Thursday, November 29, 2007

Safa's debate update

Safa aced her debate yesterday. She scored a perfect 30 in both of her debates. It's been quite a while since any middle school students got two perfect scores, and five years since a sixth grader got two 30s in any debate meet. We're obviously very proud of her. Maybe she can have a career in public speaking! At least it opens up the options somewhat. The debate coach announced Safa's name on the school TV network this morning, so even people she hardly knows were patting her on the back and congratulating her all day. I think her excellent performance has a lot to do with the fact that she is an avid reader. Since early on in 5th grade she was reading at college level, and she just devours books. Hamza has got the reading bug now, too. He is also reading 2 grade levels above average. He has got into a series by Jenny Nimmo about a boy called Charlie Bone, and has been having a hard time putting the books down. Yesterday he started a 300 odd page book and he had finished it before he got home from school today. Definitely a good bug to have!

No new update for Bilal today, except that he dumped a bowl of spaghetti on his head today at dinner, quite funny! I'll upload the picture soon.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Just another Tuesday

Today I am enjoying one of my much coveted Tuesdays off with Bilal. Don’t get me wrong, I do love my work, but the time I spend with my kids is very special. I just put Bilal down for his nap a little while ago, and after wrapping up a load of laundry I’ve sat down to write. When I put Bilal in his crib today he didn’t cry, but a few minutes later he let out a familiar shout, “Stuck!!!” That used to be my cue to run to him and see what had happened, until I realized that he would stick his foot through the slats of the crib and just PRETEND to be stuck, in order to get mama to come check on him. Hey, I’m not falling for that one anymore! The little guy knows every ploy in the book! So I gave him a minute or two and he went to sleep. Thankfully after many months of unpredictability Bilal has settled down into a nice routine. Zakir is back to setting his alarm in the mornings, because he can no longer depend on Bilal waking us up at 5:30 or 6am. He has been actually sleeping until about 8am. He takes one nap, about 2 to 2 and ½ hours, occasionally even 3, and then sleeps about 9pm, usually through the night.

Now that sleep and naps are no longer an issue we are dealing with other stuff. Personally my opinion is that Bilal was born to be an only child. He is happiest with me, Zakir or his nanny Vicki when there is no other child around. He can’t stand for Safa or Hamza to even sit too close to me, and expresses his displeasure by biting, hitting, pinching or pulling their hair. Safa complains to everyone that he is just so mean! Of course no-one believes her, how can they when they see his adorable angelic face? I am so ready for this stage to be over before the older siblings lose their patience with him. But on the other hand, with almost 8 years age difference between the two brothers, I suppose it comes with the territory.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Our Thanksgiving Weekend

Well, it's back to work tomorrow, the usual weekly routine. The kids have be out of school for 5 days, staying up later than usual and getting up waaaayyyy later. They are going to have a reality check tomorrow! Thanksgiving Day we had a few close friends and their kids come over for dinner. It was our first year frying a turkey; it turned out great. A lot of good food and good company was the highlight of the day. Friday I was in clinic, and I also had to work Saturday and Sunday. Trying to get in as many on-call weekends before the winter holidays when we have our vacation to Pakistan planned.

As I am typing this Bilal is running around like a little maniac throwing and trying to catch a ball. He is usually down by 8pm, but his schedule has been thrown off this weekend too, with later nights and late afternoon naps. It's just too cruel to try and put him to bed now, and let him fuss because he's just not sleepy enough. Every so often he runs over and pats the kitty on her head, she raises her sleepy head and glares at him, then goes right back to sleep again. She's gotten used to him now, but was very jealous of him after he was born. She woke up one day, and her jealousy had dissipated, she became tolerant, and actually even nice to Bilal. The change in her attitude surprised us in the beginning......until I realized it coincided with the day we moved Bilal's crib upstairs and he started sleeping in his own room. Tiny is happy to have her territory all to herself now, and that means sleeping in the middle of our bed, very disruptive if you can't sleep! It's funny how cats have a temperament not much different from humans, especially when it comes to jealousy.

Safa has been working hard on her debate. The next meet is on Tuesday, and the topic in question is the death penalty. She scored very well during the last meet, and has been moved up from first speaker to second, a harder position, especially for a sixth grader, so early in the year. The debate teacher is counting on Safa securing the middle school a good position at the end of the year, after her exemplary performance last month. That's where her quiet competitive spirit kicks in. She is really driven, when she wants to be.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I've been initiated into the world of blogging

Well, it seemed like time. I'm transitioning over from the predominantly health related forum provided by, and will be posting updates on this blog instead. I hope you'll find a bit of everything here, from the mundane and day to day rituals of our family, to the more exciting accomplishments of my three kiddos. Of course, what I consider exciting may be no more than mundane to another person. That's for the readers to judge.

I hope to post a little bit of something at least a couple of times a week, let's see if I can hold myself to that, I suppose only time will tell.

I will keep our care page active, and use it to post health related info, doctor visits, and so on, so if you are signed up to receive email updates you'll still get them, and if you are interested in checking it out, it's That said, for those who don't know how I started out on carepages, a little background.........

........About seven years after Hamza was born, Zakir and I decided to have another baby, a tiebreaker in the family, so to speak. Bilal was born on 7/24/2006, after what was a pretty routine pregnancy. He was rather small, weighing only 5 pounds and 9 oz, but looked great in every other way. The following morning the neonatologist heard a loud heart murmur that didn't go away after 48 hours, so we were paid a visit by the pediatric cardiologist. That's when our lives changed dramatically.

Bilal was diagnosed with a condition called tetralogy of fallot, a combination of four heart defects. (If you want to know more about the condition just click the link to the right). We knew he would need open heart surgery by the time he turned 6 months old. His cardiologist followed him every 2 weeks after birth, and due to the fact that his growth rate was slowing down and he was showing signs of heart failure he had his surgery on 9/18/06, at 8 weeks of age and weighing less than nine pounds. His post operative course was remarkably unremarkable, and we were home only 4 days after surgery. He really is our miracle baby. Today if it weren't for the scar on his chest, no-one would be able to tell what he has been through.

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