Self care…apparently

I found this picture on facebook. It says how to self-care.

As I carefully scrutinise each point, the only thing I have been able to do is Stay away from drama and Negativity.

All other points go right out of the window. Which means? That I do not care about myself.

I do. I worry about me a lot. I try to take care of my health. I try hard to protect myself. I work very hard to intake the right thoughts and struggle to flush out negative thoughts. Life was very easy going before marriage.

Then marriage happened. It was still okay. And then kids happened. And then life happened.

That’s when everything went bersek. I am trying to pull myself together. I always thought of myself as a Soda bottle. Shaken too much and now on the verge of explosion.

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When it rains down hard…

(Continued…)

…And then, just like that I was alone. Mine was a semi private room. That meant it was me and another patient. The other lady was of some Chinese-Asian ethnicity. And her constant chatter chatter with her personal nurse ended by afternoon when she was discharged.

After my nurse left, my hubby gone with the kids, the cleaner lady came and cleared up the other side of the room. The lights were then dimmed and I was left all alone with my baby. I felt better that I made my nurse to wheel my baby’s crib closer to me. I could now access my baby whenever.

Pain then shot up in my belly. I was so overwhelmed. It hurt me everywhere. Feeding my baby hurt. I couldn’t change his diaper. I couldn’t warm him up enough. I couldn’t eat my dinner because the table was far and I screamed trying to get closer to grab the tray as my stitches hurt me like swords in the belly. It was a night of horror.

My thoughts went straight to God. Like that night, I was physically the loneliest I could have ever been. It was mostly because I was even so much helpless. That sheer feeling of being handicapped. Of not being able to do anything. I wanted my soul to leave my body. I wanted to just get out of my helpless aching sore body. It hurt. It hurt like hell. My tears turned hot. Into an uncontrollable anger. I got mad at God. I got mad at hubby. I got mad at myself.

I slowly realised that if I did not pull myself together now, I would go insane and do something I would always regret. Maybe I would just end all this pain once and for all.

Faith. The one rope that held my sanity. The one thing in my soul that brought me back. I began to pray. I began to beg God to fix my pain and to console me. I wanted to sleep. But I couldn’t.

After what felt like an eternity, my nurse Muskaan came over. She checked my baby’s temperature. It had gone up. She saw me looking like a train-wreck. Her voice softened. She tried to cheer me up asking me about my family back home and my mom and siblings and my other kids while she cleaned up my baby. Then she gave me my food tray and bought me more food as I was hungry. She then made me walk to the washroom and helped me with everything. After completely making sure everything was done she left me a bit better and more cheered as my baby was doing okay and I was feeling a lot better after taking in food and medicine.

I fell asleep. In the morning she came and bathed my baby. Wrapped him up well and left as her shift was done. I thought the worst was over and I could sleep. Muskaan however, accidentally left the crib away from me while she left. I was sleepy and the baby was asleep so I did not notice. At around 8 am, baby woke up and began wailing. He needed to be fed. The room service had brought in breakfast and again pushed the table away and walked away before I could ask them to bring the table closer. I felt so horribly crippled. I tried to move. I tried to slowly swing one leg from the bed and move my waist to slightly get up. Pain sprang through my body like a current shock. I cried out and lay back in again.

Again the frustration took over. Crying baby, hungry growling stomach, need to go to the bathroom and sheer helplessness and immense pain. I kept buzzing the nurse button so so so many times. Finally the supervisor’s voice came in, she asked me what she could do for me? I was in a sequence of uncontrollable tears and sobs. I just could tell her between my cries that I NEED HELP. PLEASE SEND A NURSE OVER. That’s when my nurse for the shift, Danielle came over. She came in and helped me out. She got frightened seeing me crying so much. I bet she did not know how to console me, so when she was done helping she went away quickly. At that moment I felt hurt by her indifferent behaviour. That made me more mad that hubby had said he would drop the kids at Aunt’s house and come over to me quickly. All sorts of angry statements were running in my head that I would throw at him once he turns up. I waited and waited. I couldn’t stop crying. So by 11 am I gave him a cold call where I hung up midway. I was so mad at him. I did not for one moment ask him what made him to wake up so late or how where things back at home. I was just hurt, angry, helpless, frustrated and very sad.

My emotions were a wreck, my milk wasn’t coming in. I knew consciously that my baby wasn’t feeding well. Hell, so was I. Then Danielle turned up with two other Chinese nurses. She hid behind the curtain and that’s when I caught the look in her eyes and face. She did not know how to console me. The other nurses asked me about who was supposed to be my support person. I said it is my husband and he has to be with the kids hence I do not have anyone else. She tried to divert my mind by asking general questions about my other kids. I was still in tears. That’s when hubby came in. They handed him the baby as the baby had now slept. And then they left.

When I saw hubby I just broke down totally. I cried so much, he panicked. I told him I needed him to be with me and why he wasn’t early.

Okay, so this is exactly what happened. We were supposed to leave my older kids in the care of my house owners. It is one lady and her as-old-as-me daughter. The kids were to be at her house and hubby would stay with me all the time. It was a perfect plan and the lady had agreed to it. Just one day prior to my delivery, something went wrong with the daughter of my owner. She spoke rudely and insultingly with me. I let it pass as I was in a lot physical discomfort the day before my delivery. That evening she was even rude with hubby and just spiked up the rent. RIGHT ONE DAY BEFORE THE DELIVERY. Everything turned sour between us. I then told hubby we can manage our kids on our own. It is just a matter of 2 days and nights.

That is what threw us off balance. And that Friday night, hubby and kids had stayed over upto 1 am. By the time they went home, had dinner, milk and went to sleep, it had become 3 am. Hence, they couldn’t wake up early. And when they did wake up and texted our Aunt to leave kids at her place, she had an out of town event she was at. Hence, running out of options. Hubby made it to the hospital at the earliest as he could. It took me a while to calm down and see logic.

Things got better after that. Danielle realised that my pain tolerance was very low. Hence, she got a doctor to prescribe me better and stronger pain meds. They worked. She helped me in and out of bed a couple of times and so did hubby. By evening everything was much better so I then asked hubby to go home to the kids. From here on things improved. Next day, Sunday, we were discharged to go home.

I came home to my anticipating kids and a very happy hubby. I was relaxed and the baby was doing fine too. My second night at home was very painful. I cried my heart out in silence. Eventually I got over it.

I now genuinely felt things had gotten better for good. I took a good rest and hubby served me at every second. He cooked, cleaned, looked after the kids and me. Everything. It is very unusual of him. But he did it. For me. For our kids.

Blooming of a new era…

I saw this picture randomly on my Instagram feed.

I saw me in this. At this point of my life. This is me. And that big airplane? Those are my dreams that I so badly want to make true and really badly want them.

I can. I know. But I just need to heal.

The rain is like the constant barrage of issues pouring down on me.

So this is what happened. 24 May 2019, 9:15 am, my little one came into this world. Finally. I really awaited his arrival and here he is. Thank God. All healthy and fine. And just as I wished he looked like. The long lashes, the deep irises, the big eyes, the thick black hair, the cute nose and chin, the petite lips. Almost just like his dad.

On the other hand, my birth story is another chapter of horror and trauma of my life. I went through a full episode of everything I was fearing.

Maybe it would help me heal my soul if I poured it out. Maybe now the emotions may not be as strong as then when that was happening. I so wanted to pen down then and there but my body failed me.

That Thursday night, I did not sleep well. I slept late. I was so thirsty. I wasn’t supposed to drink water after midnight. I have never been so thirsty ever. Not ever when I have fasted in any Ramadan. I somehow put my jittery self to rest.

Came morning, I woke up by the alarm. The strange nauseated morning feeling overtook me that comes before any big event. I kissed my kids goodbye, grabbed my hospital bag and left for the hospital 6 am in the morning. It was a beautiful drive to the hospital. Sun at the horizon. Red and yellow clouds pasted across the sky. The spring trees in bloom. The slightly cool fresh morning breeze.

We waited outside the Triage room for about 30 minutes. After which I got changed into a gown. Then it began. The poking that takes the life out of me. The giggly nurse juggled to find a vein and poked me in a wrong place. It just left a huge hole on the side of my wrist oozing blood and paining like the middle of hell. Then she found another vein and poked me in there. Excruciating pain is a joke to the feeling I felt. I endured the IV drip. Breathing in and out. Waiting. For an hour till my surgeon appeared. Hubby sat by me. Comforting me, trying to distract my mind.

Then they made me walk to the OR. The OR looked a little comforting. Like a real room. Unlike the butcher shop feeling I got in the Indian ORs. They made me sit on the table and wait. It was so cold, I was shivering like having Parkinson’s. Then the Anesthesia doctor came in. He tried to be as humane and gentle as he could. Piercing 5 cold long needles in my bent back, I screamed my lungs out, calling out for mom. Is death more painful than that? I cried so much it took a whole ten minutes to calm down. My surgeon came in, comforted me with the kindest words ever, the other doctors and nurses cheered me. They then brought hubby into the OR too. It felt wierd for him. But I felt good in his presence. He kept comforting me and talked on various topics to keep my mind busy. He held my hand throughout. Everything from here was painless. All it just felt like they were tugging at my belly. Painless.

And then suddenly I heard the tiny crying voice and instantly my tears of joy began to flow. Hubby got puzzled as to why I stopped speaking mid sentence and begin to cry. Then he heard the cries too. He just got so overjoyed. It was a real treat watching him so extremely happy. He took a picture of our son right out of my belly in my surgeons arms. Then they made him hold our baby for skin to skin comfort. And they finished patching me up.

I was then wheeled into the recovery room. I felt numbness. Nothing more. Nothing less. It was all fine. I spoke to my Mil and then my mom. My nurse was Hoa Zhing. In the recovery room, she took good care of me and the baby, constantly checking on us.

I was supposed to be moved to my ward by 12:30 pm. Hubby wanted to go home for the kids. They would have been awake and hungry by now and maybe a bit sad not finding us home upon waking. They knew we wouldnt be there in the morning. I had explained it to them for weeks prior. But still.

I had this gut feeling that if they take me to the ward I wont get such constant attention by the nurses. So I din’t push the nurse to hurry. I sent hubby home. There wasn’t anything for him to do. The baby was asleep. I was semi drowsy. Then hunger pangs began at 1 pm. I asked her what about lunch? She goes like, Oh I forgot to order it for you! I found that strange but I let it slide. Lunch came around 3 pm. I was as hungry as a horse by then. I had fed the baby and my stomach was dry like the Sahara. After lunch she told me we had to move to our room. I called hubby and we moved.

Hubby and her together moved me onto the room bed. She then checked the baby’s temperature and left. I told her she is a nice nurse and wished she could continue my care in this room too. Hubby sat with me and we chatted for a while. The anesthesia wore off and the true horror pain began to emerge one pinch at a time. Hubby stayed with me for two hours. My aunt then came to see me too. Gifted the baby. Spoke to me for an hour then left. Then it was time for hubby’s lunch and the kids too. I made him hurry back home. The baby fed off me for a good while and then fell asleep on my arm with the IV. I felt my hand would break. The crib was far from me. I couldn’t get up. I kept buzzing for the nurse. But she never came. I really thought my arm would fall off. The syringe was beginning to fill with my blood. The IV got over too. She came after what felt like centuries. That too when the supervisor answered the nurse call, I informed her that I needed a nurse and nobody has come since more than 3 hours.

When Hoa finally turned up, she was in a mad hurry. She told me there were too many patients today and she can’t keep coming each time I buzzed. She grabbed the baby from me, did the check up, gave one injection to him, put him in the crib, checked up on me and left in a hurry. My baby went to sleep. I fell asleep too. In the evening, hubby came back to me again. He kissed the baby and we spoke for a while until Hoa came in again. She checked baby’s temperature and complained he was cold. And that I should feed him every 2 hours. She got mad thay he was wrapped looselyin just 1 blanket. She spoke so rapidly I din’t know what to say. On hindsight, she was the one who wrapped him so loosely and left in that hurry. She had also dropped a syringe case, a bloody gauze and some tissues on my blanket which hubby threw away. I was so numb I couldn’t say anything in my defense. She gave him to me and asked me to go skin to skin to warm him up. Then she left in a hurry.

I fed the baby and kept him on me as long as I could. Then it was my meal time. So hubby placed the baby back in the crib and layered him with blankets.

The night nurse came. She checked the baby’s temperature and got really angry. She said the baby was cold! His glucose level had gone down! He was so sleepy he wasn’t even responding. I had big wad tears in my eyes. She said my baby wasn’t okay. It tore me to hear that. My other two kids were creating a ruckus. Hubby was trying to comfort me and make strong by encouraging words. But nothing was registering in my brain except that something had gone wrong and my baby wasn’t okay.

The nurse, Muskaan, really worked hard in warming my baby. In the meantime hubby had to leave with the kids. It was almost getting close to midnight. My baby wasn’t okay. I was in so much pain. I needed my hubby. I needed my mom. As my hubby hugged me, I broke into uncontrollable sobs and tears. That hurt me on my belly even more, but I din’t care. Then my daughter saw me crying and she began crying too. Seeing that my son started and then hubby. For the sake of everyone I shooed them home. I told hubby go home with the kids. My whole self wanted him with me, but my brain told me the kids need him tonight as it is going to be their first sleep without me in the house.

…… to be continued….

11:38 pm

Tomorrow. It is a big day. A big morning.

I am having jitters now. And that nervousness. That feeling right before an exam. I am supposed to have my meal and stop eating and drinking by 12 midnight.

I am feeling so nauseated right now. Nothing is coming out though. Unable to eat. But I need to eat. I need to eat. I am full. Though. What do I do?

I have to eat. I have to make the kids eat. I have to wash the dishes. Give the kids milk. And sleep. I am unable to move from this comfy sofa. My head is spinning. What do I do?

Oh God give me strength. And peace to my heart.

Viola!!!

So this is my largest spread this Ramadan. Except for the three mini quarter plate dishes, rest all have been prepared by me.

Those round things are Bread Bombs. Well, I forgot how to properly bake them and they really became blown bombs. They burnt on the downside. Really annoying, as this was supposed to be my main star dish of the evening.

Beside them is Dahi Badey, or Urad Dal balls dipped in flavoured curd. I made them in a hurry. Not my best, but were eatable.

Bread and chicken filling square mini sandwiches. These were a hit! Instead of those baked blacked bread balls, I should have just squared them to mini sandwiches.

In the same platter, spicy potato Rolls and Urad Dal bhajiye (fried balls).

Lastly, small black gram in spicy chat flavour with white onions topping. These turned out super yum!

[In the three quarter plates, these were sent in by the lady owner upstairs. Thats china grass/ agar agar pudding parallelograms. Coconut and mango flavours. Next to that is Dhokla. This super amazing fluffy light weight Gujarati dish. Beside those are chicken kheema Samosa, bread squares with veg filling and chicken rolls. ]

This, was a huge heavy Iftar. Absolutely filled my tummy. My shirt can no longer hold my belly !!!!

I love to cook. I love to make delicious dishes. God has blessed me with a food-loving hubby who really motivates me and appreciates my hard work and the taste of my hand made food. Just seeing him joyously devour makes me so happy. And yes, my kids go gaga over their certain favourites and its immense ecstasy seeing kids eat. Something. They are really picky. I feel like I have hit a jackpot of lottery if they relish something, but then they will fight over it to eat it all.

God has also blessed me with a very Hardworking mother. All I can do today is because of her. Unlike my MIL, who relies mostly on restaurant ready dishes or items or snacks for iftar or otherwise. She is a good cook too. She makes yummy lunches and breakfasts. But beyond that, its a no from her. Not my mamma though. My mother made the hardest dishes seem so easy to make. We were 7 family members, our parents and we 5 siblings. Mom used to be fasting, handling our school hours and mealtimes, and still make huge spread for iftar with so many tongue relishing belly happy dishes. I miss her cooking. She made everything from scratch. The best part about her is that she never made it seem like she was doing a favour cooking for us that way. She used to enjoy making it for us and even enjoy eating with us. It used to be hard for her though. The summer heat along with the kitchen cook top heat, I remember her back of the shirt used to be drenched in sweat.  Her hardwork has paid off. We all have learnt the essence of enjoying to make delicacies, feed our families with happiness and joy, and make each meal an event to cherish.

This Ramadan, I had and have upto just 19 days out of 30 to be able to cook and make handmade dishes for my family. This Friday, I will have my surgery. And then bed rest and recovery. Hence, I am trying my best to have my kids and hubby relish as much of home made dishes as they can.

I know, I know, that Ramadan isn’t about the cooking and the dishes. It is about spiritual cleansing, fasting and nobility. But as a woman of the household, just like my mom, I want to pass on this legacy. This legacy of being able to be tough enough to manage worship, gain extra rewards, as well as celebrate this blessing filled month. I want my kids to grow up like I did. Embracing all of the goodness and blessings that come along with this month. Both, the fasting and the feasting. To be grateful to be able to afford such a spread, to be grateful to have the ability to spin out such dishes, to be grateful to get a chance to foster the relationships with neighbours by sharing with them too. And to be able to be grateful to watch your much loved family eat each bite with happiness shining in their eyes, their hungry bellies getting filled with food and drink. To watch them Thank the Lord for everything and us too…us too… to watch them smile at us and be happy for being together, in love peace and happiness.

To more new beginnings.

Or the repetition of an older era?

I have had two kids until now. They were both born a year apart from each other. Although one of them is a girl and the other a boy, their babyhood to growing up til now was more or less the same. During both their times, I had a lot going on at the same time and hence, time and pain passed on quickly more than I could feel or experience it bit by bit. Besides I was quite young at their times and very agile.

I almost hit thirty now. Not very old but my body has seen good wear and tear back in India. And now I kinda settled in snugly when this baby decided to come along. Having not much of emotional stress or mental tiredness like earlier, I have had large bouts of free time and mind peace. Which led me to experience every ounce of pregnancy at its maximum. To the point now, that I have just 6 days left to welcome our new family member.

For one, this baby isn’t like my other two, right in the belly. This gives me some anticipation of preparedness that I shall have to be armed with once the baby is home. Yup, this looks like a whole new ride. New location, older 2 siblings who are school going and not toddler or baby like the new one, no other adults except me and spouse at home, more play options and concentrated pampering. How my home looks like now can remain the same for mostly just another 4 months. After which, comes the process of Baby-proofing everything. As hilarious as it is going to get, with lots of memories to be created and experienced, it is going to be a little challenging.

I have just a week left. And to be very honest, I really wish time flies. I am scared of needles, and helplessness post surgery, and the part were those around me cannot understand the fuzziness of mind, my clumsiness due to anesthesia, lack of quick decision making, slowness, pain and everything else that entails post surgery. It is frustrating, very frustrating. Both my kids are at this super hyper kindergarten phase, where they are a bit rebellious, require constant nagging, need to be run around, dressed and fed (because leaving it on them to do it requires more patience than I can muster). My husband has decided to be there by my side by taking paternal leave. But there is only so much he can do. I am grateful for his help. And I hope everything turns out well.

This is my favourite month of the year. It is Ramadan. It is my most favourite time. It grieves me, this time, I am deprived of fasting. The one form of worship that is the dearest to me. For the sake of the health of my baby and me, I have to abandon fasting. The plus point, I can do other forms of prayers, Salath, Quran, Duas, Tasbeeh and Tahajjud. I miss going to the mosque. I cannot walk till there. I can no longer walk a lot. I feel like two elephants put together. Then there is the operation. After which for the next 40 days, I lose out on all other prayer forms altogether. Leaving me with only Dhikr, Tasbeeh and Duas. The minus side of this is that it breaks the habit and rhythm and schedule that I strive to maintain all year throughout.

Already I am guilty of being on low Iman ever since I came to Canada. Left out on so many prayers, and so much of recitation, duas and Dhikr. I added in more ungrateful and anger. Ramadan this year came like a lifeboat in a sea storm. Saved me from sinking into the darkness that I was falling into.

I feel refreshed. Rejuvenated. I feel so much better. I feel happy finding my spiritual peace and content. I just gotta pray that I don’t lose it over the physical pain that is oncoming. The physical stress, mental exhaustion is about to begin. But this is Life. We have to go through every sentence in every page of the story of our lives.

I just got to sail on, hold on to the goodness that I could try and gather all this while up til next week.

I am not sure if I will be able to use my laptop then. My phone back camera has a cracked screen. Pathetic timing. I needed to record memories and now is the worst time to bug hubby for repairing it. I hate putting him through all this financial burdens. It is stressing him out and I really wish I could help him out. He has being doing a lot to give me peace. He has done his best to shower me with love and happiness this pregnancy. For the first time, he has been the one who has been positive all this while, encouraging me, and being excited about the upcoming baby. It is a welcome time of life. Especially since I have been so low on energy and positive thoughts. He has done his best to understand my pain, support me and comfort me and even done more than he would to help out. To the world this must sound so normal, like he is supposed to this as a spouse. But I know, and every desi girl knows, it is a miracle if our pampered and spoonfed mommy boys can think of anything beyond their food and work. I am really grateful to God for this.

I miss my mom. I miss my dad too. I have been thinking about both of them a lot lately. My mom got the privilege to go to to Saudi, be with dad, and they both got a chance to go to Umrah. My heart screamed, because it has been so long since I could to Umrah, or to even just see my KSA. My first home. Ramadan in KSA is a heavenly feeling. Like from the time the moon is sighted after dusk, a blanket of coolness and mercy wraps around the sky and the world around me. I loved the beautiful Adhaan’s, the Qirat’s, the grandeur and scents of the mosques, the running to Taraweeh, the finishing and competing in Quran recitation. The lovely feast my mom made with her own hands, despite fasting, at the time of Iftar. The lovely smell of the parathas that she used to freshly make, waking up earlier than us for Sehri. No money in the world, no other joy can bring back those moments, those lovely Ramadan months. The cool wind blowing across my face as dad used to speed us to the mosque in his car, the windows down and the coolness descending as we hurried to line up along with the others. The tears running down my face and me trying to hide them in the Witr dua. The running nose and me finishing boxes of tissues. I would pretend I wasn’t sick or had fever or my cold wasn’t that bad, because I did not want to miss any fast. I loved fasting. I still do. It is not the same now. I am now a mom, a wife. It is a tasking job maintaining the home along with prayers and fasting. But I still love it. Next year my baby will turn one year old by Ramadan. And then my joy will be back to me.

Till then, I have to sail along, be patient, be thankful and be grateful…making the most of whatever goodness I can come across.

Speak.

All went well for a while. Then came last Tuesday. My son (according to him) fell in the school. His teacher told me that he only began crying suddenly at home time while waiting for me to come pick him up. He couldn’t tell her why he was crying.

It mortifies me to see my kids cry outside the home and its a heartbreaking moment for me because I did not get to see why he/she is crying.

I took him home trying to comfort him on the way back. He kept whimpering and crying. He told me he fell and hit his ear. My heart went Oh nope nope nope not his ear! He recently had surgery where tubes had been placed in both his ears. I was very afraid it was something of that nature related because there was no visible external injury. I took him to the doctor the next day and sure enough, it was red inside, a beginning of an ear infection.

Besides this, in the midst of his crying, his teacher said something that bothered me this whole week and in the back of my mind I am still bothered about it.

I hate comparison. I hate comparing siblings. I was my parents golden child, I know how my siblings felt ( they were very vocal about it) when compared. Its enragingly annoying.

In my kids case here, ( I hate doing this), but my daughter is the smart one. She is a vibrant person who befriends everybody in sight, very vocal about her thoughts and feelings and ideas and an ace at speaking since a very very young age.

On retrospection, as soon as my son was born, my whole attention went to my son. I tried hard, but I held my son dearer than her. I made sure though that she caught on literary and writing skills very early. I worked hard to make sure she watched the right TV shows that built her vocabulary, engaged her in as many books as I could. But I would not spend friendly time with her (hectic chores managing a joint family tired me out). So she would sit with her Grandma and spend hours speaking with her on many topics. Some would be absolute nonsense of made up characters and stories. My MIL would sit by the open door in the little room that was their both favourite, and God bless her, would listen and actually respond to everything my daughter would narrate to her. Even if so much of it would not make sense. She would so go along with her grandma to other peoples homes or stores.

My son on the other hand, was attached to me. I spoke little. There was always this mental stress I was in constantly. Also I have to admit, he did have slow physical progress since birth. Also he was a natural silent baby just with a loud booming voice. His laughter was loud but hilariously contagious. He would speak little but mostly do actions of immense fun. He would watch. Everything. He was more of an onlooker. He did not have a great understanding with his sister back then. They fought. A lot, a lot, a lot. And just because he was tiny and most of the time, he being at fault when not seen, my daughter got to face the brunt of all of our reprimand. In a joint family, you don’t scolded by just one person. Every walking person in the house makes sure you get to hear an earful. My strong girl. Faced all that. I would hug her later on. But it was mostly not her fault.

Somehow, my son ended up not speaking clearly. Whenever he did though, he was laughed at and ridiculed. His words were pronounced with difficulty and he always got very embarrassed when he was laughed at. He spoke less and I noticed that. I kept telling my folks to avoid laughing at him, and to speak to him clearly instead of responding in the same muddled way as he did. But who listens? No one did.

We moved here to Canada. I sent my daughter to school within 3 weeks of our arrival. She was 5 years old and eligible to enter school. They admitted her to Junior Kindergarten. When she was gone to school, I would give my son his Ipad. He would watch Mister Bean all day. Big mistake. Mr Bean does not speak. Nor does his cartoon version. It was all a mime mute comedy. I would be making lunch. Or clearing up the house. I was adjusting around life. Time would run fast.

By September, he turned 4. Despite everyone in my family saying he was little and shouldn’t go school yet, I decided he should go. He was of the right age and staying at home was visibly damaging to any learning skills. He was also becoming a loner. There are no little kids in my owner’s house.

With a heavy heart, I put him in school. He knew absolute zero English. He never wrote a letter. He could just scribble lines. He was horrid at coloring. He just turned 4, I did not worry much. I knew school would do good. He has been blessed with the best of Teachers. In the beginning, they couldn’t understand why he was so silent all the time, so withdrawn. Then I explained to them his lack of vocabulary and hence his silence. Also his fear of being laughed at. God bless the teachers who explained it to his classmates and they all came together, offering him comfort, friendship and being friends with him and speaking to him even if they couldn’t understand him. He was inching closer step by to step towards learning.

Then October came. His hearing issue started. He started hearing less and hence that screwed up whatever progress he had made till now. All went mute till the surgery in February, when he could finally hear well. I thought, now there was no stopping him and he would speak rapidly.

Yes, he became vocal. Yes, he made a good group of friends. Yes, he writes the alphabet now and count till 20 and write till there. But he still can’t understand most instructions and is still stuck with the same vocabulary. He has no words for actions. I thought all this would iron out by itself. Like for my daughter.

On Tuesday, his teacher told me, he still doesn’t communicate, it is hard to understand him, he doesn’t say anything in class and is still academically withdrawn. It broke me. It made me sleepless that night.

It gnawed at me so much. And do you know why? Because it brought me back to my childhood. My mother taught me how to read and write the ABCs, she taught me verbally close to 20 nursery rhymes, she taught me how to count till 200, and spell till 100. All before the age of 5. She was also able to do that with my brother too!

When I joined school midterm, I was the odd one out in class. In the books, my work was impeccable. But whenever I opened my mouth, silence came out. I did not how to converse in English. My school was an Indian school in Saudi Arabia. It ran the CBSE syllabus. The strict rule was noone should speak any regional language in the school, only English. And I couldn’t speak. My classmates were all from different parts of India. Not everyone knew Hindi. Due to the school rules, they all spoke only English. I excelled from Kindergarten, to 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade. I learnt broken English. I did not have many friends. Only one or two and we spoke Hindi whenever we could. It took a huge toll on me. I couldn’t understand the lessons my teachers taught so well. I would come home, and before the test or exam, my Beloved Mom, God bless her, would translate each word and explain to me. That’s how I haven’t forgotten anything I have ever learnt in any grade. I scored amazing in all the tests and exams and was always an Honour roll student. I just couldn’t speak fluently, I could read, but I couldn’t understand everything I was reading. It was ridiculous. Girls made fun of my English all the time. It hurt me a lot. It created a huge empty void in me. I had absolutely no good friends. In grade 4 and 5, my teachers mistreated me the most. Always scolding me, punishing me and shouting at me, infront of all the class and the class would laugh. From grade 4 onwards we were expected to give verbal answers to the teacher’s questions during class. Only silence would leave my mouth. I needed mom to translate for me at home, I would ace the test like a pro. But on the class answers, nope, that was pure humiliation time.

In grade 6, I had Ms Molly Jacob. God bless her soul. I cannot forget this teacher, and I can never thank her enough for doing what no one ever could. The first thing she did, was fixed my handwriting. My writing was horrid. Sometime, I couldn’t even understand what I wrote. She made me write the ABCs all over again in cursive in a four ruled book. She would check my work each day. Some of my classmates found out and ridiculed me. She punished them. She told me that learning at any age should never be laughed upon. It should always be encouraged. It is never too late to start over. She encouraged me towards reading. I became a bookworm. Another tip came to me from my mother. She had seen one of my cousin brothers reading the dictionary like a novel. It did not make sense at first. But when I began reading books, I discovered a lot of words I did not understand. I discovered so many different English grammatical formats of writing and conversations. My dad got me this really nice dictionary. It was not Oxford. It had a brown leather cover. It became my best friend. Within a year, I had the best handwriting in class, my essays became top notch. Nobody’s ridicule held me back. I spoke fearlessly. Even if I made a mistake, I learnt from those who corrected me. From grade 8 I began poetry. I wrote to the International Society of Poets, Philadelphia. I received so many overseas felicitations for my works. I was all praise from then on with absolute no stopping. I spoke on the stage. That was another huge obstacle. My teacher of grade 10 fixed that for me. Ms Naseem Maliki, she held my hands one day like a friend. She asked me why I was so afraid to speak up, that I should stop inhibiting myself and become bolder. She gave me my first chance to speak on the stage. She then constantly chose me to compere for various school programs. Layer by layer I stepped out of my cocoon.

This was a hard journey. It had so many nights of a tearful pillow. It is pathetic not being understood. It is horrid to have a few friends and even they don’t get you. It is excruciating to understand a lesson in class. It is even horrid to be not be able to explain to the teacher that you do not grasp the lesson, not because you are dumb, but because you do not understand the meaning of so many words in every sentence she spoke. Like for God’s sake, I did not know what the word ‘blessings’ meant in grade 5. And we had to write 10 blessings from our life. My paper was blank. I did not know the freaking meaning of it. I was laughed upon by everyone.

I don’t want my son to go through my journey. It take me a long time to make stand where I do now. My whole family praises my speaking skills and my husband has always been wooed by my vocabulary. Only I knew what it took to get here. I know my son isn’t a dumb child. He just can’t respond to whatever he can’t understand.

Once I was done with my grade 12, besides studying for my degree, I took tuition. I TAUGHT NON-ENGLISH SPEAKING KIDS TO SPEAK, READ AND WRITE IN ENGLISH. FOR 4 YEARS. Kids of multiple nationalities. I worked as a KINDERGARTEN TEACHER FOR MORE THAN A YEAR. Unbelievable! Absolutely Unbelievable! I fixed so many withdrawn arab kids. I fixed their confidence like my best teachers did. I boosted their writing, their speaking. Their moms turned up each term with gift hampers to me as a token of my hardwork being recognised. They praised me infront of the Principal and I actually got a double pay raise.

Life has come at me full circle! Full damn circle. My own son. I am watching my own son suffer through all that. Hence, the sleepless night, hence the restlessness.

I know how to fix this. But I have always fixed other’s kids. This is my own. Okay let’s break down my overwhelm. I am almost now 9 month expecting my new born. I am having tiredness. So much sleepiness. So much chaos in my head. It takes up all of my energy to just cook and feed them and clean up. That is all I can do. Once the newborn comes along, there will be too much choas for attention. Hence, I got this just 1 month. I have to do whatever it takes to begin fixing this right now.

How did I begin. I spent two days and nights worrying. Then recalling what I had done earlier. So now I have begun making this Verb book. So he knows the vocabulary with pictures. Then I plan to speak to him only in English. And get him hooked to books too!

Hope it works!

(P.S: Big thank you to hubby for letting me on my own for more than an hour! He went to do laundry and in peace, I could type my heart out today 😀 … )