Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Adventures in Babysitting

One of my favorite 80s movies.
I've recently picked up a new hobby. It's not knitting or photography...It's not that sort of thing at all. I have become...a...babysitter.Why the drama? Well, I have a reputation for being afraid of babies. Don't judge me. Before my sister had kids, the only baby I ever knew was myself. Needless to say, I am not a natural. I didn't quite get the hang of it until my second nephew, Ali (also known as "Bila"), came along.

This means that these days I not only find myself watching daily Playhouse Disney marathons but I am actually changing diapers. Fortunately, I love cartoons (though Playhouse Disney doesn't exactly meet my standard for stimulating television). As for the diapers, I was determined to save that "honor" until I had my own children. Well, there that goes.

While this may not seem to have anything to do with my move to Egypt, for me, this is just another example of how much your thoughts can influence your behavior. Because I had made up my mind that I simply didn't know how to take care of a baby, I avoided it at all costs, and thus it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. People often ask me why I would come here and "put myself through this." Well, if you see it as "putting yourself through" something, that is exactly how it is going to feel. Rather than taking action to shape your own experience, you've built a cage around yourself with your thoughts. Gretchen Rubin, of The Happiness Project, puts it well: "Although we think that we act because of the way we feel, in fact, we often feel because of the way we act." I couldn't agree more.

I think the reason this concept is so hard for us to grasp is that it is easier to say "I can't babysit" than to actually try, make mistakes, and learn. We have learned to use our thoughts and feelings as an excuse not to get out of our comfort zones. How different life would be if we realized that, more often than not, we can choose how we feel and what we think, even when it means changing our perceptions of ourselves.

So, don't let my love of "The Hot Dog Song" (and corresponding dance) fool you. Apparently, I can be responsible for another human being. Who could've seen that one coming?


  1. my fave part, is while u were babysitting u were writing that blog! but well written anyways. i think it also helps that bila likes u a lot ;)

  2. You should have majored in psychology .. I still can't imagine you changing diapers. Hi Bila Awi.

  3. Well put! And maybe you'll even change your mind about changing diapers ;)

  4. That's awesome ya khaalit bila awi!! Great post.. so well written mashaAllah