Friday, November 30, 2007

November News


Sze Wei joined the centre

Sze Wei is 10 months old. We have a slight feeding problem with her. She refuses to take milk from the bottle as she is totally breastfed and she refuses to eat solid food. She weighs 7.0 kgs.

She cries most of the time because she is hungry and yet she refuses to eat or drink milk.

This is what she does whenever she is offered food. She cries and gags on food that is slightly coarser having been used to baby jar food since she was 6 months old.

I have to start training her as if she was 4 months old.


Update on Sze Wei’s progress

She voluntarily opens her mouth to accept the food!!!

A happy Sze Wei with a full tummy!

She weighs 7.4 kgs now.


Update on Sze Wei’s progress

YES! We have managed to get Sze Wei to enjoy eating home cooked porridge which is slightly coarser than the baby rice that she has been eating.

She has finally accepted taking the bottle into her mouth but she does not suck at all. This is either because she does not know how to suck on the harder teat or she refuses to suck. Anyway, I let her play around with the bottle in her mouth for about 5 minutes.

We have to spoon feed her. She is now taking 3 ½ ozs each feed.

She now weighs 7.5 kgs

How did we manage to get her to enjoy her food?

Log in and go to: Feeding your toddler to find out the technique.
Related article: Baby weaning


Sze Wei celebrated her first birthday this month.

Sze Wei with her friends and 2 older brothers.

Last month I tried to introduce semi solids to Jeffrey and he did not like it all.

I tried again 2 weeks later and now he absolutely loves it. He is only taking 1 teaspoonful of baby rice mixed with water once a day.

He is so cute I just had to put these photos here.

This month my 3 ‘crawlers’ are starting to stand up.

Cody is 10 months old

Josiah is 9 months old

Kyan is 9 months old. He loves ‘cruising’ along the wall.

Related article: Baby walking

Happy Deepavali & Happy Halloween!

Happy Deepavali to our Hindu readers

Commonly known as the Festival of Lights, the celebration of Deepavali (or Diwali) literally means "row or garland of lights". It symbolizes the triumph of good over evil, the victory of light over dark. It is celebrated here in Malaysia by the Hindu and Sikh community during the seventh month of the Hindu lunar calendar, which usually falls in either October or November. L amps (called diyas or kandils) are lit as a sign of celebration and hope for humankind.

The Legend

There are several beliefs regarding the origin of the holiday. The most common version is that Narakasura, the king of demons tortured the people under his rule. After many years of hardship, the people, unable to bear the suffering, appealed to Lord Krishna who then declared war against the demon king. As he lay dying, the demon king begged for mercy from Lord Krishna and he asked that the people rejoice and be merry at the anniversary of his death as a reminder that evil will never triumph. Little clay lamps were then lighted as a sign of gratitude to Lord Krishna.

Some Hindus believe that Deepavali is celebrated to mark Rama’s triumphant return to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana the demon king of Lanka. By order of the royal families of Ayodhya and Mithila, the kingdom of which Sita was princess, the cities and far-flung boundaries of these kingdoms were lit up with rows of lamps, glittering on dark nights to welcome home the divine king Rama and his queen Sita after 14 years of exile.

Deepavali Preparations

Preparations start weeks before with the spring cleaning of the home, buying new clothes and making cakes, sweetmeats and other tidbits, the favourite being murukku. Hindus also believe that departed souls return during this time, so favourite foods of the departed along with new clothes are placed on banana leaves before the photographs of the departed and prayers are done.

Temples are similarly spruced up with flowers and offerings of fruits and coconut milk from devotees, becoming more abundant and pronounced as the big day draws closer.

The spring cleaning and decorating are significant for they not only symbolize renewal but also prepare for the welcoming of Devi Lakshmi, the goddess of Wealth and Prosperity, who is believed to visit homes and temples on the day. It is said she will emerge from the churning ocean only days after the new moon of Deepavali.

Besides the cleaning of homes and temples, Hindus also prepare themselves by cleansing their bodies and minds. Many among the devout will fast or observe a strict vegetarian diet, and spend hours during the preceding weeks in prayer and meditation.

The eve is usually spent making last-minute preparations for the next day. This is also the time when past quarrels are forgotten, and forgiveness is extended and granted. At night, children play with sparklers and are allowed to light clay lamps and display them along the window ledges or doorways.

Deepavali Day

Early in the morning, the Hindus will have the traditional oil bath whereby the body is rubbed and massaged from head to toe with gingelly oil that is extracted from fermented sesame seeds. When all the members have had their bath and don their new clothes, special prayers are held at the family altar. Decorative designs called kolams made with rice flour usually done by womenfolk are placed on the floor at the entrances of homes. South Indians believe that by drawing kolams with rice powder, they are actually feeding tiny insects such as ants. Hindus also make it a point to visit temples early in the morning to receive the blessings of Lord Krishna and the Goddess of Wealth. Then it is time for either visiting friends or having open houses to receive their relatives or friends.

Mehendi which is an intricate artwork is applied on the hands and feet of women to beautify them during Deepavali. This artwork may take hours to complete.

Non Asian festivals

It just occurred to me that most of us Asians do not know about festivals in other countries unless we have lived in those countries or have read about them. I think that since we are sharing the meaning of our festivals with non Asians, it would be nice to know about their festivals too. Therefore I would like to share with you the ones that I am familiar with and the ones that are well known.


This festival is normally celebrated on October 31

Celtic roots

The Celts were the ancestors of the present-day Irish, Welsh and Scottish people. They believed that on October 31, the eve of the New Year (Samhain), spirits of the dead would rise out of their graves and wander the countryside, trying to return to their homes. The problem was... if the souls of dead loved ones could return that night, so could anything else; nice or not-so-nice ghosts and evil spirits would walk the earth and mingle with the living. Therefore, when night fell, the people would dress up and try to resemble the souls of the dead by wearing masks and other disguises and blackening the face with soot to hide themselves from the spirits of the dead. The villagers also try to appease the hunger of these wandering spirits by placing plates of the finest food and bits of treats that the household had to offer on their doorsteps. Does this sound a bit like the Chinese Hungry Ghosts Festival?

Christian roots

In 731 A.D., the church declared November 1 as All Saints' Day (All Hallows Day) in an effort to stop the practice of Samhain. October 31 thus became All Hallows Eve, in time shortened to "Halloween." That did not happen as the powerful symbolism of the traveling dead was too strong, and perhaps too basic to the human psyche. Recognizing that something that would subsume the original energy of Samhain was necessary, the church tried again to supplant it with a Christian feast day. This time it established November 2nd as All Souls Day--a day when the living prayed for the souls of all the dead. In Mexico, All Hallows' Eve, All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day are collectively observed as "Los Dias de los Muertos" (The Days of the Dead).

In many parts of Britain and Ireland this night used to be known as 'Mischief Night', which meant that people were free to go around the village playing pranks and getting up to any kind of mischief without fear of being punished. During Halloween children go from house to house collecting treats in the form of sweets and if they did not receive any treats they would play pranks on the house owners. This can be traced back to a European custom called "souling" whereby beggars would go from village to village begging for "soul cakes" made out of square pieces of bread with currants in exchange for saying prayers for the souls of dead relatives. At the time, it was believed that the dead remained in limbo for a time after death, and that prayer, even by strangers could guarantee a soul's passage to heaven. This activity of playing pranks or collecting treats is called ‘trick or treat’.

The Jack-o-lantern is the festival light for Halloween and is the ancient symbol of a damned soul. Originally the Irish would carve out turnips or beets as lanterns as representations of the souls of the dead or goblins freed from the dead. When the Irish emigrated to America they could not find many turnips or beets to carve into Jack-o-lanterns. They did find an abundance of pumpkins which became a suitable substitute for the turnips and pumpkins are now an essential part of Halloween celebrations. Pumpkins were cut with faces representing demons to frighten away evil spirits. It was believed that if the demons were to encounter something as fiendish looking as themselves they would run away in terror, thus sparing the houses of the dwellers. These lanterns would be carried around the village boundaries or left outside the home to burn through the night.

Halloween controversy

Recently people are questioning if Halloween is just another innocent childish holiday. Vandalism and wanton disregard for the property of others is common on Halloween night. Even normally well-behaved children are driven by unseen forces to destructive behavior. Police officials everywhere report a great increase in such destructive activities on Halloween. Worse yet are the horrifying accounts of poisoned candy and fruits booby-trapped with razor blades and needles. Such threats are so real that many hospitals in the US offer free X-rays of Halloween treats in order to prevent children from being harmed. There are also questions about Halloween being linked to satanic practices.

Guy Fawkes or bonfire night is a specifically British festival

On 5 November, 1605 Guy Fawkes was one of a group of conspirators who tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament on the day of the State Opening of Parliament . 36 barrels of gunpowder were stored under the House of Lords.

However, the plot was discovered on November 4th , Guy Fawkes was arrested and hanged. Since that day the British celebrate 5th November by burning a dummy, made of straw and old clothes, on a bonfire and at the same time letting off fireworks.

Thanksgiving Day on the 4th Thursday in November is a North American celebration

The Origin of Thanksgiving Day

In August 1620, the Mayflower set sail from Southampton, England. After weeks of plowing through the tumultuous Atlantic waters, battling strong winds, pounding waves and a number of problems with their vessel, the pilgrims anchored at Plymouth Rock off the coast of Massachusetts. Her 103 passengers were to become some of the founding pilgrims of the United States of America and the creators of one of this nation’s most Source: Arttoday.compopular holiday. Of the original 103 pilgrims, only 56 survived the first long, bleak New England winter. The survivors built homes and planted crops. They made friends with local Indian tribes and traded with them. The passing of winter allowed the pilgrims to labor and produce, causing the colony to flourish and with the advent of spring; came new hope. After reaping their first harvest in the fall of 1621, the pilgrims dedicated a day to thank God for the bounty He had blessed them with.

During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln, looking for ways to unite the nation, issued the Thanksgiving proclamation on 3 October, 1863, setting the last Thursday in November, 1863, as a national Thanksgiving Day. Each president since then has issued a proclamation, announcing the celebration of this day.

The goose was the favorite bird at harvest time in England. When the Pilgrims arrived in America from England, roasted turkey replaced roasted goose as the main cuisine because wild turkeys were more abundant and easier to find than geese.