Archive for the ‘Haziq’s favorite things’ Category

With my family by my side


Lots of things have happened since my last post but Mum has not been in the right frame of mind to write since my Nenek (Grandma) became very ill. Nenek has recovered, Thank God but is still a bit weak. We will be celebrating her 83rd birthday this weekend. Yay, you know how I love birthdays. In fact we celebrated my sister’s 14th birthday two weeks ago. Mum and sis spent the day together doing “girlie stuff” which I think meant shopping and that meant I couldn’t follow. I thought I could at least suggest my favorite restaurants for the birthday dinner venue….. TGIF, Chili’s, Swiss Marche. Apparently sis did not appreciate the “help”. Well, she sure took like forever to decide (which annoyed me) and I was relieved when she finally choose Italian. I was afraid she might pick Japanese food which I have not acquired a taste for.

I was again trying be of help when I suggested birthday gifts for her. She was horrified at my suggestion of a frock. Frock? WHO uses that word?? she demands. Ok, ok dress then!! I said. That did not help much cos it was definitely not what she wanted. Mum explained that little sis has grown up and the stuff that she now prefers have also changed. There we go again, that word “change”. Of course I have noticed the changes. I noticed the toys she has given away, the cartoons we don’t watch together anymore and how upset she gets when I forget to knock before I enter her room. I still cannot understand this thing called ‘change’ but it’s always followed by Mum telling me that its okay, everything will be alright.

Last week we gathered for a family barbeque in Nenek’s newly renovated gazebo. It’s been a long time since we had one and boy did we make up for it. Mum made lamb sausages smothered with a Greek yoghurt sauce which I cannot pronounce the name of, yummy scalloped potatoes and a rich chocolate trifle to add to the spread of satay, chicken, shrimp, squid, pasta, garlic bread and even grilled pumpkins. Everything was perfect except we missed brother who was away at campus. Lunch lasted for almost 4 hours!. Surprisingly, come dinner time we still found space for my aunt’s coriander rice, prawn sambal and a nice Malaysian salad. What a fun, gastronomical day but the most wonderful thing everyone agreed, was the lovely sight of Nenek sitting, laughing and eating with us….like her old self.

P.S We were so busy eating, we forgot to take photos of the fantastic BBQ! I do however, have a pic of sis at her birthday dinner. Sis was beaming with pleasure when Mum congratulated her choice of a superb, adult restaurant.

Sis really enjoyed that dessert

What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family. – Mother Teresa

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A lesson from the Wild


Today’s post is by me, Haziq’s mum. I came across this beautiful picture of a silverback gorilla contentedly sitting in a still pond covered with vegetation. There it sits seemingly oblivious to the photographer and all else. A quick glance suggests that the gorilla is merely looking at a leaf just before munching it. Perhaps. Or perhaps there’s a gentle breeze and the gorilla is enjoying a quiet moment watching the delicate leaf swaying in the breeze. This picture struck so deep within me because I have seen my son in this same quiet pose much of his toddler life. Replace the gorilla with a child and there’s Haziq, sitting calmly in the water (always calm when in water) and playing with any leaf within his reach. Oddly enough I do not recall the same fascination with flowers. Perhaps flowers are too diverse or offer too much sensory stimulation for his brain to take in.

When in the sea, leaves are replaced by seaweeds. He would run his fingers through them, loving the tactile responses and laughing to himself. I remember being upset and snatching them away and forcing him to play ball or catch or whatever the cousins were doing in the water. I did not want people looking at my son as if he was a freak. If I knew then what I know now I would have understood that collecting seaweeds and gleefully hiding fingers into the squishy mass was a form of play for him. It probably gave him a comforting sense of connection….. that his hands were somehow part of his body. I learned this from a book written by a mildly autistic woman named Donna Williams who succeeded in fighting her way out of ‘her autistic world’ into ‘their world’ – the world where reality resides. She explained that all parts of her body felt disconnected when she was autistic and knew something was different that miraculous morning because for the first time she could actually feel her legs attached to her body. She felt connected, whole. I read the book so many years ago but I remember that revelation of hers was like a stab in the heart. I walked around that day paralyzed with grief because for the very first time I understood what it was like to be him.

Enjoy the photo taken by a very inspiring National Geographic photographer, Ian Nichols. How I wish I had taken a similar photo of Haziq sitting in the water playing with his leaf. It would have offered a very interesting angle of Man vs Animal. Lastly, a quotation about animals that Haziq would surely agree on whole heartedly;

Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms – George Elliot

Still feasting


It feels like a non-stop buffet, these Hari Raya open house invitations. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one to complain. I love to eat but I hear Mum and Dad exclaiming how they have put on more weight these last two weeks than any lost (if any) during a whole month of fasting. Mum says I’m lucky that I can stay slim when I have such a big appetite


"Frogs have it easy. They can eat what bugs them."

Frankly, I would take 3 helpings of Mum’s pasta if I was allowed to. She limits it to 2 maximum because she says anything more is simply greed. Thank God Mum makes an exception during festivities. During this time we eat till we’re stuffed. Since I relate well to animals, Mum <—- showed me this photo and said this is what we look like when we overeat.

The Open House invitations still keeps coming. There’s two tomorrow. I guess that’s to be expected coming from a large family on both sides of parents. I have 3 sets of cousins though whose fathers are non-Malays. They would often say how lucky we are to get duit Raya (money given as gifts given during the festival) from all our older cousins, uncles, aunties and granduncles on Dad’s side. Comes Christmas and we 3 siblings go green with envy looking at the gifts our cousins get from their uncles and aunties on their father’s side. But that’s what makes our Family so interesting and different from others. We present a diversity of nationalities, languages and skin colors! At first my 3 uncles could not understand how we Malays could eat non-stop throughout the day during the festivals. It took them a few years before they themselves got into the swing of things and can now keep up with us. My uncles said understanding our complex extended family tree was much harder to do. LOL.

Iwan, Johann, Andreas & Kak Lin...and there's alot more

Here’s a photo of some of my cousins doing their favorite thing… EATING

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are  doing and devote our attention to eating.  ~Luciano Pavarotti


Wish I was in Singapore with sis


My younger sister went to Singapore for a school trip. I went to many school trips before but never as far as Singapore. I asked Mum if I could follow. She said “You wouldn’t want to be with a busload of giggly girls”. Most times I don’t know what I want so I take the cue from Mum. That’s the way I learn. But this time I don’t get it. What’s wrong about being on the bus with a bunch of girls? They are heading for Singapore right? That’s where you find the Zoo, Night Safari and Universal Studios. That’s all I care about.

Sis (leftmost) at the Merlion with friends

Sis said they were not going to those places. Instead they were going to places like Arab Street, Clarke’s Quay, Little India etc . .  and the National Library. Huh? The library? Why would anyone want to visit the library instead of a theme park? Mum reminds me that it’s a school trip not a holiday tour so the girls will visit 2 local schools to reciprocate the visits these schools made to sister’s school. The girls are even performing a local dance, the zapin, in conjunction with the trip. OK so now I don’t feel so bad about being left behind. Still, it would be nice to go. I haven’t been there since I was 10 years old. Mum doesn’t have good memories of that trip. She said I behaved badly. I got into tantrums each time we got ready to leave any of the attractions especially the Zoo. Sigh… Mum sure has a long memory. I said to her “Sorry”. Is 13 years too late to apologize?

Anyway, sister’s back later today. Can’t wait to see what souvenir she’ll bring back for me.

P.S She’s back. Sis got me a FINE tee-shirt. Fine for littering, fine for spitting, fine for chewing gum!. Get it?. I like it. I wore it immediately.


My FINE tee-shirt souvenir

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

Dad keeps his promise.


Dad took me to the zoo. He kept his promise. I told him “I feel better”. He laughed  and apologized at the same time. The night before I looked for my zebra print tee-shirt and carefully hung it beside my bed. In the morning I watched the clock. At 9 a.m sharp I tell Dad to stop work or we’ll be late. Mum and cousin Kak Lin also came along. From the moment we parked we could hear the siamang (gibbon) making their unique, loud territorial sounds. I joined in. Mum went to buy tickets and realized that she if she had brought along my OKU (orang kurang upaya) card I could have entered for free. She doesn’t ever carry that card with her because she doesn’t like a reminder of what my ‘label’ is. Kak Lin took charge of the camera and diligently photographed any animal that I got excited about… which was pretty much all of them. I was like a kid in a candy store.

It’s odd that normal folks don’t know the most basic thing about animals. I mean our conversation would be something like this;

Kak Lin: ” look a llama”. Me: “NO, its a guanaco”. Kak Lin:”huh? what’s a guanaco?”  Me: Sigh . . .

Mum: “there’s a wallaby”. Me: “NO, its a pademelon”. Mum: “a whaat?” Me: “Pade…melon, a kind of wallaby”

Then they (except Dad) would go to the info board to check if I was right. Dad says why bother, I’m always right about animals. After awhile they stopped naming the animals and just asked me to identify them (while they took quick sneaks at the info board). Oh by the way, I can also mimic the animal sounds. How good am I? Good enough to make Kak Lin’s mouth gape open in amazement. Mum makes me watch the camels. She stresses ‘See how the camel chews its food?’ I replied ‘Yes but the real name is dromedary. It has only one hump”. Mum glares. I’m missing the point. Viewing the tiger, puma, lion and leopard was exciting alright but I spent the most amount of time watching the deers. Mum doesn’t understand what it is about them that appeals to me so much.

Check out the photo below of me ‘petting’ a giraffe. We had burgers for lunch at The Wild Restaurant and made a stop at the souvenir shop before we left. Kak Lin asked me to chose something. I chose a Zoo Negara mug with pictures of apes. Thanks! As we got into the car I realized that we had missed the Aquarium and told Dad “Please come again”. He said “We’ll see”. I don’t know what that means so I ask a bit too anxiously . . . .When? . . . . .When? (again). Mum makes a disgruntled sound. I stop. I know what THAT sound means. It means to stop pestering before I ruin a perfectly good day. I do this a lot apparently without realizing it.

However, as I get older I learn to check myself before I cross that threshold of no return – the point where I exhaust my mother’s patience and she issues me a final warning to STOP or I will not (do/go/have) whatever-it-is again for a long time. One thing I can tell you about Mum. She does what she says and she says what she does. It’s this no-nonsense firmness that has taught me discipline. In the early days I threw tantrums and rolled on the floor if I did not get my way. She would physically drag me away while people watched, shaking their heads amidst whispers of what a bad mother she is. Some say she’s too harsh. Mum calls it hard love. It’s the strongest kind of love there is.

*P.S Mum says she doesn’t want to be the mother that’s always searching for the child who’s constantly wandering off or having to coax a child to go to sleep every single night. I stick by Mum’s side (except that time I got lost at Animal Kingdom, Orlando) and I have slept on my own since I was three years old, at a regular time. How did she manage this? Ok this surely requires a new post.

Imagine petting a giraffe. A reticulated giraffe to be exact.

Having a good time at the Savannah

Quiet today, better tomorrow


It’s a quiet day. I don’t feel like saying much. My eye contact is at a bare minimum, just enough to scrape by Mum’s radar. She can sense it when I’m not altogether there just by checking eye contact. We autistic folks know a neat trick ….how to look at a person and yet look right through the person so that we can continue chasing our own thoughts racing at a crazy speed in our mysterious minds. Yes you guessed it. I used to do it all the time when I was little but Mum wised up. Now she can sense it just by observing slight body movements even at the corner of her eye. It gives me the creeps cause next thing I know I’m almost jumping out of my skin in reaction to my name being called out LOUD.

Tomorrow will be a better day. Mum said I can listen to the music she just completed downloading for me – The Music of Disneyland, Walt Disney World and Epcot Center. It brings me wonderful memories of my time there. I can name every ride, every attraction and every place on the map. Its true. I forget relatives’ names but I know everything Disney at my fingertips. Mum calls it selective memory. I constantly dream of visiting Disney World again. They don’t call it the Happiest Place on Earth for nothing you know.