Friday, December 30, 2011

Flavour of the Day with Noora

2012 Resolutions

I never believed in setting goals for the new year. After becoming a mama however, I realised how easy it is to put marriage, life and kids first. Mamas are programmed by nature to think of everyone else but themselves. I figure, the only way I will pay any attention to "me" is through setting goals for myself. So, 2012, I vow to:

- Make a kind gesture to at least two people every day.

- Learn and become good at one sport: I'm thinking tennis, kick boxing or fencing.

- Become a more positive person: I tend to over-worry and I am turning into a party-pooper.

- Get in touch with my distant relatives. I come from a huge family and they are all very kind and caring, I would love to be around them more often.

- Work with a personal trainer on becoming extremely fit and healthy (no more chips, junk food, energy drinks, and a lot more water and exercise).

- Make a difference in one underprivileged person's life: whether he is ill, poor, uneducated, an orphan or simply an unlucky person.

May God be with me :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Flavour of the Day with Noora

Car Crash

My sister, her husband, and three kids got into a car crash. While we are very lucky that the crash did not result in serious injuries, I am dedicating this post to plead to all drivers to think before they act.

On Friday, when my sister and her husband decided to take their children out for a ride, their worlds got flipped upside down, LITERALLY speaking.

A speeding driver, crashed the front of his car into the side of my sister's SUV causing it to flip and roll over twice. The car then landed on its side and dragged itself in the middle of the highway until it finally stopped.

The driver who caused the accident ran away.

As for my sister and her family, they were stuck inside the car because the doors were jammed shut from the collision. My niece's car seat got unhooked from the force and landed on my nephew causing a huge bruise on his leg. He in turn landed on his other sister who hurt her back as a result. My 1 year-old niece lost her voice the next day from crying so hard!

My sister injured her neck and back from the airbag and from being stuck behind the seat-belt for so long. Her husband broke a rib.

Eventually, they were pulled out of the sun-roof.

Reckless driving and accidents are as serious as they sound. Texting while driving, speeding, or being occupied with the cell phone are all unbelievably dangerous. Yes, you can get into a car crash in a second. Yes, you can hurt yourself. And yes, you can seriously ruin another person's entire life because of a decision you recklessly made in less that a second.

My sister and her family made it out of the car that day thanking god that they had a safe car, that their father was not speeding himself and that they didn't lose anyone in that terrible car crash.

Driving is a privilege, behave responsibly.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Flavour of the Day with Noora

While Yousef has just turned 1-year-old in November, friends are telling me that I am already running late in enrolling him in a school. Apparently, there are long waiting lists for grades as young as KG.

When I started thinking of what kind of school I want my child to be in, I found myself in way over my head. I have no idea what to look for. I know that I want my son to be with normal, middle-class, non-snobbish children. To know how to speak Arabic, read and write it fluently as well. I want my son to be knowledgable about his religion. Finally, I want my child to grow up to be a descent and down-to-earth human being. Does this mean I have to compromise on the quality of education?

The teenagers I am meeting these days all seem to have attitude problems, act much older than they are and none speak Arabic! While you might think that I am being a hypocrite since I write this blog in English, in my defence, this is my job. In my house, I speak only Arabic and have an only Arabic policy with my step daughter and son. Yousef only watches Arabic cartoons and his first words are being spoken in Arabic.

I am sure there is no such thing as a perfect school and in the end, my home plays a major role in how my children turn out to be. Yet, my concern is this: all the memories I have and cherish are those from school, the friends I still love so dearly are my high school friends, and some of the people who influenced me most, were my teachers from school.

I hope I make the right decision.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Flavour of the Day with Noora

Personal Trainer Wanted

I am looking for a personal trainer who can give me private work out sessions in my house. I have an issue with my knee and need someone who really knows what she is doing!

The trainers at the gym are ridiculously priced, add that to the gym membership and I have to work two jobs just to be able to afford a descent work out!

Any recommendations?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Flavour of the Day with Noora

Getting a Dog

My husband and step daughter have been wishing for a dog for the past 2 years.

Since my husband is a very smart man and is bluntly stating that he will claim no responsibility for the pet, he is leaving matters totally up to me.

I have been going back and forth with the idea for a very long time now; I have always had a soft spot in my heart for dogs. But after becoming a mama, I decided to shed the number of "things" I was responsible for. I have a one year-old baby who is a handful on his own.

However, every time I see someone walking his dog, I get all mushy and give in to the idea.

We have a spacious outdoor area where I can set up the dog house as I do not want it inside the house.

I did my research and decided on a Labrador Retriever, an amazing family dog. I also read people's comments about raising dogs, and this is what is scaring me. I'm worried that I'm underestimating the magnitutde of the responsibility.

Any dog owners who can shed some light on what it really takes to raise a dog? Is it possible to have a dog but never let him into the house?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Flavour of the Day with Noora

Good Mexican Food in Amman?

I am so craving tacos and burritos and I don’t know of a single mexican restaurant here.

Does anyone know of a good mexican restaurant in Amman or at least a place that serves tacos and burritos that actually taste like Mexican food?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Flavour of the Day with Noora

No More Television?

Almost all my nieces and nephews are addicted to television, same goes for my step daughter. Again, so I was when I was their age.

Among them, the eldest is 16 and the youngest is 7 years old. Most of them seem to love the same thing, sitcoms and comedies about teenagers. When I sit and watch what they are watching, I have to admit, the shows are funny and entertaining.

The problem is that they are in a culture that is so different from ours, in my family’s case at least!

I for one, do not want my daughter to think of boyfriends and relationships as something that is normal. Call me old-fashioned but girls these days seem to have lost all innocence and shyness, something I find very terrible.
Yes, she will eventually be exposed to it in school, especially since she is in a coed school. However, there is a difference between her hearing about it from her friends and knowing that it is not acceptable in our family and between growing up while watching shows that make her believe it is normal.

Also, my concerns are not just restricted to such topics. I am also worried about the way kids in such shows dress and behave with their parents and friends, it is different from us.

As a parent, I am being confronted with yet another dilemma, let the kids watch such shows and explain what we see as right and wrong or remove such channels from the house altogether?

Which in your opinion is the moderate and correct decision?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Flavour of the Day with Noora

Fast Food and Chips are my Best Friends!

I have always been an extremest when it comes to food. I either eat non-stop, shoving all sorts of junk down my mouth or, in many cases, eat nothing at all.

I was, for a very long time, anorexic. For those of you who do not know what that is, anorexia is an eating disorder that makes a person constantly feel like he/she is fat (even if they are as skinny as a twig). Anyone who has experienced an eating disorder knows that it is a very, very deep, black hole. One that is extremely hard to get out of. I was lucky to enough to get past that phase which lasted about 3 years when I was a teenager.

Now however, I am binge eating like crazy; I am addicted to fast food and chips. I crave them all the time and never feel full. I can go on eating and eating and don't feel that I have had enough. This only happens with junk food. With normal healthy meals, I am get full right away. I have also developed really bad eating habits. I am obsessed with carbs, and then, I add butter.

So, it is butter sandwiches, baked potato loaded with butter, sweet corn with better, and anything else that fits in the category. Needless to say, I have gained weight, lots of it.

During my pregnancy with Yousef, I gained a whopping 22 kilos! After the delivery, I tried to adopt a healthy life style. I dieted, walked every day for 40 minutes and cut down the fast food to once a week. I managed to lose 95% the weight but then I stopped.

I hate diets and dieticians because they remind me of the time I deprived myself of food. Lately however, I have been consciously trying to make the decision to quit the junk and begin, for the first time in my life, a healthy lifestyle that I can maintain and hopefully teach my kids.

Does anyone know of a nutritionist, not a dietician, that can help me make guided decisions?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Flavour of the Day with Noora

Will my baby learn how to walk on his own?

Yousef is my 13-month-old son who has been crawling since he was 9-months-old.

Since Yousef was a colic baby and had a number of digestive problems until he was about 4-5 months old, it took him a bit of time to catch up with babies his age. For example, he only learned how to support himself in a seated position when he was 7-months-old (some consider that very late).

On the other hand, he has always been a very active baby: kicking, playing and lately, crawling everywhere. In fact, the only time he is in his place is while he is sleeping.

While he does grab on and bring himself to a standing position, as well as moves from one end of the couch to the other by stepping sideways, he still does’t attempt to go from one object to another no matter how close they are. He also doesn't know how to stand unsupported.

I got some advice which I am not very sure of. Someone told me that I should put a table in the middle of the room as an incentive for him to move from the couch to the table. On the other hand, I moved the table in the first place because I was worried that he would hurt himself.

Do you believe that there is anything I can do or will he walk when he is ready?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Flavour of the Day with Noora

Our Advancement as a Nation,
The Cup of Coffee Crisis

You will not believe what I am about to write. I'm telling you, ever since I started writing this blog, the strangest things started happening to me. I guess it's fate's way of giving me exciting content!

So, I was at a coffee shop ordering a frappuccino to-go, when a man came and stood behind me in line. After he heard my order, he asked the saleswoman if she can serve him first since his coffee shot "is ready to serve" while my order "needs preparation". He then turned to me and gave me the same reasoning.

Even though I was in a hurry and left my husband and baby in the car, I said "of course". The saleswoman however, declined his request explaining that it is on a first-come first-serve basis and that he should "kindly wait a few minutes."

Impressed, I grinned and looked away. Suddenly, the man started yelling at her saying: "this is exactly why we will never intellectually advance as a nation and that he will surely escalate it to the manager if she doesn't comply!"

Can you believe this guy, our intellectual advancement as a nation is being held back by a saleswoman who chose to respect the rules and serve me first. It is not however being held back by people who have no respect for the concept of queuing; and over what, a cup of coffee!

The man kept on ranting and started to get louder. Finally, another salesperson came to the rescue and prepared his drink.

But, what happened next was even worse. This "intellectually advanced person" took his drink, sat on a table, opened his book and started reading. He was not in a hurry, he just wanted to be first!

Can you believe this guy!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Flavour of the Day with Noora

Work or Children?

What would you do if your dream job meant that you had to stay away from your house and child for at least 10 hours a day?

My son Yousef, just turned one. Before I had him, I worked in Advertising. It only took me about 5 minutes in the agency to figure out that working in Advertising is my dream job. I had always wanted to do it and when I did, it turned out to be even more amazing than I imagined. It is a mixture of creativity and psychology. It is understanding what will be the next big thing and being the one to tell people that it is "what they need". Simply put, it is a lot of fun.

Reality check however, working for an advertising agency is by far one of the most demanding fields there is! Long hours, crazy deadlines, high stakes, and very demanding clients are the day to day realities of the job.

Now, when I think of working again, I realize that it is either advertising or being a mama. Both at the same time are impossible, something will have to give. The problem is that by the time Yousef is old enough to be left under the supervision of someone else for long hours, I would be too outdated for the game.

People tell me to decide which is more important, but honestly, they both really are. I know stay-at-home-mamas who have unbearable kids even though they are at home with them all the time. But, I also know working mamas who have teens that are troublesome because their parents are barely at home.

In the end, how much do children really suffer when their mamas have to go to work everyday?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Flavour of the Day with Noora

Men are from Mars, Women are from Earth

I was watching a movie with my husband about a miserable couple who were having a very heated argument. Both said some very cruel things. At the same moment, my husband and I had the same reaction: “what a jerk!”. Ironically, I was talking about the man while my husband was talking about the woman.

While I am very fortunate to be happily married, it never ceases to amaze me how different men and women are. For example, women like to talk things through while men think that with silence and avoidance comes a magical solution.

Women have the ability to multi-task the house, kids, family and a full-time job. Men on the other hand were built to handle one thing at a time.

Women have the tendency to panic and in many cases, take matters a bit more seriously than they should; men are blessed with a sense of coolness.

We want men to think and analyze to come up with the right solution (because that means they understand us). Men on the other hand only understand five words, “I want it this way.”

It’s nothing to be ashamed of really, it’s just the way things are. A very close friend of mine who has been married for over 20 years gave me some very good advice: “once you accept that there are things you will never be able to change, life surprisingly becomes easier.”

I am writing about this topic today because I had an hour long discussion with my friend who “will not accept” her husband like this. Of course, we are talking about the day-to-day, minor stuff.

What in your opinion is the right approach, accepting the differences or trying to change a person?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Flavour of the Day with Noora

Customer Service...Not!

Is it just me, or is the concept of “customer service” still not comprehended in most places here?

I was at the bank withdrawing money and was in a major rush. While I was at the counter waiting for the teller to give me a receipt, her colleague called her to the corner. In my head, I was thinking, “I’m sure she left me waiting to talk about something urgent.” Then, they both started giggling.

They then called their other colleague into the conversation which I managed to hear this time. “Yes, breakfast has arrived but we forgot your juice upstairs,” he said.

Mind you, all this is taking place while the teller was holding the receipt in her hand, all she needed to do was hand it over to me!

My family has been accusing me of being short tempered lately so I tried to keep my cool and stay pleasant. It took a delay of about 5 minutes until she came back and gave me the receipt.

On the hand, today I had to go buy a house-warming present for my uncle. After I chose the present (a glass plate) and asked for it gift-wrapped, the salesman told me that the box for that specific plate was not available. He suggested giving me a different but similar box.

Get this, he got me a box for a completely different plate made of a number of layers with metal handles. After spending a few minutes explaining why what he did will not work, we finally agreed to find a box for something more similar.

On the cash register, I noticed that the price was different; he had charged me for something else. Believe it or not, the salesperson tried to convince me that I told him to get me not only a new box but an entirely new plate because “I liked the new plate more”. Unbelievable

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Flavour of The Day With Noora

You are Making My Kids Inhale Your Smoke!

Yesterday, I yelled at a complete stranger at the mall. As me, my 7-year-old step daughter and my 1-year-old son, were shopping for something she needs for school, I couldn't help but smell cigarette smoke.

I turned around to find two men, one in his early forties and one in his teens, smoking right behind us. They were taking a drag and then hiding the cigarette as if no one could see or smell the smoke. When I turned around to look at them, I found them standing by a garbage can that had a "no cigarette" sign on it.

I became furious! This is what happened next.

Noora: do you or do you not see the sign on the trash can?

Man: yes, I do.

Noora: you are making me and my children inhale your smoke and we don't want to!

Man: so many other people are smoking (pointing out others who really were)

Noora: so, because some people are fools, you decided you wanted to be a fool too!

I then turned around and walked away. I felt so bad afterwards for two reasons. First, I couldn't believe that I was that rude to someone in front of my step daughter. Second, I couldn't believe that I was that rude to someone in the first place.

Yet, how disrespectful is he to smoke in a place that has no-smoking signs everywhere?! People like him assume that the laws were put just for the sake of having a law, and that makes me very angry!

I wanted him to know that there are people who think smoking is disgusting and want to protect their children from it, it is not just a law!

The question is, was I too harsh?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Flavour of The Day With Noora

Daycare Centre

Does anyone know of a good daycare centre for Yousef? He is one year old and is getting really bored at home. He keeps on crying and nagging, doesn't want to play with his toys, watch TV or do anything else I suggest.

I try taking him out to the mall, but he keeps on crying to get out of the stroller. On the other hand, when we go the baby group once a week, he is so happy. He plays with other children, crawls all around the play area and enjoys the sing-a-longs. That's what made me think of a daycare centre.

I don't want to leave him there all day, just a couple of hours where he can play and release some energy.

If you know of a good place, please let me know.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Flavour of The Day With Noora

Stubborn Child of Mine

Yousef is turning out to be a very stubborn child. He calls me, “nana, nana...” over and over again and when I look at him, he tries to stick his finger in the electricity outlet. He does the same thing with the drain and the DVD player!

Ignoring him, saying “no”, giving him an angry look, and distracting him or moving his hand away have not worked. On the contrary, he starts laughing and tries even harder. While I have baby-proofed the house, I still worry that he will hurt himself one way or the other.

I searched online and found a number of parenting books that talk about the different disciplinary methods I could use, but first, I have to choose one. I do not know how to do that! Some methods make sense in one way and then seem like complete nonsense in another.

Any tips?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Flavour of The Day With Noora

A Friend for Mama

None of my friends are married and so none have kids. I underestimated the importance of having friends who are mamas themselves until I became one and stayed at home with my son.

While I still love my “single” friends very dearly, I cannot keep up with their lifestyles. Partly, because I am exhausted by 8pm every night. Partly, because I would rather stay at home and fall asleep watching TV than go to a loud restaurant and worry that it is getting later by the second.

While I initially started going to a baby group for my son, lately however, I feel like I have turned into a stalker!

I go and analyze other mamas: how they are dressed, how they are with her babies, and whether or not they seem to be friendly and approachable. I laugh at myself for the way I am behaving and tell myself: if these women knew what I was thinking, they would probably kick me out of the group.

However, I am dying to find another mama who is in the same situation as me. A stay at home mama who has no idea what to do with her son all day and would really appreciate some company. Someone who is facing the same responsibilities towards her children, husband and home. More importantly, a steady play-date for Yousef. I know this sounds ridiculous and maybe even a bit desperate, but I’m sure that all other mamas can relate to what I am saying. So, my "friend for mama" hunt is still on, wish me luck!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Flavour of The Day With Noora

Ants, Ants, Ants

My house is being infested by ants!! It is a really terrible site.

About 2 months ago, we were facing a cockroach problem. Every morning I would wake up to find a huge, brown, miserable looking creature in my kitchen. We got a company that sprayed our entire house and the problem seemed to be solved.

For the past three days however, I have been finding huge numbers of ants trailing around in my living room and kitchen. They are not only small ones, there are big ones with wings! The situation is just awful!

After following their trail, I found huge cracks in the floor and the sides of the walls where they were proudly giving themselves access into my lovely home.

The scary thing is that Yousef is always on the floor playing or munching on something and I am so afraid that he will get bitten by an ant. It happened before and his hand really swelled up.

Like a maniac, I crawled around the house filling the gaps with super glue (my husband’s idea) in hopes of blocking their way in and I vacuumed all the ones I could see on the surface.

It didn’t help! A few hours later they were back from the same crack, what shall I do?!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Flavour of The Day With Noora

A Child Labourer

I was driving back home the other day when I realised that a huge water truck was blocking the road. It was clear that they were in the midst of wrapping up and I was not in a rush, so, I decided to give them their time and wait for them to finish.

I was so sad to see that one of the workers standing on the water tank of this huge truck was a child as young at 10 years old. The site of him standing on something so high with a huge possibility of falling is enough to make any mama shiver.

What he did next was, by all standards, extremely hazardous. He and he alone pulled up the huge water hose that seemed to weigh 4 times his own weight!

If the boy slipped, tripped or was even pulled down by the hose, I'm sure he would have spiralled down the truck with a very tragic ending.

Ironically, in this month's issue of Family Flavours, my colleague and I covered an article on child labour under the title:"Exploited Innocence".

In it, you will read all about the facts and figures of child labour in Jordan as well as some quotes from child labourers themselves. The topic is very dear to my heart as my father suffered from a childhood crippled by poverty and had to work to support his family.

Please read the article for a deeper comprehension of this pressing matter and to be inspired by child labourers who decided to change their future.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Flavour of The Day With Noora

Meddling In

What would you do if you believed that your friend was making a big mistake? Would you interfere and give her your opinion or would you just stay out of it?

A very dear friend of mine is going through a hard time in her personal life. While she is really confused and is taking contradicting decisions every few days, I personally believe that she is on the wrong track all together.

I have been debating whether or not I should say anything about it as she has not asked for my opinion, she has only been talking to me about her problems.

While I am not saying that I am right and she is wrong, I do believe that it sometimes helps to have a person from the outside shed some light on what the situation looks like.

I am afraid that the truth will hurt her and even push her away but it is also killing me to see her do this to herself. I am not talking about silly sentimental problems, I am talking about decisions that will affect the rest of her life.

Shall I say something or should I just keep quiet?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Flavour of The Day With Noora

Staying at Home for Yousef

No one can really understand what a sacrifice it is to leave work to become a full time mama except a mama who has been through it herself.

I worked for a total of two years before I had Yousef. Although that may seem like a short duration to some, to me, it was a lifetime of professional achievement.

Before I got married, I never thought that I would ever consciously make the decision to leave work and stay at home for anything less than a crisis. Yet, the moment I found out that I was pregnant, the decision to become a stay at home mama seemed to make all the sense in the world. In fact, it was the only way I would have it.

Throughout the course of motherhood however, more often than not, I found myself thinking only of work and how happy I was, how sure I was of who I am and what I wanted to be and how amazing it felt to be appreciated for my intellect. The rush I got from presenting a winning advertising pitch was by far the best feeling in the world. It put me on the top.

While in theory I know that raising a human being that will passionately contribute to his country is one of the most important things that I can do, I cannot help but feel so out of place in my new life.

The annoying thing is that I do not believe that going back to work and leaving Yousef is the right thing to do. Simply put, I am stuck in a swirl of my personal dedication.

I do not know if I am right or wrong, I only know that the way things are going is making me feel incomplete.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Flavour of The Day With Noora

Question After Question

I was at the Dr.’s office today going for a routine check up. In the waiting room, there was a woman in her late forties, who stared and stared and stared at me.

Every time I would lift my head, there she was, bluntly staring at me. Then finally, she decided to break the silence. “Is this your son? He is cute, how old is he?”

Every time I answered a question, a new question would come up and it started becoming very personal.

“You look too young to have a son, how old are you? What’s your family name? What’s your husband’s family name? Why are you at the Dr.’s office? What are you suffering from?” and so on.

I didn’t know what to do, should I answer her questions that only seemed to raise new questions or should I be rude until she got the point? People like her annoy me, why do you need to know who I am and who I am married to? You are probably never going to see me again anyways, so why get so personal?

The staring thing is not just in older women, everyone stares here. If you are having a conversation with a friend in a public place, you can actually feel and see people listen to what you are saying and in some cases, decide to join in on the conversation.

It’s funny but also annoying. Anyways, I ended up being called in to the Dr.’s office and that was that.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Flavour Of The Day With Noora


I am facing internet connectivity problems at home, out of the blue, we suddenly didn't have internet. The worst part is that it happened over the weekend and I couldn't call anyone to fix it.

The first few hours were fine. Then however, I needed to get a number from the internet. I also remembered that I promised my friend that I will send her pictures of Yousef and most importantly, it was time for my blog post!

I never realised how dependent I am on the internet, so is my entire family. Without internet, none of us got distracted on the computer, iPad, or spent hours watching videos on YouTube.

I once watched a TV talk show where the entire family was suffering from massive arguments, poor communication and a lack of bonding. The host recommended that they disconnect from all mobiles, phones, computers and especially the internet. The family came back to the show saying that they finally spoke with each other for the first time in years.

I can now see what they meant.

Since I need the internet for work however, I ended up buying an internet plan for my phone so I can write this post.

Try disconnecting from all technology for a while, it actually is a relief.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Flavour of The Day With Noora

Yousef's First Birthday

Next week, we will be celebrating my son’s FIRST birthday!

I cannot believe it, it really has been one year. I am not saying that time has passed quickly, it hasn’t. But, I cannot imagine that it has been that long.

It’s funny, I tell my husband that I do not remember what I used to do with all my time before I had him. Yes, I worked about 9 hours a day. Yet, what did I do with all my time after that? I don’t remember what it felt like to wake up on weekends on my own pace, stay in bed, watch TV for 3 hours straight and just have a commitment free day.

Nowadays, Yousef is doing all sorts of adorable, funny stuff. He opens his eyes really wide to make us laugh, thinks it’s hilarious when he sneezes and loves to sit in the supermarket trolly. It’s such an amazing feeling watching him do all this stuff, and this is just the first year.

November 3rd, 2011 will be a very special day. Even though he will have no idea what’s going on, I know I will cry my eyes out over the sight of him trying to grab his football-shaped birthday cake.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Flavour of The Day With Noora

6:00 am

Ever since Yousef was 7 months old, he stopped waking up in the middle of the night for milk.

While many people were giving me advice on how I can wean him from his midnight feedings, I just waited for him to stop on his own, and he did.

He used to have his last bottle at 8pm and have his morning bottle at 8am, it was so comfortable for the both of us.

Lately however, he has been waking up at 6am again for milk. I don’t know if this means that he is not getting enough food during the day which is making him wake up hungry or if it is just a new habit. And the worst part is that he wakes up full of energy and ready to start his day.

I tried to delay his bedtime for an hour to make him sleep in later in the morning. It didn’t work, he is still waking up at 6 and is becoming very cranky for the rest of the day.

How can I get him back on track? I really don’t want to go back to midnight feedings!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Flavour of The Day With Noora

Extra Naggy!

Yousef, my 11-month-old son, has been extra naggy the past few months. I don’t know why and I cannot figure out what has changed, but things are definitely getting out of control.

If I leave the room to go to the kitchen for example, even though he can still see me, he starts crying. If we are in the same room, he has to be in my lap. If we are not in the same room, he cries hysterically. What’s even worse is that he is not accepting ANYONE but me. He is constantly nagging until I carry him.

I don’t know if this is just a phase, but I need to find a solution ASAP. Before all this, he used to love going to my sister’s house and I could leave him there for hours without any problems. Now, he refuses to stay in the same room with her if I am not there!

For anyone who works from home and has an entire house to look after, this situation is too hard to handle. I cannot carry him while I am cooking or cleaning and I cannot leave all the work until he is asleep, I am too exhausted by then.

Some people are telling me that I should gradually try to change this habit; others are telling me that I should wait it out. But, what if waiting it out makes things worse?!

What shall I do?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Flavour of The Day With Noora

Is it from the Flu?

My baby had the flu for about 10 days, and he had it really bad. Coughing, sneezing, runny nose and high fever.

I gave him all the medication his Dr. prescribed and he is feeling way better now. The problem is, he is still refusing to eat or drink anything, even his precious milk is being refused. He vomited a few times also. Is this normal after the flu or do you think it might be something else?

Shall I give it a few more days (it's been 5 days already) or shall I go to the Dr. again? He is losing so much weight!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Flavour of The Day With Noora

Baby # 2

How soon after the first baby should a woman start thinking about having her second?

I am asking this question because my son is about to turn 1 year-old and I still feel so overwhelmed sometimes that the thought of having another baby terrifies me.

Do you think it is better to have babies that are close in age or wait a few years before having the second baby?

One of my closest friends has a son and daughter who are about a year and a half apart. She says that having them so close in age is the best thing she has ever done. “You feed them together, bathe them together, put them to sleep together and they keep each other busy,” that’s what she is always telling me.

On the other hand, I know a couple who had their son and daughter 4 years apart and they too think it is the best thing they have ever done.

I know it is a matter of preference, but is there any mama who share her personal experience with me?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Flavour of The Day With Noora

Teens' Night Out

I went to the mall last night, even though I hate going there on weekends. My husband, son, step daughter and I, went to the play area to kick off the weekend.

On our way, I saw a group of girls, around 13-14 year-olds, huddled in the corner, laughing hysterically. Across from them, was a group of boys, all with greasy styled hair and really low-waist jeans looking at the girls, making remarks and giving them looks that only made the girls laugh harder, in a flirtatious sense!

On the second floor, I saw a very similar situation. A few meters away, there it was again. It was awful. Any caring mother would shiver at the sight of her daughter behaving in that manner and at the sound of her son using such language. And the thing is, judging from their clothing and appearance, they all seemed to come from good families.

I think there is a huge difference between teaching your child that it is ok to be friends and go out with the opposite gender and between what was going on last night.

Last night, it was about flirting, exchanging numbers, and doing something that is wrong, at a considerably young age. And, I saw it more than once.

I often hear mothers say that they want their daughters to be liberal and to have fun (in a way that they, themselves never got to do). Yet, drawing the line, teaching your child self-respect, refinement and class when it comes to behaving with the opposite gender will set the tone for all his/her future relationships.

In fact, since as adults, we respect the respectable, it is only natural that our teens will do the same.

The question is, how do you talk to your children about this? Do you set rules and lay down punishments or do you give them the freedom to make mistakes?

Has anyone tried this?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Flavour of The Day With Noora

Baby Groups

Does any one know of a good baby group? I decided that my baby and I need to socialise more often with other mamas and babies.

He is becoming very attached to me and does not like to play with anyone else, not a good sign!

Therefore, I would like to join a baby group and if all goes well, maybe even start my own group.

If you know of any group or have any tips on where I can find one, please let me know.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Flavour of The Day With Noora

Something Is Bothering Me

The house-work is killing me! Writing this blog post at 10:30pm is the first thing I have done for myself all day.

When has Amman become such a dusty city? I wipe the table, turn my back and it’s dirty again! On the other hand, there are the piles and piles of laundry that need to be washed, dried, ironed, and neatly returned to where they belong. The dishes that need to be cleaned and the bottles that need to be sterilized. On top of it all, there is my 11-moth-old baby who seems to want to follow me everywhere I go, and I mean everywhere!

I don’t remember ever being this tidy before I got married. In fact, I remember my mum threatening to throw all my clothes away if I do not remove them off the floor. Whenever I lost something, I knew exactly where it was, behind the bed. Life was simple.

Lately, I have been feeling very down. It’s not just the pressures of the house and my son, I really miss theme time” I used to have. I miss getting my hair and nails done, I miss having uninterrupted hot meals, I miss watching TV and I miss going out of the house, worry-free. More than anything, I miss going to the gym.

Everyone keeps on telling me that I should take a break every now and then, but I do not have many options when it comes to finding someone to watch my baby. I just feel stuck and it is really getting to me. Help!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Flavour of The Day With Noora

Family Ties

There is nothing like family! I am currently in Riyadh, where most of my family members reside, and I am feeling great.

I have 7 brothers and sisters and 9 nieces and nephews. Each with his or her own personality, yet a perfect fit within the whole picture. My eldest niece is 16 and the youngest is just over a year. It always surprises me how well they all get along and how much they all truly love each other.

When we were growing up, my father had always reserved Wednesdays to be family days. No friends and no plans outside the house. Just all of us crammed together in our living room with our noises bouncing off the walls. Yes, it used to annoy us sometimes because when you are young, you do not appreciate the importance of family. But now that I have a family of my own, I thank my father every day for planting the importance of family ties in all of us.

I sometimes hear stories of siblings fighting over money, cutting all ties because their spouses do not get along or simply drifting apart because they each have their own social life. I do not wish that on anyone!

Speaking as a daughter, sister, aunt, and mama, do not under-estimate the importance of family, it truly is a precious gift. Set aside one day of the week for your immediate family and start creating a new generation of loving children.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Flavour of The Day With Noora

A Happy Marriage

Many people I know are getting divorced. Couples who had been dating for years before they got married, men and women who I personally know are very kind, understanding and decedent people, are deciding that divorce is a better option.

Before you get married, you assume that love is the most important thing; love and only love can make things work. However, you soon find out that life, really can get in the way of love.

From my personal experience, I find that kids are the number one thing that can distract a couple from each other. When my son was first born, it took my husband and me months to get our relationship back on track.

Of course, I am not saying that loving or caring for your children is not important, on the contrary, I am obsessed with caring for my son. However, I am just saying that spending a few hours away from your children to work on your marriage is as important.

There is no recipe for a happy marriage and what works for one couple might never work for another. Yet, there are a few things that can get you on the right track. Be understanding, give your partner space to make mistakes, and let your partner be himself just like you want him to let you be yourself.

I read a book on this topic called “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff In Love” by Richard Carlson. I found everything in it to be so true. I reread it over and over again every time I become anxious or get caught up in a swirl of my own negative thoughts.

For me, there is nothing more important than a happy marriage because in it is where I raise myself and more importantly, my children. Invest in making sure that you and your partner are on the right track and you will be teaching your children one of the most important lessons they will ever learn: how to truly love and care for their own families.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Informed Teenagers

Do you ever talk to your teens about the news? Especially nowadays when there are violent scenes of people attacking each other or victims left on the streets, I wonder if the news should be playing when they are around.

I remember when I was in middle school, something bad was happening in the world and my friend was shocked that I heard nothing about it. Thinking about it, I remember seeing my parents watch the news but I never actually sat and watched it with them.

I regret to say that I turned out to be a totally clueless person. In so many cases, people would be talking about something that had just been all over the news and I would have no idea what to say, it was embarrassing!

However, all that changed when I started working for the magazine, it was part of my job to stay informed and look for stories, and I finally understood the world around me.

With so much unfairness and tragedy going around, should you make your teens watch the news to become informed members of their societies or should you protect them from a sometime cruel reality?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Renovation Madness

If you ever needed to get any work done on your house, I am sure you will totally relate to what I am about to write about.

About 2 years, ago my husband and I moved into our home, we loved it and were so thrilled about every inch in it.

I was so excited to start the decoration phase. The only image I had in my mind was that of the movies' when a couple first moves into their new house, the furniture gets delivered on time by happy workers, the woman joyfully points to where everything goes and finally, the couple sits on the couch hand in hand, admiring their ever so perfect house.

Boy was I wrong! I decided to start with the paint; all I needed to get done was paint the guest room, living room and the stairway. It has been a painful 5 months!

So far, the painter has needed to go to the hospital twice to get shots because of his nasty flu (which seems to magically disappear in a day), kept me waiting for several days without answering his phone, painted uneven lines (part of the design) and tried to convince me it’s just the lighting, and ruined his own paint job when he moved the ladder.

To top it all off, we discovered a mold problem that ruined an entire side of the room and its fresh paint job, something the workers found very funny!

Picture-perfect image shattered...

Here I am, writing this post, waiting for this to be finally over.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

I Want This, And This, And This...

Is it just me or is everything getting really expensive these days?

I went with my niece to buy a school bag and some stationary, I was shocked at the total price!

When I think of it, we really did not buy anything she doesn’t need: a bag, a lunch box, a water bottle, and some basic stationary, how did it end up costing that much!

Granted, we bought good quality items however, if this is how much her school supplies cost now, how will things be in a few years when it’s time for high-school and the peer pressure really kicks in.

On the other hand, she is enrolled in a gym and takes swimming classes. Let’s not forget the never-ending birthday parties she gets invited to and how each birthday is a “really important party”.

I used to think that boys are easier to please, until I met my friend's kids with their video games, their sneakers, their after school activities and finally their gadgets.

If your kid is in a school surrounded by others who have all these materialistic luxuries, would it be fair to keep him in that kind of environment and have him be less than his peers? On the other hand, when do you draw the line? When is buying this item ok and the other not?

My friend came to me for advice and I am clueless as to what is fair and what is not (I’m a first-time mama), any ideas?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

More often than not, mamas tend to act like super-women; the husband, the house, the kids, and the social commitments.

I found that it is so easy to get carried away with this role: to convince myself that all will collapse if I am not there, that an emergency is sure to happen because I let someone else watch my son, and that life, as my family knows it, will surely stop once I leave the house.

As I was watching a family comedy show, the husband points out to his wife that although she complains a lot about not having any time for herself, staying that way is the only thing that makes her happy. The husband (who needed to be nice to get away with a golfing trip) offers to watch the kids and run the house, so that his wife can go to the movies. Of course, she declined, thinking that her husband wouldn’t know how to manage things.

It was so funny to watch because this is exactly what I do! When my sister offers to baby-sit on weekends, I worry and say no. If my friends offer to come over and watch my baby so I can go to the gym, I always reply with “you wouldn’t know how to handle him.” Without doing it on purpose, I always manage to have one excuse or another for why I cannot do something for myself. Then, I cry (literally cry, with tears and the whole deal) about not being able to do things for me.

If this happens with you, I am here to tell you that becoming aware of it is a huge step forward.

Try to notice if you are the same way and take this piece of advice: stop it before it is too late! It is truly an unattractive quality and eventually people will stop offering to help.