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The Process of Learning

March 15, 2010

Prior to having Maya, I had never changed a diaper.  I’d also never opened a jar of baby food, held a baby for longer than five minutes, or had the slightest clue what to do with a crying child.  I guess you could say that I was born without that motherly instinct.  I was always too afraid of vomit, sticky fingers, and crying to really form a bond with the few kids that I interacted with.  So it goes without saying that when Maya came along I was VERY unprepared.

The first time I held Maya I had no clue what to do with her.  I looked at her and saw this bright red, angry little stranger who wouldn’t.stop.crying.  I started crying too, and I can assure you they weren’t tears of joy.  They were more of the, “Holy s@#$ what on earth am I going to do now?” variety. 

Despite a lot of screaming (Maya), a lot of Baby Einstein (Maya), and many, many breakdowns (me), we both made it to the six month mark alive.  And believe me when I say I was eagerly counting down because everyone told me things would start getting easier at six months.  In some ways things did get better – Maya was more interactive and slept for slightly longer stretches of time.  I also hired a nanny and went back to work, which if I’m being 100% honest, was the best decision for both of us.  But things continued to be difficult because Maya still wouldn’t.stop.crying!!

And then Maya turned one and she started sleeping for six to eight-hour stretches. Things were immediately a lot better for everyone involved. 

As one year quickly turned into two…and then three:

The crying tapered off and sleep wasn’t so elusive anymore.  With both of us well rested, Maya and I actually started to bond.

We found we had a few things in common, namely our short tempers, our lack of rhythm, and our frizzy hair:

And as time went on I found myself actually learning from my own child. 

She taught me it’s okay not to care if other people think you are nuts:

She taught me it is okay to wear trashy T-shirts and to mix pink and red with no long-lasting repercussions:

And she taught me that cleaning up vomit isn’t the worst thing in the world:

But most of all she’s taught me that while neither of us have all the answers, we are doing okay figuring things out as we muddle along.  After all, we’ve somehow made it through five years already…whats another few decades or so?

Happy Birthday Maya!!

51 Comments leave one →
  1. March 15, 2010 7:32 pm

    Happy Birthday Maya. May you both continue to have a wonderful relationship as the years roll by!

  2. Caroline permalink
    March 15, 2010 7:51 pm

    Aw Happy 5th Birthday Maya!!

  3. ayesha permalink
    March 15, 2010 7:57 pm

    aaawww…how beautiful is the bond between a mother and child– and even more so a mother and daughter and how we learn so much from the most innocent of souls, our children. Happy 5th Maya. 🙂

  4. Aimee permalink
    March 15, 2010 8:03 pm

    Ameena! My name is Aimee-I’m a 20 year old Indian (but American) girl and I just wanted to let you know that I’m loving your blog. You’re hilarious and I’m king of looking up to you haha I think we’re really similar. I think your writing is phenomenal and that you and your daughter are gorgeous. ❤

  5. Aimee permalink
    March 15, 2010 8:03 pm

    kind* sorry

  6. Kyle permalink
    March 15, 2010 9:59 pm

    This post was so sweet! You make motherhood sound a little less scary – I think i’ve held a baby for about 20 minutes at one time in my life so I guess i’ll be a little ahead of the game! lol. Thanks Ameena – i’m catching up on the last couple weeks & enjoying my night reading about your recent adventures 🙂

  7. March 15, 2010 10:19 pm

    this post brings tears to my eyes, of joy, for your transformation and for your relationship with her.

    thanks for your email; i wouldnt say i am hard on myself per se but i always want to do the best but am also able to let go when i know i cant or for whatever reason x choice is not practical.

    i was born with no maternal instinct. til i held skylar, put her to breast, life clicked and turned on for me. for the first time ever. i kid you not. but our first year was so hard. colic, sleepless nights, nursing round the clock, you name it, it was sooo hard. the best of times and the worst of times as they say…but like you, it’s so amazing now that they’re older 🙂

  8. Danielle permalink
    March 15, 2010 10:23 pm

    Aw I loved this 🙂
    “She taught me it is okay to wear trashy T-shirts and to mix pink and red with no long-lasting repercussions” <– haha pink and red don't go together? I'm fashion-illiterate.

  9. March 15, 2010 10:26 pm

    aw this is the sweetest post!! happy birthday to maya! she is lucky to have such a great mama. i know she’ll be a fiesty young lady :). i’ve been changing diapers since i was six (can you say child labor?!?) so at least i’ll have that covered if i ever pop out a kid of my own

  10. March 15, 2010 10:26 pm

    Loved it. Maya is such a cute baby and I love the things yall have in common – haha!

  11. March 15, 2010 10:46 pm

    Ameena, I related so much to what you say in this post, it was like you were really talking about me. I felt a little lost in the ‘Mothering’ department, too. My Debbie is 2.5 years old, and I still feel lost sometimes. Good to know that people like you are there to share your know-how!!

    And, Happy Birthday sweet Maya! Hope you have many more… 🙂

  12. March 15, 2010 11:05 pm

    Happy birthday to Maya! My girl has shown me many aspects of motherhood I did not know. Before having her I thought being a good aunty would have prepared me for the motherhood and I had a lot of confidence goung in. Oh was I wrong – I could not say “It was really fun and now go back to your mother.” Thank you for this post!

  13. March 15, 2010 11:45 pm

    Oh my dear Ameena,aint this absolutely cute and so dang precious….thru all this i wanna hold a daughter if my own soon…..but i aint married but it will soon be time for me walk the aisle someday:-)))))
    I love ur writing too as muc as muc as ur daughter ……

  14. Incandescent Chimera permalink
    March 16, 2010 2:00 am

    MashAllah, you’re both very beautiful. Happy Birthday Maia!!!

  15. March 16, 2010 3:15 am

    Happy Birthday Maya!

    Wow, Ameena. I think that is the best post-delivery photo I have ever seen of ANYONE! You looked great! 🙂 (still look great, of course).

    In my opinion, one of the most important things to learn in life is to come at terms with who you are and not care what other people think. So many people I know live their lives in fear of what other people think… it seems so wasteful!

  16. March 16, 2010 3:27 am

    Ameena, this is such a beautiful post! The bond between a mother and daughter is priceless! I’m so excited to continue to grow that bond with my daughter 🙂

  17. March 16, 2010 4:22 am

    Aww, this post brought tears to my eyes! Happy Birthday Maya!!!!

  18. March 16, 2010 4:51 am

    Happy Birthday to a beautiful little girl

  19. March 16, 2010 4:52 am

    What a proud momma! They grow up so fast…happy birthday to the little one 🙂

  20. March 16, 2010 5:03 am

    happy birthday to your beautiful daughter! my mom always said that my birthday was really her birthday too because without her, I wouldnt be here hahaah

    I am so happy for you and your family and enjoy the day!

  21. March 16, 2010 5:28 am

    Such a beatuiful, beautiful post… I’m in awe of your powerful reflections.

    Happy Birthday to lovely Maya – y’all are both SO gorgeous!!

  22. March 16, 2010 5:33 am

    Your daughter is so beautiful! I loved this post. And yea, cleaning up vomit isn’t always that bad 🙂

  23. March 16, 2010 5:44 am

    Oh my… what a beautiful post, Ameena! I don’t have much experience with babies either… I love them, but if someone handed me one, I wouldn’t really know what to do with it. That being said, I definitely want a family one day but the first few months scare the crap out of me…

  24. March 16, 2010 5:50 am

    Wow, I can’t believe how much Maya looks like Maya even as a baby. This was such a wonderful post because even handling my nephews I fear I’m going to break one. Who knew kids were so resilient?

    Happy Birthday, Maya!

  25. March 16, 2010 5:53 am

    Such a beautiful post!!!
    Happy Bday to the gorgeous Maya!

  26. March 16, 2010 6:12 am

    Oh this was a sweet post… I don’t think many of us really realize what its like being mom until you are a mom… now that you are an expert maybe Maya needs a lil bro or sis? 😉

    Has she started asking for one or is she happy being the only princess? I started my lil baby sis right after my 5th birthday 😉 She was Born the following year in August (my b-day is in July)

    • March 16, 2010 8:38 am

      Maya has asked for a sibling many times but I just tell her that she’ll have to share her toys and change dirty diapers and then she usually says she doesn’t want a brother or sister anymore. 🙂

  27. March 16, 2010 6:21 am

    Happy Birthday to that darling girl!!! And I think no one is ever truly prepared for motherhood. Knowing how to change a diaper or any “tricks” aren’t what motherhood is about. I can definitely tell you care for her and I’m sure she knows it too. That is what matters. 🙂

  28. March 16, 2010 6:59 am

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAYA! oh what a beautiful post Ameena. Motherhood is such a wonderful learning process. And the sweet innocence of a child is priceless. I’m still learning so much from my kiddies 😉

  29. March 16, 2010 7:14 am

    Ameena, this post actually made me tear up. Happy birthday to your beautiful girl! And what a wonderful post, too. I have all these massive fears about my inability to connect with kids, but like I’ve said before, if I’m even half as good at is as you are, I’ll be a-okay!

  30. March 16, 2010 7:37 am

    Happy 5th, Maya!

    I love this post. When the time comes for me I’m sure I’ll feel unprepared as well, but you seem like such a great mother, Ameena! Everything has a learning curve and takes experience to master. Your family is so lovely.

  31. March 16, 2010 7:44 am

    Your lovely ladies both of you! I was reading your post…thinking about my oldest daughter…I wish she was five. Last night she texted me a picture of her getting a tattoo and as I felt a panic wave over me…I visualized her as a small child…when she hung on my every word. You hang on to these days…they go by so fast.

  32. March 16, 2010 8:26 am

    Love this! Especially since you were not the “baby making kind” and how you learned to be a great mom……You are so real-love that about you 🙂
    And Happy Birthday Maya! Of course she is wonderful-she is a fellow Pisces!

  33. March 16, 2010 8:29 am

    I love this post! You are so real…..I love how you learned to be a mom as you went…..
    Happy Birthday Maya-of course she is wonderful-she is a fellow Picses!

  34. March 16, 2010 8:38 am

    Very Sweet! Aren’t we all just a work in progress.

    Happy B-day Princess Maya!

  35. March 16, 2010 8:39 am

    What a sweet post! I’ve always doubted my own ability to be a mom because I never had that maternal instinct. I think it’s beautiful that you’ve developed such a bond with Maya. And I think your honesty about the difficulty in those beginning months is refreshing. Everyone likes to think that having kids is all roses and rainbows, but it’s hard, especially for women who aren’t really in touch with that motherly side at first. She’s a beautiful girl and is lucky to have such a smart, funny mom to chronicle all of this! Does she know you blog? Will you let her read it one day?

  36. whydeprive permalink
    March 16, 2010 9:04 am

    What a great post!! Maya is just so pretty! She is also very lucky to have you as a mom (and I really mean that).

    Happy Birthday Maya!

  37. onelittlejill permalink
    March 16, 2010 11:02 am

    I love this post!

    I am the oldest of 27 cousins but I even I worry how I will eventually be as a mother. I think all women do. Your blog is very real and I really appreciate that!

    • March 16, 2010 1:53 pm

      Thank you Jill! I appreciate your kind words…sometimes I wonder if I am too honest so it is nice to hear that some people don’t think so!

  38. louisianagrown permalink
    March 16, 2010 11:49 am

    Happy Birthday Maya! If everyone had to know exactly how to handle children to give birth, there’d be very few kiddos running around. I can’t wait to learn from my children one day. 🙂

  39. March 16, 2010 12:12 pm

    omg all those pictures are amazing. i am grinning right now 🙂 happy birthday maya

  40. March 16, 2010 1:16 pm

    I love this post!! Maya is such a lucky little girl and you are such a lucky mama!! Love it!! 🙂 Happy Birthday, Maya!! 🙂

  41. March 16, 2010 1:52 pm

    omg, that was so sweet! you are a wonderful mom and the birthday girl is lucky to have you.
    may you both continue to learn from one another for many years to come!

  42. March 16, 2010 3:05 pm

    u amaze me. not only are u a hard worker and talented writer…but a mom. that is something i cannot even fathom. i can barely take care of myself!!

  43. March 16, 2010 3:10 pm

    What a sweet post! Both you and Maya are absolutely stunning! I love how you learned stuff from Maya as she grew…my niece also mixes red and pink and somehow pulls it off looking gorgeous! 😉

  44. March 16, 2010 3:15 pm

    aw how sweet! happy birthday to maya!!

  45. March 16, 2010 5:17 pm

    Wow, your daughter is adorable. Happy birthday to her. My son just turned 4 on Saturday.

    I never changed a diaper or did anything baby like before my son was born either. We’re doing just fine.

  46. actorsdiet permalink
    March 16, 2010 6:27 pm

    aw that was so sweet! i’ve never seen someone look quite so gorgeous right after giving birth!

  47. Ali permalink
    March 16, 2010 6:30 pm

    Can’t let this one go by without Wishing Maya a Happy Birthday (cha cha cha)!

  48. Anjum permalink
    March 17, 2010 4:45 am

    Reading this almost made me cry…Nice to walk down memory lane with your kids. Wait until you do it again when they are 18 and leave for college!

  49. Nadia permalink
    March 17, 2010 3:12 pm

    very sweet ameena…maya is going to look back at these with the biggest smiles. i luv that we’ve been thru the whole process together, from birth to her 5th bday…amazing. these pics are so precious, loved the progression:) tons of puppies to the big bday girl!!

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