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If We Were Having Coffee…

In an effort to finish what I started – even if it’s a bit late – I wrote a little something for the last prompt on the Write Tribe’s Festival of Words, which was: if we were having coffee. 

It’s no secret that I love and need coffee, but what you may not know is that every time I drink a cup, I think of my grandfather, my Papa. I was blessed to be close with my grandparents, and am even more blessed to still be close with them. They’ve had such a profound influence on my life, and have a special place in my heart.

This one’s for you, Papa. I’ve had coffee all around the world, but nothing compares to coffee with you.


If we were having coffee

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you about your day.

You’d mention how much pain you’re in, and how you wish that I could stay.

I’d start to say something like, “I’m sorry,” but stop myself, knowing how lame it sounds, I’d search for the words, and fall short, and come up with nothing profound.

Because what I mean to say is so much more than words could convey; I wish you could move and dance freely, joke and laugh, and that life wouldn’t take me away.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you what’s up with me.

We’d catch up on baby, on life, and I’d share with you all that I wish to be.

You were always the best listener, someone in whom I could always confide, and I never felt any pressure to be someone other than me, I never felt like I had to hide.

Even when you didn’t agree, you always stayed with me, because you knew who I was and never saw me as who you wished I would be.

If we were having coffee, I’d apologize for breaking your heart.

I know when I put all the miles between us, it tore our family apart. You never stopped me, or begged me not to go, and it hurts me to be so far away from you, too, I hope that’s something you always know.

If we were having coffee, I’d sit as close to you as I could, because I know these moments are precious and fleeting, and rarely do we get to spend time in the presence of someone so pure, so kind, so good.

When I’m having coffee, I think of you a lot; we could always count on you to have a freshly brewed pot. But it wasn’t the coffee, or even the flavored creamer that kept us coming back, it was you, Papa, the love you showed us, the comfort you gave, and we will always smile at that.

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Guest Post – Feelin’ All the Feels

So, I’m a day late on the Word Tribe’s Festival of Words (what’s new, really?) but I’m not letting it discourage me from posting because this, this, is a really special one.

While I haven’t delved much into my family life outside of hubby and baby, I do in fact have the whole shebang, including parents and siblings – one badass brother whose current pursuits include a degree in Criminal Justice and powerlifting, and the sweetest, most artistic sister who’s about to make you feel allllllll the feels.

Today’s prompt was to have a guest post or interview, and – as always – my sis was the first one to pop into my mind. She’s been tirelessly working on an ebook of poetry that’s set to release on Amazon later this month and it. is. beautiful.

I chose only one piece to include here, though you can see another sneak peak on my Instagram. Get in touch and let me know what you think; and I will keep you posted on release date and details.

Into the moonlight

Lightning, thunder and rain.

The one that brings you pain.

The two that bring you blues.

The three together are just beauty into the moonlight as the rain fills your shoes.

-KNA

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Dear son

So, today is the 5th day of the Write Tribe’s Festival of Words and the 3rd time I’m writing. Even if you’re horrible at math you know that doesn’t add up. In the spirit of full transparency, aside from dealing with daily tasks and a cranky baby (are there teeth coming in at 11 months? Is he just upset to be another year older like the rest of us? I can’t tell where the grouchiness comes from anymore…), I’ve been dealing with a bit of mental fog that just won’t let me get motivated for anything, even things that I enjoy doing. So it seems like forcing myself to sit down and write instead of watching another episode of “The Good Wife” on Netflix (seriously, have you seen that show? I know I’m 10 years behind but the chemistry between Will and Alicia is off the charts!) is the only way to go.

Today’s topic is simple: write a letter.

And, as a new mom staring my son’s first birthday in the face, the choice of whom to write the letter to was simple, too. Although, a letter to hubby did cross my mind, I imagine the contents to this letter will be more… publishable. So, without further ado…

Dear son,

I know every mom makes a point to say this, but bringing you into this world was not an easy task. Aside from the usual pain that comes with pushing a tiny-but-still-not-that-tiny human out of my body, the aftermath of your birth hit me hard, and the first few weeks home with you I wasn’t sure I would survive. But, somehow, we did. You and me, we helped each other make it through.

You’ve always had a strong personality, something they don’t tell you about babies – that you can see a glimpse of your future teenager from day one. You don’t take shit from anyone; if you like something, you love it, and if you dislike something, everyone knows it. I wouldn’t say that you’ve been a serious baby, but your laughter doesn’t come easily, which makes it all the more precious to hear. I hope that this one day will translate itself into someone who thinks before he speaks, and weighs his options carefully (but not too carefully); someone who understands that while logic should rule our decisions, our heart should guide our logic, and someone who knows that best thing to do is not always the easy thing, or the most accepted thing, but the right thing.

There are a million things left to say and – lucky you! – I’m sure you’ll hear it all over the years from your dad and me. But the most important thing to remember is this: most things in life are shades of grey, but a mother’s love and support is not. The love I have for you, son, will never fade, diminish, or age. I will support you in all things, even if my support doesn’t always look like acceptance. I will listen to you, even to the things I may not want to hear, and I will always keep in mind that you are your own person, and that’s who I will raise you to be. If there ever comes a day where you don’t feel the comfort of my love and encouragement surrounding you, then I have failed, and if I fail at being a good mom, no other accomplishment could ever make up for it.

My prayer for you is and will always be that you are kind, gentle but strong, intelligent, and surrounded by love, light, and happiness (and that you will sleep through the night by next month). You were a part of me once – and as long as I remember the heartburn and backaches, so will you! – and so it won’t be easy letting you go into the world, but I will do it because I know at the end of the day I don’t own you, I’ve only been charged with raising you, and although we’re only a year in, what an amazing privilege it has been.

I know we will have bumps along the way, as all parent-child relationships are fraught with disagreements and miscommunication, but I hope we come out of it stronger, as friends; you may be stuck with me as your mom, but I would like to think that one day – even if it’s 30 years down the road – you would actually choose to hang out with me.

I love you, son, and I can’t imagine my life without you.

Love,

Mama

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Time Isn’t Money. It’s Much More.

So, as promised, today’s a two-for-one day! Before I dive into the second topic, I want to say a bit about why I decided to join the challenge in the first place. It actually wasn’t a complicated decision; I saw something about it on Instagram, thought to myself ‘that would be cool’, and signed up. It was one of the simpler decisions I’ve made in the past week, and I’m glad to be a part of something that gets my creative juices flowing.

So, without further ado, the second topic of the Write Tribe’s Festival of Words is: Share about a resource/s you have or use

As your typical American Millennial from a middle-class suburb, I got lucky. I had the right opportunities at the right times with the right passport and ended up in the right places. To say I didn’t work hard for all I have in my life would be a discredit to all the elbow grease I put in over the years, but I certainly didn’t have to work as hard as others to get where I am. But the resource that I’ve come to see as my most valuable is something that everyone technically has the same of, though it seems the poor have more and the rich have less.

That resource is time.

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As a kid I had a bedtime, a time to start school, a time to be home before mom came looking for me (which you did not want). I spent time with my friends, time on the computer, time daydreaming about N*SYNC, and time with family. As I grew older I split my time between high school and a part time job, hanging out with friends, and shopping. College saw time disappear and suddenly I couldn’t consume enough iced coffee from Creekside Cafe and even the all-nighters I spent writing 10-page papers didn’t seem to be long enough. And, as if time couldn’t go any faster, I was starting out at the sea of parents and friends as I waltzed across the stage to collect my diploma. And then, well, then I’m not sure what happened, but 24 hours just didn’t seem like enough to have the kind of life I wanted.

Work. Home. Family. Friends. Bed. Repeat. I couldn’t stay out too late on weekdays, I could never wake up as early as my alarm clock implored, the weekends seemed to pass in three breaths, and somehow Decembers and Junes were speeding by. My friends were getting married, I was getting married, and then I found myself pregnant, and knew it was time to slow down.

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The funny thing about having kids is that you have the perfect idea of how to do absolutely everything. And then the baby comes and somehow all your perfect ideas turn into theories that never quite work out as planned. I was in over my head, and time seemed to stop. Feed, burp, sleep, change, play, repeat. You’d think it would fly by all too quickly, but somehow in the moment, it felt like a lifetime. I wasn’t sure the first 2 weeks were going to ever pass, let alone the 8 month mark, which is when everyone told me it got better. I spent countless hours in the room, door closed, hoping nobody wanted to hold the baby, because I couldn’t let anyone hold the baby, crying, rocking, feeding, sleeping.

Of course, if you’ve been down the dark road of Postpartum Depression, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It may not have looked the same, but it all feels the same; cold, lonely, and never ending. Instasize_0928135723.jpg

When I decided to quit my teaching job to stay at home with the baby, I knew that there would be days when my world was so small – 25 pounds and 29 inches small – but what I didn’t expect were all the moments that would take my breath away, and make me so happy to have all 24 hours to spend with my son. By quitting my job I gave myself the gift of time with this tiny human, and I haven’t missed out on a single moment. All the first babbles and movements, the crawls and the steps, the problem solving and the cat attacking; I’ve been here for it all. Sometimes when I think about the future, about Adam going off to school, I stop to hold him close just a few seconds longer, or smell his head just a few more times, because I know one day time will speed up again, and I’ll miss these moments where he and I are suspended in the giddiness of our own little world.

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Time is our most valuable resource because no matter how much money or fame we acquire, we can never get more of it. It’s something that we need to invest wisely because time well spent can mean the difference between a good life and a great life, and more time with loved ones is never guaranteed.

Check me out on Instagram @mama.fil

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Treasure yo’self

So I signed up for this awesome writing challenge, and totally got behind yesterday, as usual when hubby’s home and we fill our day with billions of things before the weekend is over. Anyway, here’s the first post, and lucky you! You’ll be getting another one in just a bit 🙂

Write Tribe Festival of Words #6, Day One: Write about a treasure you have

Treasure: noun, a very valuable object.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to shop. Online, in-store, catalogue, outlets, malls, boutiques, you name it. If there’s an establishment that sells items, I’m there. And – like most people pre-marriage and pre-kids – I’ve spent an (un)fair share of my time shopping til I drop.

Those who know me also know that I love to travel. Making up my mind to spend the weekend in Istanbul or Amsterdam on a Thursday used to be normal for me. The places I’ve been able to see, the adventures I’ve had, the people I’ve met are all memories that will last a lifetime.

Knowing these two things, many people would guess that the treasure I would write about would be a killer purse, or my favorite shoes, or the passport that’s gotten me into so many countries, While I treasure all of those things, there is something far more valuable to me than anything I could ever own. It’s something I lived a long time without, something I didn’t think existed for many people, and something I had resigned myself to not having, yet still chased relentlessly.

That something is happiness. I know, I know, how cliche. But, it cliches did become so for a reason, and that reason is usually because they stand as true.

For many years, I believed happiness to be something that was just around the corner, waiting, watching, lurking, dancing around with the word IF. If I just did something that made my dad proud, if I just turned in an awesome assignment that impressed my teacher, if I just made friends with the popular group in school, if I just played it cool and made it seem like I didn’t care too much, if I could just wait a little bit longer so the situation could get better, then I would be happy. I thought it took work, sacrifice, patience, willpower. And I thought that if I could just distract myself from the reality of now – like with shopping and traveling – I would be able to ride the wave of despair until I arrived at the shore of happiness.

Except, the shore never came. I was neck-deep in the water, drowning, looking for a way out, any tiny sliver of land that didn’t seem to exist.

I wasn’t wrong about what it took to achieve happiness, I just wasn’t applying those tools in the right context. I didn’t like my life, I didn’t like the circumstances, and I didn’t want to wait to anymore. I decided that to blow things up by choice would be better than to allow life to pass me by and be unhappy with the outcome. At least if I was making any decision – even the wrong ones – I would have the opportunity to be unhappy by choice, my choice. And so I did. And the weirdest thing happened. The unintended consequence of shaking up my world was that I became happy.

Once I couldn’t blame anyone and anything else for my situation, I had to work that much harder to live with my choices. I chose to wake up in a foreign country, teach, travel, meet new people, and make decisions that I had to live with. Once the reality was my own, something that I had created, I couldn’t escape it anymore, but I didn’t want to either.

As humans we all fall into the trap of letting be what already is; we are naturally disinclined to change, and appreciate the status quo, even when it doesn’t serve us, because it’s comfortable, and who likes to be uncomfortable? Comfort is safe and warm, and can wrap you up in its steadiness, but comfort doesn’t necessary equal happy, and if you’re not making moves to make sure that you’re living a happy life, then what are you doing? We believe ourselves to be stuck in situations because of obligations – financial, familial, career – but often times, if we really sit with ourselves and strip away the excuses, there’s no reason for us to continue down a path that makes us miserable. If you value money, accolades, material things, expensive trips, you will always be stuck in a cycle trying to maintain those things, sometimes even at the expense of your personal relationships, and almost always at the expense of your happiness.

For now happiness is something that I feel every day, even if only in glimpses. In my son’s smile, in the way the cat curls up into my lap and purrs, in my 10th cup of coffee (kiddingggggg) (kind of), in the way my husband relaxes when he walks through the door at night. And, while I don’t carry all the details in my mind of those long days without it, I will always remember what it felt like to yearn for something that seemed to be so abundant in the world, yet so absent in my life. So, with that, I treasure each moment of happiness I feel, no matter how small, and I seek to make choices that lead me down the path of finding more each day.

Do something today that will make happy even tomorrow, something that your future self will be proud of.

Life, Uncategorized

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Sometimes. And other random weekend thoughts.

I’ve been feeling a bit foggy lately, so I thought I was dreaming my metaphoric fog into reality last night when I woke up to a house full of smoke, but it turns out I wasn’t. My house was really full of smoke at 1 am. Thankfully there was no fire (anymore); I guess apartment 9 was doing some late-night cooking and something didn’t go right. If I didn’t smell smoke every other day from this particular neighbor, I would have thought that was strange, but it totally made sense when my husband returned from downstairs where the night security told him that’s what it was.

It made me realize how vulnerable we are when we don’t have all the information, and how crazy it can make us. I thought back to the apartment building in London that was recently ravaged by flames, and the people who couldn’t make it out in time, knowing their fate, and just having to come to terms with it. Morbid thoughts for 1 am, I know, but sometimes I can’t help it.

Sometimes – most times, actually, we don’t really have all the answers, and – depending on how we usually let our brains wander – that can lead to negative unintended consequences. This is a phrase I’ve come to respect, since listening to Michael Bierut’s TED talk, and now I recognize it everywhere; in day-to-day decisions, when I’m cooking one thing and end up with another, and most usually when I allow myself to go down the road of either a positive or negative-thought process. Sometimes we don’t even have the right questions. And, sometimes, we doubt ourselves so much in the process of getting to the right answers that we derail a good thing before it even has a chance to get started. So, for now I’m trying to create more positive unintended consequences (does that negate the unintended part?) and I guess the best place to start is by getting all of the bad mojo out of the way and thinking only in love and light.

We’ve been stuck in the house lately. Partly because it’s Saudi Arabia in July and there’s nothing more than malls and restaurants to keep us – and the rest of the population – busy, but also because our car was rendered undrivable by an accident last week. It doesn’t really get to me until it does, if that makes sense. I can go about my days just fine – yoga, coffee, breakfast, baby naps, cleaning, exercise, cooking – and then suddenly, I realize how cooped up I am, like a cat, but without the luxury of just eating and sleeping. Netflix has been keeping us company a lot more, too, which I don’t think is too much to brag about, but it is what it is.

When I think of home, I miss a lot of things, but the ability just to leave the house at a moment’s notice (well, you know, within the hour now with a 10 month old) is one of the things I usually miss the most. Freedom of movement is important, but having somewhere to go is even more important. For the time being, I’m working on creating some of my own spaces and places to go. I can’t be the only one yearning to make a home away from home, right?

Life, marriage

Love is… Peeling Tomatoes

Marriage is hard, ya’ll. I’m only two years in and it’s been pretty amazing, but not without its fair share of challenges.

My husband and I had a whirlwind romance. From talking to dating to engaged to married within 6 months. It was one of those things that just worked; there was no agonizing back and forth or anxiety over whether I was doing the right thing. I was – and still am! – completely at ease and comfortable with the decision I made. I’m from California, he’s from Lebanon, and neither of us had ever visited each other’s home countries before meeting. Yet, somehow the fundamentals of our thinking mesh. Most of the time. There are plenty of disagreements and misunderstandings and times when I feel like we’re speaking different languages (and times when we are…). Add a kid into that, and there are times when we might as well be from different planets. Like, when I first realized that he wanted me to peel the tomatoes every time I made a salad, I couldn’t help but calculate the minutes I would spend in the next 50 years, hunched over the kitchen sink skinning tomatoes. I mean, some nights I want to forego the salad all together. But I (usually) don’t.20160219_142347.jpg

A very wise woman who I had the pleasure of knowing since I was 6 years old always told me that marriage isn’t about love and passion. Those things are great to have, but the cornerstone of any solid marriage is respect. Without that, you’ve got nothin’. There are many things that go into making a marriage – or any relationship – work, but if you don’t have respect for the other person, then you’re not going to get anything positive out of it. Along with respect, I would say, comes gratitude.

Look, I get that when you’ve had a sick, fussy baby attached to your leg/boob/hip all day and your husband walks through the door, the first thing you want to do – feel entitled to do – is to throw baby and lock yourself in the bathroom for an hour. (That’s not just me, right?) But to respect your spouse and the hellish day they’ve also had means that you sit and suffer through the next two hours until bedtime together, then lock yourself in the bathroom. (Kidding. Kind of.)

I often see posts about women not needing to thank their husbands for watching their own children and taking offense to calling it babysitting when it’s their own flesh and blood. Girl, I feel you, I do. And, without getting into the semantics, let me just say that if your husband thinks that he’s doing you a favor or putting himself out in any way by watching his own children every once in a while, then you’ve got a bigger problem than I can tackle in this blog post.

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BUT. I do believe in saying thank you. Not because it’s a grand gesture or a huge favor, but because gratitude is important in a relationship, even if it’s for the things that should come naturally. Everyone loves to feel appreciated. Everyone needs to feel valued. I’m grateful for my husband as a partner. I’m grateful for the support, encouragement, cups of coffee, and affection he gives me, even when I smell like spoiled milk and haven’t washed my hair in days. I’m grateful for the little things he does for me, and the huge things he provides for our family. I know the pressure on men doesn’t always seem equal to that of a woman, but it still exists, and we’ve got to be aware and proactive in making our partners feel understood.

We chose our partners at one time, and all things considered, we’ve got to make the effort to continue choosing them every day. So, say thank you more often, even if you feel like it’s a silly thing to appreciate. You may even be shocked to see that gratitude brings out an even softer, more generous side of your partner.

Life, Uncategorized

Thursday Thoughts

What a week. It’s Ramadan – for those of you who don’t know what that is, here’s a couple of nice pieces explaining it – so the whole country is operating on an upside down schedule, which is always a great and not-so-great thing. Great because it means that we get to spend a lot more time with friends, eating good food (and let’s not forget the sweets!), and together as a family. Not so great because it means being social every single night, cleaning up and cooking (and eating) a ton more than usual, and sleeping/waking up later than responsible grown ups should. Also, Adam considers his 10 pm sleep a nice little nap that boosts his energy for the rest of the night.

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Ramadan sweets – @mama.fil

Spending so much time in the kitchen and cleaning up around the house can get really dull, so I really try to use it wisely and enrich myself spiritually, you know, filling up the cup so I can give to others, blah blah blah. TED talks to the rescue. If you don’t know what TED talks are, like, what? How? Where have you been? They’re great, short(ish) lectures given by inspiring(ish) people on cool(ish) topics. I add the (ish) because, as with anything, what you get out of them really depends on where you’re at mentally and emotionally and whether or not there’s a screaming baby tugging at your shirt or trying to eat/murder/love the cat. This week’s listens have actually inspired two blog posts, so it’s been really productive(ish).

The first talk was something that really hit home with me, because I have been going back and forth about whether to start a few projects for far too long now, and it really gave me the push I needed to finalllyyyyyyy get started. In a nutshell: Tim Ferriss is prone to depressive episodes that have left him teetering on the edge of suicide too many times, and the one thing that he said scared him the most after the most recent one was how everything just came down to chance. If he hadn’t done xyz, he for sure would have gone through with his plan. So, as a business-savvy man of logic, he decided to kind of study the things that were likely to push him over the edge – which, like most of us revolve mainly around the decisions we face and the likelihood of failure –  and came up with a set of worksheets to analyze each decision not based on what his goals were, but based on the likelihood for failure, and by imagining the worst-case scenarios for each decision. So, instead of defining your goals, he asks you to define your failures and kind of work through those scenarios in your head until you’ve got a grasp on what that reality would look like.

Wow. Now, I’ve heard of such an activity before, especially while researching activities in controlling my anxiety, but this is different for a couple of reasons. First, because he actually set out a plan of how to consider these scenarios and gives you something tangible to write down, a guide to think it through. This is important because a lot of times people make abstract comments like, “change the way you think,” or, “refocus your attention on the positive outcomes,” and it’s like, if I could do that so easily, don’t you think I would have? Tim actually coaches you through it, so it makes it a little more manageable.

And that brings me to the second reason why I think this is different: because while you’re going through these worksheets – asking yourself to fully explore not only the absolute worst consequences if you take action, but also if you don’t take action – it gives you a little space to kind of feel yourself out. Through all of this, you remove the pressure of having to listen to yourself, which gives you the distance you need to hear yourself and feel out your intuition, which usually provides all the insight you need to make a choice (under normal, mentally-stable circumstances, of course, which are not always what we’re working with). Sometimes trying to listen to your gut can give you even more anxiety because you’re so close to the situation that you can’t get a real idea of what you’re feeling, or because there are so many emotions mixed up that it can be really difficult to get a straight answer from yourself.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Also don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @mama.fil, and Snapchat @kelisep

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I did it for the ‘gram

Instagram is weird. You post snapshots of your life, and people like them, follow you, and have this idea of who you may be, but most likely aren’t. And we love it. Any glimpse into someone else’s life somehow becomes so much more interesting than ours, even if it’s pretty much the same thing. People have made their entire careers from being Instagram famous, and some don’t even venture outside of that; they’re just “social media influencers” because they get a lot of likes and I find myself asking often, “but, like, what do they do for a living?”

That being said, I love Instagram, and it’s obviously a huge component of my blog because, well, people like to look at cool shit, so I try to take pictures of cool shit. But there are a few things that really bother me about the world of social media, and the main one is how easy it is to pretend to be genuine. Look, you’re not gonna see any pictures of my messy house or the cake I burnt the crap out of because I don’t want you to. But I won’t shy away from discussing the anxiety that rears its ugly head quite often, the hard parts of motherhood and marriage, and the typical mundane days I have living 7,000 miles away from my family. And I get that people buy into the social media influencers’ lives because we wish our lives were that perfect, but the fact is that nobody’s life is that perfect.

I have a lot of respect for the bloggers who create content based on what their fans want, and who are so incredibly real and down to earth. I think there is enough pressure on women to be perfect without adding the unrealistic expectations of comparing ourselves to the people we look up to. Remember, comparison is the thief of joy, and the world needs all the joy it can get right now.

I don’t have a lot of respect for the people on Instagram who hire companies to post on their behalf (come on, one misplaced heart emoji can make you look really dumb), or the ones who sign up with apps to follow then unfollow accounts that will likely get them more followers. The whole point – the real point – of Instagram is engagement, to connect with people. Why would someone want to cheapen the little bit of social interaction we have left by automating it?

Anyway, that’s just my two cents. I’d love your feedback if there’s something I’m missing!

Life, Uncategorized

Biting babies and emergency rooms

My boobie-biter is back to his original (and then some) naughtiness!

The last week has been one for the books. It started out with what we thought was a really horrible bout of teething; we could actually see the little tips of the canines poking through and of courseee I had prepared for some sleepless nights and clingy days, but what came next was the kind of thing that makes you want to sink into a bubble bath with Netflix and a cigarette for the foreseeable future. First there was the night waking, which made any possibility of A sleeping in his own bed actually impossible and seem like a distant fantasy that I could expect sometime between the ages of 3 and 23. But then there was a fever, which I also knew could happen with teething, but this thing was relentless. Fevers scare me, and fevers that don’t go away – and keep rising, like up to 102, 103.1 – no matter what we do scare me even more.  So it was off to the ER for us, which brings a whole new set of fears when you live in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has many great things to offer expats and locals alike. Unfortunately, organization, professionalism, and up-to-date technology in hospitals are not typically among them. Each doctor we saw had a different course of action to take, a different suggestion, and by the time we were back in the ER two days later with an even higher fever, the doctor who looked at him for an entire 12 seconds decided he was dehydrated because he was crying but there were no tears and that he needed a full blood work up. 7 nurses and 4 pokes later, they couldn’t find a vein and I was holding my kid like some rabid mama bear and wouldn’t let anyone anywhere near him.

Mamas, when something like this happens – and this can happen anywhere, in any country – and you feel uncomfortable, or you want them to stop and take a moment to breathe, speak up! It doesn’t matter if they’re nurses, doctors, the president (or especially if it’s the president these days…); ask questions until you’re comfortable, and ask them what other options you have. One doctor (on the third trip to the ER when Adam hadn’t peed in over 13 hours) saw how upset I was and, instead of calming me down and reassuring me of the situation, flippantly suggested that we admit Adam to the hospital and give him IV fluids until he peed. If I hadn’t calmed down (OK, OK, hubby forced me to calm down, but still…) and asked what other options we had – which included just waiting it out because it actually wasn’t an urgent case yet – I would’ve been subjecting poor Adam to even more than he’d already been through completely unnecessarily.

Too often our intuition gets squished down because it ‘doesn’t make sense’ or because there’s no ‘real’ evidence of what we’re feeling. But that doesn’t mean what you’re feeling has no place in the discussion. You know your baby best, and if something feels off, it probably is. Social decorum and not offending someone who has an MD after their name should take a backseat when it comes to taking care of your baby.

Anyway, we’re on the other end of it now, thank God, and if you’re wondering what it was that made little A so sick – German Measles! I didn’t even know it was a thing that kids could get, and was super upset to know that he would have been vaccinated for it at 9 months, which he turned yesterday!

Also, did you ever notice baby’s personality changed after being sick? I swear the kid has developed some new not-so-desirable traits, some more grouchiness, aaand some extra rude nursing habits (aforementioned boobie biting being just one of them), all of which I’m hoping mellow out in the near future so this mama isn’t so mentally drained by the end of the day. Is there any hope? Also, any tips to get the biting to stop, please and thank you!