Back to School


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?


Nadir’s Dragon Themed Birthday Party

We recently celebrated Nadir’s 5th birthday which was dragon themed on his request. I really enjoyed putting his party together. Here are the results…


The party sign


The goodie bags


The goodie bags up close


The dragon cake


The decorations


The table


The dragon display


Nadir monkeying around while we set up the party


The little birthday dragon is all set up now


Feed the hungry dragon game


Help the dragon find his wing game


Cutting the cake

I had so much fun doing this that it got me thinking about why I only get to do this once a year? Why can’t I do customized birthday parties for other children and make a bit of money as well. Yes, I’m thinking of starting a business, wouldn’t it be great to do something that makes you happy, be your own boss and earn something while you’re at it? Everyone who has kids want to celebrate their birthdays and sometimes kids request something that just isn’t available in the market. That’s where I would come in with my customized banners, decorations, displays etc. I even have a friend who does the cakes (she did a wonderful job with the dragon cake).

So what do you think of my business idea? I would love to hear from you!

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.


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.


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. 🙂




“I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” — Blaise Pascal
Where do you fall on the brevity/verbosity spectrum?

“Mama, do you know what a chatterbox is?” said my nearly 5 year old son one afternoon. Without waiting for me to answer he continued, “A chatterbox is a person who talks too much. Like me!”

Later in the afternoon I took him to the playground in the country club near our house. “Hello, good afternoon!” said the receptionist smiling brightly.

“Hello” replied my son. “I’m going to the playground because I don’t have my swimming lesson today. My swimming costume is blue which is my favorite color.”

At the playground he met 5 girls who were in the 6 to 10 years range and were playing on the swings.

“Hello, I’m Nadir what’s your name?” The girls started giggling and looking at each other, feeling a bit shy to answer.

Soon enough they were standing around him while he told them where he was from, where he was living before coming here and where he went to school. He also proceeded to demonstrate the right way to sit on the swing.

Wherever he goes he wants to have a conversation with everyone. He especially likes to talk to adults because they ask him questions whereas other children are usually too shy to answer him.

I don’t know where he gets it from as my husband and I are both a bit reserved when it comes to talking to strangers and generally don’t talk that much. I was joking with my husband that soon the whole neighborhood will know everything about us thanks to Nadir and we won’t have any secrets.

Back To School for Mom

I actually don’t remember ever being anxious about going back to school. After a long rather boring summer, I looked forward to it. What definitely made me anxious were the exams. Even today whenever I am worried about something I dream that I have an exam and I haven’t prepared for it.

Now as a mother I was more anxious when my little boy went to the “big” school today for the first time. Would he manage going to the toilet by himself? Would he like the lunch and eat it? Would he make friends? Would he manage to see the hours through?

My son was just excited to be wearing a uniform and wanted to go as early as possible. The result was that we had to wait till his teacher called us inside. As I stood nervously by his side holding my car keys, my son chatted with the other students waiting (who he had met for the first time and were much older than him).

When I went to pick him up he was wearing a crown and a smiley face sticker and he told me that the teacher said he was a good boy. He had also had his lunch and snack and had no trouble going to the toilet. Oh boy, relief!

Back to school