Archive for March, 2008

Kei First Flight

March 20, 2008

For original article, click here

Gosh, such a bad mommy I am, I haven’t written anything on Kei ever since he was born! True enough, parents dedicate a lot of resources to keep the memory of the first kid, but the resources are dwindling for the second kid and beyond. As I am the fourth kid, I really understand this, because I couldn’t find any pictures or mementos related to my infancy and childhood. Sorry I digress. But with the hectic schedule of taking care two kids, I just realized that Kei didn’t have as many mementos as Noe had. C’mon, I gotta be fair to both of my kids. So, now I write something about Kei’s progress during the past four months.

So far, the only thing that I have written is how breastfeeding Kei has been smooth sailing. Now I will try to add more news.

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At five days old, Kei has given his grandmothers the pissed-off finger. Bad bad!

At one month Kei began to have a meaningful eye contact and follow objects through his eye movements. But i haven’t got his voluntary smile yet.

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Also at one month he was able to lift his neck when he’s put belly down.

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I got his first smile at around five-six week.

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At around seven weeks Kei was circumcised (i’m sure we’re gonna face a lot of lambasting from other agnostics / atheists, but we decided to do this anyway..).

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After his wound healed, at around eight-nine week, we began with cloth diapering. This is the right age because his bowel movement had become more regular and his pee was getting less frequent. I got fresh new stash from bumwear and bumgenius websites. Kei has been loving his cloth diapers and he looked really cute in them.

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At three months, end January, Kei was able to clasp both his hand together at the centre of his body. He also began to be able to grasp things.

A few days later, he was able to lean himself sideways 45 degree. Striving to defy gravity. We began to be more carefree with Kei’s neck, which has become stronger. At three and a half months, Kei began to grab things that are lying around him.

At four months, Kei began to play with his saliva, making BRRR sounds. Indonesians believe that this is the time when mother begins to shed hair. True enough, a few days later, I began to shed my hair. This will last for many months, NOT liking it at all.

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At four and a half months, early March, Kei began to roll more steeply, but not quite rolling over yet. One week later, Kei totally rolls over, and he really loved rolling over and back.

He also began to be able to pull himself to sitting position, and surprisingly, to STANDING position, when I hold his hands. It’s not that we pull him into sitting / standing position, Kei insisted that he pull himself to that positions, albeit wobbly.

And just like his brother, Kei also flew in an airplane for the first time at four months from Singapore to Jakarta and back. Timely enough to be shown to relatives in Jakarta. Initially, I was supposed to fly to Jakarta with Kei and Noe on tow. I’m not a super mom, unlike Jeng Hany who’s able to take care two toddlers at the same time, so I begged to Indi to split the baby caring job, because I didn’t know how Kei would react on the airplane. Finally Indi babysat Noe while Kei and me went to Jakarta for family event. Luckily Kei behaved really well in the airplane, no crying no fussiness, despite a very uncomfortable Lion Air (but cheap) flight. I became more confident that next time I should be able to get two kids on tow by myself. Amen.

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Breastfeeding on the flight help soothes painful ears during descent

Overall Kei shared similar milestones as his brother. One thing different, Kei has fell sick with common cold TWICE, while Noe only fell sick after he was one year old. Well, with two kids, germs coming from the older brother’s school got into Kei’s immune system. And consequently, mummy also fell sick more often when one kids fell sick and hence began a circle of disease jumping from one person to another. When one kid fell sick, the disease could stay in the house for more than week thereafter, because other member of the family would get the disease. Luckily with breastfeeding the kids get well quickly. Hopefully Kei would be stronger and more resilient when he begins playgroup in a few years.

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Hasil Survey Biaya Hidup

March 20, 2008

Artikel asli ada di sini

Survey asal-asalan kemaren sudah mengundang sekitar 40 responden. Tanpa metode macem-macem, angka yang kita terima kita rata-ratakan per kategori. Hasilnya adalah sebagai berikut.

Total rata-rata dari seluruh kategori adalah: Rp 13,156,920. Dengan catatan angka ini tidak termasuk: Cicilan rumah, uang sekolah, senang-senang, kegiatan lainnya, dan asuransi. Murni untuk biaya hidup sebulan untuk keluarga dengan dua anak. Seberapa benar angka ini, kita juga ga tau. Beberapa orang yang tidak menjawab dengan detail memberi kisaran 10-15 juta perkeluarga per bulan. Wah, mahal juga ya, untuk kami, ini artinya sepantar dengan biaya hidup di Singapura, dengan kualitas hidup berkali-kali di bawah Singapura. Kami harus siap siap mengencangkan ikat pinggang.

Berikut angkanya secara detil:

A. Biaya hidup pokok

  1. Berapa rata2 belanja makanan dan kebutuhan pokok sebulan dengan asumsi belanja di pasar becek dan supermarket? Rp 2,303,061
  2. Berapa rata2 tagihan listrik per bulan? Rp 620,690
  3. Berapa rata2 tagihan air bersih per bulan? Rp 320,588
  4. Berapa rata2 tagihan air minum per bulan? Rp 133,125
  5. Berapa rata2 biaya gas masak per bulan? Rp 103,750
  6. Berapa rata2 tagihan telepon per bulan (Bukan seluler)? Rp 300,000
  7. Berapa rata2 tagihan internet broadband 24 jam per bulan? Rp 502,679
  8. Berapa rata2 tagihan telepon seluler dengan penggunaan fasilitas 3.5G per bulan (ada internetnya juga)? Rp 550,000
  9. Kalau memutuskan untuk rantangan makanan (2 sayur 1 daging), berapa rata2nya per bulan? Rp 868,750

B. Biaya transportAsumsi: Mobil kijang atau avanza dengan kegiatan mengantar ke kantor, belanja, dsb, plus tiap akhir pekan pergi ke luar kota mencari udara segar dan kegiatan outdoor. Mohon kalau bisa ada dua jawaban: 1. Apabila tinggal di pinggir kota (bintaro, cibubur, tangerang atau depok) dan 2. Apabila tinggal di tengah kota (menteng, rasuna, manggarai, etc)

  1. Berapa rata2 penggunaan BBM untuk 1 mobil per bulan? Rp 907,143
  2. Berapa rata2 biaya perawatan / maintenance 1 mobil per bulan? Rp 581,212 (kebayakan responden menjawabnya gak jelas, jadi kami asumsi angka yang diberikan adalah bulanan)
  3. Berapa rata2 biaya tol 1 mobil per bulan? Rp 445,000
  4. Berapa rata2 biaya parkir 1 mobil per bulan? Rp 458,571
  5. Jika memakai busway setiap hari (plus ojek, bajaj), berapa rata2 biayanya per bulan? Rp 800,000
  6. Jika memakai taxi setiap hari (plus ojek, bajaj), berapa rata2 biayanya per bulan? Rp 2,725,000

C. Biaya optional

  1. Berapa rata2 mempekerjakan pembantu yang tidak tinggal di rumah (Bekerja 8-10 jam per hari setiap hari kerja)? Rp 440,476
  2. Berapa rata2 mempekerjakan supir yang tidak tinggal di rumah (Bekerja 8-10 jam per hari setiap hari kerja)? Rp 1,096,875

Silakan dikomentari…

Tagged with 123 meme

March 20, 2008

For full entry, click here

Sorry Mr. Ong, for responding so-very-late to your 123 meme, Indrani have been occupied with things, sick kids, and flying back and forth Singapore-Jakarta. With easter holiday in the horizon, we just found the time to write again.

Indi hasn’t been reading books lately, too busy with work, so that leaves me responding to the meme. The meme rules are:

  • look up page 123 in the book that is nearest to you at this very minute
  • look for the fifth sentence
  • then post the three sentences that follow that fifth sentence on page 123.

Here goes:

“The increasing pull of children was weighed against women’s solid sense of identification with their careers and the heavy investment they had made in them. Women took pride in their professional accomplishment and tremendous pleasure from their work. Wendy Friedman voiced the difficulty many women felt in making the decision and reflected on the variety of losses it entailed”

The book titled “Opting Out: Why women really quit careers and head home” by Pamela Stone (2007).

Why that book? In recent years I have been trying to find the answer for the notion of why people who chose to go down the path of child-rearing tend to be perceived as isolated, particularly, isolated from the business and working world. We have been trying to break that notion, trying to balance child-rearing / work and involving our kids into things that we do everyday. I know some of my friends also tries to break away from the conventional norm of child-rearing / work separation, such as Ari Thalia Aina family. We know it is not easy. We concluded that the isolation emerges from the fact that most people take the child-rearing / work separation for granted, but also, because the modern working world run with rules that excludes child rearing. In this sense, people like Ari Thalia or me are economic externalities ( Why the Most Important Job in the World is Still the Least Valued).

The women in the book were high achievers from ivy league universities, high flyer in their career, feminists, believers of equal parenting. Yet they decided to forgo their career to become a full time housewives. Why?

The book outlines that there is mainly two driving forces. First, is the rise of “intensive parenting“. In the past, parents are more concerned about whether or not their babies survive into later childhood. With advances in medical and nutritional technology (in line with Maslow’s hierarchy), the focus of parenting shifts into providing quality care and education, this means parents are the best caregiver and as much as possible should spend time with children. On the other hand, the pressure to excel within the corporate structure has forces people to bank 50-80 hours work per week. To add to the problem, for women, the prime age to climb the corporate ladder coincides with the prime age for child rearing.

However, the book shows that it is not so much the first factor, that is the child-rearing factor, that pulls the mothers to quit from the job, but instead, it is the corporate world that is unwilling to accept compromises from parents with young children. The companies would freak out with the mothers proposal to work part time (at least for a few years), to work from home, to take emergency leave, and inability to work over time. For the corporations, it is all-or-nothing scenario, there is no in-between. Facing a win-lose option, mothers gave up.

On a side note, my mom-in-law struck me with one sentence that makes me think twice about going back to work full time again. She said, “Kids grow up really fast. In a blink, my sons became teenagers and then they’ve gone out of the house. You only have FIFTEEN (or at the most, seventeen) years to spend with your kids before they live on their own”. Fifteen years, that is, only one fifth of my whole life. And I don’t want to miss that. Sure enough, last week Noe had just turned 3 years old. How time flies.

But then again, people said, you need double income in order to survive in this harsh world.

I wish the world become a more friendly place to people who choose the path of predominantly child rearing. Like this
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Noe (6 months) sleeps during a seminar on development economics

I’m not gonna tag anybody else.. if you feel like continuing this meme, go ahead and link back to this entry..

What Is Your Earliest Memory?

March 1, 2008

For original entry, click here

I am trying to remember what is the earliest event in my life that I remember. Sure enough, I don’t really remember myself being a baby in a diaper. But there are some remnants of memory in my brain that, I’m sure, happened before I was five years old. Some events even happened before I was three year old because I could remember them, even graphically, mainly because of a significant time marker in those events. Those events are as follows:

I remember my maternal grandfather passed away. This happened when I was about 2-3 year old and my sister was just a few months old. This might be the earliest memory that I could remember graphically in my brain. I remember approaching my grandpa’s body in the living room of his house and my aunt told me that grandpa was just sleeping and that he was going to some faraway place to be “repaired”. From then on, I believed that my grandpa will return to our family after the reparation is complete. A few years later, when I was in kindergarten or primary school, my grandpa’s younger brother came to my house for a visit. He really looked like my own grandpa, so I told him, “Hey, you’re back! Grandpa has been repaired!“. Of course everybody laughed at me, but I swear I was being damn serious about my statement at that time. From then on, my grandpa’s brother always addressed himself as the “repaired grandpa”.

I remember my old house in Bandung, in Jalan Wastukencana no. 4. Our family moved out of this house when I was about three or four year old, and if I could remember something from my old house, that must be before I was four. I could remember three events there:

  • I remember standing up on family dining table during dinner, and my older brothers and sisters was about to scold me when my dad told them not to, because I didn’t understand what I was doing. I also remember trying out chili sauce for the first time in my life and cried because of it.
  • I remember playing with an Ambonese lady, Tante Inne, who rented a room in that old house. I remember watching TVRI with her, and the song Potong Bebek Angsa was playing on TV with static slideshow of ducks illustration. Then my mom popped into the TV room to pick me up for dinner.
  • I remember taking a stroll around the city hall. My old house was just across Bandung city hall. After the stroll, we went to a house of an Indonesian chinese old couple, who happened to sell candy and sweets. The grandfather gave me free candy and I beamed.

I also remember moving out from my old house to a new house in Jalan Riau. I remember playing on the stack of kapuk mattresses that are waiting to be put into the individual room with my sister. We rolled the mattress to make a pipe-like tunnel and ran into it.

Those are the five significant events from before I was four year old, that are still etched into my memory vividly.

What is your earliest memory?

Tracking My Time

March 1, 2008

For original entry, click here

I’ve been tracking my time for the past few months. I’m able to do this perhaps because I’m just a housewife with plenty of spare time(Yeah right, the truth is, being a mom is a 24hr job!). Let me share with you about it.

In the beginning…

In the past I have been thinking about how to track my time, mainly to find clock in hours I spent doing different projects. However, no tools have struck me to be particularly useful. Some tools are too confined within one PC (i.e. time tracker in Google Desktop Sidebar), and some tools are too disconnected that they can’t be synchronized with the PC (i.e. some pocket pc tracker program, or even manual notebook with pen). Or, I had to pay hefty price to buy time tracker software. In short, I needed a time tracker that can be accessed anytime anywhere and can aggregate the data into a report.

Using Twitter and Google Spreadsheet

Come Twitter and Google to the rescue. During the past months I have been using twitter to track my time together with Google Spreadsheet. Why twitter? Because I am able to access it from many different platforms, namely PC/Laptop, pocket PC / cellphone web browsers (with twitter mobile version), instant messenger, and SMS. I found that the cheapest way to input data offline is via pocket PC web browser connecting through GPRS/HSDPA/wifi into twitter mobile webpage. The webpage is only 3Kb long which means one pageview equals to 1 cent SGD. Of course the cheapest way is to input data through stationary PC, which is free.

Then I use Google Spreadsheet to aggregate the data into report. The problem with twitter is that I had to manually input the time tracking data into a Google spreadsheet in order to summarize it into a more sensible report. This is because I can’t find any way for Google spreadsheet to import data from twitter. Although it only take me 30 minutes per week to input the data manually, I dreaded to do that because it’s so boring.

Using Google Spreadsheet with Form Input

Anyway I just realized (too late) that Google Docs has launched new features on the spreadsheet since early February 2008. Now the spreadsheet can directly receive data via an online form webpage. This is cool because then I do not need to manually input twitter data into the spreadsheet. Moreover, the online form webpage is very simple, enabling me to open the form webpage in my pda quickly despite only using GPRS connection. The webpage is only 1.8Kb long, which means one pageview equals to 0.5 cents SGD, and I didn’t have to spend time doing additional data entry. Basically, this enables me to create time tracking report on the fly.

Creating Time Tracker: Step-by-Step

First I created a new spreadsheet, with the first sheet to keep time-tracking data. I rename this first sheet as “time detail“. Make sure that you have plenty of rows, say, 1000 rows, if you use the spreadsheet to track 24 hours of your life in great details. If you only use it to track only a few tasks, you might not need 1000 rows.But ensure you have enough rows, because that’s what is written in the Google help instruction.


The form editing view


The form webpage view in browser

Then I created the online form according to the instructions. I made three input points, namely “Task“, “Tag“, and “Achievements/Notes“, which will be depicted as three different columns in the spreadsheet. The “Task” column is to record the task name. “Tag” column is to assign three letter category into the corresponding task, and you can put as many category as you want. I have many categories, ranging from breastfeeding time to travel time, blogwalking, and categories dedicated for each separate projects. “Achievements/Notes” is to put down any additional notes on the task.


The grey rows are the ones input through the form, while the white ones are input directly on the spreadsheet

By using the form entry, Google also automatically creates new column within the sheet for timestamp, which marks the exact time when the particular entry is added into the spreadsheet from the webpage form.This timestamp marks the beginning of a particular task.

Then, in the column next to the ones used for form data entry, I added one column to calculate the duration of a particular task, using the formula =MOD(A4-A3,1) for row no.3, repeating this formula according to the next row numbers.

On top of the duration column I added a “total hours” data using a simple =SUM(E3:E1000)*24 formula, which will be used in the summary report later on.

Second, go to the second sheet and rename it as “summary“. Then assign the columns to aggregate data according to the “Tag” by listing all the “Tag” that you have made.I made two columns for this, “Tag details” and the “Tag” itself.


The data, summarized according to the “Tag” or categories

Aggregating data is done by simply adding all the durations in the first sheet, depending on the assigned “Tag“. This is done in the column next to the “Tag“, using the formula =SUMIF(‘time detail’!C3:C1000,”Tag”,’time detail’!E3:E1000)*24 (This formula will give the numbers of hours in decimal form, meaning the numbers behind the decimal point is the fraction of an hour. For example, 1.5 means one hour and a half, which is 1 hour and 30 minutes).

To make the number more sensible, I added two more columns “Percent” and “Daily Average“. “Percent” shows how many percent of my time used for a specific task, and to make that number more tangible to me, “Daily Average” shows how many hours and minutes I spend each day for a specific task.

In summary, Google Spreadsheet with form webpage input enabled me to track my time both on and off my PC, even on the road (using my cellphone web browser), while generating summary report on the fly. Using flexible “Tag“, this spreadsheet can be adapted both for extensive time tracking use or to only track a few projects.

Do you want me to create a Google Spreadsheet template to be shared publicly? Or do you have any advice to make the process easier? Let me know by writing your comments below.