Benjamin Spock was my bible when Bilal was born , I followed every word to the T ! Becoming parents does not come naturally especially when we live in a nuclear family without having a family support system around to advise us not to mention how even people who have stayed in a community, dont even know who their immediate neighbours are !
Alot many lessons are learnt the hard way. Today I can recognize the difference between a sinus and a viral infection. But I learnt it the hard way. I know exactly the symptoms of a salmonella infection ~ unfortunately it came at the price of a horrible experience. I know what combination of foods can cause an allergy in my boys and what is the medication I need for them. Every child is different and I know what works for my boys by experience.
For the ten plus years that I have been a mom, often we get into our routine of how and what to expect. This part of the world is relatively safe. We worry about the driving but where do you not ??? Beside that, we never really worry about holding the shopping trolley constantly while shopping, lest someone just picks up and takes off with our little bundle of joy. Infact most of us are reminded to carry our handbags or purses on ourselves rather than just leaving it in the shopping carts … thats how safe it is. Infact where else could you find a cleaner who’s salary is dhs 700, finding and returning a bag with dhs 55,000 !!!!! But of course thats not always the case. There are the occasional episodes of burglaries generally done by groups or gangs which have come to Dubai for a short period just to carry out a dozen or so, such burglaries and vamooz !!
Sometimes, we as parents get a wake up call, sometimes a jolt and sometimes sheer shock by some of the unfortunate events that take place around children. I can think up of a few after which I had suddenly turned very vigilant around the kids.
1. It was one of the most gruesome things I had ever heard. The flight from Dubai to New Delhi had landed, a mother and her young daughter were hurrying down the escalator to the immigration counter, what happened next is so shocking. Somehow the platform on which the young girl was standing on, broke and she began to fall in, within seconds, the child was being pressed by the people behind and machinery. I remember not wanting to read the entire article in the newpaper becoz it broke my heart, to think that the mother had to watch how her precious little one was being sliced and minced. It is awful for a mother or any parent to have to witness such a way to loose their child. Ofcourse the goof up lay in the faulty escalator which had not been repaired and whats worse ? Passengers were allowed to use it !!! Did New Delhi Airport Authorities accept their mistake ? I doubt… But who’s loss was it ? Ours … the parents.
Lesson learnt : We have to keep yelling at the kids to keep up with us and not run around. Especially Sawaab, since he has this thing for running on escalators. When they were younger, I made sure I held their hands tightly but now I have again become careless, letting them go up and down at Mall of the Emirates, food court. ok, point noted, I have reminded myself that I have to be more vigilant.
2. When such an incident happens closer to the house, the victim has a face and that can be traumatic. When we were staying at Abdullah Shaibani building, this was an incident where a 6 – 7 year old jovial boy called Yousef, was playing football with his friends in the school ground. The school was Chouefat School in Dubai. Unfortunetly the buses were parked within the premises of the school. The child went to fetch the ball which had gone under one of the buses and at that very moment the bus driver started the bus. Apparently the bus went over the chest of the child. He died shortly after.
I clearly remember, sitting in shock after I heard what had happened. This child was my immediate neighbour. I had seen him several times. He had a younger brother and sister as sweet as angels. I remember the stream of visitors that the family had for days together and as much as I wanted to, I could not gather the courage to approach the mother for months. I felt too devastated to. I feared it was me, who would burst out crying becoz I am the week one. The mother was inconsolent. What can you tell a mother, who has lost her little son all for the silly mistake of a fool !!! A Child becomes a part of our body, almost like a limb. Her loss was so immense that I remember just praying for her for months together. She must have been so devastated. She never woke up from the nightmare , She was now living the nightmare. I remember Samie telling me one day that yousef’s father had told him that they were happy for yousef becoz they knew he was in Paradise. They had found a way to live on. Months later the mother and I became good friends. Yousef is an angel and he is one of God’s own chosen ones.
3. Just recently about how a 4 1/2 year old child was forgotten in the back seat of a school bus in the morning becoz she slept off. The driver dropped all the other kids and later parked the bus and left to return after 3 hours to find the child lifeless. She died due to heat. How do such things happen, why do such things happen ? We as parents are the ones who pay the price. Our children are soo so important. And inspite of taking all or most, of the precautions, tragedy happens.
Lesson Learnt : To make sure the authorities take transportation seriously and ensure the safety of every child. I dont know how was it possible that an attendant was not in the bus while the kids were being dropped over to the school !!
4. A few years back, a father was leaving for work in the morning in his four wheel, the mother rushed into the villa to fetch something without realizing that she had left her 3 year old child unattended at the gate of the house. The child must have approached the car and without realizing the father put the car in reverse only to crush the child. ( This was a time when reverse alert systems had not been introduced. ) What pain and agony he will suffer all his life ? The child was too tiny to spoted in his rear view mirror and having the windows up and airconditioning switched on just meant he could’nt hear her screams and most importantly, it happened all too suddenly in a flash !
Lesson learnt : Get down the car to make sure the kids are either in seats with seat belts or make sure they are secure at home.
5-This incident had been narrated by my husband to me, about how two young brothers were playing cops and robbers in one of the villages in India. ( People can have licensed or even unlicensed guns in their homes in small towns for protection from Bandits, dacoits etc ) The boys found the real guns and were excieted, while one of the guns was devoid of bullets, the other was loaded and did not have a safety latch to it. What happened next was inevitable. The young boy took an aim and hit his brother straight on his head. It is a hit that probably traumatised him forever.
6-In 1999, we stayed in Abu Dhabi for 11 months. Bilal was just 8months when we moved there. In those days, Abu Dhabi had plenty of skyscappers. One of the most frequently heard stories was about how accidently children fell from balconies or windows by mistake and carelessness.
I know there are scores of sick people out there in the world who deliberatly do nasty things to little children but these were just some incidents that were mistakes. They should’ave never happened. They could have been easily avoided. Someone somewhere made a mistake but we as parents bore the brunt. These tragedies changed our lives forever. We were the loosers. We lost our precious child. I know each parent must’ ave asked himself, “Why me, Why my son/daughter ?
How can we go on in life without him/ her. Life can’t move any further. Its over. There is nothing left worth fighting for. Nothing feels right, nothing feels close to good. where is my child ? Just one more hug .. just one more kiss ..
There were so many things I wanted to tell him, so many experiences I wanted to share, so much laughter we have been stolen of. Why cant things be like before ?
It is such a devastating loss. Nothing and no amount of time can heal the pain. The loss is ALIVE constantly even when we carry on our lives like a robot … the pain is still hurting.
Please wake up parents. Please realize how fragile life is for our young one.
I hope you use some of these incidents to wake up and check your ownself if all the precautions have been taken.
In a later post I might want to share with you’ll about the mishaps that happened with my kids.
Till then … be safe and keep them safe.