That’s what happens when the weekend becomes a marathon food prepping, dish-washing/ laundry sorting, washing, folding and sorting again session. Add to the mix, a self- destructively curious, relentlessly roving toddler on a food strike.
I was cleaning out the Dad Diaper Bag today, and was amazed at how efficient and minimalist it was.
Zoe does spend a lot of alone time with Papa. She has even been to office a few times. They may spend anywhere from a few hours to an entire day on their own. They are an entirely self- sufficient, albeit rowdy and raucous, team of two. I just do the food prepping and packing, Papa packs the rest of the items the way he wants to.
The “dad bags” are generally huge backpacks and honestly Zoe isn’t a newborn and she doesn’t need all that much in terms of diapers, creams, blankets and all that kind of stuff. Food and change of clothes is now the big “space- eater”.
My mantra to packing seems to be “what if we need it/this/that” while The Mister’s is “if we need something that we don’t have, then we don’t really need it”! And he seems to apply it to every aspect of his life.
All said though, compared to my changing bag, his version really is tiny!
As I opened it, I found the essentials out there- handy and in plain sight. He says that when I pack the bag (like I used to in the early days) he has to rummage to the bottom of the bag to find even the most needed items.
As spoons ans forks go, he carries the decent quality disposable ones we pick up at take- out counters, or the large plastic ones from Ikea. That way he does not have to really bother with “keeping them safe” (for me of course!).
It really is COMPACT!
Inside, things seem to be arranged according to order of use/ importance.
The ‘cover-all’ bib is at the top of the pile, so he has definitely got his priorities right- FOOD and it’s associated madness.
The frilly, fancy ones are a no- no for Papa. He prefers the more efficient, industrial- grade versions.
Papa prefers the pull-up diapers, he says trying to get her to lie down (Zoe is 15 months old) to manage a change of diapers is a nightmare, so its all done standing (with adequate methods of distraction). Our usual ones have run out, these are the Huggies Little Swimmers.
For wipes, there are no special ones for the face or hands or the bum. No anti- bacterial ones, none for sensitive skin. These are the be- all, end- all. Wipes for all purposes and situations.
And this is how I found her spare clothes..
All perfectly rolled up, occupying the least amount of space. Teeny, tiny leggings rolled over themselves, exactly like how he does his socks while travelling 🙂
On one subject though, both Mama and Papa agree categorically- that food and snacks are the key to dealing with toddlers. I usually save up all the baby- food glass jars that we accumulate when we vacation/ travel. From strawberries, to yogurt mixed with tiny pieces of delicious mango, I put most or all of her snacks/ food in these. Even lentils and rice sometimes!
The Mister can then lighten the load as he goes along. No washing required, nor does he have to lug the dirty containers around- he can just get rid of them. I have tons in stock at home anyway.
I also found the ZoePad in there.
Finally, I found a large- sized muslin square. He tells me it’s multi- purpose. He can lay it down before putting her down somewhere, can use it as a light blanket, a pillow, a sling (yes, you heard that right- a SLING! Thats how cool he has become). Or even a large towel apparently. Hmmm… I don’t want to think of why they would need such a large towel.
I found some other random bits and bobs in there as well. Nothing worth taking pictures of though. But dare I say, I’m impressed! He has got it covered. It’s no nonsense, practical and extremely efficient from the looks of it.
Off to clean up and downgrade my changing bag now..I’m truly inspired!
There is this blog I follow. Regularly, almost obsessively. The blogger is a stay-at-home mother of two who makes a living out of sharing her life on social media. She is not a master of words, nor does she write prodigious prose. She mostly recounts her day and posts pretty, filtered pictures.
She lives in a far off land and she is everything I’m not. Pretty, fancy, put-together; with princess and sailor themed baby rooms and Mickey themed parties. With five- star play dates and Maseratis with double car- seats. They are an adorable family of four and she seems to be a great mum and homemaker.
Every night (almost) I sneak my iPad under my blanket and read blogs and watch vlogs of people that I have almost nothing in common with. It eats up some of my precious sleep time, but it’s become a nightly ritual now. It gives me a strange sense of pleasure and instills a weird happy glow within. I imagine my scenarios in their lives and theirs in mine. It is embarrassing to admit publicly but I’m not ashamed of it.
Do you folks ever live vicariously through others?
Would it be fun to be be someone else for a while and deal with their s*&#, even if we have ‘almost-perfect’ lives ourselves?
It is the weekend. I woke up grumpy, for no particular reason. And by mid-day I was utterly pissed at myself for being pissed. I was angry because I was grouchy and me being angry at myself made me more grumpy and well, it’s a viscous cycle.
I somehow managed to get some lunch on the table and had a fed, clothed and bathed baby too by noon. I then spent the rest of the afternoon scrubbing, scouring, scratching and cleaning every available surface and item in my kitchen. All the cleansing rituals proved cathartic and slowly my mood improved.
Just when things were looking up, my uber- adventurous little one does a four-feet high, face- plant from the bed. There is a awful moment of silence and then a shrill, siren like wail. The wail that signifies true hurt. The wail that literally rips my heart (the metaphorical, romantic notion not the organ) and tears my soul into shreds. The worst part- The Mister and I were both in the room when it happened.
I tear her away from the floor, and engulf her in the “it’s alright” hug. There’s blood on my shirt and hands. And on her face. There is a ugly feeling in the pit of my stomach as well.
A meticulous examination and palpation ensues. It’s a facial injury, right up my alley. But it’s so much harder to restrain and examine when the hollering “patient” is your flesh and blood.
At the end of the exam, the diagnosis is a lip laceration and blunt injury to the upper gums and lips with a consequent hematoma (blood in the tissues basically). The lips are notorious for their vascularity (blood supply) and their propensity to swell. We stem the bleeding but there is no way she will let me ice the injured part. So, now I have a 14 month old with a huge lip which makes her entire angelic face look wonky. The wonky face will therefore be a constant reminder of the fall (and a reliving of the whole ‘heart-ripping-soul- tearing’ routine) every time I see her, for the next couple of days at least.
Some further unpleasant things happen thereafter as well (not related to the baby- falling).
There is a lot of sobbing, moaning and hiccough ridden breathing for the rest of the evening. Thankfully though, by bedtime there was some gingerly smiling as well.
In short, it was a rotten day.
I wish this blog could always be sunshine and peonies, and not so sour and rotten. But life is my muse, and therefore I can only manifest what my muse inspires.
And oh! Did I mention- it’s my birthday today.
We, as a couple/ family don’t do birthdays and anniversaries, so nothing special. We sometimes remember these days after they are long past (if our parents and close friends forget to wish us that is). There is usually no special plans made, no gifts exchanged. We are odd, we are told.
So no big deal. Just another day, a typical crummy day.
Yay! So the good news is that the half- yearly/ pre- Ramadan sales are on at many stores. The bad news? Well they are mostly of no use to me 😦
Women folk who are reading this, if you can turn up at a store, just eyeball a couple of pieces and then pick your size, try it on and leave with a ton of stuff, then HALLELUJAH! You are truly blessed. You probably have no idea how one feels when you look for the smallest size in the store, and then find out that it ain’t small enough. Or to be told to look in the kids section.
To make matters worse, the sizes run big here in the Middle- East I think. I’m not sure if it the case everywhere, but it is the case at least in the UAE and Qatar. For eg. M&S start from size 8 apparently and this what their website says on their sizing guide-
Now ladies, go on and try a pair of size 8 trousers at the store (if you are a size 8 according to this guideline). You will be able to shove in you waist and your handbag into the trousers for sure. 26? Hahaha
The H&M sizes also run along the same vein. BHS does far better, though they too don’t seem to carry the “smaller” sizes. But the BHS 8 seems to be an 8 at least.
The ZARA XXS is great, but finding it is like finding a shawarma at 10 AM. Splash sizes also tend to run bigger. A Matalan store in Qatar (finally!) got me excited, but the excitement soon fizzled out thanks to their ‘start-at-8-that-isn’t- really-8″ policy.
Speaking from experience, if you are size 8 (the real “8”) or smaller, the best bet for finding a pair of decent- fitting, formal trousers would be Mango or ZARA. Of course you are welcome to try everywhere else too, you never know when you ‘luck- out’. Also, a couple of stores at Ezdaan mall (one being New Yorker) and Old Navy have authentic 6s and 8s.
Also, if by some rare chance you are a size 35 in shoes, then stock up on insoles and padded socks folks. You ain’t gonna find shoes in Doha!
I asked the sales assistant at M & S here for size 2 shoes a while ago, just for fun (I know they don’t exist here). She gave me a downright scornful, condescending look, and told me slowly (as though asking for size 2 shoes made me retarded or dumb) SUCH. A SIZE. DOES. NOT. EXIST. MADAME.
I wear size 3 shoes (actual size 2.5) with insoles many times, and size 35 shoes in the UK are called size two, but apparently they are not taught that in training.
Almost all the multi- national stores from abroad have their own range of petite clothing, but apparently there is no use for them here!
Of all the things I wish I could be, the ones that would probably make the most difference are simplicity and patience.
I wish I were simple in mind and habit.
I wish I were patient with circumstance.
Aahh, how much less harassing life would be then!
Tao Te Ching is a tiny little beauty of a book. One of the rare ‘hyped’ books that actually lives up to the hoopla surrounding it. You may read it a hundred times, yet on the hundred and first time, you find a line that rings true and assumes new meaning – mostly because you probably are in a life situation that it may be applicable to.
This morning, I randomly flip through and this is where I land:
“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”
See you tomorrow. Be there tomorrow, for sure. Ahh! lets just fix it tomorrow. Will sort it over tomorrow. Tomorrow.
We take it for granted. We use the word ever so casually. Nonchalantly. But our tomorrows are so fragile, so unreliable. There one moment and gone the next. Whoosh! Wiped off. Demolished. Disappeared from the calender, from our lives.
What if you knew your tomorrow did not exist?
What if you knew your loved one’s tomorrow did not exist?
What if you know what your tomorrow would entail?
Would you live your life differently? Would you choose differently?
A few days ago, I received news of a death. She was someone I was associated with for three years. A consultant, an anesthesiologist. A teacher in a way. I wasn’t particularly close to her, but she was fond of me. I last spoke to her in 2013 and she wasn’t old or in particularly bad health.
The news of her sudden demise left me cold for a while. An eerie darkness descended upon me. I had been meaning to call her. I had been postponing it needlessly. I don’t know why I suddenly had the urge to call her and exchange pleasantries, but I really wanted to do so.
I never did.
And I never will.
She will never feature in any of my tomorrows, nor in anybody else’s. That is how flimsy and tenuous our tomorrows are.
Many a time, I ‘fight/ survive today, to live tomorrow’. This, when I have no clue if I might still be here tomorrow. And every today is after all an eagerly anticipated and planned hope-to-be-better- tomorrow. Therefore, I have wasted countless tomorrows, hoping for a better tomorrow.
The same goes for our loved ones. We bicker, we argue, we fight over mundane inconsequentialities. What if today is our last ‘tomorrow’ together?
Ask those who have lost a loved one. A child. A parent. A husband. A wife. Ask them what they would not do to get another chance, another tomorrow with their love one.
Let us cherish our todays and nurture our tomorrows folks. And let us do everything, every small errand, every act of kindness today. Let us not put off lovely words or meaningful acts for tomorrow. Let us not let tomorrow defeat us. Let us live in the moment knowing that even if tomorrow never comes, we have done everything that we possibly, humanly could to make our today the best!
Wraps– Front carry (baby facing parent of course!), back- carry (Tibetan style/ Rucksack), rebozo front- carry
Structured carriers– Front (facing parent), back carry (preferred by baby and papa these days) and hip/ side carry by Momma (especially with the Ergobaby)
We keep it simple, and do things that are we are comfortable with and quick. We don’t experiment too much, mostly because we don’t have the time for it!
How do you care for your carriers?
A toddler in a back- carry might invariably end up with some snacks in her hand. And she will not be too kind to your lovely, pricey carrier.
We usually use wipes to clean any surface gunk off. And if they get really grubby (or after every trip/ vacation) we toss them into the wash. We try to not do this too often though, we usually make do with some spot cleaning.
The Ergobaby and Boba are perfectly fine in the washer and drier by themselves.I usually adjust the straps to the tightest setting and click all the buckles in place before they are washed. I use the delicate setting in my washer, and that means the dry cycle is not so vigourous. So, it will not be ‘dry’ when done. I then air dry it indoors. The first time, I washed them by hand, and did not see any obvious color bleed. The black/ camel Ergo seems to have faded a little. Very subtle. It could be the sun exposure too.
As for washing the ring slings, I put the rings into an old sock before putting it in the washing machine. It stops it from damaging the interior of the washer, and also from making those annoying clanking sounds. And yes, it has also saved my black rings on my favorite fuschia and chevron RS from losing their paint.
Wraps are just large pieces of cloth, wash them any way you want.
We usually pack our carriers in cotton bags (courtesy Granny!) stitched out of old sarees.
Where to buy them?
BLR- Boba and Ergobaby are sometimes available on Amazon, verifying their authenticity can be a problem though. You could also purchase all the carriers from their respective websites, but you do have to pay a decent amount for international shipping and sometimes even custom duty. They are take anywhere between 2-4 weeks to reach you.
Slings and wraps are easier to get hold of. Several ‘mompreneurs’ in India are selling their own brands of wraps, slings and carriers. You can find them on their individual websites, on Facebook (Beabywearing India is a good place to start) or on online merchandising sites such as My Baby Cart.
DOH- Ergobaby is inconsistently available at Mothercare outlets. Mamas and Papas sell Stokke carriers (some baby- wearing ‘experts’ consider them a no-no). As for slings and wraps, there are women on Facebook selling some really pretty ones (e.g.Try Nice Things).
For all other carriers, best bet would be buying them off online retailers from Dubai (Already covered in an earlier post).
Any accessories worth investing in?
For younger babies, drool pads for you SCC are a good investment. And creative, business savvy Mamas do also sell a range of other accessories- from nursing necklaces to pretty covers for your carriers. There are local sellers -in India try SleepCoo Customs, Dulaar and Cookiie Pie Co on Facebook, in Qatar try ‘Try Nice Things’ and Doha Babywearers; or you could order from the multitude of super- creative sellers on Etsy (many ship internationally).
Part 3- Tips and Tricks
Till next time..
* I am not linked/ affiliated to any of the above mentioned sellers/ websites.
Life is a horrid, evil little miser when it comes to second chances. She rarely ever hands them out. At least, not in the ‘big’ things, or in the matters that matter. No sir.
So, what if Life presents you with a second chance in something that you thought was over and done with. Something close to your heart and something that literally sucked the life- force out of you the first time.
Do you cower under the burden of fear? Do you doubt your competence, the second time around? Or do your wallow in self- doubt?
Maybe you should just thank your stars and charge on. Maybe The Universe does really have a Grand Plan. Who knows.
After all, you a mere, insignificant, tiny speck. Like I keep saying que sera, sera.. But a second chance should make you want to work that much harder, cause you bloody ain’t gettin a third one!