample, but apart from that, he was behaving quite well.. :-)

An unexpected thing happened when the anesthetic doctor came into Ariq's room to introduce himself before the operation. He checked Ariq's throat and spoke to Ariq in a friendly manner. Then, he asked everyone in the room -especially my husband and myself- if we had anything we would like to discuss about the operation.

We tried to collect our thoughts, but nothing specific came to our minds.. but suddenly, Ariq raised his hand,

"I have a question!" He said to the anesthetic doctor.

"Yes, what is it?" The doctor replied eagerly.

"I don't want to be anesthesised with a needle. I want to inhale." Confidently he spoke.

"Sure! OK! You got it! I'll get the 'balloon' ready!" The doctor raised two thumbs up to Ariq and then shook Ariq's hand to 'close the deal'.

Well, Ariq knew that he had a choice of anesthesising method because he asked me about my tonsil operation years back (I was about 5.5 years old then). I explained to him that the nurses put a piece of cloth over my mouth and nose and put some drips of liquid, which caused me to feel sleepy when I inhaled it.

Still, all of us in that room were surprised to see how he confidently asked the doctor about it! My mother-in-law told him how brave, he was and how proud she was with him. Her compliments definitely made him feel very proud of himself and made him less afraid of the thought of the operation.

A little worry came to cross our minds of what might happen once he had to walk into the operation room. I was really worried -clearly remembering that I TRIED TO RUN BACK TO MY ROOM AND CURLING UP ON THE AISLE FLOOR trying not to be operated- when I was going through my operation. Our worry disappeared, as Ariq confidently walked himself into the operation room and sat himself on the operation bed -well, he hesitated to, a little, on the side of the bed, but no struggle at all-

The next impressive moment was when he had started inhaling the anesthetic fume, and he realised that it smelled bad..

He was surprised that he had to inhale from a mask, instead of a piece of cloth. He turned to me and asked, "Mum, you said that I had a third choice!"

Ugh! I knew I had to give him the 'believable' answer according to his understanding.. So, in a split second -as the doctors and nurses looked at me- I gave my answer, "That was a long time ago, Ariq.. the piece of cloth and drops of liquid has been banned by the United Nations because it is not good for children.. it causes rashes around children's mouth and nose due to the direct contact with soft skin. There are only 2 options now, needle or mask."

"Are you sure?" Ariq asked me.

I took a deep breath and answered, "Of course I'm sure. Let's search in google after your operation."

He still refused to be anesthesised while laying down (he wanted to inhale while sitting up). However, after a few more sniffs, he finally lost most of his energy, and it wasn't so hard for 6 adults to put him in laying down position, as he was drifting off..

He kept saying, "I don't want to lay down.. I don't want to lay down.." But after a few seconds, he was already completely down.. and the doctor asked me to wait in Ariq's room.

Fifteen minutes later, the doctor showed up, informing us that the operation had been successfully done and Ariq could go home the next morning. We were relieved with this news..

The more relieving news brought by the doctor was that by having the operation, it was clear that Ariq's tonsils were actually in very bad condition, and the fish bone had nothing to do with it except giving us a way to have them removed!

The abscess was inside the tonsils, and it was not visible to the outside because the swollen tonsils looked just like big tonsils.. if the fish bone never got stuck on it, the abscess could have become worse until it was too late.. That was why every time Ariq had a cough, and we took him to a doctor, the doctor always said that it was a bad sore throat..

Ah, some things in life just happen unexpectedly.. but for a very important reason.. :-)

Ariq is recovering now.. he hates soft food.. but he must put up with it for a couple more days.. he is also still drowsy from the drugs, although since yesterday, he has asked me to reduce the dose of the painkiller from 3 times a day to twice a day..

He has asked me to come with him to school tomorrow, because he is already missing his teachers and friends.. He said that he might not last the whole day at school, but at least he gets to meet everyone..

Really.. watching an active kid like Ariq being stranded in bed like this makes me feel sad.. but I also know that even the strongest person needs to have a rest sometimes.. :-)

I am now hoping that after this operation, Ariq will start having a stronger body and healthier life.. :-)