Jul 22, 2013

Failing miserably in the Parenting department!

Today I had one of those days where you wish you could just hide under a rock and pray for the day to end without any casualties. I have been stressed out for a while now, for reasons that after really thinking about it, weren't really too important. Today's episode in the DAY of my life was of a whole new caliber.

I went out with one of my friends to take the kids to go out and play. We usually go to those huge jungle gyms they have in Malls, give in our payment, and just enjoy a couple of hours of letting the kids go free without worrying about losing them. The plus side is we get to chit chat about adult things while the kids are having all the fun in the world safely. Anyway, today, while the kids were playing, the man came to me and made a comment about how the kids could only pay for 30 minutes, and he showed me a sign. Granted, he was right. But I didn't get it, the place was empty, and my friend and I have been bringing the kids here to play several days a week without ever having any issues arise. That started to get me a little annoyed, and then at one point my 2 year old went a little too high, and I could not find him. I frantically climbed the hurdles, and made my way up, the guy came to me and told me I was not allowed up. I looked at him point blank and told him there was no way he would stop me as my baby was up there, and was crying. He mumbled something, and I kept going up. The issue is, I am usually very good at following rules, but after coming here so much, and seeing so much of the great customer service we got from the other workers. this one rubbed me the wrong way. He then mentioned something about it being prayer time, and that we had to leave. Again, that had never been a problem- prayers came and went without anyone being asked to leave often. So I quickly responded that as a women I did not have to go pray at the masjid, but he as a man should make his way to the masjid instead of bothering me and my children- yes I got a bit rude- but he had it coming! At that point I summoned my kids, my friend summoned hers, and we were getting ready to leave. I noticed the man was trying to explain himself to my friends driver, as he obviously didn't want to have to explain himself to me. I think he may have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed- I think I did as well.

We made our way to the grocery store inside the mall, and as we were headed there, my son (middle one) kept running way ahead of me. I begged and pleaded... I tried to be the quiet yet stern mother, I spoke to him in both English and Arabic- in hopes that hearing the Arabic may make him see how serious I was and then I went on to screaming like a mad women- with absolutely no effect on his behavior. He kept dashing away, and being more daring. He drove me nuts.My son was one of THOSE kids you saw out and about, The kids that you would either judge or feel absolutely sorry for the mother. Once it was time to get into the grocery store I tried to have him sit in the shopping cart, and he ran away yet again. At this point my eyes started to tear up, and I was sure I was just gonna drop to the floor and cry my heart out. I was frustrated. I was angry. I was annoyed. I was sad that my little boy would keep driving me up the wall. As I have mentioned countless times, my daughter spoiled me, she listened. my daughter knew what i was saying with a certain look I gave her. She made parenting ultra easy, and I thought it was all easy peezy at that point. But oh boy was I wrong. Thank GOD my friend intervened, and had my son jump into her shopping cart along with her son, and she gave me the chance to pick up whatever I needed, as she kept my son busy. Seriously- GOD BLESS HER. I was ready to throw in the towel, and I think she noticed. Once we finished in the grocery store we made our way to the car park in the basement. My daring son, yet again made a mad dash, but this time he made a mad dash for the parking lot. I asked my friend to watch my youngest in his stroller, and I ran after my son. Imagine a women in Riyadh, clad in an abaya, shamelessly screaming and running after her son in a parking lot. Embarrassing! An old man tried to intervene, but my little boy slipped away from him as well. My friends driver tried to get him, and this slippery little kid was out of our reach. The marble floor (why the floors are marble are BEYOND me) was making my task even harder. I nearly slipped a few times. But I finally let completely lose, and ran like runner and caught him within seconds. I wanted to cry. I wanted to yell. I had this mix of emotions. That easy job of parenting wasn't so easy- I was miserably failing! How does a nearly 4 year old boy do this? How does he have so much power on me to bring the demons out in me. I love him to pieces, but something has got to give. I need this to all stop. I need him to listen. Can grounding him work now? Like seriously grounding. No iPad or tablets, no TV? no toys? For a moment, I even told my friend I needed to rent an actor to pretend to run off with my son on one of his crazy fearless dashes. Maybe that make him understand what I was so worried about. I vowed NEVER to leave his monkey harness at home again. It did keep him safe!

Anyways, once I got home, I walked through the door and just broke down in tears, my husband was there, and I told him to take HIS kids upstairs for a nap. I was done. I was fasting. I was tired. I seriously have not felt so helpless in such a long time. That was my day, I failed miserably, and I hope that tomorrow brings on a better day. I seriously need it- not just for my sanity, but for my little ones as well.

God Bless

Jul 4, 2013

A drive through the desert...

My favourite pass-time in Riyadh, is grabbing a coffee and heading outside the city for a drive. We usually find ourselves in Diriya and looking at all the weekend homes that are magnificently built, the old Masjid of Imam Abdul Wahab and the old city that has been preserved (and is now under renovation). At times we  find ourselves headed towards Thumama road, and just checking out what the desert has in store for us. A few months ago, we were bored, and hopped in the car with the kids, got some snacks, and drove in the sunset (ok.. it wasn't sunset yet.. lol). We found ourselves at this place known to local boys as the 'death hill'.  I called it the Riyadh Nighclub! :) My husband told me him and his friends used to go there back in the day, and just do some crazy 4-wheel drive tricks up and down the sand dunes. I remember when I first got married, I went with one of his good friends and his wife, and we enjoyed some good old Sand Duning.. it was fun! And I even got to drive :) Anyways, I thought I would share a few pictures I took. There were huge crowds, my phone camera did no justice to show just how awesome it all was!

Some cars parked, you can see a few 4-wheel drives up on the hills.
I absolutely loves how the sun rays were peaking through the clouds here..
again wish I had my camera with me!
Some cars parked in the middle of the dessert.
Partying on a weekend- Saudi style!
This is part of Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Fahad Al-Sauds istiraha (Rest home )
Having a conversation n the dessert.
Who needs chairs... these guys are Squating champions!
I liked how these rocks were positioned.
I really wish people would keep the dessert clean.
Seriously got me annoyed to see so much garbage ruining the beautiful scene.
I loved these lamps.. aren't they beautiful?
He was selling coffee and tea, and refreshments from his truck.
These guys had music blaring, and were dancing... it looked fun!
You can't see it, but one of the guys was dancing with a tradition sword!
Just sitting a relaxing with a good friend for some good conversation.

Jul 3, 2013

How do we talk to little girls?

"What a beautiful dress", "You look so beautiful", "You are so cute", "look at your beautiful hair", "such a gorgeous little princess" and countless comments that focus merely on appearances rather then intellect. I am guilty. Very guilty of this. I have done it to my daughter, and to countless other little girls I have met.

My Daughter Lujain
Quite frankly isn't it what we are supposed to say to little girls? When saying it, it all sounds so right, these are the kind of words we are conditioned to repeat when we come across little girls. The problem is it can be seriously lead to her growing up and thinking that those are the only things she should strive for. My younger brother long ago told me that I should not only focus on appearances such "as you are beautiful" when  I am paying my daughter a compliment. He has reminded me often that I should focus more on her intellect. Talking about who she is inside, her achievements, her accomplishments, reminding her that she is a smart little girl instead of focusing on the 'princessy' dresses she still loves making her grow up to think that beauty trumps brains.

My 5 year old daughter has requested I put make up on her when seeing me applying it to myself, and I have obliged with a little lipstick or a little blush without giving it a second thought. It didn't cross my mind that I was teaching my daughter that she needed makeup to be more beautiful- but seriously, when I put a little lipstick on her, and she looks in the mirror and now thinks that image is what beauty is- I have made a pretty big mistake. In all honesty, this parenting thing is really hard. What we do, what we say, is really very important. It can impact our children more then we can ever imagine. I know it will not be easy, but I need to show my daughter what real beauty is. It is not the mask we cover our true self with, but rather being happy and comfortable with who we are. Being able to converse, and discuss a topic. Complimenting her on her achievements instead of her looks. It won't be easy, because to be perfectly honest, its is so deep-seeded in me, that I will probably still pay her physical compliments- because I do want her to know that she is amazing just as she is. I must also remember to fully engage with her in a real discussion, showing her how beautiful her brain is in addition to anything else. To let her understand that what she has to say or add to a conversation is important. I really hope that I can do this right. As I said before, and will say countless times, this parenting thing is hard, and very tricky. But is truly the most important job in the world.

I will leave you with the excerpt of an article I read yesterday that really spoke to me,

"Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything. It sets them up for dieting at age 5 and foundation at age 11 and boob jobs at 17 and Botox at 23. As our cultural imperative for girls to be hot 24/7 has become the new normal, American women have become increasingly unhappy. What’s missing? A life of meaning, a life of ideas and reading books and being valued for our thoughts and accomplishments."

The link to the entire article is here How to talk to little girls

Jul 2, 2013

Here comes a rant...

Is Saudi Arabia perfect? I don't think anyone would ever say it is. In fact I am pretty sure no one would state any country in this magnificent world is perfect.
  • Yes, I would LOVE to drive, and still have high hopes for the day driving is finally fully 'traditionalized'- as we all know there is NOTHING illegal about it under Saudi law. Heck I would love to be able to do things as a grown adult, and be at the steering wheel of my OWN life!
  • I would love to have a little more freedom, would love to be able to go to a movie theater to watch a movie instead of  checking out and downloading pirated versions of it online (yes I admit it- I am forced to break some kind of semi-international law). 
  • I would love to be able to go and watch a sports game- any one of them. I love the feel of watching a heated game. 
  • I would love to be able to go out, and dress as I like- but admittedly in my now post baby and larger frame, it helps to cover up under the 3baya- and even makes last second runs out in my 3baya let me still look fabulously done up -no one needs to know I am wearing pyjama's under my lovely 3baya!
  • The hai'a... how can I discuss my issues without mentioning them right? Just last week I witnessed 2 members walking around a store in a mall here, and just pick out clothing they deemed too riskee for Saudi Arabia. The same clothing that came in through customs, the same clothing that will be donned UNDER a 3baya when out doors. They even confiscated some mens t-shirts, don't know what was on it, but I am guessing it was no 'acceptable' to this particular guy. By the time I finished my transaction, the clothing that was being taken away was at about 20,000 SAR. So although I do believe there is some good that they do, I do believe their job needs to be much more restricted., and confiscating clothing from stores really shouldn't be their business.
Now on to my rant, there are a lot of wonderful things here, and I have had it up to my  (pointing to my 5'9" top of my head)  about people constantly complaining about things here. I have noticed that to many, Saudi's are people to be loathed, detested and hated and can NEVER be good. They find negative in every aspect of life here. And I must again question, if life in Saudi is so positively repulsive, that living here has you hating and loathing the citizens of the country to that extreme, and that evidently everything done here disgusts you, why remain here?. I have never had an issue with constructive criticism, go back and read my posts... I am pretty darn good at that. But all out hate campaigns irks me. When people take news coming out of Saudi, and translate it incorrectly using words they are sure will stir up International sensational news- That freaking annoys me.

In my years here, I have been 'too religious by some, not religious enough by others, too conservative by some, and too liberal by others. It can seriously be annoying. Why not let me just use my own brain, think on my own, and let me be myself instead of a sheep that is part of your herd? Why must I be part one group or another.. why can't I see right from wrong as I personally see fit. I really thank you dad may you rest in eternal peace for allowing me to think outside of the box...

Rant Over

Kids pizza is ready, and I have 3 hungry kids staring at me, and cursing this laptop :)

Jul 1, 2013

Feeling a little Nostalgic...

To all those that may not know; today is Canada's Day! I am reminiscing today, and remembering the Fireworks we would go and watch at Canada's Wonderland and the fireworks that would erupt throughout the city. The festivities, the kids events, the Red and White! Admittedly, I took all that for granted when I was there, but as the saying goes, you don't truly appreciate something unless you no longer have it. So as I sit here at my kitchen bar in my home in Riyadh, I will say it. I miss Toronto, I miss the green, I miss the air, I miss my Freedom. I miss it all- and if I sat here and made a list of all the things I missed, this would be a never ending post.

So I will just say Happy Canada's Day to all my fellow Canucks! Happy 146th Birthday oh Beautiful Canada, you are getting more beautiful as the years go on! I miss you! I shall see you next summer, but will spend time in the West Coast, and East Coast!

I took this pic on my last trip to my beautiful city Toronto, as I rode the ferry to Center Island.

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