Raising a Bilingual Baby

17 September 2018



BILINGUALISM; (of a person) able to use two languages equally well, or (of a thing) using or involving two languages - the Cambridge dictionary. 

When you have a baby, one of the things you think about is their first word and when will they be able to communicate with you verbally. 

It is said that it is so very important for you to talk to your child from day one - even if you think they don’t understand. This is meant to help with baby’s development regarding their hearing and helping them to find their own voice.

Little A is being raised with two different languages, English and Urdu, although technically there will be a third language (mother tongue Punjabi) used around her but not directly spoken to her. I have had so many comments from people either that I’m going to end up confusing my child and that I should just choose the one language. 

But I’ve also had comments from people who are just fascinated by this and think it’s a brilliant idea. 

I decided to speak to Little A in both languages from day one. I don’t pick and choose when I speak English or Urdu, it just happens naturally. 

I have always heard that children under the age of ten, especially little children are able to pick up another language quite easily compared to adults and it’s amazing how I am seeing this come true right before my own eyes.

At 8 months old, Little A said her first proper word that actually had meaning behind it and wasn’t just her making a sound. She called me ‘Ammi’ to get my attention. Ammi means Mummy in Urdu - although I have never directly said the word to her myself, I kept repeating Mumma or Mummy to her, I believe she picked up on Ammi hearing me call my own mother that.

But the beautiful thing is that now she not only calls me Ammi but Mummy too.

It’s been a couple of weeks now that I have come to noticed that if I give her an instruction in English and she follows it, more than half an hour later or so or even half a day later if I say the same thing to her again but in Urdu she still understands. 

Despite negative comments coming forth, I am adamant on speaking both languages to Little A because each to their own but I’m of the personal opinion (please note, this is an opinion) that if you are able to teach another language to your child then why not go for it?

After all, at school we get drowned in language lessons for a reason right?

I don’t think raising a Bilingual Baby is going to cause any confusion but is actually going to help her sense of understanding of phonics. 

After all, my parents spoke two languages to me at the same time and I turned out fine (I hope) in fact I happily and proudly put on my CV and personal statements that I can speak more than one language fluently.

I remember doing my GCSE Urdu in year 7 and getting that first ever A was the very first thing I was proud of, let me make it clear, speaking Urdu growing up was a breeze but reading and writing a total different alphabet was just a whole different story altogether.

I’ll forever be grateful to my parents for deciding to go ahead with raising me with more than just English because l have cousins who question their own parents why they weren’t introduced to their mother tongue and I don’t want Little A to ask me when she’s older.

Raising a bilingual baby doesn’t effectively mean directly teaching your child a different language in cases where more than one language is spoken at home, it comes naturally, like I said I don’t pick and choose, it’s impossible.


If Little A grows up and wants to give just one language the preference then that’s totally up to her, I just want to her to have the options and that might mean throwing both English and Urdu out of the window and embracing Welsh or any other language for that matter!

It’s Not a Fairytale

14 September 2018




5 years ago today, the husband and I made it official (yes we have two anniversaries, 14th September, our Islamic wedding when we made it legal and 24th August - the big wedding do). 

These past years have indeed been quite of a rollercoaster ride, we had so many reasons to smile over but a lot of reasons to shed tears for.

Our relationship has been tested many times to the extent I admit, over the years, I have found myself wondering is it even worth it.

When our son passed away, our relationship took the turn for the worst. We were both grieving but in our own ways, he didn’t want to talk about it and just wanted to pretend like everything’s ok whereas I was and am the opposite, I prefer to talk about it, I wanted to talk about our son to everyone and expected that at least my husband would understand but at the time there was no response from him, I felt so alone. 

He closed himself up to the extent he refused to have any keepsakes or photos of our precious little boy around the home, which broke my heart even more. 

He was grieving, this was his way of grieving but I didn’t understand because all I ever wanted was acknowledgement that I was still a Mum but I didn’t get that.

We eventually got through this and he opened up one day and I realised that he was hurting too, of course he was, why wouldn’t he be? But I guess at the time we were both so vulnerable, we both just didn’t know how to react to each other that lead to us drifting apart rather than becoming even closer.

Throughout the years, I have found our relationship to be strange. One minute we can be the most loving couple the world has ever seen and the next we might be bickering with each other like two kids fighting over who drank the last of the chocolate milkshake in the fridge.





That being said, we’ve had so many moments, memories that we’ve created and cherished.

Whatever’s happened in the past few years doesn’t negate the fact that he is my rock, he helped me, he worked around the clock to make things work so I could stay at home with our daughter for the first year of her life and that’s only just a little snippet. 

There’s been smiles, there’s been laughter, there’s been tears, there’s been heartbreak, but most importantly there’s been friendship. 

I think that in every relationship, whether that’s with your spouse or someone else - friendship is the key because marriage is not a land of fairytales at all, it’s a journey with a lot of hurdles that you have to get through together, you’ve got to remember them vows, the promise to always take care of each other. 

Yesterday may be have been cloudy and today rainy but tomorrow your rainbow may start to beam through. 

These past 5 years have no doubt been adventurous but it perhaps has made us that a little bit stronger because phew I should receive some sort of a medal for sticking right? Just kidding, we’ll spare one for him too, on a serious note though we have already got a reward in the face of our beautiful rainbow daughter. 









How I’ve Grown as a Parent

10 September 2018



It’s been 18 lovely months since I was blessed to physically step into the land of motherhood. When I look back at these 18 months, I surprise myself how I’ve changed. 

This isn’t a post about How Motherhood Has Changed Me as I’ve already written all about that but it’s a look back on how I’ve managed to actually grow as a parent. I am not the same parent I was a year ago, that’s so for sure. 

When we all step into parenthood, it is no doubt like stepping into unknown territory and of course you’re going to be nervous as hell as there is no parenting book (no matter how many are published) that prepares you for what’s coming your way. It’s because we’re all different, our children are different - we are humans, we cannot abide by textbooks.

Let’s just take one example, I can use public transport! Yes, that’s right. I’ve always been fine going on the bus by myself but with a baby/toddler, I had always envisioned an inconsolable crying child in tow who’d no matter what I’d do would just scream and scream.

This thought put me off. I have indeed missed out on many things just because of this which I really regret but I guess we’ll just have to let bygones be bygones. 

How did I grow out of this though? I had no choice, if I didn’t take this step then I would be missing out on taking my daughter to groups (as I work now) where she has a lot of fun with other little bubbas, I would’ve missed that excitement in her eyes whenever we go. 

Is Little A the screaming child, I had cooked up in my mind? She is actually quite far from that. She loves looking at other people and playing peekaboo and she eventually falls asleep if she’s really tired out!

Similarly to this, I have avoided going to big shopping centres, we’ve been to several retail parks but not shopping malls like Westfield as an example, but the above picture just sums it all. 

I realised it isn’t what I thought it would be like with a toddler that I made the trip twice in just 6 days! First time round, she slept through it all but the second time, she was wide awake, we took her out of the pram and let her explore and when it came to lunchtime, just put her back in the pram, handed her sandwiches to her which she munched on and soon after fell asleep at her normal nap time for 1.5 hours whilst we shopped and ate ourselves!

I know you must be thinking that this won’t last when she grows up it’ll be challenging but we’ll just leave that to the future, shall we?

Moving on, let’s talk about routine. 

I have always been the Mum whose child has to eat and sleep at the same time everyday. I remember when Little A would go off routine, I’d start to panic but that’s no longer the case.

We still have a set routine, she does eat and nap around the same time but if she goes off routine because of course she will, she is human, I don’t panic at all. 

Moreover, whenever there use to be a family get together, I’d always leave well in advance because I didn’t want to risk Little A falling asleep on the way home but for the past two months or so, I just make a judgment call, sometimes I leave early sometimes I leave late (late being 7:45pm that is) and if she does fall asleep on the way home then so be it.

This means I can have a nice time with my loved ones and Little A enjoys a lot too. 

But when we are indeed at home, then I do stick to the same bedtime.

This was just a little snippet of how I’ve grown up in the past year, I could go on forever but I just wanted to relay that it’s perfectly alright to embrace parenthood the way you want. It’s just a learning curve, we can’t know the complete A to Z of parenting from day one because there isn’t any and that’s the beauty of it. 








August Favourites

7 September 2018



August has been a month of milestones, it marked three months since I began my job and Little A turned 18 months! I have also come across amazing posts and here are some of my favourite reads of the month:

A Big Day for Ettie Willow Faith from Ettie and Me

This post brought a smile to my face, it has come at a time when my toddler has now outright refused to go in her cot so this was an interesting read. It has shown me that it’s perfectly alright if you or your child don’t follow the baby ‘guide’. 

In this blog post, Ettie’s transition has been documented to a toddler bed in her own room but what I loved the most about it was the fact that the lovely Emma is so open minded about it all if it doesn’t go to plan because seriously as parents we really do need to take the ‘chill pill’ for our own sanity!


Postnatal Depression is so common and yet hardly spoken about. Wendy shares her experience with us and how it effected her and how she overcame it all and most importantly why is it so important to seek help and keep banging on that door if you don’t receive the service you need. 


I was at the brink of tears when I read this, tears of anger. It hurts me to even think that they are horrible people in this world that one day my daughter will probably have to face in one form or the other.

Annette quite bravely shared her experience of being fat shamed in public by a ‘fellow’ Mum - I couldn’t be more proud of this wonderful woman for helping to raise awareness by sharing her own experience, this isn’t the most easiest of things to do. 


Being a mother of a little girl, I was instantly attracted towards the title of this blog post. This post really expressed how we are all different - even in 2018 people expect girls to love glitter and pink but that’s far from reality. What is amazing is that we as mothers may be one way but our daughter’s who we are raising may end up being a total opposite from us and that’s the beauty of it all, right?


*~*~*

What have been your favourites?


Little A's 18th Month Update

27 August 2018



I’m super surprised and shocked to be writing this update because it’s hard to comprehend that I am actually the mother of an 18 month old toddler! How on earth did that happen?

So much has happened since the previous update, three months ago, that I’m so excited to share with you all.

Teething

I think we’ve been let off quite well in the past three months, since the previous update where tooth number 7 was emerging, we’ve only just had one more tooth join the family. However, with that being said, I really do think we have molars on the way because she is in quite a discomfort and the way she’s been chewing her hands but still no actual emergence as of yet.

Food

She’s loving her food, whatever I or her Nanny makes her, in addition we have introduced some Organix products for times she outright refuses to eat the snacks I’ve made her or for when we’re out and about.

Breastfeeding

Still going strong here although there were two days in a row when she completely refused her bedtime feed but we are back to normal except, no more night feeds! Can you believe it? Because I can’t! We haven’t gotten ridden of them completely, if she becomes incredibly inconsolable then I just give in but let’s just say for the past week or so.

I also thought that with her eating more solids in the day and growing up, she wouldn’t be much interested in feeding from me anymore but it’s far from that! As soon as she comes home, she runs over to me and moans and if I don’t ‘understand’ pulls my top down and makes it obvious she wants a feed, I have to be very careful now when in company of others..

Sleep

I’m kind of having a cheeky little laugh with myself right now..

The heatwave created a drastic change in our routine, Little A outright has been refusing to go in her cot at bedtime and I blame the stuffy heat. So for the past 3 or so weeks she’s had it her way and has been sleeping with me!

But you know what? I’ve really been enjoying her cuddles and she’s actually sleeping so much better which means I’ve been sleeping better and have been less of a zombie at work. So after nearly 18 months of no sleep, I welcome this. Although, I did one night put her in the cot but she was back in my bed by 11pm! I think if we persevere again as the weather is so much better now she’ll be back to normal ways but I think I’ve spoilt myself really rather than her.

Milestones

She’s hit so many milestones that I wouldn’t be able to stop writing if I listed them all. First and foremost, we have a walker, she took her first independent steps on 7th July and just a week after began walking unaided and ever since then she has become so confident I can’t really believe my eyes. She is so fast that there is no doubt she’ll be properly running soon.

Secondly, she is such a speaker. I have mentioned in previous updates which words she can say but it’s so much more than that. She can speak both English and Urdu words it amazes me! One of my favourite things that she says is ‘thank you’ which leads me onto her third milestone.

Her sense of understanding has really come through, from a baby who didn’t understand what you said to a toddler who can now understand and follow simple instructions.

She’s always heard us say thank you when receiving something and now she’s doing the same, I find it really cute whenever she gives me something she says thank you as well!

As for instructions, she can now understand and act upon things like:

‘Give it to me please’
‘Put that over there please’
‘Please sit down’
‘Go and give this to daddy/mummy’
‘Come here please,’

She also understands when you tell her to clap her hands she will. When you ask her what the lion does, she roars, when you ask her where her ‘beautiful nose’ is (have to say beautiful) she scrunches up her nose and takes her tongue out when you ask her where it is!

She also loves helping with everyday things, my Mum tells me she waits for my brother to finish his breakfast, literally stands there putting the pressure on him to finish quickly so she can take the plate to the kitchen!

She’s also learnt to count to five now!

Personality/favourites

Like I’ve always mentioned she’s a little lady with a big personality and that is still very true. I am in absolute awe with her, how she’s growing and developing it is just so surreal to see.

She finally doesn’t complain when I put something on her head, actually goes to the mirror to admire herself and is already obsessed with carrying bags!

She’s very welcoming and loves being around people but is wary when strangers are about which is good.

Her utmost favourite thing other than books is actually playing football! Whether it’s a normal sized football or a small toddler one, she loves a good kick about.

She does get upset and angry and really does know how to fight her corner when she doesn’t get what she’s not allowed. But what’s really touched me so much about her was only just this past Saturday..

We were at our regular playgroup where she’s always been around children the same age or a little older than her. Along came an adorable 3 month old who was in her father’s arms - what did Little A start to do? Play peek-a-boo with the baby and kept making her smile and was just so gentle that it made me so emotional!

She has never been around a small baby and to see her react like that was just something else altogether.

I’m so proud of my little best friend and now I better stop writing before the tears start coming.


A Bittersweet Eid

24 August 2018

It’s Eid again! 

‘Wasn’t that like just two months ago?’ I hear you say, yes it was.

One of the main difference in the way we celebrate this Eid compared to the one after Ramadan is that for that Eid you are given money as a treat but for this Eid it’s actual presents - which I very much prefer! 

However, this Eid is also different to the previous one (read about it here) because this particular Eid is called Eid al-Adha, it comes as millions of people from all corners of the world get together for Hajj - the pilgrimage that happens once a year.

During the Hajj, the pilgrims follow in the footsteps of Prophet Abraham and his wife Hajar. 

It’s an Eid of sacrifices and Muslims from all over the world sacrifice an animal in order to commemorate the story of the promise that Prophet Abraham had made to God when he was put to the test whether he’d sacrifice his son Ismail for God and when he was about to fulfill his promise God replaced Ismail with a lamb.

The meat is divided into three parts - one part for you and your family, one part for your friends and another part for the poor and needy. However, here in the U.K. me and my family give to a specific charity that carry out the sacrifices for us in different parts of the world and feed it to those who actually need it the most, that might be from Asia to as far as Africa, wherever.

To get the kids involved in the meaning of sacrifice, we ask them to think about something they’d like to sacrifice this year, that could be a bad habit they have or something as simple as sacrificing chocolate!

So what is my sacrifice? My sacrifice this year is impatience. Although being a parent has taught me to being patient and I am but I’d like to extend that to other aspects of my life as well. It’ll be interesting to reflect on this next year and see how it is actually effected me and my life.

To be honest this Eid was actually bittersweet for us as it was the first without my mother-in-law (passed away in June) so we did have to put on brave faces for the kids as it’s truly at times like these when you miss the loved ones the very most.



But I’m certain she was watching over us from Heaven and smiling

Day in the Life of a Working Mum

20 August 2018

I thought it’d be interesting to note down how my typical daily routine is on a weekday. Ever since starting work, we’ve had to make a few adjustments to our daily routine of course to make it successfully work and so far so good.

6 to 6:30am 
I get up and if Little A is awake at that time, I breastfeed her first (that keeps her settled till she reaches my Mum’s and has her breakfast there) then the husband takes her to the lounge leaving me to start getting ready for the day.

6:30 to 7am
Whilst the husband gets ready for work himself after finishing his breakfast, I use this time to get Little A changed and ready for the day. This can sometimes be straightforward or can be a challenge, depending on her mood as she loves running around when half dressed, cute to watch but doesn’t feel as cute when you don’t really have time on your hands!

Then we play a little and might have a read of a story if time permits. 

7am

On a good day, my husband aims to leave at this time with Little A to drop her off at my Mum’s. Little A has been accustomed to this now and brings her jacket and shoes to me as she knows that she’s going outside. Then she walks over to the pram and waits for me to buckle her in (this is on a ‘good’ day, we do have days where she just refuses to go in the pram at all) 
Whenever there is a day that I have to be the one to drop off Little A to my Mum’s (which is rare) I don’t have breakfast and leave a little earlier with her so I can have breakfast at my Mum’s as need to catch the earlier bus.

7 to 7:45am 
During this time, I begin making my breakfast and whilst the toast is getting toasted and the tea is brewing, I start cleaning the kitchen as much as possible.

Once breakfast is made, I watch a bit of breakfast telly, this can sometimes actually be cBeBies as I do tend to forget to change the channel quite often! 

After breakfast, it’s time to wash the dishes, tidy up Little A’s toys and books that she may have taken out in the morning. I then give the worktops a clean, the floors a good brushing and start to get ready to leave home by doing the final checks i.e windows shut, cooker off and checking if I’ve got all of my essentials.

I try my best to leave the home nice and clean in the morning because there’s nothing worse than coming home from a long day at work to a tip and then having to clear up in a sorry tired state!

7:45-7:55

I use this time to check my social media, catch up on insta stories and comments that I may have missed.


8am

Off on the bus I get, I usually use my bus journey to work to brainstorm any blog ideas that I may have cooking in my mind on my phone and catch up on any blogposts I may have missed from other bloggers.

8:35
Depending on the traffic this is usually the time I reach my final bus stop and work is only a short walk away. On the way to work I take a sneak peak in Sainsbury’s and then I make my way to work.

On reaching work, I say my hellos, put my lunch in the fridge and sit down to work whilst catching up with my fellow colleagues.

1-1:30pm

This is the time I prefer to take my lunch although I do sometimes end up taking lunch earlier if feeling hungry.

5pm - hometime!

On my way to my bus stop, I always phone my Mum to see how Little A’s day has been. I use to call at lunchtime but now I don’t as that’s when she’s napping. 

6pm

Finally home, I freshen up, shower - these days, always grabbing an ice cream from the freezer to help cool myself down. If cooking needs to be done then I get on with that, as well as Little A’s lunch for the next day. Sometimes I do them sometimes my Mum. 

I try to have my dinner before Little A gets home as sometimes in the process of getting her ready for bed, I end up falling asleep myself!

7pm

Little A reaches Home and I get her ready for a bath, then we play about, breastfeed her, have story time and attempt getting her to sleep. 

8pm

By this time, all being well, Little A is asleep. So, then I get our clothes ready for the next day. Although, I do admit, I do have lazy days and leave everything till the morning and then regret being lazy! 

After getting everything organised for the next day, I might watch a bit of telly or most likely laze around in bed on my phone, catching up on my favourite vloggers or write a blog post if I’m feeling up to it.

10pm

Time to close my eyes and hope we have a peaceful night!

*~*~*

So that’s a wrap!
I tried to describe what a typical day is for me now that I’m at work. Would you be interested in a weekend edition of a day in the life? 


Weaning into Toddlerhood with *Organix

15 August 2018




Weaning is that stage of your child’s life that can be nerve wracking yet exciting at the same time. I began weaning Little A on solid foods when she turned 6 months old. 

Since then she’s always had home cooked food and snacks until recently I found myself behind in the snack category not only due to being back at work full time but because sometimes she’d just refuse them straight out especially when we’re out and about, thankfully she’s still a fan of my cooking although you can just never predict what’s coming next..

Especially now that Toddlerhood means lots of exciting adventures but it also means that our little ones are using a lot of energy so just three meals a day are not enough

Since the beginning, I have always been wary of baby food products since some of the snacks available on the market shockingly contain more salt and sugar than the adult version of it.

Luckily, my eyes landed on Organix Goodies, I was instantly attracted towards the name Organix and did my research. Organix abide by the ‘no junk promise’ and they certainly have kept their promise.

Organix are so confident in keeping to their promise that they began a nationwide campaign earlier on in the year teaming up with parents to go to the supermarket and look at ingredients of baby food products and unveil the junk that’s hidden in some finger foods and toddler snacks. 




When they sent Little A Organix Lentil Cheesy Hoops, to test out, I was surprised to see that they were made from over 65% of lentils and only contained naturally occurring sugars and salts.

We were so impressed that we went on an Organix shopping trip and stocked up on all different kind of snacks, even some biscuits that are suitable for 10 months +. I wish I had paid more attention much earlier on and we would’ve been enjoying these for longer but better late than never, eh?




I do have a confession to make though, I’ve been enjoying these for myself as well because they are tasty. I even think that if you’re an adult on a diet, these would be perfect as you’ll be enjoying a treat that doesn’t contain any of the naughty ingredients - something for Organix to think about for future marketing, maybe?

Nevertheless, even if I do feel like being naughty myself and having a chocolate bar or a packet of crisps, I don’t have to worry about Little A asking for what I’m having or her ending up in tears as she’s not allowed mummy’s snacks because she can now have the Organix healthier versions.

It’s just made me feel at ease that I have Organix as a back up now and I don’t have to worry about any nasties making their way into my little girl’s tummy. 


Some of our super hit purchases:
*I was sent the Organix lentil cheesy hoops to test out in exchange for my honest opinion. Thoughts and opinions expressed are 100% my own.

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