Monday, December 07, 2009

Sweet Dreams

SZI, aka Tyke turned 20 months, two weeks and two days old yesterday, last night we just bought him his first bed and he fell in love with it instantly. Actually, I suspect he'd been harboring the idea of his own personal space for a long time but I had serious issues about letting my baby go, so to speak. When we went to the shops scouting for cots/cotbeds, he would gleefully lie on the beds, his expression was so exultant that it took me some effort to not buy the car-shaped toddler bed for him the very instant.But we had travel plans so I thought it'd be better to delay it. We travel in another months time but this time round I was serious about his own bed space. So, we went shopping again and returned home with a colorful travel cot and mattress that takes up not so little space next to our bed. SZI wanted to be put in before it was snapped into place. In fact, he jumped in as I was trying to figure out one of its side!
When SZI is sleepy he will reach for the hem of my shirt, get cranky, cry for 'doodoo' (milk) and once his bottle is ready, implore for 'googie' till he is comfortably lying in my lap with the bottle in his mouth. I took me three tearful months to get him to this stage where he would ask for and drink milk on his own, even as I had my hand on the feeding bottle to steady it.
He was completely weaned at 15 months; there was first a day when I did not nurse him that turned to just nightly feedings and then came a night when SZI slept through. 24 hours that turned to 36, 48 hours to this day, when it's been five months of ending his dependence on me in a very basic way.
Getting him started on the feeding bottle was a struggle, I could not stop nursing him completely, but I also knew that his food and milk intake was inadequate. I researched, had print outs of meal plans and portion sizes to see if he was getting all the calcium he needed as well as other vital nutrients. SZI was formula fed occasionally, and that too for just a month, he did not start on solids till he was eight months! We were travelling and he was still such a wee baby that I feared anything and everything to trigger the diarrhea all expat kids suffer from in Pakistan. We managed somehow, I am pretty certain it was my adamant attitude and steadfast refusal to formula feed him that kept his immune system strong for that long. He is a lovely, friendly, active child who is also super-smart. First I weaned him during the daytime but supplementing it with fresh milk was a nightmare. It took me an hour in the least to get him to drink a minimum three ounces of milk at a time when he should have been taking six ounces at one feeding and for that too I had to dance and give him anything that caught his fancy to coax him to open his mouth. Then of course was his ability to keep the teat in his mouth for ages and make sure not a drop of milk dripped in, I even cut a larger hole in the teats, SZI 1 - Ma 0.
Alhamdulillah now he tells me when he is hungry, he may refuse to eat what I give him but getting him interested in food has been a mammoth of a task.
So, last night, as he climbed into his bed, he asked me for 'doodoo', but refused my 'googie' preferring instead, to lie in his cot and drink it on his own! I was happy to see him settle so well and show this independence but on the other hand I resented his forsaking me so. I walked out.
As the excitement fizzled out a bit and SZI realised that his Ma was away in the kitchen, and Ba was asleep next to his bed, he called out to be put back on his centrestage position on our bed. When he got a bit groggy with sleep, I walked in again and asked him if he wanted to sleep in his bed, then gently placed him in and lied on the bed next to him...he drifted peacefully into sleep. A gentle, deep slumber...and I lay awake, suddenly bereft of his comforting presence next to me, I missed lying on my side, facing him and watching his angelic face, I did not know what to do with all that space that was now available to me where once his tiny limbs were sprawled. And my baby? He was totally oblivious to his mother's emotional state and slept on!
He's growing up and so fast, MashaAllah. He slept through the night, waking up just once for his milk, and then I put him back in his bed. It's afternoon and I've given him his daytime feed; he thankfully wanted my 'googie' for finishing his milk before being put in the cot. Then he asked for 'doodoo' again, saw that there was none in his bottle and lay down. I walked out of the room and when I checked on him some minutes ago, as his babbling stories had died down, I found him fat asleep. He did not cry for me like yesternoon, he's a big boy now and doesn't need his Ma to sleep.
But his Ma needs him to sleep in peace!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

At one in the morning

It's well past 1 in the morning and I have:

Gritty eyes and locked jaws, I have lived through all of today/yesterday on just two hours of sleep.

A pile of dirty dishes waiting to be washed in the kitchen sink.

The kitchen in a state of mess, all visible surfaces covered with stuff to be cleared away

Groceries to be put away

Two of my son’s feeding bottles and his sippy cup to be washed and sterilized

All the sofa cushions on the living room floor

Two towels as throws on each sofa

Two plastic blocks and toy train carriage on the floor

Three photo frames thrown on the floor near their perch on the bookshelf

A kiddie hanger, a football, a drumstick, a drum and another soft ball and assorted play things littered around the living room, making a mini obstacle course

My husband locked in the bedroom asleep

My cell phone kicked somewhere under the sofa

And unwashed face

A ‘ctrl’ key missing from the laptop keyboard

The tv and receiver remote controls being shoved into my hands that I switch on the telly to Dragon Tales/Oggy and the Cockroaches/Dora the Explorer/Charlie and Lola/Arthur/Tweenies…


I have my son, the fount of all late night hullabaloo, babbling away, banging on the bedroom door, dragging open drawers and emptying them, hit his face on my hand and cry murder ‘cuz it hurt him so much,

fighting with me over the laptop, climbing on the sofa and over me to reach the keys and type his own entry, crawling through the coffee table …

I tried and failed putting him to bed at his usual time, then hummings and rocking, pleadings and cajoling and even threats and well placed thwacks on the diaper-ed bum went unsuccessful, so living room lights ablaze I wait for Tyke to get realize that all those yawns mean that he is sleepy and the normal course of action when one is so tired, is to get some rest, sleep…as in lie down, close the eyes, breathe evenly and deeply…

I should be mad at him and I was, till I looked at him lying on the floor and giving me the most beaming of smiles soonest he catches my eye…ah well...he's now trying to rest his head on my lap to sleep...ooooooh, sweet dreams!

Thursday, April 02, 2009


Towards the end of 2004, when I was still in AE, FKhala and Khalo went for Umrah and stopped over for visiting me in Dubai on return. Next year they went for another Umrah, but this time with all four of their kids. Next PJ, CJ and CJee went on the pilgrimage with their four kids. And finally Nanajan, Nanijan and N & N khalas went for Umrah too. I was still gloriously and contentedly single at the time…my younger sister had gotten engaged in the summer of 2004. The pressure on me to get hooked was tremendous, but of course I could not be paired off with the first XY bearing homo sapiens that was to walk past our house at the crack of dawn… I know of at least six of the above-mentioned, who’d confirmedly prayed that Allah send me a prince. ;)
Till the summer of 2006, there was no Z in the picture, then Waj was hormone-driven, expecting her first baby and decided I could not be left alone anymore…Z was her husband’s friend and also single…a good match, she figured…or her hormones decreed. She called me up and always the ace salesperson, made a very impressive pitch for Z…she got so persistent with this paragon of perfection that I had to tell her to talk to my parents, just to get her off my back. And also because my family had to make the decision for me. All the rest was a blur, within two months I was engaged to be married in six months.
At my last job, when the word got around about the engagement, a colleague came by to congratulate me and on learning that Z was Sharjah based, reminded me how I always preferred Sharjah to Dubai. He was right. Then we learned that Z had applied for Canadian immigration and Ma again reminded me of my intentions to immigrate to Canada after Sis got married…then there was the matter that all my family…all eight plus one of them, were completely, absolutely, unequivocally in love with him. They each had their test and Z passed each with aplomb. My sole criterion for marrying was that the person should be liked and respected by everyone. Z was that person. In fact he came across as such a perfect person that I had my doubts…how could anyone be that good? I asked my friend and N told me that I was a nut-case.
Two years after marriage and a Tyke later, we’re now going for an Umrah ourselves. I think it is the most appropriate, all those prayers that I’d had are now true…So Allah decided that I had to visit his places and thank Him in person. With Z by my side and Saif in my arms, I will thank Him, the most Beneficient the most Merciful, and pray that He grants the best to everyone in this life and the Hereafter.
I’m not saying my life now is a fairy tale, far from it…but each day, there are times when I know I am truly blessed, and each step of this journey will be to thank Allah for his mercies and bounties.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Completing one year in Tykesville - I

My living room is an obstacle course. Everything that can be reached on tip-toes has to be brought down to add to his collection as he toddles around. Welcome to Tykesville, the little darling is asleep now and how! I had to walk him to sleep, then rock him a bit, just as I bent on the bed to put him down, he sensed abandonment and started crying. Then another round of walking, rocking and another failed attempt at putting him down. Third time lucky and now he's cutely tucked in bed. Nothing in the world can be as angelic as Tyke in repose, but such moments are rare...and Alhamdulillah, getting increasingly rare.
Last year, exactly a year ago, I was an over- tired, perpetually sleep deprived, super-achey new mom. And the Tyke slept at least 20 hours a day, literally in the day, come night time he woke up crying and proceeded with it for at least an hour or whatever time it took me to forget sleep and get alert and active to attend on him, long after he'd slept back. My sister told me it would be difficult in the first few day, it was terrible, then the first ten days passed by and I'd gotten somewhat used to erratic waking-ups. When a new born cries in the middle of the night, the whole house may wake up, but it would do no good, 'cuz what it wants is his Ma, and nothing but Ma can attend on his needs, dietary or diapery! So after ten days, the moment Tyke slept, I went into deep slumber too. It was a relief, those two hours of undisturbed sleep. My days and nights were spent tryingto figure out a pattern/routine that the Tyke followed. of course there was none, how can a tiny being, just arrived in this world, faced with all those alien, lod, scary sounds, possibly keep up with staying peaceful? In a month I only figured out that he fed at two hours, on the dot, and that I could ONLY sleep when he was sound asleep. This holds true even today, I may be ready to drop dead but if the Tyke is as little as stirring in his sleep, I can't close my eyes and rest in oblivion, simply can't. Once I figured out that he needed feedings every two hours, I started getting up before he did, sometimes I got up and fed him without his even realising the he was hungry. I felt good, useful...and at those times of the night, as if I'd accomplished something, blessed. Those were the days that I was glad that Z was by my side through-out, he was with me during the painful show and he was forever warning me to be strong and not get into depression and not fear that we won't be able to take care of the blessing Allah had given us. And there were days when I hated him, for sleeping through out Tyke late-night crying sessions. Z snores when he's tired and in those early days, he snored like a truck, long after Tyke was asleep, his Ba's snores would keep me awake and I had to get up and go across the room to tell him to sleep on his side! Then try sleeping again...till Tyke's next feeding time came and I managed only half an hour's sleep!
Z and my Ma were around for the first two months of Tyke's arrival, so I had to household to look after at all. They did the cooking, cleaning up, and general worrying about. My worry and sole job, they said, was to take care of Tyke. They even took care of his diaper changes and baths and joyously presented their services to play with him while I napped. I couln't sleep without him by my side. The best I managed was a shut-eye rest.
Cut to a year later. Tyke sleeps most part of the night, only getting up crying for his feedings, and naps twice a day. The rest of te time is spent toddling around, treasuring his favourite things in an unaccessible corner. He will throw, edge, push, catapult things he likes in that corner behind the TV console, where wires snake around, with the amplifier wedged between the console and the side table. Instead of now asking him where he's put the TV remotes, we now go to the corner and find stuff. Just last night, after I put him to sleep, I retrieved his feeding bottle, his Ba's cell phone, two remotes, his wooden stacking tower and the centre piece of my rolling pin , his changing pad and a spoon from his treasure chest. I no longer rush to bed when he's asleep. Instead that's the welcome time that I spend with the laptop, catching up on facebook, browsing recipes and videos on youtube, going through his albums from day one. I can never tire of seeing his pictures and videos from the time he was born, marvelling at how quick time has passed, which while it was passing, seemed like an eternity. But a he's a year old now, and fast becoming a little man with clear likes and dislikes....and when it comes to him, I clearly am in deep deep waters! I wanted to kind of encapsulate his year, from infancy to toddlerhood, and I ramble.
At two months Tyke started getting aware of his hands...he loved his time in his gym staring at the toys hanging from the bar. Sometimes I positioned him so that he could reach out and hit the hippo...the first time he did it, he was surprised, his mouth was a perfect, kissable O, then he did it again, but it was some days later that he got to regard his hand and part of his being. Then he started trying to roll over...and completed his first turn at three months. Oh the joy, the excitement we had at the feat! I put te video camera on and left it just in case he decided to roll over while I was in teh kitchen. I think I have hours of video, with him in his gym, just waving his little limbs. Then came the belly wait, before that he'd perfected his 360 turns on his belly. He put him down on his back and he'd flip over, then place his hands in the direction he wanted to gaze at and wiggle his bum...voila, a change of views! He was mobile then, with his belly/bum wiggle. At six months he was crawling on his belly, slowly at first and then the perfect targeted crawl of a commando. Again there was much rejoicing (what can we do, us two perfectly boring people, confined in a one bedder with a little child?). At seven and half months Tyke was trying to get on his knees and crawl with his belly raised comfortably off the ground, he was also trying to stay sitting up for some time, but then the temptation to move and do some mischielf overcame hsi desire to stay seated and he'd flib on his tums again. We were in lahore at the time, with Tyke's Dado and Dadi and Chachoos and Chachis. He'd also found a new love...the enabled him to run and get things!

He's awake now, more later!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Situational Comedy: Fodder for Fight

Z has a knack for saying and doing just the very things that tick me off, of course it helps that my moods are highly volatile and of late I find myself instantaneously combustible (all credit to Z again).

Situation 1: I'm frenetically packing for our weekend trip to RAK while Z lounges with the laptop. This, in Z's books is giving me space!
Z: Keep a nail cutter and file in the bag.
Me: Why? Didn’t you cut your nails at work, you took these things with you to office.
Z: I was busy.
Me: Heavens forbid, were you actually working at work today?!
Z: I was uploading pics on face book!

Situation 2: Driving to RAK (I’ve to keep up a constant and annoyingly inane chatter to make sure Z stays awake, he’s been known to fall asleep at the wheel, driving on the highway at 120 kph!) Z and I’ve decided that a woman can either be brainy or beautiful (I did say inane).

Me: So which of the two am I? (I’m smug and cackling with glee that an answer either way would mean a neat fight lasting the weekend)
Z: erm…
Me: What?
Z: I thought I was marrying a brainy woman!

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