Saturday, 12 March 2016

Mom Dictionary: Definition of a Baby

baby, n. [bey-bee] plural: babies

A miniature human. Often wiggly and irresistibly attractive to the beholder. Likes to munch upon mother - any part will do. Unsanitary objects found underneath furniture are also acceptable. Enjoys harassing parents in all manner of ways, such as refusing to eat or sleep, just because. All torture tactics are accompanied by charming looks and puppy dog eyes to ensure success. Comes in a wide range of colours, shapes and sizes. Each specimen is normally considered the cutest possible one available at that moment in time. Has a unique ability to turn grown ups into cooing, gurgling wrecks at the merest glance. Enjoys pulling things, such as people's hair and glasses. Also exhibits an unhealthy interest in the oral cavity of the holder; to that end, can often be found trying to measure the elasticity of one's lips, the strength with which the teeth are anchored to the gums, and so forth.
The cottony head seems to emit a mysteriously divine scent, otherwise known as the distinctive 'baby smell'. This is different from the 'needs a nappy change smell', which comes and goes with alarming frequency. Possesses magical abilities to soothe any tired soul that touches it. Overall a squishy, cuddly creature that enjoys babbling incoherently at the top of its squeaky voice.
Also known as the Baby Behen of the Esteemed Aapi at the Jafri Residence. (Other specimens may be found elsewhere under different monikers.)


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Friday, 26 February 2016

SAHM Diaries (1)

Cacophony of sounds in your head. Day, night, in, out, asleep, awake - do this, do that, finish this, complete that. Never a moment's rest, not really.

Pretending to sleep so the 2 year old will sleep, all senses on high alert for the baby's cries from the next room. Does that count as rest?

Lying on the side in a precarious position while feeding the baby so she can sleep, but you? Not so much. The arm and shoulder go numb, the back hurts, but at least the baby sleeps, the sweet little darling.  Drifting off into fitful slumber just to dream of death and ghosts, demons and angels, past and present...hectic, busy, raucous - even the dreams. Not a moment of rest for the tired brain.

Now hear the alarm go off - shut it off, quick, before it awakens the baby - now hear the horrendous creaking from upstairs as some one gets up for Fajr.
Fajr! Oh dear - have I missed it? Hurriedly check sunrise time on MuslimPro, feel guilty about not being up sooner. Eventually...gradually...shuffle out of bed, out of toasty warm room, into icy cold bathroom.

Back in the room, finish praying...ah, bliss! What now? Get dinner started so you have time to exercise later? Or breakfast and some scribbles?

Scribbles win.
Always.


Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Motherhood lessons: Year 2

1. A supportive husband makes all the difference between a caring, nurturing mother and a crazy one. Seriously. Many have been the days when I am feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, and in sweeps the hubby and makes everything better. Sometimes he works quietly in the background, doing the dishes when I've fallen asleep without meaning to (again!). Other times he's vocal, full of helpful advice and loving words. But most of all, he makes everything better just by being there.

2. Night-wakings. It gets tiresome, sure, but remember when you would give anything for a little one to hold and to love? Well, you have her now - so cherish every part of it.

3. The Poop Superpower. All kids have it. You know, the ability to poop at will, only to be utilised when Mum sits down for a meal or when you are all ready to finally leave the house for that important errand that had to be done last week.
There have been days when there hasn't been a single poop the whole day, and no sooner have I sat down for my first warm meal of the day, when suddenly there are little hands tugging at my clothes, innocent eyes looking up at me while a sweet voice declares, "Ammi! Poopoo."

4. Little Perfectionist. When your toddler sees you lying down, with your eyes closed, body quite still - it doesn't just occur to her that you're sleeping (or trying to). She must make sure of the truth! She must come and shake you, poke you, repeatedly shout, 'Ammi, Ammi, AMMI!!!' until you groggily open your eyes to see what the ruckus is all about. Having thus annihilated any chance of getting the elusive nap, she will ask in the most innocent way, 'anna anna?' (in English: were you sleeping?) *facepalm*
Not anymore, Baby Girl, not anymore!

5. Kickfest! As soon as you conceive again, your child will miraculously decide that it is not enough to take over the family bed - no, Ammi must be kicked in the tummy repeatedly throughout the night. With as much force as possible.
(Obviously, the mountain of pillows comes into existence much before the third trimester in this situation!)

6. Little Helper. The 18-24month olds love 'helping' around the house. In our case, 'cleaning' with a 'toochoo' (tissue/wet wipe) is an all time favourite. Hand Baby Girl a wipe and watch her wipe down every surface in sight - the only unscribbled-on corner of the coffee table; the sofa; her face; your face (yes, in that order!). Far be it for her to clean in a way that actually helps Ammi. She is desperate to help, yes, but she will do it her way!

7. Randomness. Toddlers are the masters of random. It is not unusual for us to be treated to spontaneous bursts of nursery rhymes, 'Allah Allah' (anything religious like Surahs/Duas, in Baby Girl's own special language) and some very funny statements.
These incidents make great Facebook statuses, and more than make up for the exhaustion that seems to accompany parenthood. I'm going to make a scrapbook of all the statuses I've ever uploaded about my kiddos. One day. Soon. InshaAllah.






8. Best friends. There is something magical about the second year of your child's life. They are eager to use their burgeoning communication skills yet often need a translator (aka Mommy) to get their message across to the world.
This tight bond that the two of you share - the mutual knowledge that you will always know what they mean, regardless of their ability to express it, is precious beyond measure.
For now, you two are the best of friends. May this friendship last forevermore. Amen.

9. Baby weight. If you're still carrying extra weight two years postpartum, its probably your baby's fault. I mean, hey, someone has to finish off all those leftovers! I hate wasting food, and those toddler-sized leftovers seem harmless enough...until you end up eating an extra half meal at every meal.

10. Tete-a-tete. Conversation between a mother and a child is sacred. No one should interrupt just because THEY don't understand what the child is saying. If we don't listen to them when they're young, they won't talk to us when they're older.

11. Sleepy time. Naptimes and the hours after bedtime have a strangely ethereal quality to them - its a kind of peacefulness that comes with the certainty that the little one is safely ensconced in a room, without you having to supervise their 'explorations' and 'inspections' of everything. Needless to say, anyone who dares disturb the peace of the parents....I mean, the valuable sleep of a child...is not viewed with friendly eyes.

12. Are you a perfectionist...or a slacker? I'm a slacker. There, I said it. And I had to make a conscious effort to become one. Being a perfectionist by nature, it was easy to fall into a pattern of constant criticism, complaints and condemnation. This was ruining the general atmosphere of the home and I realized we were getting sucked into a vicious cycle of negativity, all because of me. Because I was unable to let go of the little things and focus on the bigger picture. And so began the long and ardous journey of trying to maintain a positive demeanor - or, at the very least, a civil one, during trying times.

13. Keep calm and carry on. This is an important one for me. When I'm hungry/tired/rundown for any reason, I find I'm unable to handle even the slightest of stressful situations. With a toddler, this means that the little crises quickly escalate into big ones, which take that much more effort to deal with.
Solution: remain level-headed in every situation. Remember, YOU'RE the mature person, not your little one.

14. Grossed-out. NOT. You will reach a whole new level of grossness-handling ability. Recently hubby and I went out for dinner with our nearly 2 year old. She took a good sized bite of chicken, chewed it up, spit it out into her hand to inspect it, and put it back into her mouth. Then ate it. I didn't even bat an eyelid. Hey, if it didn't touch anything but her hand, its fair game. It came out of her own mouth, after all. (See what I mean?)

There are more - oh so many more that I meant to write but I was simply too busy/exhausted to actually write when inspiration struck. But this one is for sure - the LOVE - the completely overwhelming and all-encompassing LOVE for your child - that never reduces. And you think, how will I ever love anyone else with all this love for my baby overflowing from my heart? But miraculously, when He blesses you with another little person, He doubles the capacity in your heart as well. Subhanallah. (As I type this, we await the arrival of Baby Girl no.2. But the love is already present. I haven't met my precious angel yet, but already I love her beyond expression.)

Do you have any Motherhood Lessons to share? If you do, I'd love to hear them!

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Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Ramadan In London

As the last nights of this year's Ramadan come upon us, I am strangely nostalgic about all the Ramadans I have spent in the U.A.E.



It is so weird for there NOT to be 'Ramadan Kareem' plastered on every shopfront, for the senses not to be bombarded with neon coloured signs proclaiming special Ramadan promotions, for there not to be 'Ramadan Timings' on the door of every establishment.

Bizarre and disorienting, to not see restaurants closed during the day, to not see reminders in the papers that it is forbidden to eat and drink in public during daylight hours,
How strange, the absence of the pre-iftar rush to the small cafeterias for samosas and pakoras and chholay ki chaat.

How different these hushed streets are to those from the home of my childhood; where the city slept during the day and awoke with a vengeance at night. The extravagance of dining and long drives and entertainment a perfect oxymoron to the piety that is supposed to be the blessed month of Ramadan.
How deafening is the silence without the constant sound of prayers from mosques booming in the neighbourhood, how empty of the hustle and bustle of namaazis as they rush to Maghrib prayers, then back home, then back for Isha and Taraweeh prayers.

Spending my first Ramadan in London since moving here, I wonder at how odd it is that everything is so...normal. As if Ramadan weren't even a thing. (And yet, Sainsbury's have a special 'Ramadan' shelf complete with overpriced halal non-vegetarian items and an elegant banner proclaiming 'Ramadan Mubarak').

Friday, 17 April 2015

The truth about HG

(This is an angry post. I apologize in advance.)

I'm going to come out and say it - I don't have morning sickness, ok? Its a mild case of Hyperemesis Gravidarum, and its horrible. Even though its 'mild', its absolutely horrible. And don't even get me started about the state of people who suffer from the severe form of this debilitating disease.

Right now, I am so angry and hurt and disappointed and generally low that for the longest time I didn't know what to write. I even thought whether it was worth writing. But it is, so here I am. Because the world needs to know how HG destroys the woman from the inside out. People need to research about it and support their loved ones during this hard time instead of making them feel worse than they already do.

Going through this a second time I have lost all patience with 'good intentions'. Educate yourself, people. Its not that hard.


You know you have HG when...

1) No amount of saltine crackers/ginger/peppermint even touches the nausea.
2) You need a bunch of pills just to 'survive'...and by survive I mean curl up on the couch like the living dead and watch your toddler destroy the living room.
3) You are unable to function like a normal human being - taking a quick shower requires herculean strength and makes you so sick and exhausted you just want to curl up and die and wonder why you bothered in the first place.
4) Doctors think you're just making it up and you stop using the term 'hyperemesis' just to avoid those sarcastic looks and comments.
5) Family members think you're just being overly dramatic. But when you try to explain they don't want to hear any of it because its all your fault because you didn't do XYZ or didn't eat such and such a thing and so you probably deserve it.
6) You struggle to keep food down, any food at all for 4 months straight, and the thing that stays down just happens to be a very specific brand and flavour of chips and soda. But people still think its ok to tell you that you're going to put on too much weight because you were already overweight to begin with, remember?
7) You spiral downwards into the worst kind of depression because HG renders you completely and utterly useless and people think you're lazy and irresponsible - and you don't even have the energy to correct them.
8) The weakness/debilitating nausea stays long after the vomitting subsides. Just because you're not vomitting does not mean you are 100%.
9) Being hungry worsens the nausea but eating makes you puke. Catch 22.
10) You can only keep down random things such as instant noodles from a particular company (safe foods) so as soon as you have a new safe food you stock up on it. Only to find it is no longer safe. So it seems prudent to not hoard food, but then when you have a craving for that particular thing you beat yourself up for not being far-sighted enough to keep extra. Catch 22 again.
11)There are times when you're too sick to eat and too hungry to sleep, and when you finally cry yourself to sleep you dream about food - only to wake up and puke your guts out at the mere thought of it.
12) Food aversions are your new best friends. The smell of fish cooked today makes you throw up several times daily for the next two days - and whenever you are unfortunate enough to think of it. Also, the revulsion to certain foods stays long after the baby is born - these smells become a reminder of a bleak period of time you would rather not think about.
13) Even after the worst is over, the smallest of puke session sends you into a full fledged panic attack.
14) Water becomes your worst enemy.
15) You want to cry tears of joy when you find a doctor who believes it is possible to still be puking your guts out beyond the first trimester.
16) You are not completely surprised when a doctor says angrily, 'What do you want from us?? What do you expect us to do?" because the medicines they gave aren't working and she thinks you're just wasting her time.
17) Suggestions/hints at lifestyle changes push you over the edge because you just want them to know HG IS NOT MY FAULT!! It is NOT caused by lack of sleep and eating vitamins/fruits/veggies will NOT make it go away!!
18) HG support groups and websites like http://www.helpher.org/ become your lifeline.

P.s. Have an HG story? Share it! I'm all about HG awareness these days.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

2 little angels

2 little angels to cuddle and to kiss,
2 little lambs to hug, oh bliss!

2 little angels to brighten up the days,
2 gurgling laughs, 2 beloved jays

2 little angels to love and to hold,
2 little darlings, more precious than gold

2 little angels, to teach and to guide,
2 lifelong friends, walking side by side

2 little dolls, to protect from this world,
2 delicate flowers, as yet unfurled

2 little daughters, may you bloom and shine,
May all the joy of both the worlds happen to be thine!






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My Lord, the Most Merciful

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Notes to Self

Monday, 15 December 2014

My Lord, the Most Merciful

A few months ago, I updated this status to my Facebook account:
"Getting pretty sick of the rah-rah parade doing the rounds in the blogosphere:
"(to mothers/women in general): You ARE good enough. You ARE amazing."
Really, I'm not. Seriously. Enough already! I'm all for optimism, but...oh, wait. I'm not. I'm for realism.
Conclusion: I need chocolate. Lots of it. Therein lies the solution!"
I still stand by my words. I'm not saying we should wallow in the deep end of the pool of self pity; but this exaggeration of one's goodness also nauseates me.
I often feel this way. As I'm sure a lot of Mums do. That I'm not good enough; I'm not doing enough as a mother. If I'm finding it SO hard, surely I must be doing something wrong! I must try harder. I'm not trying hard enough. I'm not praying hard enough. I'm not attentive enough. I'm not loving enough. I'm not positive enough.
I am just not 'enough'. The feeling of being inadequate as a person - but intensified a hundredfold into the failings of a mother. Being inadequate as a person is somehow less awful than being inadequate as a mother. If you fail as a person, you have failed yourself. But if you fail as a mother, you have failed an entire generation.
These feelings come to a head when I get sick, like the past couple of days. I've been feeling down and low and completely unworthy of the beautiful present from my Lord that is my baby; and then last night was the worst. My whole body ached and my eyes watered and I was sure I would come down with a fever that would be the death of me. And the voices in my head said, "You're a horrible mother, thinking about dying and such when you should be thinking of Baby Girl. And what business do you have getting sick, anyway? How will you ever take care of Baby Girl in this condition?'
Feeling thus, I asked hubby if it would be ok for me to take a nap in the spare bedroom for a while before coming to bed for the night. My brilliant idea being proposed at midnight, he asked what did I need a nap for? I said that I really, really needed some rest (which I was not going to get with a 16 month old in bed with us, doing her best to take over the entire bed while her parents hung on to the edges for dear life.) He tore his eyes away from his PS3, took one look at me, and said, 'You know what, why don't you sleep on your own tonight. Get a good night's rest, and I'll take care of Baby Girl. Just keep the baby monitor with you, in case I do need to call you."
And suddenly there was a voice in my head, whispering "Then which of the favours of your Lord will you deny?"
Photo Credit: http://othmanabdullah.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/which-favors-will-you-deny/islam_then-which-of-the-favors-of-the-lord-you-deny_1024x768_v1r1/
Photo Credit: http://othmanabdullah.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/which-favors-will-you-deny/islam_then-which-of-the-favors-of-the-lord-you-deny_1024x768_v1r1/
I don't remember the last time I had had such a good sleep as last night. To be sure, I still heard my baby's cries when she awoke in the middle of the night; I heard her cry out for me and I heard hubby comfort her back to sleep. But despite the disturbances, I had a good night's rest, alhumdulillah.
At Fajr time my bayboo woke up and cried for me again; this time she was inconsolable. I began getting up even before hubby's urgent whisper came through the baby monitor, asking me to come quickly.
As soon as I held my precious daughter in my arms, it was as if the negativity of the past few days had never existed. As she showered me with the sweetest hugs and kisses, I realized just how keenly she had missed me; and again there was the voice in my head, whispering, "Then which of the favours of your Lord will you deny?"
Such love as my baby expressed to me during the following day! All I could do was smile and think, so much love...for me? But I am so unworthy...so undeserving of it.
And then, finally, at long last, I understood: I may never be good enough. I may never attain perfection, but if I keep trying, my Lord will keep helping. When I take one step towards Him, He takes ten towards me. He, the Lord of the Universe, the Creator of all that is in the Heavens and the Earth, He who is Self-Sufficient and in need of no-one; He, my Merciful, Glorious Lord, will continue to help me as long as I keep trying.
With these thoughts in my head, I take a deep breath, cast away the doubts and continue on my journey of motherhood.

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(Originally published on Muslims Moms USA)


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To My Little One
Motherhood Lessons: Year 1
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