February 13, 2011
Quiet Tuesday morning with only laughter and soft music dancing with the smell of coffee and fresh waffles.
Posted by quickness at 03:31 AM
December 13, 2010
This is one of the photos Azmina used for her project -- which I was supposed to help her with.
N ended up doing a lot of the work since I made an error in the layout, and had to go away before I realised my mistake.
The kids are done for the year. No more school till January.
Taking leave soon. Will seek awesome.
May 03, 2010
April 18, 2010
Girl and Box of Chocolates
I seldom have time during traveling to visit the shops. Luckily most airports have good selections of chocolates. They're not the best, but better than most supermarkets. The trouble is, most times I carry a bag that's just big enough to hold my notebook and my papers. And that bag isn't designed much of anything else.
Most times when I get home, I'll only have a piece... They're reserved for my loves. I prefer to watch them in their pretty little dresses, in quiet contemplation, talking about which piece to have next, as if it were a game of chess where no one loses.
April 15, 2010
While we were waiting
She never told me who it was.
December 26, 2009
Now, they each have their own -- from their savings.
December 14, 2009
December 09, 2007
Ready for the weekend
From the archives. 4 November 2005. Around noon. Nothing else recorded.
November 27, 2007
Farizah [living room]
November 26, 2007
My baby came first in her class. Pride came naturally; after all, parents are responsible for her genes, for her upbringing, for fostering a loving environment, and for buying those baby Einstein videos. But the truth is, for reasons that were inevitable, we couldn’t tutor her for her final assessment as much as we’d like, or as much as usual. She came across a picture of a xylophone about a month after her test and asked me what it was. I learned later from her teacher that it was the xylophone that she couldn’t name during her assessment. I grew up with a few toy xylophones in the house. I must have seen my fair share of ‘X for Xylophone’ illustrations during my early years. I shouldn’t be surprised though, we’ve never bought the kids a xylophone.
Yes, it’s only kindergarten. But because Azmina did well despite the lack of preparations, it compels me to at least match what she is capable of, with my own efforts at guiding her. Guidance…, rather than a push is what I’d be giving her. And I know I could do better. The good thing is, we’re still in her kindy years. She enjoys school, and that’s the important thing.
Picture taken during her school’s award ceremony and year-end concert last Saturday. A lot of proud parents there, and things could have been organized a tad better. I only stayed for Azmina’s academic excellence award and her class’s dance number. It was the fourth performance of the afternoon, and I think, theirs was the best out of the four that I stayed on for. Being a fairly disadvantaged parent in the dance department, I’d say the teachers did pretty well in teaching a kid of mine to move like that.
During her better hair days. I was told that bad hair has been the bane of women since time immemorial.
November 16, 2007
A Pastel Spell
October 15, 2007
Today you are spending the night at your grandparent’s. I miss you terribly as I do your sister. You celebrated your third birthday last week. I’m sorry I didn’t get one decent photo, and I’ve been kicking myself for having you trust only your old man’s memory of the occasion. You were very pleased with your cake: a colourful drawing of Mickey Mouse covered the whole of the chocolate cake – chocolate so rich that you’d agree that God’s bounty is endless when He gave us that magical substance.
Now that the both of you are far from sight, all I can think about are the times I’ve been hard on you. There was the time when I chased you around the living room just to make you close the cabinets that you opened. I am sure you had a good reason… maybe you thought the whole apartment would collapse if all the cabinets stayed shut… Then there was the time when I tickled you silly when you refused to give your dad a kiss goodbye before work. Of course, there was the time when I could not even find you a single pair shoes that you liked, when your sister got herself two.
Three years and you’ve already shown your persistence. Your decisiveness bends resolute decisions, you challenge proven parental practices, and I am sure you could bend spoons if you wanted to. You hold the third veto in the family. You sit in the front passenger seat, forcing your sister to sit at the back. You chew on the tiny paper cups used to present small biscuits and cake slices. You bought a pair of red heeled shoes that was four sizes too big, and parade them every day across the living room.
You learn from your sister very quickly. You were potty trained before your second birthday, you apologise soon after you’ve stepped on somebody’s toes, and you understand your sister’s funny little games.
You are already anxious at the thought of kindergarten next year. And to be honest, so are your mother and I. Of course, if there is anybody who could easily make friends with other children, it is you. You are first to approach a potential friend, even if he or she were three times older. You would play with a much older child before your sister would even warm up to the idea.
I have been very blessed. I have you. I have your sister. If life really were counterpoising, bad luck would haunt me ad infinitum. It would be relatively easy though, because it is from you and your sister that I draw much of my strength, and you have been a constant source of calm. This, despite the endless amount of energy that you need to burn off everyday. And despite the melee. You are my crooked-toothed, chocolate-loving, dimpled, opiate of sadness, my protective blanket against the world and its grandness.
Happy Birthday my sweet.
With all the love in the world, as always,
July 17, 2007
Five doctors (including three anesthetists) and two nurses looked after N when we were getting ready for Farizah’s debut almost three years ago. Both of us knew what to expect more or less. N had started her contractions the night before, and what needed to be packed had already been packed much earlier. Our only worry was whether we could get a taxi without having to go too far from our building. It must have been around ten or eleven when we decided that it was time. The apartment was quiet save for a few quiet moans of pain when N had her contractions.
N had everything under control as always. Azmina was still awake and knew her sister was coming. She was, as calm as N, and did ... actually I can’t remember what she did at that time. Both Azmina and I asked N questions which were answered concisely. By the time both N and I had our coats on, Azmina was at the bedroom door, in her PJs, trying to put her rainboots on, because she had been under the impression that she could come along.
The doorman didn’t take long to get us that cab. Going through Second Avenue, passing the all-night delis reminded me of all the lives that were being built at that very moment. Dreams of the future, dreams of strength in the face of adversity, dreams of happiness and of togetherness. I didn’t ask what N was thinking; her eyes were closed, her eyebrows wrinkled in focus. Hope and worry were woven in silent prayer.
25 blocks is not a long taxi ride during a weeknight. And I know a few years is a long time to wait to write about those brief moments. Still I write it now not because of fear that I would forget, but because I might lose that opportunity to share.
June 21, 2007
Children are always clear on what they want, who they look up to, and which characters they want to be associated with. Girls have their favourite Disney princess, fairytopia fairy, Strawberry Shortcake character, and boys... I would imagine they would have their own boyish or fighting characters.
Not Farizah. When Azmina says she 'is' Snow White or Elina or Straberry Shortcake, Farizah insists that she, in the same (at the same time strange) manner, is Mickey Mouse.
We told her time and time again, Mickey is a boy. Farizah is Belle. Farizah can be Orange Blossom, Blueberry Muffin' or Strawberry's little sister, Apple Dumplin'. We told her she can even be Minnie if she wants to. But no! She wants to be Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse is Adik, Farizah is Mickey Mouse, she says.
One of my favourite things to do, though the mom doesn't approve, is to pick the girls up in the air, and pretend to eat their bellies. They are held horizontally of course, so that all the kicking would only stir the air around them.
I can do this for three rounds per child before they grow weak with laughter. Not quite the Spanish Inquisition, but, I could usually get what I want from them after a belly-eating session.
I tell Farizah, "Papa is Mickey!!!"
"Nooooooooo....", she cried...
"Adek, Mickey...." she continued softly, after inhaling a very audible gasp.
Poor her, I know. I let her win of course. Momentarily. For I know this site will still be up and running when she's able to read.
(Farizah..... Papa is Mickey. And look at the date - you haven't grown out of it yet.)
June 02, 2007
Girl With Chip, Watching TV
Farizah is relatively stationary when she's asleep, while she's held and reading a book, and while watching television. Her sister has not been well. A cold, and now an eye infection, has slowed Azmina down. They've been staying at the grandparents' while N is away for a few days. Azmina's getting better though; even though the last time I saw her eye, it looked ... I am not even gonna describe it. The night before she went to the clinic, she had me worried sick the whole night.
This update is for N. Again, both Farizah and Azmina are fine.
May 20, 2007
March 09, 2007
Girl in Red
February 17, 2007
You’ve been crying a whole lot lately. We’ve been getting into a number of arguments, mainly because you still cannot understand how things are supposed to work. Sweets before bed make you hyper and would make it difficult for you to get quality sleep. Fighting with your little sister is not good. Not sharing is bad. Homework is a necessary evil. Being on time is important.
Mornings are especially hard – it’s a struggle to get you dressed and get you to eat something. You always say that it’s a holiday when it’s not. When your teacher was late one day, and the class room was still locked and dark, I believed you for the 15 minutes we waited outside class.
Maybe because I can see a lot of me in you; it compels me to treat you a bit like an adult that you aren’t. I know you strive to be five when you’ve only celebrated your fourth birthday last January.
You see Azmina, both you and I are the eldest in the family. Your posture reminds me of how I was when I was your age. You have a good memory – when you were barely walking, you won’t give me face for a few months because of something that happened earlier. You are also forgiving – nowadays our disagreements don’t last very long. You don’t eat much breakfast, cos I know your little tummy doesn’t wake up till about 2 hours after you have opened your eyes. Sour doesn’t bother you… at all. You have trouble with unfamiliar faces, which makes it hard to deal with your extended family. This will pass. You hate milk. This isn’t a temporary phase in your life. You love ice cream, and your mother doesn’t know this, but I must be around six when I too preferred mint chocolate ice cream to other flavours. Nobody will ever know why. You have a mole on the sole of your foot. Yours is on your right, and mine, on my left, so that when we give each other high-fives with our feet, the two can meet like two long-lost halves. And of course, you are cute because I am your father and you are my daughter.
Like I do with your sister, I miss you when you aren’t around. Grandma picks you up from school most times, and I try to have lunch with you whenever I can. Grandma is also eating a lot of chicken during her lunch hour because you don’t eat much of anything else.
Your love of music moves your body every time a good tune is played. We are not destined to be great dancers. We love the same song that we have in the car CD player. Sometimes you would make me play the song 7 times in a row, from the time I pull out from the driveway, till we reach the school. You know the words to the chorus even though you don’t know what it really means. Basically it’s about someone getting hurt. It isn’t a particularly happy song, but if it makes the two of us happy singing it together, then you would agree there isn’t much else to think about.
Ps. After you had finished all the lemon segments in the picture, you made a bangle out of what’s left.
December 01, 2006
Girl in white dress II
November 30, 2006
Girl in white dress I
September 16, 2006
Girls, I hope you're not giving your mom a hard time. See you soon.
Posted by quickness at 08:35 PM
September 07, 2006
"Papa, look at my castle..."
I am a father. I am proud. Can you tell?
September 03, 2006
Today's colour is pink
Here's to everyone who's having a crappy Monday during this Labour Day holiday. We hope it passes as quickly as those days that you never want to end. And it won't kill you to smile.
A very good morning to you too...
Farizah just stepped on her sister's chest while she was sleeping. She just smiled at us while her sister laid on the floor screaming. Yesterday she found a sharpie (magic marker) and in less than 5 seconds she tagged a chest of drawers and a glass display case. Obviously tickling her silly is not working.
Cousin DD is coming by for a very short visit in a few minutes after arriving from Florida yesterday. Not sure if he's been to New York before, but it's a chance for us to become tourists even for a few hours.
If he has family who worries for little reason, this is to say he's fine.
August 31, 2006
Not softly said
"Azmina, can I take a photo of you?"
"No... take a picture of my foot."
August 28, 2006
Fun With Gravel
August 27, 2006
Quiet Discourse (II)
- discovered loose skin on her elbow, and somewhat alarmed by it;
- asked why she didn't have a prominent Adam's apple like her dad;
- ate something healthy disguised as junk food;
- danced to James Brown;
- asked to go to the pharmacy so that she could walk in the rain with her umbrella;
- had her parents read her bedtime stories in the afternoon.
- was again first to wake up in the morning;
- sang along to twinkle-twinkle little star;
- danced to Rock Around the Clock;
- tasted carbonated water and tried to get the taste off her tongue with her hands;
- pulled her sister's hair without any feeling of guilt;
- went to get her shoes when she thought we were going out today.
And yeah; they fought and they hugged. They ran, they climbed, they fell, and were tickled silly.
August 19, 2006
Every weekend for the last several weekends we go to more or less the same spot in Central Park. Every weekend they nap in their strollers before reaching the spot. Every weekend Azmina buys a $2 ice cream from the entrance. Every weekend Farizah watches her sister enjoy something which does not interest her. Every weekend they play tag. And every weekend they have their parents inspect twigs and leaves they have collected.
Azmina was around 15 months when she first started to walk on grass. Finding the texture alien to the parquet and the concrete she had been used to, she cried for help when we left her in the middle of a grass patch. We blamed ourselves for not going to the park more often, but our old apartment wasn’t exactly conveniently located near to any grassy fields or parks. We blamed high apartment prices for our small apartment. We blamed our small apartment for Azmina’s inability to crawl and walk at an earlier age. We promised her then that we would move to somewhere near a park or playground.
July 19, 2006
About last night
I had just returned from a trip yesterday evening, when I came home and checked on the kids.
They were ready for bed, but Azmina wasn’t sleepy and asked me if she could join me out in the living room. I said yes, but I told her we were not to watch any kids stuff or listen to any kids music. She understood and stood quietly next to me watching the news.
What was happening and what was shown in the news were just not right. I wandered off when a CNN reporter was using words like “obviously” to describe something that had not been properly verified.
Unlike the time when Azmina and I were watching the Katrina coverage on the late news, I didn’t offer any explanation. I know her mom won’t like it very much if I had troubled her little mind this late at night. I instead asked her if she wanted me to read anything to her that night. She got me to go through a total of four short stories before she decided it was time to go to bed.
Azmina has been a source of calm as of late. We would sit together and without cue or explanation, she would give a kiss on the cheek. When she asks me if we could dance to Old MacDonald on my notebook, I’d say I don’t have it anymore, and she’d be happy to dance to Brazilian Girls or Si*Se.
Picture taken last July in Berlin shows Azmina with Sulha, who is our friends’, Kas’s and Bob’s, daughter. Azmina had been forever fascinated with leaves and flowers regardless if they were fresh or dried. Sulha, her new friend, was just pleased that she could blow bubbles with something that she can hang around her heck.
July 13, 2006
Apparently Farizah thinks this looks good enough to eat... or at least, chew on.
July 08, 2006
The Brownian State
Proof that little kids vibrate, in the X, Y and Z planes. Reminds me also of Brownian motion.
The above are 3 photos from a set of 8. Farizah wasn't even in the frame properly in the other five. She was gone by the 8th shot.
June 06, 2006
The girl who...
The curious girl who snacks a lot.
It's my leave after one year. We're off in a few hours. Guests coming in 4 days and in 6 days. We will completely miss two of them. We will meet 5 or 6 others towards the end.
April 14, 2006
Azmina and the Beach
April 03, 2006
Chocolate Chocolate Ice Cream
March 31, 2006
She's not lost
Azmina surprised us earlier this week by counting to 12, in Spanish, with perfect pronunciation - complete with Castilian lisp. By perfect I mean applying correct stress points within words. It helps that she watches Dora the Explorer everyday, but it's her school, which is just over a mile from Spanish Harlem, that had been a good influence. She comes home saying things like "vámonos" and "buenas noches". We try to talk to her with the little Spanish that we have, but it usually leads to the shortest of conversations.
As usual Farizah was mostly minding her own business. She had an apple which she bit in 26 different places, and dug her fingers in 40 more. Sometimes it's difficult to keep up. They don't seem to need the same amount of rest as us adults. This morning they rose the same time as the sun. They don't always do things that are already supposed to be routine. They take less time to have their food. They move faster than we normally do. They are louder than we usually are.
Tomorrow we hope we can exhaust them before they wear us out.
February 20, 2006
Contrary to popular belief, we do need rest after all the excitement.
February 06, 2006
This is a picture of success.
January 24, 2006
Realising that the t.v. remote is one of the most powerful inventions in the universe, Farizah has been tyring to unlock its secrets for a number of months now.
So far she hasn't gone far from just knowing what it does. The cable box contains many of their recorded t.v. shows including Boohbah, the Tellytubbies, Dora the Explorer and Little Einsteins. It spoils them to have tivo conveniences at the tips of their servants' fingers at this young age. So when Farizah couldn't get N's attention even by waving the remote 2 inches from her mother's face, I intervened.
I offered to receive the powerful device. Always trusting even before things get desperate, Farizah surrendered the remote. She turned to the direction of the t.v. as I pretended not to understand what she wanted. I put the remote down. After a few seconds, she looked and handed the remote back to me.
After a couple of times, she started to become irritated, but still wanted me to magically summon the show about two twin sister bugs joining the Dribly Dell singers.
As I took the remote from her one last time, I pressed the remote against the side of my face, and smilingly, I said "Hello? Is anybody there? Hello?" She lost it and cried a long wail. Even N thought it was funny. The remote was a rectangular grey plastic thing, sharing that same description with our phone.
It wasn't at all cruel: Last time I checked, it followed all the parenting rules, and there were around 26 life lessons in that 3 minutes alone.
January 23, 2006
... and she became entranced.
January 22, 2006
... it was finally her birthday...
... and the Dora fan finds her cake agreeable...
January 21, 2006
Azmina is three today
Azmina has been excited about her third birthday since her little sister celebrated hers in October.
When the day arrived today, she was quite irritable for no apparent reason. Maybe she was disappointed that the day started like many other days. Because we were too busy preparing for her do, which was supposed to start at 4 in the afternoon. Because she was indoors when it wasn't winter in January and regular New Yorkers were out enjoying record high temperatures outside.
When she was not crying, she was ecstatic about how the day would eventually unfold. She knew it was her birthday. She was excited about the prospects of having her own cake. She took out her own party hats at noon. Eager to see her friends, she planned which balloons to give to her friends, which indistinguishable party hat for which non-grownup.
"It's my Birthday!" she said to herself.
"Happy Birthday!" she exclaimed, savouring the thought.
N had planned the afternoon only two days earlier. The only preparation before today was the cake reservation. Two trips to the supermarket, one to a party-supply store and another to the cake-shop just as the first guests were arriving, we had everything we needed. Four dishes, 3 finger food platters, balloons and party hats, and we were all set.
Azmina was both tired and ready by 3 p.m., and took a nap by herself on the couch. By 3:30 p.m., we were done with the preparations. Farizah was also asleep. Tea-lights were lit to keep the food warm; and as N took a last minute-shower, the place stood still. Azmina looked happy in her sleep. It was the beginning of a great afternoon.
January 15, 2006
Something on your teeth
That was what I told her...
... while hiding the camera behind my back.
December 10, 2005
November 16, 2005
A belated one from all of us.
November 13, 2005
Farizah's face do not show it, but she is generally more animated than Azmina. Always moving around, only sitting still for Boohbah, Peep, the Backyardigans and the Tellytubbies.
The exposure is not the best, and the colour is a bit off. You can only catch her like this in less than a split second, and so this might not accurately reflect how she generally is. But this is how you would see her if she lets you have a short breather.
October 23, 2005
Strange and Beautiful
I am not sure who took this picture. This was taken when Farizah was exactly one year old, and I was home during lunch time. When I left for work as my break ended, I had just finished shooting some frames, after which, N said she continued where I left and shot the above photo.
As much as I am confident that I was behind the lens, I know it was more likely that N was wholly responsible for the composition. You see, only N has the kind of relationship with the kids. The kind that allows them to be in an environment, free to be their own weird selves whenever their little hearts desire.
I had never seen them in this angle before, and so I thought it was necessary for this split second slice in time to be recorded. I had once thought that it was the 28mm perspective, now I attribute it fully to that special relationship.
October 21, 2005
All my words were bound to fail
When it comes to this stage, nothing I say or do will be good enough. I find myself revisiting an old question.
September 29, 2005
Azmina and a fish called Seahorse
During the last year or so, Azmina named her first Barbie "Dos", our Parakeet "Tweet", the pet fighting fish "Seahorse", and her other doll "Lily".
And we have no idea how she names them. I can understand "Tweet", but "Seahorse"?? She knows what a seahorse is and for the life of me, I don't remember showing her any blue seahorses. "Seahorse" by the way, the fighting fish, is blue.
We tried convincing her that Seahorse might not be an appropriate name, because, well... it's a regular fish. We suggested "Blue" or the very appropriate and extremely clever "Fisch", because, and we're trying to teach her logic here, the fish is blue, and it's a fish.
I know she understands all the words that we used to explain this to her, but somehow all seemed illogical to her, except that the fish should be called "Seahorse".
So Seahorse it was, and we told her what a fine name it was for a fish.
September 01, 2005
... 20 consecutive steps...
August 31, 2005
Grace, short of seemingly effortless.
Previous attempts to record Farizah's first steps had been frustratingly futile.
August 30, 2005
A little section of an emotional rollercoaster provided by cartoons
Nothing much has changed since January, except that she has less tears when watching a sad cartoon.
August 27, 2005
If you're happy and you know it
... touch your neck.
This was taken end of April this year. Azmina was 2 years and a bit when she thought the song went, "If you're happy and you know it, touch yer neck..." instead of.. you know... say your name....
But anyway, as usual we didn't correct her just like the other time, if only for our amusement.
August 25, 2005
Fascination about bubbles: Thursday's lesson
August 10, 2005
Cooler than hot, warmer than cold
Azmina has been talking A LOT lately.
She seemed to be able to grasp reason much more than she did a few months ago - and this had led to her ability to maintain long conversations.
This new expressive skill that she acquired has made it so much easier and more conducive for negotiations. Sometimes she even offers possible answers to her questions, which she would find acceptable:
Azmina: Bread with peanut butter... bread with peanut butter...
Me: No, dinner first.
Azmina: We'll buy bread later?
Me: Err, yeah.. we've run out of bread. We'll get some later.
Azmina: (Smiles) (Runs to N) We're buying bread later!!!!
Something like that. Of course she hasn't got the grammar all figured out.
And consider the current peanut butter situation with one not too long ago:
Azmina: bread with peanut butter... bread with peanut butter
Me: no, dinner first....
Azmina: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA..... bread with peanut butter!!!!!
Azmina: WAAAAA.... WAAAADE ... WWAADE (runs away)
But the most significant development related to all this is that she now understands me better.
Azmina had previously rejected ... well... expressed strong displeasure for anything I do that doesn't please her. This includes getting involved in giving her medicine; and it doesn't matter if N has the job of pinning her down while I squirt the 5 drops cough syrup into a throat that screams of unworldly pain, or the other way around - N gets away with presidential immunity while I... I get to be given the Azmina special for several weeks. Even if she forgets why she was mad, she'd still remember that she had planned to ignore me for two months.
Where is this going? I don't know. But I mean... just look at her face... I dare you not to be happy.
August 06, 2005
Farizah Month Ten
You are 10 months today. This is how you looked like today. You scratched yourself just above your left eye, presumably during your sleep. I could have photoshopped it out, but you might not have a permanent record of how you looked today. Your dad is good at misplacing his jpeg files.
You are quite comfortable standing up by yourself without any kind of support. We weren't surprised since you had started doing so when you were exactly 8 months. We had expected that you could have walked by age 9 months like your aunt did, but you decided to take your time. You seem to be enjoying yourself as much as we enjoy being around you.
Even your sister is amused with all the little things you do. You are a bit different from your sister. You tend to want to eat things. Even when we say to you, "No, Farizah...!"; you would respond with a smile showing your lower teeth, a dimple on each side of your smile. But fear not, we had not been easily disarmed by this trickery. We would always prevent you from eating old cheerios that managed to find its way to your hands. Even your sister would raise alarm at the sight of suspicious mouth movements. Nevertheless, we had bought a portable vacuum cleaner just to be safe.
Lately you've been the first to wake in the mornings, and you've been good at it. You would usually wake at 5:30am to feed, after which you would sleep till around 7 when you are finally up, waiting for the rest to catch up with you.
You're quite close to your sister, arguing and laughing together. You argue about your sister's cup designed for much older babies than you. You have skipped a couple of "cup stages" - you have been drinking from a straw for nearly 2 months now. And you could finish your sister's diluted apple juice if we don't take the cup away from you.
The weather has been really hot lately, and we could not take you out as often as we'd like. Apart from your naptime which starts just after lunch, you've been quite accomodating for short trips to the park. Rarely did we have to worry about losing our sanity in public places.
There are more things that I could say, but won't. Know this though - the tomorrows that your mother and I look forward to, are very much because of you and your sister.
June 30, 2005
Cool morning in the tropics
Obviously enjoying their time in the tropics, the kids wake up before sunrise and sleep a few hours after. When you have kids having trouble with jetlag, expect getting more than your share of their own suffering.
Nobody else was around when this was taken. Azmina was fascinated by the flowers in the garden, by the different birds that she saw, and by the amount of space that this home has.
I knew she was very happy - I've never seen her willing to pose for the camera before.
May 29, 2005
Hi, my name is Dos!
A Barbie doll inexplicably named so, by Azmina.
"Doll?", we asked her, trying to solicit a logical explanation. "No", she said quietly; "Dos!", she continued.
So, Dos! it was, as distinct from Doll.
(Picture taken in a Japanese restaurant in Mystic, Connecticut)
May 23, 2005
N told me that Farizah has inherited my frown.
I do not have a frown on my face by default. I have expressive brows, and wrinkles from old age.
May 03, 2005
Farizah seems more at home to the park than Azmina was at her age. Azmina refused to walk on grass when she started walking. We like Central Park. Although the apartment is small, we have this vast backyard that stretches for acres and acres. This is taken at 105th street, miles and miles from our usual spot.
May 02, 2005
Of stars, the seas, and love.
Azmina's current current favourite song is "La Mer" by Charles Trenet. When she first heard it a few weeks ago, she asked for it to be played on repeat. With the uncoordinated movements that included jumping and moving from side to side, she danced with an excitement that could only be truly explained from the perspective of another 2 year old.
Farizah's favourite song, in addition to the essential twinkle,twinkle, little star, is "Somebody to love" by Queen. Only the nursery rhyme and the Freddie Mercury song could provide temporary calm when she finds that her mother had left her with her dad for a few minutes.
I have tried introducing them to current music but even chart-toppers don't have the same impact. That's actually quite OK by me; I'm not raising the next Britney or Christina anyway.
March 31, 2005
Azmina on Fifth
March 22, 2005
Out of the seven days in a week, Tuesdays are my least favourite. Mondays are okay - most of us are still figuring out the week. Even if you stayed up all night on Sunday, the following Tuesday would invariably be worst than Monday. The next weekend could seem 6 million weeks away.
But when you are leaving the apartment with this image in your head, who needs meds?
February 22, 2005
I've been kicking myself for not being able to go out much during the long weekend. I went out, today, during PRESIDENT'S DAY only to be INDOORS FOR EIGHT HOURS. Eight hours represents almost the total amount of light you get in a day at this time of year. Blessed is he who could enjoy the holiday Monday filling up compact flash cards and draining batteries in the outside cold.
In what's left of the long weekend, I did, however, manage to spend some time with the kids. I also made a few pathetic attempts distract myself of the day. And if you're wondering how the above set of pictures is related, the simple act of sneezing is considered a blessing in some cultures, in others, it's something that is in need of a blessing. Still not convinced that it's relevant? Neither am I. It's one of those thoughts that form a series of non-ideas that follow no logical sequence.
February 20, 2005
The Smile That Tells You Where You Are From
I learned today that, our smiles can tell a lot about ourselves: the situation that we are in, our culture, and a few other variables. The UK Times article, from which I shamelessly copied the title from, had immediately reminded me of what happened just 5 days earlier.
It's not that hard to know what Azmina's thinking at any one time. At times you understand why, and countless other times, you wonder what you had done wrong in the previous life.
I was just examining photos I had just taken when Azmina found a bottle of lotion, and apparently squeezed the living daylights of a once healthy bottle of moisture-giving richness, into a tiny area that is her face. Most of the lotion had already been absorbed into her skin by the time I found out.
Azmina didn't say anything when I saw her guilty as that day when she grabbed a pen and proceeded to practice her graffiti tag on the couch and the coffee-table. Just that long confident grin. And what do I do after I saw her "I've done my worst and there's nothing you could do about it now" grin? I could contact the British Times to tell them of my discovery. I could assess further damages. But I figured what was broken would stay broken anyway, so I took a few shots to add to my collection of evidence that I hoped could build a case for some kind of compensation when she makes her own money.
February 07, 2005
Farizah Month 3
SH asked me if Farizah had started turning already cos she was getting anxious that her daughter, who is about the same age as Farizah, had not.
I told her no, but I remember distinctly that Azmina was already twisting and turning trying to get on her tummy at around this age.
I think Farizah has strong musculature and coordination for her age so I don’t worry about it at all. I have always sat her leaning against pillows and propping her within the pillow’s / couch’s indentation. She’s already used to being put to sit on her own, on our couch – until, that is, she gets bored, which was usually in a few minutes. I think that’s why she has been trying to sit by her own when she’s lying down… you know… that thing you do when you try to do sit-up crunches. I just laugh at the sight of her ridiculously over-ambitious attempts. I think I should put her on her tummy more often and maybe she’d try turning on her tummy instead.
Her hair has already grown a few millimeters since the day we shaved them off. She’ll thank us for it when she sees her sister’s photos with uneven hair when it just started to grow properly.
Apart from “Cawww…” and “Caaah….”, no other words had come out from her. She has a preference for N even at this very early stage. She would see my face when I hold her and would cry 4 out of the 5 times I do that. N had already gotten Farizah to laugh several times during the second month. I am not hopeful cos I know she’ll unleash her very own little hell for us and get N running to her.
She gets excited when Azmina talks to her, and Azmina gets excited when Farizah responds. “Adek cakap Ina”, which translates to “Small sister is talking to Azmina” she’d say proudly, and smilingly.
We have let Farizah use pacifiers cos anything is better than the cries Azmina let out when she was 3 months old. Farizah likes to suck on her fingers, and we let her cos Azmina grew out of it very quickly.
Sleep had been inconsistent, sometimes Farizah would wake 3-4 times a night, and sometimes only at 6 am. She’s a bit less difficult to get to sleep than Azmina was, but all those are cancelled when they answer each other’s cries at night.
Photos above were taken when she was exactly 3 months old.
Dear Farizah, this is more or less what your dad can remember at this time… And I am sorry that every time you try to smile to me, you find this big thing blocking your father’s face, sometimes with red and white flashes – it’s called a camera. And the funny sounds between calling your name – comes from your dad… not from the camera.
February 06, 2005
Azmina likes her hairbands. She calls them "Pungpungs".
N bought a whole pack earlier this week, and Azmina has been fascinated by them ever since.
She puts them in her purple handbag and a number of times she'd ask for a specific colour and we'd have to look for it if she can't find them. Two nights ago, while in bed with the lights out, she asked, "Yellow pungpung... yellow pungpung...". You need a full CSI crime scene kit to find one of those darned things in the dark.
While also in bed, add that with asking for a refill for her drink, asking for cheerios (Your kid is hungry... What can you do?), a specific doll, a specific pillow, taking turns with her sister in waking the other up, up to 3 hours can go like water through a pasta strainer in this nightly battle.
January 30, 2005
I think it must be around a year ago (or maybe a bit less... I have to consult N), when Azmina learned the word "moon". And after the word "duck", which is most possibly the first word she ever spoke, "moon" is definitely her second favourite word. One of the first proper book she learnt was "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown. She began to use the word "moon" everytime she could, in inappropriate times.
"Azmina, where are we going?"
"Azmina... where are we going?"
And during a sing-a-long:
N: Baa-baa black sheep, have you any...
N: Yes-sir, Yes-sir, three bags...
N: One for...
N: One for...
N: And, one for Az...
N: Who lives down the...
January 25, 2005
A few people have said that Farizah looked more like her mother than me.
I suppose that's a good thing. We were at an airport's check-in counter one day, and being better at negotiating with airport staff, I would usually be looking after tickets, passports and stuff. When I told the person behind the ticket counter that my family was just 7 feet in front of her and to her right, she said, with a stern voice, "I NEED TO SEE THE PEOPLE TRAVELLING WITH YOU, SIR!"
That was when I realised that the reason I was tasked with this unpleasantry was because N was so much better at looking after Azmina than I was. When she saw N, she was immediately surprised. Surprised at how seemingly mismatched we were in appearance. When she saw Azmina, she just had to ask me, "Are you sure you're with them?" Still puzzled, she turned to N and Azmina and asked, "What are you doing with him?"
I kept thinking, "This is good, just entertain this woman. Don't say YO MOMMA.... Don't say YO MOMMA.... Don't say YO MOMMA"
And I didn't. And everything went quite smooth... as easy as her momma, wearing an I-DA-HO t-shirt.
January 21, 2005
I can see myself here.
January 18, 2005
Babies without hair reminds me of turtles
What the photos don't show is what happened in between.
Half-way into shaving her head, Farizah felt very uncomfortable and let out the most distressing cry we have ever heard. We ended up using a new triple blade shaver to hasten the process. The trimmer was as useful as an old toothbrush without a handle. We quickly lathered up her head and shouted at our own hands for not being able to do the job any quicker.
A quick look-up in google tells us that Farizah has cradle cap, a common form of dermatitis on the scalp of newborns, which should subside in a couple of weeks.
I swear, if I was given a stopwatch to measure my pulse, I could just count the poundings within my skull.
January 13, 2005
I think there is a gene responsible for an affinity to milk and a gene responsible for disliking it. I am missing the former and have the latter. Azmina, on the other hand, is seriously missing the former and have bucketloads of the latter.
As time passed by she grew to loathe the bottle, and started to take hers from a glass... WITH A STRAW!!! Which is a hassle since it means we have to stop whatever we were doing and find a stationary place to pour cold milk into her cup, disguise its flavour with some nesquik powder, hold her, and wait while she sips a mere 4 ounces in 20 minutes. 4 ounces - that's half of what someone half her age would take in half that time.
I can't remember when I stopped drinking milk. I remember when I was 7, thinking "What the hell is wrong with this milk? It's a drink that comes in a carton, yet, it's flat and unsugared". I have seen ads telling children everywhere how good milk is, and so I gave it a go once in a while but I consistently got this feeling that I was being conned.
So Azmina, her milk substitute had been diluted apple juice before going to bed, and under her pediatrician's instructions, we changed it vitaminised, essential-mineralised, orange juice.
If his father's genes has its way, she can expect to stop drinking orange juice by 13, freak out at the thought of having fish in her food, enjoy sweetcorn, think having peanut butter is an inviolable human right, and would make a meal out of cream crackers and hot chilli sauce to satisfy a spice craving.
January 12, 2005
"Relative Calm" is how the UN sometimes describes the Blue Line in the Middle East.
Farizah can scream harder than Azmina. And just how loud is Azmina's cry? Our old neighbours once registered their concern to the building's management, asking them to look into the regular midnight screams that went on for 2-3 hours at a time. Fearing possible child abuse, they got one of the staff to inquire about the matter as I was just leaving the main elevators one morning for work. I said, "My daughter have difficulty sleeping", while trying to mold my face to say, "You don't know anything about difficult babies!!!". Yes, it had drained every ounce of my remaining energy to even think of a clever answer.
Back to Farizah. This was taken back in 28 November. It was 3:48 p.m. Fed? Check! Burped? Check! Diaper change? Check! Ambient temperature? International Ideal Temperature for Fussy Babies +/- 0.01 degrees!! Luck of a billion-dollar lottery winner who lived to be a hundred years old after leading a fulfilled life without a single sad day beside his hot wife? Check!
Relative calm. Whatever mistakes that I felt that I have made. Whatever disappointments that might have filled the rest of the 23 hours and 58 minutes of the day. This wills me to go on. This is my drug.
January 08, 2005
What would happen when your two-year old daughter saw the film "Finding Nemo" before ever listening to the children's song "Bingo"?
Answer: She would think Nemo is spelt B-I-N-G-O.
There is a phrase where it goes, "B-I-N-G-O... and Bingo was its name-o". As far as Azmina is concerned, "Bingo was its" could easily mean "that's how you spell". Just as we had trouble a few months ago in teaching her the difference between the letter M and N, she still thinks "name-o" and Nemo are one and the same.
At times, I would ask her what B-I-N-G-O would spell, and Azmina would answer Nemo (as opposed to name-o) every time.. without fail... in full self-confidence.
The choice between correcting your child and leaving them for your amusement is one of the perks of being a parent.
January 05, 2005
The other day Azmina cried at the thought that some harm could fall unto her sister.
“NOOO!!!!” she shouted, pleading, breaking into tears.
That was one of the first instances she used the word other than to mean defiance or “not at all”.