12 hours in the life of Alisa…Part 1 & 2

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I’ve been wanting to document Alisa’s daily routine for a while now. Somehow the routine always gets in the way of me doing so. I am thrilled I finally found the time to do this…I am obsessed with remembering every single detail and each moment that takes my breath away. This is what her schedule is like now at 4 months old.

Enjoy her story…

It’s time to wake up! I heard the birds are up! What’s that mommy? It’s a weekend? You would like to sleep a little longer? But mommy the birds are up!!!

I’ve been tricked into getting more sleep! How could I resist when I got to snooze next to daddy??? My sock however wondered off…

Fancy a snack? I like to have something in between all the milk mommy makes me drink, I call this my “vegetable patch”! Butternut squash…yum….my favourite!

Now that I’ve eaten its time to play with my favourite toy “The Monkey”. I’ve grown very attached to her mostly because we have the same ginger hair color and also because of her huge smile…which I love to copy! And look mommy found my sock!!!

Nap time is rolling around so mommy makes me a bottle of yummy milk. I’ve developed a habbit of eating in my sleep…Sleep tight now!

Changed, fed and down for my afternoon nap. Whenever I have my hand in a fist mommy knows I am sleepy…

Well that was a quick nap! My cat nap! Before they even knew it I was up and ready to play! Dress me in a pretty dress and take me out for lunch somewhere fancy!

Here I am sitting in my car seat, looking around, mommy is having a Ceasar salad and daddy is eating a hamburger but all I got was my milk again! One of these days I will definetly sneak a taste! I bet it will taste good!

Looking at everyone around me enjoying their lunch completely tired me out, mommy rocked my pushchair back and forth and some fifteen minutes later I started to snooze. Might as well take a little nap, it doesn’t seem like we are going home anytime soon!

My evening snacks, I like to have a little something light right before I have my evening formula! Today I enjoyed a mango and banana blend and washed it down with some camomile tea! I am a big fan of eating healthy! In just an hour I will be taking my bath and then its bedtime!

Eat, Sleep, Play repeat…

We don’t have a baby. It’s pretty obvious that the baby has us!

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Finding the time

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A mother lives from one milestone to the next. The first smile. The very first giggle. The first time her child held an object or focused at her image on the mirror. This little person you have created from scratch is absorbing information like a sponge. Their small victories (such as being able to catch their foot with their hand) are of epic proportions in the eyes of a mother. They are such a big deal. The weight of the responsibility that lies heavy  on the shoulders of new parents. We have to teach our little ones everything and become their sole companions during this learning process.

I catch myself thinking “we really take for granted how much we can do”. We were born a blank page that eventually became filled with skills, information, education, talents and knowledge. If I had a penny for every time time my husband exclaimed “Look at what Alisa learned to do today…”. You catch my drift. These daily accomplishments are so important and yet they are so easily lost in the blur of the day.  I am not keeping up. I am not stopping to smell the roses because I have a hundred worries at the back of my mind about how the roses are growing, if they are getting enough food or how well developed they are in comparison to other roses. And I am missing out.

I have a baby book that is lying almost empty with a few hurried notes here and there. But not the important stuff. I vow to find the time…to note more down, to stop and smell my little happy rose while she is eagerly blossoming…I have managed to do a few things (better late than never) that she will someday appreciate to have. These little tokens are my personal reminder that no matter how hectic everyday is there won’t be another one like it and she will not be like this ever again…

More of where that came from. I just need to find the time.

 

Journaling your life

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When I first started this blog I intended to document every possible aspect of our wedding preparations and the actual“day”. Blogging turned out to be a lot more addictive than I expected and long after the wedding posts were done and dusted I was still blogging. I enjoyed scripting our lives and noting down details that I would otherwise not remember (bad case of goldfish memory here people). Three years down the line I read the posts in utter bewilderment. Being able to reflect on how we progressed from being a couple and then to being married and now to have a child…there is really nothing like it.

I was recently approached by a leading women’s magazine in Oman with the request to write a page on “Wedding Blogs” simply because I have one. However my “Wedding Blog” evolved over the years to become something of a totem of our lives, the good, the bad and the ugly. My best friend always warns people that I am the worst person to talk to about being married because I tell it as it is. All of it. You would probably never hear me say the cliché phrases of “I am married to my best friend” or “I am so glad I found my soulmate” because quite frankly none of that relates to us. I am more likely to tell a bride-to-be that it’s a really long, tough road that will test your patience, courage, love and temper. That there are days when everything hangs on by a thread and there are nights where you don’t even think you will make it till the morning. Marriage is hard work people. You have to work hard to make it work. I agree that three and half years of holy matrimony doesn’t exactly make me an expert and maybe the odds and statistics are against us (every second marriage ends in divorce, seriously!) but I also think the hardest part is behind us and the ride will be a little smoother from now on.

Anyways, I got carried away, forgive me. Here is the article that was published this month:

***

Wedding mementos are traditionally kept in the form of sacred vows, entertaining videos and heartfelt portraits.  As time passes more details begin to slip through the fingers until only the brightest and most memorable events of the day can be recalled. This is where journaling has come in to save the day for modern brides and grooms.  Documenting a wedding experience through an online diary or blog has become the new favorite way to recollect and more importantly share the wedding experience with others.

The desire to hang on to every sweet detail is primary reason for the creation of my person wedding blog- Happily Married to a Biker.  The engagement, the bittersweet preparations, the chaotic errands and the thrilling emotions that enveloped the most important day of our lives are all documented in this online journal. Creating a blog helped to cast in stone thousands of details that separately did not seem at all exciting.

A white wedding filled with family and friends and topped with a delicious cake is a direct result of very hard work, hundreds of hours of planning and the unlimited effort many people. It is equally important to remember how the bride’s dress came to be, who helped the groom write his speech, who picked out the invitations and what was on the menu. After all, months of planning go into one single day – the most important day of the couple’s lives.

Whilst planning the wedding I eagerly browsed the internet in search for tips and tricks to everything; from trendy napkin colors to the most fashionable shoes and I was pleased to discover many bloggers who generously shared their wedding experience with anyone willing to spare some time. Reading about the challenges and following the advice of couples who have already gone through a similar experience and learning from their mistakes has in many aspects helped us to make our wedding a success.

Three and half years have passed since the day we said our “I Do’s” and we have just recently become parents to a perfect baby girl. Many years from now when she hungrily analyzes our wedding album and bombards me with questions and I will probably be able to answer every single one of them- because I will remember. When she is old enough she will browse the blog and read entry after entry that will in detail show her how her parents fell in love, how they planned the wedding and every single anecdote of that day. She will not have to listen to me vaguely recall the events of the day or patiently wait for me to remember what flavor the wedding cake was because it will all be right there for her to read.

The actual wedding party is just the icing on the cake. I can boldly claim that we had more fun bringing the puzzle pieces together over the course of three months than we did during the actual wedding day. The wedding was extraordinary and absolutely picture perfect. Wedding pictures may be worth a thousand words but how the picture came to be is worth a million. I strongly recommend couples to document their wedding experience through a blog but they should remember to share both the good and the bad because everything that happened along the way contributed to the beginning of their brand new life together.

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A sudden change of plan

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Dear Baby,

Remember how for the past two weeks mommy pleaded and begged for you to begin making your way into this world? Well, forget that ever happened. I sort of need you to hang in there for a little while longer. I know this seems confusing right now after the stern tone mommy used and words like “eviction” and “ultimatum” but trust me there is a good reason behind all of this.

You will grow up to learn that life is sometimes unfair and some events are completely out of your control so all that’s left to do at time is – to deal with it. Three days ago, just hours before I wrote the post below (emphasizing that it’s time…) your daddy’s work compelled him to travel a few hours away from home  to a land of little network coverage and scarce transportation. As much as daddy didn’t want to go (because words like “eviction” and “ultimatum” were also used by his boss) he had no other choice but to comply. I made a promise to daddy that you and I will not do anything crazy (like be born at home or in the hospital without him) so please stand firmly by our promise. It would absolutely break his heart if you arrived into this world and he wasn’t the first person to hold you or check what color your eyes are…

I probably shouldn’t have promised him that we will absolutely not go into labor without him (because how could I know, right?) but something tells me you will hold on until he gets back. I know you guys have a very special bond (already) and waiting until he is there to welcome you into this world is just a crazy little stunt you are completely capable of pulling. So, lets wait, ok?

Hang in there until he gets back, which should be in the next 24 hrs and then we will just go ahead and pretend that mommy didn’t confuse and misguide you before you were even born by first bribing you to make a quick exit and then convincing you not even think about escaping for three whole days. Crazy, I know.

Thanks and hoping for your understanding in this situation!

Mommy

Kids these days…

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Recently we had the pleasure of spending about 90hrs babysitting my 8 year old brother. Both of his parents were out of the country on business and we stepped up to the challenge and offered to look after him. Family. I thought it would be a nice practice run for “the future”. Since we are both working full time, juggling his school, extra curricular activities, homework and etc was extremely challenging. Luckily my mom was able to arrange for a close family friend to pick him up everyday afterschool so at least that was off our shoulders.

My mom was sure to leave us a detailed (seriously…A-Z guide to Eliya) schedule, lunch box contents plan and school uniform rotation schedule (for P.E Days, Karate Days and normal school uniform days- see what I mean?)

A typical day would start at 6:45am when I would drag my sleepy lifeless body out of bed into the shower for a blissful 15 minutes of what was bound to be the most peaceful part of my day! At 7:00am sharp my brother had to be woken up, bribed to get out of bed and sent along to wash up and brush his teeth. We would then both rush downstairs to a ready lunch box, uniform and school bag (thank God for his nanny!). I would then get dressed and ready for work to the theme of Perry the Platypus while the child enjoyed a few minutes of TV. At 7:sharp we would be out of the door with his dragging what appeared to be a 10kg schoolbag (Umm..pregnant…can’t carry heavy stuff…whats in there? Bricks???”. HI FM Radio and a buckled seatbelt were just some of the requirements of the journey. Along the way we would revise for a spelling test ” Spell SEAT…C-E…NOOOO….S–E—E—Noooo!!!”  or he would tell me about his most recent discovery “There is a spider that can kill you in seconds”. Dropping him and the giant backpack (full of concrete bricks) at the gate I would then probably have to return back to my parents house for any of the following: a.my bag b.my change of clothes for yoga c.both of my phones. (Pregnant-memory of a…of a what? how does that saying go?)

Then my day would return to some level of normality up until 5:30pm when I knew he had to be picked up, dropped off somewhere or called. On Sundays he had karate. On Mondays he had Music. On Tuesday he had Arabic lessons. The one time it was Alex’s turn to pick him up he managed to be 20 minutes late to a half an hour music lesson, by then I had a frantic Arabic teacher calling me to claim that they have an exam tomorrow and he is waiting to revise with him and a really frustrated husband who could not find the way to the music teacher’s house making international phone calls our mother! Phew. There was just so much going on. I mean- I was exhausted for him!

In the evenings we could no longer come back to a quite house, flop on the sofa and enjoy an hour of absolutely meaningless conversations or TV Shows. Oh no. Alex was forced to play motor racing games on the PSP (noisy black pocket-sized killing machine) and I was then in no position to refuse a round of Plants vs Aliens on the IPad. All this was usually followed by a viewing of “My BabySitter is a Vampire” or some other absurd show on Disney Channel.

Bedtime was really chaotic. By the time both of us were on our last breaths (9pm ahem…) the child was refusing to go to bed and threatening to “phone mom and make her let him stay up longer”, which is where I would usually lose my cool confiscate the telephone and send him marching upstairs. After a few minutes of ” I am…yawn…not even…yawn…sleepy…yawn” loud snores would fill the room and I would breathe a sight of relief.

This only continued for about 4 days but it has really taught both of us a lot. After 3 peaceful years of just us and the cat ( a very quite chilled out cat) we were definitely taken aback by all the commotion and disruption a child can cause.

Ah. 8 year-olds and their 5 thousand afterschool activities are such an eye opener.

You’re at Joey’s!

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Now if you haven’t seen that particular episode of Friends then this post will not make much sense to you but I will try to help you visualize it with the quotes below. Here goes nothing: at Joey’s it’s ok to eat pasta off the floor. It’s acceptable to be messy. It’s perfectly fine to be a blob.
Here’s the scene:
[Scene: Joey’s apartment, Joey and Rachel are eating spaghetti in the living room while watching TV and Rachel drops some on the floor.]
Rachel: Oh, Joey! Sorry!
Joey: No that’s all right. Don’t worry about it.
Rachel: Oh but look! That’s gonna leave a stain!
Joey: Rach! Hey! It’s fine! You’re at Joey’s!
Rachel: Really?
Joey: Yeah! Look! (He throws some of his spaghetti on the floor.)
Rachel: I’ve never lived like this before.
Joey: I know.
(Rachel throws some of hers down.)
Joey: All right, don’t waste it, I mean its still food. (He picks it up and eats it!)

And this is what the first three month of pregnancy have done to me. They turned me into a Joey.
Normally I am (irrationally) somewhat organized. I do the dishes. I cook everyday. I don’t let laundry pile up. I am a neat person. Now My Cynthia would dramatize and tell you that my house looks like a freaking museum and that I throw tantrums if the groceries are not placed in the right order at the check-out counter- but really, who would you believe me or her?
It would be fair to say that Cynthia was a little baffled (freaked out) when she visited us a few months ago- there was crap all over the place. You could not see the surface of the dining table. There were three day old dishes in the sink (!!!). This was my “the-kitchen-is-the-enemy” stage. Alex left for work to the desert for about 10 days and I am not sure if I ate anything during that time. He was shocked to come back and find the fridge (and all the contents) absolutely untouched (rotten but untouched). At that point (was that May or June, or both?) Alex did the dishes all by himself and was a little (utterly) surprised that they pile up so fast (basically every time after you eat). He must appreciate me a little more now. Back to the fungus. Have I mentioned the fungus yet? Cynthia rescued me from the filthy claws of the mess. Her boyfriend did my dishes. They literally came over to help me tackle the kitchen. They also later reported that something purple was growing on one of the plates and they are pretty sure they saw it move.
Perhaps a few months down the line I will be embarrassed that I let the house go so much. But back then (and pretty much still) I didn’t give a crap. Week 6-12 of pregnancy have been a nightmare of dizzy spells, nausea, headaches and sleep deprivation. So what if we ran out of mugs or clean forks? So what if I haven’t set foot in a supermarket for over two weeks and we were living entirely on instant noodles and French fries. (Not me, I had my constant supply of fruit-don’t worry).
My biggest priority back then (and pretty much still) was to take it an hour at a time. The notion of not being able to stay awake or even have enough energy to shower terrified me…trust me…dirty dishes or a few pieces of pasta on the floor just don’t measure up to Morning Sickness.
Letting go a little was actually beneficial for me. I now know that I can suck up my OCD and let Alex do the grocery shopping once in a while. And who cares if he gets whipped cream instead of sour cream. Boo ya. So what? Apparently once he gets bored of eating pasta three nights in a row Alex is also perfectly capable of cooking and actual meal…who would have though?
This baby is bringing out awesome qualities in my husband.
 I am so proud already!

Prenatal and Postnatal care in Muscat

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Disclaimer: The opinions stated below are those of an excessively worried, picky and downright demanding pregnant woman and may not reflect the experiences or thoughts of other (calmer) patients of the said health-care providers. 
I have certain expectations when it comes to healthcare. I mean, apart from the hospital being credible, sterile and equipped for emergencies I also want it to provide a personal healthcare service and to genuinely “care”. Would it be too much to ask for of the doctor to remember my name (without looking at the file) and the reason for my visit (again without looking at the file)?
We are expecting our first child and obviously have a lot of questions and concerns. As any parents do, we want everything to go smoothly. We expect our doctor to take her sweet time doing our first (and any consecutive) ultrasounds, to listen to my concerns and to at least look at the reports concluded by other doctors. That’s why I am not so happy with Muscat Private Hospital.

We had our first scheduled appointment when I was 6 weeks (and 4 days) pregnant. My doctor asked if my home test was positive and a few other standard questions. We then proceeded to a small dark ultrasound room and heard our baby’s heart beat for the very first time. It was out of this world. Routinely, I was then prescribed folic acid and novidoxine (to ease the morning sickness) and we were sent on our way. Being in a slightly shocked and ecstatic state that morning all the questions I had completely flew out of my head. I wanted to ask her if I am allowed to have a back massage, if there are any foods I should I avoid eating and if I should perhaps give my cat away (toxoplasmosis). Looking back at the first appointment, I would say the vibe we got from the doctor pretty much summed up to “It’s only 6 weeks, come back when you are a little more pregnant”. Or to put it more bluntly “It’s still very early…anything can happen”.
I had slightly different expectations of what my first prenatal appointment would go like. I know for certain that the doctors back home would shower a pregnant woman with advice (Don’t lift anything heavy, drink plenty of milk, don’t change the cat litter). However, in Muscat Private Hospital the appointment felt more commercial than personal. Needless to say I threw myself into speaking to other expecting women and mothers to get a little insight into what kind of a treat I was in for. (And we gave away the cat…)
Fast forward exactly a month. It was extremely difficult for Alex to find the time and come to the next appointment with me because he was booked on a flight to Salalah exactly an hour after our appointment was due to start. However he was very excited to see the baby again and he knew that the Nuchal translucency (NT) scan we were about to do was extremely important so he did the best to reschedule his work trip (but his phone still rang every 15 minutes). First of all we had to wait for an hour for our doctor to find the time to see us. Second of all when we finally had her full attention she checked how far along I am (10 weeks and 4 days) and declared that it’s too early for the NT scan as it will not show until the baby is at least 12-13 weeks. I swear I could hear and see the smoke coming out of my husband ears. Why in the world would they set an appointment to specifically do the scan if it was too early? (It’s a rhetorical question, I know exactly why!).
She immediately saw that we were uncomfortable with her decision and Alex proceeded to calmly (ahem…) explain that an entire oil-drilling site in Salalah was stopped for a day because he could not get on the place because she said we would be doing the damn scan. In her defense the doctor said that she did not say we would be doing the scan but that we would during this appointment schedule another appointment to do the scan. (So let’s get this clear, I am paying 20 OMR for an appointment to just set another appointment???).
Seeing that Alex was literally turning red at this point she sent us down to the ultrasound ward where a pleasant woman reassured me that she would do her best to perform the scan (even though we were two weeks early, yada, yada). Ha! Little did they know that we are currently growing a very progressive and super-developed baby who in week 10 could show them exactly what it was “by the books” too early for them to see. So it is moments like these where I love that Alex is strong-willed, a little (ahem…) pushy and very convincing. Not only did the scan show that the baby is developing very well but we were also able to see it kick around and throw its arms over its head and bounce around in its little protective bubble. Mesmerizing.
What left me worried however is that my doctor did not even ask to see the report of the ultrasound and when we are back there in a few weeks time I doubt she will even remember that she sent us down for a scan.
I am seriously having second thoughts about Muscat Private Hospital now even though I know they are probably the best place to deliver a baby in Muscat, it’s the prenatal care that is leaving me feeling a little abandoned and “used”.
So please share any good/bad experiences you had at Muscat Private, regardless if it was for delivery related or not. What other hospitals provide excellent prenatal and postnatal services? If anyone has actually been with Muscat Private for their entire pregnancy and delivery please let me know! If you don’t want to share your private health stories publicly please email me at happilymarriedtoabiker@gmail.com. I would greatly appreciate any piece of advice at this point!

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