On being parents…

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No amount of googling and not a single textbook could have prepared me for becoming a mother.

I was so nervous. I had no idea what I was doing. During the pregnancy I faintly understood the processes that were occurring, her little kicks and nudges were an indication of everything going very well. Then she was born and it all became trial and error from then on.

Thankfully I have my mother by my side and her enormous experience and sound advice is what is taking me from one day to the next as smoothly as possible.I can tell she is quite the character as at 3 weeks old she was already spitting out the milk that was offered if she wanted water instead or cried unbearably if she was put down into her crib whilst she wanted to be held instead.

In those hours when me and Alisa are absolutely one on one it does get a little scary and overwhelming. But she is patient with me…someone must have told her to take it easy on her mommy because I am going to need some time to figure this challenge out.

Over a month I have been figuring out her various moves, moods, grins and sounds. It is true that when a baby cries it could only want one of these few things; to be fed, to be changed or to be rocked. It isn’t rocket science…or is it?

I am quite certain that babies can smell fear so to my best ability I put on my bravest face and endure her through her “difficult times” and pick her up with a smile at 4am for what seems to be the 20th time that night. She is growing so quickly and I feel these precious moments slipping away amid the daily routine, the insanity and the hectic schedule that we are now on.

A month flew by.

Don’t get my started on that…no one warned me how quickly babies grow up.

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10 days ago…

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We became parents to a perfect little baby girl.

The experience was everything they told me it would be; long, painful, exhausting, excruciating, magical, unbelievable and absolutely unforgettable.

On the day of the “planned induction” the baby that took her sweet time picking a good day to be born decided that letting the doctors intervene with her “HELLO WORLD I AM HERE” arrival was not an option and so she got the show on the road all on her own. I am so proud.

We arrived at the hospital, calm, prepped and collected at 8am on the 22nd of January and matter-of-factly claimed that even though I am scheduled to be induced today- the process already started. I was admitted to the delivery ward and 15 hours later (ouch,I know) we were already holding a pink, precious, perfect baby girl in our arms.

She is so much more than we could have possibly imagined. The last ten days have been a blur of 15 minute naps, eating cold food, changing diapers in the middle of the night, singing silly songs and marvelling and how quickly she is growing and changing already.

This will be a quick note with more to come later as after 10 days of sleeping “like a baby” I have little control or intelligence left to write anything of substance. But it’s ok, we will sleep once she turns 18.

Are we there yet?

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Pregnancy- day two hundred seventy freakin’ three. No seriously. I am still pregnant.

although I am not overdue (yet…) statistics do show that most first time mothers give birth a week or two before their due date, the same darn statistics that promised me that only 5% of women deliver on the actual due date that has been forecast.

Yet, here I am. Excited, nervous and oh-so-sick of waiting. (Not to mention bloated, uncomfortable, tired, swollen…just peachy basically…)

I read somewhere that the most common craving that pregnant women have is not to be pregnant. That might seem a little over the top but trust me 9 months into it even the most “sunshine-up-their-butts” mothers start to feel like this just can’t end soon enough. The exhaustion you feel is both mental and physical, your mind is constantly replaying possibilities of “what could go wrong in labor” and your body aches from your toes to the ends of your hair.

I also miss the little things. Like seeing my feet when I look down, fitting into my clothes and shoes or simply getting out of bed without having to roll to the side and readjust the 4 pillows that are prompting my back. Ugh.

The general opinion here (amongst husband and family) is that I still have time and the baby will come out when she needs to and when she decides. But wait, I though I was the boss of this baby- why can’t she come out when I want her to? I pick now. Or at least today. Please?

I have friends calling me every single day asking me if she is here yet or every time I call one of them they thing it’s only because I am in labor…nope…still pregnant…just wanted to say hello. The conversation I have with My Cynthia everyday is a straight replay out of Shrek ” Are we there yet? ” ….” No not yet”….”What about now”….”Still not”….It’s rediculous.

I apologize if you were expecting a touchy-feely post about how prepared and excited we are to welcome our daughter any day now and instead you got stuck reading the rantings of a sick-and-oh-so-tired pregnant woman. Believe you me, we are ready. The bed is made, the hospital bags packed, the baby bottles sterilized and even the video camera is charged. I’ve had a lot of time on my hands…just waiting for the grand entrance now.

I shall keep you posted.

“Elka” or New Year for the little ones

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In Russia New Year’s celebrations are huge. So huge that people receive an official week or even longer- as paid leave. The entire country goes into a carnival -like celebration starting from the 27th December and slowly recovers later. There are home cooked meals, fireworks, natural pine tress, happy children and Santa or as Russians call him  “Ded Moroz” (literally translated this means Grandpa Frost”). New Year for Russians is now what Christmas has become for the rest of the world (in the light commercial, over-indulgence sense of the festivity). ]

It would be a major understatement to say that New Year’s is celebrated in Oman “lightly”. The children especially miss out on hanging up paper snowflakes, dressing up, joining celebrations and meeting Ded Moroz. Over the last few years the Russian community in Muscat has taken to organizing a special celebration for the children, a kind of show, where all the characters Russian kids know and love come to live in a magical performance. This is organized entirely on volunteer basis, there aren’t even sponsors or professional actors. The last 5 or so shows were the brain child of my mother, she put time and efforts into getting little kids and their parents involved in this festival of fun. Costumes are put together from scratch, the plays are “googled” and edited, lines are learned and the performance comes together on the grounds of the Russian Consulate of Oman just a week before New Years. I’ve attended the last two shows (and participated) and the number of people who how up every year is truly staggering. The children sit patiently, mouths open wide in awe as Santa emerges followed loyally by his army of fictional characters. Usually the kiddies get to perform, sign a song or recipe a poem and in exchange they receive a present from Santa. It’s always so much fun.

It’s happening again this year! If you are Russian or Russian speaking you are welcome to pass by the Russian Embassy (located near The Hyatt) this Friday, 23rd December at 11am sharp. If you have kids who wish to see the performance please bring a present with you to put into Santa’s “bag of gifts” and label the present with the child’s name. There is absolutely no entrance fee or age restrictions!

Here are some photos from last year’s show! (Guess where I am?)

Why pregnant women aren’t fun…

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How often do you encounter a heavily pregnant woman in society? Once a week? Once a month? Hardly ever? There is a reason for that my friends. Women who are on their 7th month or somewhat past that benchmark- avoid leaving the house (and with good reasons!).I am going to take a minute here and give you the low-down on why pregnant women are a nuisance and must be kept indoors for the sake of everybody’s physical and mental wellbeing.

Disclaimer: The below are my personal observations that I am not afraid to generalize as I find comfort in believing that every woman at 30 weeks of pregnant or more is as miserable as I am. So here is why we aren’t fun:

  • We need to pee all the time. Going into a supermarket, a mall or a restaurant we map out the bathroom routes well in advance. It is anything but sexy when just after two sips of herbal tea or water we need to make a trip to the bathroom yet again. Moreover those around us (spouses, family or friends) shamelessly blur out “Oh so you need to go AGAIN?”. Yes damn it. There is a giant baby using my bladder as a jumping castle- I need to go AGAIN. Thank you for the announcement.
  • We have trouble getting off sofas, low armchairs or just very squishy and comfy surfaces which usually results in our spouse giving us a gentle push or reaching out their hand to help. Think: giant whale being hauled off the shore during a rescue operation. Sexxxyy
  • We over-react to everything. Whether it’s the waiter getting the order wrong or a car horn beeping restlessly nearly- the smallest things make our blood boil. But it isn’t us- it’s those darn hormones. These pesky little demons are to blame for our sudden tearful outburst over the shoes we no longer fit into or the orange juice Costa didn’t forgot to serve us. We understand this is very embarrassing for those around us or sometimes even fatal- if they are the subject of our scorn. So these situations are best avoided.
  • When we want something we want it NOW. Yesterday , I really wanted a burger (right after I ate a box of cinnamon rolls). I was a little hungry, tolerable. But I WANTED A BURGER NOW. I was physically shaking by the time my order arrived. I was close to tears. I needed to taste that juicy beef patty, smeared generously with ketchup and mayo and placed lovingly between crunchy salad leaves and tomatoes. I couldn’t even focus or talk while I waited for it.
  • Angry when hungry. Pretty much summarized in the above bullet point. Works like this: from 0 to absolute bitch in 0.1 seconds if hunger kicks in. God forbid I come home and dinner isn’t heated or ready. Or if we get invited over to a friend’s house for lunch and they are just in the process of cooking it. I mean…I expect to receive food when I want it. Right then and there. Hunger just leads to a catastrophe because THERE IS A GIANT BABY inside me that wants a sugar rush right NOW!
  • Our energy is usually at it’s peak between 10 am and 12pm. Anytime after that is either nap time or bedtime. I simply cannot be “hanging out” in the evening. I was up all day-I am huge-the baby is kicking all the time- I just want my sofa-go away. We beg your pardon for not wanting to come to your party that only starts at 9pm or for making you leave a party and drive us home whenever it’s convenient for us. Take a sleeping pill and spin 30 times on an office chair- you might come to feel  a fraction of what we feel on a daily basis.

Well, aren’t we just a ray of sunshine? But we undrestand that 99% of the time we are unreasonable, snappy and just generally high maintenance so we avoid social gatherings, malls, restaurants, parties, clubs and other delightful scenarios. It isn’t because we don’t feel sexy enough to dress up and go out- it’s just safer for all of you if we stay home under lock and key.

Dolphin Tale!

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Finally a movie for the whole family!

This afternoon I took my 8 year old brother to Shatti Cinema to watch Dolphin Tale. “Oh, great- one and half hours of my life that I will never get back”, I though. It also turned out to be 3D. Oh, Joy! Having sat through Cars 3 (?) earlier this year I could tell how enjoyable this experience would be for me.

 

Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be an enjoyable family film that was both simple and very educational. For once there weren’t trucks being blown up or a gang of kids having a burping contest. It was genuine. The storyline revolved around Winter, a dolphin which was rescued by an 11 year old boy and cared for at a local Marine Clinic. Because the dolphin was badly injured when it washed ashore it’s tail had to be amputated and a team of doctors needed to find a long term solution that would ensure a long, healthy life for Winter. Sawyer,the kid who rescued her dedicated all his time to helping Winter and got the entire community involved in the process. Both children and adults with disabilities were drawn to this creature which against all odds swam, played and jumped through hoops despite it’s close call with death.

I know that my brother learned a few important lessons out of that movie, for starters he stopped gasping “That man doesn’t have a leg” half way through the movie and saw that even children can be in wheel chairs or without a limb. He asked me a lot of questions on the way back home, like how the dolphin could survive if it didn’t have a tail or how come a girl had a plastic leg instead of her real one.

First time in a long time I felt like a movie actually made an impact and bestowed some wisdom into his tiny mind. I would greatly recomend this movie if you have a family movie night coming up or if you just want to teach your child to undrestand and accept dissabilities better. Great film!

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.

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