Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Streets of Rage

Recently i wrote a comment in one of the blogs i follow regarding driving in saudi arabia,the comment was in reply to a topic regarding why saudi arabia is not yet ready to have new category of drivers added to its streets (in the post case,it was women),as i said in my comment,i have no opposition what so ever against women driving in saudi,but i do object on allowing a new caliber of drivers into the Streets of Saudi arabia while it remains the world in the number of traffic accidents worldwide.
this is a video that sums up pretty much the driving conditions in saudi arabia.

the Author of the blog where i dropped my comment (a great blog about everyday parenting from a full time mommy,i highly recommend following if u are a parent or soon to be), believed that if women drove,it will lead to less number of drivers coming from 3rd world countries,who are usually over worked and stressed there would be less accidents.

though her opinion might be correct to a certain point,i kept thinking of it all day and a question raised in my head,if they are the reason why accidents in saudi so high,why is it that its saudi is the leader in accidents,while the countries where they come from,which are considered "less fortunate" and not as civilized as saudi arabia,for instance,India and indonesia have a rate of 16 compared to 29 Road fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants per year according to wikipedia?

personally my experience through my childhood and early youth in saudi tells me other wise,having lost many of my high school friends in car accidents,i can pretty much say the majority of the accidents ive witnessed or been part of,were by young saudis,or young residents of saudi arabia who grew up in saudi.

My cousin died recently from a car accident,he fell asleep while driving.

one of my highschool friends happend when i was in the 8 grade,a classmate was driving so fast he hit a pole and flew through the windshield dropping dead. i still remember his name,his face like i just met him an hour ago.

another friend of mine,who thank god is still alive,now an aviator,got his car into an accident that costed him abit over 12000$ to have it fixed.

many of my friends of today,who i sit and have coffee with,and now successful professionals of dentists,engineers or accountants,talk about they early days of driving,and how drifting was THE favorite practice to them when they have time to spare,now they look back and wonder how on earth they did that and what were they thinking,i my self not so long ago used to zigzag across the busiest streets of jeddah driving around 140 km/hrs,and my motto was "drive it like you stole it".
things changed though,and i am glad it did for my self without much damage.

this is an example of what is seen everyonce in a while in the city streets of riyadh.

this one is a bit graphic,so if u are weak hearted you might want to avoid it.

Point is,the majority of the accidents happens by the ones who are strong enough to abuse the system and be above the law,expat drivers might get into accidents sure,but catastrophic accidents usually happens not from drivers,but from our youth and young ones.
Saudi arabia needs an aggressive approach to apply Strict traffic rules with sever consequences that brings the streets to order,felonies and fines doesn't seem to stop many,either they can avoid paying it since in saudi arabia (at least till now) does not revoke your license after a certain number of violation,and getting locked up isn't always a consequence for traffic violations,the majority of our youth,including my self in my early years,never took the law seriously,and i am afraid this will continue to happen and pass from generation to generation unless a strict application of law takes place.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Yes, Or No?

My mother in law, and sister in law were in town, we decided to go to a Japanese restaurant,
it was the first time we try the restaurant, it looked good and clean, made us all look forward to the experience.
we were 8,4 adults, and 4 kids, my two kids (1 year old and a 20 days old) and my sister in law also has two (2 year old and a 10 month old.
Each table must have 10 people to start taking orders, which is something i realized all Japanese grill restaurant in the US practice

The table is ready for us, and the receptionist escorted us to the table, we reached there, there were two people already, they were early 30s aged caucasian couple, we greeted,however, before we all sat down, the couple stood up, and left the table after some ear to ear whispers and exchanging looks.

The message was clear, we don't want to sit next to those people, i wondered, is it because we look indian asians, or is it because of the Hijab my wife and her family were wearing? i tried to fool my self and think she moved because we had the kids and its normal for kids to be noisy and loud.

15 minutes passed, the same couple were escorted again to the the SAME table, however, to the other end of it, and ironically guess who is sitting their? two families,one Caucasian Mother with her little daughter,and another Family of four,an indian couple with two also little daughters.

So after a little match a scratch,it only became clear that they did it because of Hijab.

We all were pissed to say the least,while they sat literally an arm fold away from us,and they still face us,and incase we wanted to harm someone,they are still within reach, and pretending like nothing happened while they dine and wine.
my night was ruined,i didn't enjoy one bite from my meal,and i just wanted to leave the place,before i make a mess,which i usually do if i tried to speak about the situation.

Dinner is over, paid the bill and carried my daughter to the car and sat her in the car seat, my sister in law came and said she confronted the couple and told them that their behavior ruined the night on all of us,and all the lady had to say was "am so sorry i work with kids all the time and the last thing i wanted was another kid next to me" as if the current table didnt have any, she got embarrassed because everyones face changed when they heard the little conversation between her and my sister in law.

A couple of days ago,i was watching TV and a Question was asked "Do u think there is still discrimination in the US?"

ill let you decide.

P.S. i do not to judge an entire nation upon one persons act,but some times an act can speak a thousand words,and leave deep percussions.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bed Time Stories

Let me be clear here,i might not be the best father out there,nor the most experienced, so by writing what i am about to write i am not claiming to be any,but i am rather sharing what i found quite useful in my humble experience.

putting your child to sleep can be a challenge,be it a happy baby who love to be around his parents to jump around and have fun,or the angry baby who just dont want to sleep cos to him the night is still early.

just after my daughter turned 10 monthes,which was about the time we came back from Saudi arabia after two monthes of summer vacation filled with family members visiting and party,my daughter went from " just put me to bed with my little bottle and ill sleep" to "i wont sleep alone,lay down next to me and hold me" only to realize how hectic this method became especially when the parents want to stay awake for a couple more hours,or if your kid is alight sleeper who checks up on you always to make sure u are by her side,luckily my daughter is not that type.

you might argue that there is nothing wrong with having your kid sleep next to you,but it gets hard after a while especially if parents are professionals,also from other people experiences they told us it gets alot harder as the kids grow up,they might develop fear from the dark and they will simply not fall asleep unless they are in mommy's bed up to ages like 9 or 10.

after few discussions with my daughters pediatrician,she recommendedordered us to strictly follow what she says to over come the problem,which is to put her in her own crib,and talk to her out of crying and needing someone next to her.
tried it day one,hell of a trial,she cried so hard,standing in her crib with her arms reaching for daddy and tears dripping on her cheeks,i kept telling her its bedtime,and its the time where all the little birds and squirrels sleep,and i strictly avoid carrying her from the crib to soothe her,i talk to her from a considerable distance,and if i had to pat on her back,i make it in a way that she cant get a hold of me to carry her....she cried her self to sleep.
the next day,the same issue,i tried to read to her a bed time story,which grabbed her attention pretty well,and after i finished her story,i carried on reading my book loudly,which also helped in making her quite and attentive,then she fell asleep.
the third day,she started crying when she saw me carrying her to the crib,but when i put her in her crib,she saw the book,the bottle and her pacifier there,she reached to her bottle,and heard the story till she fell asleep.
the fourth day,she reached for the book,passed it to daddy,and sat there looking and listening,till she fell asleep.

That simple.
from the fourth day onwards,when bedtime comes,the moment we put her in her crib,she realizes that its bed time,the little birds and squirrels went to bed,and so she should. her sleeping pattern improved drastically,sleeping 8+ hours comfortably in her crib,though she still wakes up around 6 or 5 am asking for a feed,but as soon as she feel the bottle in her mouth she falls back to sleep on the spot "this habit will be stopped very soon as sleeping with the bottle is one of the major causes of baby bottle caries since the baby might fall asleep with his mouth is filled with milk,which contain lactose that is ideal for fermentation required for dental caries.

ill list the benefits i found from this habit for both,parent and child :
- the child becomes less dependent on his parent when going to bed,since the child doesn't require skin contact anymore to fall asleep.
-its the best way to train the child's biological clock to sleep,you notice as soon as the bed time approaches,the child start showing signs that he is ready to sleep,which will make the job of putting the child to bed alot more easier.
-i think its also one of the best way to make the toddler adopts the habit of reading at a very early age,which is something i am taking seriously to make my child a good reader.
-the child slowly becomes less afraid of the dark,because he knows that even though daddy is not holding me,i know he is there,if not sitting on the rocking chair reading his book,he is in the next room.
-its an excellent method to increase the bond between your toddler and you,with time you will find your toddler looking forward to bed time cos its the time that daddy dedicate solely to me,and my bed time story.
-somehow,and i dont know whats correlates it,the child becomes more happy,i noticed my daughter now smiles while in her crib,which is a positive way to fold the day.
-for the parent one of the major benefits i found for this is that i made its an excellent time to be dedicated to my own reading after finishing reading her book,especially after struggling with my readings and being way behind due to unorganized day schedules.
-for working parents,this is also a great time for the parent to catch up with his children,as am sure when they start speaking they will enjoy grabbing a small talk with daddy before they sleep.
-i found it also a great way to force my self to stay away abit longer from the internet,and all the time consuming social networking sites.

to all of you who are parents,will be parents,or were at a time parents of toddlers,what can u add?

P.S. yes,i know its beed way too long since the last time i blogged,and i am sorry about that,i do really miss my blog followers comments and discussions,but with twitter taking all my ideas so freshly,its kinda hard to keep my thoughts dedicated to my blog,but i am working on it,i promise!