Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hana and Problem-Solving

My daughter never fails to amaze me. I know I say that a lot but she's been doing that a lot more lately.

When she's not being difficult, she's one of the bubbliest, cheekiest little babies I've ever seen.

A few days ago, she questioned her dad with a "Kenapa?" when he asked her to do something. Looks like we'll be hit with the "Whys" very very soon.

But what astounded me even more was when we were at the Science Center (took her there on Sunday). There was a panel with some buttons on it which she desperately wanted to reach and press. It was a bit too high for her though, so she toddled over to the corner (where there were hula hoops and those mini colourful Ikea stools), picked up one of the stools, carried it over to the panel, set it carefully down in front of it and climbed on it, proceeded to happily press the buttons.

Her dad and I were both watching with our mouths open.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


A few days ago, we were rocked by shocking news of how a 3-year old died after being left in the car by her mother for about 5 hours.

My reaction to the news came in stages. When I first read the headline, I was like "What the heck was the mother thinking?" then I read the whole story of how she had sent her sister over to the airport and had forgotten to send her sleeping baby to the nursery.

The circumstances under which she found her little girl at the end of the day was devastating, to say the least. Shock and anger, on my part quickly changed to disbelief, a dawning realization that I understood and finally, an unexpected grief and heartbreak - for her, for that poor little baby in the car, for her whole family.

While browsing, I found the photo of the little girl and I started crying. The poses she struck, how she looked, what she was doing in the photos, it could've been my baby. I went into my bedroom where my own little girl was sleeping peacefully and I lay down next to her, touching her hands and cheeks and wishing that I could give her the tightest hug ever right then and there, wishing I could just wake her up.

I cannot imagine how the mother must have felt. The guilt, the disbelief, the emptiness that must be plaguing her every waking and sleeping moment. The longing, perhaps, to just turn back that clock and do that day over again.

I cannot imagine what that little girl must've felt before she left us. We enter a hot car and within minutes we feel suffocated. This was 5 hours. Her thought processes, her emotions, thinking her mommy would come rescue her soon but no one showing up - too devastating to even think about.

Once, about a few months after Hana turned one, I had left her in the crib in order to fill water into her tub. She had been particularly difficult that morning and I thought that it would do me good to leave her there for a few minutes so that I could get this done and calm myself down. Walking back to the room to get her, I heard a loud 'thud', following by the scariest, loudest wailing noise I had ever heard from her.

She had somehow climbed over the barriers and fell to the floor. My guilt knew no boundary. I checked if there was any injury (thank Allah, there was none) and sat on the floor hugging her and wailed right along with her. After my own sobs had subsided and hers had stopped in confusion at why her mama was making that funny noise, I calmed down and called my husband. He came home, found me in a daze with hana clutched tightly in my grasp.

I cried that whole night and couldn't get a good night's sleep for a week, instead, spending those nights just gazing at her, furiously wiping the tears away when I thought about the pain and trauma she must've felt.

That is how a mother feels when her baby is hurt. How she feels when the baby gets hurt BECAUSE OF WHAT SHE DID.

Now multiply that by about a million. Which is probably how the mother of that baby feels right now.

Some "perfect parents with no children" - as someone described it to me on Twitter, and perhaps even some parents whose children had grown and had forgotten how challenging it is to raise a baby, or parents who have had it easy, have called for authorities to punish the mother for negligence.

When answered with "Hasn't she suffered enough? Isn't in punishment enough to have lost her precious baby?", they replied in the negatives.

Being a relatively new parent, I know all too well the fatigue that comes with it. Some days you're struggling to figure out how to tie your shoelaces. There are nights when your baby wakes up at an ungodly hour and only falls asleep after Subuh or minutes before your alarm clock rings.

Even my husband sometimes jolts himself on the highway to work, thinking he forgot to send my baby over to my mothers on days that she's supposed to go there, when he had just dropped her off 10 minutes prior. If you can make that kind of mistake, you can definitely make the reverse, which is something I even shudder to imagine.

We've all had one of those off days. We're just lucky enough that nothing this heartbreaking ever came out of them.