Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Old Outdoors

Today, my family went camping. Among us were three kids, aged nine and seven, and for entertainment, I took a ball and a bike. Assuming that they would be eager to play freely, I said optimistically, why don't you start by playing "monkey in the middle?". Five minutes later, no one had gotten up. Again, "why don't you go ride the bike?". Still nothing. And then I realised, these kids have almost never played like we did. Out of the three of them, not a single one could ride the bike smoothly; they had never had to. They hadn't been exposed to the neighbourhood like we did when we were their age. They had never had enough space or a "safe street" where they could ride the bike. On the other hand, give them a tablet and watch them download an application, compete for the highest score and share tips like they have been playing it for years. It made me sad, really, to think that all my summers were spent in the streets, roller-blading, running, playing tag, riding the bike and saving my half dinar daily allowance to buy chips and juice at the end of the day. And on other days, it would be ice cream! And now, these kids, are uncomfortable with the most basic entertainment options for their ages. I think with my son, I will push him towards the outdoors more. Wen is he supposed to be able to ride the bike wthout training wheels?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Facing your Fears for your kids

There I was 29 years old, been through two pregnancies and deliveries, standing on top of the kiddie water slide, crying my eyes out (terrible fear of heights) wanting to teach my 2.5 year-old not to be afraid! My husband, step daughter and son were waiting for me down in the pool, trying to use all the logic in the world to make me jump. And while what looked to be four year olds and seven year olds were crossing ahead of me and throwing themselves head first, I stood there frozen with fear all the while trying to prove bravery to my son who comes to me for all his answers and bases his likes, dislikes and fears on my own. Day one: failed miserably. Day two: I went down one kiddie slide and bruised my finger and hand while attempting to slow myself down! Yet, proud to say I made it in one piece. Day three: with Yousef's tiny eyes on me, squinting from the sun and yelling; "go mama go", I took what was by far, the scariest leap I had taken in over 13 years, and went down a higher slide. With Yousef, my husband and Layla jumping and cheering and me trying to get a hold of my heart before it popped out of my chest, I knew the only reason I did it was to teach my then very scared child, that it is fun to try new things. While he laughed at me, he still refused to go up. Smart kid, naive mama!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Flavour of the Day with Noora

I love how my 2.5 year-old son thinks that the word "sorry" solves everything! Today, I walked into the bathroom only to find him soaking his brand new shoes in the tub filling them with water to "clean them". A bit later, the new lotion bottle was half empty while his left leg was all pink and smothered. Throughout the day, he yelled at me, hit me, threw a tantrum and refused to get into his car seat! And at the end of it all, he curls his lip, grabs my leg and says: "sorry mama", without me asking for an apology. I am losing my ability to deal with him, it feels like all I say to him is "no, stop, I said no, stop, why don't you listen to me!" He simply refuses to listen to me at one moment and then is hugging me and being super sweet the next. One minute I'm so annoyed and the next I'm melting over something adorable he said! Terrible twos or whatever it is that is happening, please END!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Flavour of the Day with Noora

TV Show Madness I was watching TV with my step-daughter the other day and I was so annoyed, I wanted to ban TV from my house all together. The show was about a group of teens who live together in a somewhat boarding-school setting. One of the teens' parents decide to visit, and the entire episode revolved around how that teen was very embarrassed by his parents and how he can get them to leave, but the best part is: "without hurting his parents' feelings"! So he tries lying, hiding, and tracking his parents into leaving. Finally, the parents who knew exactly what their child was trying to do, start embarrassing him even more on purpose. In the end, the parents and the teen have a heart-to-heart talk where they encourage their son to be honest, saying that they completely understand him not wanting them around, that it is totally normal he feels they embarrass him and that they will give him his space and leave! And it's not only this series and this episode, I have watched at least three other series with similar episodes. What an amazing concept to have on TV, teaching our kids that it is completely normal to be ashamed of their parents. As if the relationship doesn't get complicated enough during the teen years, we have shows that are preparing our pre-teens to be sneaky and embarrassed by us, before we even do anything! How are children supposed to be unaffected? How are they supposed to stay true to our religion, traditions and culture when it comes to valuing and respecting parents?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Flavour of the Day with Noora

It sometimes feel like we are running through life, with very little concentration and focus on what is happening. Today, after having a long, long day at home with construction workers, electricians and planning a party for thirty guests, I remember telling myself:" I cannot feel my legs." Many hours later, after all three kids were asleep, my husband told me:" I cannot feel my legs." Then it hit me, I'm sure other parents feel exactly like us. Babas and mamas running and running through life, trying to provide the best they can for their children; taking on exhausting jobs, maintaining a social life for themselves and their children, and constantly hopping from one thing to another. Then just like that, one year, then three years and then six years and many many more years have passed still with the same super-fast pace. Today, I decided my husband and I need to take a breath. All babas and mamas need to take a breath, slow down, really absorb the moment, no matter what it was, and remember that our youth, energy, and time should be respected. Just like we cherish our children's moments and want to make use of every opportunity, we should also do the same for ourselves. We owe it to ourselves and our children to take life easy sometimes, After all, we are teaching our kids life skills.

Friday, June 7, 2013


As a parent, one of the hardest things to do is to detach your very-attached child from you. While Yousef is almost three and goes to preschool, he is still very attached to me when it comes to going to places without me. When it comes to my daily life, I have conditioned myself to running all my errands while he is at preschool and then conditioned myself to having him with me for the remainder of the day, no matter what I needed to do. While it bothers me sometimes, I have come to accept that this is my reality for the next few years.

However, as most couples with young children, my husband and I need a break, and we have the chance to travel to a destination we had been hoping to travel to for years! Only problem is, Yousef. 

As a mama, it is very difficult to realise that you will put your child through a difficult time, even if it is for a greater good. And while some "difficult times" are easier to bare than others, there are those" difficult times" that tear your heart out!

So, here I am, debating whether or not I should just wait for Yousef to outgrow his attachment or put him through a detachment phase that will surely be difficult. As parents, we never want our children to be too dependent on us, even emotionally, however, what determines the "right kind" of attachment, and how far shall we go to acheive it? 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Flavour of the Day with Noora

The Phases of Life

I recently ran into an old college friend of mine. She is someone I always admired and envied, and I have to say, always wanted to be like. She was also the reason behind one of the best decisions I made, getting my masters from the UK. When we returned (she studied there too), we both took really different paths. I got married, had kids and devoted myself to my family. She excelled in her career, travelled everywhere for work, and did exactly what I thought I would do, devote herself to becoming successful. Fast forward to 2.5 years at a DVD shop. I of course was there with Yousef, buying him as many DVDs as possible to buy myself some sanity on that hectic day, while she was there looking for the latest movies. 20 minutes later I had gotten a major reality check. She was soon heading off to one of the most prestigious business schools there is to get her MBA. I was so happy for her, but something she said just clung to my head, she said: " I locked myself for the past 4 months studying non-stop, did the exam 4 times, that's how much I wanted it." While the latest goal I had put for myself was getting rid of my pregnancy weight! Laughing I said, "I go to the gym everyday, that's how much I wanted it." I'm not saying that moms are boring, goal-less or underachievers, on the contrary! It takes a lot of skill and brains to bring up a child. Not everyone can do what we do, and the outcome is amazing, I'm proud of that. But, I have to admit, for a brief moment, I felt defeat. And deep deep deep down, felt a bit shy that my professional life is currently taking the back seat. Seeing her brought back all the memories of the person I loved being, and the goals I was so eager to achieve. I then looked at Yousef holding his brand new DVD with a very cute look on his face and I remembered that I had another baby at home who will probably do something cute when we walked into the house and thought to myself, life has always been about phases.