Sibling love

When I was pregnant with my daughter I was a bit apprehensive about how my son would respond to her. He had been an only child for 7 years, would he be jealous that somebody would come and share his space? How would he react to her taking up so much of my time and me not being available for him as much as I used to. Would the age difference come in the way of them being playmates when she’s older?

She’s 9 months now and I think I was worried for nothing. My son absolutely dotes on his sister. He says that she’s the cutest baby in the universe and he’s the luckiest brother. Every time we want him to get off the iPad we tell him to play with his baby sister. My daughter seems destined not to be a girly girl. She loves playing with her brother’s toys even the creepy ones.

I guess I have nothing to worry about and can look forward to seeing this brother-sister relationship blossom in the future.

My son is an alien

This morning I decided to make some applesauce for my 6 year old to have over his pancakes instead of the usual chocolate syrup. I steamed the apples and blended them with a little honey. Then I made star shaped pancakes and poured the applesauce over them.

Nadir took one bite and made the worst face possible. I scolded him for not keeping an open mind and told him to try another bite (after I had tasted it to make sure all was ok). Still the same face. I scolded him a bit more and brought a chocolate croissant for him to eat. He looked at me with a grouchy face and said “Why do you hate me?”

After telling him that i most certainly didnt, I left the room.

5 minutes of sitting by himself I heard him calling me, “Mama I’m sorry for being mean!”

“Ok Nadir, do you want me to come sit with you?”

When I sat with him as he happily ate his croissant, he said “Mama, actually I can’t eat healthy food because I’m from outer space.”

Patterns in my hair

I think it’s time I should dye my hair.

Yesterday Nadir and I were talking about patterns and he said “Mama there’s a pattern in your hair… black, white, black, white…”

Hmmph little smart ass! I know I have a few white hairs but surely not as many as I have black? He could have said “black, black, black, white…”

Anyway this is bound to happen. As I rejoice in my son growing up, learning new skills and becoming cleverer, I also have to embrace the fact that I am getting older. Hopefully I am also getting wiser. So that a few white hairs and a few wrinkles will not worry me but will remind me of the beautiful experiences I had and the love I shared and cherished.

image

Grandma in the house!

In my culture if an elderly person lives in your house it adds to the blessings that the household receives. We don’t have old age homes, elderly parents live with their children and their families.
Yesterday my 80 year old mother came to stay with me. Hopefully if we can get her visa extended, she will be with me for 3 months. This is a special time for both of us because as much as she likes to have someone to listen to her stories, I cherish the opportunity to give back the love and care that she has always showered me with.
We have a saying in our religion that “He who found his parents in old age and did not earn heaven by serving them, he failed.”
Nadir is very excited to have his grandma staying with us. He enjoys hearing her stories especially about his grandpa from the army days. He thinks she’s very cuddly and loves hugging her.

image

When we went to pick her up from the airport he was standing there with this placard. Nani is the word in our language for maternal grandmother.
I love that our language has a different word for every relation. So my sister’s husband is “sala” whereas my husband’s younger brother is “dewar”. It’s not just brother-in-law. The same way I’m not just an aunt, I’m khala to my sister’s children and phupi to my brother’s children. I think it’s because we really value family a lot.
I hope to teach my son the same values and I pray that he’ll look out for us when we get old.

Little Picky Eater

For all those moms whose children are picky eaters, I feel your pain. I really do.

We were recently on vacation in Dubai and were staying at a hotel which like most good hotels had a lavish breakfast buffet. But Nadir refused to eat anything.

“The cereal is not sweet enough”, “The toast is too dry”, “The banana is too squishy”, “The croissant is too big”, he had an excuse for not eating every single thing offered to him.

Finally I decided to leave him in the room with his Dad while I, at least enjoyed the breakfast. I had just sat down with my plate full of delicious chocolaty pancakes, melt in the mouth butter croissants and juicy fresh fruit when my phone rang.

“Mama, I want to do potty!”

“Right, then do it! Your father is there isn’t he to help you clean up?”

“Yes but he doesn’t know what to do! Please come!”

I tried to stuff as many pancakes in my mouth as I could before I had to rush off to respond to the latest emergency.

I order the school lunch for Nadir in the hope that while eating with his friends he may be inclined to try out some new food. Sometimes he eats it but sometimes he doesn’t. And of course he always has a good reason for not eating.

“I tasted the chicken, it was disgusting!” “I didn’t have the rice because it had peas in it.” “I didn’t have the rice because it didn’t have anything in it!”

Sometimes he’ll just forget whether he ate or not at school, so I leave him until he asks for something himself.

We are soon going on vacations and I am dreading to think what Nadir will do there. Let’s hope he decides to eat what’s available and not worry me too much. After all I deserve a break too.

Back to School

20141212_103041

So it’s back to school tomorrow. Somehow I survived a winter break in which we did not travel and I was left to entertain my 5 year old entirely on my own devices. There were crazy moments, a lot of bonding, a lot of noise, too much time spent in timeout, and a million hugs.

My favorite time spent with him was when we created something together. He gets a brilliant idea like “I want to make a house for my soft toys!” and then I help him implement his idea. And while I work away with cardboard, scissors and tape and his creation takes shape, he keeps telling me “I love you Mama!” It’s these moments I wish would linger forever.

When he comes back from school half the day is already over and he has spent a lot of his energy positively so it’s not so difficult to keep him busy the rest of the day. But when you have the whole day to keep him engaged it’s a whole different matter. And then what magic do the teachers possess that the children always listen to them, whereas I have to repeat myself at least 3 times before it’s even acknowledged that I said something?

Yes, somehow I survived. Having said that I have to concede that being a mother, no doubt has its perks as well. How else would someone call me his “sidekick” and make plans with me to fight monsters together? How else would I get such tight hugs that I would have to catch my breath at least 10 times a day? How else would I be told, “I want to marry you because you’re so cute!”

There is never a dull moment with him around and when he goes to school tomorrow my morning will feel empty and lonely. I have made a plan to go out probably to avoid the silence at home. Before I know it I will be longing for the next holidays. Crazy, right?

 

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?”

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.


http://ceenphotography.com/2014/10/07/cees-fun-foto-challenge-soft-pastels/

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. 🙂

20141005_124034

 

Eid Mubarak!

Eid Mubarak to all my fellow bloggers celebrating this festival. I wish the moon sighting would not be so complicated and not leave us guessing till the last minute about whether it’s Eid or another fast to keep.

This Eid my house has a forlorn look as we are in the middle of moving and I have already sold most of my stuff. Our voices have begun to echo in the empty rooms, but we are excited that everything is moving according to plan.

Each Eid I have a family lunch at my place but this Eid we will be going over to my sister’s place as I literally have no place for guests to sit. I feel so blessed to have a chance to celebrate Eid with family just before we move to another country. A month of 15 hour fasts was not an easy task and now it’s time to celebrate!

The new moon

The new moon