It’s 3am and for some reason I can’t sleep. I think I’m due some blogging anyway; no time better than the present!
The weather in Toronto yesterday was 19 degrees. For the first time in months I left home without my (ever so stylish ;) winter coat, and it felt fabulous! There’s a new-ish chinese supermarket that’s opened up not to far from where I live and I’ve been meaning to check it out for a while. So off we went on a lovely walk down.
One thing I love about Canada (and trust me, there really isn’t much) is the space. It’s huuge! Wherever you are you’ll find greenery and parks and rivers. I live in Toronto, not too far from the downtown area, and just behind my apartment building is a huge valley, its absolutely beautiful. in the summer time its full of people having bbq’s and picnics. There are lots of Indians in my area too, and watching them during the summer is hilarious. Entire clans gather in the valley with huge ‘tupelas’ full of food, something you’d never see in London!
Well anyway we got to the supermarket and I was very impressed by the decor. It was full of fake palm trees and water features, and as tacky as it sounds, I thought it was quite pretty. Now this place even has a halal meat counter, completely seperate from the regular meat counter. The best part though, was the fish section. In England you can walk down the high street and find a fishmongers, no such thing here. But this place had its own fish section, with live seafood! I was a little freaked out by the box of blue crabs that kept jumping all over the place, but apart from that it was all very impressive. We were in search of some fresh tilapia, and I watched in amazement as the guy who worked there caught a live one for a customer before us. He gutted and filleted it, before handing it over, you dont get more fresh than that! We opted for the pre packed fillets just to keep life simple, paid for our goods, and left the store.
The weather being as great as it was, we couldn’t pass an opportunity to vist the kiddie park, which I might add is a two minute walk from home. We dropped off our stuff and headed towards the local pizza pizza. I adore this place, you can get a medium cheese pizza (if you say ‘magherita’ in this country, people look at you like you’re speaking Russian) for 5 bucks, whoo! We picked up our order and headed over to the park. As our good luck would have it, there was a lovely little table and bench available for us under the shade of a tree. We munched down the yummy pizza before racing over to the swings. This was Zahrah’s second go on a swing, and she loves it! I stood in front of her and Suleman stood behind, we pushed her back and forth for ages, before moving onto the slides. I still think she is too young to slide on her own, so we took it in turns to slide down with her. I always have great fun playing on the swings and slides. I hate going to parks with people who are like ‘oh no we’re far too old for this’. I dont think anyone is ever too old to have a good ole swing, makes you feel like a kid again, and with Zahrah in tow now, i have the perfect excuse!
We got home feeling pretty tired, but in a good way. Bedtime for Zahrah and a movie for us, a perfect end to a great day :D
I woke up aaramtee this morning, Zahrah had only cried a couple of times at night, and Suleman had a late Thursday start. We had breakfast together before Zahrah woke up. Breakfast nearly always consists of cheese on toast (not the melted kind) with lots of black pepper sprinkled on top, or boiled egg on toast whisked up with lots of yummy yummy mayo. Once in a while we have a mega fryup which leaves me burping sausages all day, gotta love those!
Suleman left for work and Zahrah woke up. We went through our usual morning routine, opening the curtains, having a look through the window, baby breakfast, bubble bath and of course, listening to her favourite nasheeds on YouTube :)
I had a few things to pick up from the mall so off we went. The weather was fabulous today, not a cloud in sight. There is still an ever so slight chill in the air so I know the cold hasn’t totally disappeared, but compared to last weeks sudden snowstorm, today was more like a hot summers day. I love having the mall so close to my apartment. It’s actually just across the road so no matter what the weather, I always have somewhere quick and convenient to spend time.
The mall was packed out today, everyone was taking advantage of the sunny weather. I really felt like some ice cream and decided a strawberry sundae from macd’s would do the trick. the queue was crazy long but by some miracle the ice cream machine was working today (normally it’s buggered) so it was worth the wait. Zahrah and I sat at the food court, to her delight I took her out of the buggy and sat her on the table. We had such a fun relaxing time making faces and eating icecream. She shouted and waved at different strangers as usual, and I beamed with pride as everyone told me how cute she was (masha’Allah x1000000000000000!!!) It’s times like this I wish I carried me camera with me, just so I can capture the little everyday moments that mean so much.
Next stop was Zellers where we picked up a bargain bathtime story book (those waterproof thingys). I absolutely adore their childrens book section. It’s usually 80% off and I’ve purchased some fabulous find. She has quite the book collection now, I hope she grows up to be a bookworm just like me! Finally we headed home just in time for nap time for Zahrah, and Indian tea and bad daytime TV for me!
Here’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while. This Saturday, the 14th of May, will see the arrival of my in laws! They spent the summer here last year and are now moving here permanantly. Well they basically need to spend three years here as PR’s (permanant residents) to qualify for Canadian citizenship, then whether they stay here or in Africa is totally up to them.
It’s safe to say that i’m not the most excited person about it. I’ve lived alone with my hubby since we got married (and also my daughter since last year). I wake up when I want, I get dressed when I want, I cook when I want, I don’t cook when I don’t want to. I wash the dishes when I want, I clean the flat when I want. Thankfully hubby is really cool about these things, tea and toast is fine with him if I’ve been having a lazy day.
So basically in the Indian/Asian culture this is how it works. Girl meets boy, girl marries boy, girl moves in with in laws. Well It was probably much more like that in my grandma/mum’s days. Nowadays more people insist on living apart, which is great, but living together isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. In fact in my own family, my brother and sister in law lived happily at home for three years before buying their own place.
However, I still believe that when it comes to in laws, distance makes the heart grow fonder. If you see them, say even as often as once a week, you’ll spend a few hours with them, share some lunch or dinner and everyone is all smiles. Any unwanted advice about how ones daughter’s head should be shaved at least 16 times for thicker glossier shinier hair is shrugged off with a polite smile. When people live together, you tend to nit pick. I mean forget about in laws, even at home everyone has tiffs with their parents/siblings, it’s just human nature. The difference however is that if I had a fight with my mum, we’d both forget about it 30 seconds later. If my mum told my daughter off for being naughty, I wouldn’t bat an eyelid. If it was my MIL on the other hand, oooooooooooooooooooh, I’d cry blue murder! Yes I know, that makes me totally biased, so maybe daughter in laws aren’t the friendliest people on earth either.
I have both friends/cousins who live with inlaws, and those that don’t. It’s rather amusing to note the difference in attitude between the two. The woman who doesn’t live with her inlaws will always be ‘good friends’ with her mother in law and will talk about how cool/friendly/considerate she is. On the other hand, the friend who does live with her inlaws will always start her sentence off with ‘oh God you wont believe what she said..!’
I thought I’d come up with a list on the positives and negatives of having inlaws around. The list is based on expectations and my experience of having them over last year. I’ll start off with the negatives, just so we can end on a more positive note.
1. My routine will be totally messed up.
2. Too much advice and opinions given on How To Raise Your Child.
3. Subtle messages will be passed on through hubby to me, so as not offend, for example: playgroup should be skipped today as so-and-so has invited us over for tea and to not attend would be rude. I mean jeeeez if you have an issue/question/request, address me directly, i’ll respect you more for it.
4. There will never be any sort of confrontation if there is an issue as neither party is THAT headstrong (ok, so maybe I am, just a tad :p) which will result in poor hubby having to listen to quiet bitchin’ from both sides.
5. No walking around in my underwear.
6. No sex in places other than the bedroom (did i just type that?!?)
7. Being paranoid about whether my food tastes good or not.
8. Having to constantly hear about how my child is the spitting image of her father, and everything from her behviour to the smell of her fart is just like that side of the family. I mean Never mind that I carried her for 36 weeks and six days, never mind I got 10 stitches pushing her out, never mind my nipples have been sucked raw after over a year of breast feeding, but she’s not really MY child!
9. Sis in law being around ALL THE TIME.
ok, so that’s enough ranting. Let’s see the positives:
1. Hubby being extra nice to me so I never feel awkward.
2. My FIL must be the funniest man on the planet, and he can talk for Britain/Canada/Zambia, so there’s never a dull moment.
3. I’ll be more motivated to be up and ready earlier (to make a good impression of course) and i’ll most likely procrastinate a lot less.
4. I can pop out to the shops without having to worry about taking Zahrah with me all the time.
5. Hubby and I can go out to more baby ‘unfriendly’ places which includes using the street cars (trams) which have absolutely no disabled access, and the subway where 90% of the stations have no elevators (in this day and age I hear you ask?! Yes seriously!)
6. Loads more yummy food from MIL who has about a hundred years more cooking experience.
7. Nothing beats a good family atmosphere.
8. Company for me during the day when hubby is at work
9. Most importanly, Zahrah getting to know and developing a bond with her grandparents, as most of mine and hubbys family live abroad.
10. Seeing hubby happy to have his parents around just cos he has lived away from home most of his life.
11. Help with household expenses like grocery shopping.
So from this I can conclude that there are far more positives (yaay!) than negatives, and I’m probably just deeply paranoid in thinking inlaws are from another planet!
I also think it’s important to note that Islam places a great emphasis in families taking care of each other. I certainly wouldn’t want my parents left alone during their old age, so I shouldn’t expect anyone else to feel any differently. Islam teaches people to esteem and hold in high regard three sets of people; your own parents, you husband’s/wife’s parents, and your teachers. All three are older and wiser and should be treated with the utmost respect.
The prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) has narrated that ‘Heaven lies under your mothers feet.’ Meaning the easiest way to heaven is to be kind to your mother simply because a mother does so much for her child, things that even a father cannot do, ie; chidlbirth. And being a mother myself I know how stressful it can be.
So anyway I’ll make a huge effort to welcome them into my home and be sure not to take every little thing to heart. Here’s to all families living happily ever after, related or not!
*raises cup of Indian chai*
Two day weekends have become rare for Suleman. He works in retail banking which means that most Saturdays he is at work and gets a week day off instead. It’s not a problem for me as I stay at home anyway or im a stay-at-home-MOM as the canadians like to call it. Plus having him at home on a weekday feels extra special.
Well last Saturday was one of those once a month Saturdays off. The weather hasn’t been great lately but I didn’t want to just stay at home, even though the idea of a ‘24’ marathon was quite appealing! There are a couple of places which I have yet to visit in Toronto, places like Casaloma and The Bata Shoe Museum. After a quick google search I found some buy-one-ticket-get-the-other-free coupons for the museum, and so it was decided, a trip to Bata!
Saturdays are also the only day of the week when my local early years centre runs playgroups exclusively for daddy’s. So off Suleman and Zahrah went, while I took a leisurely bath and took my time getting dressed. I prepped Zahrahs lunch then went to meet S and Z at the playgroup, and from there we headed downtown. The Museum is only about 40 minutes away so we were there pretty quick. We entered the exhibiton and following the lady at the desks advice, started from the lower level, working our way up to the top.
Now I always thought ‘bata’ was an Indian brand of footwear. Everyone I know owns a pair of Bata champals. However I discovered that the museum was founded by a Swiss lady named Sonja Bata, wife of Thomas J Bata of The Bata Shoe Company. She began collecting shoes, and eventually was able to open a museum. There were hundreds of shoes on show, everything from what the Canadian natives wore hundreds of years ago, to the more recent celebraty donated shoes from the Juno awards. My favourite exhib was ‘heels, hemlines and high spirits’, a look at shoes from the 1920’s. The exhib room showcased some beautiful sparkly shoes, very similar to a couple of sandals I own!
I was pretty surprised that S didnt get bored in the first five minutes, infact he was quite interested and kept telling me to read stuff he had found. Zahrah had a good time chewing the guidebook and was just generally happy at being outside. After a quick shop around the gift store we left the museum. Just at that moment the heavens decided to open and by the time we reached the mall at Younge subway station we were drenched! I was also pretty hungry by this time, so we decided to sit down for some poutine. Poutine is a gorgeous canadian dish of chips, gravy and cheese curds. The curds melt when the hot gravy is poured over them, and it just tastes divine! Zahrah munched down her lunch of white rice and mixed veges, and a couple of gravy covered chips too; I dont even wat to think about the salt content she was enjoying!
Next stop was The Bay, which is Canada’s equivilant to Debenhams or John Lewis. I headed straight over to the MAC concession stand and started to hint that my mascara was nearly finished and my liquid liner drying out. S grinned at me saying he didnt need any more hints and bought me some beautiful MAC makeup. I ADORE MAC. Their quality is really good and well worth the few extra $$$. I’d also like to point out that the MAC technakohl eyeliner is the only eyeliner I have ever owned which A. does not smudge and B. stays on the whole day!
We got home that evening to a marathon of 24 after all. Suleman is Jack Bauer obsessed, and is intent on getting me hooked too. I have to admit though, it is reeeally addictive! Zahrah too was happy to be home, back to talking with her toys and banging on the coffee table scaring us into thinking the glass would cave in any second. I think the trip to The Bata Shoe Musuem really inspired her because to our utter delight, she took her first two steps! Yaay Zahrah! x