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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Play Date Moms Lahore.... yes?? no??

child led play -early morning bonfire with parlor parlor 
This is in response to my best friend’s post on her page in which she tagged me. it was about a group on Facebook“ play date moms Lahore” and my friend asked me to comment as she had some idea as to what I think of play dates in general . As we all usually do I started typing my immediate response in the comment section, editing it a couple of times coz I didn’t want to be harsh or personal to anyone. And in a minute or two I was done with the replay here it is
 “for these bachas I am happy at least they get to meet each other , its better than kitty parties anyway  where waili ladies meet strangers in search of future rishtas for their kids  ( as one such lady explained to me recently –uff her explanation!!! )  -- While they leave the bachas with maids and male servants---( to do with them as they please )
and pressed enter but Baaanggg!!! My Internet was not working anymore so I had to retry and it was still stuck so as annoyed as I was I just turned the flap down .
But the comment and the post were still there hanging in my head I wasn’t really satisfied with my answer. It is one topic I can go on and on about coz things are not as simple or as straight forward as they may seem on FB. A coin may have two sides our parenting issues have a million. I thought about kids my children age and the routines they usually have and I thought about their mothers, I thought about our changing society and its complications, the education systems and the limited opportunities our kids get in terms of structured as well as unstructured play time.
And by the time I also thought that may be me and some of my friends are being judgmental here. I am not so happy about the Idea of play dates in the first place because the Initial encounter with some Pakistani play date moms was of a bunch of affluent  ladies  who took a foreign Idea and to make it exotic, giving it local themes like “ guddi guddai ki shadi” “ paindo” “pranda party” And such. Now if someone selected these as their kids birthday themes instead of Rapunzel and Frozen ( cause they wanted kids to have a flavor of their culture) I would never have questioned BUT play dates?? Well why not if they get to learn how to make parands  and made some…. but  seriously is it a play date where moms or one hosting mom decides the theme gets the arrangements done by designers with a proper ( read expensive) mehndi decor, professional singers/entertainers, Party Favours, dance floor, HSY and Maria B joras  especially bought for the occasion, in short an occasion worth being photograph by Irfan Ahson himself…. My point is that what do kids have to do in all this? And what will they get out of it? Not to mention the pressure it puts on other moms to beat the previous one in terms of extravagance
I for one always thought that play date is simply an opportunity for kids to get together whether the rest of the activities are planned or not. It is something that is primarily for the kids and not for moms to be used as an opportunity to be the talk of the town.
 When I say that “please I am not interested in a play date”  it’s because…
1.       First and most important is the one I mentioned above it’s a big NO NO for me
2.       If not the above then It seems I am usually the one who is “supposed” to host with almost no help from other moms coz apparently I enjoy the life and kids more and they are all so tiered with God knows what pressures and need a break.
3.       It’s very easy to explain the idea of a play date but it’s tough to get the message through. The host is supposed to entertain the adults more than kids (dads also needs break and would love biryani and korma… app kai hath ka :P) if not then majority won’t show up/ send their kids
4.       It only give kids limited opportunity in terms of socializing like we are in a way dictating as to whom they can play and whom they cannot… like if the “guests” have a  chota lerka/larki as “help” they are supposed to sit in the corner and I will give him food their not with the rest of kids and won’t include him in the activities oh! The benefits of play date are just for kids of certain classes not servants…. Or poor neighbors you see.

Now being that said let me come back to the original issue “what do I have to say about the play dates mom Lahore”
1.       Nothing negative as I yet do not know who they are and what is their take on a play date
2.       I would love to join and know
3.       I assume they know what a play date is ( like not an entertainment session for biryani devouring daddies)
4.       I actually admire them, even if they are the designer type( they might have taken it to a whole different -for me wrong- level) at least they or many of them I assume are conscious moms who want to actively contribute to their children’s lives , who know that their kids are missing on actual play due to limited outdoor activities or too much of electronic gadgets in their lives
5.       If many of us ( moms and dads  who think like me – I am sure there are plenty out there) join the circles then may be just maybe we could restore the sanity to it

So what do you say my friends don’t give in too early or too easily these kids – all of them , not just our own- are going to make our society/ nation tomorrow. Don’t just sit there in the couch and sulk get up take charge and contribute J

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Damage Control

 Have you ever impulsively bribed your kids ? well I did recently and then realized in a micro second  (s*** )what I have done !!!
 I wanted M now in grade 2 to revise her spelling lists for an upcoming championship and she was kind of dragging it and ....well to cut the long story short in a desperate moment to motivate her I told her that "she gonna get the book she so wanted to get if she won the championship " oopsssssssss . You see there are so many no nos in this one sentence
1.putting more emphasis on winning than on effort
2.If u do this I'll give you that ...Its a BRIBE not a motivation
3.It implies she has to do it for all the wrong reasons to please ME/ her mom not herself , for winning  not learning etc etc
4.And what if she does not win (  the other kids are smart and hard working too) would I really really want her not to have a book she so wants to have ?? - Like seriously)
5. and what if she does not win and I still get her that book? wont I loose her trust the next time , you know ... mama never follows through so I don't need to take her seriously???
hmmm a lot of damage in one sentence
6. ( Not to mention ) teaching her to bribe others to get things done her way.

Now if you have a young kid at home you'd know they never forget such things, and as the saying goes, you cant bring back a spent arrow and a spoken word this poor mama had to do a lot of thinking if the damage has to be controlled..... and after spending almost half a night thinking and contemplating my options ( OH how I wish I could just tell her to forget what I just said !! ) I came to the conclusion that at this point the best remedy is to simply correct my mistake , apologies tell her that I was going to get her the book anyway, and she should just do her work any way .Simple and I was good to go to bed!

By home time the next day I was again not so easy with my decision -- its not easy to let go of your mama-pride -- and what if all that above stuff is just kitabi batai as many of my friends comment on my parenting ideas...
It only occurred to me the next day while driving them to the book shop (it was a surprise) that this is an opportunity to turn a bribe back into motivation. I asked her if she knew why I brought them here and as nice this 7 year old is , she replied " I know you want to get a book for yourself but may I just look at the books in kids section ) yup kids, smart as they are , they know how to melt mommy's heart. Well lets cut the drama and come to point. I told her; no we are here so that she can get her book BECAUSE she had been working hard all those past weeks and mama just got upset that she was loosing interest now that its almost done, and I am sorry for being ghussa and guess she deserved a treat and a break may be.....  and" " yippie you are the best mom, I wont even read it before I am done with my work"   the rest I guess anyone can imagine :D
Result update : Well we are all done with our lists twice ( with 300 English and 200 Urdu words ) and there are still 3 days to the championships 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Talk about sexuality and Abuse with young kids

The question as a mom I often ask my self is that how can and will I be able to protect my kids ......... I know this one is a long one... but do read on  I know THIS IS THE IMPORTANT THING for all of us as parent.......

As an adult its still difficult for me to tell my very loving caring parents a few things that I have faced as a child.... now that I am a grown up, happily married, a mother, a person who has come to terms with a lot of demons of the past... its still difficult to talk about a few things... Now its more because I don't want them to hurt over something that is now just a bad memory and cant be altered.... but in the past the reasons were different.... it was FEAR, a sense that no one will TRUST me... and then the thought that WHAT will happen if they do??
and the Anger... and Hurt.... and Hatred I felt every time someone even mentioned the Name !!!
Those terrible years when I didn't know what to do and where to look for and how to stop him from coming to our house... UFF khiar its a long story and the story itself is not important now.

what is important is the fact that now I know a lot others like me, much more than I'd ever want to know, Its almost the every other person who feels comfortable enough to talk to me about it but almost every one who can talk to me in private wont want to discuss the issue in public. And that is what makes it the most hushed up thing in our society...Yes I am talking about child abuse...ranging from an ugly touch to dirty looks,,, obscene gestures to the full range molestation. And the sad thing is that its everywhere... from you cozy ( you think ) safe family homes to schools to shopping centers to parks. And from my own experiences I know it can be anyone not just the servants or the Jahil Drivers or Qari sahiban and bad mean strangers....

The question that my husband and I discuss often as parents is that how can and will we be able to protect our kids. we just cant shut them up in the house--- alone or to be with them 24/7 ( if someone can manage that how unhealthy that would be) So what can I do....other than praying of-course

To me the only solution so far is to build a bond with them, a relationship where they know they will be trusted.... 

we need to foster a sense of mutual trust by trusting them and not pushing aside their complaints as "lame" or "childish" or "only in their head". I've noticed that we make this mistake a lot more than we think we do esp when we are talking to the other grown ups. (even school administration make these mistakes by the way)

Also I think we kind of confuse our kids a lot ( totally unintentionally) when we try to teach them manners  -- especially about being "Tameezdar" in our society means greeting every one with a big smile and a hug. Sitting nicely in front of all the rishtadaars and talking to them ever so politely even when you have all the reasons not to. Also on "helping" other our instructions are usually pretty vague. what does it mean to help others? and when they have to say NO is also important!
In our house we honor their judgment and their decision about whom they want to greet with a hug and with whom they don't want to shake hands....
We also talk a lot about the Good Touch and the Bad touch. Also what they should do if someone tries to touch them in a bad way...
Just imagine how easy it would be to threaten an already scared child... and even the one who appears to be brave and tells them that he/ she will tell mommy. have you ever imagined the horror the child will face when the abuser say that If you tell anyone I will kill your mother??? or the horror if the molester is a trusted friend?

following are some of the things I tell them again and again

1. Absolutely NO one is aloud to touch them in a bad way ( there is an explanation and a demo of the bad ways) be it any Chacha, mama, bhai , uncle, aunty, any one
2. No body is aloud to show you their own private parts.. even that comes in bad contact.... ( she asks how will it hurt her...and I tell her honestly That i dont know how to explain this at the moment but trust me its totally forbidden by Allah Tala and our Prophet (pbuh)
3 Again It is not a bad stranger that they need to stay away from. even their Favorite uncles and aunts are not aloud to do these things (mentioned above). Allah has forbidden us from this so their cant be any excuse. ( this one has a link to being helpful--- will you please help me and hold "this" from me--- scene from Ice Cand Man)
4. Seeing or touching anyone private parts does not come in any kind of help, If anyone needs that help tell your baba and he will help them.
5. Don't trust anyone who is telling you to keep things secret from your Mommy and Baba. Nothing will hurt us more than letting anyone hurt you.
6. If there is a need run to a safe place where there are more people me or you baba or the teacher If in school.
7. Shout and scream if you cant run but don't get into a verbal fight or discussion with them. ( some kids just have a tendency to start lecturing and getting into the trap)
8. Don't even tell them that you will tell mommy later on but in real come and tell mommy and baba anyway
9. Mommy and Baba will always believe you
10. Even if you dont like some one picking you up in their lap or kiss you on the cheek or on your hand trust yourself and stay away from them ... better tell Me or your baba.

Even after all these reminders I know that I cant sit and wait for them to come and tell me on their own. I need to ask them in an nonthreatening way time and again and to tell them that "NO MATTER WHAT, I DO AND WILL BELIEVE THEM"

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Leaf collage

P.S: This is her second attempt the first one was a scenery with drifting leaves in the wind with a waterfall in the background, it was a total independent work ( will soon put up that one too) the only issue with that was that all the leaves were from same plant.
That gave us a good starting point for discussion any way.