Tag: pakistan

Sleeping with the baby

#OhBaby

Background:

Despite warnings by midwives about the dangers of co-sleeping my baby has always slept either on me, my husband or on our bed firmly planted between both of us. Now and then struck by guilt I have tried placing the baby in the expensive Mamas and Papa’s cot we bought when I was in my second trimester but she lasts minutes before crying as if she has just been thrown in a hot oven.

A few weeks before the birth of our baby, my husband had excitedly set up the cot. I decorated it with frilly pink sheets and cushions, he fitted the hanging bunny cot mobile, wound it up and the lullaby music began playing. We both sat on the bed staring at it wistfully. I imagined our baby girl sleeping innocently and soundly in her beautiful bed, now and then cooing delicately.  I wiped a sentimental tear off my cheek.

The day after we brought her home, as soon as baby touched down on the smooth surface of the flowery sheets she started bawling and crying her eyes out. We tried to ‘get her used to it’ and let her ‘cry it out’. We sat on the bed staring at the same cot with our precious baby girl in it but the scenario was totally different from what we had imagined. I wiped a tear from my cheek, this time borne of frustration. After ten minutes, my husband lost his patience, scooped her up and cradled her in his arms. After an hour we tried again, same story. Then a few hours turned to few days and our will power weakened further. We finally caved in.

Having much less will power than the baby, five and a half months on, baby is still sleeping arms and legs sprawled in the centre of the bed like a BOSS. I normally hang off the edge of one side of the bed holding my baby’s arm. My husband has found a unique way of fitting into the bed, his head starting where the baby’s feet end and he lies diagonally his feet hanging off the end of my side of the bed. I occasionally kick his feet off when he tries to encroach on my space.

Scene: I am not sure what triggered it but a few weeks ago, I walked upon this conversation playing out in the bedroom between my head strong baby and my husband who seemed to have had enough and was finally in the mood to put his foot down.

Hubby, ‘You are moving to your cot now, baby girl. That’s it! You are moving tonight.’ He gestures towards the desolate cot lying on the side of our bed, serving the sole purpose of a clothes hanger.

The baby glances at the cot disdainfully.  ‘eeeeeeeekkk!’ Baby screeches in a displeased fashion.

Hubby, ‘It’s not working. You are going in there, to the PRISON.’ He says dramatically, pointing at the white bars of the cot.

Baby, ‘eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeekkkkk’ Baby yells again.

Hubby, ‘Sorry, you do NOT have a strong enough case!’

‘eeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEKKKKK,’ she yells driving her point home.

‘Ohhhh,’ my husband jerks back, surprised at the strong reprimand.

‘Wow, I have never seen her fight so hard!’ he remarks, looking at me.

I have now sat on the bed lathering my parchment dry hands with one of those strong ‘miracle rescue’ creams, ignoring the drama unfolding beside me.

‘You aren’t selling it very well.’ I say half heartedly, with a shrug.

‘Aaaaooooooo,’ Baby looks at me and moans. I glance at the baby with an amused look.

‘Don’t look at mama, she will sign a petition to send you back.’

‘EeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEKKKKKK,’ Baby continues.

‘No, I said No!’ hubby fights back, but I can hear his voice wavering.

Now baby starts mock whimpering, a precursor and warning that if she doesn’t get her way she will start crying in earnest very soon.

‘Oh, Ok, Ok!’ Hubby waves the white flag immediately, sensing the impending storm and shoving the dummy into baby’s mouth. Baby rewards papa by hugging his hand with both her tiny hands.

At this point, I try swooping in like a knight in shining armour,‘No, my baby can sleep wherever she wants, ok, my darling?’ I use my sing song baby voice, smiling widely at her. ‘Come on, give mama a high five!’

I lift my hand palm up. Baby stops sucking the dummy and looks at my raised hand. She turns to papa who is now staring at me like I have just stabbed him in the back, then back at me. She breaks out in a big grin and the dummy flops from her mouth onto her chest.

‘You know she will have to go into that cot eventually, right?’ Hubby reproaches me with a scowl.

‘I know!’ I say in the same baby voice. I continue smiling at baby, my hand still raised over baby’s face. Baby slowly raises her hand and touches my palm with hers with a perfect little smack. I laugh involuntarily and she giggles back.

Hubby looks at both of us and then shakes his head, ‘I am actually outnumbered here.’

 

#OhBaby Series

It’s been a wonderful few months, amazing and blessed since my beautiful baby girl was born. She was born via emergency C-section and for the first few weeks I felt a roller coaster of emotions from crying for no reason, to feeling inadequate as I couldn’t look after my baby on my own, feeling disconnected with her because I was in intense pain and then feeling elated and intensely proud the first time my baby gave me her beautiful smile, and then a giggle and then a proper laugh. Through this journey, I want to focus on the small funny moments and look at the brighter side of parenting and being a harassed new mum. I will hashtag this series of posts as #OhBaby.

The Poo Party

#OhBaby

Scene: We are having dinner with my husband’s bachpan ke best friend and his wife and their one year old daughter. They have been dying to see our newborn baby girl so this was a king awaited get together.

My baby is in cute dress. I have dumped my normal makeup routine by now (refer to previous post) as too much hassle. Now I have a much watered down routine, slather on face cream, sunscreen and wear a hurriedly semi ironed top and loose culottes (which are the only item of lower body clothing that will fit).

We enter the restaurant. They look at baby, clinging to papa’s arms with her standard scowl discouraging anyone to take her away from her comfort zone, and say the appropriate aaawwws and oooohs. Then, some time later when we were seated at our table, my husband’s friend remarks, ‘Mashallah, she is so cute, but it seems she never smiles!’ Hubby smiles and says proudly ‘she does smile, but at the right time, you have to wait for it!’

Our order arrives; chicken steaks with fries and virgin mocktails. My hubby deposits baby in the car seat on the chair next to him. We get busy in the first few bites of our meal, when a familiar sound starts from the direction of the car seat. ‘uuuuuuuuuuggghhhhh’

My husband and I make eye contact.

‘Uuuuuuuuuuuuugghhhhhh’ the baby starts again.

My hubby’s friend and wife look up, dropping their cutlery. ‘Ummm, is she ok?’ the wife asks me, looking at the baby.

‘Yes, she is fine!’ I reassure her with an overly bright smile. ‘Please don’t stop your food!’

‘Uuuuuuuuuuugghhhhhhh’ baby starts again.

‘Ok, I have to ask,’ My husband’s friend finally says turning around, ‘What is she doing?!’

My hubby looks at his friend defensively, raising his eyebrows. ‘You know what she is doing! You have a baby right there yourself.’ He says pointing accusingly at the innocent one year old eating her mushy packet meal quietly.

‘Actually, I don’t, Aisha never made such noises.’

‘uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugghhhhhhh’ baby continues disregarding the hot discussion around her.

‘Fine, she makes those sounds when she is straining to poo.’

‘Oh,’ His friend says, embarrassed, and looks at his wife. His wife gives him a glare like ‘had hai, kya stupid questions kar rahe ho!’. I have lost my appetite by now and my hubby is angry now as if he has personally been insulted.

Baby having finished her poo, now looks at everyone and gives them the most brightest and widest grin. Just in time for dessert 😜.

Last minute locha

#OhBaby

Locha: Problem or Disturbance

Scene: So we are getting ready for a lunch at my mum in laws house. My husband’s aunt has come to see the baby for the first time and my husband has already told me ‘Be ready by 1pm, we should be there before they arrive’. I get the baby ready with cute headband, have got myself ready, put on makeup and shoes. After this, baby is in the car seat and hubby has put on his shoes and is waiting.
I decide last minute ‘oh, I forgot to put on my perfume!’ I reach for the bottle and in a hurry spray perfume on myself. The nozzle is turned upwards and the perfume sprays directly into my left eye instead of in the general direction of my arm pit.
My left eye starts hurting like hell. Now I am deciding should I splash some water in my eye- that would mean taking off eye makeup from one eye and putting it back on again.
Me to husband sheepishly, ‘Um, my eye is paining because I sprayed some perfume in my eye.’
Husband with an irritated expression, ‘what? how did you manage to do that?’
‘Actually, the nozzle was turned this way and ….’ I tried explaining with gestures.
He puts up a hand to silence me.
‘I told you we needed to leave by …’he looks at the clock…well 15 minutes ago!’
Me with a hurt expression, ‘fine, I will just carry on with a hurting eye then!’
Me picking up my bag in a huff and muttering, ‘If something had happened to the baby’s eye, it would be fine to stay back as long as it takes, No one cares about me anymore!’
Hubby with a guilty look, ‘look, wash your eye, we are late anyway.’
Me turning to him, ‘but I will have to put on eye make up again.’
Hubby making a hopeless attempt, ‘I have told you before! you look nice without makeup, wash your face and you will look better without the cake on.’
Me raising my eyebrows to confirm, ‘so I am washing my eye and re applying makeup.’
Hubby giving up, ‘yes, yes, now Go, please.’
Me turning away, hiding a relieved smile 
😃

 

Please, Thank you, Sorry and….Repeat!

I was walking in a mall in karachi, when a lady pushed past me. Her handbag smacked me hard on the arm. She glanced back with an annoyed expression as if the fault was mine for being in her way and continued walking ahead with a toss of her perfect blow dried hair. I was stunned for a few moments. I stood rooted to the spot until I realised how used to the word ‘sorry’ I had become living in the UK. I remember thinking how would this woman feel if I had smacked her with my bag and not given a toss?

Of course, there is a simple word for it – Empathy, which has somehow vanished from our daily lives. We think it is like a special dish to be served only to family and friends. We were always like this? Maybe not. There was a culture of pehle aap, tameez and tehzeeb in the sub continent eons ago. Chivalry was also the norm. I have heard tales of this culture from my grandmother. How did we loose it? I know the Pakistan I grew up in is devoid of basic manners as a society.

When I came to UK, 11 years ago I was a true Pakistani style born and bred girl, if someone did something nice like opening the door for me I never looked back to say thank you-I took it as my right and the most I would do was smile back and nod, breaking the queue was a fun activity- which idiot stands in a long line for hours if they can jump to the beginning by some influence or trick? Please? Who says that to house help or shop keepers or waiters? Ye Lao, woh Karo! That’s how you talk.

I thought my manners were perfectly adequate until I landed in the UK where minding your ps and qs is like breathing in air, breaking the queue is akin to killing a human being – it invokes the rage and fury of every member of the line, letting people pass infront of you who were there first is considered basic common sense not even good manners and if someone lets you go infront and you don’t thank them – well you will hear about it. Here, even if a Brit is dying and it’s causing inconvenience to another person he would apologise to his last breath, if I bump into them they apologise, when they accost you on the street to ask for the time they begin with sorry, when do we as Pakistanis apologise? let me think- never! Or only if its on gun point or it’s forced out of us with a pitch fork (read when we have no other choice left) or our giant sized egos get hurt. Speaking loudly is a strict No in a public place because they don’t want to disturb another persons peace, no one disturbs you or talks to you unless they must or it’s to say something nice because they respect your right to privacy.

It was frustrating and funny at times but compared to Pakistan well I guess they have it right. At least they care and make you care about Others not just yourself as a basic way of life. You are forced to look out for other people. I remember when I came back for my first holiday back from UK, I was holding an ice cream wrapper for three hours first while shopping and then in the car my mum was like why don’t you throw it out of the window and I was shocked, how could I litter? wouldn’t I be fined then it hit me, no I wouldn’t be because in Pakistan everyone litters – but I held on to the wrapper because I realised I didn’t want to dirty my own city and because I didn’t find a bin I went home and threw it in my dustbin while my mum rolled her eyes at me.

If we just learn basic manners we will learn empathy as well, showing class or being classy doesn’t mean flaunting the latest designer wear it is caring about your fellow citizens the same way you would care for your self and your own.