My Hero

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.”

Weekly Photo Challenge : Vibrant

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My son and I made these kindness jars today. Each member of the family (there’s a jar for Venus, our maid and nanny as well) has the opportunity to earn points by doing something kind and thoughtful. The points will appear as colorful beads in the jars. There’s a window on the side of the jars so we can see what level we’re at. Negativity will be punished by taking away beads. Each person has his criteria for earning or losing points.
I also want to translate the beads into cash earned for my son. This should keep his interest for longer and will also teach him about how to handle money. We haven’t started giving him pocket money as yet.
Here in Bahrain where we live, we get to enjoy a moderate winter and feel very fortunate to do so. The world needs warmth at the moment and the best kind is kindness.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/vibrant/

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.

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Mommy time

I have been realizing more and more, how important it is for me as a mother to have my own time doing things that I like to do.

In the last year I have started playing tennis, a sport that I have loved all my life but never had the opportunity of trying out myself. It gives me immense pleasure to spend 4 hours a week on the courts and come home tired but content. I have never played sports seriously as a child or even later and now in my late 30s I feel fitter and stronger than ever before.

Similarly I have never played a musical instrument before and i dont even have a natural musical sense but recently I have started piano lessons. I find it difficult but I’m learning by sheer stubbornness and have advanced to the next level.

So why is this important for a mother? Not only am I happier learning new things but also it encourages my son to want to learn too. If he is brought up in an environment where his mother shows interest in sports and music, he is sure to grow up wanting to do the same. If he sees his mother pursuing her hobbies whatever they may be, he is sure to want to have his own hobbies too. If he sees his mother grow as a person, he will too.

So a message for all the mommies out there: please find time for yourself and use it wisely, not only will it be good for you but for your children as well.

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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.

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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.

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.

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