Parenting · Reflections · Uncategorized

The Wheel of Life

For my first baby, Bee, I left my job three months before hand, spent 36 hours in the hospital pushing a well fed 3.6 kg baby out. Dolled him from the day he was born. Everything a child needed was aptly presented to him.

My second one, was well, the second one. I was working till the day I delivered, went to the hospital at night, since I had pains all day. Walked into the delivery room and there he was, without much ado, out. Two days later we went home. I made my home accustomed for him and he made my heart accustomed to him. My golden baby, I called him.

Like all second babies, he was learning things faster, like all second time moms, I wasn’t noting down anything. We got him a lovely, practical no frill Chicco stroller ( because full option prams are so first baby!)

He crawled and then fell and started walking one fine day. We got Bee a bicycle when we got him a stroller. Since he was 3 months old, he wanted one. It was like his boy goal. But he wasn’t a boy! He was our baby.

On his first birthday, he got a push car as a gift. The day he could push himself around, he had passed a major milestone for us. We had an old red color tricycle belonging to Bee, I wanted him to have a go at it. But I always knew he was too small. He was but a baby!

It’s very difficult for us parents to accept at some point that the little gummy bear is growing up. When my sister had a baby , my baby was calling him a baby. And I went like, WHAT?? You are a baby yourself!

When he joined nursery, the teacher said, what’s your name, Little boy. And I reinforced, my baby’s name is Taher. My golden baby.

Last week, a beautiful yellow tricycle was delivered at our home by Little Wren. I told Taher, this one’s for you. But your feet might not reach the peddle. He rushed through the unpacking, with keen eyes, knowing how longingly he wanted a cycle of his own.

He sat on it, feet on peddle , and went by me.

My little baby was riding a tricycle.

Boys ride tricycle.

Boys go to nursery.

Little boys.

He is no more a baby, and cliched as it may sound, he will always remain mine. I’m all sad and weepy and happy with joy watching him have a go on his first ride.

My Golden Boy. 💛

P.S. There’s a live giveaway on my Facebook page, do check it out and take part! 🧡

Parenting · Uncategorized

Gearing up for School

Congratulations to myself and all mamas around me, summers are finally over! And best of luck, because school is about to start. It’s particularly attractive yet challenging for me, because my little one starts nursery as well. Which means, for some very few hours daily, I will have absolute quiet in the house. Let’s devour this…. Nazar na lagaien, shukria.

It also means it’s gonna be crazy in the Archi Effect household, two kids to get ready, two bags to pack, two lunches to think up, double trouble, double craziness. Here are some helpful points We have made to combat it all. Hope they help you too.

1- Routine is God. Sleeping, eating, waking up, play time, homework times should be the same EVERYDAY. Even weekends. You can change a few things one day a week, but mention it to your child. Let him/her know and the reason. A lot of commotion cuts down when the child (and you) have fixed times.

2- Being late is ok, Hurrying up is not. There are days you will be tired, the alarm will not go off, long bathroom hours, unexpected vomiting etc. So, your child might get late. It’s ok. I have learnt that being late is better than hurrying through the morning routine. It makes them stressed and disoriented for the rest of the day. Don’t do it. Don’t drive too fast, don’t make them gulp down that glass of milk.

3- Discuss breakfast and lunch a day before. Lesser tantrums on the breakfast table and more chances of a finished lunch box. Try it, they feel like the deal is made. Also children enjoy the level of control, you can negotiate on healthy and things they would like to have.

4-Respect the child and people around you. This is so important, don’t scold the child. Don’t make him a target of your frustration early morning. Whatever went wrong, IT ISN’T THE CHILD’S FAULT. This has a great impact. They give back what was given to them. If you are driving to school, make sure you are not overtaking, tailgating or breaking laws. Be considerate, Park in the right spot. Your child is watching.

5- Spend quality time. With the children off to school, it’s possible you don’t get a lot of time together. You might have work schedule. But make sure the little time you are with them, you are wholly with them. Paying attention to what they say and what they are trying to communicate. Ideally 15 mins early morning and before going to bed are your best times to bond. This provides security and self confidence.

6- Cliched but NEVER compare. Accolades in school are not connected to how your child will do in life. Each child is unique, excellent if I may say. Pay close attention and work on discovering their strengths. They have it, they all have it. Once you know what it is, it will be a goldmine of opportunities for your child.

7- Takecare of yourself, emotionally, mentally, physically. A happy, content, well- maintained, in control mom is the solution to all problems!

Enjoy the new academic year!

Parenting · Uncategorized

Potty training: things it taught me about parenting and life.

You must have guessed by now, I hav been toilet training my 2.5 year old. These kind of stories best be boring, if they are boring, there was definitely less work involved. If God forbid, they are interesting, then they would also be sad ( and messy and smelly and poopy) if I may say so. Unless it involves a toddler waking up one fine morning, taking off his diapers and sitting on the toilet seat, pooping and informing you that he is successfully trained. That my dear, doesn’t even come in the genre of fantasy. No seriously, never expect it and never believe it.

Ours was a jolly ride, I told him no diapers from today, and he ran behind me , naked with a diaper in hand for one hour, occasionally hitting me with it till I put it on. This went on for two days. We weren’t allowed to remove the diaper by our toddler, unless we were ok with a diaper maniac on loose, which we weren’t.

📝 LESSON NO. 1: Never let them get so big that they fall in love with a convenience. Once a child knows it is convenient they will get difficult in leaving it. Like adults, children enjoy being lazy.

On day 3, pappa was home. The weather changed, Pampers were disappeared and child was left stranded without any instructions, other than the random playing of a song on YouTube, ” if you need to pee , you tell mommy….” . Ten mins later, toddler is found standing in a pool of his shit, crying. He called me, and I explained to him that “THIS” will happen if you don’t tell mommy.

📝 LESSON NO 2: The most difficult of life lessons can be learnt if made to stand in your own shit.

The next time my boy needed to poop or pee, he told me. I was shocked, and said Mashallah infinite times at his immediate learning and understanding. In one accident, this one was trained and knew the signs. Whole of Friday, we spent without wearing the diaper. The next day pappa went to office, I took off the diaper ( put on for the night ) but he refused to go to the toilet. Stood like stone and waged a war against the bathroom trip. We had multiple accidents that day, which totally took my confidence away.

📝 LESSON NO 3: Just because things go well one day, doesn’t mean apka time badal Gaya hai.

The next three days were spent in the battle of the bathroom trips. But I mastered on putting him on the seat and once there, bribed him with chocolates and surprises.

📝 LESSON NO 4: If your bribe dint work, you dint go high enough.

By the next weekend, we were successfully trained. My boy fell in love with those bathroom trips and some days we were doing a visit every 15 mins, just like that. I started having a rotator cuff pain in my shoulders.

📝 LESSON NO. 5: Be careful what you wish for.

Lately, my son doesn’t want to honor a diaper even if he’s wearing it. At night or when out, we will say, you have a diaper darling, don’t worry. But he insists he be taken to a washroom. Middle of the night, twice, thrice, four times. Yeah.. lucky us.

📝 LESSON NO. 6: If you stay at something long enough, it is bound to work out for you.

📝 LESSON NO. 7: No one is too young, too naive, too weak, too feminine, too masculine, too old, too not ready. Everyone deserves an opportunity to escape the bag of shit they move around with.

My toddler has recently discovered the aim game. Doing in the seat is suddenly too boring, been there done that !!!!!

Travel · Uncategorized

Warner Bro’s Park, Abu Dhabi- A complete guide

I will start with the obvious fact: going to the Newly opened Warner Bros park at Yas Island Abu Dhabi was the best Eid decision ever!

I’m not a planner, especially for adventure based activities, but I accidentally became for this one and two words- MUST.GO. From the time I put the story up till today I am receiving countless messages on details about the park and review. So here it goes.

Tickets Can be purchased online or at the counter, it’s 245 aed for adults and 170 aed for children above 3. We got it as a part of the Eid deal we purchased, one night stay at a resort plus park tickets for 2 adults and 2 kids for 900 aed, so , I believe we got it at a great price. Fast track can be purchased for an extra 170 aed per ticket, because lines are deadly.

It’s the first ever Warner bros indoor theme park and is made on a colossal budget. The roof is a dynamic video screen, that shifts and changes color to match the theme of each area.

The park is divided into 6 zones, Cartoon Junction, Bedrock and the Plaza is for children all age. Dynamite Gulch, Metropolis and Gotham City have rides that are darker and a bit more challenging.

In saying that, we totally enjoyed the ride Ani Mayhem, Tom & Jerry and Scooby Doo rides. And so did our kids in the cartoon junction. The whole set is a treat to the eye, each detail, every door, window paid great attention to. It’s always day in cartoon junction and the place is topsy turvy, colorful and defying symmetry and monotony, just like in the cartoons. Also my boy of two went bonkers as scooby walked in for a picture. Scooby-Doo being his favorite book, seeing the character in real life and his smile made the whole drive to Abu Dhabi worth it.

Bedrock has one ride, which I found a bit too slow, but it’s a great one for an inside Flintstone experience. We had a bit of a downer because kids under 5 weren’t allowed and I was expecting something a bit more thrilling.

In the Metropolis we saw the super hero training, it was really cute and engaging for little children with a super hero fantasy. In here, Teen Titans training academy was my favorite, since it was more than you being strapped to a seat and going through experiences. This ride was more of an obstacle com zip line and a lot of fun. Super 360 is a great theater experience and holds 200 people at one time, which reasonably decreases the wait time.

At Dynamite Gulch, Jetsons is a fun ride to enjoy with the kids and Fast and Furry-ous an adrenaline rush for the adults as well. The hanging roller coaster was short but full of twists and turns and the right amount of oOoOoooo.

Gotham city was by far my most favorite place. Dark and groovy the streets and the vibes were just out of a Batman movie. Scare crow and the Riddler being the best rides of the entire park. Full of fun and dark jokes, these rides are extremely thrilling for all ages. But I enjoyed The Joker’s funhouse the most, it’s a dark mystery room of sorts where you find your way out amidst the joker screaming instruction to you. Had I been alone, I would have been scared. My little boy was!

A great experience overall, my tip would be to go early, and do the thrilling rides first. Because waiting can take up a lot of time. And before leaving do watch the cinema spectacular in the Warner Bros plaza.



Bringing Alice back from Wonderland

I like things quite, I would like to say this and feel absolutely guilty – because – I have two boys under 7. You get it right? It’s never quiet around me. And as much as I love my kids, I just like things at a slower pace, relaxed. Sometimes, when I cannot get peace around me, I transport myself to another memory, somewhere quieter more in control.

As good a solution as this sounds, it’s very detrimental to me and all things around me. Concentration is a powerful thing. Great people know how to shut off the mind and stay present with the body. Over thinking kills creativity, quality and makes me rush through life very very tired. Do you often feel, I dint do much today why do I feel so drained? You must have indulged in pointless over thinking.

Staying busy can cut down on running out of your body for short times into a dear memory but you can be very busy and still elsewhere. This decreases productivity and wastes time but what is the worst thing about this habit is, you miss out on moments happening now, that are totally worth living.

If like me you indulge in over thinking try these tips:

1- When you find yourself wondering in your head, concentrate on your breathing, 3 secs inhale – 7 secs exhale. This works like magic, it also helps me fall asleep more relaxed.

2- Another thing is to try detaching and assign yourself a role, “I am a vegetable cutter” and concentrate on cutting them right, “I am a babysitter” and watch your children carefully, see what they do, how they do it, this trust me is very engrossing.

3- Use a self assigned word, like “STOP” or “Enough” and snap back in the present. The more you pull yourself out into now, the easier it will be the next time.

4- Use all your senses. Easier said, but notice what’s under your feet, the smell around you, what you are hearing, what you are seeing, and what would you like to say about all of this. This exercise is so interesting, it actually makes me notice new things in ordinary events.

Ok then! Have fun living in the present, it’s really relaxing btw- let’s get the Alice out of the Wonderland!


My Hajj Story

Hajj is such a grand event in everyone’s life’s. Whenever we sit to talk about it, everyone has their own “miracle” story to tell. Issues related to logistics, office leaves, health, children, work, finances etc

I have a story too, that made my Hajj such a miraculous affair. When we applied, I was pregnant but we still did, thinking k dekha Jayenge. We got excited about Hajj and I delivered a baby boy.

Living alone in Dubai, he was totally attached to me, and depended on me for everything.

Since the day he was born, I was worried about how I will leave him and go, he was going to be just 6 months then. I went to his pediatrician here and asked him how to make it easy for the both of us. Being a middle aged man himself, he asked us , why now? We were still young and had much time in hand. If possible, we should postpone it. Sensibly, that should have been the course of action. But I am a believer, and I truly believe that we don’t plan to go for Hajj but Allah calls us and we go. And I was determined to say “Labaik” to this call from my creator.

Me and husband had a plan, I would go to Karachi two months before Hajj and get the baby accustomed to his Nani , Dadi. That way he will be familiar with their homes and being around them.

Those two months were one of the most difficult months of my life. Taher was born and been in Dubai since birth, which meant he was use to living in controlled temperatures. July in Karachi can be extremely hot and humid. He couldn’t stand the heat and got vomiting and diahrea. I nursed him back to health, to start with the weaning process. Again, another bout of diahrea. Once he recovered , I started the bottle, the minute I gave him the formula milk for the first time, he threw up and had hives all over his face.

He was allergic to it.

After that was just a series of trial and error of formula milks, Soy was not recommend since he wasn’t lactose intolerant and the hyper allergic version was not available in Karachi. We arranged for someone to bring the a good quality formula with HA (hyper allergic version) for him from Dubai and thank fully, he wasn’t throwing that up. But he hated the bottle. He just wasn’t ready to take it.

Apart from the emotional baggage of leaving my 6 month old, I had a real concern. How will my child be nourished? It had me terrified.

Then one day , I woke up with a sharp pain in my upper back. Upon inspection I noticed I had a small cyst under the skin. I ignored it. Too busy worrying about weaning my baby.

Within a week, the cyst was the size of a tennis ball and had to be surgically removed, ten days before we were leaving for Hajj. On the night of the operation Taher again fell sick. I don’t remember the surgery at all, all I could think of was rushing home to my baby. Due to my stitches I was asked not to carry weight for two weeks. But I carried my boy around from the time I returned from the hospital since he developed a high viral fever.

5 days before Hajj , Taher was better and finally drinking an oz of formula if offered, twice a day. I was losing all sense of time, trying to make this work. Thankfully hubby had come to Karachi and was the sane head around. Making lists and packing for me, he made sure I had in my bag everything I would need.

On the eve of the flight, my mother sat me down and told me, that babies are much stronger than they look and have a great survival instinct. She also said,

“Beta, He has called you , He is responsible, have faith”

The minute I sat in my flight, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. I was read to trust my Allah and say Labaik.

In the days to follow, I avoided talking directly to my children, but I got daily news. Taher was doing fine, my MIL was his new mommy and the bottle was his best friend. He cried only a bit the first night, and smoothly transitioned to Formula feed. He was spending half his days at Dadi’s and half at Nani’s. Even went to spend a day at his Khalas. Behaved like a super friendly baby and went to just about anyone.

When we returned post Hajj, he jumped in my arms, bottle in hand. Clinging tight and not once going to his Dadi or Nani who so lovingly kept him the past month.

“If Allah helps you, none can overcome you: If He forsakes you, who is there, after that, that can help you? in Allah, then, Let believers put their trust. (Surah Al-Imran, 160)”


Things you need to know about a Working Mom

Recently I posted an article,”Things you need to know about a Stay at Home Mom” on my blog and on social groups. If you haven’t read it, you can read it here.

Thousands of ladies cheered it and appreciated that someone recognized their plight. But there were the other half, quietly reading it and thinking of their end of the bargain. Our reader Sara Mubasshir penned down her thoughts which she aptly calls her “Jawab-e-Shikwa”

I have edited it to fit the format of the previous post.

1. I look all dressed up in the morning, not because I work in a fashion house but because I want to give the impression of being in control.

2. Like you, I want to hug my child a little stronger, hold a minute longer.

3. We clean diapers early morning too, in our work clothes and walk out looking sharp.

4. There are days I envy the SAHM, the calm with which she drops her kids and hangs around to exchange a few giggles and make breakfast plans.

5. I pat myself on reaching school on time managing my busy day, your, “ haye ap roze late aate hain, becaharay bachay’. Can ruin my day.

6. I don’t turn down weekend plans because I don’t enjoy socializing. I do it because I seek the calm of running around my house doing laundry of the entire week.

7. I’m managing twice the work, and as much as it’s no one problem, I run my world through sheer will power. Cheer me on.

8. No, I do not think ‘sara din tu tum farigh ho’. I have been there myself and I salute women who go on with the same routine sometimes without even an adult conversation. Trust me its way easier to read that design document than to hang that sock on the railing to dry ( I get to do both anyways).

9. Yes, I clean my house in work attire. Not because I want to look glamorous while cleaning that toilet bowl, its just the mom in me that can’t wait, that woman with an innate desire to housekeeping just like you.

10. If I’m not commenting on your lack of having a career than please don’t comment on the state of my house. We both are trying our best.

11. I admire how you take care of yourself and give importance to looks. I do it sometimes too and long for days when all I worried about were my cracked feet.

12. We go on holidays not because we are rich, but because I work to get those experiences to my kids but also to have high doses of family time before we all get to our routines, where everyone needs to function along like a cog else it falls apart.

13. I’m as worried about my sick child as you are, but I have other worries as well.

14. All Working moms are not in it for the money, I could be working for my sanity or because I want that third dimension in my life that helps me influence the lives of others in a positive way.

You have made a choice to stay at home and work the family; I have made a choice to work outside and within the family to make it work. There are reasons for our choices, which we don’t know and therefore should be considerate towards eachother with an understanding and appreciation of circumstances.

The day we start respecting each other’s choices, without looking/digging for information to satisfy our judgement, our world would be very agile, flexible- a happy world with a woman helping a woman.