Saturday began as just another ordinary day. It was just another ordinary day with hints of becoming a great day. But unfortunately for me, my day was just beginning and the worst was yet to come.
Since it was weekend, the family woke up later than usual at 8 am. Husband prepared breakfast while Noah and I lounged around the bed. Whether it’s a weekend or a weekday, Noah requests his usual 30 minutes of hugging time with mommy in the morning. This is probably because when he was younger and breastfeeding, the first 30 minutes of his waking hours were spent having a quiet breakfast in bed (get it?). It is usually a stretch for us during school days because we are under time pressure but Noah will not budge from the bed unless I cuddle with him. So to accommodate his routine, we usually sleep extra early in the evenings to wake up extra early in the mornings.
Right after breakfast, my husband gave me my me time by playing videogames with Noah. Both of them love it and this is sort of their bonding moment. Most parents frown upon videogames at such an early age but I firmly believe that, with parental guidance and adequate social interaction, playing videogames can in fact develop the IQ and EQ of a child. The age appropriate videogame can cultivate problem solving skills and critical thinking in children. First and foremost, a child has to learn how to use the remote control – to connect the characters actions vis a vis the keypads and to memorize the remote control commands. In the case of Noah, he stubbornly refused to let me teach him how to use the Wii remote control and I often marvel on how he learned to use it when in fact, I am still having trouble with it until now. In terms of EQ development, losing in videogames can improve sportsmanship and perseverance. A child can learn to lose gracefully versus his/her opponents and he/she can also learn to keep on trying until she/he makes it.
In the afternoon, en route to our preparation for going to the grocery, my husband stumbled upon an old romantic movie in one of the television channels. It was, “Someone like you”, starring Ashley Judd and none other than the amazing and sexy Hugh Jackman. I couldn’t bear to tear myself away from the movie because it had all the makings of a retro romance story which I like. Julius reminded me over and over again that the day will be finished soon and I have to move my lovely bottom if we want to have enough time to go for grocery. But his efforts were futile and I got to finish the movie. Retro love stories only show on television once in a blue moon and I was not about to miss it. I mean, who doesn’t long for those days when romance stories have more heart and more oomph? When a television channel shows,” While you were sleeping”, do you change the channel? Of course not! The same reverence should be exercised over a Hugh Jackman and Ashley Judd romantic film. Anyway, I can’t believe that Ashley Judd and Hugh Jackman look almost exactly the same as they did when they were younger. The only difference is that they are hotter now.
So finally we were able to go to Sharjah City Center. As we were walking inside the mall and passed by New look, my husband reminded me that I have to buy new clothes for our surprise wedding anniversary date. I usually hate shopping because I have post pregnancy body issues. The clothes available in stores nowadays more or less deflate my self-esteem. Most dresses are see through, backless, sleeveless, spaghetti strapped and tight fitting. Blouses are the same. As for pants and skirts, they haven’t made one yet that will hide the dreaded muffin top which is courtesy of the post pregnancy tummy. I hate the way these modern clothes highlight my problem areas and I firmly believe that shelling out hard earned cash to buy them is counterproductive and simply illogical.
But my husband, The Julius, is adamant. I know it is petty to add “The” to my husband’s name but that is usually how he is when he becomes stubborn. So grudgingly, I went inside just to prove him wrong and get it out of the way. The first things I saw were 2 pieces of AED 15 white T-shirts. For the quality of the shirts, these were a score. I wanted to buy them since I am a discount and T-shirt girl. But when I showed it to Julius, his eyebrows crossed with disapproval. This wasn’t exactly his idea of a surprise anniversary date wear. Of course I knew that but I still needed ordinary white shirts for ordinary non-surprise anniversary date days. But the eyebrows were still joined in the center of his face so I went on my way feeling hopelessly discouraged. Rack after rack was the usual stuff which I don’t wear-sleeveless, spaghetti strapped, tight fitting, backless, see through and plunging. I know from the get go that I will just tire myself from fitting them because I know I won’t like the way they fit and look on me. But I have to freaking try because The Julius insists.
After some ego deflating trials, I finally found 2 dresses which make me look remotely human and I might even say hot. One was maroon and with sleeves. The other was blue and sleeveless but with some sort of ruffles to hide the upper part of my arms. The sweetest part of the deal was the fact that both were on sale- one was only AED 40 while the other one was only AED 80. On my way to the husband, I swiped the 2 discounted white T-shirts to add to the pile of clothes which he will have to pay. After all, I do deserve some sort of reward for all the back breaking work I did to find two decent dresses. Happy as he was with my choices, he obliged to my demand. As I was taking my purchases from the counter, I proudly declared that my aversion to shopping was cured. But he was quick to point out that only my aversion to shopping for cheap clothes was cured because otherwise, I am still allergic to clothes costing more than a hundred dirhams. Talk about a husband who complains about a wife who underspends! Where is the gratitude? Needless to say he also forced me to buy new shoes because he thinks that new clothes should come with new shoes.
Although I did whine a lot about buying, I must admit that the new stuff elated me. Just like Julius, I was excited to not look like a dude on our surprise anniversary date. I had these happy thoughts in my head while I was unpacking our groceries in the house. Halfway to bending and picking up 4 packs of 1 liter milk boxes, a blinding pain knifed my back. For a moment I couldn’t move; my brain and body unable to comprehend the outburst of agony. I literally felt like somebody stuck a knife on my back, inserted a hand grenade inside and it exploded. I finally screamed to Julius for help because I was stuck on a half bend and I couldn’t even open my hands to let go of the 4 packs of milk. But when he got to me, I couldn’t stop myself from screaming and no intelligible words came out of my mouth. It took him a while to understand that he needed to remove the 4 packs of milk from my grip. But even without the milk on my hands, straightening to a standing position was still a back breaking effort. I leaned on the refrigerator to support myself. Noah wanted to hug me, probably to comfort me. But even getting touched triggered tremors of pain. The only thing more painful than what I was feeling at that time was going into labour and giving birth. My sight slightly blurred and darkened from the intensity of the pain and I knew that if I didn’t lie down soon, I might faint. With the help of Julius, I managed to drag my body to our sofa bed and lie flat on my back.
For about an hour, I lay there crying and unable to move. Any type of movements-lifting my arms, moving my legs an inch, turning my neck- caused me pain. I couldn’t even let Noah sit beside me. The unevenness of the bed from his weight shifted and unbalanced my body and that was excruciating too. I think I broke his heart when I rejected all his offers to comfort me. But at that moment, the only thing that made sense to my back was laying still. I was afraid that I might have a slipped disc because the symptoms were reminiscent of our friend’s stories who also suffered from the same. The suspicion activated my tear ducts all the more because I know that a slipped disc will exclude a number of exercises from my life. I might have to say goodbye to yoga and hello to permanent weight gain. Condescending women will start calling me madam again and I will once more live the life of a recluse. I know these thought sound superficial and even stupid when the health of my back might be on the precipice of something more serious. But my postpartum slump was so not fun and I dread to go back. It will be like returning to a school where you were bullied. At least that is how I feel.
Thankfully, with the help of the hot Ceragem mat on my back, the pain gradually subsided. I was able to sit up, walk, and eat. But since my back was still sore, I kept it ramrod straight and I still moved gingerly. I could have passed up for one of those PMA cadets if only I did not move so slowly. As to date, I am much much better. But I now avoid back damaging activities which include giving piggy back rides to my 5 year old son. Most importantly I bend my knees when picking up any object, no matter how light or heavy, from the floor. It doesn’t take much to trigger the Armageddon like back pain. I certainly don’t want a repeat. Hopefully with all my new found precautions, my-promising-to-be- a-great-day ordinary days will remain just as it is.
Guest post from Cris