Turning a year older

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The kids have just turned a year older in October, Nadra turned 3 and Irfan turned 1. I still cannot believed they are toddlers now. How time flies! Especially with Irfan, I feel that his “baby-time” is too short. We seldom have an alone-with-Irfan time. Usually it will be with Faiz, me and almost always with Nadra. Irfan, being the most easy-going person in the family, seemed accustomed with the fact he has a very clingy sister and most of the time mind his own business.

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Irfan can walk now, and he is always on the move and quietly planning something up his tiny sleeves. He is a quiet observer but learns very fast. Yesterday, his nose was runny and I told him to get a tissue to wipe it off (of course I wasn’t expecting him to understand). He walked towards the tissue box, pulled the tissue and wiped his nose! We were shocked. He even walked to the dustbin in the kitchen to throw the soiled tissue away. While eating his puffs, he accidentally spilled the contents from the bottle. He went “oh oh” and carefully picked the puffs one by one, placing it back into the bottle. He is very independent for a 1 year old. There are of course some days that he would just cling onto us, but on normal days, he is good on his own. He tends to look intently at people he doesn’t know but when he does recognise, he will flashes them a smile.

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Nadra on the other hand, is quite a character. Her vocabulary tripled and so does her tantrums. One minute she is happily singing, and the next minute she can go into hysterical. It can be because of anything! Like if she was not able to maneuver her tricycle to turn and it went straight instead, or her shoe straps came undone or even because her feet got wet (because she jumped on a puddle)! She still have yet to learn how to control her emotions. Now, whenever she was being scolded or she felt embarrassed she would shout/smack. Putting her in the corner didn’t work, she would just run away. We learnt that by not responding and leaving her to calm herself was the best option. Every day is a new discovery with this girl. She ate better now and is always negotiating. She hates cutting her hair. On days she needs to get her fringe cut, she would bargain. “Okay, I will cut my hair. But you must give me ice-cream”.  Every morning, before sending her to school, when I asked her to put on her shoe, she would negotiate “Can you give me a minute to watch Octonauts”? Her “a minute” usually ends up 5 minutes though.

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Okay, back on their birthdays. Like Nadra’s previous birthdays, it was private with presence of immediate family members and very close friends. This year was no difference. We had Nadra’s birthday celebration in school with her friends and a combined celebration for Nadra and Irfan at home with family members and close friends.

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Prior to Nadra’s birthday, she specifically mentioned that her cake should not be shared and Irfan should have his own cake. She wasn’t able to make up her mind on her cake and kept going back and forth on Barney and Minions. She had a barney cake last year, so we thought she should have minions this year.

If you know me, I do not like fondant. They taste like sweet plasticine and most importantly, I never handled fondant before. So when Faiz told me that I should make a 3D cake for Nadra, I shuddered. “Children only cares on how the cake look. Nadra will be surprise if she sees  a minion 3D cake. She will be over the moon. Think about it.”

So I succumbed. You cannot imagine how frustrated I was while making this. The humidity was not helping causing the fondant to sweat like crazy!

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Not the nicest looking thing (untidy!), but it made the children wild excited and we ended up getting hugs from all the children in school.

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To compensate the fondant taste, I made a rich chocolate cake filled with oreo cream cheese frosting and covered with dark chocolate fudge frosting. The combination somehow worked. Cake was not sweet and fondant taste was not detectable. Children and teachers had second serving. Nadra gave me a big hug and thanked me. “Thank you for making me a Minion Cake Ummi”!

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For Irfan’s birthday, we wanted something simpler, a traditional cake, nothing fancy but tasted nice nevertheless. I baked a light coconut sponge cake filled with lemon curd, covered with coconut swiss meringue buttercream and coconut flakes. Can you believe I actually forgot to take a picture of the cake? I also prepared Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel tartlets. We catered food from Ummi’s Abdullah Ambeng Cafe and my mum supplemented with curry puffs and nutella blossoms. Kids were having lots of fun opening their gifts and the attention they are getting.

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We were drained once everyone went home, but kids slept soundly with a smile on their face. Irfan hugging his new toy train, and Nadra hugging her new book. A sight so beautiful, putting our exhaustion away. Never mind we do not even have a proper family photo.

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