This week has been loaded with success stories and “firsts”, unfortunately not in regards to sleep, Idris is still miserable when it comes to that, but our (my) social life has certainly stepped up a gear.
Last weekend I went out ALONE to have dinner with my friends. I swear the 6 hours beforehand were super stressful and me and the husband were military level planning every small detail of the evening. He has never had the two of them alone (although my dad was there!) so it was a little daunting for him. He is always encouraging me to go out and do things but I haven’t really been comfortable leaving them, especially not for 3 hours like I did on Saturday. I can tell he was stressed as he was snapping at me but pretending he was nonplussed about the whole thing. It is hard work looking after a 19 month and a 12 week old, just changing nappies can give you white hair, trust me! He had to make dinner for himself and Aasiya and get them ready and into bed, which of course didn’t happen. When I came home just after 10pm Aasiya was still awake and playing with my iPad (we have a no technology rule for the children) and neither of them had had a nappy change or were bed ready. He was super flustered and when I commented on the iPad he said “when I’m looking after them its my rules”. I think I might go and watch the latest Star Wars movie this weekend, so he can have them for another 3 hours just so he gets more of an idea what my days are like.
On Tuesday we set out for another first: a nice meal in Central London followed by a trip to Tate Modern. My husband had the day off as it was his birthday so we decided to venture out and see what we could do with them both. My husband is one of those annoying people who insists on driving into Central London. Even though it would take less than half an hour to get to Covent Garden by train he’d rather take the car and then pay a ridiculous amount on parking. He also gets really stressed driving, especially if its a route he isn’t familiar with, as was the case in this instance. As it was his birthday I’d promised myself I’d be on my best behaviour and go along with everything he wanted to do, so we headed out in the car and as expected he had a few mini meltdowns: cyclists, white van men, central London drivers(!) all featured in his rants. Thankfully our babies were well behaved, they slept for the whole trip which was close to an hour. We actually had to force Aasiya to wake up in the restaurant (Dishoom) and Idris just kept on sleeping!
After lunch we headed back to the car and towards Tate Modern. We parked about a 15 minute walk away from the Tate and it was bitingly cold but again the children were really good. Idris was fast asleep in the sling and Aasiya in the pushchair. When we arrived Aasiya wanted to do some walking which seemed like a good idea as she’d spent most of the day sitting. Her new obsession is “art” so she was momentarily enthralled with the exhibition and then she realised how much space there was for her to run around and decided to make good use of it. Thankfully she wasn’t screaming or crying or disruptive for the most part and we managed to go around the whole exhibition, albeit faster than we might have without babies! As I’m a member we then went up to the members lounge for some cake – to celebrate our successful day out as much as Jay’s birthday.
I’m still a little undecided about how to proceed with the celebration of birthdays for my children. As Muslims its not really encouraged, so I don’t plan on having big birthday parties for them or get them lavish gifts. I want our celebrations to be around religious festivals, such as Eid and Ramadan. I don’t think its practical to not acknowledge birthdays, after all their friends in school and in their community will be celebrating, but I want to keep them as low key as possible. Gifts will be exchanged over Eid, birthdays will be more about having a nice family meal together. Thats the plan for now, lets see how it goes!
Anyway, the rest of the week has seen me staying indoors. The weather has been extremely cold and I don’t think its worth taking them out and risking them getting colds. We did our final first last night, family art time. We’ve decided that every week we will put aside an hour and do something together as a family. Not something like watching a movie but something that involves active participation from us all (minus Idris at this stage!). We got out our paints, and crayons for Aasiya, and sat on the table and just spent the next hour engaging, laughing and creating our masterpieces! No phones, no distractions. It was the best hour of the week. We’ve decided to make it a weekly thing, so we’ll be looking for fun family activities such as puzzles, games, crafts… if you have any suggestions I’d certainly welcome them.