Monthly Archives: November 2013

Enjoy your child!

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days are long but years are short

It is a beautiful day here in Karachi. Sunny with just the right amount of chill in the weather. Not enough chilly to make you pull out a sweater but enough that you will break out in goosebumps when you do Wudu for Fajr. Little H is finally sleeping after waking up at 5 a.m. and driving me crazy for two solid hours! Little Madam wanted me to sit and pat her to sleep forever and if she caught me closing my eyes or lying down a tantrum will ensue. H’s latest quirk is having me pat her for ages while I sit. I am not allowed to close my eyes or lie down. It does not matter whether it is 12 a.m. or 3 a.m. or whether she has woken up for the zillionth time, the same procedure must be repeated. I am seriously thinking why haven’t a mechanical mommy arm been invented!!! I feel like one of the handmaidens of Mughal times who were supposed to fan their mistresses all night in the hot Indian summers. So here I am rewarding myself with some me time with a huge breakfast, a steaming mug of tea and my laptop. Of course my heart jumps whenever I hear a voice from the bedroom. and that is every few minutes because  being a mommy means hearing an imaginary baby cry all the time. So not good for my poor heart, I tell you.

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Anyway I was ruminating about this quote someone said about motherhood, about how the days are long but the years are short. So true. Sometimes I feel like it was just yesterday that I brought H from the hospital all bundled up in pink. I do not remember much about the first six months. It is a blur of marathon breastfeeding sensations, and never ending poopy diapers. I look at other people’s babies and I wish I could go back to little H’s infant hood and take a moment to just cuddle her and stare at her perfect little hands and feet. As is the tradition here, when all the extended family came to visit me after the baby, the aunties will look wistfully at the baby and say enjoy this time, it is not going to come back. And in my mind I would go like I know it is not going to come back but how am I supposed to enjoy with a baby who refuses to ever sleep, cries incessantly combined with a difficult post partum recovery.

connect wiht chidren

Once little H turned around eight months, she developed extreme separation anxiety. No one was as good as mama and no place was better than mama’s lap. She wanted to be held all the time. I googled stuff, all the websites said separation anxiety will abate after a few months. I waited and waited but no as she grew older it just got worse. She just wanted and still wants her mama. And not just to be around me, but to be held by me. I grew increasingly frustrated as it was literally impossible for me to do any cooking, cleaning or other chores. I once even burned her while trying to cook while carrying her. Guilt made me miserable for days after that. But still stuff had to be done. I can now cook a three course mean while carrying her. Mommy superpower! I am sad that despite all the useless advice I got on H’s clinginess, nobody ever told me to buy a baby carrier and wear your baby! H has always been a very perceptive baby so the more frustrated I got with her, she would absorb my anxiety and cling to me even more. In retrospect I realize I was unconsciously pushing her away. If I could just have let her be and spent time with her, her clingy phase would probably have ended sooner.

seperation anxiety

After two years, I have realized the chores can wait, everything else can wait but my baby will only be two once. She would be this adorable and cute only once. So now I try to cuddle her longer in the mornings. When she beckons me to come play pretend games with her, instead of a hurried no I am busy now, I try to take two minutes to give her my full attention and do what she wants to. It is amazing how five minutes can make a difference to a child. They will be happy with just the five minutes you sit with them and will often go off to play by themselves after that. You do not have to sit and play for a half hour and let your chores wait. Life has become so fast and filled with never ending to do lists, social commitments and chores that it is very easy to consider your children as a distraction from all that you have to do. I have been guilty of that. But we need to remember children are our greatest priority and they will be young only once. So mamas, sit down, stop what you are doing, look in your child’s eyes, give them a hug and go start a pillow fight. Go create memories!

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Our Potty Training Journey

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My daughter just turned 26 months old and she is not yet potty trained. I can hear the old ladies out there gasping! Yes yes I know how lazy of me that my daughter is still in diapers!

potty trainig

If there is one thing that brings out the generation gap between mommies of yore and modern mommies, it is the issue of potty training. I have heard grannies tell me proudly that they started potty training at 3 months and one lady told me that her daughter was potty trained at 6 months!!! Seriously!

potty funny quote

I have been given advice on how I need to be really strict with her and scold her and tell her she is a dirty baby when she has a poop accident. I have also been told that modern day mommies have become lazy due to the availability of diapers and mothers three decades ago worked really hard to train their kids by the first birthday. I agree that they worked really hard but I do not agree with the typical potty training method used. You know the  desi way of potty training which involves making your child ashamed of themselves by telling them, ” Haww, shame shame, such a big baby and you peed on the floor, what a dirty baby, what will everybody say!” Decidedly, shaming your child and punishing them for potty accidents produces quick results but at the expense of your child’s self esteem. When you repeatedly tell them that they are a failure for having an accident they start believing that they are not good enough. This might lead to self esteem issues later on. Moreover if you practice harsh potty training you might notice your child acting up in other areas like becoming aggressive or withdrawing socially. All these are signs are that your child is out of balance emotionally. So it is best to adopt a gentle approach to potty training though of course there are days when you want to bang your head on the wall!

potty qoute

Anyway all these comments by oldies really bothered me in the early months of motherhood when I hadn’t yet discovered my inner mommy diva! So when my daughter turned 7 months, i dutifully got her a pretty pot to sit on and made her sit 3 times a day. Mostly it was a miss and go but around 15 months she was pooping or at least peeing in her pot in the mornings. I was very proud of myself. But as all of you experienced mommies must know whenever you get proud you are setting yourself up for an epic mommy fail! And so at 18 months my daughter had a case of early terrible twos. One day she just decided that sitting on the pot is sucha waste of time when she could be busy throwing a tantrum, clinging to mama’s legs and destroying stuff around the house. From that day on potty training has been one big fail.

I tried again when she was 21 months old. I was at my mums for a week so I let her go diaper less for a week. Let me tell you that was one exhausting week. It involved me cleaning up pee every 10 mins and cleaning at least 2 poop accidents per day. Though by day 4 she had learned that she needs to go sit on the pot when she needs to pee. It usually involved her sitting with her clothes on and peeing but atleast there was progress :p I am confident that if I would have continued for a few days she would have been potty trained by now. But then I returned to my in laws and here we have a lot of rugs. Plus my hubby is really particular about hygiene and he was aghast at the idea of pee and poo accidents everywhere! So potty training was put on hold indefinitely and now that winters are here it has been postponed till they end. Sigh. I have tried the reward chart too to get her to sit on her pot but not of much use.

What are your tried and tested potty training tips? Anyone has tried potty training without completely taking off diapers? Would love to hear your stories 🙂

Happy potty training!

Crazy Monday!

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Yesterday was one of those days where you show up at your child’s preschool ten minutes late  with peanut butter stains on your shirt, hair and dupatta in disarray and no makeup. No makeup might not be an issue with people blessed with a glowing complexion but trust me without makeup my pale complexion can rival any vampire’s :p

harried mommy

It all began when a nasty flu bug infected daddy, mama and H. Of course it really does not matter if mommy has the flu or not, she is allowed no sick days.

sick day sick mom

So come Monday morning I hit the snooze button one too many times and ended up oversleeping. And then little H refused to wake up and threw a tantrum when asked to change clothes. Another tantrum when asked to have her hair combed. And one more when asked to eat her breakfast. So just 20 minutes later I was totally at the end of my rope! Finally when I managed hustle a screaming H and her breakfast in the car I realized I had forgotten teddy. Did I tell you guys teddy has to go everywhere with H. Sometimes he even goes to the bathroom with her! So rather than risk a mid way meltdown I choose to go and get teddy now. Another 5 mins gone.

teddy

So that is how we arrived a full ten minutes late. And to top it little H choose that day to start crying when I handed her to her teacher. Sigh.

baby crying wiht mama

I did not have a chance to have tea or even a glass of water before leaving so  by the time I reached home my head was throbbing like anything. I do not know about you guys but if I do not start my morning right my whole day is stressed and hurried. I like to wake up at Fajr, then get dressed, make everybody’s breakfast, have my breakfast peacefully before waking H up and getting her dressed. Attempts to make her eat breakfast are usually futile and she just nibbles a bit on the way. My ideal morning routine would be to get up at least half an hour earlier and get in some Quran recitation, walk a bit and then start getting ready. This had been on my to do list for a full two months now!

mama n tea

Anyway to reward myself for enduring the crazy morning I made myself a huge cup of steaming green tea with ginger and lemon and downed it with a lovely chocolate doughnut. That was my happy place for the day 🙂 What do you guys do for relaxation after a crazy morning?

Parental Influence on Children

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I love observing people and since I became a mother I observe other people’s parenting styles, their children’s personalities and behavior. It is a lot of fun actually. I am no psychologist but one thing I have noticed is that children’s personality traits are  greatly influenced by their parents. And here I am talking about adult children. You would not be able to tell much by looking at a 2 year old or a 5 year old but when you observe a 40 year old man and then look at his parents, you realize how similar his thought pattern is to his parents. You are a product of your  past experiences. Of course at any time  you can break out of patterns made by your past, but that requires a lot of conscious awareness and willpower (this is a topic for another post).

happy chilren clipart

Children are like sponges, They absorb whatever is there in their environment and store it in their brain. For example you and your hubby had a fight. Although you took care not to argue in front of your child, you continued to give your husband the cold shoulder. You might think that your toddler or preschooler will not be able to notice this but trust me they can feel the vibes and if this is a frequent occurrence they will learn that ignoring people is the solution to problems.

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One day I was feeling very tired and stressed out. I was just sitting and thinking about all the stuff I had to do. Little H came in the room and completely surprised me by asking what happened mama. She is only 2.3 but she could feel the tension emanating from me. So never underestimate children.

It is often the things that we do not notice about ourselves that our children learn from us. I realized that after marriage when I got to look at my husband’s parents and my parents and realized that our current communication styles are so much influenced by our parents.

Some traits that I observed children learn from their parents:

Optimism

Specifically optimism is one trait you learn from your parents. If you view your glass as half full  your children are likely to do so too. Your husband got a new job which is high paying but in a remote region. How do you react? Do you fall into depression thinking how will you pass the time there or you start making plans to engage yourself?

optimism

Anxiety and problem solving skills

problem sovling

How do you behave when confronted by an everyday problem? For example you have a huge dinner party today and your maid falls sick and cannot come. Do you panic and start talking about how difficult it will be now or you immediately start making alternative plans like maybe you can call the neighbor’s maid. Our level of anxiety when confronted by a problem and our problem solving skills is something our children definitely learn from us.

Resilience

reselience

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from life’s misfortunes and to cope with stress and adverse situations. Your children observe how quickly you bounce from a negative event like the loss of a job, financial distress, death of a loved one or relationship issues or you keep wallowing in your grief for a long time.

Happiness

happy  children

If you have  a cheerful disposition and enjoy life it is likely your children will also turn out be cheerful, happy individuals. Again this is linked to optimism.

change mom quote

So mamas, be happy, optimistic and enjoy your life and you will automatically raise happy children! 😀 And remember all these traits can be learned, your personal development as a person is linked to your growth as a mom 🙂