“We Will Be There”

 

 

“We will be there!” I have never thought deeply about these 4 words, ever before! Until today! Sitting here, watching my son at his swimming class, lost in the background noise: Instructors shouting commends, kids cheering, and of course the echo of an indoor pool. Too lazy to pick up my kindle and read, I start thinking…. You know that thing all moms do, just let their brain wonder, while sitting quietly, enjoying not being pulled, touched, yelled at, or even talked to, without really thinking of anything specific… just thinking… and that’s when it hit me! I have an “I will be there group!”!

You see, I have been planning my son’s FIFTH Birthday party- It is a huge deal for my son -and us, his parents- and I have no idea how did we even get here, so fast! Part of the planning is inviting the chosen ones, who would be spending a couple of hours with Adam, having fun – hopefully-, playing, laughing, and eating cake (which is what birthdays are all about!). This year Adam had a big list of the friends he wanted to invite, and so I obliged. I wrote a message, copied it, pasted it, 25 times, for each friend’s mom, pressed sent… and … waited! I sent the messages and I started staring at my phone. At the huge list of people that I have now, right in front of my eyes, and……. I waited. I saw few “typing” (If you use WhatsApp you will know what I mean, if you don’t then what planet do you live in?).

8 out of 25 people, started writing their reply, just few seconds after I had sent the message, and few seconds later I had a reply : “ WE WILL BE THERE!”

These people didn’t wait to check their schedule, they didn’t wait to check with their hubbies, they didn’t wait to confirm with their families… they just read my invite and said: “We will be there”!

I know this must sound silly and even stupid, but I had tears in my eyes, and as I thought about it more and more, I realized that when these exact 8 special people have texted me to invite us for their kids’ special day, I had replied in few seconds saying those exact same words: “We will be there”!

Even though we don’t see some of those 8 precious people very often, but we all make this tight circle called: “ We will be there”, we know that no matter what “We will be there”. Life can get busy and hectic and we can easily get lost in all the things we all have to do, but knowing that I have a group that will always be there, without taking time to even blink or think makes my heart swell with joy!

I am not saying that the rest of those 25 people aren’t as important. No far from that, they are still showing up, and coming to spend their precious time with me and my family, on my son’s special day. They are showing us love and appreciation and we are so grateful for that.  I get how busy life can be with little ones. Between football practice, swimming classes, art classes, and all kind of activities, mothers (and I am one of them) can’t plan a thing without getting back to their calendars, and checking how and when they are available. I get it, this is life with kids, we can’t do much about it. We, parents, just understand, we know how it is!

This wasn’t my first time inviting people to one of Adam’s birthdays (he had FOUR of them already!), but I guess this is the the time that the meaning of “we will be there” really resonated with me! Such a strong and powerful sentence, that you should consider yourself very lucky if you have ever heard it –or read it!

 

 

Ouiam

 

Here is Why You Should Stop Assuming That Every Homeschooler is An Anti-social!

 

As I try o smile and nod and make small talk and hope after every answer that I have finally convinced the hairdresser that I really am not interested in sharing the story of my life, I get hit hardly by yet another question! I tell you some people do more than justice to the art of resilience and persistence! So then of course the most common question follows: Do you have kids? And as I answer giving all the details, hoping that this will be the end of it, another question hits me in the face like the cold air: “Is your son sick? Is that why you homeschool?” I had no idea how to answer that, I couldn’t understand how someone in the 21stcentury could be so blatant, insensitive, and just plain nosy! So I answer with the only sentence that could make its way out of my mouth: “No, we are just weird”. I then proceed to putting my earphones pretending to be listening to something on my phone as a last effort to make the person handling my hair STOP TALKING!

 

As a homeschooler, we get tons of questions all the time, and I usually welcome them and make sure I answer them thoroughly and with all the details/info that I can give, because I believe that people are genuinely asking, because the whole concept is so new, specially here in the middle east, and because we are not used to see other people say NO to the system. We are used to do as we are told, and to follow rules and regulations, without even questioning them. One of the main questions that we get is:

 

“Aren’t you afraid that he won’t be social enough?”

 

If you are close enough and you do know my little sunshine, then you sure know that he is a walking chatterbox, who makes friends as he breathes. His social life is much better than mine and his dad’s, both combined. He loves interacting with everyone from the cashier at the supermarket, to the little kid sitting alone in playground, to the parents of his own friends.

If you are not that close and you don’t know my son, here are some facts for you:

 

Children are already competent social beings; they have the extreme ability to adapt and coexist, something that most adults lack as they grow older.

 

Children are not exactly some sort of adults-in-training, they are however somewhere between being and becoming. Being a child who is actively constructing their childhood, and becoming an adult as an end result.

 

If we can see children as the competent and complex human beings that they really are, we can begin to see their behavior beyond the polarity of positive and negative. We can begin to see the nuances of who they are, what kind of personality they have? Character? … etc.

 

Everyone is born with a predisposition toward a personality type. Extroverts are energized by interacting with others and the world around them, while introverts are drained by too much interaction, especially with a big group, and prefer to be with people they know well. Although all kids display traits of both types, they innately prefer one style over the other-This book is great if you want to know more about the extroverted and introverted types: Quiet by Susan Cain– so whether they go to school or not, they are who they are.

 

The other thing that I need to clarify here is that homeschoolers DO GET OUT OF THEIR HOMES. We do not hibernate as we homeschool. There are tons of activities that homeschoolers around the world plan, choose, and arrange for their children, depending on WHO their child is, what do they like and dislike and not just depending on a super old system called “school”.

 

There are homeschooling communities all around the world; and we have a great one here in Bahrain. We plan classes together, take turns in hosting and preparing lessons, we plan field trips, sports days, book clubs and many many different activities. The other advantage that we have is that kids mingle with all age groups, and instead of learning how to communicate with only their peers, they actually get the exposure they need to prepare them for the real world.

So please the next time you want to ask “How about his social life”, reconsider your question, and instead ask about what kind of activities, curriculum, adventures we do/have, to really know more about the homeschooling life.

 

On behalf of the homeschoolers of the world, I send you wild and free thoughts, with much love!

 

 

Ouiam

ZZZ in Style ..!!

 

Hello Friends!! How is your Saturday looking like?

Today I have something absolutely exciting for you all! Something that will make your eyes sparkle, and will take you few years back, wishing you could relive your childhood again!

Sleepee Teepee is a new concept that two fabulous women came up with few months ago, and it is the talk of town right now! It always makes me so proud to see women, and especially moms navigating through their own journeys, not the motherhood one, but one where they blossom and thrive as women.

The whole concept consists of having gorgeous looking teepees, with themes that you can choose yourself, delivered to your home, fixed and ready to take the sleep over shenanigans to a whole new level.

I met with one of the co-founders: Elizabeth Dadd, and had a little chitchat with her! Here is some of what we talked about:

How did you get the idea for sleepee teepee ?

Sleepee teepee was something I was seeing on Pinterest throughout the summer, while in Australia. With girls coming up to the the sleepover stage in life, I thought it would be great to offer them something they will enjoy with their friends in Bahrain.

 

How did you move from the thinking phase to the creating one? 

After speaking to some friends about the idea I found that there was a lot of support. I decided to join forces with a good friend of mine “Nikki”. We designed a prototype and our children lit up when they saw it! Seeing their excitement made us realize we needed to have other children experience this too. We spoke a lot about our concept and how we could make this product and service something Bahrain would embrace. Our teepees have been designed to be sturdy, child safe and of the highest quality.

 

When did you launch your business? 

We had our first booking in the beginning of October this year. The business is still very young.

 

How do you balance being a full time mama and being a working mama now? 

The idea that I’m working on something of our own really excited me. With young girls I am happy that they finally get to see mom work and do something she loves. Our busy periods are over the weekends so Nikki and I try to do as much as we can while our children are at school so they don’t have too much time away from us on the weekends. The work family balance has been nice as we have a lot of support from friends and partners.

 

What are some of the difficulties that faced you when you started? 

Creatively we wanted to create a teepee that was child safe and sturdy, design wise we changed a lot of things to make the teepee transportable, functional, beautiful and easy to store. We found the themes we wanted were hard to come by locally and started bringing in bedding from outside Bahrain.

 

How do you see your business in 5 years from now?

Nikki and I are a great team, and I think Bahrain has embraced Sleepee Teepee. We hope to be able to create a product that adapts to the times. We would love to expand the business into more than just hiring and selling teepee services but to include the options of party planning and party bags. We also would like to refine the business to include more sustainable and organic options and use only locally sourced items, carpenters, tailors and staffing.

 

Any advice you can give mamas/women, who have great ideas yet haven’t worked on making them their realities like you did, yet?

I’d say that its much better to try something now than regret not starting in the future. I would also encourage everyone to collect support and advice from their friends and work in a field they are excited and passionate about. There is a saying: “Do not deliver a product deliver an experience” and I think that rings true to all businesses, doing anything that makes anyone’s life better or happier is worth the trouble. “

 

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Elizabeth is a mama of two gorgeous little girls, she is so passionate about what she does, and the minute she starts talking about her new baby (Sleepee Teepee) a big smile lights up her face, and her eyes shine with delight.

 

More exciting news here ladies: Sleepee Teepee offers 10% discount to all Amwaj mamas!!!!

You can find sleepee teepee here:

Facebook: Sleepee teepee Bahrain

Instagram:@sleepeeteepeebh

 

Ouiam x

 

Bahrain Through The Eyes of a Mama! 

I have been meaning to write this post for the last two years but I guess as they say “when the time is right” …!!

So as everyone know I am a mom who lives in Bahrain. Some might not know that I also run the group “Amwaj Mamas”. A group of moms and for moms, where I organize fun, educational, and enjoyable meet-ups for moms and their toddlers. I started it about 3 years ago, shortly after Adam was born, with the help of my amazing friend Maria, whom I love dearly. Through this group, Adam and I have explored this beautiful island we live in, and enjoyed some of the most wonderful places that we didn’t even know they existed before! So today I decided to write a whole post and share the love!

I must add that none of the venues I am talking about today have paid me or asked me for my review, this is simply my experience and I would like to share it.

  1. Twinkle Twinkle Centre: I came across this great place through social media, I have reached out and the owner/manager was incredibly kind and helpful. Since then “Amwaj mamas” have paid this place several visits, and until now we have never been disappointed. It is an activity center, where kids can play and have fun, it also has a great lounge/ café area, for moms to chill and have a great cup of coffee (or a milkshake yuuum!), while the kids are having some great fun. Tel: 17700412
  1. Ready Get set Cook: The first cooking studio in the island and I believe the only one. The staff are so helpful and warm, always welcoming us and our children with a wide smile, which makes us feel at home. The concept is to let the kids experiment and cook easy and delicious goodies. It is located in Sar Mall, Open from 10am-1pm and 3pm-8pm. Tell: 17000260
  1. Salon 5 Amwaj: While I realize this isn’t a place for children, I am absolutely sure every mama deserves some pampering. The staff are absolutely wonderful! I have taken my son with me so many times, and he actually loves it there. You can’t always have the luxury of few hours by yourself when you are a mama, so in this place you can have that, while having your little one with you. Salon Five is located in Amwaj, by Costa coffee.
  1. Messy Tots: A studio where the little ones can unleash their creativity and imagination. Ashley, who runs the studio (aka her house’s backyard), is very attentive and always making sure the kids and their moms are having a great time. You can Text Ashley on 32130715, or have a look at their Facebook page “Messy Tots Bahrain” . The session is 1 hour and it is 5bd.
  1. Pizza Express: This is the ultimate spot for a Friday lunch, where parents can enjoy a wonderful Italian meal and the kids can enjoy the experience of being little chefs. Kids can make their own pizzas, they also get their little juice box and a choice of ice cream or cake at the end. Pizza express is located at the Lagoon- Amwaj, next to Starbucks.
  1. Inspire Bahrain: We have been going to the toddlers’ drum classes for the past few months. Lydia, the instructor, is phenomenal! She always manages to get the kids’ attention (even though we are really talking about toddlers who are all over the place most of the time” Tel: 39047734
  1. Ya Salam (In Budayaa):  I first heard of this restaurant because of the bad reviews it had for their food, then one of the moms suggested to meet there one day with the kids. “The play area is amazing!!!” that was her reply when I told her about the bad reviews, so of course, off we went. There is a very cool play area and moms/dads can actually sit and enjoy their meals RIGHT THERE, while the kids played. It was absolutely amazing! The first time we stayed about 5 hours because Adam was having so much fun, and of course the moms were enjoying their time too, because for the first time they were having conversations that didn’t have to end abruptly because of the kids. The food was surprisingly delicious, I always have the Falafel sandwich and it’s the best I have ever had.
  1. Birds Kingdom: I am a huge fan of this place! First of all because it is in Amwaj, so very close by, and we can pass by anytime. The play area is fantastic, Adam loves it, and the managers are so kind and attentive, they are also parents so they really tend to the needs of the moms, dads, and kids. It is located in Amwaj by Al Osra supermarket.
  1. Jones The Grocer: A fabulous place to enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner, with your little ones. The staff are absolutely amazing, so nice to the kids, and will make sure to make your dinning experience great! They have a “mommy and me Monday” where they have special offers, they will also give you a 10% discount if you mention that you are a member of “Amwaj Mamas”.
  1. CHAOSS: Adam and I really love this place! We both enjoy it so much. They hold Gymnastics classes for toddlers, every Tuesday and Thursday, from 10-11:30am, and it’s 3bd. Tell:17592096
  1. Sports Training Complex: We first went for the football classes they were offering for toddlers, but then realized that they have tons of other classes even for moms. Tell: 77060777
  1. Magy French Tutor: A French class offered by Magy, a French teacher with years and years of experience. The first time I went with Adam, she told me that Adam will have to go in by himself and that parents are welcome to stay in the waiting area; after hearing this I was a little anxious as Adam has NEVER left my side, but I wanted to give it a try. She approached Adam gently yet with confidence, introduced herself and asked him to join her, which he happily did and I was left outside in awe lol. I really like the way she teaches, she respects the kids’ wishes, and doesn’t force them to do anything. Adam loves it too. For info you can Whatsapp:33330676
  1. Peekaboo Kids: Since I gave birth I was always in the lookout for stores with quality items for kids: Clothing, swaddles, toys…etc. Then I met the wonderful Georgia, the woman behind Peekaboo Kids, an amazing mother who totally understands the needs of moms and kids. They are located in Saar mall, and if you mention that you are a member of “Amwaj Mamas” you get 15% off your purchase.

I will be making another post like this one very soon because…. well let’s face it, the amount of the awesome places with the incredibly warm and welcoming staff, can’t just fit in one post.

Ouiam

The Wisdom Of White Papers

Do you remember when you were little? Do you remember how much you knew, how much you trusted, how much you loved, how much you laughed and how much you cried? Of course you do!  Because those were the days you were still close to the doors of knowing… The doors of miracles and mystery.

Everyone says children are born like white papers, and it is our duty as parents to fill those papers with whatever they need to grow up. We teach them to talk, read, write, and to become successful in life; But did anyone try to learn things from those little minds instead of teaching them?

As a kid I believed in clouds and rainbows, I believed I was brave enough to conquer the world, to fly and to be free.  I also seriously believed that I had a hidden talent in understanding animal’s language.. Yes I did. I stayed hours with cats having conversations about life and death. I believed there was always a secrete door, I just needed to look for it harder, I believed I was strong enough to face the world. Suddenly all this believing stopped .. and I grew up! I learned to be afraid of tomorrow, and to never trust strangers, to doubt my own capabilities and skills and to stop asking questions. Yet they say growing up is the best part of life! We grow up and forget the best things we ever knew. We grow up to become boring and scared. We lose our simple selves and become a complicated work in progress. And even though we all secretly know this and long for the days we ran barefoot and laughed at silly jokes, we never  really admit it. We even help our kids grow up and we take them far, far away from that door of knowing and of miracles!

 

Why can’t we let our kids guide us, and show us the way again? Why can’t we learn from them to love and believe in each other again? Why don’t we let them teach us to laugh when we feel like it and to cry when we are sad? Why don’t we stop and look at the stars when they do? Why don’t we look at simple things and be amazed by them again?

 

I think we will learn greatly if we did!

 

Ouiam

 

World War 3!!

 

 

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At the park, two little boys playing cheerfully together, life is great… Oh wait what was that? Toddler number one snatched a toy from toddler number two, and world war three just erupted!

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A playdate going really well, till the little boy decides that sharing wasn’t good for him, and that toy is the one thing he’ll hold onto as if his life depended on that!

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  • “Honey, that toy was with your friend, you should give it back to him”
  • Nooooo!! Crying, screaming, kicking and again world war 3!

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You, your little angel, at another playdate, and this other toddler who keeps on snatching the toys from him! The first time you understood that these are kids and that’s what they do, the second time you run to your child with another toy hoping he’ll forget about the first one, the third time, you run to the other boy and ask gently yet firmly to give the toy back to your son, the forth and last time……. That’s it!!!You had enough! You take your son and it’s time to go back home!

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Who doesn’t know all the scenarios above, who hasn’t lived something similar at least once a week? I thought so! We all have been there. We might act and react differently but we all stress, think and overthink, panic, and maybe even get pissed!

 

I have been in so many of these situations, I have gone through all the above yucky feelings. I left playdates because I thought it was too much to handle, I stopped seeing some other moms because their kids were too …hmmm …too much to handle. Then one day and in the middle of one of those yucky situations, I thought “Hey sit back, relax and watch!” A boy took a toy that Adam was playing with, Adam took it back, the boy screamed, cried, pushed Adam away, and ran to his mama. The other mom looked at me as in “Aren’t you gonna do anything about it???!” I smiled and did exactly what she feared I would: NOTHING! Two seconds later, Adam brought the toy back, the other boy  smiled, and went on playing, singing and giggling! I wasn’t encouraging my son to be a mean boy, if that’s what you re thinking, No, I was letting him go through his battles on his own. He can talk, he can say what he wants/needs and so can the other little boy. When I get up, freak out, run to my son, I will mirror those feelings to him, he will think that it is a really big deal, because that’s exactly how I made him feel, while think about it, IT IS NOT! !

 

From that day forward, I try to stay comfortable as a mom and as a mirror to my son’s feelings. “Adam had the toy, the little boy has the toy now” no big deal. I don’t try to distract him, because that will only  mask the problem , it will not fix it. If he cries, then I acknowledge his feelings and give him space to explore his emotions.

 

So far so good, right? NOW the real problem I face is with the mothers not the kids. You see the kids get their strength from their moms (dads/caregiver), they follow their leaders (again: mom/dad/caregiver), so when I am calm, comfortable, and not stressed they react the same way. However, some other moms who lovingly always want to protect their little nuggets, might be a problem. The looks I get when I don’t interfere are horrifying! They might think that I am a bad mom and that I am not disciplining my child, while I am actually doing just the opposite; I am teaching my child and possibly the other child too, some very precious problem-solving skills. I am telling them that it is OK to figure out a solution to the problem by yourself. I am there to watch and guide only if they needed my help, things like “Do you need me to help you give the toy back?”, or if my son keeps on reaching for that toy: “I see you keep on reaching for that toy, so I am going to stop you” again calmly, nicely and without the hint of anger or judgment. I am there but I am chilled, and observing and most importantly ready.

 

The journey of these little human beings has just began. The world is a big scary place for them, they are frightened by all these new emotions they deal with every day. They are trying to grasp as much as they can but boy is it hard!! The learning process will never end, and in parenting there is no clear cuts, no right and wrong, but we try our best. Today it might work and you might think that you’re nailing it as a mom, then the next day might be the worst day ever. What has helped me tremendously is to always keep an open mind, try everything, even if I am not really convinced, and see what will happen… You will be surprised! When kids have the freedom to explore the world they become more independent and more confident and sometimes they take the lead and that’s fine too. I learn a lot from my son and every day with him is a teaching experience.

 

How about you? What kind of moms are you? How do you react in one of these situations? I would love to know!

 

Ouiam

Today Is Not The Day…

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Today is not the day! I pick up my laptop, stare at the blank page in front of me, and I see words jumping.. so many of them, I can’t really keep track! I think of the priest who was killed today by the 19 years old boy, and I don’t know whom should I feel bad for? The man who went to heaven, (regardless of who he was, he still was killed today), or the little boy who lived in hell and will remain in there for a while.

I think of change and how it is always good for you. Sometime it scares you, so you try to stay away, you push, you resist, because you don’t want to try new things, you don’t want to get out of your comfort zone, and most importantly you are scared to be rejected. A friend once told me that in life you will be rejected many many times, so make them count! But being rejected is not something you want to accept easily. It is not something we want at all! Rejection and the shame and guilt that follow are unwanted friends, who when they knock on your door, you switch off the lights, and you silence your phone, and you sit in the dark waiting for them to leave, thinking that you’re not home. How do you ever make peace with this awful friendship? That painful feeling of humiliation and distress? I say get a vaccine! Yes ! you know how they do it right, they inject you with a small dose of the same pathogen you are trying to protect yourself from, they might even do it multiple times to get it right. Well I say do the same thing with your fear of rejection! Put yourself in situations where you will get rejected (gently and smoothly), few times and Voila! Will it work? did I try it before? I don’t know, I haven’t and I am just sharing few thoughts in here!

 

I am also thinking of how the year has past and I have really managed not to buy anything I didn’t really need. OK let me explain to you; Last year I made a decision not to buy anything at all (unless I really really needed it), and this comes from an ex-shopaholic, who used to spend most – if not all- of her time checking out shops, malls, outlets, etc. So yes I did it! It has been more than a year and guess what? I feel great! I have never felt so light and so right at the same time.So while staring at the blank page in front of me, I smile, I give myself a high-five, and I promise myself to write a post about just this!

 

I think of the little things that go by unnoticed, yet tracked down by a child, who takes time to see the unseen and read between the lines, and when I say a child, I don’t only mean kids, I also mean those very few people who kept the child within and never grew old! The shadows and how fun they really are, the bread that looks like a pillow, the bird who is king somewhere, the stones that melted and told stories! You see I live with a child, or two, if you count the one I never let go of, even though I am thirty.

 

I think of how good change is for you… Oh wait I did think of that 2 minutes ago, so I go back to staring at the white page and I wait!

 

I think of the mother who carried her two dead children yesterday after a car crash, and my heart sinks! I think of the morons who drive like maniacs and I get upset! I think of the souls who said goodbye to loved ones because someone was having too much fun trying to shift gears and see how far they can go! I think of this sad world and where is it taking us, but I also think of the sun and the bright moon tonight! I think of the stars and the smiles and the laughters. I think of babies cooing somewhere, and women shedding tears of joy meeting their little angel for the first time. I think of  teenagers who passed their final exams and how bright their future seems to be. I think of God and how merciful he is!

 

But mostly…I think today is not the day to blog….. Or maybe it is…What do you think?

 

Ouiam