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Hunger Pains Are Easily Dismissed

September 4, 2010

Many of you have asked how I manage to get through 15 hours without eating during the month of Ramadan.  It’s hard of course, but after a while you learn to employ a few tricks to make things more manageable. 

1. Think of a food or food-related situation that makes you cringe.  Just the other day, for example, I visited Fogo de Chao with Ali and my brother.  For those of you unfamiliar with a churrascaria, Fogo is basically a omnivore’s heaven.  Waiters bring around slabs of meat and you keep chewing until you think you’ve eaten enough to justify $65.  Or until you feel like throwing up – whatever comes first.


It’s been about a week since I witnessed Ali and my brother put away 5 lbs of red meat each and I am still recovering.  The silver lining is that the minute I think about the various dead cows that appeared at the dinner table my hunger pangs *poof* disappear. 

2. Distract yourself with the fact that your child is well on her way to a life of crime.  I was washing Maya’s germ-infested lunchbox yesterday, just thinking about how great an order of McDonald’s beef-powder encased, sodium-laden, sugar-dusted fries would taste when all of a sudden I saw this: 


Yes, Sticky-Fingers Maya is at it again.  Despite the fact that she has no less than 200 crayons she is stealing more from school and is using her innocent Hello Kitty lunchbox as a vessel for her dirty habit. 

“Maya, why are you taking crayons and putting them in your lunchbox?  You have a million crayons right here.”

“Well Mama, I don’t have those colors.” 

I guess yellow, green, and blue are more unique than I originally thought. 

3. Let your guilty conscience consume you.  Apparently there was a summer camp show at Maya’s school yesterday but I somehow missed the memo.  Not only did I miss Maya doing Jazz Hands but per Maya I was the only person in the entire world who missed Maya doing Jazz Hands. 

“Every single mom and dad was there except you Mama.  There must have been thousands of moms and dads but I couldn’t find you anywhere.” 


This one will haunt me far after Ramadan is over.  Consider me scarred for life.

58 Comments leave one →
  1. September 4, 2010 7:26 am

    sounds like you have a plan for getting through ramadan. i’m impressed. but don’t beat yourself up over not being at mayas jazz hands. it happens to every parent (granted i’m not a parent but mine missed lots of events and i turned out fine)

    what happens when ramadan is over? does it feel “weird” to eat lots of food again? or does your body get really used to fasting?

    • September 4, 2010 9:15 pm

      The last day of Ramadan is this Thursday, so by Friday 10am I will feel sick and gross from eating breakfast. And I won’t want to look at food for the rest of the day. 🙂 It definitely takes a while to get my appetite back. I’d say after a week or so things are back to normal.

  2. September 4, 2010 7:37 am

    ditto to the above! My dad was NEVER at any of my performances or events and I am just fine 🙂
    That is funny about Maya taking the crayons- I would have taken those Lakeshore pastels too! Those are like gold to a child!
    I once took a piece of a board game from school when I was around that age, and my mom made me take it back and apologize to my teacher… My sister on the other hand prefers to find small rocks from the playground, wrap them in napkins or toilet paper, and fill the pockets of her backpack with them…

  3. September 4, 2010 8:02 am

    I couldn’t even imagine not eating for that long! I live for my food and when I don’t have it I wilt away…..

    and I am Frickin Cranky!

    Awww Maya…I used to do that too 😐 School always had the best pink that I didn’t have at home 😉


  4. September 4, 2010 8:05 am

    Oh my – the crayons in the lunch box! I found broken crayons in the jacket and pant pockets before and asked my daughter why she took them from school. Her answers were the same as Maya’s. Somehow grass is greener on the other side – crayons are prettier when they are not in the home crayon box with 200 others. My daughter thinks if she wants it she gets it. Did Ali and your brother observe Ramadan fasting too?

    • September 4, 2010 9:12 pm

      Ali decided not to participate in Ramadan this year although my brother is fasting. Not willingly, but he’s doing it anyway. 🙂

  5. September 4, 2010 8:18 am

    I made my Dad so guilty once, he missed my annual day dance. I still give him a hard time about missing it!

  6. September 4, 2010 8:24 am

    I’m glad you’re getting through somewhat ok! Keep up the good work!!

    And yeah- I went to a Brazilian steakhouse once where they came around with meat on a spick. At first, I was like, “oh cool! I’ll get to try all this good food” and after a while, “uh… I cannot digest any more meat…uuuhhhh”

  7. September 4, 2010 8:24 am

    Those restaurants with all the meat…I’ve been to one once and I loved it! Definitely a place where overeating can happen but it’s so good. Not for a non meat eater of course though!!

  8. September 4, 2010 8:42 am

    Ok, so I sheepishly admit that I WISH one of those all you can eat meat places was nearby. They could only put away 5 pounds??? 🙂

    With regard to the jazz hands, yes, your daughter will remind you of it for a while, especially if she wants something. She will, however, not remember whether you were there or not when she’s older. I was in band and for the life of me I don’t remember if my parents came. I just remember wishing I didn’t have to be there.

    Oh, I do remember being a cow in a nativity play and they were there, but that’s because my mom made the costume. 🙂

  9. Michelle permalink
    September 4, 2010 8:56 am

    Oooh. I can easily see how you can put hunger pains away when you watch people put away that much meat! Ack!

  10. September 4, 2010 9:57 am

    Aww, Ameena, I’ll be totally honest with you and say I don’t know what it feels like to miss a school performance of my children’s cause they’re not in school yet, but as a mom I do know how bad you must’ve felt. Sometimes moms just need to be reminded by other moms that we are not superhuman. As hard as we try, there will be things that slip by us and we have to (as I know you will) try to make up for it and then move on and not keep kicking ourselves. With the other million things going on in our minds, one or two little slips is only human. Huge hugs, dear! Please don’t kick yourself too hard. Take advantage of the weekend and treat the both of you to something nice that you can enjoy together, maybe a trip to the mall or park? 😀 Hope you guys have a wonderful weekend!

  11. September 4, 2010 10:16 am

    Hate those brazilian places! And love the life of crime! But 15 hours? You are a better woman than I!

  12. September 4, 2010 10:18 am

    Hilarious! I can’t believe Maya took those crayons.. But she does have a right to, if you as a parent aren’t fulfilling her crayon needs!

  13. September 4, 2010 10:20 am

    oh man. Watching people eat all that meat totally grosses me out too.

    I love that Maya has her eyes on the school crayons. The grass is always greener…

  14. September 4, 2010 11:46 am

    I don’t think the meat gross-out trick would work for me, since I’m bizarrely male when it comes to red meat. But with my innate Singaporean miserly streak, spending $65 on a meal would send me into deep enough shock that I wouldn’t want to eat at all…that’s more than I usually spend on food for a week!

  15. September 4, 2010 11:56 am

    I can’t imagine Ameena. I seriously eat every 2-3 hours.
    Ha, I’d be the one joining your hubby and brother for the 5+ lbs of meat 🙂
    As for the missed-jazz-hands session, it happens right? No biggie. I remember my father forgetting to come home to take me to my first day of softball practice. I made him feel bad for it…but I really didn’t care, just did it for spite probably.
    Just like kids…you do 1000 things for them each day, and they notice that one thing 🙂

  16. September 4, 2010 1:09 pm

    Andrew LOVES fogo de chao! We’ve been there a couple times and even though I’m not vegetarian, no meat has ever passed my lips there. It just looks gross to me. I stick to their AMAZING salad bar!! I usually leave more stuffed than Andrew after making my rounds at the salad bar!!

  17. September 4, 2010 2:11 pm

    Oh churrascarias… how I love them. When I lived in Brazil, I used to go and could actually eat enough to warrant the cost. In the US, not such a good deal for me (but an excellent one for my husband). Still, these restaurants are heavenly.

  18. actorsdiet permalink
    September 4, 2010 2:24 pm

    don’t worry, ameena – my mom missed a lot of my performances growing up and it just made me want to TRY HARDER. don’t you feel better? i just told you your daughter is going to be a performer when she grows up.

  19. September 4, 2010 2:55 pm

    You are seriously the funniest thing ever. I wish we could write together!

    No comment on Ramadan – I just don’t know how you do it. And, LOL about the concert – don’t let that worry you! – you should have said you WERE there – if there were “thousands of mom’s and dad’s”…then you would have been sure hard for her to spot right? 😉

  20. September 4, 2010 5:18 pm

    I’m still laughing about Sticky Fingers’ little habit! Probably the only situation where I think stealing is adorable. 🙂

  21. September 4, 2010 5:29 pm

    wanna hear something disgusting? My bf and I went there for our anniversary dinner last year and we ate so much that we gained (PERMANATELY) 2 LBS!! i could have been all that darn meat AND the 3 desserts…ANYWAYS..watching intervention or hoarders always makes my appetite DROP

  22. September 4, 2010 6:43 pm

    Oh Gosh. Busted! I was somewhat of a collector of crayons myself (despite the fact that I too had many many that I owned. So…, seeing we’re confessing here – I liked to keep my own crayons nicely sharpened and perfect so used ‘others’ to do my artistic masterpieces 🙂
    Weird isn’t how that used to make so much sense to me 😦

  23. September 4, 2010 7:12 pm

    The hubster and I are HUGE fans of Fogo. We actually went there last year for Eid! And it seems a private performance of jazz hands is clearly the hottest ticket in town 🙂

  24. September 4, 2010 7:18 pm

    I’m so sorry you missed your sweet girl and her jazz hands…but don’t worry because there will be many more recitals and plays and concerts to come. And I do admire your ability to fast. Truly. You should be proud of yourself there!

  25. September 4, 2010 8:56 pm

    It’s ok, you were fasting. My parents once missed my performance in a play. They made up for it by coming to every concert and tennis match.

    I am not so sure I can do the same for my kids. Children should not be allowed to play musical instruments!

  26. September 5, 2010 3:14 am

    Even with all of these distractions you invent for yourself, I’m still super impressed at your fasting ability. If I had to fast, I’m pretty sure you would find me every day, lying in bed, dreaming about food. Unable to get up and do anything for lack of energy.

    The idea of eating that much meat makes me feel kind of sick too. And I was a crayon coveter as well…and I ended up okay!

  27. September 5, 2010 5:41 am

    LOL, you are so funny, I love your views on things. Eid is just around the corner, keep that in mind. NOt much longer now.
    I think crayons are a little girl’s precursor to makeup. It starts with the 64 colours of crayons, and then it becomes the 64 colours of eyeshadow and lipstick. So often when I’m in a department store looking at the MAC counter, I can’t help but think of paint pots and crayons and stuff.
    I am so sorry you wont be coming to the UK. I’d love to have gone to F&M with you daaaahling, I know we’d get on so well. Make sure you come next time.
    *kisses* HH
    p.s. sadly the idea of eating so much food to the point of sickness is kind of fun to me.

  28. September 5, 2010 7:06 am

    Great tips for warding off hunger. Actually, when I was in Marrakech, I was at an herbalist/spice store and he said they sell a tea that curbs hunger. My mom bought a bunch to bring back to her friends!

  29. traynharder23 permalink
    September 5, 2010 7:42 am

    this is hilarious to me not only from your writing, but how j.c. wants to take me to Fogo de Chao, and he was telling me how he was a serious stealer when he was maya’s age.

    i. am. dating. a. klepto.

    yikes. he’s reformed, apparently 🙂

    thanks for the congrats AND tips! i’ll make sure i go over that. what did you have at novel cafe last time? i only get one thing, the omelet with no cheese and avocado on the side (it has basil, tomatoes, and mushrooms, i believe)

  30. September 5, 2010 8:32 am

    Hunger…boy, it brings certain aspects into clear focus and others dissipate. It is a spiritual experience that too often in our modern day society, we pound out with distraction (eating while driving), with judgment (I can’t eat that!) with guilt (I shouldn’t want this)…I am proud of your journey.

  31. September 5, 2010 9:12 am

    Oh my! Well your girl is adorable…look at those Jazz Hands 🙂 I love your take on your daughter and the crayons in her Hello Kitty lunchbox!

  32. sharanya permalink
    September 5, 2010 2:43 pm

    Awww…ameena,i know what you must have gone thru seeing those crayons,my son was that way too in preschool but they grow out of it and get better,Things at school are always different and we dont have them at home is the standard belief…believe me..I have seen it personally:))

  33. September 5, 2010 4:59 pm

    Oh wow… not eating for that long must take an adjustment!

  34. squigglefloey permalink
    September 5, 2010 5:08 pm

    One of my group members in my phonology class this summer began Ramadan last week. I was so impressed by her ability to concentrate and give a good presentation with my on Thursday around 4pm (when I suspect your stomach might start growling!) I’m blown away by your self discipline.
    Also, just needed to add that your daughter is ADORABLE. haha

  35. September 5, 2010 5:13 pm

    ah, i remember shop lifting once as a child. i absolutely NEEDED these my little pony stickers, but i couldn’t find my mom anywyere! i figured she went back to the car, so i walked right out of the store with stickers in hand and waited for her there. of course, we went right back in and paid for them, but you can imagine how impressed with me she was…. 🙂

    (p.s. 5lbs of meat – that ain’t right :p)

  36. September 5, 2010 5:43 pm

    A girl in my class has started Ramadan. I admire you and everybody who celebrates Ramadan to fast for that long and to have such self control. I really could not do it 🙂

    5 lbs of meat mean nothing to my dad and sister X)

  37. September 5, 2010 6:10 pm

    I have been to Fogo de Chao, back before I gave up red meat. Even the thought of it now, is enough to get me through the entire day without eating.

    You sound like you’re getting through it great! That stinks that you missed the jazz hands, but you can chalk it up to loss of memory due to hunger pangs. It definitely won’t be the last jazz hands you see from miss Maya I’m sure!

  38. whydeprive permalink
    September 5, 2010 6:10 pm

    Ok, the crayon stealing is kind of hilarious. 🙂

    And don’t feel bad about missing Maya’s show. My mom didn’t take me to my first day of kindergarten, my grandma took me, and I turned out just fine. 🙂

  39. September 5, 2010 11:51 pm

    I think the nature of hunger is very interesting–it’s almost kind of a scary point when you have to wonder if you’re genuinly, physically in need of sustenence, or if it’s your hormones and emotions being active.

    Lol, my parents rarely came to my school performances, because they were almost always before they got off work. Bah, I never cared–I’d rather my parents earn a living and buy me things than watch me sing with a bunch of kiddos.

  40. September 6, 2010 1:25 am

    Ok … that first picture of the hanging meat ensures that I will be staying far, far away from beef and the like. The sad thing is, I can see Peter doing the same thing as Ali and your brother. Put away 5 lbs of meat, that is :O

    I remember when I was about 5 or 6, I was grocery shopping with my mom. I saw the racks of candy bars by the register and, since I was hungry, I picked one up and walked away. It seemed perfectly logical to me that I should eat when I was hungry. If it helps you feel better about Maya’s sticky-fingerness, I don’t take candy bars from stores anymore 🙂

  41. September 6, 2010 4:50 am

    #1-Oh Brazillian steak houses. We have one here in the great Frozen Northeast Ohio. I have been one. I was scarred for life. We ate and ate and ate and ate and ate….you get the picture. I don’t think that I have ever been that full in my entire life and believe me I can eat with the best of them.

    #2 – now this explains why, when the progeny were little we always seemed to have more crayons than I ever remembered buying.

  42. September 6, 2010 6:46 am

    Aw man, that sounds tough – not just the hunger pains but also the mommy guilt!! Yes, I agree with the other comments – don’t worry too much about ‘Jazz hands’!

  43. September 6, 2010 7:14 am

    I am actually trying
    to do a mini fast right now since I am home for a few days…all I need are my husband and teen, spouting off their “grosser than gross” stories and POOF…I ‘m done with being hungry.

    I can lease them out next year if your interested!



  44. September 6, 2010 11:39 am

    Don’t beat yourself up too much over missing maya’s performance. I’m sure there will be plenty more to come. And if all else fails, just buy her something. I know as a child that always worked for me! lol

  45. September 6, 2010 2:08 pm

    I admire your writing skills A LOT!! Another hilarious post of Ameena!!!
    That’s all I wanted to say!!!!

  46. September 6, 2010 5:57 pm

    OH Maya has jazz hands perfected!

  47. September 6, 2010 6:44 pm

    Oh my gosh, Ameena, I have the most amazing parents you can imagine, but there were many a time when I was the last one picked up, the only one whose parents weren’t there, etc. And you know what? A few years of therapy notwithstanding, I still think I had the best upbringing ever.
    You are an amazing Mom! It’s nothing some major snuggling can’t fix!

  48. September 6, 2010 9:17 pm

    Excellent post. I have always wondered how my friends were able to get through Ramadan. Yay for Eid being around the corner!

  49. September 6, 2010 9:54 pm

    I think all of us at a certain time forget a recital or two, hopefully not many more. I did it once since my daughter missed the last 3 classes (refusing to go) and when we showed up for the next one it was the parents recital. I hope she will forgive you or maybe she already has and will bring you something nice and sticky from school next time

  50. September 7, 2010 12:35 pm

    this post is genious! thanks for letting us know how you do it, because I definitley was curious!!

  51. September 7, 2010 1:57 pm

    There’ll be more jazz hands from Maya in the years to come. She probably won’t even remember this little mishap after a year or two. 🙂

  52. September 7, 2010 2:53 pm

    Loved “innocent Hello Kitty lunchbox”. Still laughing. 🙂
    Sorry you missed the memo. My daughter is 28, and I still look back at things and feel guilt. Then I tell myself to snap out of it and think of ALL the good things. I am sure you have MANY good things to think about. 🙂

  53. September 8, 2010 1:35 am

    Oh shucks! Yeah, forgetting to read the memo from school to bring this, that or the other thing for arts and crafts class, or something like that? Happened to me even this morning….:P If someone would just give me the training manual for this mothering thing, I think quite a few people will be relieved.

    I’m so relating with you on this, Ameena!

  54. September 8, 2010 6:43 am

    Hey Ameena, yeah, I can sometimes gross myself out to the point of suppressing my hunger. I consider it a talent of mine (smile). Oh, and Maya is so cute in that photo doing her hands. Is it just me, or has she had a sort of growth spurt? She looks bigger than the last few posts…? Maybe it’s the photo…

    • September 8, 2010 7:36 am

      I agree Stella…she does look older!! She’s 5 1/2 this month already and I think she just grew an inch or so.

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