Archive for August, 2010

Today makes 10

It’s been 10 days of fasting now. I have not missed any even though Mum overslept once and we missed sahur (meal before sunrise). That day was a tough one. The oh-so-hot weather didn’t help either. Mum felt so bad about it but I told her that I understand. She said if I can’t handle it it’s okay to break my fast. But it’s not okay with me to give up…. and I didn’t. So she cooked a grand meal as a reward and more than made it up to me. I ate till I could barely move. Now that’s not such a good idea cos prayers required much bending and kneeling. Needless to say I was groaning with each effort but nobody minded.

Last weekend I had a fun sahur with my family and a load of cousins. They took me to a 24-hour McDonald’s. So there I was eating a GBC at 3 o’clock in the morning in a restaurant FULL OF PEOPLE! You’d never guess it was in the middle of the night. Completely different from my healthy sahur meal of cereal, bread and a 2-0z shot of Vemma vitamin. Later that evening I wanted to break fast at Burger King but Mum said No Way Jose will she eat at two fast food restaurants on the same day. I don’t get it. What’s not to like about that?

Last evening I reminded Mum August 31st was coming soon.  She asked “What about it? Do you want to watch the National Day Parade?”

My parent's 25th Anniversary

Uh, nooo. I meant it’s a special day (Mum and Dad’s wedding anniversary) so we should eat out at a nice restaurant. See, that’s the way I always start a conversation when I am planning something in my head. I point out a date, an event or very often I ask a question which I already know the answer to. For some reason some people find this quite annoying. They ask in exasperation “why do you ask a question when you already know the answer to it!!?”. I don’t know. I just do. That’s MY way. The way I see it, the sooner everyone accepts it, the better. So there.

“He who asks qu estions cannot avoid the answers” – Cameroon proverb


Wish you could ride a bicycle ? If you’re like Haziq, with a balancing problem that makes riding a gargantuan task then read on. Here’s a temporary solution for balance-challenged folks like yourselves. Use your imagination says Spongebob and this creative chap below.

Spongebob: With…imagination (makes a rainbow with his hands) ..I can be anything I want! A pirate! Arr! A football player! Hutt
Patrick: A starfish!
Squidward: Patrick, you’re already a starfish.
Patrick: See, Squidward? It works! You try!

I'm using my imagination. Pedal faster, faster

With a little help from my friends

I get by with a little help from my friends

Mum showed this picture to me, thinking I might get a little kick out of it. At first I just stared at it and then I realized Mum was playing tricks with me and I laughed. She decided to include this photo in today’s blog since it tickled my funny bone. Mum often asks me to look at stuff just to test my reaction. You see, I often display inappropriate reaction/behavior and she’s trying to fine tune me to the world so that I get to be more socially accepted. For example, I would laugh when someone vomits. Yeah I know…I’ve been told it’s NOT funny. My family used to cringe during movies cos I laughed at all the wrong (as in not funny) parts like the old man getting being beaten by a bully. Last week I laughed at someone who fell down hard while ice-skating. My sister was so upset with my insensitivity even though I apologized repeatedly.  The visual messages get scrambled in my brain, autism kicks in gear and produces the “wrong” response. That’s the simplest way I can explain it.

For the longest time I did not did not possess any sense of humor (which is totally different from the act of laughing).  Now I “get it” once in a while but most things just fly right over my head. Thank God for cartoons. It’s funny when Wile.E Coyote gets crushed by a boulder while chasing Roadrunner even though it must hurt crazy bad. I can laugh whenever I want cos almost every part is funny. No guessing game for me there. In the meanwhile I have to brace myself for more of Mum’s sensitivity training and remember not to laugh at a photo of a shark attack no matter how funny that seemed in Finding Nemo and Shark Tale. Bear with me. I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.

What do I do when my life goes astray
(Does it worry you to be alone)
How do I feel by the end of the day
(Are you sad because you’re on your own)
No, I get by with a little help from my friends,
Mmm, gonna to try with a little help from my friends
– The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967

My fast track to Fasting

I breezed through my first day of Ramadhan, the fasting month. Yesterday I led the family in reading the doa buka puasa. What a far cry from the days of training. Then I could not understand the no food, no drink policy from sunrise till sunset no matter how thoroughly Mum explained the concept. I gave her a hard time. Mum never gave up. When I got older I kinda understood what was expected but it was a more of a follow-by-example exercise. She cooked special foods for “those who fast” and those who did not had dinner a whole hour after they were done. That sucks. She  showered praises and affectionate hugs for “those who fast”.  It got to a point where I could not bear to be in the “did not fast” camp. Even then I kept forgetting and would absent-mindedly open the fridge and reach out for something. Mum had to practically follow me like a shadow to make sure I keep to my fast. She would swoop from behind and grab the food or drink inches from my mouth. Picture this … eagle snatching a chicken just outside the coop. That’s how it felt like.

When she left the house she put everyone on sentry duty to keep an eye on me. I don’t recall when I began to understand my religious obligation but I remember completing a whole month of fasting at the age of 11 years. It’s not a big deal cos most kids accomplish that at a much younger age but for me it was a milestone in broadcast to the whole family. When I was fasting while living in Florida it really amazed my teachers and classmates. They thought me “awesome”. Actually it was even easier over there with its cool weather and early sunset at 5pm meant shorter fasting hours.

Yesterday brother was not with us for the first time. I know I’m not the only one who misses him even though I’m the only one who said it out loud. Looking forward to breaking fast with Irsyad tomorrow even if its only for 2 days. Got to go set the table soon and Mum needs help with the dishes so bye for now and wishing everyone a Selamat Buka Puasa.

“Prayer carries us half way to God, fasting brings us to the door of His palace, and alms-giving procures us admission.” – The Quran

What’s in a name?

Thanks Aunty Anisah for that Islamic Names link that lets me see the meaning of my name. I was told my name meant pandai, clever. Yesterday Mum let me key in my name and it read –  Intelligent, Skillful. I decided I liked this meaning much, much better after Mum explained the word skillful. It was spelled Haaziq though – very much like how Mum calls me when she’s demanding my attention to something (don’t blame her… I drift easily). Well, it’s still my name and I like it.

People may not think of me as intelligent or skillful. Yeah maybe I don’t know a few big words and yeah I struggle 10 minutes just to put on my ice-skates every Tuesday but did you read my post (Dad keeps his promise, Aug 3rd ) on the trip to the zoo?. My sister also liked the meaning of her name – Rare, Unique. I don’t know what’s so rare about her. All I know is that she rarely folds her clothes until I’m in her face. Mum tried her name too but found it didn’t mean much – Nature, Habit. ???. I think secretly she was hoping to see something like Wonderful, Captivating. Not satisfied, she typed in her other name. Oddly, she does have two names, one officially documented and one which every relative and family member calls her. Anyway, what did that other name reveal? – Noble origin, Pure. Ooooh this one she likes! She used to joke with Dad that she probably came from a long bloodline of Minangkabau princesses and that explains why she doesn’t like to toil in the kitchen. Princess or not, I know in my Mother’s eyes I am as noble as a prince.

“Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.– Confucius

You think I’ve got problems? Meet Winnie,Tigger & gang

So you think I’ve got PROBLEMS?

Wait till you meet the rest of my friends from The Hundred Acre Wood.

I'm in good company

If it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it

Haziq is taking a break so today I am writing in the capacity of Haziq’s mother. I was asked to share my experience on bedtime discipline.

The most common sense thing is no sugar intake hours before bedtime. Haziq was put on a sugar-free, no preservatives, no artificial coloring/flavoring, diet since he was diagnosed at 2.5 years old so this was no problem. No problem meant he couldn’t get access to sugary stuff at home but we still had big problems keeping him away from sugar when out in public. Allow only short afternoon naps. Make preparation for bedtime a regular series of events e.g a bath, change into pyjamas, make a big show of looking at the clock and announcing the time (never mind if he didn’t know how to tell time). Before that, ensure room is cool and blinds drawn. For us, saying goodnight at the bottom of the stairs was a happy, kissing, waving event….. but no last-minute tickling games. The operative word here is CALMNESS.

He gets into the crib and is rewarded with his favorite night toy. A toy which is made available only during bedtime. Then comes the most important part. Put on classical, baroque music. The same CD every single night until he recognizes his ‘sleep music’. I may have lost some readers here. What’s baroque did you say? Baroque music expresses order yet it is always tuneful. In my CD the first song was Vivaldi’s  The Four Seasons which is actually four concertos, combined into a concert. This same CD served its purpose for all my 3 children so much so that till today I am unable to listen to this music without falling asleep.

I got the above tip from Haziq’s progressive doctor, Dr. Kadir. Please remember that this was the pre-Internet era. We were starving for information about this thing called autism. When Haziq was first diagnosed I was directed to The Lutheran Church’s library for reading material. They were generous enough to allow a Muslim woman become a member. It was from their 3 library books that I devoured all knowledge of autism. If I ever run for politics I have to ensure my membership to the church is never revealed. LOL.

Lastly, say goodnight, put the baby monitor on and leave the room. Yes I said leave the room (we played games with the baby monitor so he knows he can be heard). If he gets up at night just give water which quickly bores him and gets him back to sleep. Certainly there were nights when all this didn’t work but they were infrequent. Even normal kids give parents a hard time so this part of the training was very significant in terms of time, effort and creativity. However, once regulated he went to sleep like clockwork and I got my much-needed rest. Well worth it.

Sorry about such a long post but I hope to be of help. Lastly, an old orchestra joke, “If it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it.”