My little guy and me

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It was a hectic day today. I did feel a little too off all through the day due to my health which is downright adamant on not coming back to its usual chirpy state.
By the by, for all those who might not be familiar with this rather significant piece of news, yours truly just gave birth to a baby boy this April, who has been keeping her quite busy of late 🙂

[Now being busy or not- for that matter- does have a most complicated relationship with the heart. For if your heart desires to accomplish something; it will find a way and no amount of lack of time will matter. For there is no such thing as a lack of time as far as my (amateur) study of the matter is concerned. There is however a severe lack of discipline in my life though, the presence of which might very well be the eventual demise of all my dreams. If the demise hasn’t already happened that is. Which could be the case since I am usually not aware of most of the happenings related to my being. And most of the things come to my attention after the damage has already been done; by me or by someone else. Sigh.
BUT BUT BUT I wont go into the details of why this happens here because this has been happening for quite some time now and well; reasons are for the foolish (or the lazy in may case)]

Crux of the story is, the little guy just doesn’t let me brood over the vanity of my life anymore (that I was bent upon doing for the last couple of years or so), which was something I gravely needed but didn’t quite realize before.

He keeps me busy yes, but in a way, this little person has (sort of) renewed my sense of existence in life. My discipline situation has vastly improved (it hasn’t completely gone away I assure you, but yes, it has become better). I care about the sanctity of time now. Or perhaps I’ve started caring about it much more than I ever cared about it before. The joy and love this little being brings to my life is something I can’t even begin to describe here since there are no appropriate words to portray the many emotions he has brought out in me.

Perhaps it is true what they say about babies that are born later in life; that you do appreciate them more. I’ll also add another thing here however. I think when you have these kids, you actually are in need of them— in order to take you back to the self that you’ve somehow lost somewhere. You need them to regain some confidence in the prospect of hope, of that much-touted ray of light at the end of the tunnel, again.

By Maasi Wajo

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What if we say ‘yes’?

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As parents and especially as the mighty mothers, each one of us must have found many a moment in our lives when it is much more inevitable to say no to our children than the often scary, yes. Though it often does come to that after a couple of heart wrenching screams and some inevitable drama.

There are times however, where parents should say yes, even if we don’t want to, or if we have no time for anything at all.

I’m pretty sure that if we did something like that the sky wouldn’t fall down. Our children wouldn’t automatically become the worst behaved children in the world and wouldn’t start taking us for granted only because we had said ‘yes’ instead of the usually expected ‘no’.

You see, as mothers we have been conditioned to say ‘no’ to our children, often unintentionally when we find ourselves in the middle of something important, when there is a looming deadline over our head or the popular ‘I’m tired’ excuse (which is not an excuse ladies, I know but let’s just pretend for a moment only for the sake of this discussion!) I, for one, often find myself saying,

I’m really busy right now” or,

“Can we do this later? Mommy is a bit busy?”

“I’m making dinner, cant you see? We can do it some time else”.

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But more often than not, that “later” doesn’t ever come. And time flies by and we keep turning down our kids demands and wishes and before we know it they’re all grown up and we don’t understand what happened to their childhood. Problem is that we don’t really enjoy their childhood when it’s actually happening. We get so busy living our everyday life that we forget that time never stands still— that our children will not remain children forever. So what if we say yes instead of no, next time our kids want us to do something for them, or take them somewhere or just be with them for a while. The little time that we give them brings so much light to their life; we can’t even begin to imagine that sort of happiness.

So I have decided that the next time my kids want me to do something for them, I will try not to listen to the ‘no’ in me and instead will just say ‘yes’. Because I know, in the heart of my hearts that I will never regret it.

The little hugs, the giggles, all those cartoon discussions, those hour late bed times, all those special moments with my kids. These are the things that life is all about. This is when life happens.

I’m sure I’ll not regret saying ‘yes’. I’m sure of that! 🙂

By Maasi Wajo

 

My Beloved

By Maasi Saba

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After six years, my dua was finally answered when I became pregnant with my fourth child.  I was so happy because I had always wanted four kids. It’s just a nice round number.  I prayed all through out my pregnancy for the baby to be a girl.  I wanted 2 and 2. And alhumdulilah again, my dua was answered.  When I actually had my baby girl, I  was sort of in a daze. I remember the ward being overly crowded because many women were there for several reasons, and there were renovations being done at the hospital.  My kids were having their midterms, and i remember dropping them off and then driving to the hospital.  It was December, and the weather was bringing me down.  It was the first time I felt any sort of depression after giving birth.  My siblings were arriving for our youngest brother’s wedding.  All of our kids were having a ball chasing each other around the house, which I think helped me to not sink further into a depressing mood. I even went out of the way and called up my brother saying, I am overwhelmed with the baby, the weather, and getting the kids ready for their exams to come to your wedding.  I wanted to relax during those days since the exams would be done. Lol!  He thought i was insane.  I did manage to get to his wedding which was here Lahore.  I got their late. Made  a sloppy entrance and was dazed meeting everyone and handing my child over to relatives who wanted to see her. Since I was the groom’s sister, I was supposed to be needed elsewhere.  I showed my face, and then I left early with my kids because I still had to pack our suitcases because I was supposed to be following the Barat out of the city.  Well, my dear Chachu (Uncle), came to my house in his empty car and had to wait a little while longer because my little one had leaked, and my other kids were running around excited to be going to Nana’s house for a few days.  I think the rest of the wedding is a blur. I was there physically.  I wish I was in better health and state of mind, but oh well. It wasn’t my wedding, so it’s okay.  Whenever my brother says anything to me I always remind him that I was there!!!!! It should be enough.  

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Fast forward and it is three years later and my little darling is learning a lot of english, (courtesy of her cousin from Pennsylvania).  She has responses for everything! And sometimes I’m just amazed because my other three kids weren’t this vocal and confident.  I guess, daayr ayee daroost ayee. Or something like that.  She is one of those kids who knows everything about our cell phones and ipads.  I seriously didn’t know about a few things but this one likes to press everything and open everything and voila, she has discovered something else.  She is also one of those selfie addicts as well.  Or, hmm, I’m not sure if it qualifies as selfies.  I have put a lock on my phone because a few times in the past, she had called some of my friends and siblings overseas at odd times and finished my balance.  Then she also likes to delete apps and pictures I don’t want her to do.  And who can forget the many times she has disabled my phone.  Sometimes she makes me frustrated. But then she tells me that she was just trying to see something or she was trying to do something to help me, and then I can’t stay mad long.  She is my baby after all.

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One of her favorite past times other than going through her siblings’ drawers for some treasure, is to take pictures.  Sometimes when I finally get my hands on my phone, I have about 40 pictures.  Some are bursts of 14, or even 30 pictures of absolutely nothing.  Sometimes its half of her head, or the fan above her head,  or its her feet, or the walls or the floor.  There are just so many pictures that she is amazed at her talent.  My little doll knows how to change the tone and the style of her pictures so usually they aren’t so boring.  These days, when she sees that the camera app is open, she asks if we need to smile quickly.  I wanted to share some pictures she took the other day.  In one, she cut my head off, which was very considerate of her since she should know I hate having my pictures taken.  She did ask me to smile, which I did, but hey, she is too smart to bother me with cropping my head off.  The next is the classic pic of her socks and shoes.  She loves taking pictures of her bed, my bed and the walls.  She’s an amateur photographer.  It made me smile at how amazing life is when you have a toddler to share it with.  

My adorable baby girl, is no longer a baby, but she is my youngest, kissable, and huggable being.  I have those off days when she tires me out, but alhumdulillah, the good outweigh the bad.  And even now, when I stop occasionally to think about what to write next, she insists I type the ABC’S quickly as possible.  For those who have kids, we have all been told to sit back and enjoy them.  To take each moment with them and cherish them because soon they will be too old to sit with us.  It’s amazing how some people do exactly that.  But I am not one of those people.  Well not yet.  I’m not sure if I ever will be. I would love to be one of those people. But I am not sure I’m built that way.  But I am trying. So I must end this because she wants to watch her mickey mouse show right now. Even though she should be asleep at this moment, she is resting her head on my arm and waiting impatiently for me to stop my work and put her show on.  

So enjoy her pictures. I hope they put a smile on your face like they did on mine.  Kids are kids!  May Allah SWT guide them to be good muslims, and protect them from all harm.  

The Homework Dilemma!

By Maasi Wajo

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So now that Ramzaan is officially over and Eid has come and gone, life has or is supposed to come back to normal. It is a little hard thinking that most of us only have around a month of vacations left to enjoy, not to mention, get done with kids’ homework— which in this case hasn’t even taken off as of yet. I am struggling with time and motivation and what not. How do I manage kids’ holiday homework, start preparing for the school year ahead and keep myself sane along the process? That is the million-dollar question that incessantly presents itself to me every year. Since procrastination has been a personal predicament since time unknown, I have managed to come up with a couple of time management tips to make the most of the little time that I’m often left with… especially in this case.

  • After I finish this write up and post it on the blog, the first thing that I am going to do is to prepare a (realistic) plan for the kids’ homework…. keeping our regular activities in view. I don’t know about you but I am a very paper and pen kind of a person. Planning is imperative for me. In a way, all I do is plan but that is a story best left for some other time. Lol. A good way would be to divide all the homework according to the days left and do two/three pages per day (in case of younger kids) and in case of the older ones, ask them how much time they need for each assignment. Write that down and hold them to it. Make sure they achieve their day’s target before they indulge in anything else.

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    My planner.
  • For doing holiday homework my tried and tested segment of the day is Morning time, hands down. Kids are at their freshest, mommies are at their happiest and well, there’s a joyful aura to mornings, which is simply unmatched. My strategy is to just get done with the day’s homework right after breakfast so that I have rest of the day to myself. I work from home and seriously need a little chunk of time to myself to concentrate on my own assignments. I’ve also realised that once I am done with the hardest task first thing in the morning, I can spend the rest of the day anyway I want.

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    Books, books, books!
  • A SEPARATE PLACE for the kids to work. My kids know that when mommy gets serious about holiday homework she moves that big coffee table (the one we don’t use much) to their room. There is a designated corner in their room for that table. I set all their homework stuff on it. And the day I do this, my kids know mommy’s serious about their homework. We’ve been doing this for the last two years. It is science at work here you guys, nothing less. Hah! So yeah, make sure you can get them to study somewhere they can easily concentrate and a place they can associate with homework.

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    Kids at work!
  • I will also try and prepare a few meals ahead in the next two/three days; refrigerate them in small portions so I do not have to worry about khana— especially when I’m helping my younger daughter with her Urdu homework. Lol. Trust me, this can be very handy at times.

Last but not the least,I try to reassure myself that this too shall pass—that I have managed this before and I will be able to manage it again; and that I will survive. I try to stick to this little régime of mine, I do. This year we aren’t travelling. Last year we were and we left after Ramzaan, hence I couldn’t really do all this fancy stuff. I literally had less than a couple of weeks to get done with all the kids’ homework and don’t ask how I managed it all without going absolutely crazy. Seriously, the earlier you get done with it the better it is, but this write-up is mainly for those of you lazy mommies out there(like myself) who wait till after Ramzaan and Eid to get started with the terrors of holiday homework. We still have a month left if we start from today (presuming you guys aren’t travelling) and well all we need is a little bit of time management, thing that I have literally been struggling with all my life. But. We’ll get there, we will!

Let me know how you guys are handling the pressures of homework. I can definitely use a tip or two!

Straight From My Heart!

By Maasi Javeria

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Massi Saba’s recent article proved to be a fresh breeze after a deathly routine of preparing my kid for his test. Both of us were tired and frustrated by the last day. Well, the time came when I had to go pick him up. I greeted him where he was standing in queue, his name got called, he came, and the first sentence he uttered was, “I got -10 for misbehaving”!! My jaw dropped and eyes were about to pop out, “Why? What happened let me ask your teacher?” I shouted.

He grabbed my hand and threatened,”No way”! But some how after 10 minutes of pulling and pushing I eventually managed to free myself from his grip. I went up to the teacher and asked about the actual scenario, which turned out to be OK! or so I thought.
BOOM !!!!
My son started jumping up and down,”You tricked me, you lied to me, I will never tell you any thing anymore, I will never trust you”… And so on and so forth. He kept jumping in the car, still in a very aggressive mood. I tried to apologise but to no avail. He started tearing the tissue box, his school card, his pencil box etc. Tears were rolling down his pink cheeks like a shower, but I just sat there, still like a rock.
“You are the worst mom in this whole world, I have the worst family, I don’t want this family, I want new mom, I want to be dead, I will go home and be dead (God Forbid), I want you dead, I don’t want to see any body…”
Now the real question at that moment was whether his reaction was just because of the reason that I talked to his teacher OR because of the pressure both mother and child have to go through right before the exams!
I think my little angel just couldn’t take it any more. I sat in the car doing nothing but apologising while at the same time he kept on tearing any thing which he could see in car, including my cream, emptying it in my palm and then he said, “how does it feel? Bad na?”
And I said, “yes darling bad but if it makes you feel better, it’s worth it.” 20 minutes passed and and those eyes were red like anything. And then he sat silently exhausted and betrayed. He said, “this is the last time I am taking your sorry.” And I asked his permission, “can I hug you dear?” To which he nodded, and every thing was alright once again. Nothing was damaged, rather our relationship became stronger!!
Sometimes we need to give kids an out let as well. Let them express themselves fully when they can’t handle it any more, let them burst out, let them say any thing, let them feel free. Help them by not shouting at them and listen to them silently and with great patience. Your time will come and it would be worth ten times this universe.
Happy relationships, where only giving is allowed not expecting 😍😍😍😍

4 Steps to Tackle Your Finicky Eater

By Maasi Wajo

Try to visualize the dinner table scene from last night (if your kids do prefer dinner tables, that is). Recall how your fussy eater left all his Aaloo gobhi and just vehemently ignored the khana (food) altogether. Or how every time you tell them that you’ve made veggies for lunch they automatically want to order pizza. This was how it was like in my household until recently.

I have a 7 year old daughter whose fussy eating ways have given me quite a lot of trouble and for the longest time I was unaware of what I was doing wrong. But when I actually sat down to think about it, I found a couple of things that needed my immediate attention…

  • My home cooked meals lacked variety. Seriously, my own eating habits are not much to write home about. I don’t like mutton and beef, avoid fish like plague and prefer rice to everything else in the world. Oh and pizza. I was having pizza delivered every couple of nights or so! Hence unknowingly, I was the one who was slowly turning my daughter into a junk lover and it was too late before I noticed.
  • Secondly, in my house some alternative to dinner is almost always available, which is increasingly common in many Pakistani households these days, owing to a large number of people living together and differing food preferences. So if B didn’t like what was being served for dinner, I would make her Nutella or Peanut Butter sandwiches— just to get her to eat something. I was being too lenient in my mothering ways and B was gradually becoming a finicky eater.

These are the steps that I am taking these days to tackle (to some extent) these issues! Read on…

  1.  So I am ‘trying’ to change my own eating habits, which is very challenging for me, to tell you the truth. This week I made beef kebabs and fish fingers, which B outrightly rejected at first, but ended up trying at least one fish finger and a (very) little bit of kebab, which was surely a huge feat in itself! I think introducing them gradually to food that they’re not used to is important.
  2. Another thing that I am doing these days is that I try and eat with the kids, on the dining table. And I make sure to convey it them that whatever is being served is the only thing they’ll get to eat. Again not the easiest of things, in fact it might be tantamount to entering a warzone. But it is working with B and it might work with you as well!

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    My frozen baingan (eggplant) curry and daal (lentils). I just need to microwave these a little and voila! Dinner’s ready.
  3. I’m trying to keep nicely cut kheeray (cucumbers) in my refrigerator all the time for my kids. Because they tend to look for “stuff” to eat whenever they feel hungry and it is so much better to have fruit and salad veggies available most of the time, rather than to rely on packaged food like crisps/nuggets et al.

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    These are my frozen strawberries that i keep almost all year long, so that I can make Banana and Strawberry smoothie any time I like!
  4. Oh and another thing, I also make a couple of things and freeze them so that I have something available on days when I don’t feel like cooking (which are many I assure you). This Saturday I made baingan (brinjal) curry, daal masoor/moong (lentils) and chicken curry masala and froze them in small plastic boxes. Made life much easier.

Now I must confess that I’ve not yet reached anywhere concrete with B as far as her eating habits are concerned. And this regimen in no way guarantees a miracle. But it’s still a start and well, surprise surprise, she does eat her Aaloo gosht now, if only with half a chappati or so! So yeah, do try these. And let me know if they work.

Oh and good luck!