Friday, August 1, 2014

Travelling with a baby

Sorry, I know. I took forever with this post. But, the experience was so traumatising, I needed a few months to recuperate.

I'm okay now.

Here are my top 10 tips on traveling with a baby on flights but even so, gooood luck buddy.

NUMBER 1 - LIMIT YOUR CARRY ONs!!! I was allowed to take one carry on, a diaper bag, and a purse or backpack. I decided to ditch the purse and take the backpack since it would be easier to carry through terminals. But, taking a diaper bag and a carry on as well was just a disaster. Next time, I will try to just take a carry on and MAYBE a small bag.

2 - If your baby is under the age of 9 months, take advantage of baby jar food. Some people told me that they freeze meat dishes and by the time they get to the plane it will be good enough to eat. I am just like, oh my Goddd just relax. Your baby can be vegetarian for just one day and they will survive by not having a home cooked meal for just a couple of hours. My God. There are meaty baby jar food as well for the carnivores who just can't resist. But I was all like, ummmm it aint Halal.

3 - Put all of your food into one or two bags max so that when you get to customs, you just pull the bags out quickly to declare.  They will appreciate your organisation skills  as it speeds up the process.

4 - Put wet wipes, spoons, few nappy bags, disposable or cloth bibs in each bag that you have your foodin. I had one smaller bag that had enough for each plane ride as well which I tucked into the little pockets in front of my seat (where they put the magazines) so that I didn't have to keep carrying that one massive bag of food. I recommend using disposable bibs because you don't want to be stuck with wet bibs throughout the flight. Use your bibs to keep him from wetting his shirt from drooling if he is teething. You want to limit the number of times you need to change his clothes.

5- Make sure you get the bulkhead seat so that you get a bassinet on the long haul plane rides. The bassinets was useless for Hasan because all he wanted to do was crawl or walk, but it was great for me to chuck in his toys, wipes and food without all of it being on my lap. Call the airline a couple of times to make sure they secured your seat and check in 24 hours before your flight. Once you check in, your seat is secured.

6 - Let your child crawl or walk across the aisles. It might seem weird at first since everyone is looking at you and your baby walking back and forth but it is way better then them crying and disturbing everyone. The show off flight attendants might get annoyed so just avoid eye contact. Hasan was much quieter when he was walking and eventually he got tired and was more willing to sit later on and then eventually by the grace of God, fall asleep.

7 -  As soon as your baby falls asleep it would be a great time to go to the bathroom, clean up around your area as I am sure you are covered with biscuits and plastic cups and all that jazz, and have your meal. You will feel so much better when you clean up and much more patient when the little devil wakes up again ( <3 )

8 - Don't give your baby all the toys that you took with you at once. Give him a few at a time so that he doesn't get sick of it by the first couple of hours.

9 - Reading books helped me keep Hasouni in his seat while the seatbelt sign was on. He was also so fasincated by the plastic cups that the flight attendants gave us. I don't know why but it didn't matter to me. He loved it and I loved it.

10 - Only take with you small toys and books but make sure they are no smaller than the size of your hand.  The last thing you want to do is find the little car that he dropped which you know is underneath the man sitting beside you who just had enough.

I hope that helped!! On my flight to Canada, these tips saved me. On the flight back, Hasan decided that he no longer liked baby jar food, was definitely way too big for the bassinets, and chucked every book I gave him. It was much harder because we had 3 stop overs and the first two were right in the beginning so by the time we went on our 14 hour flight back to Sydney, he just had enough.

I will try to write more often! Sorry we also had to learn how to get Hasouni to sleep through the night and that has been quite the experience. Maybe I will write about that one day !


Oum Hasan.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Blog Tour

My dear friend Idil invited me to join the blog tour. She writes a hilarious and smart blog called So Many Tangents  about her life as a teacher. She is absolutely wonderful. You will love this blog and will likely be inspired to become a teacher.

So, anyway, I thought, this is it. This is where I become famous. Then I started getting really nervous because she included me whilst I was in transit from Australia to Canada and I knew settling in was going to take a long time and millions of bloggers are probably on the edge of their seat in anticipation but if I took too long, surely it would all fade. I like to go into la la land to procrastinate.

OK, so here is how the blog tour works. You answer a couple of questions about "the writing process" and tag 1-3 bloggers who you like to read and then they would have to do the same.

At last, here we go!

What am I working on?

My next blog is going to be about travelling with infants on long flights. I am in Canada with Hasouni at the moment visiting my family. It took me 23 hours to arrive and weeks of preparation.
I am excited about this new post but to be honest, I am not sure when I will be able to write it as I did not bring my computer with me and it feels so strange to use my parent's. It feels like I am too old to be invading their personal things. Honestly, within two minutes of arriving to Canada, I ditched my new aussie clothes, immediately wore my old bulky sweaters, settled into my old purple bedroom, and texted my friends. Exactly like how I was when I use to live there except there is a tiny lil person in his play pen beside me.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I definitely compromise my image with this blog. Instead of using this blog to make myself seem like a super mom, who found answers to this difficult task, I show my struggle and I don't care. I find it more helpful to not sugar coat.

Why do I write what I do?

It was my sister Nadia and my friends (esp Hoda) that encouraged me to write. I would be on the phone with them and tell them about the funny scenarios that happen to me and they always tell me that I need to write these down and start a blog. Every blog entry has made me a nervous wreck but every response has been so positive that I just can't stop now. It makes me happy and I hope it makes you happy too!

What am I reading now?

Nothing... is that bad?

How does my writing process work?

Whenever I write a blog, I get really excited so I write really fast and put all my thoughts down even though they do not make any sense. I then save, shut the computer off, go to sleep and resume back the next day. I end up deleting half of what I wrote because it was just rubbish. I edit and re edit, then eventually I get frustrated, abruptly end my post and publish. Sometimes, that is just how it has to be. Especially if you are someone who procrastinate. You need to just bite the bullet.

Oh, thank God. The questions are now over. That wasn't too bad!! ;)

Now, I will be tagging Batoul Hussain's blog, abcreatives. Batoul picked up her bags and went off to tour the middle east with her husband, Ali. This dynamic and sweet duo kept us all in touch with breathtaking photographs and witty posts that I am sure you will love.

Okay Batoul, pressure is officially off. Now it's your turn!

You know you love me,
Xoxo. Oum Hasan.

Past participants

Idil Abdulkadir

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What NOT to do when organising your baby's first birthday

Hasouni, your next birthdays will be either at gymberoos or at the movies. Thanks.

sh** that was a lot of work. You don't realize how much crap you have to buy for your sweetheart. There are so many little pieces like for example, you can't just buy balloons. You have to buy strings as well and sticky tape if you don't have. Which you never find around your house and when you go and buy and tell yourself that you will put them in a safe drawer, it turns out to be the same safe drawer that you put all the other sticky tapes that you said you will save and remember.

I told myself that I am just going to make a simple outdoor party for my friends with cute party decor, sandwiches, drinks and party favors. I visioned twinkle lights all around the courtyard and was proud of  myself for actually taking the time and buying some and then realizing as I was going home that it will be a daytime event and no one will be able to actually see the lights. Got a bit flustered but that's alright, I moved on...

I even got my friend Amina who was a popular contestant in Masterchef to make the food. But when you are asking one of Australia's best chefs to make a meal, you don't ask them to make a fruit salad. That's what I did. Trust Mariam to ask a chef to make something that will show absolutely none of their talent in cooking. I realised my big mistake soon enough, called her in a panic and asked her if I can change the menu. She simply responded with a yes and reminded me that  we had lots of time and I felt pretty ridiculous for my over exaggeration. I had to keep reminding myself that I am not actually planning a wedding.

Everyone has been going crazy with these candy buffets so I decided that since my friends are in their mid 20s that instead of having a candy buffet, that I would have cute little blue and white dotted party favours with candy inside. As soon as I gave the guests with infants the candy, I realised that I was handing them out potentially choking hazard chocolates but whatever,  I just brushed that off. I'm sure it will be fine.  And instead of writing a simple message on each candy I thought of putting different quotes. Trust me to put in the longest quotes ever and forget that I would have to hand write like a million of them.  Some of them I wrote the quote by Oscar Wilde, "The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention" and it went on to another sentence about the candy and thanking them. I donnno, it just went on. Next year, "Thanks for coming! Love, Hasan" and I'll just attach a poetry book or just print off a poem. Or just nothing.

I thought it would be really cute to make Hasouni his invitation cards. I started a couple of months ago and things were going well. I was enjoying buying all these ribbons and card stocks. Just to make it harder on myself, I decided to make each invitation card different from one another.
What is the REASON for that?
Did anyone see the different types? No?
Was it cost efficient? No. Not at all.
Did I enjoy it. Sure?

But, I did take a photo!

Here are some photos of Hasouni's party. What do you think?

Next time, order helium tanks. I almost fainted blowing up over 50 balloons. And yes, they are still hanging on the wall. I noticed that after a kid's birthday party, the decorations on the wall look like as if you went to a really bad rave party. There are just so many colours. It's seriously makes me dizzy so I've been spending a lot of time in my room

the best part was my friend surprised me with Hasan's birthday cake. look at how gorgeous it was!  the poor girl had to make it vegan and nut free for hasoun and it didn't help when I kept asking her "so. ..have you made cakes before? ? can you make it green like a forest? no wait can you make it blue? so how many have you made. there any sesame inside?  is there cream in the icing (she's vegan)"

I would show you more pics but I can't find the cord to upload my dslr photos. I'm sure I'll get around to it before he turns two!

My advice is do what ever you like. It is a special time and it is worth all that trouble.  Once. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Monday, February 3, 2014

Don't compare your child

Don't do it!

We have all read the books and got the advice from professionals that children develop at their own rate and that the milestone guides are simply just that. Guides. But of course, you should trust your instinct if you feel that your child development is significantly slower and go for a check up with the doctor.

But you seriously need to just chill out. It doesn't matter if your neighbour's baby started eating solids before yours, or their hair is longer. You are going to have so many issues in your life, PICK your worries carefully! For instance, my friend and I meet every week for a catch up while our children who are one month apart sit together and play. As I am trying to teach Hasouni how to crawl, her baby is literally trying to climb over my head. She already conquered my living room, and now wants to climb me as the next mount everest -and this baby is younger than Hasoun. I was starting to get worried and was disregarding the fact that my child was walking along the couch to get to his toys. After I put my mind to check, I have come to the conclusion that if my child is trying to learn how to walk, than I think he is okay ;). Apparently, my sister and I never crawled when we were kids. So, there we go. 

If you start comparing the frequency of your child doing a peepee or a poo poo,  then I think it is time to take a little nice coffee break. Alone.

I don't know why we do this. We stress ourselves even when our children are looking at us and they are smiling and happy. I think the thousands of books exploding in our library shelves on parenting and the millions of guides on the Internet are causing more of a paranoia than helping.

I went out with a group of friends and their kids to a nice breakfast a few weeks ago and I noticed that one mom was feeding her child food with a silver spoon and giving him tap water. I started comparing how I feed hasouni, which is always with a plastic spoon and cooled boiled water so I asked her how come she is doing that. She said to me, and I swear, it was the exact shake up I needed to just relax with all the guides we read, "oh, this is my second child." She followed by the book with her first child, and after that experience, she learned that children don't immediately fall into pieces when you don't do things perfectly 24/7. 

The Your Baby Looks Nothing Like You Comment

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Damn, that is good advice.

It gets quite difficult to raise a baby that any little time saving tips become God sent. Here are some of mine that helped me-and that will help me once I start taking it.

1) Spread nappy baskets around the house so that you do not need to walk up and down the stairs to get to your change table. This will especially be convenient if you have grandparents or friends babysitting. I have yet to do this in my house. I have a slight fear of using this tip because I will than never go up and down the stairs and just stay by the couch forever. But seriously, do this. It'll help.

Oh and include bibs and baby face towels in these baskets as well. Once your baby is teething or starting solids, you will need these at all times,

What would be really good is to make some of these baskets and keep at your relatives homes as well. Just not your friends because that's just an invasion. Even though my friend recently got keys to her new apartment and I'm already considering a special corner for Hasouni's toys and diapers ;) (A)
Click here to learn how to make this cute bag

2) Keep a toy or two in the baby car seat. It gets really frustrating when you are sweating your -ss off strapping your bub to his seat, putting everything in the car and getting ready to go off and then you realize you forgot his stupid toy and start considering to just keep going. Then you start feeling like crap for leaving him sitting  there without anything. So save your guilty conscious and keep a toy in the car. It doesn't even have to be the nicest toy, just anything. Its likely that they won't even give two sh-ts about the toy but your conscious will be saved.

3) Buy a few really nice toys and place them in different parts of the room. So if you need to clean your bedroom, you can just pop your bub down and he'll play with the toy in that room. And since its one of better toys, like an activity mat, wooden bead mazes, or jumperoos, you'll know he will be more than willing to play in it. And these toys take a huge amount of space anyway so it will be good to have them in different parts of the room. 

4) Speaking of jumperoos (the toy that the kid sits in and plays with the activities surrounding him); make sure you have this beside the door before you go grocery shopping. That way, as soon as you get home, you can open the door and quickly put bub in it and run back to the shopping bags that you have likely dropped at your front door. Hasan always gives me a dirty look when I do this. He knows I'm not really trying to entertain him. 

5) Purchase a hook like the brica handy hook which you can find at Toy's R Us. This thing can hold very heavy groceries and just hangs on the side of the stroller. Keep the bags on the hook and just carry that into the house. Once you get into your home, you can drop the hook down and not get all your hands tangled by bags that twisted around your fingers.

6) Leave a nappy and a small wipes package in one of the zippers in your stroller so that if you for some reason forgot your bag, you are saved. For example, if at the spur of the moment, you decided to take a stroll around the neighbourhood. You don't want to realize that you forgot to bring diapers with you and instead of having a relaxing walk, you just keep thinking to yourself, what if you needed to change his diaper, and you just stress yourself out and the night just gets ruined. It never happened to me but its just a matter of time.

7) Purchase the same coloured socks and mittens. Yes, there are a lot of cute designs but babies tend to pull their socks off and leave them God knows where and instead of taking forever trying to find the matching pair, just save yourself heaps of time and buy white or black socks.

And that's how its done.

Hope these tips helped. Please share any of yours as well! We all need a helping hand once in a while.


Om Hasan.