Game Set Match

On the way back from his first tennis lesson yesterday, I asked Nadir how he had decided that he wanted to play tennis, “Did you watch someone play at the Country Club (the one near our house)?”

“No, I saw on Tom and Jerry, the dog was playing tennis.”

Wow. Turns out these cartoons are not so useless after all.

Anyway I’m really happy that my son is learning how to play tennis and to swim, something I would have loved to learn had I got the opportunity in my childhood. I felt so proud as I watched the coach give him a big thumbs up and high five.

After his lesson, Nadir declared, “I’m the best tennis player in the world!”

“Well you’ll have to work really hard for that” I replied. You really have to give the boy for having confidence.

I wrote earlier about how nervous and panic-stricken I get close to his birthday because I start judging myself as a mother and whether I’ve done enough for him through the year. Having enrolled him in tennis I feel more satisfied. Not just because he would have started learning a sport before he turns 5 but because it made him so happy. Isn’t that what it’s all about? To see our children’s happiness?

After his second lesson today I pointed out a photo of Roger Federer and told Nadir, “This is Roger Federer, he’s the best tennis player in the world.”

“Oh then we’re both the best tennis players in the world!” he said with a cheeky smile.


The Reset Button

20130215_210841You know how when you look into the mirror you see your physical appearance stare back at you, in much the same way when you look at your children, a lot of your own habits and personality traits are reflected in them. And some of those habits you didn’t even know you had or at least didn’t want to admit they were there.

I never realized that I exaggerate a lot. I often use the expression “hundreds of xyz..” when xyz can easily be counted on one hand. I also like to make sweeping statements. “I’ll never do ____ again!” and there I am doing it the very next day. It’s only when I started hearing my son say and do the same that I realized that he was doing exactly what I do.

It’s also a little scary watching my child grow into a mini-me. Maybe I have hundreds of wrong habits that he might adopt and can never ever get rid of… Maybe he.. Wait, what? I’m doing it again aren’t I?. Just getting carried away.

This is also the reason why people want to give up bad habits when they become parents. They don’t want their children to follow suit. Some personality traits are hard to get rid of and are not really harmful whereas other habits like smoking should definitely be stopped when you have children. The only time my husband quit smoking in our 11 years of marriage is when my son was born. Although he took it up again after a year, it is commendable that he was able to quit considering how difficult it is.

But that’s how it is with children. They make us want to be better people. When a child is born, it is not only a new life for him/her but also for the parents. It’s as if a reset button is pushed and a question is asked, “Can you be a better person now?”

Did I Do Enough?

It’s that time of the year again.

Mid October is the time when I start to  get a strangely helpless feeling which dispenses as a hollowness in my abdomen. The panic is setting in and I don’t know what to do.

Next month the earth would have made another complete revolution around the sun since we last celebrated the day I gave birth. It has nearly been 5 years from that momentous event and I’m panicking not because I’ll be having a bunch of 5-year olds running around in my house while I desperately try to entertain them with games and activities I’ve been planning for two months in advance. That for me is the fun part. No, I’m panicking for a different reason. His birthday means another year has been added to his age. I can no longer say he’s 4 and something, I have to say he’s 5 and the day after he’ll be 5+.

Where any other mother would be ecstatic that her child had completed another year, for me the question in my mind is “DID I DO ENOUGH?”

Should I have enrolled him in that football class I’ve been thinking about or found out about guitar lessons. He’s already 5, what skills does he seem to have that will help him succeed in life? He hasn’t learnt to read yet, should I have tried harder and pushed him to try harder too. Should I have spent more time with him? Did I do enough? Till when can I say, “He’s only xyz years old, he’ll learn this later.” Was I a good mother and did I do enough?

When I was working, I used to have an appraisal at the end of the year in which my boss would sit down with me and tell me where I did well and where I needed improvement. We would fill out a form and sign it. It was comforting to see it written down in black and white. I wish someone would do an appraisal for me now and tell me how I’m doing and where I need to improve.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy

I’ve spent most of my life living in Islamabad which lies comfortably in the foothills of Margalla Hills. If you go up these hills you can get a view of the capital city and be amazed by how flat and spread out it is. I took this shot when I visited my home city in April for a brief holiday. In the dim light of the setting sun, the city seems to fade into the horizon with the bold white of the Faisal mosque defying the otherwise faint lines. How many before me sat by the tree stump observing this peaceful, dreamy view of a city that is often accused of being too slow paced?


Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Soft Pastels

I love the soft pastels of baby clothes. When my son was little and was not able to run off at the slightest hint of a camera or try to grab it to see the photo before it was even taken, I used to dress him up and take photo shoots. I think I have photos of him in every outfit he ever wore. When I was going through these photos of him taken 4 years ago it was hard to imagine that this little guy has grown to be this bubbly personality who today has learnt the word “pandemonium” and is going about exclaiming “What a pandemonium!” after every few minutes.

Then and Now

Kids are just getting smarter. I think it’s human evolution.

I didn’t use a computer till I was in my teens. My Dad got an Amstrad and I learnt how to type. He was a retired army officer and he had some printed material which he wanted me to type out. It was incredibly boring stuff but I loved to type and hang around in my father’s office so I would help him out.

My not yet 5 year old can use an iPad. Even though I haven’t given him one he knows what to do when he sees one with his older cousins. Maybe I’m a bit afraid of technology and that is why I haven’t given my son an iPad. Or perhaps I don’t want him turning into one of those kids who know the inside out of games but can’t notice human presence. This I know; he’s smart and can always learn the complexities of a computer but not everybody has the people skills that he’s developing now. He has the confidence to talk to just anyone and he makes friends everywhere he goes with adults and children alike. And it’s not like he doesn’t know about technology. The other day I was telling him that I wanted to get a turtle for him but needed to check if the cage could be put outside. He asked me in a matter-of-fact way: “Why don’t you Google it?”

When I was studying in University I didn’t have a mobile phone. We often used to have trouble among the student unions and I remember an incident where some students armed with guns and bats got into a fight and we were stuck in the middle of it. Our bus drivers who were supposed to take us home refused to do so and we were left to fend for ourselves. Having no mobile phones we had to walk all the way back to our respective departments and phone home from the land line. These days you see children having their own mobile phones and facebook accounts.

My first international trip was when I was turning 6 and my mother took me (leaving my elder brother and sister behind) to visit my uncle in the UK. My next time international trip was to France when I was 22 and I was sent by the company I was working in for training. My son on the other hand, has already made 7 international trips already visiting 5 countries and living in 3 of them. It is as common for him to board an air plane as it was for me to make the 4 hour journey from Islamabad to Lahore by train.

My son is learning how to swim. Till now I don’t have the courage to get into the water. Maybe when he grows up, he can teach me. 🙂