Firdaus Tarmizi

Posts Tagged ‘Parenthood’

What Will They First Remember?

In Family, Parenthood on February 4, 2014 at 8:17 pm

1.  I always wonder at what point will my son start to remember things.  What actual event will he be able to recall in adulthood?

Will he remember dancing like nobody’s watching?


2.  I worry about this because my son is nearly 4, and I do a lot of weird shit in front of him.  Walking around just in boxers… doing number 2 with the door open…. taking my shower in the nude with him… or taking the shower in the nude with him, then stopping to do number 2, and then continuing to shower with him….

Will he remember being used for cheap labor?


3. The earliest memory that I have are these:

  • Lying on my back on the floor of the… kitchen?  The lights were off, and I was looking up to my mom, who called down to me from the second floor…
  • Running, in the dark, to the outhouse at grandma’s house. Just the memory of running as fast as I can and closing the door…
  • Crying at the front door, with a bag and a towel in my hand.  My mom was there, just watching me.  I think I was crying because I threatened to run away from home, and instead of panicking like I hope my mom would, she actually helped to pack my bags…
  • I remember running along the beach of Kampung Nelayan, when my foot stepped into a shallow hole…  a hole that was used by someone as their toilet the night before…
  • Sharing the use of the toilet with my sister.  We used a squatting toilet, so we had to squat back to back while doing our business…
  • Waiting in my dad’s Proton with my sister before going to kindy.  While we waited, we played with some snails.  I think we actually built some obstacle course for the snails to climb over…

4.    I’m sure there’s more, but those are the ones I remember vividly.  Is there a trigger, or reasons why those particular memories chose to remain?

5.  With these in mind, I wonder what my son will first remember.  Will he remember his mama putting him to sleep?  Will he remember his dad being too busy or lazy to play with him?  Will he remember riding on the bike with his Atok?

6.  I hope, whether the memory is good or bad, he will at least remember that I am around, all the time.


For sure I hope he remembers this!


The World is His Playground

In Family, Parenthood on September 10, 2011 at 11:24 pm

1.  One of the first things I realized about Hamzah and his toys is this:  he has short patience with them. He’ll play with them for maybe a day or two but will get bored, and explore other, more mundane things around him.

2.  He’ll be more entranced with empty boxes, the fridge, an empty water bottle or with keys and sheets of papers lying around (yes, our house is a mess).  We’ll shake his rattles at him, and squeeze his squeaky toys to get his attention, only to have him grin quizzically, and then turn to his new-found love:  this time maybe my neatly rolled boxers (FYI, I do not fold: I roll my laundries),  the sliding door, or the contents of his mom’s handbag.

Doing his "discovering" the way he knows best


3.  He’ll once in a while “rediscover” his abandoned toys, flirts with them for a few minutes, and re-abandon them.  This makes it tricky for me to distract him, since I am never sure which toys will successfully draw his attention.

4.  More annoyingly, he’ll be adamant to play with anything that I, likewise, adamantly refuse to let him play.  Thus, the never-ending struggle to drag him back from chewing on his mom’s Crocs shoes, and also the constant tug-of-war using the TV cables.

5.  In a way,  this might also prove to be fortunate, because I need not worry too much about what toys I should buy.  Perhaps, I don’t even have to buy him toys, and just let him explore whatever he fancies, as long as they are safe.

Hamzah discovering the joy of climbing UP the slide


6.  One thing for sure:  I am thinking of not getting any of my children these modern gadgets I keep seeing children these days are running around with.  I am going to experiment whether it is possible to raise kids without too much intervention of gadgets, in these age of PSP, smart phones and iPods.  Instead, I am going to let them run around the neighborhood, play in the fields, climb trees, explore the drains and chase after dogs.  I will show them the joy of reading real books, bring them to public libraries, and drag them along with me to jungle-trekking, fishing and camping trips.  They can get their own iPhones and notebooks when they are ready, but as long as I have the time and energy, I will try to get them explore the world around them.

Can I go out now? I'll be careful, I promise!


7.  I hope #6 is not just a wishful thinking, and I know it’s going to be hard on Hamzah when he sees all the kids around him burying their faces in their cool and shiny gadgets.  But hopefully, he can appreciate how the world is bigger and more magnificent than what can be shown and contained within a screen, and the world can, literally, be his playground.

22 November 2010 – In Retrospect

In Parenthood on August 2, 2011 at 11:35 pm

1.  22 November 2010, at 1:12pm, was the moment Hamzah was born.  I don’t know about other guys, but I didn’t feel any fear or worries at all at that point of time.  I did feel some concern for the condition of the mother, that’s true, but I felt none of the panicky, not-so-hilarious exaggeration of chaos you sometimes could see in the TVs or movies.

laborpanic - from

Hilarious Panicking -not in real life


2.  Don’t get me wrong.  This is not a symptom of uncaring or selfishness.  I think it’s more of a function of me not getting more than 2 hours of sleep in 48 hours ( and my wife getting none, bless her soul) since her contractions started.  Also, during the actual labor, I was too caught up with a lot of things: holding her hands, fighting away drowsiness, giving encouraging words to the groaning woman, and not to mention witnessing various horrors perpetrated to her nether regions.  With that many things going on, fear didn’t get to join in the party.

3.  On D-Day minus 1, we wanted to expedite the process and decided to take a long walk inside Subang Parade.  We went round and round and round the mall, stopping once in  a while to let her Braxton Hicks contractions subside.  That night was the night I first witnessed the true meaning of someone enduring pain, when her contractions got hellishly stronger.  She started groaning and tossing around in pain.  In a state of restlessness, she was unable to lie down or sit for too long and had to resort to standing halfway up while hanging on to my shoulders.  We went through this cycle of lying down, sitting and crouching until midnight, when we decided that it was time to rush to the hospital.  To keep things short, it turned out that the pain she endured the night before seemed nothing compared to the few hours before true labor.  She then decided to have an epidural.

How I saw my wife on that day: My personal Santa bringing me an early Christmas gift!


4.  Now, let me take a step back here to talk about decision-making during these crucial times.  I’ve discussed this with quite a lot of guys, and I heard lots of macho talks like “There’s no way I’ll let my wife give birth by C-section.  I want my child to be stronger through normal delivery”, or, “I don’t want my wife to take the epidural.  I don’t believe in drugs and I think she should be able to stand the pain”.

To which I say (now that I know better): “Well, excuuuuuuse me!”.  All these talks of husbandly wants and rights are making me first-trimester-like nauseous.  This is because unless these men started to develop the ability to pass a small apple through their penis, they have only one right:  to remain silent.

5.  You just need to keep it in perspective.  The only person who would know whether she can stand the pain would be the person going through the pain herself, and usually they won’t know what to decide until the point of the most extreme pain anyway.  And the C-sections?  That’s the province of professional doctors, not husbands who are allergic to technology and modern medical practices.

6.  Although I was also a bit weak at this, but I feel that the main function of the husband is to fully educate himself with all possible topics related to the before, during and after the childbirth.  It’s his job to keep his schedule open for any contingencies, and to do the best he can to show up at that moment.  He’s got to make sure the hospital bag is ready and complete with everything both of them might need for the up to one week of stay in the hospital.  Perhaps, also things for the little one when he/she comes along.


"What an ugly little thing" was my first thought.


It’s his job to let his hands be squeezed by his delirious wife, and his eardrums shattered by her shrill screams.  To counsel and advice her about all the possibilities and options at a point when she can’t make even the simplest decision.  Most importantly, to support her on any decision she wants to make, and, unless expressly asked to, I think the decision should ultimately be hers to make.

Small Hamzah

Me, the happy customer, with the 1-week old now OK-looking Hamzah. Believe it or not, this is my first picture with him.


7.  As for me, I’m sure I’ll be readier and will try to be more useful the next time around.  I recalled how as soon as Hamzah’s head popped out, covered with blood from my wife’s (at that point) vast-gina, I vowed that come the next children, I’ll make sure that the only thing she needs to worry about is to vaginally deliver the child out into this world.

Or, if she decides to or have to, deliver through the Caesarean section incision on her tummy.

Me and Hamzah

Me and Hamzah (8 months), saying thanks to Hamzah's brave mama, and to all other awesome mommies out there.

My Little Bundle of Terror

In Family, Parenthood on July 18, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Once upon a time, the biggest worries for me are such mundane things like not passing exams or not making it to a good college.  I remember fretting about not finishing assignments and failing a paper and, more recently, about not meeting the cycle time for the department or being anxious each time a performance review came around.

Little did I know that these concerns are nothing compared to agonizing over your child’s safety.  And a child not even 1 year old, at that!

My nightmare started as soon as Hamzah learned how to turn over.  No more being left on the bed alone for him!  I remember my first close call with cardiac arrest when, with me napping just next to him, he rolled his way to the edge of the bed and I managed just barely to hold on to his legs.


He now uses the skill to crush enemies and cousins alike


Once he started to commando crawl (shuffling on his tummy), anything on the floor is fair game for his culinary testing activity.  Now, I started to be troubled with anything small enough for him to accidentally swallow, and I had to focus on removing anything that is small enough out of his way.  Which leaves everything else stinking of his saliva.

Om nom nom


And now, he’s at his crawling stage.  Beside the huge increase and burst in speed, he also developed a new hair-tearing ability to change direction abruptly, just to smack his head into something.  His playground just became much bigger than his play mat, and his father just became much nearer to bubble-wrapping the whole house.


Quick! Smack me on the head before they see us!


I am fearing what is in store next, and I wait with bated breath the day he starts to walk, and run, and climb on things.  Wait, he already is doing the last part.  Maybe that bubble wrap idea is not so bad after all, eh?

Parental Rules

In Family, Parenthood on July 8, 2011 at 10:53 pm

I think somebody should write some simple yet comprehensive set of rules of what you can and can’t do to your children.  Something along the line of, “You should not hold your baby by the leg upside down” or “You should never allow your baby to lick your navel clean”.

This is because there are a few things I am not sure whether they are normal parental practice, or just something my wife and I cooked up as we go along.


1.  When my son had a runny nose, I distracted him with songs and dances.  When he had his attention elsewhere and was relatively still , I quickly swooped in and suck the snot and fluid out.  Granted, he’ll be wailing indignantly after that, but hey it worked all the time.


Waahhhhh stop the snot-suck ambush!!!

2.  My wife and I found out that our son does his best bowel movements when he is in his Bumbo seat.  We found this out the hard way when once, after a meal, we heard a loud PROOTTT!!, and saw the sudden stillness of Hamzah’s facial expression.  What followed was plenty of washing of the seat with water and industrial strength soap.  So, right now, each time we want him to poo, we’ll just leave him in the Bumbo seat.


Wur hur hur it's coming it's coming get ready. You got some cleaning up to do.

3.   This last one is not really a practise that we have, but just something I secretly love to do.  When we meet other parents and their babies, we like to put the babies next to each other, usually to snap pictures of them.  This is perfectly normal.  I, however, would sometimes “prod” them to wrestle each other.  Hilarity will usually ensue, both in the flurry of small fists and feet, and also in the panicky effort of the moms to stop them.


Man... I'm gonna have to teach him to be gentler to girls

So, are these normal behavior on a parent’s part?