I am most amazed at my transformation. I have always been the spontaneous and unpredictable type of a person. I hate routine. I start feeling depressed if my schedule remains similar three days in a row. Believe me, its a quite a challenge to raise kids with a personality like that. I used to look at other people and wonder how they manage to stay sane with just living life one chore after another. But here I am, all of sudden, completely content with everything. The transformation has been coming on since a few months. I didn’t even realize the changes initially. One day I caught myself filled with joy for completing my metal checklist of my chores. “This is not a moment of joy”, I admonished myself, “Did you really achieve anything today?”. The new me replied “Yes, I did. I achieved an evening to relax with my kids and family and that is a big achievement.”
Maybe it started around the time I went to Umrah. I did pray to Almighty in front of Kabbah. I prayed “God, help me be content with the life you have assigned to me.” Contentment what a beautiful blessing it is. I think the best of all the blessing. There is no happiness without contentment.
A few months ago I removed the support wheels from Nabiha’s bicycle and googled “Teaching your child to ride a bike”. Soon enough I was armed with plentiful information about how to train a child to master the art. As per the internet learning how to ride is a two-step process—learning how to balance the bike and learning how to pedal. It also mentions the need for patience and positive attitude. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well it’s not. Especially for a woman who cannot ride a bicycle if her life depends on it. Ahem…but my daughter doesn’t know that, so don’t tell her.
The most valuable lesson I learned from this experience was that if you teach a child a new skill, leave them alone to it. That is if you want to teach a child to balance a bike, leave them alone with the bike in your backyard and don’t try to ease the process of learning by giving them tips on what they should or shouldn’t do. Sure, guiding them about the technique, will help them but that is not the most important part of the learning process. The most important part it seems is letting your child experiment, make mistakes and gain confidence. Nabiha did learn to ride a bicycle eventually. But how she mastered the art of cycling after her mom almost ruined her chances of learning it, is a story in itself.
From what I read the best way to learn the balancing act is to ride the bike down a slight slope multiple times, without touching the feet on the ground. Since I couldn’t find a suitable slope for her, I pushed her from behind and told her to try to balance the bicycle. At each attempt, I’d tell her how she was doing and how to make it better. We tried it out for two weeks and it seemed like it was impossible for her to keep the bike straight. As per my husband’s advice, She tried kicking the ground herself to make the bike move forward. But whenever she kicked the bike would tilt to one side and she would just stand up. The net is full of advice about patience and positive attitude while your child practices the first step, but still there is not enough of it. Because, even with all that I had read, I lost my cool multiple times and my negative attitude effect Nabiha’s motivation. Eventually, we got so frustrated we both gave up.
However, during Ramadan, with the lack of activities, Nabiha got her bicycle out again. This time I neither had the strength to push her from the back, or time to give her feedback about each of her attempts. That seemed to do the trick. Soon she got the hang of getting the bike to glide forward without crashing it to the ground. When the bike tilted to one side she kicked it forward from that side then the bike tilted to the other side and she kicked from that side as well. Soon she was biking the whole length of our house with alternate kicks all day long. But the poor bike was unable to sustain all the crashes of the unmonitored learner and lost a pedal and its chain. But that was ok with Nabiha, the wheels of the bicycle were intact and turned fine as she swayed along on highspeed. After Ramadan, I happily noted that kept both feet up for long stretches while her cycle went forward. It would have been a miracle if I didn’t notice, with all the happy screams that accompanied the feat.
Last week we got the bike fixed to make it fully functional. Nabiha started working the pedals. With all the self-confidence and self-assurance that she had developed she got the hang of it in two days. Or maybe it was the easy part. And today my heart welled up watching her go. She learned a new skill. And the truth is she got the hang of it herself. “Getting the hang of it” part came to her naturally. Though my feedback may have helped. But the real teacher was the time that she spent making mistakes and thinking inward about them.
Finally, end the story of a proud mom who didn’t learned to ride a bike but taught her daughter to do so (or watched her daughter learn it herself). And like all good story it has a moral too. The most important part of teaching your child a new skill is to give them time to falter and think inward. Making mistakes and self-correction does a lot more good to a child’s learning curve than continuous feedback and advice from parents.
The kids and I tried our hands at origami today. Making origami objects is a great way to encourage children to use the fine motors in those adorable fingers of theirs. It requires very limited resources (just paper) and hardly any time to set up. Origami can be enjoyed at any age. So sibs of different ages and parents can all experience the soul satisfying process of folding paper and creating little pieces of art without anyone feeling left out. Simple origami designs like hats, sail boats and houses are excellent choices for a budding origamist aged 4. A more serious contender of 7 can take more challenging objects like dolphins, crabs, tulips, or boxes. And a parent can attempt a dragon.
The takeaways from crafting origami are many. First of all the fine motors get some exercise. Second kids learn to follow instruction. Both video instructions and picture instruction have their advantages and both should be tried. Third, it’s good for their emotions — curiosity, patience, commitment, achievement, these little humans will learn to deal with all of these. And finally, after all the hard work kids can have fun with their creations and use them as props in their game play.
The kids and I created some very beautiful things.
I usually find difficulty in following the pictorial origami instructions. However, there are so many channels of origami artists on youTube with video instructions, which the kids and I found much easier to follow. So all those out there who feel origami is a lost battle, don’t lose hope just yet, try out video instructions.
Ramadan, the most important month of the year is here. All of us (except the kids) wake up before dawn for breakfast(sehri) and abstain from eating or drinking anything the whole day. The fast is finally broken with snacks and dinner(iftar) when the sun begins to set.
Ramadan is the only month that our family has meals on the same table. It’s the only month I get free mornings and afternoons as all the adults in house don’t have breakfast or lunch. Its the only month where our BPs are too low for arguments and fights. It’s the only month the kids are on the best behavior since iftar treats are a great motivation for reform. All in all ramadan is my favorite time of the year.
Religion and moral values are the hot topic in the house all through the month. Husband discusses the bayan’s (speech) of the Imam in the masjid or what he read in a book or some verse from the Quran. I discuss fundamental moral concepts of Islam with the kids. This year discussions are revolving around speaking and supporting truth, helping others, caring for your parents and neighbours and not speaking ill of another behind their back. Nabiha who is almost seven is participating most excitedly in all the discussions. Giving lots of examples from her school life. Abdullah who is four, listens distractedly and doesn’t have much to say as yet.
Ramadan also comes with its fair share of crafting projects and activities. Our first activity was creating a Ramadan calendar with the lunar dates, gregorian dates and the dawn and dusk timings. We used the leftover invitation cards for my wedding (still plenty left 8-O) and packing foam of some new furniture we got for the base. The calendar turned out great. Along the way Nabiha learned how to read the sombre looking ramadan timing chart and Abdullah learned to stay still during the preparation of each date card so that he could paste the final border to decorate the card.
Yesterday was the worst of the worst days. I was fuming over my company’s slow paced resignation process. My emotions were swinging between anxiety and exhilaration about my upcoming life as full-time-stay-at-home-homemaker-mom. I was so engrossed in my thoughts that… I scratched somebody’s car while rearing out of the parking lot. I scratched someone’s car pretty bad. :'(. Ruining another employee’s fairly maintained unscratched car in the parking lot on the last week of work. A parting present for the employee and rest o’them at office to remember me by. This is the stuff nightmares are made of. Anyways the car belongs to a manager. She said she will talk to her husband about this since she has no idea about cars. Of course, I don’t know much about cars either. So my husband and her husband can negotiate any damages that need to be paid. Of course, I’m paying.
The lesson I learned from all this is. Do not think about your life when you are driving. Just drive.
I looked back on my abandoned mobile app project. I reeled at the sight of the well written code. Can I do this again? I wondered. I can do this again. I have two options. 1)Rework the Expense Manager app I was working on previously or 2)Start on a new idea I have. Looking through the code, I feel like I should not waste all the effort I put on the Expense Manager. So I have come to the decision. I will complete all the design changes in the app and republish it.
Ok so I am resigning from my job. Actually I have resigned verbally but it will be official when my resignation notice is signed. Hopefully that will be done by Monday. I’ve been working for this company as a data analyst since February 2015. My decision to resign is correct, I am quite sure of it. I will be regretting this decision later, in a few weeks. I am quite sure of this at well.
Why did I decide to resign in the first place? I leave my kids at my moms place and I was not entirely satisfied with this arrangement. In Pakistan, well I don’t know about Pakistan. In Karachi, daycares is a rare luxury only the richest can afford. Even if I could afford it, there is not a single daycare in my area. So my one and only option was to leave the kids at my moms.
Why will I regret resigning? Very simple I have too much energy to be contained with the housekeeping routine and rearing children (though the later is quiet exhausting). I want to learn, explore and apply my skills.
So I am back to square one on this blog. I think my initial posts were about working from home . I guess that’s all I will be talking about from now on.
My son is three. He says he loves me every day. He says this by holding my cheeks in his little palms. He continues to say this for atleast 10 minutes it can get extended to as long as ever if I am in a middle of a conversation with some one. He wants me to maintain eye contact with him while he professes his love or he just says “mamma mamma mamma?”. He makes the most eloquent confessions.
“Mamma I like you very much. I like your cheeks”
“Mamma please don’t do any work. Grand ma can do the work.”
“Mamma you are so nice you make my food. You tell me stories.”
“I will never leave you. I will sit on your lap for ever”
“I like you more than my blue car”
And I have to quit whatever I am doing and give him his cuddles and praise him in return otherwise his love has no bounds.
The thing is I am a working mom. So sometimes I really don’t have the time at the point in time he wants the attention. Initially I would even snap at him to leave me alone. Later I realized it’s very important to him to express his love for me and require me to assure him I the same. I also realized heis learning how to converse. Since he is most comfortable at talking about how much he loves me he does it over and over again.
Writing down this post I have come up with another idea. Next time he bestows his attention on me, I will try to lead the conversation into new directions to encourage him to express himself on other things.