Archive for January, 2007

Gender Differentiation

I knew that this conversation would come. And knowing Iman’s accelerated intelligence, I should have known it would come any time now.

While fine tuning her speaking skills, I have often pointed out differences between gender. For example…

Iman would say: Salem is a good girl (Salem is a boy at daycare)
And I would point out that he’s not a girl, he’s a boy.

Iman’s little mind goes tick tick tick…

Then she would say: My dolly is sad. He’s not happy
And I would say, dolly is a girl, so you say SHE’s not happy.

Iman’s little mind goes tick tick tick…

So I should have known that it was coming, when she asked me…

Why are boys boys and why are girls girls?

Hmmmmmmmmmm…

I wasn’t really ready to answer that in a language of a 2 year old. So I needed time to think about how to explain gender differences. While I was trying to simplify it in my mind, Iman conveniently offered an answer to her own question…

Because girls wear earrings and boys don’t, right?

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January 24, 2007 at 11:24 am 6 comments

I’m taking a break from the “word of wisdom”. It’s getting boring, plus I have more interesting stories to post… so my parenting advice is going in the back seat for a while.

January 24, 2007 at 11:23 am 1 comment

Two on the team

When we trade in our “couple” life and become parents, there is a lot of learning that we have to do. In fact, it’s like being in a new relationship and getting to know the person all over again.

At times this can be really frustrating, but for the most, it’s great to see your partner evolve into a nurturing and caring person. Look at a strong independent man, then hand him a baby to cradle… it’s a whole new picture!

Same as any new relationship, you need to give the other person time to breathe and find their own way around. When Iman was born, I had a set idea in my mind about parenthood, and in the beginning I tried to mould Omair into a frame of fatherhood that I thought was correct. Over time I realized that I was being unfair to everyone. I was robbing Omair of a great experience, I was robbing Iman of a natural father and I was robbing myself of the opportunity to see my spouse become a “dad”.

When I loosened up a little, I learned that Omair is a great father. He has his own techniques and ways of handling Iman. In fact, during times of great stress (read: public temper tantrums) Omair is much better at calming Iman down.

However, as Iman turned into a toddler, she started to realize that mom and dad are two separate people, who at times will handle situations differently, and she started to use that to her advantage. We had a “cookie incident” a few months ago, where Iman asked me for a cookie and when I turned her down, she asked her dad, who eagerly agreed and let her have it (RIGHT BEFORE DINNER!!). It was then that I realized that the “little one” was not so “little” any more. She had learned the concept of divide and rule, and that was the same time that Omair and I sat down and laid out our own “parenting plan”.

Part of raising a child is to ensure that there are no mixed messages. If dad says one thing and mom says another, the child doesn’t know which one is right. So you and your partner need to talk through your decision making process and make sure that you stand a united front. In a situation where you disagree with your spouse, DON’T make a scene in front of the child. Let the situation continue, but remember to talk it out later (when the child is not around).

Here are some things that you should NOT do in front of your children…
#1. Don’t put each other down or insult each other.
#2. Don’t fight.
#3. Don’t disagree (sometimes you might have to bite your lip and wait for a better moment to talk it out).

Here are some things that you SHOULD do…
#1. Hug your spouse or show some sign of (acceptable) physical affection (your children learn from you).
#2. Point out at least one nice thing about your spouse (Example: Look Iman, baba is wearing such a nice tie today.)
#3. Share some family time EVERY day (which involves ALL members of the family).

Children look towards their parents for security, but they can’t find it unless they know that their parents are on the same team. In order to raise great kids and have a great family, you need to set a good example as parents.

January 17, 2007 at 9:03 am 5 comments

Schedules Secure Their Lives

(Most) adults like to know what’s laid out for their day. Schedules provide a certain “security” for us. Kids are the same. If they know what’s coming, they’re easier to handle.

On a normal day in your routine life, you need to establish a set pattern. Getting all the basics in and leaving room for free play. If your child is raised with a consistent schedule, you’ll notice the difference in behavior almost instantly (*NOTE: schedule must be established and followed for some time before you get visible results.)

Whether you have a new born, a toddler or a preschooler, it’s never too early to start them on a routine. All you need to do is lay out the timings for what you must do each day (feed them, bathe them, play with them) and then add in the accessories that are a part of your natural lifestyle. Set out your day and organize your time so that you aren’t playing the role of a parent all day long. Everyone needs time off, so whether you pick up a magazine during their nap, or have a coffee with a friend during tumbling class, you need to establish patterns to make your life easier as well as theirs.

Now don’t get too stressed out if you can’t stick to your timing to the minute. It’s your life and it’s your day, so leave room for flexibility. Just chalk out something so you and your little one know what’s ahead.

Children who are raised with schedules grow up to be more organized and have more self control. These daily routines as children help them establish healthy living habits as adults.

That’s all for today! Coming up next…

Parenting may be a two person job, but the two people need to be on the same team.

January 14, 2007 at 8:44 am 3 comments

Laying down the law

“If we don’t know our boundaries, we don’t know when to stop”

It’s really hard to decide when to start disciplining your child. There are several categories of parents.

#1 The “too” early birds: These are the kind that will rap their child’s knuckles when the baby is only a few months old. They start thinking that by starting early, they are setting good boundaries for their little one.

#2 Late bloomer: Those parents who provided excuses for their child, and insist that he or she is too young to understand.

#3 Just right.

Start discipline with your child when YOU feel she understands cause and effect and understands the meaning of consequences. Now I’m not talking about the philosophical consequences… just the simple things. For example… if I turn my cup over, the juice will spill out.

This is a fine line, because a lot of the time people confuse this with curiosity. If your infant is only 8 months old and emptying her food onto the floor and playing with it, this isn’t a sign of defiance. The little one is just learning.

So back to the book of law.

When you see the signs that your child is ready to understand discipline. Make sure she is rightly guided with the rules you want to set for your house. Little children have little memories, so you might want to remind them about the rules again and again and again and again and again. Don’t lose patience when you remind them. They are only learning.

Keep the rules realistic and simple. You don’t want to confine your child, remember, you just want to set boundaries.

– You might want to define “off limit” areas (bathroom, t.v. fine china cupboard, etc.)
– Teach them the “right” voice to communicate (no screaming or shouting)

That’s a good 2 to start with. Work on this now, I’ll be back with more in a couple of days.

January 11, 2007 at 1:33 pm 2 comments

Caution: Parenting Advice Ahead!

For those of you out there who don’t like to take advice, I’ll recommend that you steer clear of my blog for a week or so.

Over the past Eid holidays we met the parents of 2 boys. Although they were far more experienced than us, both Omair and I saw some alarmingly disturbing signs of poor parenting.

I know that in the past I have always said that there is “no such thing as bad parenting”, that’s because I sincerely believe that when we become moms and dads we do the best job we can. But truth be told, this is the hardest job in the world, and we never receive any training for it.

Most couples out there will struggle for months (and some for years, while others for life), not because they don’t want to do a good job of raising there young, but because they really don’t know how.

Since Omair and I are parents who raise our child on our own (no other family influence or advice) we always turn to two of our favorite and trusted sources for support and guidance — Super Nanny, Jo Frost and babycenter.com. Over the next few days I am going to publish the tools that we use while we raise Iman. If you are a parent out there, maybe you too can make use of what we have learned.

*Warning: The next few posts are only meant to help share the ideas that have worked for us, there is no guarantee that they will work for your family set-up. Also, I am not the kind of person who criticizes others, I am just sharing ideas that we use.

January 8, 2007 at 8:55 am 2 comments

Blog Vacation

Since my life has been crazy busy over the past month, I needed to “cut out” some things from my daily routine to free up time to do other things.
Somewhere on this list was the blog.

Reasons for my hiding…
We’ve had house guests for over a month. There were exams at school, which meant that everything had to be completed, checked and handed in. It was Eid time again, which meant extensive cooking, cleaning, and entertaining guests, not to mention a list of lunch, dinner and general party invitations. Then there was New Years — by the way, Happy New Year to all!

So as the list of “must do’s” accumulated, I decided that it was absolutely necessary to take out anything and everything that would free up some extra time in my day.

Sorry to chop out your daily read 🙂

BUT… we’re back, and I have a lot to share, so hopefully in the next couple of days you can expect regular updates.

January 7, 2007 at 10:31 am 6 comments


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