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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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.

Road rage & the stupids

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Much has been said about driving in Oman already. Everyone who has spent at least 20 minutes on the roads here will know that it’s a constant battle of good against evil. It is downright dangerous. People drive like maniacs. Especially taxi drivers. There doesn’t seem to be a single reason for this obscene driving except that the roads are too darn smooth and no natural “barriers” exist to slow down the drivers apart from…light posts, pedestrians or other cars.

So me and mom are driving back from a friend’s house late last night when we encounter a very unpleasant umm “situation”. Mom is turning left, indicator on and the whole deal- out of the corner of my eye I see a car that is doing 100km/h in our direction and warn mom to take care because he is “flying” towards us. Mom obviously doesn’t see him because there are trucks and cars blocking her vision and she either doesn’t hear me or completely underestimated how quickly he was “flying”. She takes her turn and we hear mind-numbing screeching of brakes behind us as I yell at her to hit the gas pedal to get out of his way faster.

Now obviously someone is wrong here. He was speeding and mom didn’t see him so they can both be held equally responsible. However, the accident was avoided but what happened next was utterly obscene. The driver kept on gesturing for mom to pull over and once she did he started calling the police.  I stayed in the car at first but then once he claimed to have “a 9 months pregnant wife in the car who was about to give birth because the road situation scared her so much” I had to get out of the car and demonstrate that…”ya..ok she isn’t the only freaked out pregnant lady there”. Imagine the man’s surprise? He was still on his phone trying to reach…I assume the police? however no one was answering. I told him he can’t call the police if there was no accident they would just not show up! My mom said sorry like a million time and explained that she just didn’t see him because of the parked cars but he didn’t care. Since no police had showed up 10 minutes later and he was still on the phone…(with no one), we decided to leave. Mom said she is going to go and apologize to his “9 months-about-to-go-into-labour-wife” and imagine the shock she got when she discovered that not only did the lady say “oh-no-problem”…but SHE WASN’T EVEN PREGNANT!

Seriously. The man was going to call the police because he was cut off by another car and lied about his wife (?) going into labour. Ah, so maybe the next time a car breaks too suddenly in front of you or maybe  A BIRD FLIES PAST YOUR WINDSHIELD go ahead and call The Royal Oman Police- they would be thrilled to hear your little story over a cup of (decaf for this guy!) coffee.

Sheesh.

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.

Just a little crazy

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Have you ever questioned your mental state? Have you ever been utterly convinced that you may be headed for the loony bin? Have you ever felt neurotic or anxious? If you answered yes to any of these questions then maybe you can relate to what I am about to tell you.
A few days before we were due to leave to Dubai I realized I lost my driver’s license. I made plans to issue a new one with the ROP the next morning only to come home and find my license laying in another wallet- a wallet I haven’t used for over a month. I drove without a license for a month. Cursing myself for being a forgetful idiot, I put my license down on the dining table and ten minutes later I was looking for it again. I turned the house upside down and Alex was franticly helping me look for a license I had just a few minutes ago! I found it in the garbage bin. I threw it out together with some scrap paper and a telephone card wrapper when I was cleaning the dining table- except I don’t remember any of this. It was pure luck that I decided to check the dumpster and recover my driver’s license. Mumbling “I need a vacation” I shoved the license back into my wallet.
Fast-forward exactly 5 days.
Returning from our vacation rested and relaxed I went on with my days as usual. I went to work, came home, cooked dinner, watered the plans, watched TV, cleaned up the house and… threw out 100 rials (250USD). Into the garbage bin. Earlier that evening the money was safely enclosed in an envelope with good reason and apparently the envelope was in the way of what-ever-I-was-doing. The next morning all hell broke loose when I could not locate the money. Not bothering to check drawers, wallets or pockets I went straight for the garbage bin. And there it was under apple peels and cigarette buds-my cherished envelope. I would surely remember throwing out such a valuable item you say? Well, no I don’t remember any of it.
I told my parents, Alex and my closest friends about this incident. My mom told me to learn to put things away on the spot, my husband told me to NEVER EVER go near the garbage bin again and C told me to Google my illness. I must admit I now look twice at what I am throwing away but somehow I am convinced that I may require professional help and that this “feeding-the-garbage-bin-monster-my valuable-possessions” scheme are just the beginning of bigger things to come…
Any tips for the crazy lady?