Wednesday, August 24, 2005

It's all about the family

Being a “family” person myself, I think that it’s important for my daughter to develop an attachment to her cousins as well. I have the fondest memories of going back home to Pakistan for the summer and doing all kinds of crazy things with the other kids in my family. Things like stealing “amrood” from our Thaya’s house, buying “gola ganda” from the “thela wala’s” that roam the streets and eating an obscene amount of “mithai” while all the adults in the house were napping in the afternoon. Memories that will last me a lifetime and always make me smile whenever I think of our “good old days” back home.

So back to the point… During my quick visit to Pakiland last week, I saw Iman in a whole new light, discovering a whole new meaning to family. While I was there, I spent most of my time at my sister’s house and Iman got to spend time with HER cousins. This was different than our past visits, because now she’s able to understand and express herself. She ran around the house with both of them, hiding and looking for each other. They snacked from the same plate and best of all, they rolled around on the floor in giggle fits for no reason.

I don’t know if this was my imagination, but she seemed more comfortable with them than she has ever seemed around other children. I know she won’t remember this visit, but I know that I always will. This was the first time she bonded with family, and the first of many times that she laughed whole heartedly making memories for a lifetime.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Three is company, four is a crowd

A friend of mine had a baby last week. It was our first time to see Iman’s reaction to another child that small. Usually she is great with other children, but usually those other children are also close to her age.

Initially Iman was really excited to see the little one. She was squealing in delight, clapping her hands and yelling BABY! BABY! Perfect reaction… she likes little kids!

A short while later when she realized the baby doesn’t do much; she completely lost interest and went about playing and doing her own thing. Funny though, every time anyone picked up the baby, she went straight to them, raised her hands and nodded (her way of telling us to pick her up). As if trying to tell us that having the baby around is OK, but no one should carry anyone but her.

But when I picked him up, she dropped what she was doing and came to claim her turf. First she innocently stood by my feet, arms extended and head nodding. But instead of picking her up, I sat down and told her that I had the baby right now and started asking her to interact with the baby. I asked her to tell me where the baby’s hand is… nose… etc. When she realized that this “thing” in my arms was just as harmless as her toy doll, she again went about her business.

I was kind of happy to know that she didn’t detest the child, and was welcome to see me carry another baby. Obviously her reaction to another child is important, since we want to have all our (three) kids with little gaps. Iman being the eldest would play an important role, and it was necessary for me to see her reaction to this one.

To make things better (or worse, depending on how you look at it…) Iman was eating animal crackers, and when she saw that the baby didn’t have any, she did the noble thing by going up to him and trying to feed him some. We caught her in time and made sure that she hadn’t secretly stuffed in a couple. Thankfully baby was ok. Of course I sat Iman down next to him and told her that he was too young to eat. In her words, I told her that baby doesn’t eat “um” (Iman’s word for food). “Um” is only for big kids like her, baby is small and only drinks “dudh doo” (read: milk in Urdu). Well then… THAT changed things for Iman. For her, “dudh doo” is mommy’s milk, something she IS NOT willing to share. So she got up, picked up her shoes and my keys, and headed to the door, her way of saying… It’s time to go.

I was too quick in mentioning the child’s sustenance. It would have been better if I hadn’t mentioned “DD” something near and dear to her heart, and something she still isn’t willing to share. Maybe it’s still too early to think about another child, but I’ll leave you with an image of me with 2 kids.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

A love greater than any I have known

Ever since I came down with the flu, I’ve seen Iman’s sense of love and concern heighten for me. As I lay on the couch and blow my nose all day, she tries endless tactics to entertain me. First she brings the ball, then the car, then her books, each time wanting me to get up and do what I usually do… keep her busy and entertained. But seeing little to no reaction, she feels it’s her duty to make things right. So all day as I try to get by, she tries to get me going.

It’s nice to know that no matter how low I may be, there will always be someone who cares enough to pick me up.
Don’t get me wrong, spouses are great at this too. In fact, Omair is the perfect husband when I am sick. He takes excellent care of me… tea, soup, food, you name it! He even manages the whole house when I am down. After having Iman, he’s been so great that after coming home from work he looks after her 100%. And at the end of the day, he even takes time to do something extra nice to pamper me back to my feet.

But there is something different about a child’s love and concern. Iman can’t do all that for me, but she has done so much in the past few days. Her genuine concern and love for me has given me a greater appreciation of motherhood. She feels scared. I’ve even seen her stand at the door of the bathroom as I blow my nose, looking worried, not knowing what’s wrong with her mommy. It’s a concern so innocent and so pure, that I can’t help but be flattered that there is someone in my life that cares about me so much.

No matter how much I may love Omair, this an amazing feeling. Kids truly are priceless. And it’s a love beyond any you will ever know, until you have one of your own!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Getting kicked while you’re down (literally)

Getting to know other people with children the same age as ours has been an interesting concept. Now, we aren’t just looking at the person, but also their parenting skills. I might meet someone that has the makings of a great friend/hang out companion, but the next thing you know they say something really bizarre about the way they are raising their little one, and you can’t help but grab yours and inch to the door.

In continuation to my birthday celebrations I had a party at my place for a group of moms and their kids (all near Iman’s age). Most of them I’ve know for a few months now, but there was a new girl on the invitee list (my neighbor’s recommendation). Up front she was great. Good family, well dressed, didn’t smell. She has a 19 month old son. He was also well dressed (clothes from NEXT), looked visibly healthy and well taken care of.

It was good to know that Iman had another person to include on future play dates.

That was a first impression. Things got worse, MUCH worse.

A little into the party, the demon child (my new name for him) shows his true colors. First, he’s really violent towards all the other kids. Personally, I don’t mind if kids rough it up a little, after all, it’s healthy to let them fight there own battles. BUT in this case, read on…

First of all Iman’s already sick, so she isn’t on top of her game. But this kid actually pushes her (face down), sits on her and then starts punching her back!!!!!!!

OH MY GOD!! If my heart hadn’t stopped beating maybe I could have reacted faster and saved her from the whole experience. I ran to her rescue, obviously now she was crying hysterically, and tried to comfort her. Now you have to understand that Iman is a “people’s person” she’ll go and play with anyone. So this was a direct violation to her existence. She was only trying to make friends, but this DEMON CHILD, actually took advantage of her friendliness.

Of course shaken from the whole experience I turned around and tried to brave face it. After all, this was a new mom in MY house. I couldn’t just be rude. I was going to play in on her actions, you know… I was expecting her to say something to her son, so I could turn around and say.. “yes, we have to watch the kids, some times they can be so aggressive, ha ha ha” BUT to my surprise… she didn’t react!! Not a flinch. She just kept on talking to another one of the girls, completely unmoved by her DEMON CHILD’S violent actions toward my poor innocent little girl.

Ok, so I brushed it off as “really bizarre” and comforted Iman in my lap for the next few minutes. But then, kids will be kids, and she wanted me to put her down so she could go and play again. Against my wishes, she rejoined the group, but only a few moments later, she was pushed AGAIN (by the DEMON CHILD) this time he kicked her, again and again until I got there and pulled her up!!
Now let me just state that I am the kind of parent who doesn’t interfere with children playing. If there are some “push and shove” incidents I let them slide, because kids will learn to be gentle and aggressive in different situations. It’s all a part of personality development. So generally I don’t help Iman fight her battles. But this wasn’t a battle it was a massacre!

Obviously he’s off the play date list.

When I relayed the entire incident to Omair, he was ready to go over and kick this poor kids teeth in. I would have gladly shown him the way, but really… what do you do in this kind of a situation? I can’t hold Iman back from playing, and I certainly don’t want her to come back bruised. I don’t want to teach her to hit back (not just yet…) so what then?

How can I keep her safe, and let her go at the same time? How do you tackle perfectly normal people who are perfectly horrible parents??

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

In sickness and in health

Caring for an ill child is one of the hardest things to do in the world. Besides the more disgusting part of it (the vomit and the poop) there are the other aspects that tire you out. Over the last few days I have been through another small emotional and physical roller coaster. It started with a bad mango…

A few days ago Iman and I shared a mango at a restaurant. The innocent fruit (not so innocent later…) was actually quite tasty. It was hardly a couple of hours after dinner that I saw the mango again. Iman had discretely chosen to go in the corner behind the dining table before vomiting it out. When I got to her, the look on her face clearly said that there was more coming… but as we rushed to the bathroom, there came more and more and then some more!


That was a lot of cleaning up I had to do. Someone like me isn’t the kind of person who would be much help when another got sick. In fact not only does it gross me out, but it also makes me react in a similar fashion. Hmm… so you’d think that I wouldn’t really be good in this kind of a situation. But the funny thing is that when your own kid gets sick… the actual “sick” part of it isn’t gross any more. When I see Iman get sick, it doesn’t bother me at all, I’m actually so worried about her and how she feels that I can’t seem to see anything beyond that.

It reminds me of my Dad. He handled all the “sick” situations in our house. Any time any one of us would run to the bathroom, mouth covered by hand, he would be quick to rush in behind us. He would hold our hair back and stroke our backs telling us that it would be ok… he was right here. “Take it easy honey, you’re going to be fine.”

I always wondered how someone could do that. You know… stand behind and watch. EEEEEWWWWWW!!

But really, it’s not ewwwwwww. It’s actually really scary when it happens to your own child. There isn’t anything in the world I wouldn’t do to save Iman from all ill health and everything bad in general.

Parenthood is a tough job.

So after the vomiting incident a few days ago, things really haven’t settled for my little one. After the puking came the fever, the cough and the runny nose. And along with all those came a very clingy and cranky baby. Her eyes don’t have that magical spark and her flaming attitude is burning low. I miss my baby…

Monday, August 01, 2005

Powder Puff Girl

Having seen her mother put on make up day after day, Iman has learned that there are certain things that go on your face, but she hasn't learned just how much...

A few days ago I was setting up for Iman's bath, which means laying out her clothes, pamper, hair brush and a little container filled with powder AND a powder puff (go back and read the title if you misread it before...)

During the process, I got a phone call and left the room for a full 2 minutes. When I returned I was horrified to see Iman standing in front of the mirror powder all over the floor (obviously container empty). She had the puff in her hand and she was patting it over her face!

When she saw me, she turned and smiled, trying to say... "look at me mommy, I did it just the way you do!". I couldn't help but hug her and tell her that she looked beautiful. Needless to say, I pulled out the camera and had her pose for a few pictures. However every time I tried to take a picture Iman gave me a really funny smile, squinting her eyes and flashing her teeth.

I remember trying to teach her how to smile, but when did we do it like this?