Monday, December 31, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

The entire world is waiting for the clock to strike twelve, some praying for better fortune, some praying for peace and stability, and others praying for things to stay exactly the same.

Whoever you are: mama, daughter, son, sister, brother, wife or husband, and whatever you are praying for, I hope the new year, that is less than 15 minutes away, brings you nothing but good fortune and happiness for you and your families. 

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

For 2013, I am looking forward to my daughter turning 1 year-old and all the cute things that come with that age! The past year has been amazing but hectic to say the least. However, being a mama of two, I came to see yourself through their eyes. I are their sense of security, their trusted source for anything and everything, and their world.

While exhaustion has been my partner throughout 2012, tonight I am thinking of times that will never come again: the first sentences my son said, his first day at preschool, the first day I held my daughter, the first day she rolled over, her first meal and so many more and cannot help but feel overwhelmingly grateful.

I wish that to all, and a happy new year!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

I look at my nieces and nephews who are 17, 15, and 13 years-old and I think to myself, I cannot wait until my kids are all grown up. On the other hand, as one of them will be soon leaving to university, their mother is saying how much she misses when they were young and how fast time has passed by.

When I think of the amount of time I spend everyday with Yousef who is still just 2, I wonder how strange it must be for my parents to see me a few times a week after being used to caring for me 24/7 for 18 years straight. It must have been so hard for them when I insisted on leaving home to study abroad. Now, I get it. Now, I get why my father parked underneath my dorm and cried the first night I was not at home. Now, I get why my parents keep remembering stories of my childhood.

Nothing in the world can prepare you for what it is really like to have children, and I am sure nothing can prepare you for how it will feel when it is time for them to leave the nest.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

As the new year approaches, I can't help but reflect on last year.

Me and two of my friends had babies while another sadly lost her husband; another graduated with distinction from her MBA programme. Yousef went to preschool, my husband ventured into a new business, my nephew went to university and I started taking life coaching sessions.

So many random and unrelated events made up our world for 2012. It was up, then down then up again. I set resolutions last year which I am worried to go over now; I'm pretty sure I only scored one or two.

I love to plan, I live by my little book of colour coded events, post-it notes, deadlines and appointments taken months in advance. Yet, it is so easy to plan the meetings, doctor visits, trainer sessions, diet plans and so forth. But when it comes to the things that count, the stuff that really make a difference, life is so unpredictable, it is scary. One minute you are home safe, the next you are not. One minute you are laughing, the next you are in shock.

Whatever this year brings, I just pray for peace of mind for all. There is nothing like peace of mind! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Ever since I had Yousef two years ago, I have been reflecting on my life and the choices I've made. While there is nothing more precious to me than having a healthy marriage, and healthy, happy children, I have lately realised that I completely lost track of who I was/am.

I've become over occupied with being "the perfect wife, step mama, and mama" and convinced myself that if I can just achieve that, I will be "perfectly happy". This turned out to be a major lie to myself; because when I focused just on that, I became only that. Even the thing I thought I was doing for myself, which is getting back into shape, I stuck the word mama in there. I want to be a fit and healthy mama; I want to be a mama that has gone back to her pre-baby weight; I don't want to look like a chubby mama that accepted what pregnancy has done to her body.

Yes, I am a mama, but is that it? After my kids are older and occupied with their own lives, would I be as emotionally dependent on them as they are on me now because that is all I have come to know? The perfectionist in me has done this, and I don't how to undo it. But I do know this, I am sure to regret it one day. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

I Miss Preschool !

Yousef (2) is on a two week vacation from preschool. While it has only been two days without school, I have to admit I am bored already! I got so used to having three hours of freedom every morning to go to the gym, finish my meetings, get the grocery, and run all errands without a child nagging that he wants or does not want something.

I took the kids out with me to visit their grandparents. In the car, Mona (6 months) was testing her lungs' ability to cry for thirty minutes straight because she hates the car seat. In the background of this screaming, Layla (8) was telling me a story that required my full attention, and when I didn't respond in time, she kept on calling me until I did. For the cherry on top, Yousef (2) was crying because the music that was playing was not the one he likes, even though it is the song he requested.

Needless to say, by the time I got home, I swore never to take the three of them out together again until they are adults! God bless and protect my kids but sometimes, it takes every bit of self control to keep me from pulling me hair out!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Sometimes, I just need a break from the responsibility. I wish I can go out, not AFTER the kids are asleep at 10:30pm but to leave the house at 7pm and know that my kids would be taken care of as if I were there.

Mona would be given her bottle and in her crib by 9pm while Yousef would have his daily bedtime routine and would be sleeping in his own bed. I wish I can go out with the comfort of knowing that nothing will be skipped because it's easier to skip it, just like I don't skip anything.

I miss having my shower during the regular hours of the day rather than the really late ones when I can barely keep my eyes open. I miss falling asleep in my bed rather than dozing off on the floor or on Layla's bed while I'm waiting for Yousef to sleep. It's these tiny stuff that when accumulated over time, result in fatigue and suffocating repetitiveness.

Since my husband has been over occupied with work for the past 4 months, this window of escape has disappeared and I am finding myself overwhelmed by the responsibility of daily life.

During the day, when your child does something cute, you just want to hug and cuddle him as long as you can, but come night time, you just need a break!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Switch To Healthy

I have recently decided to make the switch to what I now know are healthy products. I attended a few seminars and did my research and realised that so many of the products we are used to purchasing are extremely bad for us.

Loaded with my new-found knowledge and the determination to change, I went to the supermarket's Organic section. I was shocked by the prices! I then moved on to items that I buy on a regular basis such as salt and flour. Apparently buying sea salt rather than regular salt and non-bleached flour rather than white flour are great/easy health tips. Again, shocked.

Why are these "healthy" products more expensive while the "normal products" we have been using since forever cheaper? Are the components that bad that they don't cost much to produce? Is it because they sell more and so they can afford to be cheaper?

On another note, do these tiny changes I am making really make a difference in my family's health (which is what this whole thing is about)? Obesity, Cancer, Autism,  and so many other "illnesses" have been on the rise. Is it the chemicals we are entering into our bodies? If so, where do we start?! As a mama, it is so worrying to feel that almost anything that is being sold these days is harmful. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Lately, I have been getting into a complete life change revolved around becoming more responsible. Among these changes is recycling. I have written about it before however I would like to stress again how much of a difference it is making. Bags filled with paper, others with plastic, and others with tin cans, all going to be reused instead of being dumped god knows where and causing god knows what kind of damage.

Filled with excitement that I am making a difference, I drove around looking for a place that sells specific recycling trash cans; the ones with different compartments for each. Not a single place had them. Finally to burst my bubble, the salesman who looked at me as if I was speaking a whole new language said: "we are not a nation that recycles, we are a one that is proud to pollute and dump garbage in the streets."

What is even more annoying is that I called a recycling company and asked for the cans directly from them. Each is JD 40 which means I will need a total for JD 120-160 just to have my trash look organised. Back to carton boxes in the stairway!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Sometimes, I wonder if I am doing anything right. Mona ( 6 months) has a terrible cold; runny nose, sneezing, fever, coughing, the whole deal. Since the morning, I could barely give her the attention she needed. 
I took her brother to nursery, rushed through a non-rescheduable meeting, picked up her older sister (who is also home sick), picked Yousef from preschool, came home, ordered lunch, fed kids, put Yousef to sleep, did homework with Layla for two hours and then finally held Mona. It tore my heart that I wasn't her sole caregiver when she needed me most!

In the evening, all she wanted was to sleep in my arms, which of course drove Yousef crazy with jealousy. He woke her up every time she fell asleep. Determined to care for her, I ignored his tantrum, and focused just on her. 

I wonder if I should have cancelled the meeting regardless of consequences, delayed the homework for the next day even if it meant it will pile up, if I should have held Yousef instead of her, if I was doing anything right!

Is the lack of time for the youngest a given when there are two older kids who need you just as much? Will it ever get better or will she always be in the sidelines?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

About 3 months ago, I decided to change my life. I realised I was slowly but surely  destroying myself; I had energy drinks and chips for breakfast, skipped lunch because I was "too busy" to eat and binged on fast food at 11pm after the kids were fast asleep convincing myself I deserved a break. 
That had been my life day in and day out. Then, I was looking at the mirror and realised that I looked exhausted, pale, out of shape and miserable. Part due to the lack of sleep that comes with having two babies under two-years-old but mostly because I was not eating a single good meal. Although I was moving all day, going up and down, cleaning, bathing the kids, and constantly having a baby on my arm; it still wasn't productive movement. At the pace I was going, I was bound to be diagnosed with some major problem soon.

I'm trying to buy Organic products, make everything from scratch and consume as much vitamins as possible. I hope my efforts to introducing "healthy" into my family's life work out. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora


Someone stole my phone from my purse while I was at the mall. As if it is not annoying enough to lose a NEW phone that was given to you as a GIFT from your husband, it was a dual SIM phone that contained my work phone and my saudi SIM card (I visit Saudi often). All my business contacts, messages, emails etc. were on it! And my Saudi SIM was registered in so many places as the contact detail, it will take me forever to reconnect it. The most annoying thing is that it had some of the best pictures of my baby on it and I never got the chance to sync it with my computer.

I am so angry at how cruel and petty some people are! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

I recently started recycling. I cannot believe the amount of waste that comes out of my house on a daily basis that can still be reused.

Just put a box for paper, another for plastic and one for steel and divide your waste for a week; you will be shocked of how much stacks up! Just think, all of it will be reused. Why is it taking us so long to become more considerate of our environment?!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Reality Check

Today, I thought I was superwoman! My husband opened a private business and assigned me as a marketing manager. Excited about doing something I love, I woke up at 6:30am, dressed formally,  took out my old notebook and multi coloured pens, and was as prepared as prepared could be. I  met with photographers, suppliers and all sorts of professionals. By 12:30 pm I was finished for the day, ready to get Yousef from preschool and head home to cook. I was superwoman and I was feeling great.

Then came the call from the most important supplier yet, he needed to meet and he needed to meet now. Sudden professional commitments and caring for toddlers don't work together, I knew that. But my superwoman mentality told me it would be a piece of cake: "I'll just take Yousef, he'll sleep on our way there anyways". Mind you, this is something I always objected to; I hate mamas who mix between kids and work.

Wrapping up my meeting without a single difficulty, it all seemed too good to be true; it was. Yousef woke up, extremely fussy from his unusual nap and threw a tantrum for wanting to take a dish out of the restaurant. I swear, I felt that his cries were louder than sirens, people stared at me and I just wished I could disappear. Why was a child there? How could I think that bringing him was even ok? How unprofessional did I seem? A million questions ran through my head while I was shushing him, trying to carry my purse, laptop bag, baby bag, and Yousef. I couldn't wait to get out of there! Reality check, trying to work around mama-hood when your kids are still very young simply doesn't work!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Too Many Calendars

I have a personal calendar, a family calendar, a school/preschool calendar and a work calendar. I am trying to integrate them, it's not working! I feel like I'm all over the place and I am not able to do one thing 100%. My workout time takes away from my time with my five-month-old baby. My family commitments take away from my ability to work and my work takes time away from me being able to relax. Something always has to give.

When I try to set priorities, I get more lost. I badly want to get back in shape and become healthy but I also badly want to spend time with my baby while Yousef is at preschool. I want to work during Yousef's nap but I also want to rest a bit since Yousef and Mona drove me crazy all night. I need a life coach!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

When you are engaged to your soon to be husband, you think that you will always give the same attention to your marriage as you did so early on in your life together. You tell yourself, "we will not be like other couples, we will pay more attention to our marriage, we will take care of ourselves, we will always feel this ecstatic." Then child number one, then two and in my case three comes in the course of three years, throwing you completely off balance.

If you are blessed with having kids right away, you start to worry about making more money right away. You and your husband work full force on securing the best lifestyle you can for your children. Add that to your desire to succeed in your career and having some time for yourself (for us mamas it is an uninterrupted shower, watching TV without a baby nagging or just reading a book) all the stuff we take for granted before we cross over to mama-land.

One day, you wake up and realise that your marriage has taken a back seat and if you don't do something soon, you and your husband will feel like strangers (despite how much you love each other). My question is, how do you balance life? What do you do with your children who are too young to be independent or to give you space? And what do you do with your career that keeps pulling you in its direction? What is the "right balance" people keep talking about? 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Language Workshop

I attended a workshop organised by Yousef's nursery covering the importance of language in a child's development and literacy, specifically Arabic. For the first time in a really long time, I found someone who feels as strongly about the topic as I do! I am constantly surprised by the amount of people who disregard this issue and choose to only speak English with their children. And what's even more annoying is that in many cases it is broken English!

My job is to write in English, however, Yousef (2 years-old) only started speaking it a few months ago after we got a helper who speaks only it. Other than that, I make it a point to speak, read and in many cases watch Arabic shows. To me, it is our mother tongue and identity.

Many people use the difference between the spoken Arabic "a'amiya" and proper Arabic "fus-ha" as an excuse to why their children are weak in Arabic or do not like it. But, what I learned today is that all of us are making excuses for our own disregard of the matter. As the presenter explained today, in the first few years of a child's life, he is capable of learning SEVEN languages. Consider spoken Arabic "a'amiya" and proper Arabic "fus-ha" two languages and put EXTRA effort into teaching him/her to speak it; just do something about our disappearing language!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Anything I write about now is going to seem  completely shallow and insignificant in comparison to what is going on in the world.

Will the world ever be safe and peaceful, even for a little while?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Running Against Time

I have lately realised that I seem to be running a race against time, and I cannot find the finish line. My life has become so hectic and different that I barely recognise it. I am running to be an excellent stepmom, mom, wife, house maker, daughter, and sister, but yet feel so off balance. In this new life, I lost sight of what is really important, peace of mind and body. I forgot what it is like to just slow down.

Life can put up quite a fight when you are trying to figure it out, which is what I have been trying to do for the past three years since I got married. I am trying to make sense of motherhood and the changes it has thrust upon me. I am trying to understand relationships that are new and fragile, and I am trying to accept shifting priorities.

When it's just you, its pretty basic; when there are a husband and kids, it gets messy. I feel messy now! I don't know what is going on or why, I just feel like I am making mistakes with the pace of life I have chosen, I need to slow down and enjoy my life. But, I don't know how and what to let go of. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

"I Scared"

Yousef is afraid of just about anything. Cats, flies, ants, masks, people dressed in costumes, children with face painting and even balloons, blown or not. Almost anything he sees makes him say, "I scared!"

Whatever triggered it did a really good job in making him feel really miserable in such situations. At preschool he is just the same, we had to miss out on costume day to avoid a meltdown. His teachers gave me a few tips to try to make things better. So, when Yousef sees his father's face covered with shaving cream (usually a terrifying experience for him), it should be treated as a normal situation where we act casually and continue whatever we are doing; not pushing him to accept it is key.

I hope he gets over it soon, it's saddening to see a child his age missing out on so many activities.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Sleepless Mama

I can't remember the last time I had deep, uninterrupted sleep. The kind of sleep you get when you are a teenager and your biggest concern is getting through high school! Your parents keep coming to wake you up and you just refuse to get out of bed.

I think it's safe to say that the level of my intelligence has significantly decreased with my recent two pregnancies and the continuous sleep deprivation. I thought preschool would help Yousef (2 years) sleep better but he is still waking up in the middle of the night crying for no reason. Mona (5 months) wakes up and starts yelling, not crying, but actually yelling at me, until I give her the bottle which she literally takes two sips of and then refuses to continue. By the time they are both asleep and I start to dose off, it's time for preschool and I am just about ready to shout.

I really can't wait until my kids grow up!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Play Date 1: Successful

Yousef had his first play date yesterday and it was adorable. With a friend from preschool we went to a kids' play area and it was the first time I see him in a social setting with people other than family or friends he has known since he was born.

He was amazing, said thank you when he should have, shared toys, took turns playing, obeyed every instruction and left happily when I said it was time to go. I couldn't believe it! I felt so bad that I don't take him to such places often but I was always either pregnant and exhausted or with a new born baby. After yesterday, that will definitely change.  And believe it or not, at the end of the day, he gave me a hug and said "I miss you".

What a day :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Sleep Deprived

I don't know how much of this sleep deprivation I can handle. For the past two weeks, the minimum number of "wake up" calls I got from my two kids is 2-3 times a night. Yousef got ill and so kept me up for about two hours the other day and an hour later, I had to wake up with Mona.

I am so tired and frustrated all the time, it's ridiculous. To top it all off, Mona wants to be carried ALL DAY. She is a blessing when she is held and the moment I put her down, she is a tiny monster.

I need a night of uninterrupted sleep!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Nael, my husband, jokes that I like things done the hard way. I make Yousef sleep in his own bed even though it makes him whine a bit every night. I want Mona to fall asleep on her own rather than getting used to being rocked to sleep, and I want a certain level of discipline for my kids even though it might annoy them at the beginning. 

Nael, is easy going, has extreme patience and gives a million warnings before taking action. I would be annoyed and rushing the kids into the car, while he would be whistling and singing to them. I don't mind sleep-training my baby for 3 weeks if it means he will learn to sleep on his own, while he would rather spend 45 minutes every night trying to put him to sleep beside him.

While none of us plays these roles on purpose, Nael is always pushing for my approach (as long as he isn't the one doing it) because he likes the outcome of having well-behaved, disciplined kids who follow a routine.

While our parents say that the good cop bad cop is a good balance, nowadays a united front in more important. Which is it?

How much should a parent stick to the rules and how many times should a parent give in? I hate it when children negotiate every single thing and I think that when a child sees you not sticking to the rules, he will negotiate every single time. And then comes the "but last time you said yes" whine. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

I visited my uncle for Eid yesterday. This uncle is especially special to me because he is the symbol of a good-hearted person who dedicated his life for his children.

During the first 12 years of his marriage to my aunt, doctors told them that they could not have kids. And with some miracle, they had 2 boys 12 years later. He was a teacher, so was my aunt, he worked overtime, while she raised their boys. And after 49 years of work, they finally retired and moved back to Jordan. However, they had to leave my cousins, who are now married and have their own lives.

Yesterday, my uncle was saying that this is their first Eid in 34 years away from their children. I sat there, looking at this man, who to me was a symbol of strength and perseverance, and was shocked by the tears in his eyes.

You would think that after working so hard for so long, he needed a break; but what he really needed was his kids. Then my aunt said something that hit me: "Noora, one day you will look back and say, I wish they were still my babies. I wish I could go back to the days when I KNOW my son is in bed right now sleeping in the room next to me."

I guess once you cross the road into parent-hood, nothing will mean as much as being next to your child!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Happy Eid

Growing up, I never used to like Eid. Family lunches and then being dragged from house to house isn't exactly what a kid considers fun.

But now when I am a mama, I love it. Buying Eid clothes for my kids, seeing their excitement over how they look and watching them trying to choose the perfect gift, is all way too cute. It makes me laugh when they do not know what to expect from the person they are greeting, "will he be giving me something or not?" The look on their faces is priceless.

May you and your families have a blessed Eid and may Allah keep us fortunate enough to have such amazing experiences with our children :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Please Stop

You think you are doing a good job raising your kids and then one incident in the supermarket makes you wish you would disappear.

Yousef, almost two, is generally a good boy. Mischievous and naughty every now and then, but I usually get very good compliments about him from school or in social settings. Our general rule at the supermarket is: you only get one thing and it always worked. However, the other day after leaving the supermarket, he decided to change his mind. He ran back in and grabbed another chocolate and when I said "no", he embarrassed me like never before. Screaming, jumping up and down and crying, he glued himself to the floor and threw his first ever tantrum.

People started looking, and I could see the look on one woman's face (who was still obviously single), thinking to herself: "what a spoiled brat." She then looked at me like I was the worse mama ever.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, stopped to see what was happening. Calmly, I lifted him and got a few hits on my arms in the process, and left as soon as I could. The moment we were out, he acted like nothing had happened! I gave him the longest lecture of his life.

Before having kids, I used to tell myself that I will raise my child so well that he will never do such a thing. I guess no matter how hard you try, you still cannot control them 100%. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

From Mama to Mama

Our helper has obviously been crying for the past few days, every time I ask her, she says she is ok. After three days of being down, she finally opened up to me:"I miss my son".

Her son, who is 8-years-old is really smart at school, and so, she decided to leave him and come work to provide him with a better education. In an effort to make her feel better, I told her to request his pictures by email. First she was quiet and when I insisted, she refused: "I miss him too much and I don't want to see his picture, it is too hard!"

I can't stop thinking about what she said. I am a mama and I cannot imagine not seeing my son, holding him, hearing his voice and putting him to bed every single night. And for her to be around us all the time, seeing me hold my son, must make things even harder.

Thank god I don't have to leave my family and thank god I have my kids around me all the time.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Girl Vs Boy!

I never realised how late Yousef was in achieving his development milestones until I had Mona.

Yousef had a rough first 5 months. First, he was extremely colic. Then, he had to take an antibiotic for three months (for a medical condition he had). Then came a mystery, Yousef cried and cried whenever I put the bottle in his mouth, carried him, put him on his tummy or even carried him. He was in so much pain and none of the doctors here believed me.

Finally, I found a specialist who told me it was Reflux, a condition when the milk goes back up and the baby throws up. However, Yousef wasn't throwing up, it went back down again and eventually caused a burning sensation all the time. It took 5 months, this doctor (who finally gave him anti-acid), and stopping the anti biotic to finally push Yousef out of this phase.

Because of all that, he was late doing everything. The lack of tummy time made his upper muscles weak and so he didn't roll over until he was 7 months, sit until he was 8 months and crawl until he was about 10 months. He walked when he was 14 months. I even had to take him to a few sessions of physical therapy.

Thank god, it all passed and now he is a monkey on the loose and very pleasant to be around.

Mona on the other hand, already rolled over yesterday at 4 months! Every one says that girls develop faster than boys, but at this pace, Yousef is looking very silly compared to her :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

My Husband Is My Boss

My husband recently started a project with some partners. It's a snooker lounge where you can go enjoy a game of snooker, pool, darts and nibble on some snacks.

Since I used to work in marketing, he assigned me to follow up on the day to day marketing tasks for his lounge; he is my boss! Nael and I have completely different tastes. For example, if I see a logo I really like, he hates it. If I think something is delicious, it usually means he doesn't. The only thing we have in common is the way we operate; we are both perfectionists.

When we were getting our house ready we argued a lot. Looking back at it now, it really was funny. In the end, the only thing we could do to save our minds was that we divided the house into sections. I got to decorate my sections whichever way I wanted without him interfering and he got to do the same. Until now, there is unspoken competition to see who gets better comments when we have friends visiting!

I heard that working together professionally usually affects a couple's relationship. I wonder what will be the case with us...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Why So Complicated?

What has happened to our interpretation of the word stay-at-home-mama? When did we women start considering it as an insult?

Today, my 8-year-old step daughter asked me of I was a house wife. While I am sure she had no idea what she was talking about, I found myself getting internally defensive and telling myself that I am not! I started explaining that I freelance jobs here and there and that I still have a career. Then, I saw a look of confusion on her face; she is only 8 and had no idea why I was getting so worked up. After pausing for a few moments, I realised how ridiculous I may have sounded.

Instead, my answer should have been: yes, I love you and your siblings so much that I put my life on hold for a while to take better care of you. However, modern society and what I like to refer to as "confused standards" have led me and so many other mamas to believe that staying at home for our kids is a total waste of our ambition. Like being a mama is so easy and a total waste of time.

Don't get me wrong, I miss my job so much. I miss working late hours, and I miss having professional conversations. I think of going back to work every day. But, I do not want to set an example to my daughters saying that if they decide to put their families first, they are less of achievers. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Ya Right!

My dietician keeps on telling me that I am not on a diet, "you are changing your lifestyle". I have to be honest, I have NO idea what she is talking about. How is eating controlled portions for life not a diet?!

With three kids and all the stuff that comes with it, one of the few "pleasures" I like to indulge in is eating anything I want whenever I want. Which in my case, is mostly chips. I am 162cm and weigh 58 kilos; my ideal weight is 53 (to be reached in 2 months). The main problem is that these 5 kilos are pure FAT and need to go away ASAP. For some reason, exercising 4-5 times a week and watching what I eat have only merely contributed to my goal. I think I am building muscle, or that's what I keep telling myself.

I'm so jealous of women who are naturally thin! You make our lives so hard...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Being The Step-Mama

If you ever thought that being a mama was hard, then you have clearly never tried to be a step-mama.
I am the step-mama of a wonderful 8-year-old girl and believe me when I say that it is by far, the most difficult and important job that I have ever had.

The rules are all different when you have a step-child; the standards are all unbalanced. With my own son, I can be angry, have a bad day, plan some time away and discipline, guilt and worry free.

On the other hand, when it is your step-child, you, your moods, and your methods, fall captive to a young personality that still does not know its own strength.

8-years-old, as I have come to realise lately, is a difficult age. I need help and advice. Anyone?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

This post baby weight is driving me crazy. I have about 7 kilos to reach my previous weight and it seems like they are here to stay.

I am working out almost every day of the week and have not lost a single gram. However, my measurements are going down bit by bit, a fact I am not so pleased with either.

I have literally fasted from all chips and junk food and am allowing myself only reduced amounts of carbs and sugars. I don't get what is wrong and why I am unable to lose the weight.

To make matters worse, my trainer keeps on telling me I have the strength of an old lady, referring to an knee injury that has left me struggling for the past 15 years. I'm just feeling bad about myself and how the past three years and two pregnancies have taken their toll on my body. I don't know what to do next...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

My Melting Mama- Heart

I'm a pretty tough mama, I like rules and boundaries. I like my kids to eat and sleep on schedule, punish when they are out of line and I rarely give in.

With Yousef's foul mood lately, I think I am being even harder on him. But, there is one thing that is melting my mama heart. The way he runs to me when I pick him up from nursery makes me want to cry every time. No matter what he is doing, playing or crying, the moment he sees me, he leaves everything, curls his lip in preparation for a cry and puts his hand out, running with all his might. The sight is so innocent and adorable. And the one thing he keeps on repeating is: "mama coming." On the way back from school, when we are at home and a few times later in the day, "mama coming".

How is it possible that our kids can be this innocent and emotionally dependant on us, it's heart-breaking. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Locked in the Restroom

Lately, my two kids (22 months and 3 months) have been driving me mad! They wake me up about 4-6 times a night, leaving me angry, sleep deprived and in many cases, in tears.

My escape...books! Lots and lots of them; no matter how exhausted I am, a book can surely turn my mood around. Lately however, there has been NO TIME and finishing the one at hand seemed to take forever. So, when I was having a really bad day resulting from a long night, I locked myself in the bathroom with my book until I finished the last three chapters.

There I was, 28-years-old, a mother of two and a stepmother of one, behaving like a fugitive from my own kids. I cannot believe I reached that point but I just needed a break and the one place Yousef could not reach me was unfortunately, the restroom.

When exactly do kids start to self-entertain so I don't have to stoop so low :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Flavour of The Day with Noora

Two- Year-Olds!

Life with Yousef is becoming pretty difficult. My little innocent boy has turned into a bundle of defiance. The answer to anything I tell him or ask him to do is "no". Put your shoes on, no. Let's wash your hands, no. It's time for a shower, no. Bedtime, no. Whatever it is, he has to refuse. And when things don't happen his way, he cries and screams. Another new habit which is making me want to scream.

It's so annoying and embarrassing when he does it in public. I don't know if it is a reaction to preschool, jealousy from Mona who is just starting to interact and be playful, or the "terrible twos", but this cannot be his real personality! He was so cute, obedient and well mannered.

What do I do? Ignore it?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Flavour of The Day with Noora

All the perks of pregnancy are unfortunately fading away! The thick hair, clear skin and strong nails are now going back to their not so healthy original state.

I'm not sure if it was the vitamins or the hormones that made the difference. However, I stopped the vitamins a month after delivery and now I wish I hadn't. Is it ok to keep on taking prenatal vitamins and folic acid or should I switch to regular vitamins? I never found that they have the same strong effect.

The real thing that is bothering me is losing the thick and healthy hair that came with the nine months of back ache, leg cramps and weight gain :) Any tips?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Flavour of The Day with Noora

I Need Sleep and Food

It's starting to feel like my 1 year and 10 month old son and my 3-month-old daughter have an evil plot against me designed to deprive me of sleep. They have impeccable timing and alternate when each wakes up. And of course Yousef has to add a "mama" call here and there which is just enough to wake me up but harmless enough to let him go right back to sleep.

On the other hand, this diet I am putting myself on is putting me even more on the edge. Mentally, I am becoming consumed with losing the post-baby weight and so I am going on very reduced portions. Add that to the lack of sleep and I am on no-energy by the time it is 10pm.

On the bright side, between the hours of 10pm-12am it is just me and my husband, engaging in adult conversation, and laughing about how hectic life has become in our household of 5! I have said it before and I will say it again, I cannot wait until they grow up...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Flavour of The Day with Noora

I Wish There Were Five

Every night at 9pm, the best word to describe the situation would be exhaustion. It is that time of day I get frustrated with mama-hood and wish there were five of me. One, would bathe and feed Yousef while the second would feed Mona and prepare her for bedtime. The third would have the ever lasting battle with Yousef to brush his teeth and go to sleep in his own bed rather than mama's. The fourth would enjoy an end-0f-the-day conversation with my husband who I barely see because of our hectic schedules. And finally the fifth would relax in a hot bath herself, watch some TV while sipping something hot, and go to sleep without worrying about how many times the kids will wake her up!

If only there were five, life would be a lot simpler and my friend wouldn't call me crazy for considering going back to work! I think that this phase I am in is, by far the hardest phase of mama-hood. Or so I hope. I can't wait until my babies grow up!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Flavour of The Day with Noora

Post-Babies Weight

Today, I found out (through a trainer) that my body is in bad shape and that I am in desperate need of "fat-loss". Three months after having Mona, I am still 6 kilos more than I was before her and 8 kilos more than I was before I had Yousef about 2 years ago.

After calculating the dates, I realised that I had been pregnant through the years 2010, 2011, and 2012; that is a total of 2 pregnancies in about 3 years! It's needless to say, my body paid a big price.

So there I was, listening to her tell me how high the fat percentage in my body is; I just wanted to scream. For the rest of the day, I fought every urge to grab a bag of chips, eat a little more bread, or put another spoon of sugar in my coffee. I have about 5-7 kilos to lose in 2 months.
Simply put, I miss the old me!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Flavour of The Day with Noora

I have decided to spend more time with my baby girl Mona, now 3 months old, no matter what it takes.

Yousef who is 1 year and 9 months, has occupied my life for 1 year and 9 months! Everyone around me has been telling me that I should not feel so bad about not giving Mona as much attention since Yousef is in an age where he can get jealous and truly "miss" me.

However, my mind and heart are being tormented all the time about not holding her enough, not being the one who feeds her or puts her to sleep all the time, and not giving her as much attention as Yousef.

I know it's different now with 2 babies, but I am going to do it no matter what! They are both sick now and so both need my attention, I hope I'm strong enough not to crumble after a few days...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Flavour of The Day with Noora

So Now It's My Fault?

Every time I have to turn to the medical system, I am reminded of how much I hate it!

Yousef has Asthma which usually hits him hard a couple of times during the year. 3 days ago, he got a virus that led to an attack. While the ER doctor was amazing and took his time in explaining the treatment, the nurse was the complete opposite.

Long story short, Yousef needed to take an injection. It was HUGE and I could just see Yousef panicking. As soon as it went in, Yousef jumped screaming and crying. The injection moved from its place and the nurse had to reposition it while it was still in. The nurses's reaction: "you weren't holding him like you should."

Quietly and calmly I left the ER and called the hospital to make a complaint over how it is not my job to hold my son, rather it's the nurse's responsibility to call for help in such a situation. I am just there for emotional comfort! The operator's response:" are you sure it is an important complaint?" What high standards these people are setting for medical care!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Flavour of The Day with Noora

I Want My Baby!

I thought that having two babies right after each other was a brilliant idea; I would finish the hard times that come with raising infants in one go and finally get to enjoy them when they are a bit older. I would get rid of midnight feedings, diaper duty, teething and all the other troubles of the early days all at once.

Turns out it is one of my dumbest ideas. I say this not because of the fatigue that comes with it, rather the lack of time I have to care for both simultaneously. Yousef who is a year and nine months old is so demanding and occupying I barely have time for Mona. When I hold her, feed her, change her diapers or even play with her, he is there on top of her, grabbing her hand, poking her eye and pulling her foot. In many cases, he just sticks his face to hers until she cries.

As a result, I hand her over to the nanny whom I really trust. But, this situation is becoming the norm and I hate it. We try switching babies but it is no use, Yousef wants me and only me.

Call me dramatic and obsessive but I'm so scared that my baby will not know me as much as the nanny. My friend keeps on telling me this is normal with two such young babies but I cannot help but worry! Help?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Flavour of The Day with Noora

Please Mama, Ta!

My husband, who already had a daughter when I met him, told me something which at the time, I thought was extreme parenting.

"You will see that when you become a mama, you will love what your child loves and hate what your child hates, even if it seems childish and unreasonable."

3 years later, I found myself as attached to the pacifier as my son was. In his dictionary, it is called a "ta". I put so much effort into choosing the shapes and colours, just to see his smile when I gave it to him.

1 year and 8 months old however seemed the perfect age to end the era of the pacifier. "We left it at the toy store," was my excuse. And when he cried, begged and negotiated over what has become his best friend, my heart broke into a million pieces.

It has been five days and the quest for the mighty pacifier is finally subsiding.

As for my 2-month-old Mona, I learned my lesson and her entire fist is making its way as a soother!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Flavour of The Day with Noora

Breathe Deep

I bought an online Pilates video in an "attempt" to tone my post-baby body. It's needless to say that with all my unhealthy eating habits, lack of productive movement and continuously carrying my babies, every inch of my body is stiff and in need of fitness attention.

I hate the instructors in these videos; you would think that that are made of rubber bands instead of muscles and bones. They stretch, bend and do other things with complete comfort. Meanwhile, I am there dying to get my hand just half-way through the pose and trying to catch this "deep breath" they keep on talking about.

I am so unhealthy and unfit, it is shameful. I'm only 28 but as rigid as a 100-year-old. I wonder if working out from home will even give results. I will give it another 2 weeks and see how lucky I get.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Flavour of The Day with Noora

Not Another Picky Eater!

Ever since my baby Mona (2 months) started wearing a cast for her hip condition, her milk consumption has reduced by 50%.

It's so frustrating that she almost never takes more than half the bottle even if I prolong the feeding durations. I don't know what changed in her or if she was only going through a growth spurt but I used to be so happy that I finally got a child who satisfies me in terms of eating habits and quantities. This is especially annoying as I am suffering with my older son Yousef who ate his first "real meal" at 10:30pm! He can spend his entire day on an apple and tomato while I spend the rest of the time trying to trick him into eating a meal.

I'm hoping that the cast is the reason and things will go back to normal soon. I really can't imagine having another picky eater!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Flavour of The Day with Noora

I'm facing a decision I'm dreading: leaving my 2-month-old baby girl and travelling for 4 days or letting my 21-month-old son travel alone with his father. The whole purpose of this trip is a necessity, renewing my son's residency in Saudi Arabia, where my family lives. Without it, it would be very difficult to take him with me every time I visit.

About a week ago, my baby girl started wearing a cast for a hip condition and has been extremely fussy; taking her on this trip would only make it worse. On the other hand, Yousef has never been away from me and will also find it very difficult. Both situations are tearing me apart.

I feel so torn, while Mona needs me physically (although she will be in very good hands with family here), Yousef would be very aware that I am not there. My husband is accusing me of being too attached to my son, I think, I am behaving like any other mama.

I don't know what is worse, leaving him or her!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Flavour of The Day with Noora

Oh Baby!

Here I am at 4:50am writing this post and waiting for my baby to fall asleep.

Today was the first day Mona (2 months) wore a cast for her hip condition. It appears that she has a problem with her hip joint that requires treatment for 2 months. " The device", as the doctor called it, holds her hip in a certain angle forcing it to grow in the right position. " It will not hurt her" he kept on assuring my racing mind.

It's funny how us mamas go to protective mode when we feel our child is in pain. While she had been crying a lot the past weeks because she is colicky, today her "usual crying", in my mind, was all because of this device. "She must be in pain, I'm sure it's hurting her, I tried it when I wore a cast for my knee and it killed me, how does he know it's not painful?"

A million skeptical questions all fuelled with motherly instincts went over and over again in my head like a broken record. All bothersome, none soothing.

So, one day down, 59 more days to go. I would do anything to trade this crying for the colicky one that was annoying me earlier!

I'm just glad it's a treatable condition, god is merciful.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Flavour of The Day with Noora

The Peak at 8 Weeks

A paediatrician once told me that the peak for colicky babies is between 6-8 weeks, and that is where I am now with my daughter Mona!

Her non-stop crying with a super-high pitch is stronger than ever between the hours of 8pm-12:30pm. It feels like she has some built up energy that she must let out, it's so strange. And of course, like all colicky infants nothing soothes her.

I went through this with my older baby Yousef and I still remember how dreadful those 2 weeks were. I can't wait until it's over, it's so exhausting and especially embarrassing when we are around people. It's hard to believe that colicky babies grow out of it. I am counting the days until she does. However, I have to admit, when she is not yelling, she is adorable!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

flavour of The Day with Noora

Yousef (19-months) suddenly started to form sentences. We went from single word conversations to having a 3-4-word sentence. It's hilarious to watch him repeat it to himself over and over again trying to make it sound like the way I say it. And out of nowhere, he is saying words I never thought he knew.

The rush I get from hearing him speak is indescribable. It's like I am getting to know my baby not only by his mischievous actions, but now we engage in a two-way conversation which always ends up with my laughing admirably.

It's so amazing how the brain develops and how with each age, he is changing into a more mature personality, a more defined character and someone who is absolutely captivating me and his father. I can't wait for the stages to come!