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Monthly Archives: February 2007

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2:30 am- Momma said there’d be days like this

Well, actually, she didn’t, but that’s ok. Momma equipped me with resourcefulness as well as coping skills, so the fact that Khalid is wide awake and drumming his heels against his high chair doesn’t phase me much. Because I’m eating icecream. Five minutes ago though, it was getting to me quite alot, as I was well into hour number two of trying to put Khalid to sleep.

A note on bebeface- he bites, he kicks, he rages, and worst of all- he pinches.

Last night we went to bed at 4 am, and today had a very, very long day. Khalid was grouchy and had multiple small naps to fuel his angry little engine. I’ve been nauseated with exhaustion as well as insanely busy. And we drove to Abu Dhabi and back, too, which from where we live is nearly a 3 hour road trip. So I’m tired. Bebeface is tired. I don’t know about his logical processes, but mine are bordering on irrational. Well, they were until I had icecream. I was ready to put Khalid on the carpeted floor and walk away when I remembered that HF, who can sleep through alot, but not a full-on Khalid tantrum- has to wake up in three hours and go to work. So Khalid and I are here in the kitchen, he’s waving a rice-cracker around. I’m eating icecream. We both seem happy for the break.

His sleep schedule is nuts as usual. I’m on break from trying anything new. I’m just trying to catch whatever ZZZ’s I can, in whatever increments Khalid will let me. Speaking of whom, he is out of cracker and needs refill…

So things have been a little frustrating lately, and I find myself joining Khalid for his afternoon nap- lying in bed with him to feed him every 40 minutes as well as get some sleep myself.

ah, now he’s rubbing cracker crumbs into his eyebrows, which generally means he’s tired. time to go try again.

Bebe’s first Poem

Bap Bap Bap
Said the baby
With the raisins
In his lap

This is why God made babies cute

Last night was another interesting night, rather than nurse Khalid to sleep I tried the ‘crying it out in arms’ approach, which basically involved him screaming his little self tired- in my arms. Someone posted a link to this in the comments of one of the crying it out posts, and I’m not sure who it was, but they should also have posted a link to body building and developing muscle for high-stress baby-rocking. :p Khalid is, MashaAllah, over the 95% percentile for his weight and height, which means me bouncing almost 12 kilos (26 pounds) of angry, screaming, WWF-Wrestling baby in my arms for 20 minutes before he winds down and falls whining to sleep.

Alhamdulillah, he slept, and last night wasn’t too bad, although there were no long sleep stretches over an hour and a half. I think by now I’m so frazzled by the every-forty-minutes schedule that an hour and a half seems good. The other night I put Khalid to sleep and even though I was exhausted, I wandered in to the kitchen and got on to the laptop to do some work. Why not? I thought, he’s just going to wake up in forty minutes, why bother going to sleep?

But going back to the title of this post- Last night, about fifteen minutes into rocking and screaming and wrestling- my arms were burning (you know burning? it’s five minutes past aching and two minutes before dying) and my back was aching and I was getting frustrated and suddenly Khalid stops crying, looks up at me and says, “bap bap bap?” Then he smiles at me and launches into a few minutes of impossibly cute baby-babble, “pibpibpib, bap bap bap, nanagagagaGAK!” He lays relaxed in my arms, just making cute little sounds and smiling at me, and manages to undo all of the anger and frustration that had been piling up onto my shoulders just minutes ago.

SubhanAllah. Standing there in the dark, at 1:30 am, with aching body, aching feet, and 12 kilos of sleep-resistant babyfat in my arms- I laughed out loud. I kissed his soft little cheeks. I remembered that bed time is an ordeal for him too, and he’s not deliberately being difficult, he’s just being what he is- a baby.

We went to the pediatrician last week for his cough, and HF asked the doctor about Khalid’s atrocious sleep habits- waking every forty minutes, not sleeping at night, etc. The doctor patiently listened and then shrugged apologetically. “That’s normal, all children are like this.” We asked her if she was sure. She was. And she had her own kids too.

SubhanAllah, I sometimes forget how much I am blessed. Allah has blessed me with a beautiful, beautiful child, free from disabilities or conditions or any visible defects- ten perfectly chubby, perfectly formed fingers, same number of wiggly little toes, enormous gorgeous eyes, the sweetest, softest cheeks- Khalid is a perfect baby, and it’s my fault for forgetting- he’s a perfect baby. He’s sitting in his high-chair right now, banging a clothes pin against a set of teething keys and periodically chewing on a baby biscuit that he’s also managed to rub into his eyebrows. He’s a baby.

My beautiful little son. 🙂 It was time for his nap about an hour ago now, and he managed to sleep for ten minutes before waking up again with a happy -bapbapbap- He’s starting to rub his eyes and pull his ears (which also have cookie crumbs on them) so I guess it’s time for me to try to put him to sleep again. Please remember us in your duas- I need patience and he needs an off button. :p

Peace & Chikken Grease
Abez & Bebeface

The Bebefiles: Crying it Out- Success and the Lack Thereof

Well, the past three days have been hectic. Picking up where we left off-

Night Before HF gets here- Bebeface cries it out for an hour and forty minutes, only to wake up two hours later and then be up and down all night as usual. That is very discouraging.

Night HF gets home- Bebeface cries for an hour and a half before I go in to rescue him from him own stubborness- it’s midnight, HF and I are both tired and he’s just gotten back from a business trip. I nurse him to sleep, hoping that crying for so long has at least drained his batteries a bit. He sleeps for an hour as usual, and wakes up about six times during the night.

Yesterday Night- I am swamped with two separated freelancing tasks with seriously short deadlines- I put Bebeface down to cry it out for the night, and after an hour of listening to him scream and get not quieter, but louder, I am not able to concentrate at all on my work. I go in to nurse him to sleep. He nurses, and then is up and ready for action until 1:30 am.

Yesterday Night- I do nothing related to crying- I happen to be in the shower when I notice that Bebeface, who HF had been rocking and singing to (I love you HF!) had gone quiet and fallen asleep. And there is much rejoicing. (He wakes up ever hour or so all night. This is usual.)

This evening- Hoping for similar success, I feed, pajama, and soothe Khalid before passing him to HF for a rocking to sleep. Bebeface stubbornly resists. HF passes him back to me after about half an hour, and I nurse Khalid to sleep.

He’s asleep now, my little bundle of impossibility. I must clarify- the bedtime routine of a nice bath and a feed and a kiss and a song- I’ve been doing that for about a week and a half now, and if the purpose of it is to make Khalid rub his eyes with sleep, then it accomplishes its goal. But then, since Khalid wakes up every morning at 9:30 by the latest, regardless of what time he’s gone to sleep, getting him to rub his eyes and yank his ears and pull his hair from tiredness has never been a problem. It’s getting him to close his little eyes that we seem to be doing so badly with.

So now what?

The Bebefiles: Crying it Out Part IV

Well, last night was a mixture of both failure and success- Khalid cried for over an hour, and when I went to check on him (as I had been doing every fifteen minutes or so) I found him lying on the floor again- hands cold, feet cold, face cold, shuddering and whimpering. So I threw in the towel, wrapped him up and nursed him to sleep.

Then I emailed HF (who is on a business trip, for those of you who asked in last entry’s comments) and told him I was giving up and I feel miserable. Then I went to bed. And Khalid slept for 7 hours. Again, I woke up before he did, and was so surprised at the time- 6:30 am, that I had to go check on him. My sleepy brain was terrified and sure that he was dead. I know that sounds horrible and morbid, but I was on the verge of crying when I knelt down to see if he was still breathing. Which, Alhamdulillah, he still was, and I think my sleeping brain is nuts.

I don’t know what I’m doing tonight. These past four nights, Khalid has slept for long and longer stretches, Alhamdulillah, but I’ve only managed to stick the crying out twice. Twice I’ve caved, twice I’ve stayed firm. One of the times I caved he only slept for two hours, the second time (last night) he slept for seven. I’m not sure what it is about crying it out that makes him sleep better- is it the exhaustion of bawling for an hour? If so, then how come on night two, when I let him bawl for an hour before rescuing him, he only slept for two hours? And then on night three, he only cried for 45 minutes but he slept for five hours.

I’m not sure what to make of things, and tonight will be night five, InshaAllah. Tonight may also be back at home, where I can put Khalid in his crib and not have to worry about him ending up on the floor. He does wiggle about and get his feet stuck in the bars, but that’s pretty minor. I think if I put some rolled blankets on the side it’ll minimize his wiggling and protect him from getting stuck as well InshaAllah.

HF will be back tomorrow InshaAllah, and that’s such a relief for me. Him being on a business trip is always lonely, but this time has been especially hard w/the tension of the nightly crying game. It’s amazing how love takes two perfectly sane, perfectly independent people and then fuses them into one entity that spends time apart yearning for the other half. Next time HF goes on a business trip, Bebeface and I are crawling into his suitcase.

I’m confused.

The Bebefiles: Crying it Out Part III

JazakAllah to everyone for the encouragement. Last night’s missing post was due to technical probs, and a guy from Etisalat had to come over today to fix a wire inside the wall so now we’re up and running again.

Yesterday, before putting Khalid down for his nightly crying session, I set out to build the ultimate baby-contaning fortress so that he couldn’t wiggle out on to the floor again. I’ve ended up with a mattress on the floor, wedged against the side of my mom’s waterbed (I’m staying at the chateau while HF is on a business trip) and bordered on three sides with bolsters which are in turn, reinforced with three chairs.

And yet, even with all that work, Khalid ended up on the floor again last night. I went to check on him after ten min and found him wiggled into a corner of the room. I put him back on the bed and walked out, and I was surprised at how me coming in and soothing him a bit didn’t make him go ballistic again. I thought seeing me would give him typhoon-powered second winds that would prolong the cry-it-to-sleep process, but I think it may actually have made things better.

Either that or Khalid’s learning, but last night only took 45 minutes, Alhamdulillah. It also wasn’t as stressful for me, because, I must shamefully admit- I found a distraction. I have rediscovered XCOM- UFO Defense. I used to be quite a game junkie- I would stay up all night playing things like Command and Conquer, Roller Coaster Tycoon, Civilization, Ages of Empires… Strategy games mostly. And I would play so long my eyeballs would burn because I would forget to blink.

I wasn’t that bad last night, but 45 minutes passed quickly and before I even realized, Khalid had fallen asleep. I’m pretty sure he slept for a long ole time. I’m not sure how long because this time I didn’t wake up repeatedly to see why he hadn’t woken up yet. Alhamdulillah.

Yesterday he missed his afternoon nap though, so I’m wondering if maybe that contributed to him passing out earlier. Today, his afternoon nap got moved down to maghrib- he woke up around 6:20- about half an hour ago. (There’s construction going on across the street and the bang bang bang makes getting Khalid to nap very difficult) So let’s see what happens tonight InshaAllah.

The Bebefiles: Crying it out- Part II

Yesterday, after Khalid’s hour and five minute crying jag, he once again slept for five hours. Five lovely, uninterrupted hours, Alhamdulillah. It’s 10:40 right now, and he’s been crying since ten o’clock. He’s definitely winding down, and I peeked in on him a second ago- he’s laying face down on the bed, he raises his head to cry, gets tired and rests it for a few seconds. Then he raises it to cry again. I don’t know if he’ll beat yesterday’s time, and I don’t know if any progress is being made. This is only the second night anyway, so looking for progress right now is a little early I think.

If anything though, I at least don’t feel like I’m dying of guilt pangs. Yesterday was hard, and I felt horrible, but it yielded very real and very encouraging results. Oh wait, he’s gone quiet…

No, he started again. But the pauses between crying spurts are getting longer and the cries are getting softer and more tired-sounding.

But like I was saying, having done this once yesterday and seen really encouraging results, I don’t feel so bad and it’s not as hard for me today as it was yesterday. My child is sobbing his little eyes pink, and I’m ok. Does this make me a bad mother? I hope not, I would like to believe not. He’s not in pain. He laying in a bed, he’s fussing himself to sleep. He’s fine.

I’ve already gone and spent a long time in the shower (with Owlie listening out for me) but I ran out of hot water after ten minutes so I’m back out again. Khalid’s been crying for 45 minutes and I suppose we’ve got another fifteen to go.

10:50- I tell you, this kid could do commercials for energizer.

11:20- The good news is that Khalid is asleep- the bad news is- I caved. At eleven I went to check on him, and found that he had wiggled past the fortress of pillows and bolsters I had surrounded him with and was lying face-down on the cold, hard, floor- crying. (his mattress is on the floor anyway, so it’s only a two-inch roll down, not a fall, Alhamdulillah) But I couldn’t help it. I picked him up and he sighed and shuddered and clung to me. I nursed him to sleep.

I’m sorry and did, and yet I’m not. I feel torn between wanting to do things right and wanting to do right by my son. Why isn’t there a way of putting him to sleep that doesn’t involve making both of us miserable for upwards of an hour? I keep wanting to apologize to him, I feel like this is somehow my fault.

Well, 11:20 is his sleep time, let’s see how many hours he sleeps. I know he’s utterly exhausted, chances are he’ll sleep five hours any.

I feel selfish for putting Khalid through this, and I feel discouraged. 🙁

The Bebefiles: Crying it Out- Part I

So once upon a time there was an impossibly cute (MashaAllah) but horribly scheduled son of mine, whose unruly sleep habits have been the only (but rather large) down side to motherhood. He wakes every 40 minutes, night or day, to feed, and drives me rather batty with sleep deprivation.

Everyone and their mother tells me I need to let him cry it out. I know. I know, but it hurts my heart to hear him cry. Really, physically- I can’t explain how it feels to hear him sobbing away. Like how he is now. Sobbing. In the next room.

Last week, after many frustrating and futile attempts to put Khalid to sleep (punctuated by being hit in the face with his flailing arms and being savagely bitten with his pointy little teeth) I put him down and walked out the bedroom. I hadn’t been intending to let him cry it out, but ten minutes into it, I decided what the heck. Let’s go for it.

It took an hour, and I’m sure it was rougher on him than it was on me, but I’m not sure it was by much. In the end, it finally happened. Bebeface cried himself to sleep, and he slept for five hours straight.

Five hours.

Straight.

Five hours, from a kid who’s never slept longer than 2 hours in his entire life.

Fastforward to this evening- HF left for a five-day business trip, and since he won’t be disturbed by Khalid’s ear-shattering (and heart-breaking) wails, I’ve decided that this is the week we’re gonna cry it out.

It’s 11:24 right now, and Khalid has been crying since 11:15. I know he’s exhausted, I left him in the bed with a full stomach, rubbing his eyes and pulling his ears out of exhaustion, but the second I closed the door, the BebeSiren sounded and he’s been wailing away ever since.

I learned from the last time that after half an hour he’ll start to wind down. Everyone I’ve talked to has told me that kids learn fast- let him cry it out two or three times and they’ll learn to soothe themselves to sleep. One woman I know did it over the weekend- she went away for two nights in a row, and the husband volunteered to keep an eye on the baby- and it was a hard weekend but the baby learned in two days, and now she sleeps straight through.

Admittedly, I feel horrible right now. Khalid is now hiccuping as well as wailing- and I can hear the little gasps and shudders between cries, but he is winding down.

I wish it didn’t have to be like this. I wish he came with a ‘sleep’ button. I can’t really sit and listen to him cry, I need to find something else to do- like take a shower or something. I didn’t turn the water heater on though, so the water’s too cold to be any sort of pleasant distraction.

11:31- Still wailing. Oh wait, there was a pause. Ok, now he’s gotten a second wind and seems to have hit a higher pitch. I’m going to go wash dishes or something.

11:53- Well, there are longer and longer pauses between the crying fits now- I know that these silent moments are spent in rubbing his eyes or pulling his hair, and I know he must be exhausted. The crying is getting tireder, the pauses longer- I think the water might be warm enough. I wonder- if I take a ten minute shower- will he be asleep by the time I come out? Let’s see. I need to relax, I feel wound up and tense.

12:21- Asleep. All quiet. Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah. It took Khalid an hour and five minutes- which is five minutes longer than his previous time, but maybe tomorrow will be better InshaAllah. And let’s see how long he sleeps now InshaAllah. I spent the last fifteen min taking the longest, hottest shower I’ve had in months, and I’m ready to pray and hit the sack. I’m really looking forward to five beautiful hours of gorgeous lovely sleep.

(Many thanks to everyone who’s kept pushing me to just do this- to retrain Khalid no matter how hard it is. Taubah, my Momma, and especially HF– who’s been nagging me to do this- even volunteered to take Khalid for a weekend, and has been so patient with my foolish refusal to do so until this point. It could only last so long. You can only run so long on sleep deprivation, and not letting Khalid learn how to fall asleep on his own doesn’t do him any favors. Also, much love to Owlie– who’s been the Abez Distraction Committee these past two times I’ve let Khalid cry it out. >>>hugs<<< )

JazakAllah

In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight

Bebeface is sleeping, shh! type quietly!

My lil Brother emailed me about a month ago, and since he’s not the communicative type, it was one of only a handful of emails he’s sent me in the last six months. I would love to reply, but so far I haven’t been able to. I’ve sat down several times and stared blankly at a gmail draft. The delay isn’t Khalid’s fault, it’s actually my Brother’s. He had to go and ask me a hard question- he had to ask me what my goals were.

I’m sure I used to have goals. I vaguely remember wanting to finish a book of poetry by the age of 25. I’ve moved it up to 30, and am hoping that the next three years are extra-inspirational.

I wanted to weigh 125 pounds once upon a time. Har. Dee. Har. My mother’s family is primarily composed of hard working, hard farming people of big bones and German descent, so when we say we’s big-boneded, we mean it. We’s big boneded. I’ve moved my goals from numerical weight to physical fitness instead, but even those have slipped so far that if I manage to work out three times a week I’m going to buy myself a trophy.

I wanted to learn Arabic, but I find that here, living in the Middle East, I can’t afford classes. Once upon a time in Pakiland, we could afford Arabic lessons from a nice teacher who came to the house five times a week to suffer through grammar with Owlie and I. Things in the UAE are much more expensive than they are in Pakistan, especially education, so the idea of getting a private tutor is no longer feasible, and the possibility of attending classes with Bebeface is impractical. (Alif, Ba, Bababababbbbbbbpppprttt Waaaannnh!)

I do have some goals left, but they’ve mellowed out lately, are instead of being clearly-defined targets set to be achieved within a given time frame, they’re more like ‘things I wanna do, InshaAllah.’ I want to pray with concentration, and this is an ongoing battle. I’ll probably be fighting it for the rest of my life, but it’s one worth fighting, so bring it on, baybee.

I want to read the Tafsir of Ibn Kathir, InshaAllah. HF bought me the entire set for Eid (yay! I *heart* HF!) and I started, Alhamdulillah, and I will continue, InshaAllah.

I want to get back to my pre-baby weight, InshaAllah, and be able to do 20 push-ups. Lately I’ve started being more of a Captain and less of a wicked monkey, so I’ve lost another two pounds and the morale boost feels fantastic.

Sadly, above all things- I want to sleep at night. Bebeface is, MashaAllah, exceptional in many ways, not excluding his exceptionally bad sleeping habits. By his age, most children have been sleeping through the night for a few months already. He’s ten months old, MashaAllah, but if he wakes up four times in the night I consider it a Very Good Night. Other not-so-good nights involve waking up every forty minutes to rock Khalid back to sleep, slump miserably back into bed, and then get up in another forty minutes to do it again, my back aching, my eyes burning, my head spinning from sleep deprivation and the in-again, out-again, up and down of popping in and out of bed all night long without anything more restful than a series of cat naps. I just want to sleep. It feels like months since I’ve dreamed.

So yeah, I do have goals, it’s just that I don’t think they’re the sort my Lil Brother was asking about.

Once, I wanted to be a doctor.

Now, I just want to be myself again.