Posted in Maternité, Thoughts

Critical Point on The Game

It was almost 11 pm and the mind was still dealing with the some noise inside regarding the big match that meant a lot for this country.

Surely won’t discuss how the team beautifully fought and got the best result, but more of what happened during one of the matches.

It was almost 8 pm and we had done with the last prayer. Bedtime for the little girl.

We (mostly me) always accompany her for bed time stories everyday. But, that time, none of us, both her parents, wanted to move from our seat.

Her dad told her to sleep first by herself and after some good night kisses with him, she went to her room, without said much and looked at me at all.

I kept watching until few minutes later and then decided to leave my spot and went to her room.

She was lying around with eyes opened, looked so restless, and was busy wiping her eyes when she saw me coming.

I hugged her and asked if she was okay and answered :

“I am so sad no one wants to accompany me”.

“I know, right? But, I am coming. The match is so important, but you are far more important”.

The tone suddenly changed and she picked the storybook we haven’t finished for days. We only read few pages but that was more than enough to switch the voice and situation from going to sleep with awful mood to a happy one.

I stayed a little bit longer till I bid good night.

When I return to the couch, the match was still on the run, with no significance difference from when I left.

Watching the rest of the matches enjoyably till the end result.

Along the final matches, the players made lots of small mistakes, some were pretty frustrating, but there were certain critial moment, that they should make it and earned important points, because it made all the difference. Like getting to 11 first on the rubber set, because most of the time, one who got to 11 first on the rubber set won the game. Most of the time, not always. The decider player last night didn’t get to 11 first yet he won the match. But, it was rare. Most of the time, it has always been the one who got 11 first on the rubber, win the match.

Maybe it feels similar to parenthood. Along the journey, you’ll make lots of mistakes, wrong your child, but there are certain moments, that you can’t mess up, as long as you have the choice. In one of my readings which I couldn’t remember who or where, there are three critical periods in children daily life where being next to them would be an advantage : wake up time, after school, and before bed time.

I was glad I chose to come to her. Had I decided to keep watching, I might not miss the athletes made some points but, I would indeed miss bigger and critical points from someone who is absolutely more important than the athletes on the screen.

Having someone left their seat during the match wouldn’t change the result. No one will notice or don’t have a slightest care about that.

But, by doing that, it surely made a huge difference for the little girl’s mood result. She might remember it for some time such feeling, the bad or the good, depended of what the choice we made last night.

In the end, both circumstances wrapped beautifully.

The mens group lifted the trophy beating the Chinese group in three straight matches, after long years of waiting.

While me, I managed to lift up my little girl’s mood and prevented her from going to sleep with such awful feeling, after beating myself and warned the brain to not to mess up with the priority.

Two great victories made last night.

Congrats, guys!!

Well done, you.

Posted in Langit Senja, Maternité, Past learning, Thoughts

Heartache

Today, during school from home morning circle, the little girl learned that people would break her heart, made her upset and cried hard, although it was unintentional, and there was nothing she could do to avoid that, no other way than to deal with it, on her own. Those around her could soothe her for a while, but the rest, she had to figure it out herself because it’s her who felt it inside.

A simple thing like when someone forgot to call your name during attendance list and gratitude book reading could turn to be something big. It was far from simple when you had waited for your turn patiently, you had prepared your line carefully, heard that even others who hadn’t prepared at all being called twice, you expected that your turn would come soon and suddenly it said it was done.

I encouraged her to speak up about that. I told her to unmute herself and say it loudly, although it was with trembling voice and teary eyes that she said she hadn’t got her name called. Some excuses given from the other party, but it didnt make things better of course.

Afterwards, I sent text to stress how important this thing for us and reminded to pay careful attention so there would be no second time for this, to anyone, for whatever reasons. Apology sent to me but it was actually the little girl who needed to hear it. She kept asking whether the person was really sorry or had already said sorry.

Other than upset, being confused was totally understandable. Here at home, we (always try to) apologize properly, discuss it, explain the whys, but we couldn’t ask other to do the same. Apology is not something that you ask from other people. It was given from someone who feels it’s the right thing to do after a mistake.

In the society where sorry and thank you are not not trained properly and considered mandatory, it’s hard to expect such thing from others. Even worse, those who think children doesn’t deserve a sincere apology.

At times like this, what helps a lot is to have proper time and space to process everything, to explain thoroughly so having acceptance would be easier. I am glad I was with her when such things happened.

As we make journaling more routine, she also managed to pour her feelings into short writing.

Slightly messier handwriting than usual due to messy heart?
“I haven’t got my turn!”

It was not my first time dealing with this, been through worse, yet, it was still heart-breaking to see other people hurt your child.

There’s always homework to do in any stages of motherhood you go through.

Emotional regulation is our main subject which comes with bulk of tasks and lots of unannounced tests, for now.

Some days are Joyful and , some days are awful and bring you displeasures.

Posted in Books, Langit Senja, Maternité, Thoughts

The Joy of Motherhood

As we finished isya and she folded her mukena, she came to me and looked at me, then whispered in tiny voice,
“Are you binung (bingung)?” since she caught me staring blankly.

“I am not feeling well,”

“Can I help you with anything? Do you want some tea?”

“Ya, i’ll make some tea later,”

“I’ll help you with it. With sugar or honey? Or without sugar?”

“Without sugar. Do you know which glass to use?”

“The green glass,”.

Then I just watched her doing it step by step in her own way.

While mine is put the tea bag on the glass, then fill it with hot water while hers is fill the glass with hot water then put the tea bag.

As her hand went up and down with the tea bag, she asked,

“Enough?”

“Yes,”.

The glass didn’t have any handles on it, when she touched it she knew she couldn’t bring it to me.

I thought she would ask me to just go to the table and drink it there (i still sat on the sajadah), but instead she said,
“Wait, I need a tray to bring this, but where is it?”

(there’s usually a little tray for drinking glass on the table)

“In the drying rack, I washed it. Is it dried enough already?”

She took it and answered,
“Not really, but it’s fine”.

She put the tea on the tray and put it on the carpet.
One sip, it filled the whole body with warmth.

Little cup with enormous effect

Listened to the empathetic tone. Listened to her offering help, even asked with some details. Watched her doing the task systematically and solved the problem well.

It was a joy that no kind of tangible achievement could give.

I once wrote last year, I have three qualities that become my compass in raising her. At the same time, Edward de Bono’s book become one of the on-going readings on the shelf.

Being shown that she displayed one of the qualities properly and showed that she knew how to think accordingly.

This is the kind of learning and training result that matters the most for me.

This might be just a simple thing for others, but this is the kind of event that could wipe all my worries tremendously for a while.

It was one of the moments that I could assure myself that she would be ok.

Posted in Favorite things, Maternité, Thoughts

Morning Treasures

If there’s something that we are above average is we are very early morning bunch. Breakfast always served before the first adzan. So, after doing the first prayer of the day, that’s when our morning routines start. By 9 am, we have accomplished sets of morning routines. Our morning could be considered the highlight of our everyday lives. The period of the day I treasure the most.

Morning Quran
Morning Practice
Morning Duet
Morning Math
Morning Chore
Morning Ride
Morning Play
Morning Lesson
Morning Read
Morning Walk
Morning Steps
Posted in Books, Maternité, Thoughts

It’s Not About You

It takes almost seven years with all the ups and downs until I realized something about raising a child : It’s absolutely not about us, the parents.

The more time I spend with this little girl and saw several total differences between us, I reminded myself often, she’s not me. She loves something that I am 100% not into like make up, art and white milk. She is pretty good at something that I wasn’t at her age like playing piano and math.

The return to the bulk of readings after years of absence, moving to London, and become almost a total stay at home mother, all since last year, change so many point of views.

I thought knowing lots of things about children, in theory and some practices, were enough to make everything run smoothly.

In reality, how little did I know and how much that I still have to learn. The more I read, the smaller I feel. Even in certain parts, I felt like being cornered and pushed to throw my previous view and replaced it with something which I have zero knowledge about it.

I felt like halfly dragged out of my ‘bubble’ and shown a complete different sea about children and their development.

One of the best things London brings is the chance to see and live with so many different people, yet, it feels like we are all the same. Unlike me, who had grown up in almost similar environment from elementary to high school, even college, I loved how diverse the little girl’s school there.

She played with so many different kids from different cultures. The British, African, Chinese, Spanish, French, Finnish, Arabic, Italian, and so were the teachers. She was the only Indonesian there. Nobody really cared about where one came from. They just played together.

In her school also, I was able to witness how disabilities, whether it is visible or invisible got equal treatment. No one really cared if you have disability or not, in a good way. I remembered a girl in a wheel chair at her school. The most noticeable thing that I remembered from her was nothing about her disability, but…

her confidence.

She looked so bright and nice. The way she talked to others, it was so pleasant to see. The other important thing to notice was how the school community treated her. I didn’t witness any pity looks either from her friends or the teachers.

Once, I saw her when she wanted to pass through the door and a teacher and a student were there. What did they do? They hold the door until she went through, but nothing about ‘helping’ her so she could do it faster.

They waited.

I really thought that was just the right amount of help. They knew she could do it by herself, so they didnt came to her to push the wheel chair, instead they chose to hold the door.

She wasn’t the only one. I saw several others kids with visible disabilities and saw similar vibe from them. For someone with learning difficulties like her, the amount of help received was beyond our expectation.

That was one eye opening experience for me, until we (I) decided that she might need a different school than what I had already had in my mind before. About the school, maybe a separate post would be good.

I looked back often in raising her. Previously, it was because I wanted to do as what my mom did, but then, I realized, not all of it was applicable. The more I realized I wasn’t my mom and my little girl wasn’t me, the more I feel better in raising her differently.

I followed the basics which I considered universal and important like sleeping and eating, but became quite relaxed in other things.

I did totally different thing in things that I considered important but not really happened in the time I grew up, like apologizing. Showing that we, the parents, can make mistake and we will apologize if we do that.

Days are not always rainbow, but when we are angry to her, we try our best to avoid silence treatment. We talked about it right away and explained why.

I didn’t say that my parents were doing things wrong. Just like me, I think, we just did what we thought the best within our power and knowledge, at that time.

This is why I said in one of my previous posts, it’s the parents who have lots of homeworks to do, not the kids.

It’s not an easy job to change the mindset. To become more mindful about how everything we do, even the simplest one, will have certain impact to the child, bad or good.

Currently reading a book called ‘Special’ where some pages pinched me a little but quite hurt inside, like this :

Every birthday, I always write two wishes, for her to be always healthy and happy. But, yes, I write that with certain scenario inside my head. How kind of healthy and happy I imagune for her, based on my experience and thinking. Years before motherhood, I really thought parenting is about repeating the cycle. Your child will just have to follow what the parents choose for them,then, it’s done. Until the next cycle begins.

But, for the last few years the game has changed a lot. My daughter has been going through lots of things that I didn’t, AT ALL. In good and challenging ways. Before seven, she has been to many places, meeting and playing with lots of different kids, exposed to kind of weather and cultures, talk and think in totally different language than mine.

There’s no way raising her with the same mindset like my parents would work.

It reminds me of Kahlil Gibran’s famous poem The Prophet :

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might.

His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable

I feel like needing constant reminder whenever it feels frustrating because I keep pushing something only from my point of view.

But, there’s one thing that should be remembered : we’re not only raising a child, but also a future adult.

Tricky bussiness indeed.

Lastly, a closing page, still from ‘Special’ summed it well :

Bear these in mind, you.

It’s her who has been doing a good job so far, and you ride along.

So, take credits, but not too much.

Feel guilty, but never too much too.

Posted in Langit Senja, Maternité, Thoughts

Perjalanan Panjang Menemukan Jawaban Bagian V

Setelah tahun lalu mengalami perjalanan panjang bagian satu , dua, tiga, dan mengira sudah selesai di satu bab besar, ternyata perjalanan menemukan jawaban ini belum selesai.

Setelah mendapatkan diagnosis DLD, kami cukup aktif mengedukasi diri sendiri dengan berbagai informasi tentang ini. Dari mendengarkan podcast, membaca jurnal, mengikuti akun-akun advokasi, mendaftarkan diri sebagain RADLD ambassador, baca berbagai artikel dan penelitian, melakukan semua yang bisa dilakukan untuk mensupport lebih baik.

Ada satu hal yang berulang kali terus mengganggu dan bikin gelisah. Semakin banyak baca tentang DLD, semakin banyak pula hal-hal yang terasa tidak pas dengan anak saya. Hal ini buat lebih banyak baca semua neurodevelopmental disorder lain, dan sayangnya yang paling mendekati masih DLD.

Meskipun ada beberapa irisan di DCD/Dyspraxia, dan laporan observasi yang dilakukan oleh Dr Mustafa menyatakan ada kemungkinan verbal dyspraxia, tetapi ketika mempelajari lebih dalam beberapa contoh kasus verbal dyspraxia, lagi-lagi ada hal yang kurang pas dengan anak ini.

Saya berulang kali mengutarakan pernyataan seperti ini :

“Makin banyak baca, makin sering liat contoh, kok kaya makin jauh ya dari semua diagnosis yang udah ada (DLD, DCD). Tipikalnya itu agak beda dan ngga pas buat dia”.

Kenapa saya bisa bilang ngga pas?

DLD ini umumnya dekat sekali dengan dyslexia atau dyscalculia. Dari banyak contoh anak yang saya lihat, anak saya ada di semua kebalikan dari dyslexia atau dyscalculia. Membaca dan matematikanya agak terlalu ‘advance’.

Dia ini strong reader. Seperti yang pernah ditulis di post sebelumnya, salah satu yang bikin kami makin ngga ngerti adalah dia bisa baca sendiri tanpa diajari di usia sebelum 4 tahun. Dia bisa dengan cepat membaca not balok di musik, dan huruf arab di Quran.

Review dari guru-gurunya di reading log

Dia bisa menghitung penjumlahan, pengurangan dengan cepat. Baru-baru ini yang lebih makin membingungkan, dia tau-tau sudah hafal perkalian dari sekedar kesukaannya pada numberblocks. Latihan setiap hari tentu berpengaruh, tapi jika dikaitkan dengan DLD, ada sesuatu yang ngga pas.

Sebelum menulis ini, saya baca ulang satu-satu semua tulisan dan video yang merekam perkembangan dia. Saya temukan bahwa bahkan sebelum bisa baca, dia punya ketertarikan besar sekali pada huruf dan angka.

Di salah satu post saya, di usia 2 tahun lebih dia sudah bisa menghitung maju dan mundur dari 1-50, mengenal semua warna, menyebutkan hampir semua benda di buku kamus kesayangannya dengan lafal bahasa Inggris yang baik.

Sementara, level berbicaranya bisa jauh dibawahnya.

Ini ngga masuk di otak saya yang pas-pasan. Bagaimana bisa perbedaannya begitu signifikan?

Sementara saya sibuk anter terapi kesana kemari, berbicara lebih banyak, mengikutkan ke semua kegiatan yang bisa mendorong bicaranya, tau-tau yang muncul malah yang sama sekali ngga ‘dipikirkan’ dan ‘diajarkan’.

Tentu bukan ngga bersyukur, alhamdulillah sekali saya dikasih bonus buat ngga mengalami sakit kepala ajar anak baca, tapi, bicaranya bagaimana? Salahnya di mana?

Sebagai gambaran, anak saya ini bukan ngga bisa bicara. Dia sangat verbal. Kosakatanya sangat banyak. Pengucapannya jelas. Rasa ingin tahunya juga tinggi. Tapi selalu kesulitan untuk :

– berada dalam percakapan dalam waktu yang lama.

– menjawab pertanyaan kompleks (kenapa, bagaimana) atau pertanyaan terbuka.

– menjawab secara runut kejadian yang dialami

Tiga hal besarnya seperti itu.

Dan ini terus terang (sangat) membuat frustasi.

Sepulang dari London akhir tahun lalu, kami perlu waktu buat adaptasi. Sampai akhirnya awal Maret lalu, saya mulai gelisah lagi. Tanpa sekolah dan terapi rutin, saya merasa perkembangan bahasanya mulai stagnan.

Sementara di semua hal dia terlihat baik-baik saja bahkan di atas rata-rata seperti piano, iqro, quran dan matematikanya. Secara emosi juga cukup matang dan mandiri. Dia melakukan tugas rumah seperti mencuci piringnya dan melipat pakaian sendiri, kadang menyiapkan sarapan sederhana sendiri, merapikan kamarnya dan masih banyak lagi.

Pelan-pelan, kami mulai lagi pencarian klinik untuk melanjutkan terapi wicaranya. Salah satu kendala di sini adalah anak ini bahasa ibunya adalah bahasa Inggris. Dia bukan sekedar anak yang berbicara bahasa Inggris, tapi juga sudah berpikir dalam bahasa Inggris. Sehingga, kami lebih memilih terapi yang benar-benar dilakukan oleh orang yang berbahasa Inggris. Bukan sekedar orang Indonesia yang berbahasa Inggris, seperti orangtuanya.

Kami sempat menghubungi beberapa klinik di sini. Bahkan sempat datang langsung untuk konsul psikolog di salah satu klinik terkenal, dimana psikolognya bisa berbahasa Inggris tapi harus pulang dengan hati berat. Observasi yang dilakukan sangat standar, sangat di bawah kemampuan dia, dan sama sekali ngga memberikan insight baru, dengan harga yang ngga murah.

Klinik lain yang kami hubungi via wa langung menanyakan domisili dan pamflet daftar harga bahkan tanpa meminta hasil asesmen atau apapun.

Klinik lain dengan ribuan pengikut yang sempat saya tanya via media sosial, dimana sempat terjadi percakapan panjang pada dini hari,menghasilkan efek traumatis yang cukup lama buat saya.

Hal terbesar dan terpenting yang absen dari klinisi2 di sini adalah : empati.

Babak belur perasaan di pagi buta cuma buat merasa ‘disalahkan’ dan saran yang diberikan dipukul sama rata dengan semua anak yang mereka suka repost di akunnya. Lebih parahnya lagi, nada arogannya terasa sekali. Seakan-akan mereka yang lebih tau segalanya. Dengan tegas memvonis sesuatu yang ternyata setelah saya menemukan lebih banyak jurnal, pengalaman orangtua, dan yang lainnya, sepertinya ilmu mereka juga harus diupdate lagi.

Dalam sebulan ini saya merasakan sekali manfaat menulis dan merekam perkembangan anak. Semua ‘tuduhan’ yang dilontarkan admin klinik tsb, kembali saya konfirmasi dan semua patah. Anak saya mengikuti semua milestone yang mereka anggap ngga dijalankan dengan baik.

Selain tiga klinik di atas, ada satu klinik yang cukup memberi penghiburan. Dimana adminnya menjalankan prosedur dengan proper seperti mengatur zoom meeting terlebih dahulu, menanyakan diagnosis dan sebagainya. Mereka juga punya SLT resmi berbahasa Inggris. Cuma satu kurangnya, semua masih dilakukan online.

Selain keempat klinik tersebut, kami memberanikan diri untuk mencoba sesuatu di luar. Kami menghubungi salah satu lembaga speech therapy di Singapura via WA. Responnya sangat cepat dan baik. Bahkan hanya dalam hitungan jam, mereka menanyakan apakah bersedia ditelpon dan berbicara langsung.

Percakapan 30 menit yang sangat signifikan mengubah perasaan.

Kami dihubungi langsung oleh seorang Doktor di bidang Speech and Language dan HANYA dalam satu percakapan tersebut keluar suatu pernyataan yang sama dengan kegelisahan saya,

“From your story, there are things that dont match with DLD”.

Tidak pas dengan DLD.

Tapi justru lebih pas ke sesuatu yang lain.

Setelah percakapan via telp tersebut, pembicaraan berlanjut via email untuk penjelasan lebih detil. Dari sana diputuskan bahwa anak saya akan menjalani tes lengkap selama 3x dalam 3 minggu untuk menentukan apakah DLD (masih) cocok dengan kondisinya atau…

ada sesuatu yang lain.

_________________________________

Kami menjalani 3 tes dalam 3 minggu dengan Dr Phua. Tes ini bertujuan ‘memastikan’ apakah DLD masih berlaku atau sesuai kecurigaan, bahwa ini bukan DLD.

Semua tes dilakukan dalam bahasa Inggris. Tes berlangsung selama kurang lebih dua jam di akhir pekan. Tesnya berupa gambar, membaca, menulis, mengeja, bercerita, dan sejenisnya. Tingkat kesulitan tes ini bertingkat dari yang bisa anak saya kerjakan dengan mudah sampai yang jelas jauh di atas kemampuannya.

Beberapa tes yang dilakukan adalah seperti : mencocokan gambar, menebak kelanjutan cerita, mencari sinonim kata, menerjemahkan pesan implisit, menonton kartun pendek tanpa teks dan dialog kemudian diminta menjawab pertanyaan tentang kartun tersebut. Di tes minggu terakhir, dia diminta membaca dan menjawab pertanyaan dari paragraf, menulis cerita dan tes mengeja.

Materi tes yang sulit adalah satu hal. Hal yang cukup saya hargai adalah endurance anak ini. Duduk 2 jam dan berusaha mengerjakan semua sebaik-baiknya, bahkan saya yang cuma mendampingi lelah sekali.

Jeda antar minggu tes merupakan minggu-minggu yang berat. Perasaan yang ngga menentu, gelisah, khawatir, dan mungkin masih berusaha menerima kalau ini yang harus dijalani.

Dalam jeda ini juga saya habiskan berhari-hari dengan membaca semua tentang kemungkinan diagnosis baru ini. Mengedukasi diri sendiri dari berbagai akun dan jurnal. Semakin banyak baca, semakin pikiran terbuka, dan mungkin ini jalan yang ditunjukan untuk menerima.

Dalam beberapa hari, saya menemukan satu istilah yang menggambarkan anak saya dengan tepat. Bukan hanya sekedar ciri-ciri umum, tapi bahkan sampai ke hal-hal khusus dan semua timeline kejadian yang dijelaskan sangat persis seperti yang kami lewati.

Dalam beberapa hari, saya menghabiskan hampir sepanjang waktu untuk mencari tahu lebih banyak. Dari pengalaman orang tua, jurnal para ahli, dan juga pengalaman orang pertama.

Benar-benar minggu yang mengubah isi kepala tentang sesuatu. Seperti dipaksa buat membuang semua isi kepala lama dan mengganti dengan yang baru.

Di hari terakhir tes, setelah tes dengan anak saya selesai, kami berbicara dengan Dr Phua. Dari hasil semua tes dan observasi yang sudah dilakukan, hampir dipastikan DLD bukan diagnosis yang tepat untuk anak saya.

Posted in Langit Senja, Maternité, Thoughts

Di Toko Kue

Beberapa hari lalu ada kejadian yang cuma terjadi beberapa menit tapi efek yang ditimbulkan ke saya pribadi jauh lebih lama dari kejadian itu sendiri.

Kami sedang beli kue di toko kue jajanan pasar favorit. Waktu lagi bayar di kasir, saya sibuk cari sesuatu di dalem dompet atau tas, tiba-tiba ada suara dari samping. Ketika saya menoleh, gadis kecil ini sedang memegang plastik kue yang bukan punya kami. Di sebelahnya ada ibu separuh baya.

Berbekal sepotong kejadian yang terlihat di mata saya, reaksi pertama saya adalah menegur,

“Be, itu bukan punya kita”.

Tapi, tiba-tiba ibu di sebelahnya menyahut,

“Oh ngga, ini dia bantuin saya tadi plastiknya hampir jatuh”.

Mbak yang dikasir menimpali,

“Adeknya baik sekali, langsung nolongin ya,”.

Saya ibunya serasa ditampar keras dan mau nangis.

Nangis karena malunya luar biasa.

Saya ibunya, lebih dari orang lain, milih buat ‘menegur’ dengan nada yang kurang enak dibanding menanyakan dulu alasan dia pegang plastik punya orang lain.

Kepala penuh dengan berbagai skenario ‘if only’ dan ‘I should have’.

Sampai beberapa lama, baik si ibu dan mbaknya masih terus mengapresiasi hal kecil yang dilakukan gadis kecil ini dengan terus mengulang kata ‘baik dan pinter’.

Saya ibunya, ngga mau kecolongan lagi. Turun dan lihat ke matanya sambil bilang,

“You have really done a good job and I am so proud of you. Thank you for being so kind by helping the lady,”.

Selain mau nangis karena malu, mau nangis karena bangga juga.

Siapa bilang ibu selalu tau segalanya?

Ibu dan orangtua juga manusia yang ngga selalu tau dan selalu perlu belajar hal baru, bahkan tentang anaknya sendiri. Bahkan ketika hampir seluruh waktu dihabiskan dengan mereka. Belajar yang bukan dari buku yang ditulis peneliti dan ahli parenting ternama, tapi juga dari orang asing yang bahkan kita ngga tau namanya.

Tapi, semakin lama, saya semakin sadar kalau anak itu gurunya orangtua. Kita yang perlu lebih banyak dengar, lebih peka, lebih berpikiran terbuka, karena kadang ego orang dewasa suka bikin ‘buta’.

Makasih, bu guru kecil.

Maafin muridnya emang suka pendek sumbunya.

Posted in Langit Senja, Maternité, Thoughts

Eye Mask dan Stroller : Cerita Anak dan Uang

Mendekati tahun ke tujuh, saya mulai melihat sudah waktunya mulai mengenalkan uang ke gadis kecil ini. Beberapa tanda seperti pemahaman matematika dasar yang sudah cukup memadai, emosi yang sudah cukup matang, yang terlihat dari bagaimana dia bisa menahan diri ketika menginginkan sesuatu.

Dia sudah melewati banyak situasi marshmellow test dan lulus dengan baik. Hal lain yang juga sudah jelas terlihat adalah dia mulai banyak keinginan untuk punya sesuatu yang dia tidak terlalu butuh.

Sebelumnya saya pernah tulis hal yang berkaitan tentang uang di THR dan Anak. Sejak pertama kali terima uang THR, saya langsung pisahkan uangnya di salah satu tabungan saya yang jarang dipakai. Ketika saya rasa uangnya semakin banyak dan semakin membingungkan karena potensi tercampur dengan uang saya semakin besar, saya memutuskan untuk membukakan rekening sendiri untuk dia. Bank langganan saya punya produk untuk anak yang mudah sekali. Jadi, beberapa bulan sebelum kami berangkat ke London, uang anak sudah punya rumah baru lengkap dengan buku tabungan dan ATM dengan namanya.

Pengalaman menggunakan uangnya sendiri pertama kali terjadi dua minggu lalu. Entah belajar dari mana, tapi anak ini suka tidur pakai eye mask. Karena belum punya, dia gunakan masker scuba kartunnya di mata. Ketika satu hari saya dan dia ke toko peralatan rumah, ketika antri di kasir dia lihat ada eye mask untuk anak-anak dan dia tanya apa boleh kalo dia mau eye masknya.

Saya ngga mikir dua kali untuk mengizinkan dia ambil karena tau ini adalah sesuatu yang dia pakai setiap malam. Ketika saya liat harganya juga wajar, saya bilang,

“Boleh ambil. Bayar pakai uang sendiri ya. Ada ATMnya sama mama,”.

Liat ekspresi bangganya pas teken PIN ATM sendiri di mesin EDC seneng banget.

Setelah ujian 20 surat pendek yang lalu, ayahnya janji untuk beliin sesuatu kalo hafalannya bagus. Jadi sehari setelahnya berangkatlah mereka berdua ke toko mainan tanpa pengawasan dan salahnya saya ngga bilang jelas berapa batas harganya. Saya juga berpikir kalo ayahnya ngerti lah ya berapa batas wajarnya.

Ketika mereka pulang bawa hadiah dengan wajah sumringah, saya tanya berapa. Mata membelalak lebar denger harga yang disebutkan ayahnya dengan nada kasual.

Kami sebagai orangtua, secara pribadi punya cara pandang yang beda tentang uang dan saya jelas sekali melihat ini banyak dipengaruhi oleh pola uang yang diajarkan sejak kecil.

Saya terbiasa mengatur uang sendiri dari kecil. Pola uang saku saya adalah bulanan. Cukup ngga cukup harus dipikir supaya cukup. Ini berlaku dari SD kelas 4. Saya sudah nnenghasilkan uang sendiri setelah lulus SMA. Sedangkan ayahnya berlaku uang harian/mingguan. Kalo habis nanti tinggal minta lagi.

Alhamdulillah di frame besarnya kita cukup sepakat masalah uang ini. Tapi, ketika ke anak, perasaan jelas beda. Apalagi jelas uangnya ada. Apalagi anaknya sudah berusaha keras untuk itu. Saya sih sepakat aja, cuma rasanya kurang pas kalo anak yang sudah mulai bisa berpikir ngga diajarkan bahwa uang bukan sesuatu yang selalu ada. Uang bukan seperti kasih sayang ibu.

Ayahnya lebih dari cukup untuk membelikan mainan dengan harga yang lebih mahal, tapi seperti salah satu prinsip yang saya pegang dalam banyak hal termasuk mendidik anak, “Not because you can, it means you should“, begitu juga masalah yang berkaitan dengan uang ini.

Anak jelas belum bisa dan belum waktunya merasakan susah dan lelahnya cari uang. Tapi, bisa dimulai dari menghargai apa yang sudah dipunya dengan cara menjaga sebaik-baiknya. Tapi, itupun harus diajarkan. Gimana mau jaga kalo ngga tau dapetinnya susah? Orang taunya ada aja barangnya. Kalo rusak nanti juga bisa beli lagi.

Mau dijelaskan mahal atau murah pun abstrak buat mereka dan sama sekali ngga bisa diukur. Mahal itu seberapa? Murah itu kaya apa? Di hadapan anak ini boneka yang dibeli di Pasar Gembrong sama yang di Kidz Station ya sama aja kecuali harganya yang beberapa kali lipat.

Seperti hukum alamnya manusia dengan barang, excitementnya pun berkurang dengan waktu. Di hari ke berapa, hubungan dengan mainan barunya mulai merenggang. Dari di bawa kemana-mana selalu bersama, pelan-pelan mulai tergeletak dimana aja. Mulai sering harus ditanya bonekanya ngga diajak. Lalu beberapa hari setelahnya tiba-tiba anak ini mendekat dan tanya apa boleh dia beli stroller untuk bonekanya.

Tidak sampai seminggu kepuasan terhadap mainan barunya sudah menurun dan muncul keinginan baru. Di sini saya liat dia sudah mulai bisa diajarkan tentang prinsip kebutuhan dan keinginan.

Waktu dia mau beli eye mask, saya ngga ragu langsung bilang iya karena saya tau dia memang butuh, dipakai setiap malam dan dengan harga yang sangat wajar sesuai isi dompetnya.Tapi ketika dia bilang mau beli stroller, ini jelas masalah keinginan dan sama sekali bukan sesuatu yang mendesak.

Akhirnya saya ajak dia lihat harga stroller mainan di toko online dan dari sana saya bilang bisa beli tapi ‘kerja’ dulu. Sebelumnya saya juga bilang kalo dia bisa aja langsung beli untuk harga segitu dengan uang yang ada di dompetnya, tapi kalo terus pakai uang tanpa ada pemasukan, satu saat uangnya akan habis. Maka saya tawarkan untuk dia melakukan sesuatu di luar tanggung jawabnya dan bisa dapat uang untuk beli strollernya.

Sejak beberapa waktu, anak ini sudah punya tugas di rumah sendiri seperti halnya saya dan ayahnya. Beberapa hal yang berkaitan dengan dirinya sendiri dan sedikit yang tentang kebersihan rumah. Karena kami memang ngga punya ART sejak awal, jadi semua orang punya tugas masing-masing di rumah.

Tugas anggota terkecil meliputi membereskan tempat tidur dan kamarnya sendiri, menjemur pakaiannya sendiri ketika jadwal mencuci baju yang lebih banyak adalah bajunya. Kami mencuci baju seminggu 2x, dipisahkan warna. Umumnya warna bajunya adalah yang cerah dan batchnya lebih sedikit, jadi memang ini jadi tanggung jawabnya. Selain itu dia juga mencuci piring bekas makannya sendiri. Nah, untuk uang tambahan ini, saya menawarkan dia untuk mengambil alih sedikit dari tanggung jawab saya dan mendapat uang dari sana. Tugasnya sama cu sedikit lebih banyak.

Dia akan membantu saya mengangkat dan melipat jemuran ketika batch baju ayahnya yang lebih banyak dan berat lalu membantu saya mencuci lebih banyak piring selain piringnya sendiri. Satu sesi dihargai Rp 10.000.Setiap selesai satu sesi, dia akan menagih uangnya dan saya berikan uang fisiknya.

Saking semangatnya, semua sesi yang dibutuhkan buat beli stroller selesai dalam waktu dua hari. Strollernya pun ngga mahal. Sesuai kemampuan anak 7 tahun aja.

Target awal semua pekerjaan selesai dalam waktu 3 hari. Selesai terkumpul, dia kasih uang sebesar harga strollernya dan saya pesankan di marketplace.

Senang sekali liat dia semangat kerja karena punya sesuatu yang dituju. Pada dasarnya anak ini (dan semua anak-anak fitrahnya) suka juga bantu, lebih sering dia menawarkan diri dibanding saya nyuruh. Saya sebagai orangtua yang seringnya lebih pilih cepet beres dan ngga ribet, tentu lebih seneng ngerjain semua sendiri. Membiarkan anak yang ngerjain tentu lebih lama, lebih sering kerja dua kali, tapi di sini intinya mendidik bukan?

Bukan tentang apa yang orangtua mau, tapi tentang apa yang anaknya perlu. Jadi, kecuali ada alasan yang sangat krusial sekali, saya sebisa mungkin tidak akan menolak bantuan yang dia tawarkan dan selalu bilang terima kasih karena sudah membantu.

Saya sangat kagum sekali melihat langsung gimana anak-anak belajar. Mereka benar-benar menirukan apa yang mereka lihat dan dengar. Bukan apa yang orangtua suruh. Jadi sebenarnya memang ngga perlu sampai berbusa ngomel, cukup tunjukan perilaku kaya apa yang kita mau mereka punya. Children see children do.

Ketika saya menawarkan untuk membantu dia menjemur pakaian yang memang tugasnya, dia menjawab dengan jawaban yang hampir selalu saya kasih, persis tanpa ada yang kurang sedikit pun,

“Thank you for offering the help, but I can do it by myself for now,”.

Lucu dan sok tau.

Kenapa bukan dikasih uang saku?Menurut saya, belum waktunya. Apalagi dengan masa pandemi ini, kebanyakan di rumah, uang saku sepertinya masih bisa di waktu mendatang.

Hepi dengan mainan barunya?Jelas.

Tinggal berapa lama aja hepinya berlangsung yang kita ngga tau.

Tapi yang penting, saya dan dia sama-sama belajar sesuatu yang baru.

Posted in Books, Langit Senja, Maternité, Thoughts

Daily Menu at Home

As we have been studying the first batch of Juz amma for more than a year, we brought an exam simulation to the little girl which planned to be done at the end of this month. But, suddenly she asked us to do that yesterday.

“What about now?”

Just like that.

So we wrote down 20 surahs she had learned in a small paper and she would pick it. Passing mark is 70% of 20 surahs. She did it pretty well. Calm and confidently. I asked her another bonus surah since my favorite wasn’t picked up.

Statistically, 20 surahs in a year are not that much. But, just like in any other subjects I have been teaching her, I prefer going slow and consistently done without zero days.

We didn’t enroll her to any school for these six months. We have secured a seat in one of primary school for the next school years. So within this interval, she just studied at home with me.

I can’t and will not teach her like any real schools. Her daily schedule would be like this :

One quran session after subuh only lasts for 15 minutes.

One iqro session after dzuhur only lasts for 20 minutes.

One piano session in the morning only lasts for 40 minutes.

One numbot session before piano only lasts for 30 minutes.

One reading together session before bed only lasts for 15 minutes.

One mixed subjects after piano session only lasts for 30 minutes.

As she loves reading, she is usually doing it in her free time by herself. Other than that, it’s free time. She could play, singing, watching, or whatever. Sometimes I take her outside cycling or just going around to do grocery and bakery visit. She gets one hour of trash in youtube kids everyday and another hour to watch real thing in either Netflix or Prime Video. She always wakes up by 5 am and goes to bed before 8 pm and by 8 pm, her day is done. My shift ends.

Setting such schedule above, we aim for nothing but building good habits. What we want to build is the habit, the exictement and the love for learning. For the sake of learning, not for grade, not for exam, or for any prizes. The habit that will turn into values and in the long run become the character and hopefully the destiny. The legendary Atomic Habits from James Clear summed it well below :

Recently, I also have been reading Simplicity Parenting from Kim Payne. He said in the introduction page :

“Daily activities says a lot about who we are as a family. You can see what a family holds dear from the pattern of their everyday lives”.

The rest of the book told exactly everything that we have been done. What children needs is secure environment to grow. How? Through regularity and daily rhtym at home. They need to know what to expect each day and there’s no better way to do it than setting and having daily schedule at home.

I am currently enjoying the result of rhytm and regularity that has been built since she was baby. She has been waking up at 5 since she was a baby. Few years ago, I wrote two similar in this post and this one.

When she ate for the first time, her first meal was fruit juice right after wake up. Seven years later, the first plate she has after subuh and Quran is still the same.

“Children depend on the rhythmic structure of the day—on its predictability, its regularity, its pulse. They benefit from dependability and regularity throughout childhood, but especially in the first three years, when the greatest learning takes place unconsciously. Not only can children find security in the patterns of daily life, they can begin to find themselves”.

Setting regularity and rhytm to the child’ daily life is not only beneficial to the children. It makes parenting much easier. We don’t have to find new things to do everytime.

Boring? no.

Why?

That explains why she is rarely to never display any tantrum, in whatever setting we have been. We dont only bring this regularity and rhytm in daily life, we bring it everywhere. During our traveling time, we wake up at or before 5 am for subuh and followed by first breakfast with fruit and bread then an hour later for rice. We always go out by 8 am and always back home by maghrib. By 8 pm, we are all in bed.

That explained why I had never enjoyed Paris, Tokyo, or Seoul at night. Three times in London, the one and only night time in London was this day of witnessing the beauty of London Night life.

Do I miss a lot? Not really.

Because it’s more important to enjoy everyday of the whole seven days than to sacrifice the rest of holiday for the sake of enjoying one beautiful night.

More importantly, staying healthy after the holiday is as well a point to note. With keeping our daily regularity and rhytm during traveling, we keep our physical and mental health altogether. We resume our daily activities again right after arrived home.

There are a lot of good points from the book such as the importance of art for young children, the benefit of having silent time, to declutter things like the toys, books, clothes, as well as the schedules. Having clear space has strong relations with clear mind. We simplify things to live better.

Just like the big message from the book : Our life will be simplified by simplifying our child’s.

Yes, it’s really true.

Posted in Langit Senja, Maternité, Thoughts

Mixed Feelings of Turning Six

If you have mixed feelings about something, you feel both pleased and not pleased about it at the same time. I am filled with enourmous gratitude with everything about her since day one yet at the same time couldn’t help taking a deep sigh knowing the saying ‘children grow too fast’ is a truth.

She’s been growing faster than I could imagine within this one year. She’s been growing exponentionally in every aspect of herself. Physically, mentally, and I might say spiritually?

Physically, the most noticable is how her face has totally lost its baby-ish feature. Now I have a little pre-teen girl whenever I look at her.

She is now talking a lot, gaining more confidence in delivering her opinion, knowing what she wants, quite determined about that, arguing with us over every small routine that she should do, no more ‘nicely obedient’ baby, which in one side is a good news for us.

She even starts questioning something that I couldn’t imagine a 6yo me would ask such as :

“Why are we moslem?”

“Why we have to pray?”

Such a headache, I know.

The questions. Not her.

In one year, she transformed to be a pianist, a quite good one if I must say. Not the prodigy level but at least, far much better than her mom at her age. A diligent Quran reader, yes, she is reading the quran already and doing her five times prayer steadfastly. I am more than happy for this.

I have been witnessing the impact and result of doing daily practice for two ultimate things and focus on to where our energy flow. For piano and Quran, I apply no zero days, unless something major happened.

Instilling habits on the children depends a lot to the parents’ consistency and it’s far from easy. Earlier you start, the better result. We had bad days, hard song or surah to practice but, the only thing we should do is just keep going. I am so grateful that she has the same level of resilience and persistence as I do.

I dont have much to brag about myself, but I am happy and confident enough to say both are two of my best qualities and hundred times happier that they are on my little girl’s blood too. Hopefully, more strength will be given as the job is getting tougher and harder.

Apart from the hardworks, as she is heading to the last year of her first seven years, I can look back without regrets. I think she has been doing her first stage of life to the fullest. She has been happy and healthy, she eats and sleep well, she has been playing everywhere, experiencing any kind of weather, enjoying many playground around the world, dealing with her difficulties on her own at school, I really hope she keeps growing to be more secured and accept herself with all her strengths and flaws.

On the other side, if I look forward, I have (too much) worries about many things she has to deal with in the future. It breaks my heart everytime my overthinking thought takes over my mind.

I realize that raising a child is a marathon not a sprint. Measuring their growth and worth is not applicable in short run. A child can do well now, but it’s not granted later. Just like flowers, some bloom in spring while other bloom in autumn. Comparing one to another is totally useless as they have different land, water, and sunshine to grow.

I fully understand how little control we have about everything in life, and that’s including our child’s life. I keep reminding myself that her life is hers, not mine. Our job now is to prepare and help her to build her own life later, not build the whole thing for her.

There was one playground session last month which gave a good lesson for me and her. It was in the Peckham Rye Common where the slide for bigger kids has some challenges before they could slide down. They have either climbing the rope to the top or balance walking on it to the slide.

She was too scared because it was pretty high yet too curious to skip the slide. She kept trying and failed. Even ended up with tears. In one trial, she had climbed to the top but had no idea or too scared to lift her body to the slide since she had to move her feet from where she stood.

She was stuck for few minutes and made the other child below her wait. But, the nice thing here, no one pushed, screamed or yelled at her to make her go faster. Everyone waited patiently. Children and their parents. Until a boy came and climbed quickly to the top, then he pulled her safely so she could slide down.

Did she give up after that? No.

She started again from the beginning when there was no one, then until in one trial, she made it all by herself until the end.

It was one of the enlighting moments showed that the children would have to deal with their own dificulties and there’s nothing we could do as their parents, no matter how much we want to help them. No matter how much I wanted to make her ride that slide, I couldn’t do anything other than cheering for her from ground. The only way to ride the slide was by overcame her own fear, used her brain and strength until she made it. Or else, just went home without nothing.

Thus, I always pray to be given enough time and patience to prepare her with the right tools and attitude, for her to deal with many more obstacles in the future. Hope we the parents, could always be her safe and secure base to return to after fighting with the world outside.

Asking guidance and forgiveness from the Creator is continously done without the slightest doubt. Because this one is a tough job which I am often clueless and lose patience for countless time.

If there’s one thing that puts me at ease, it is that the fact she’s always find her way. In everything. From the small thing in daily life to a big thing as big as ‘finding her way’ to her DLD.

Hope she will continue to try her best in everything she does, protected in every step she takes, keep happy, healthy and be kind in whatever she becomes of.

Amin.

Happy birthday, Langit Senja.

I am so proud of you.

Although you know it already, saying it again won’t hurt.

I love you.