Monday, August 28, 2006

“The Terrific Twos”

After my “near crazy” moment with Iman, I have had a lot of conversations about anger management. Recently I was told by another mom that we destine our children for disaster in their 3rd year, because we emphasize that it’s their “terrible two’s”. When we face parenting hurdles, we lay the blame on age, not technique. So it’s been decided that new-age parenting calls for a change. The two’s will no longer be addressed as “terrible”, but instead… TERRIFIC!

Two is the time for inquisitive minds… we need to relish this curiosity and enjoy their undying need to explore.

Two is the time for affection… we need to enjoy that 134th hug and kiss and learn to understand their need to be loved and looked after.

Two is the time for attention… we need to sit and listen and pay attention to them, even when they don’t make any sense.

Two is the time to understand… because sometimes they don’t, and we do.

Two is the time for patience… because we need to know that they don’t throw tantrums to annoy us, they do it because they want to be heard.

Two is the time to teach… because little minds can learn as much as we can offer.

And two is the time to cherish… because it’s just one year, and soon they’ll be older and wiser and our problems will transform into other things.

To all the moms who had or have or will have two year olds… let’s not let them be “terrible” any more!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

on some days… I’m just not a very good mom

We’ve all had bad days. REALLY REALLY bad days when things were out of control. When everything was so overwhelming, that anything or anyone to cross our path, would be in the line of fire.

Personally I think I need to go through anger management. I get too frustrated too quickly. Maybe its Iman’s terrible two’s that make me want to dig my nails into something. Maybe it’s just that when you’re doing this all day and every day you need a break. Maybe it’s because I need to understand that she’s only 2, not 20. Maybe I just need therapy. Or maybe on some days… I’m just not a very good mom, and I need to accept that.

I know its normal for all moms to be a little crazy… after all, aren’t all kids out there just to wind us up? But when is “a little crazy”, a little too much? Does anyone get those violent Ally McBeal images? And if no one does… I will check in with a psychiatrist today!

But really… How are millions of women out there doing the same job as I am and remaining sane through it all???

I know that I’m not all bad, but there are days like these where I wonder if my anger and frustration will remain with Iman forever. Is she going to have horrible memories of a violent mom? You know how kids grow up but their childhood is over imagined in their heads? Try as hard as I might, I always fear that this one explosion of anger is going to scar my baby for life.

I have tried everything to remain calm. Trying to talk it through with her or just leave the situation alone until I can handle it better. But on a day like today, I feel bad because I’ve let down my daughter, I’ve let down my husband, and I’ve let down myself.

No no, don’t get panicked. I didn’t hit her. I just yelled at her, but not that "raise your voice" kind of yelling. The really bad kind, where you yell from your gut.

And no, I don’t do it often. But the sad truth is that I do it. When things go out of control, one after the other, and I’ve tried to calm myself but found no avail… and then Iman pushes my button one more time… I lose it.

Of course the guilt sets in immediately and then I want to hug her and tell her that I’m sorry. Tell her that I love her and that I feel horrible for being such a bad mom. But you can’t take back that moment. And what makes it worse is the fear in your child’s eyes. Nothing is worth that. And I wish that I could change myself, so I would never put her through that again.

All those parents that read my blog, moms and dads… Please share your “psycho stories”. I would love to know that I’m not the only one.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bedtime Breakdowns

The older she gets, the harder it is to get her to sleep. We always had a solid bedtime routine, and when she was younger, she really seemed to enjoy it. Now it’s all just a struggle. The moment our clock strikes bedtime, there’s all kinds of chaos, crying and commotion!

First there is the “stuck to it” phase. For every step in her bedtime routine, Iman doesn’t want to move on. When we head to the toilet, she doesn’t want to get off, when she’s washing her hands… she wants to keep soaping up again and again, when she brushes her teeth, she doesn’t want to stop. Once she’s in the PJ’s, we read to her while she has some milk. I always let her pick out 3 books, as I read; I talk to her about what’s on the page. Its great fun for both of us, and then it should be off to sleep… BUT NOT! During the reading, she’ll ask a million questions. Silly ones like… “Where’s the sun?” (Sun is bright and yellow RIGHT ON TOP OF THE PAGE!!!!!).

Another example: there are two girls looking for fish in the pond…

Iman says: “What are girls doing?”
I say: “looking for fishes in the pond”
Iman says: “Where are fishys”
I say: “In the pond, look right there!” (Pointing to the bright colored fish)
Iman says: “What are girls doing?”

You get the picture.

That’s the first phase. Then there is the “Stalling” phase.

Iman is finally in bed, lights are out. Two minutes later… “Iman want water”. Two minutes after that… “Read other story, please?” (How can you resist that “please”?????) Ok, be strong, be strong.

10 minutes later… “mama!!! Iman need to go toilet”.


Really, there’s no end to it. It usually takes us OVER an hour to get her to sleep. And it’s not that she’s not tired. I make sure she’s had plenty of running around before bedtime. My only hope is that when she’s back in school, she’ll be so tuckered out, that bedtime will be a much awaited event.

I hope.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Potty Training Update: There are some good days, like today!

There have been a few breakthroughs. First... we finally bought training pants (those disposable kinds). At home Iman is comando, and when we go out, I put the trainers on. So far they've been working well. She feels like it's still underwear, so she's more careful about telling me.

Today we went out and she told me she had to pee both times she had to go. YIPEEE!! (nobody curse her... PLEASE!)

So things are sarting to look up a little. We still have plenty of accidents, but slowly things are improving. Maybe this wasn't so bad after all...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A MUST share story...

We were driving over to have dinner with Arfiman and BPC. On the way Iman suddenly declares that she has to use the bathroom. Since I want to encourage her to use the toilet every time she goes... I had Omair drive to the first restaurant/cafe on the way.

While we were trying to look for a place for Iman to "go" I kept asking her if it was still "coming". She assured me that she had to "go" and that she was going to hold it. So we spot a Ponderosa in the distance, swerve a lane over to get into the right exit, drive through the parking and come to a halt at the entrance. I unhook Iman from her car seat and make a dash for the door. The welcome man asks me if I need a table for 2, I quickly tell him that my little one has to really "go" and if he could be kind enough to let us use the ladies room, I would be very grateful. Since Iman and I looked so authentic, he couldn't possibly say no, and so we took off in the direction that he pointed. Another 4 waiters and some directions later, I was in the bathroom! I quickly pulled down Iman's pants, asked her again... "need to go?", her urgent reply "Yeah, yeah... pee pee coming!". So I franticaly clean the toilet seat, line it with paper towels and pop her on.

Phew. Now she can go.

She sat there for a second, made a scrunchy face. FARTED, and then said...

"Finished. All Done!"

Monday, August 14, 2006

Independence Day Special

August 14th is Pakistan’s Independence Day. Being an expat child myself, I’ve always been really patriotic. Growing up abroad you have to have a lot of information about who you are and where you come from. Foreigners tend to question a lot about culture and heritage, and I have always enjoyed being a representative of Pakistan.

Since our independence day falls in the middle of summer, I’ve spent many of them back home in Karachi. I remember our own flag hoisting ceremony on the roof top. We’d always make “besan ka halwa” (Pakistani sweet) and once the flag was up, we’d all clap and cheer. Then we’d all sit and sing traditional Independence Day songs (Pakistan has a lot of those too!).

Being in a small apartment in Dubai doesn’t allow me to make August 14th special for Iman in the ways that I remember, but being as patriotic as I am, I couldn’t let the day go by without some mention. So today I pulled out our flag, the three of us put it up together. We did a little cut and paste activity with Iman so she would have her own little flag (thank God our flag only has 1 star and not 50!). We dressed her up in her traditional finery and to top it all off… I made green and white dinner :)

Happy Independence Day to all the Pakistanis out there!

PS. Happy Birthday to my mom, who happens to be an Independence Day baby!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Potty Training Update: Wanting to Call it Quits!

Why can't I just wait until she's in highschool before I have to give up diapers?

In hindsight I am sure that this is a trivial part of parenting… but for now, it's DAMN hard! My die hard readers know that potty training began as soon as we were off for summer vacation. Although the initial days were really tough, it got better and better and better... Almost a week into it, I told everyone that it really wasn't as bad as I had imagined, and anyone out there who's at the verge of training should rest assured that they would get through it.

Well... as of right now, I change my statement.

The story goes back to our vacation...

I had my parents buy a potty for Iman, and we were on top of our game since hour 1. Iman was very good at telling me that she had to go, and I was running to the bathroom every time she asked. For the first 3 days there, we had no accidents. I was so proud of her...

After a few days, things just started to crumble away. First Iman stopped telling me. So I took her after ever couple of hours or so... we were still doing fine. But as the days passed, so did her potty skills. I came back to Dubai with a complete diaper baby again (shame on me too!)

Now that we're here again, I've put her back into panties, but also discovered that she's back to square 1. Over the past 5 days, she's peed ALL over the house. We get about 2 hits a day, the rest are all misses. I'm getting frustrated because this is a task that I thought she had already learned, and most times I can see my frustration coming out on her. As I grit my teeth for the 8th time that day and tell her "It's ok honey, we'll keep trying"

(secret screaming in my head)

The day I tell you all that potty training is a success, I want you all to tell me go back and read this post. It's always reassuring to read about hard times when they're over. Since Iman is a picky eater, she gives me trouble with most meals. So I have a video of her where she's opening her mouth really wide and actually running after me to feed her some chocolate pudding. On particularly hard feeding days, I play back that video, and it reminds me that it isn't always going to be THIS hard.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

How did you know you were ready to have a baby?

One of the most frequently asked questions I had to answer over the summer was… “How did you know you were ready to have a baby?”

With wedding fever all over and cousins and friends getting ready to tie the knot, it was the one thing that they all wanted to know. When is the “right” time to start a family? The correct answer to that question is… Never

No matter how prepared you might think you are, parenting is the one job you can never be ready for. Children are an anchor in your life. They add a lot of stability, but they also tend to weigh you down at times. Being a mom or dad (since this applies to both) means that you have to learn to live for someone else. Maybe that’s one thing no human is ever prepared to do.

It’s a tough job. You don’t get a “do-over” and you can’t walk away from it. You have to have good instincts, you have to have presence of mind and most importantly, you have to have a lot of unconditional love. Children can really beat down on you at times, so it’s equally important to understand that if you feel “overworked” and you want to quit, it’s ok.

Most people gasp and shudder when a parent says… I don’t want to do this anymore. But it’s unfair to gloss it up all the time. Parenting has its promising and fulfilling moments, but at the same time it has a lot of heartache and frustration. It’s ok to feel like you don’t want to be a parent at times.

I get really jealous of my non-parenting friends when they have absolute control over their lives. They make spontaneous plans, we can’t do that anymore.

So those of you moms and dads out there, who feel like quitting once in a while, remember that it’s ok. Raising a child is a tremendous amount of work, and if you’re doing it right, then you should be really proud of yourself. Don’t feel guilty if you want a part of your life back. Just learn to “readjust” your happiness to incorporate the little ones. We can’t stop being parents, but we should definitely know how to take our breaks!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Really... there's no place like home!

We're back from our vacation. It was nice to have the break away from the regular routine. Wedding season was HECTIC, but loads of fun. Iman was loving all the fun and attention involved with being around family. She espeically liked having so many kids to play with.

Being back home has been really quiet, but there are a lot of chores to do. I've finished unpacking, cleaning and doing 4 loads of laundry. Both Iman and I miss being around so many people, but she's settled in well. She was more than happy to see her old toys and surroundings.

That's why they say... there's no place like home!

I'll get back to blogging as soon as I can get back into my own routine. In the mean time, enjoy the pictures on Iman's website. Those of you that aren't familiar with Pakistani culture, our weddings are REALLY colorful.