It is Mother's Day in Dubai and one word I am going to hear repeated a few times by family, friends and strangers today is "Aww".
I must admit I am partly (alright fully) responsible for this trend. It began when I first showed my scan pictures proudly to my girlfriends (and emailed it to the ones living abroad).
It reached its peak when my son was born – each milestone was marked with "awws". And I am crazy about children, so I noticed that it had become a disease and I joined the bandwagon of aw-spouting women – if the baby drooled on someone it was an aw moment (eww for others, aww for me). If the baby had a half smile, I had my camera out - it was perennially hanging around my neck like a dog tag.
Men in the family are not behind. My dad would often say that when a baby is conceived, the mum may carry it in her womb, but the dad carries it in his heart for nine months. I agree, but motherhood is really something special.
For one, it changes you and your life. I have only three levels right now – ditzy, ditzier and ditziest – people say labour was hard. Nope. It's what comes later that can be tougher, crazier, yet blissfully enriching. It feels like your heart is walking outside of you - everything revolves around your child.
I just told my 'bestest' friend last week that if anything happened to me, I'd want my son taken care of. You want to protect your child, you want to be the best parent, you want him to do well, you want him to get the best. And if you can get some fun and plenty of love and laughter thrown in, perfect. And you are amused at yourself for being so tuned to mommyhood that when a teenager calls out ‘Mummy' you turn around and look.
When new mums share about their lack of sleep, I smile because my son is four and I still try to juggle work and home. I'll probably fall asleep writing this. Paediatrician is still on speed dial. That guy deserves an award for answering crazy queries from us mums 24/7. I remember a friend telling me that she had taken her 10 month old to a doctor because there was no sign of teething. The doctor told her that he had practised medicine for 25 years and was yet to see an adult who had not had a tooth.
For an entire year, I had a cartoon with me - of a harassed-looking mum speaking to a desolate looking child in her car – ‘If Sallie is in school, Mick is at football practice and Emma is at ballet class, then who the heck are you?' How well do I know that feeling.
We had promised ourselves that we would never talk baby talk to our baby (read that in one of those thick baby care related books that I read from cover to cover and can even today quote from at midnight) and I am not ashamed to say that I violated that rule from day one – babies just need baby talk and I just ignored Professor What's His Name and went on lisping all year. I still do when we have our mum and son chit chats after I get back from work and he tells me how his day went. Just call out ‘Mommy' and you will have me awake from a coma.
Adventurous? You bet. I am taking my son to a play area for a jamboree – which is something I find time for once a week. It's a very organized, mutually enriching game plan - we play in the water, we play in the sand, we play in the play pen, we snack on junk food which he is permitted only once a week and then we play some more.
The watching kids make me climb all the poles and rings in the area - kids can twist me around their little fingers. It sends chills down my own mother's spine. But I love their laughter – a baby's giggle is the most beautiful sound in the world. And so many of these little ones have laughed at me – right from the time I took my son along while I practiced yoga with other new mums and struggled to disentangle myself from a lotus pose and the roomful of babies laughed. Cheeky.
I have become more creative. I can make varieties of desserts even with two diabetics in the house because my son and his little friends love cake. I can fashion cool hats out of soup tins. I strongly believe that I can give these children's writers a run for their money because I can easily squeeze in a moral into a daily school anecdote and Mowgli or Pooh Bear into a Bible story. And vice versa.
I do get lot of advice on how to raise a child – moms can tell you that begins when the world knows you are pregnant. When I took my son for his first vaccination, I had one sweet aunt of mine calling up to warn he would get fever and should not be bathed, an elderly neighbour in the building warning me he would be cranky so please give him a warm bath, and a grand mum I saw in the hospital telling me that…well something…because I fell asleep somewhere in between the conversation.
She was a grandma, she knew, so she let me sleep and later kindly told me it would be okay, when I ran to her to apologise. She told me I was doing a great job and it would all be fine. Kids are kids, they would have fever, but they would get better. Thank God for older mums.
Oh and the unpredictability of it all. His first day of school – any mum can tell you it's not much fun hearing a cacophony of crying - I expected him to be clingy – he was not. I expected him to cry. He did not, I did. I went back two hours later, assured that everything was well, fairly bursting with pride for raising a strong and confident lad.
But he ran stormily into my arms and declared he hated school. The teacher disentangled him off my neck and politely asked me to leave him alone – like I read in a book – I don't know if the teacher meant – just on that day or for life. I still laugh with Kenneth over that memory. No doubt we always will.
Another instance of unpredictable excitement – you make a stack of mini animal shaped cookies and your toddler decides he wants fruit. You dress for an important meeting at work and he decides he would puke all over your suit. And its not milk, it has to be something that will cake on, like oats. It has happened at home and it took me a while to get his dad's suit tidied up. I am still afraid of oats. I remember pureeing his favourite fruit and adding ice cream to it to make it yummy, following the advice of other mums. He spat it out in a second. I ducked and saved our clothes.
I must admit some guilt comes with motherhood. Working women worry if they are spending enough time with their child, homemakers worry if they should get back to work.
I sterilised everything in sight when my son was born. And each time he came near a small toy, I stood by ready to do the Heimlich Maneuver if he ever choked. Then one wise older mum told me that the first baby eats out of sterilized, matching bowls and spoons. The second one eats from washed bowls and the third eats straight out of the can. You don't love them any lesser, you just mature.
Oh, motherhood is special. I have chains of thought that somehow turn Kenneth-ward several times during the day. Some one discusses a new aquarium in town and I want my son to see it.
The fashion editor may talk about Jimmy Choo shoes at a meeting and I remember my son needs new shoes for school. He may not get the most expensive toy in town, but he sure knows he is loved to bits. Because I tell him so every day. I tell him little things that happen to me at work, I pray with him, tell him to respect people around him, be nice to friends and let him be happy. I make him laugh, if making monkey faces helps, I will do it.
Bad behaviour and mess is never excused, but he always knows I am fighting his battles with him. If playing in the beach helps him cheer up, I let him get dirty. If he says he'd rather learn to play tennis than football which I love, I let him. I sang him to sleep even though my annoying little brother told me the baby was driven to sleep out of sheer boredom. Kenneth knows he is loved just as he is. By God and by family.
I am off to the play area in a few minutes. And I have my son hovering around right now. This article has been interrupted countless times and I must have learned patience after becoming a mother, because I now enjoy being interrupted.
My own mum is joining us for lunch – she should be able to help us out with tips. My friend might join us with her toddler daughter and we mums are planning to make a day of it all, packing picnic snacks - anything fun, NOT oats.
Happy Mother's day to every woman out there. My mum, my nana, my sisters, my aunts and my wonderful girlfriends. You will never stop being a mum, even if you are twenty five or eighty. You really are blessed. Have some time just with your baby. You can join us for some day long fun today at the Lou Lous, Magic Planet, or Fun City. The noise should guide you to the right spot and we mums would love to baby sit.
And by late afternoon, you'd probably find me asleep in a corner there.
It was a very nice story...I'm touched...I wish I could also hear the voice of my baby but i didn't. I got pregnant with my first baby (after more than 5 years)...he was born on 18.11.08 but he died the next day. Very sad but we have to move on..that's God's will...I am hoping for another one and I wished that someday there is a sweet voice calling me "MUM"...HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to you Linda all the mother's out there.
Posted: March 22, 2009, 09:18
Posted: March 22, 2009, 07:17
Motherhood brings the same happy feeling of pride. God bless the happy mothers!
Posted: March 22, 2009, 07:03
Beautiful article. God bless you.
Posted: March 22, 2009, 05:38
Eventhough I've very recently acquired the status of a mother (not even a month back), I can identify myself with Linda and many other working mothers who juggle 'two lives' one at work and the other at home. Its certainly not an easy task and every working mom has to display tremendous emotional strenghth and tenacity in order to keep both 'worlds' happy. Right now, career has taken the back seat in my life as I am busy making the most of mommyhood by being with my baby daughter as I know these precious moments won't come back. Here's wishing all mom's a very happy Mother's Day.
Shiuli Dutt Dey
Posted: March 21, 2009, 23:13
Even though I have not become a Mum myself, I could feel the sweet emotions of motherhood as depicted wonderfully by Linda. Beautiful article and I loved it. WISH YOU A HAPPY MOTHERS DAY DEAR.
Posted: March 21, 2009, 22:48
Fantastic article Linda....a beautiful read indeed. Description of a mother and motherhood can not get better than this. I am not a mother yet, but your article is a motivation for me to be one! Thanks so much for penning your thoughts. You have a beautiful mind. Happy Mother's day. Love to Kenneth. He is surely blessed to have a mother like you.
Posted: March 21, 2009, 22:28
All mums are very good and this revelation is true in our life. I LOVE MY MOM AND THANKS TO MY MOM......I MISS YOU MOM.
Posted: March 21, 2009, 20:39
To all the mothers... a very happy mother's day, with a prayer that may the children always be blessed with their mothers besides them... in their hour of need and praying harder that we children are blessed with the wisdom to appreciate the mothers and their hardships and sufferings to give us the best!
Dubai,United Arab Emirates
Posted: March 21, 2009, 19:42
Such a lovely article and full of facts told in a jolly way. and since i am a mum myself, i know all of it and more...and believe me, mommyhood is a habit no mother can ever grow out of. thanks linda dear.u made my day.
Posted: March 21, 2009, 18:04
Beautiful article that causes nostalgia in oneself. Well done Linda and have a great Mother's Day.
Posted: March 21, 2009, 17:56
This article totally captured the essence. As a teen I have had my share of rebellious phases and my mum was the first one i vent it out on. Thinking back now, i see how she took it all in her stride and never once complained. Happy mothers day to all mums and mums to be.
Posted: March 21, 2009, 17:24
Sacrificing a brighter future for my children is a great fulfillment for me. I know the price I am paying by being far away from her. Now that she's grown up like 4 years old new happenings in her life that I will surely miss. But still it will make me a very proud mim in the whole world even I am not there to witness her first parade for our town feast. Still, I'm proud telling my friends and co-workers that my daughter is one of the participant of the parade of beauty in our town feast. Well I'm one very proud mum here!!!
Posted: March 21, 2009, 16:35
Ma'am, it was a lovely story. It very much reminded me of my childhood and my mum. I wish you a wonderful day with your kid and a happy Mother's Day to all the mums out there!
Posted: March 21, 2009, 15:34
This was really nice to read; it takes you to your childhood. This is why motherhood is still alive in this world.
Posted: March 21, 2009, 14:04