Firstly I think I should begin by introducing you all to my daughter formally. Until recently I’ve been reluctant to use her name online, I think as parants its natural for us to want to protect our children from EVERYTHING but at the same time share how wonderous and brilliant they are with the world and not expect any criticism or negative feedback. Whilst their every sneeze, poop and burp might mean the world to us, the rest of the world can probably do without it. With my daughter I also try not to share images of her online, I’m not sure if I never will but but for now while she is so young and has no say in the matter I’ve decided to only share snaps that are obscure and vague. So, my 17 month old daughter is called Aasiya Kalsoom Ahmed. Aasiya is named after one of the 4 greatest women of Islam (the other three being Mary (mother of Jesus), Khadija (wife of Muhammad [pbuh]) and Fatimah (daughter of Muhammad[pbuh]) and one of the first women to enter Paradise. Her middle name, Kalsoom, was my mothers name. I lost my mum to cancer in 2011 so it was really important to me that my daughter (and any other children I have) has some connection to my mother, now as she grows up I can tell her stories of two amazing women who will hopefully inspire and motivate her throughout her life. Her surname is her fathers!!
Aasiya turned 17 months on the 12 of October and as I keep saying, I’m genuinely shocked and surprised at how much she has grown and learnt in such a short space of time. If I compare myself to her I haven’t achieved anything while she’s learnt to communicate, to walk, to eat by herself… It’s amazing, babies and toddlers really are sponges for knowledge. Below are a few development points which I think might be of interest.
- Walking/ running – Aasiya has been mobile for a while now and seems to prefer walking independently to bring picked up. Even when we go out she likes to stroll alongside us rather than be in her buggy. Which actually is a point of contention for me because, like many parents we went out and bought a buggy (actually ours was gifted to us by my sister but we selected it) thinking it was an essential but in truth we’ve had very little use out of it. From when she was a baby I put her in the sling until I was too pregnant to wear her, maybe around 5 months. We have of course used the pushchair but she’s never really been happy in it. Given how big and expensive pushchairs are and how many accessories you need to buy for them, I just think we would have been better off with a small stroller rather than the monstrous house on wheels we ended up with. Anyway, I digress. Aasiya is also really confident going up stairs, which we obviously never let her do unsupervised, but she hasn’t learnt to go down yet and truthfully I’m not sure when or how we’ll come to that lesson.
- Eating – this might very well be Aasiya’s favourite thing in the world. As I’ve mentioned before I’ve adopted the baby led weaning approach with her and she’s taken to it like a fish to water! Our routine is usually breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and dinner. Her snacks are usually fruits or organic full fat yogurts, I don’t give her anything with too much sugar. The only times I do give her a biscuit or “treat” is when I have to coerce her to cooperate i.e. On a long car journey or if she needs to stay in her buggy!
- Sleeping – So this is no doubt going to be a contentious one. Aasiya sleeps in our bed. She’s been sleeping with us ever since she stopped using her Moses basket, initially it was out of ease, I had to get up and breastfeed her so many times it was just easier to do it in bed. As she got older and only had one nighttime feed, we just really liked sleeping with her and she didn’t want to go in her cot. Lots of mums I speak to are shocked by this and some tell me I’m just making life hard for myself when I do eventually have to move her out of our bed. Personally I had no problems with it. It’s not frowned upon in eastern cultures in the same way it is in the west and I tell myself when she is old enough to understand something i.e. Sleeping by herself, she might not like it but at least I can explain the reason behind it to her. Personally I don’t want her to cry for hours every night for a couple of weeks, as seems to be the method parents have to adopt. As far as sleeping goes, we usually go to bed around 8pm and she sleeps solidly until about 8.30pm, I’m very blessed that my daughter has always been a good sleeper (I wonder if it’s linked to her good eating?) she still takes two naps a day, one around 11am to 1pm and the other anytime after 3pm to around 5pm.
- Bathing – this is the thing I have the most issues with. Aasiya hates having a bath. No matter what I try she’ll resist it with all her might. I’ve never been the kind of mum who gives her baby a wash every night, we might bathe every 3rd or 4th day, but it’s always a fight and I’ve almost given up on washing her hair as she screams and cries until she’s breathless! Post baby I’m going to sign her up for swimming sessions and I hope that helps. We’ve never had an incident in the water that might have frightened her but one day around 13 months she decided she didn’t like having a bath and that was that! Has anyone else experienced this? If you have any advice on the matter I’d love to hear it.
- Communication – in our home we speak 3 languages, mostly English but I try and speak Urdu with Aasiya and her grandparents speak Bengali. Aasiya understands instructions in English and Urdu really well and says words in both languages. She hears less of the Bengali, as I don’t speak it, so it’s not as dominant but I would like her to learn it. She can follow simple simple instructions like “Can you please pass me a nappy” or “let’s go upstairs” or “let’s get dressed” to name a few and also says words like mama, baba, Khala (aunt in Urdu) as well as animal names and sounds. I want to introduce other languages such as French and Arabic but I’m not sure if it’s too soon for that. She is a very selective listener so if she doesn’t want to do something she’ll just pretend she can’t hear you. It’s kinda cute but I don’t want it to become a habit as its also rude! For example when she has a tantrum she throws things on the floor and when I ask her to pick it up she just ignores me until I say something like “or you won’t get any blueberries” at which point she’ll pick up what she’s dropped and give me a hug!
So that’s about all for now, if you have any questions or tips about any of the above please let me know in the comments below.