Things have definitely changed since my last post. Before now it was practically impossible to find time to write because of the following:
I am having the typical reaction of daughter-in-laws, and I am super paranoid. I feel like everything I am doing is being judged. I am very tired, emotionally and physically. I just want to relax, sit down, go back to my old schedule.
There are many things that I let my children do that I considered normal, such as crawling around on the kitchen floor when I am cooking, or going without a diaper for potty-training. Unfortunately, according to Ma, these things are not acceptable. When I try to explain why, or tell her it is okay, she does not understand, and will not stop telling me to do something until I do it. And the list of things that she does not like is very, very long. Not only that, the minute that she finds some use for me, she will call my name, and continue calling it (frantically) until I come to her, even if I say please hold on one second. I know these things are cultural differences. The only problem is that I was overwhelmed taking care of 2 children. Now I have another person to care for, who happens to be diabetic and very different from myself, with different expectations.
A few days after she arrived, we went to walk at the local garden. It was very beautiful and fun. I really wanted to take her to a restaurant so that she could try some food other than Bangladeshi food. My friend offered to take us out to Mexican Village. Very good food, interesting decorations, I thought it would be a fun experience, maybe a little exciting for her. I asked my husband what to order for her and we waited for her food. She even munched on the chips & salsa and ordered a diet soda, and that made me feel confident she was enjoying herself. Well, her food came out, she took one bite, and then promptly pushed her plate away from her. I felt so sad. This is the big shocker though:
I actually started crying. In the middle of the restaurant. In front of my friend, the waitress and everyone. I was so horrified, but I couldn't stop. I felt so upset that I was trying so hard, and yet nothing was right. All I have wanted to do for the past few weeks is crawl into a hole and hide. I want to sleep. I want to relax. But I also want to make her happy, and I cannot even do that. I took my diabetic mother, who needed to eat, to a restaurant where she didn't even like the rice. I felt so selfish.
Well, now some time has passed. I actually wrote all of the above the day that it happened, but it has been 3 weeks since then. Things are pretty good when my husband is home, but the second he leaves I think that Shaytan takes a hold of me or something. I feel so angry. I found out that she really is only understanding about 10% of what I say, if that. And she never tells me that she doesn't understand. She just say "ha" and then continues what she is doing. The other day we were walking around the neighborhood, and my husband was on the phone. She asked me "What is this?" and she pointed across the road at some orange fencing which appeared to be a construction site. "Construction," I said, very slowly. She said "Ahhh," like she understood. I felt satisfied that we had communicated. The second my husband finished his phone call, she asked him what it was. He said "construction." She understood him.
Things like that are really getting to me. According to her, I cut the onion wrong, I stir things wrong, I grab the wrong pan, I hang her clothes to dry wrong, I cut the lime wrong, etc.... Everything that I do she does over or comes and at least takes a very close look at it, inspecting for any flaws. I know that she is not a bad person, in fact when my husband can translate for us, I feel very warm and toasty feelings towards her. But our inability to communicate on our own is making my life miserable. I guess I just feel like my husband did not bother to warn me about any of these things. I have been hearing about this woman for 3 years. For 3 years I have been hearing about how she is very independent, very sweet, and soft. How she will come here and help me with the children. How she will be a big relief to me. But instead I feel like another person walked off of that plane, a person that I have never heard of.
She calls me to come from the other side of the apartment to turn on the stove for her. She also calls me to turn it down or up. Every time! (by the way it is an electric stove) If I am in the middle of a task that she gave me, she will start asking for something frantically, so that I have to stop what I am doing to get that thing for her, and then she will just set it down and wont even use it for 10 minutes. Very frustrating. This happens all day long. She will tell me to do one thing, and then tell me to do another thing right in the middle of that thing, all the while I cannot sit down except to feed my daughter a bottle. She refuses to eat dinner before 9 o'clock, and most of the time it is closer to 11 before she will eat. My children's schedule is completely messed up because now they stay up until after she is done eating because I cannot get them to bed while I am busy cooking her dinner for her. A is no longer potty training because the week that my husband was gone, Ma made me put a diaper on her all of the time. After he returned, he explained to her what we were doing, but now A just pees all over the floor. She is not even interested in going potty on the toilet. By the way, we were pretty much done with daytime training before Ma came. So many things are so frustrating.
I could go on and on and on and on, but I will stop here for the sake of my soul. But please do not get me wrong, I do have good feelings for her, it is just hard to be alone with her. My husband is trying to work on these things with her, and I am trying to be very patient.
If anyone has any advice on my situation, please let me know.
By the way, (although it should be my first line) Ramadan Kareem!!!!
P.S. Does anyone know about diabetics and fasting? My husband has said that Ma is determined to fast, but I feel like it is very dangerous.
Things have definitely changed since my last post. Before now it was practically impossible to find time to write because of the following:
It is so strange that no matter how much a person tries to prepare themselves for a certain situation in their lives, they can never truly know what it is like until they experience it. This is so true for me in every major event in my life. Some realities have proven more challenging then others. Take for instance, marriage, having 2 children very close together, and currently, the arrival of my mother-in-law.
Alhamdulillah, she is fantastic! She is so sweet, and I must say, I did not know that people came in that size!!!! LOL. When she stands, she does not even reach past my shoulders, and I am only 5' 4" tall! Masha'Allah! A loves her and now she runs around the house screaming "DADU!!!"(Bangla for 'Grandma on your father's side') I call her 'Ma', so from now on, I will refer to her as Ma, insha'Allah. ('Abbu' is father, so I will refer to my husband's father as 'Abbu') Her English is much better then I expected. I guess it is always different when you are speaking with someone face-to-face. I believe that we are doing pretty well for ourselves on the communication front. I usually speak very quickly, but I am learning to slow down and pronounce my words clearly. I am also learning to stop using slang like 'gonna.' Also, I tend to say some words wrong. Maybe it is the 'Minnesota' accent. I say 'ta' instead of 'to' and I usually don't pronounce most 'T's. But I am trying very hard to speak proper English so that she can understand. I think that this is very good for me, because people have been telling me for a long time that I speak too fast. So, whenever I am trying to convey a message, I say everything at least 3 times in 3 different ways, until I see that 'light bulb' go off in her head, and then I know she understands. Side note: It really bothers me when people that don't speak English very well will say they understood something when they did not. I realize that it might be embarrassing, or frustrating to have to constantly ask again, but what if it was really important? My husband and I had an experience like this recently with someone and something that needed to get done did not. I am happy to try and explain things again, but I cannot always tell if someone understood everything.
Moving on. So everything is going well, although I was not prepared for taking care of her. I don't know why, but for some reason I thought that she was going to come and be this huge relief for me with the girls, but instead, she is another person for me to take care of. I am not complaining though. Alhamdulillah, I want to make her sooo happy and I love getting things for her, and I love to see her sitting and relaxing. It is a little stressful, but I think it is worth it. The main thing is that now I am having to adjust my whole expectations on how this was going to be. I thought I would be able to get a part-time job, and feel comfortable leaving my children with someone who loves them and would share the same values as I do. Now I realize that might not be possible. I will have to stay and make sure that she is fed and takes her insulin, takes a shower, drinks enough water, etc. Again, not complaining, just making adjustments. I cannot wait for my husband's return on Saturday. I would like to get into a routine, and figure out all of the things that work for us.
When Ma was leaving Bangladesh, Abbu, my husband's brother and his wife and daughter accompanied her to the airport. I heard from my husband that Abbu was crying when she left. I think that is so cute! (hopefully I don't sound mean) I just think that after being married for almost 40 years, they have not been away from each other for more then 2 weeks, and they love each other so much. My father-in-law is usually so stern and serious. In all of the pictures I have seen, he is never smiling. He always looks very proud and noble, and very much like a no-nonsense type of guy. Well, to hear of him reacting like that melted my heart. When Ma was able to call back to Bangladesh Tuesday morning, she was talking to Abbu and I could hear that the moment he picked up the phone, she started crying. I could here all of the love in her voice, also all of the pain and fear that she was experiencing, being so far from home and family.
Well, it is getting very late, and I need to get to bed, so I will end here.
P.S. Within a week, I think that Z's first tooth will poke through, insha'Allah.
I am feeling so abandoned! There is so much to do, and I cannot seem to get anything done. Today I was getting sooo frustrated with the girls. A was being so rebellious and she woke Z from her nap by sneaking into the room, standing next to the crib and screaming at the top of her lungs. I was so angry! This morning was not so fun. Z woke up extra early today, and I tried to get her to go back to sleep with me, but she was so wound up, plus Sakeena was in such a playful mood that it was practically impossible to sleep. 2 1/2 hours later, she was finally ready to sleep and the instant I put her in the crib, A woke up. About 30 minutes later, A woke up Z! I think I was just agitated from the stress of current events, and that is making it really hard to cope with being alone with girls. I will be so relieved when my husband returns, insha'Allah.
Onto other things. I found a journal of mine from 2000-2001. Keep in mind when I talk about this, I am only 22. This journal is from when I was 14 and 15 years old. That time in my life was so chaotic, and reading my thoughts was like being in the Twilight Zone. I was such a small child, and reading the things I wrote made me so sad. For instance, here is an entry:
-I feel HOPELESS. I feel HELPLESS. Like nobody is listening to what I am saying and nobody cares if I cry. I feel I am being punished for a crime I never committed and that even though I am devoting all of my time into sobriety, nothing is coming out of all this hard work. Now my only wish is to GET WHERE I'M GOING AND STAY THERE. For the past three years I have been juggled all over the place. Now all I want to do is stay clean and sober and find a place where I am loved, a HOME. There is this constant empty space where my FAMILY should be. -
There is much more that really disturbed me, but I guess maybe it is just a little too personal. But basically, I was a very troubled teenager, and my parents were going through an extremely messy divorce. I ended up in treatment, group homes, and eventually foster homes. One part of another entry really stuck out. I was writing about how I really wanted to live with my aunt, and I wrote:
-Why can't I stay with her? I know we'd have rough spots, but then again everybody has them. We'd always work through them. I PROMISE.-
I was so desperate and devastated that I was promising my journal. I was lacking parental guidance and love so much. Reading this journal stirred up a lot of feelings about my parents. When I start to think about the things that happened to me, I feel so angry. I cannot believe that a parent would be able to do that to their child! I thought that I had made amends with past, but lately I feel like a great injustice was done to me and I have been wondering if it might be the reason that I am so messed up now. Who knows. I just don't know how to work through all of this animosity.
You know, I feel I am still searching for a home...
My husband is gone! Well, at least for a couple of weeks. He went to Kentucky for his work. It was really interesting and enjoyable to see him so excited this afternoon while we were on our way to the airport. He looked like a little boy, so innocently happy.
My mother-in-law is coming on Monday from Bangladesh for the first time. She has never left Bangladesh, and has definitely never flown on a plane before. Also she does not speak very much English. You are probably wondering why my husband went to Kentucky when his mother (who he has not seen in 3 years) is coming. Well, he said it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. At first, I was very angry. But then I realized that I couldn't control what he chooses to do, and that I would have to learn to handle some things on my own. I guess that I am trying to be positive so that I can prove to myself and him that I can handle stressful situations. See, I am easily upset. I have to have everything go a certain way. I love routine and plans, and when things change, or if they get slightly difficult, I tend to 'freak out.' Well, I am going to try very hard to be as calm as I can be. I am hoping that my girls will help to diffuse the situation by creating an instant bond between us. I guess I am just wondering what we are going to do for an entire week by ourselves. I feel like it is going to be so awkward. But my husband assures me that without him there to be our 'buffer', we will work things out by ourselves and that will be better for us in the long run. I certainly hope so, because she is staying for at least 6 months, maybe even one year.
I must admit that I am slightly confused at why my hubby would want to leave at this time. I would be so excited to see my mommy! It seems so selfish and immature. (I told him that I feel this way) But to each his own, I guess.
I think I am super nervous, and there is still so much to do around the house to prepare for her arrival. We have been trying to get things done, but unfortunately, my husband and I are both procrastinators. There are many things that I will have to skip in order to complete absolutely necessary things in time. That seems to be the norm around here. It is a huge frustration. I cannot seem to accomplish anything, and if I do, it is usually last minute, and is not as thorough as it should be. Oh, well. Too late now.
Some good news: Z clapped for the first time this week! She is so cute, masha'Allah. She tries to put her tiny hands up above her head, but her chubby upper arms (and body in general) inhibit her a bit. But she reaches as high as she can and triumphantly thrusts her hands together, one going right past the other, missing every other time. I love that munchkin so much. Since I started her on formula, her personality really shines, and I have finally been able to form a deep bond with her. I think the stress of almost constant crying really inhibited my ability to truly bond with her. Alhamdulillah, now I feel so happy!!!
And with that...
Masha'Allah, my babies are growing so fast!
My oldest daughter, A, turns 22 months today. I cannot believe that she will be 2 years old soon! My youngest, Z, will be eight months old next week! In her first 2 months of life, she gained a lot of weight and looked very chubby, masha'Allah. But slowly (or rather quickly maybe) she started shriveling away in front of my eyes. I could not figure out what was wrong with her. She was eating so much, and yet she was crying all of the time. Those months of my life were some of the worst. Finally, I took her to see a different Pediatrician, who asked me a few simple questions, and as she asked them, the wheels started turning in my head. I realized what was going on. Then she said it. "Well it seems to me that your milk has dried up." And suddenly it seemed so obvious, I couldn't believe that I had not figured it out myself. She had been eating so much solid food to make up for the lack of breast milk. She had been eating pureed vegetables and fruits, cereal, and yogurt. I guess that her tiny and immature digestive system couldn't process the nutrients in that food, and so she was eating enough to maintain her weight, but not enough to grow any. At that doctors visit she was 6 months old and she only weighed 10 lbs. (She was 7 lbs, 4 oz at birth) I was horrified that I could let this happen to my sweet, sweet girl. What kind of mother was I? The doctor assured me that it wasn't my fault and that Z's suck wasn't strong enough to stimulate production. And it is true. Z would get very frustrated while breastfeeding. She would latch on, then as soon as the gush of the let-down would subside, she would stop sucking and cry. I guess she thought she was too much of a princess to work for her food. :) Well I started her on formula, much to my dismay, and she gained 3 lbs in two weeks! Alhamdulillah!!!!! Now she is so chubby and adorable! During those months of 'starvation' her development was basically on hold. She wasn't verbalizing other then crying, and she could barely roll over. Since formula, she is sitting up, crawling, pulling herself up to standing, and she is beginning to cruise around furniture. She calls me "mama", and she also says "Baba." She is always smiling and laughing, (although she still wants to be held all of the time) and I feel like walking is not so far away! It is so amazing.
Alhamdulillah for the beautiful girls in my life. May Allah allow me to raise them to be good muslimahs, so that they can in turn raise good muslimahs. Ameen.
So this is my attempt to join this world of bloggers, but I really have no idea what I am doing or what I have to say. I only know that something in my heart is telling me that this could be beneficial and even therapeutic for me, so I am going to surrender myself to it.
First let me start by saying that I am a revert to Islam (4 years now) alhamdulliah. I have been married for three years to a man from Bangladesh and we have two wonderful girls that are 14 months apart and both under 2. I am finding that as much as I yearned to have children, I am so much of a child myself that I fear that I am doing irreversible damage to my sweet babies. Maybe I am too hard on myself, but this is what I feel in my heart. I have a temper and I am very stubborn, Allah forgive me. I find it very hard to control myself and I give in to so many urges and it has become a great cause for concern.
I feel so strange writing all of this. When I was younger, I used to keep very extensive journals, and they were my prized possessions. I loved those journals so much and, looking back, it may have been because they served as an element of order in a world full of chaos. Well, it has been a number of years since I have written anything. I have greatly desired to take up writing again, but I would just sit and stare, empty thoughts, or maybe too many thoughts, but nonetheless, they never translated on to the page.
Well, now I feel inspired, but I must admit, those journals that I kept would never have been public domain. But here I am, letting you in, hoping for something, someone to help me sort out this mess that I am in. I need peace. Allah knows that I have tried to find peace in my heart, but to no avail. My main problem is iman. I am severely lacking in that department. I feel my heart breaking when I say this, but with everything that has happened to me lately, I am feeling ungrateful. That is so horrible, Allah forgive me. I will go into more detail about my current events in a later post, insha'Allah.
Blah, blah, blah.... Bottom line is: I need help. I need Allah's help, I need to help myself, etc.
Whatever this blog brings into my life, insha'Allah, I hope it helps me become a better person.
Until next time,