When I was in 3rd Std, my class teacher ran a competition for the best ‘good behaviour chart’. Everyone had to make the chart, which had the names of all my classmates and a column for good mark ( red  dots) and a column for bad mark. ( black dots). Amma made my chart for me. She cut flowers from old Christmas cards and decorated my chart and the teacher chose mine and I got the credit for something I didn’t do.

When baby was in grade 3, she had some project  that involved in making a poster. End of the term, parents were invited to the class to see the project..All the posters except one were very similar..stick figures, irregular writings with lots of spelling mistakes. But the one that was different..looked exactly like my good behaviour chart. It was picture perfect.

My son had a mechatronics project due this week. The past few weeks he has been asking me what he should make. I felt, it is his project and he should figure it out. He was really annoyed with me because I refused to help him and told me, I am a mean unhelpful mother.

This is where the dilemma I face is. Where do I step in? and When do I not help? He is coming to me for help because I am well read and can guide him, which is my job as a mother. But I don’t want to be like my mother..

I don’t know what he made for his project. He didn’t tell me because he is very annoyed with me. The marks he gets for the project will be part of his term report.

The feeling is should have, could have is bothering me.

Learning to drive again

I have been driving legally for more than 20 years and a few more years extra illegally. But I am now having to learn to drive again.

Few years ago, a blogger ( Upsilamba) wrote about how she got her drivers license. It was pretty hilarious.I can’t remember her blog ID and if she is still reading my blog, here is a big hello from me.

I found the blog. Yay 🙂


I had only been back in Malaysia for a month when I went for the driving license test. I didn’t know any of the road rules, but the examiner was a young dude and I flirted with him ( There, I said it) and much to the surprise of everyone who knew me, I passed the test and got my license.

I am a pretty good driver, if I may say so, except once in a while the men ( and women) in blue feel compelled to stop my car and give me a lecture and a ticket. I even managed to meet the local cop in Philly. My aunt told me a place called Downingtown is where I should look for a house if I am really keen to move to US ( quiet neighbourhood, good schools,  blah blah). So I thought I would check it out. As I got off the highway I missed the stop sign and didn’t see the cop car. Fortunately for me, there were two more stop signs further up the road that I saw and stopped. The cop was right behind me , checking to see if I would stop at those stop signs. After the third one, he flashed the lights, pulled me over, checked my Aussie license and told me “long way from home” and I did my best Aussie accent and told him “yeah mate, righto”  The traitors ( aka my children) were laughing so much that I thought the cop must have wondered which mental hospital we escaped from. Anyway, he was a nice chap and didn’t give me a ticket because I did stop at the two stop signs and genuinely didn’t see the first one. ( I didn’t see the first one, because there was an Italian restaurant on the left side and few super bikes were parked in front !)

As I was saying, I am a pretty good driver ( most of the time). But not anymore. Yaya is sitting for learner’s permit test next month ( bloody hell, how fast time flew) and is reading about all the laws.

Yesterday, when I took her to the library which is 8 km from my home, she told me

“mom, you didn’t stop at the stop sign completely”

” you are driving very close to the car in front, you must keep 3 seconds gap minimum”

“Mom, yellow light means slow down and stop, not drive faster”

” Mom, you didn’t put the indicator when you were at the roundabout”

And to think, that I will have to go through all of these 2 more times when the younger two starts driving.. Lovely.


As my children grew older, I have been extremely careful with their diet and lifestyle. I didn’t want them to have pimples, so I stopped making deep fried foods ( good bye samosa) added a lot more fresh fruit and vegetables in their diet.

I am not much in to beauty products, but I am a fan of facial wash and taught my children to wash their face as soon as they get back home from school.

Yaya doesn’t use any makeup. She doesn’t have to. She has flawless skin and is very pretty. ( of course all mothers say the same about their children ) and I thought I did well..

She comes with me for grocery shopping and the past few weeks, she has been a pain in the posterior. She insists on reading the nutrition facts on every thing we buy and salt and fat are our current enemies.

First she banned my favourite salt and vinegar chips.  Too much salt is not good for you, she said.

Then it was the crackers my son loves.. again salt and fat content. She made me buy water crackers, don’t ask what it is, it taste terrible and my son refused to eat it.

Last week, it was the Philadelphia cream cheese’s turn to leave my home. Original has been banished from my kitchen and we now have the extremely low fat version that doesn’t taste anything like  cream cheese.

This morning, she has declared that she is going to be a vegetarian. She believes in ethical treatment of animals.. It was a perfect day to start your life as a vegetarian.. especially because I made Hainanese chicken rice for lunch and she loves it. So she  opted to differ being a vegetarian for another day.

I have tried to explain to her that body needs fat, there is no way you can live by not eating fat. I also explained to her how boring her life would be if she is going to be a vegetarian. I know, because I am a vegetarian and often starve whenever I have to attend formal functions. When everyone gets a beautiful rump steak or grilled salmon from Tasmania, I get three shoots of aged asparagus that taste like the sole of an old leather boots as a main course…Alas, no luck. Every magazine she reads there are articles after articles that claim food as the biggest threat to human health. Children like Yaya believes what the media says.

I am not sure how long this denial state is going to last..I miss my salt and vinegar chips. ( I know I am the mom here and I should be able to buy the chips if I really wanted, but she is learning to be assertive and she really cares for me, so I am hoping that she will see the light at the end of the tunnel and understand that not everything is bad for you)

I got it all wrong.

When we were growing up, the one thing that would make my mother really mad was when we didn’t put the lunch box to wash in the sink as soon as we got back home from school. Amma was very particular about the lunch box. Mine was a silver colour aluminium rectangle container with clips on either side. Amma used to wrap the container in a tea towel. Apparently, I was supposed to use the towel on my lap in place of a napkin. She never told me what I was to do with the tea towel and I used it as a table mat. ( Like they say, common sense is not very common 🙂 )

Much as I try to be not anything like my mother, I still have these quirks that I have inherited from my mother. I too want my children to put their lunch containers in the sink as soon as they come back from school. Most of the time, I send lunch in Thermos and if I don’t soak it, the dish washer will not clean it well. So as soon as I get home, I fill up the thermos with warm water and let it soak. Both Yaya and baby have no trouble following my orders. My son on the other hand will not do it. As soon as he gets home, he fixes himself a sandwich, drink half a bottle of juice straight from the carton, leave the juice bottle and the sandwich plate where ever he was sitting and then go out and play with his friends.

So I implemented a 50 cents fine. When I get home, If his Thermos isn’t in the sink, I fine him 50 cents. Since he works and earns his own money, he hates to pay the fine and we will end up arguing. He feels I am really unreasonable and I must admit I do agree with him. However, I don’t see why he finds it so difficult to do such a simple chore, so I think he should pay the fine.

My son and I were arguing about the 50 cents he has to pay me and a friend was home and he watched the drama unfolding. Later that day he told me I got it all wrong.

Apparently, I shouldn’t be fining my son, . Instead I must give him 50 cents  every day he keeps his lunch container in the sink. I do give my son 5$ every Friday for him to buy bubble tea. ( he loves Yam flavour bubble tea). So I told him, each day he gets 50 cents if he puts his lunch container for wash before I get home and if he got 2 dollars by Friday, I will top up the rest and make it 5$. If he didn’t put the containers for wash, he doesn’t get any money on Friday.

There have been no arguments and the past one week, the lunch container has been in the sink every single day. If only someone had told me this earlier.

3 years +

Today is a day to celebrate.

After three years and 4 months, my youngest child slept in her own room.

It all started with a goosebumps story book. Apparently there was a dummy ( not sure what it is) and baby got scared. She refused to sleep in her room and even started to sleep walk. I spoke to my Psychiatrist colleague and he told me, this is just temporary and she will outgrow the fear pretty soon. But she didn’t. It got worst and worst to the extent that she was even afraid to close the bathroom door while taking her shower.

I bought worry doll for her that she could keep under her pillow. I bought night light with sensors that came on every time she got out of the bed, hoping that the light would make her less afraid. I even tried to sleep with her in her room, till she slept. Whatever I did, in the middle of the night she came to my bed to sleep.

It was a nightmare every time she went for school trips, because she had to be given lower bunk bed and someone had to watch over her because of her sleep walking.

This morning when I woke up and didn’t find her in my bed, the first thing I did was to run to the main door and see if it was open. Then I checked the garage and the pergola, only then I checked her room. It was such a relief to see her sleeping in her own room.

Another battle won..


My friend gave birth to a beautiful baby boy two Sundays ago and last weekend she came to play a hockey game with the baby in tow. She didn’t have anyone else to leave the baby with and didn’t see why that should stop her from playing a hockey game. She kept the baby capsule on the floor near  the players bench and checked on her baby every once in a while.The fact that she gave birth only two weeks ago didn’t bother her at all.

When my youngest was in play school, one of the mothers came to pick up her oldest child a day after giving birth to her second child.

Whereas Indian women are told to rest the first 40 days. No doubt, I would have loved to do nothing for 40 days and having someone to take care of my baby while I did nothing would have been awesome. But I didn’t have that luxury and that is ok. Being on my own helped to lose the 25 kg weight I put on very quickly. I also enjoyed spending time with my babies and taking care of them.

Would there be any long term effects because neither my friend, not I followed the traditional confinement rituals? Who knows.


Silent treatment

The Friday before mother’s day, Yaya had a drama performance that finished at 8.30 pm. She called me at 6 pm that evening to tell me that her friend has organized a post drama party and everyone is going and she is going as well.

I have 3 rules when it comes to my children attending parties/sleeping over.

1. No last minute planning.

2. No sleeping over at the houses of people whom I have never met.

3. No taking  public transport after 7 pm

Obviously calling up at 6 pm to tell me about a party that evening was against rule number 1 and breaking the rules progressed as I found out that the party is at a house of a girl I have never met and her house is an hour away from school and all the kids are taking a bus after the drama performance, that too on a Friday.

Yaya and her friends also did another thing that really pissed me off. I am friendly with two other mothers and they chose to ask the busiest mom, who was in the middle of a video conference to ask if her daughter could attend the party and have a sleepover. Once they got the permission, then Yaya called me to say “E’s mom already gave permission, so what is your problem?” I hate being pitted against other moms and if I relented now, my child is going to do this every time.

Obviously I said “No, you are not going to a party because you didn’t let me know in advance, you didn’t introduce me to your friend and I am not happy you taking public transport late in the evening” But being the nice mom that I am, I thought I will give her a bit of leeway and told her I will let her go for the party but I will pick her up by 10.30 pm. But she wanted to stay until 1 AM and there was no way I was willing to drive 2 hours ( back and forth) with my younger children in the car at that hour.

Yaya send me a txt saying how much she hates me, what a horrible paranoid mother I am and how she counts the minutes to finally leave my home.

I replied that I am sorry that she feels this way, but my job is to protect her and make sure she is safe.

She argued that in 2 years she will be able to attend any late night parties, so why not now and I replied in two years, if anything goes wrong, she will have to live with the consequences, but my conscience will be clear.

I wish I had another mother, she responded.

I replied, I know how annoyed you are with me and I am sorry you feel this way, but my rules were not something that happened this evening, this has been the rules from the beginning and it isn’t my fault that you didn’t follow them.

She replied , as if you would have let me go, if I told you in advance.

Belum cuba, belum tahu ( not try, not know) No? I replied

I did feel bad that only Yaya wasn’t allowed to go for the party and I knew how upset my child was. But what else was I supposed to do?

I picked her up after the drama. She gave me the silent treatment, didn’t give me a good night kiss and all of Saturday she didn’t talk to me. Sunday was mother’s day and I woke up wondering how my day was going to pan out. I could smell muffins being baked and assumed it would either be my son or baby. After waiting for eternity, my youngest came to my bedroom, wished me Happy mother’s day and told me ” breakfast is ready”

I was really surprised to see Yaya in the kitchen baking. She baked rapberry, white chocolate muffins because she knows how much I love white chocolate. There are no words to describe the relief I felt. She gave me a hug and wished me and gave me the letter I posted few days ago.

I am extremely weary of saying “no” to my children. ( mostly because every “no” my mother said, I disobeyed her. In my defence, my mother was totally irrational, and partly because I don’t want to make my children rebellious)

I learned that sometimes, you have to say “no” and even though your child will not be happy with you, they will understand eventually why you said “No”.

Good News

My scan results shows the growth is benign and though the path reports will only be in next week, I am not worried.

All is well.

However, this has really been a wake up call. Being a Dr, I probably know better than anyone how important it is to see a Doctor when things go wrong and to have regular check up.

However, that isn’t true at all.

I last had a pap smear 4 years ago and though the clinic has been sending me reminders, I didn’t have time to go and get it done. Besides, I am not sure what to call this notion of ‘I am fine, nothing will happen to me’ that I suffer from.

I never had a mammogram and kept thinking about getting one done as I do have a family history of CA Breast. But again, I didn’t have time.

I have had pain on the left side of my tummy for few weeks, I had to get up in the middle of the night most nights to pee and instead of going to the clinic, I assumed I had UTI and drank cranberry juice. Even when the pain increased, I still didn’t go to the clinic, I went to my friend’s house to get a script for antibiotic  and instead of a script, she gave me an earful.

Then everything happened really fast.

One of the advantages of being a doctor ( even when not practicing ) is that I didn’t have to wait long to get the scan done. Even then, the 5 minutes I waited while they were doing the paper work, felt like an eternity. I felt lonely and scared and more than anything, I was angry with myself because in my quest to be the best mom on earth, I didn’t have time for me and it was nothing but stupidity. My children really wouldn’t have minded if I didn’t take them for their game for a day and chose to go to the clinic and get a pap smear done..How selfish of me not to have taken care of myself?

So, if this has been a wake up call for me, I am hoping it would be for all of you as well.

Have you had a mammogram and pap smear?

Thank you all for the well wishes. It felt good to be loved so much.

This came as a shock and I contemplated if I should post it or not. As usual, writing helps me cope.

Tomorrow, I will be scanned and prodded to rule out ovarian cancer.

I have always led a healthy life. I ate nutritious food, maintained my weight, drank in moderation and exercised. The word cancer wasn’t even in my mind when I went to see my GP.

I am not afraid of death. for everyone dies one day. But right now, it is really inconvenient. I have so many places to go and so many things to do.

Few days ago, I was singing ” I am too sexy for my shirt” by Right said Fred and my son said jokingly “mom, I think we should so play this song for your funeral when the pall bearers carry the casket, I can bet with you that everyone will agree that song is so you”

It was not unusual to talk about the songs for funeral, I have always told my children that I want them to play IZ’s “somewhere over the rainbow” when I am buried.

Now I wonder was that a moment of nimitham?

I know tomorrow it can go two ways. I can either be totally healthy or dying and I am scared.