Making the most out of family time during the MCO


  • Family
  • Friday, 03 Apr 2020

Her children love too cook and Thevi says the stay home order has allowed them time to learn simple dishes. Photos: Thevi Ramalingam

Twelve-year-old Aiden Ramalingam learnt how to make sticky chicken wings last week under the guidance of his mother Thevi. Though it was his first effort, the finished wings looked finger-licking good and won the approval of his father Stuart.

Aiden and his sister Rheanna, nine, are enthusiastic young cooks and are taking the time during the movement control order (MCO) to learn as much as they can from their mother, who is an accomplished home cook (check out Thevi’s Kitchen on Instagram and you might want to sign up for home lessons too).

“I want to learn more recipes and cook more, ” says Aiden who loves watching videos of British chef Gordon Ramsay’s tutorials.

He wants to be able to cook for his family “without the help of mummy” by the time MCO is lifted and by the looks of it, he will. Next up, he hopes to master Ramsay’s Cauliflower Steaks!

Budding cook Aiden is focused as he marinades chicken wings with the guidance of Thevi .Budding cook Aiden is focused as he marinades chicken wings with the guidance of Thevi .Being confined to the house has given the Ramalingams a lot more time for activities that were previously put on the back burner due to the children’s daily school and co-curricular schedules.

“They used to help me on and off but because of school, classes and other activities, we didn’t have the time except for weekends. Now that we’re home all day, I teach them how to cook and bake too – simple and easy recipes.

“We don’t have the luxury of being able to head out to get ingredients so we make do with what’s available at home. I watch MasterClass (online cooking tutorials from world-famous chefs) and the children love watching it with me. (American chef) Thomas Keller has classes on the basics, like eggs, from making scrambled eggs to mayo from scratch.

“Aiden loves scrambled eggs and has to have eggs every other day, even though I’ve told him we have to ration these days. He has attempted to make his own breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast.

“Rhea loves burnt cheesecake, so I taught them both how to make it the other day, ” says Thevi, 40, who is a stay at home mum.

With schools, kindergartens and childcare services shut due to the MCO, parents have to keep their children occupied for hours on end: some form of schooling still has to get done and then they need activities to fill up the day.

Not to forget meals to fill their tummies (we all know how hungry a growing child can get) and exercise to keep them healthy.

As if this isn’t challenging enough, many will have to fit all this in while they work from home.

The children are quite happy to have their father home all day, every day. The children are quite happy to have their father home all day, every day.

For Thevi, the MCO has enabled her children to spend more time with their father, who is the general secretary of the Football Association of Malaysia.

Stuart has been working from home since the restrictions on going outdoors were introduced and later, enforced.

“As I am a stay at home mum, it’s really business as usual for me. But Stuart’s work takes him away from home a lot and we have been using this time to bond as a family and do as many things as we can, ” says Thevi.

So far, their home projects have included cooking, decluttering and reorganising their home - the children have to do chores such as making their beds, laundry, washing dishes and so on - and gardening.

Rhea, who loves to get her hands dirty, is keen to learn how to “fix things” as she is curious about how things work.

“I’d like to learn how to fix a bicycle or anything that’s broken, ” she says.

Though they’re quite happy to be at home, the children miss their weekly visits to their grandparents, Nana and Bumpa, whom they usually spend Fridays with.

A skilled cook himself, the MCO has allowed Stuart mess about the kitchen with his daughter. A skilled cook himself, the MCO has allowed Stuart mess about the kitchen with his daughter.

“I am pretty lucky that my children are very easily entertained. When they’ve done their work for the day (they get their school work sent to them via WhatsApp, Telegram and Google Classroom and have Zoom lessons with their tuition teachers, Taekwando sessions and music teachers), my son would go on his PS4, practise his drums, read, draw or play football with Stuart.

“My daughter is always singing and she’s one who can be occupied with her Lego for hours. In the evenings, they play with our pet Beagle, Ella, cycle or play football, ” she says.

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family , bonding , MCO , Covid-19 , cooking

   

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