Monday, July 26, 2010

I sometimes feel like I'm failing ...

I've posted before about how wonderful it is to be Kaya's mummy and how much I love this new job of being a mummy.  But sometimes, like today, I feel like I'm not doing the job well enough.  I look at my sister-in-law who works full-time and still manages, with the help of her husband of course, to look after three kids under the age of three without the help of any kind of childcare service.  And then I look at me.  A stay-at-home mum who has only one child to look after and doesn't even need to worry about cooking (since all meals are provided here) and yet sometimes I feel so overwhelmed like I just can't manage.  What's wrong with me?

I've read so many books and researched so many websites about how to be the best kind of mother.  And together with my husband, decided that a combination of the principles of attachment parenting and mindful parenting were how we would parent our children.  But it's really really hard!  And I feel like I'm failing in so many ways.  Some of my failures, I understand are mostly out of my control (like not being able to spend as much time as I'd like outside because of the 40+ degree weather, or the spraying of pesticides on the neighbouring farms), but by and large I feel like there is so much more I should or shouldn't be doing.  And I often feel like I just don't have the time or the skills or the patience or the personality to do everything right.

Most days I feel like I didn't provide enough learning opportunities or experiences for Kaya's development.  I should have planned more games to play with him, or taken him on a nature walk, or read to him for longer, or organised more crafts/painting/drawing/play dough modelling for him, or did some cooking with him, or sang and danced with him, or.... the list goes on. Other days I wish I had just been more attentive.  For example, in the playground, by stopping Ky from watching other children fighting and behaving badly, or in the communal restaurant by making sure other parents didn't get the opportunity to give Kaya junk food while I wasn't watching, or in the house when I was cleaning another room, by making sure Ky couldn't reach the remote and turn on the forbidden TV.  There have been occasions when Murat and I argued in front of Kaya, which I sadly regret.  And there have been times when I've let Kaya do something I'd previously told him not to, just to get him out of my hair.

But the worst thing of all is my feelings of selfishness and how I sometimes resent all the time Kaya "takes from me" when I'd rather be taking a nap, or reading a book, or browsing the internet, or going for a long walk by myself, or taking a long, long shower...

Maybe I should take up meditation to help me become more patient with my job (yeah right!  As if I'm going to find time for that!)  Or maybe I should stop wasting my 'oh so precious' time on the computer, and instead make use of this time while Kaya's sleeping, to lie down and read that book I've been trying to finish for the past year and a half.  Then I'd have no reason to complain that I don't get a chance to read a book!  Or better yet, maybe I should just harden up, do my job properly and stop bitching about how hard it is!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Whoops! Too Much Sun Fun

Because yesterday was

1. Murat's day off; and
2. Murat's father is visiting with us; and
3. it was a typical Antalyan hot and sunny day; and
4. we all love swimming, playing in the sand, and getting out of the house,

we decided to go to the beach.  Since Ky doesn't sleep anywhere except in our bed or in the car we always have to carefully plan our days around his sleep schedule.  So with this in mind, we decided to go to the local sandy beach early in the morning and then when the sun started to get too hot at around 11am, which is also coincidentally Ky's nap time, we'd jump in the car and slowly make our way to another, rocky beach, about an hour's drive away, while Kaya napped in the car.

The plan started out well enough and we had a lovely morning.  As soon as we arrived at the beach club Murat and I settled ourselves on the lovely deck overlooking the beach while Ky and his grandfather built sandcastles together by the water's edge.  (By the way, we never use the public beaches because they are so dirty and I just don't even want to think about Kaya playing in the sand amongst cigarette butts, decaying food scraps, plastic cups, dog poo, and other disgusting and unidentifiable items hiding in the sand - but my thoughts on this deserve a post all of their own which I'll get to another time).  While we were there, Kaya met a little boy called Saney and sometimes they came up to the deck to push each other around on a kid-sized toy car.  Other times we all swam together in the sea.  Murat, who's friends with the owner of the beach club, jumped behind the bar and made us a couple of delicious, tall ice coffees sweetened with honey.  I very much enjoyed sipping on mine while watching the kids play.  Kaya's grandfather found time to relax too and did what he loves best - reading the newspaper while drinking a strong black turkish coffee.  Ky painted the deck with ice cubes.  Murat chatted on the phone to his brother.  I pushed Kaya in the little car.  We paddled around in the calm water a bit more.  In fact we were all enjoying ourselves so much that it wasn't until just after midday that we noticed how hot it was getting.

What typically happens when you've neglected to keep track of the time while playing in the sun?  You get sunburnt!  Being so fair, Kaya was the worst affected and his little back glowed red....  Bad bad bad mummy!  We jumped in the car and headed for the nearest nursery and broke the leaf off an aloe vera plant found right near the entrance.  We opened the leaf and scraped all the gel out and onto Kaya's little back.  Fortunately Ky didn't yet seem to be bothered by the burn and we crossed our fingers that the healing magic of the aloe would start working right away and soothe his skin until we got home to our own aloe vera plant.

By the time we got home most of the redness was gone but we applied more fresh aloe gel all over for good measure.  And this morning, you wouldn't have even known that Ky had been in the sun at all.  That stuff is magic!

Even though it's very old and looking really unattractive.  I really love my aloe vera plant.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Spoilt Mummy

The other day was my birthday.  My wonderful husband had tentatively planned two different surprises for me but due to forces beyond his control, both plans fell through.  So, a couple of days before the "B" day he informed me that he'd taken the day off from work so he could come under my employ instead.  He offered to be my servant for the whole day!  Let me tell you that he certainly didn't have to make that offer twice!   I didn't even need a second to think about it.  I knew exactly how I wanted my day to go.  And this is exactly how it went:

A sleep in!  At about 7am when Kaya woke up, Murat took him out of our bed and I slipped back into a wonderful dream of sunbathing on a private yacht in a secluded cove of a little lost island somewhere in the Pacific.  A gentle breeze caressed my skin.  Juicy grapes were being pressed into my mouth and when I lazily opened one of my eyes to see who was feeding me, an arm rippling with muscles momentarily blocked my view, but a second later my eyes beheld my very own Adonis!  Skin the colour of a perfectly prepared mocha.  Abs so defined, I wanted to strum a melody on them.  Biteable lips.  A chiseled jaw.  Wavy black hair.  And a naughty twinkle in emerald coloured eyes ...

Breakfast in bed!  At 9am I was suddenly ripped out of my fantasy by a little boy jumping on my chest with an excited squeal!  Then I got two kisses, one of which was particularly sloppy (Kaya's kiss, not Murat's).  As I sat up, a huge tray of delicious delicacies was placed on my lap.  There was a giant glass of fresh watermelon juice and a cup of tea.  The usual Turkish breakfast fare of goat's cheese, olives, cucumber and tomatoes.  A boiled egg.  Fresh melon.  A little bowl of dried fruit.  Another little bowl of CHOCOLATE!!!!  And a little vase containing a sprig of fresh basil (I love the smell of basil).  How lovely is that?

With a full belly and the memory of my dream still fresh in my mind, I got up to get ready with a silly smile plastered all over my face.

First stop was the local hamam.  For those of you who've never visited Turkey and don't know what I'm talking about, a hamam is a public bathing place where you lie on a marble "bed" in a giant marble bathroom while a half naked bath attendant smacks you all over with a soapy wet pillow case filled with air and then scrubs your skin until it becomes so translucent, your internal organs can be seen....  Actually it's much nicer than it sounds.  Included in the experience is the use of a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi.  Most hamams also include a full body oil massage in the price.

Unfortunately for me, at exactly the time we arrived, a busload of tourists also arrived, so we decided to give the hamam a miss until another time.

Instead, Murat drove me to a hair salon to get a fon (pronounced fern) which means getting your hair washed, scalp massaged and hair styled anyway you like for the equivalent of about $5.  I was still feeling a bit romantic after my dream so I chose a wavy hair style hoping to resemble, at least a little bit, Jessica Alba (yeah right!!!).  I love having my hair done.  Having my hair played with, scalp massages - that kind of thing always makes me feel so pampered and relaxed.  I even drooled a little bit...

Next stop was my favourite coffee shop to get my favourite coffee, the good old, no added flavours, no milk alternative, stock standard cappuccino.  I really needed one to get me out of my dreamy mood.  And as usual before I'd even finished the cup I was already feeling power-packed with a wonderful energetic high.  Coffee has such a powerful effect on me, I suppose because I don't drink it very often.  But how I do love a good cup of it especially when in good company.  And what better company than my loving husband and angelic child?

So, then with a bounce in my step, Murat took me dress shopping.  I wanted something comfortable, I wanted something appropriate for the sizzling heat of Antalya, and I wanted something pretty.  After trying on several dresses in several shops, and without a single angry word uttered by either Murat or me (which is virtually unheard of in this type of situation), I finally found a dress that made me feel like a fairy princess and look a little like a lost gypsy.  It was perfect.

By this time we were all well-and-truly starving.  As Murat would say in his poor rendition of an Australian saying, "I was so hungry I could eat a low-flying duck arse".  So off we went to find the only non-Turkish restaurant we knew about in our city of Antalya - an Italian restaurant.  Luckily one of my all time favourite foods is Italian pasta and even more luckily, this restaurant does pretty good Italian food.  We were the only customers in the restaurant so the service was fast, even if it wasn't particularly skillful...  Our food was tasty, made even more so by the fact that it was well after lunch time by the time we ate.  We were all feeling happy and satiated and I didn't think I'd be able to eat anything else for the rest of the day.  Then suddenly a giant chocolate cake arrived and everyone sang a mishmash of "Iyiki dogum gun/Happy Birthday" while I wondered how I was going to be able fit in even a single mouthful of that rich deliciousness.  In fact after the first mouthful I was mysteriously able to eat several more.  It was like magic.

Afterwards, Kaya and I had a nap in the car by the beach while Murat popped in to work for bit.  Then we happily made our way home as the sun made its nightly retreat behind the mountains.

Later, when the angel baby was sound asleep, the most wonderful husband in the whole world put me to sleep with a soothing foot massage.

And so ended the best birthday ever.