I’m already feeling super mellow and ready for bed but just glanced at the clock and it’s only 10.30pm! Gotta be honest; there’s no way we can make it and stay awake for the countdown this year. Hubby has been fast asleep for the past 3 hours (he said he was taking a power nap- I thought those were only supposed to last 20 mins max?) and Aidan is due to wake soon for a feed but hopefully he will continue to sleep on as usual. It’s been a while since my last post- the reason I started writing was to keep my family and friends in London and other parts of the world updated with Aidan’s stories and I guess since we have been here in London and absolutely enjoying every moment together, there’s not been much time for me to write.
Just to recap, since my last post we have had a lovely time over Christmas with my friends and family. Even though we don’t celebrate Christmas spiritually, I love Christmases because it’s a time for family, friends, good food and presents! I was a bit irritated to see the negative hype on social media about how Muslims should not even wish ‘Happy Christmas’ to others, let alone enjoy the festivities. Growing up, my mum had always entertained my whims to put a tree up in our flat for fun and it has now also become a family tradition for us to have a Christmas lunch with all the trimmings (thanks to my mum who cooks it every year with the help from my cousin). (If ever I don’t make it back to London for Christmas, then we’d normally just postpone it until everybody’s together- I think we even had a “Christmas lunch” in April a couple of years ago!). I do respect the Prophet’s teaching that Muslims should not be ‘mimicking’ non-islamic behaviour, but Allah gave us a healthy mind to exercise common sense and respect others, and I just simply cannot find the logic behind the argument that if I give presents to my friends and family and wish people a ‘Merry Christmas’ I would be ‘betraying’ my religion.
Anyway, today is New Year’s Eve and I wanted to try something new that we can do with Aidan. Gone were the days of parties and clubs (actually I don’t think I have ever gone out partying over New Years- it’s always been a family affair for me). For the last 6 years, we have celebrated with hubby’s family by having dinner at either KL Hilton or Meridian- it’s always one of these hotels because they have a fireworks display and we don’t have to brave the city’s traffic jam. 2 years ago we were in London for New Year’s and me, hubby and cousins bought Thai-style paper lanterns from Fenwicks crafts department. We wrote all our hopes, wishes and Doa for the coming year on them. The idea was to light them and let them rise up romantically into the clear winter night sky and for us to gaze up whimsically as they float away. In reality, a gust of wind blew the lanterns right out of our grip and into the neighbour’s garden where we almost started a fire. That was pretty scary.
This year is special as it’s our first New Year with a baby. As all new parents will know, having a baby kinda strips you of all normalcy and suddenly the things you used to take for granted and easily enjoyed becomes quite a challenge. Like going for a massage or facial, chilling in a café, reading a book or simply going to the movies. It has been 4 months since hubby and I went to the cinema together so I surprised him with a trip to our local Everyman Baby Club. Actually our local Everyman Cinema is Maida Vale or Baker Street (only 5 mins away from our flat) but they don’t do Baby Club, so the nearest one is Belsize Park, 10 mins away.
Baby Club is a regular screening at some cinemas (the Everyman Belsize Park, Hampstead and Islington or the Electric in Notting Hill) which is exclusively for parents or carers with children under a year old. You need to have a baby under 12 months of age in order to get in and it’s basically somebody’s great idea to let frazzled new parents enjoy a bit of normalness and feel like a human being again instead of The Milk Machine (me) and The Burper/ Changer/ Soother (hubby). They show the latest films, so it’s not like you have to watch some ancient silent movie, and best of all, everybody there was in the same situation so there was a kind of silent solidarity amongst us all. We didn’t need to worry about disapproving glares and tut-tutting, overpriced popcorn and unhealthy fizzy drinks- the Everyman cinematic experience is one of bespoke class. You get a hot drink and cake with the ticket- I had a gorgeous carrot cake and hot chocolate, hubby had an Americano and chocolate brownie.
We watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty in the awesome theatre- we had a reclining leather two-seater with electronic back and leg rest control. There were also scatter cushions which were fantastic for me to prop Aidan on to breastfeed. I kicked off my boots and sat cross legged as I normally would at home and I saw 3 other mums also do the same 🙂 We were free to breastfeed comfortably and openly without having to battle with flimsy covers and there were also loos inside the cinema itself for our convenience. Mind you, these are hygienic, dry and fresh smelling ones as opposed to the wet, smelly WCs in Malaysia so I was a very happy bunny! The lights were on at the perfect setting- not too bright so the babies could sleep yet not too dim so that we could still mind our hot drinks and see each other.
Although there was no pressure to keep the babies quiet, everyone did their best to calm their little ones and there was always a parent shh-shing their bubba in the wide aisle or at the back. The thing about babies is, all it takes is for one to start crying and the rest will go off. I found that out on the plane to London and it reaaalllllyyy annoys me because when you’ve put so much effort into calming and soothing your baby, all it takes is for another to start wailing and yours is happily joining in! So there was this one woman whose baby was crying the whole time and she kept rocking her baby in the car seat harder and faster which was not making any difference. I felt like saying, “excuse me, can you just go change her nappy or check if she’s hungry?!!”. Jeez. But in the spirit of that silent solidarity, I zipped my lips and continued to enjoy the movie. After all, the sound volume was on loud enough so that you’re not too bothered by the whines and cries.
Aidan on the other hand was the most well behaved baby in the entire place and when he wasn’t calmly resting in hubby’s arms, he was sleeping soundly throughout the whole movie. We couldn’t have been happier! After the movie ended we kept thanking Aidan and praised him for being such a good boy.
What a perfect day to end a wonderful year with my sweet little family as we say Hello to 2014…