Girl Meets World


My Dear Daughter,

You are finally here, Alhamdulillah. It was not an easy journey bringing you into this world. Alhamdulillah. This world… I remember whispering in your ear minutes after you took your first breath. As the midwife stitched me up yet again, I remember bearing the pain as I whispered to you, “These are the things we girls have to go through in this world. This is where our strength goes.” This and so much more.

 

My dear daughter, this world is a beautiful place, but there is far greater beauty that lies ahead. So, be disappointed and cry your heart out when those tests come your way one day. Those tests that only us girls can pass. Cry your heart out and don’t hold back, but don’t be hopeless for there are much better things that await you.
Keukenhof_-_a_Beautiful_Flowers_Garden_in_Holland
This world is a beautiful place but it is filled with tragic situations and people who will hurt you over and over again. Try to forgive them, over and over again. But remember the experiences and take heed of the lessons. Learn from the people who hurt you.
My beloved daughter, never compromise the peace that you deserve to feel deep within your heart. At the end of it all, your peace will be all you can depend on.
As crazy as this world is and as complex and confusing as we people are, try to always look for good. In yourself first and then in others. I promise you will always, always find good.
May the people in your life never hurt you too much, my darling girl, but when they do, as we all hurt each other all the time, may they have the wisdom and strength to say sorry. And may you have the wisdom and strength to forgive, without forgetting the lesson. Ameen.
With all my love,
Mommy
Advertisements

What we’ve been up to


My Dear Sons, 

It’s been crazy, lovely, nerve-wracking, joyful, sad, adventurous and much more since the last time I wrote. I actually had to check what was the last I had written and how much catching up I have to do.
A lot has happened since my last post.
Regarding school, I resigned teaching as it was becoming too difficult for me to balance the roles of teacher and mother/wife. I was becoming obsessed with lesson plans and stuff. Also, the school objectives/vision/principles/politics were not exactly aligned with mine. So, that too made teaching there full-time more difficult. And, also, even after one month, only A seemed to like being there, at the nursery (which is a room on the school premises) with about four other children around his age and two nice and friendly Omani ladies looking after the kids. When we’d come home, after school, though A would become very naggy and clingy, demanding I carry him all the time, screaming at me the instant I put him down. I understood that it must be from the stress of not being with me whole day, even though he seemed so content there. Z, neither you nor T liked the school. Every morning it would be, “I don’t want to go to school!” “I don’t like school”. I basically had to dress you both while you were sleeping. I even had to put your half-asleep body on the toilet, Z,  as your will-power just wasn’t there. And then, when we got to school,  you would both look for me all over the school, ask any teacher who could understand English where I am, find me and then ask, “How many classes still?” And so it would go throughout the day. It became quite annoying for me. The day I told you that the ‘promise’ is done, Z, you looked a bit sad though, like you were just starting to like the school. It wasn’t like you or T were having a horrible time. It’s just that you were used to having my attention all the time and there was nothing really at the school to take me off your minds, there were no really engaging activities for you. All in all, I weighed the pros and cons and decided that it wasn’t worth it. But I still liked being out and about with you boys (as opposed to how it was in Ras Tanura, Z, me and you all cooped up in the apartment most days) and I still liked teaching, and I still had so many ideas that I wanted to put into action and I still wanted you to pick up Arabic. So, I proposed that I come to school to teach twice a week. And they accepted, Alhamdulilah. So that’s where we’re at now regarding the school situation. Every Tuesday and Thursday that we go to school is pretty much the same for you as the days when I was teaching full-time though. You both still nag about going and you both still look for me all over the school and then ask, “How many classes still?” Most of your day is spent waiting outside in the playground for me to finish my day, sometimes playing with each other on the slides or jungle gym thing and sometimes playing with the other kids. Even though you both (T just picks up on your moaning, Z. Still copying almost everything you say and do) still complain about going to school on those mere two days a week, I can see it’s beneficial for all of us to be there, Alhamdulilah, as opposed to being home whole week, not practicing any social skills or any other skills. At the school, I get to have a bit of intellectual stimulus (of sorts) even though I’m around a class of eight-year-old most of the day. I get some adult company and we all get to socialise and see different faces, Alhamdulilah. We’ve met some very nice people we would not have met had we not attended the school, Alhamdulilah. So, while you moan about it still, I am happy that we are still going to school. While I am always right there, you get some nice outdoor play time, which includes physical activity, communication and negotiation skills and, hopefully, inshaAllah, you’re picking up the Arabic language as well. Ameen. And it’s all for free, Alhamdulilah. 🙂 Win, win all round, Alhamdulilah.
So, moving on to other updates…
About a month ago, your Daadi and Phoepoe were here for three weeks. Z, you and T were excitedly counting down the days for them to come.
Displaying IMG-20161206-WA0019.jpeg
How lovely it was to have them here, Alhamdulilah. We had so many adventures and long road trips together. We saw many different towns in Oman, like, Nizwa, Sur, Muscat. We played games at the game centre in the mall, visited a castle, climbing many steps to reach the very top, picked up beautifully designed shells and pebbles at the beach, dipped our feet in the water at the beautiful Bima sinkhole (while wishing that the little fish would just nibble at our feet already), and camped under the stars at Wahiba Sands. Z, you were quite excited about sleeping in a tent. All of you really enjoyed playing with the silky sand. It was such a clean, smooth feeling to have the sand run through my fingers. I even managed to stash some sand in a used ziploc bag, an empty Pringles tin and a used plastic bag, as that was all I could find to store the sand in. You now enjoy playing with it at home :). Z, you and I rode a lovely camel together and spoke about the camel that took Nabi Muhammad (pbuh) on his journeys. You were very scared to get on the camel at first, but you were so brave and you felt so proud of yourself for riding the camel, Alhamdulilah. T, you and AA were brave to touch the camel. We then greeted the camel and the people of Wahiba Sands and moved on to the boat ride in Muscat. Again, Z, you were a bit scared but then so brave as you even accepted the invitation to sit in front, right next to the man steering the boat. We (or, rather, your Dad. Shame. So much driving for one person) drove for many hours. He enjoyed it, though. We saw four different places in 5 days (I think? I might have the numbers wrong).
Displaying IMG-20161229-WA0087.jpgDisplaying IMG-20161217-WA0003.jpgDisplaying IMG-20161217-WA0011.jpgDisplaying IMG-20161217-WA0007.jpgDisplaying IMG-20161229-WA0086.jpg
Displaying IMG-20161229-WA0084.jpg
Displaying IMG-20161227-WA0048.jpgDisplaying IMG-20161227-WA0047.jpgDisplaying IMG-20161226-WA0033.jpgDisplaying IMG-20161226-WA0027.jpgDisplaying IMG-20161217-WA0008.jpgDisplaying IMG-20161210-WA0034.jpgDisplaying IMG-20161210-WA0032.jpgDisplaying IMG-20161226-WA0019.jpg
It was really sad for all of us to say bye to Daadi and Phoepoe and it took some readjusting once they had left, more for me than for you kids, it seemed.
    Aside from all that news…
Z, you’re growing up so fast and becoming such a big boy. You’re becoming so confident and self-assured mashaAllah.
T, since your birth, I’ve learnt so much about your strong personality and how to help nourish it and I’m continuously amazed when I see you trying to manange your emotions. We don’t battle so much anymore, Alhamdulilah. I just had to learn how to communicate with you.
A, you have about 6 teeth now. The teething is ongoing. At the moment, you have a slight fever.
Yesterday (29 January 2017), you took a few steps on your own! Alhamdulilah. Today, I think the fever has got you down (even though you’re still smiling, Alhamdulilah) so no footsteps in sight. Maybe tomorrow, inshaAllah.
May Allah, in His Infinite Wisdom, always be with you, my boys, and may He guide your every action. Ameen.
With all my love,
Mommy

It’s the beginning again


My Dear Sons,

The beginning of change is always tough.

It is the beginning of a new chapter again, Alhamdulilah. I am excited about the possibilities that lie ahead as we all head off to school every morning. Perhaps in a year you will have picked up some Arabic inshaAllah. Perhaps, in a year, inshaAllah, we will see you, Z, being less scared and inhibited as a result of your current environment. Perhaps, in a year, T, we will see you being more aware of natural consequences and actually learning to put some consideration into your actions. Perhaps, A, within in a year we will hear some Arabic words come from your mouth. Ameen.
While these are all my wishes and thoughts as I wake you up early every morning to go to a school that is not Montessori (which is always my preferred choice), every day, at school, where I also started teaching English at the same time as you started attending there, my expectations come to a halt and I am reminded that the above are all MY wishes and, as much as I would love to see them come true, it might be that Allah, All-Knowing, has a different direction for you, my children. Perhaps the environment in which I have you in at the moment is not suited to your personalities, especially you, Z, as you stand one side every morning as the rest of the school participate in the morning assembly physical exercises and scream out some Arabic chants in response to the teachers. As I was standing close to you in assembly one morning (you seldom move two steps from my side), wishing that you would just do something as simple as raising your arms or moving two steps to the right or SOMETHING, I came to a simple realisation, but it was like an awakening moment: I was like that at school too – so inhibited and self-conscious. I think you are actually less so than I was. I think you just need to find security in your environment before you loosen up. Sometimes the time on adult watches goes faster than children’s time. You just need time to adjust, in your own time, your slow time, your gradual time, not in adult time. It’s not always easy to remember this when I’m trying to teach a class while, Z, you’re hanging onto my dress and, T, (oh, T) you’re busy demanding my attention, “Mommy, open this. Mommy, pick me up, pick me up”. I must say, I struggle to keep frustration at bay at this point. I must remember, work and Mommy are foreign combinations to you kids, as I have never really worked since you were born, Z.
Alhamdulillah, A has adjusted very well at the nursery. The first few days, A, you would cry as soon as you saw the nursery lady, I was then able to pick you up and carry you with me, Alhamdulillah. I don’t know when or how it’s changed, but, Alhamdulilah, you have no issues being at the nursery and it was a quick transition, Alhamdulilah. T, you are also supposed to be at the nursery, as you are still too small to start KG, but you outright refuse, instead following me around everywhere. Z, you have made a few appearances in your KG2 classroom, and when it becomes too long or too overwhelming for you, you start crying. Eventually, you too end up hanging onto my dress. I know it’s very different to Montessori (what you’re used to) and there aren’t often things to keep you engaged in the classroom.
I have committed to giving this new endeavour a chance. We will see which way it goes inshaAllah. Z, one morning you told me, “Mommy said I must give it a chance and so I gave it a chance and now I don’t want to go to school anymore”. I told you that we will give it a longer chance (it’s been less than 2 weeks so far). I am prepared for whichever way it goes, as Allah has planned, Alhamdulillah. We will just give it a chance and walk the way we are steered. Alhamdulillah, despite the odds, it has been nice meeting new people, as opposed to being cooped up in the apartment.
It’s almost Eid again. And all 3 of you are sick. Alhamdulilah, Z, you were only sick for about one day, yesterday. You then passed it on to T. Now T is very feverish and not well, as well as A, but he seems to be coming round, Alhamdulilah.
T, yesterday, while I was out buying ice-cream with Z, you were screaming and crying for me so much that you ended up vomiting. When I came back you told me, “Mommy, I swallowed out all my food.” 🙂 Lol. I just felt that that needed to be a recorded quote to remember.
Z, yesterday, you also said something I thought I must record. At school, for Eid, the kids received a small bag with some nice things and two notes of money. As sick as you were, Z, you were very taken with your little gift. When we got home, you slept with the one note in your hand and kept asking me when we can go to the shop. You said, in all seriousness, “This money (the one in your hand) is for me, the other one is for Daddy and if someone gives me more money, I will give that to Mommy.” 🙂
You also asked why you got a gift. I replied that it’s almost Eid so the teachers gave the children gifts. You then said that you would also like to give your teachers gifts.
Yesterday, in an attempt to get T (and you, Z) more comfortable at the nursery, I spend most of the day there with you as the school had planned Eid activities for the kids for most of the day, so I had very little teaching to do. MashaAllah, T, I saw how nicely you interacted with the other kids, sharing your lunch and encouraging them to pick up after themselves, as you sang the song, “Pick up the toys, put them away…” while picking up the colour pencils that a little toddler kept throwing out onto the floor.
MashaAllah, may that innocent and precious nature of yours, Z and T, always be nurtured. May Allah, Most Loving, help me to protect it. Ameen.
Z, I think these are the starting days of you beginning to read, Alhamdulilah. You are constantly trying to identify the beginning sounds of words, often getting it right, Alhamdulillah, like, the sound ‘c’ is for car, etc.
A, you are still trying to crawl properly. Sometimes you pull yourself up while leaning on whatever you can get hold of, causing us to think that you will start walking before you crawl properly. InshaAllah.
May Allah, Most Compassionate, guide my actions as I guide you through life, and may all experiences ultimately add positively to your individual personalities. Ameen.
With all my love,
Mommy

Toilet training, school, road trips and everything else…


f76d1883b045605be6f64a1beb4e8f50

My Dear Sons,

Ramadan came and went, Alhamdulilah, and so did Eid, a very quiet and unusual Eid. Your Dad and I tried to make it exciting nonetheless, but Eid is not the same away from home and, especially, away from family. So, it was just very different.

Z, you and T had fun putting sweets in plastic cups as Eid gifts for the kids in the building. T, you and Z loved your doctor’s kit Eid gifts that Dad bought you. It was a simple, quiet Eid but, inshaAllah, I hope it was meaningful and memorable to you boys. And I hope you learnt the subtle lessons of generosity and gratefulness. Ameen.

We’ve been taking many drives to nearby towns in Oman, Alhamdulillah. It’s been really nice. We all love the long drives. Sometimes it does get a bit out of control in the car – the drives are between 90 minutes to three hours long, depending on where we go. One day, without any pre-planning and very limited packing, we just kept driving. We saw three towns in 2 days, Alhamdulilah. From Ibri we went to Buraimi to Sohar to Muscat. Lovely, Alhamdulillah. We stayed over in Muscat at a hotel right on the beach and all three of you enjoyed the warm beach water and the silky Omani sands. It was short but it was nice and memorable.

On that visit, in the hotel restaurant, T, as to be expected, had to test the waters in his quest to affirm his presence, independence, influence…
There were big wooden animals in the restaurant in display of its African theme. Perhaps I used the wrong words in telling you, T, to NOT touch the giraffe. But, you just had to succumb to that urge. So you touched the giraffe in that split second that I was not looking. The giraffe fell and broke his nose. I panicked – that’s going to cost a heck of a lot! Alhamdulillah. It didn’t. The kind lady at the restaurant assured us that the giraffe was already broken before you pushed him to the floor. Alhamdulillah. Shoo! Alhamdulillah! Thank goodness for your cuteness, and charm too, that I’m sure plays a role in getting you out of trouble so many times.

T, your independence and big personality comes in many forms. After a tiring and frustrating day of unsuccessful toilet training, initiated by me, I decided to put off the idea for a little longer, until I was ready for potty training. A week later though, you woke up very resolute and announced: “I don’t wear nappy. I’m big boy.” And, very determined, to my horrified and still sleeping head, you simply began taking off your nappy. I was too tired and just let you be, knowing all too well that battles with you can be like knocking my sleepy head against a wall again and again. So, I just breathed in and let you be as you went to the toilet all by yourself and placed your two-and-a-half-year-old bum on the toilet in my en-suit bathroom. No one else was awake. What a strong personality you have, mashaAllah. And so it went. It went very well for a while, you initiated going to the toilet, taking off your pants all by yourself. And then many accidents. And then we remembered, “Pull-ups!” And that’s the end of the many successful trips to the toilet. At the beginning, we had to really try hard to convince you that pull-ups are not nappies and that big boys wear them. I remember the silent look of relief on your face when you let the pee go and then realised your pants is not wet. Lol. Initially, you only peed in the pull-up, but number twos were done in the toilet. But now… Eish. No reservations. But it’s okay. We’re taking it in our stride and learning to, and trying to, relax when our expectations aren’t met. Alhamdulillah.

Until a few days ago, the structure and routine had, once again, gone out the window here. Late nights, late mornings, your bedroom is a deserted place, lonely and forlorn, as every night, Z, you and your brother, T, bring your blankets and pillows and camp out on the floor in Dad’s and my room. We don’t necessarily love the arrangement but we let it be. Every night.

In about a week’s time, we all head off to school, inshaAllah. Dad’s holiday ends and he goes back to work. Z, you will be starting school (KG 2) and I will inshaAllah be teaching at the same school, while your brothers, T and A, play in the nursery at the school, inshaAllah. We will just give this arrangement a trial run and see if it works for us as a family inshaAllah, considering the dynamics and transitions involved. We’ve made istikhara about this, Z, and, Alhamdulillah, you were very happy about Allah’s direction. May Allah, All Knowing, continue to guide us. Ameen. So, bedtime is back to 19:00. Ameen!

I’m still trying to figure things out regarding whether conventional school is the best thing for you, Z, and for your brothers. I love the idea of homeschooling and I’ve gotten so used to and fond of the Montessori schooling that you had in Cape Town, Alhamadulilah. I’m still trying to figure out whether I should really be working again or still be staying home and dedicating all my time and energy to the family until you boys are older. To my surprise, Arab women that I’ve come across so far tend to think that, in order to be the best version of herself, a woman should not dedicate all her time to her family. She should work, be independent, be a businesswoman and so on. I’m finding learning about different cultures, people and perspectives to be interesting and delightful and am hoping to get back to my study/survey on ‘The Secrets of Raising Well-Balanced Muslim Children’. Ameen. May Allah always guide me to make the right decisions. Ameen. Travelling and living among people of different cultures and languages really opens up one’s mind and ideas. I hope that you boys will fully benefit and learn from this experience, and may it strengthen you in character and personality. Ameen.

A, you are now about eight months old, eating well, loving water, Alhamdulilah, and still getting the hang of crawling. At the moment you move very fast by sliding forward with your tummy on the floor.Your personality definitely is developing, and you make it known, as you scream to be heard and demand that we look at and acknowledge your presence. You were always a loud baby, but it seems your loudness has increased in a more demanding way. Fair enough. You had been given the least amount of attention before. You are entitled.

T, still as boisterous and strong-willed as ever, you are slowly learning about negotiation as you play and learn to share with your Daada. Everything in the world still belongs to the one and only you though, even gifts that Daada received before you were born. I don’t know when the change happened, but you seem to be more attached to me and somewhat demanding more attention, like, insisting that I look at and “make better” the many sores you get throughout the day, while still insisting that you’re a “big boy”. Maybe with every age comes the need for a particular kind of attention. And, of course, I MUST look at you when you talk to me. I’ve come to see and appreciate another part of your personality, mashaAllah. I’ve read that strong-willed kids are not just strong in their ‘stubbornness’, but strong in their emotions and sensitivity too, feeling strongly, giving selflessly and wearing their hearts on their sleeves. And I have found that with you. When you mean it, your “sorry” is really heartfelt. You’re already teaching generosity and empathy at a small age. mashaAllah.

Z, your Dad and I are enjoying watching how your confidence is developing, mashaAllah. I’m not sure if it is since/because you know that you will be attending school again or whether it is a mix of different things. Or maybe you’re just becoming a bigger boy before our eyes, yet, I sometimes feel like we’ve missed the actual transition. I am grateful for this change though, Alhamdulilah. The other day, after reassurance from your Dad, you so proudly came to me, announcing that you had gone in the elevator by yourself, pressed the buttons yourself and, “I wasn’t scared. I just talked to Allah.” 🙂 MashaAllah. May you always talk to Allah, The All-Hearing. Ameen.

I know it’s tough being the big brother sometimes, sometimes you’re forced to be selfless, you’re only four and a half years old, but, mashaAllah, you’re doing a great job. The other day, after T, once again, grabbed something that you had, your response to your Dad was: “It’s okay. That’s what big brothers do” or something like that, as you just let T, once again, have his way. I love silently observing and/or hearing how your and T’s relationship is forming mashaAllah – like bickering friends who can’t do without each other. You’re trying hard to manage your emotions. You definitely have your difficult moments, as is to be expected, but, Alhamdulilah, I’m truly grateful for the way that you respond to most situations.

May Allah continue to guide us all along this path and may we all continue to learn lessons from each other. Ameen.

With all my love,
Mommy

Ramadaan


My Dear Sons

It’s nice and quiet in the apartment now, Alhamdulilah. T, you are asleep. Z, you’re still coming to my room, trying to either avoid a nap or to get me to sit with you. You keep coming to me saying, “My eyes closed. I took a nap.”

And I respond, “You have to keep your eyes closed longer.”
A, you’ve just fallen asleep in my arms.
Now I’m just waiting for Z to doze off before I head to the bathroom.

MashaAllah, yesterday all of you slept at the same time. In your room, on your beds. Alhamdulillah. There’s a routine in place now, Alhamdulillah, and I can feel more structure and less stress, and more cooperation. Alhamdulillah.

You even sleep in your own beds for most of the night and, while bedtime is sometimes more chaotic and stressful than other times, it’s okay, Alhamdulillah.

May Allah (Swt) continue to guide me and your Daddy, and to help you fall asleep peacefully at night. Ameen.

Ramadan started yesterday. Alhamdulillah, we’ve been busy getting excited for the blessed month. I think I’ve been more excited than you though. I’m trying to let you experience the joy of this miraculous month, especially you, Z, as you are older and at an age of better understanding. But your excitement is mediocre most of the time, or pretty short-lived. I’ve still got activities planned for you throughout the month though, Alhamdulillah. InshaAllah you will enjoy doing them.

Yesterday, after putting your hand in the Ramadan Acts of Kindness jar, you took out a piece of paper that read, “Make Dad a glass of lemonade”. You were very excited and ready to do this and quickly began squeezing out lemons that I cut up and placed on the table for you and T. It becomes challenging to get things done smoothly with T in the equation. I have to find a different way. Alhamdulillah, the lemonade was made. You were very proud and excited for your Dad to have it when he breaks his fast. We have to see after nap time what act of kindness is in store for today inshaAllah.

A, you’re still practicing getting the hang of crawling. You’ll be 6 months soon and munching your first banana, inshaAllah.

T, just when I think joyful, pleasant playful days between you and your brother, Z are near, you go and slap him hard and bite into whatever flesh you can gnaw into. Sometimes, when we try to correct you, T, you respond with an angry, “I don’t listen to you!” or you scream “I don’t want to!” Sometimes I need to bite my tongue to stop myself from laughing at the things that come out of your mouth. You’re really like a little man. So cute, mashaAllah. May your feisty, strong-willed nature prevail and help you in your teenage and adult years. Ameen.

Z, you have learned to stand up for yourself quite a bit, Alhamdulillah. You now fight back, most of the time. Sometimes you just couldn’t care, or it’s just not worth the effort.

Still, it’s not easy to watch or mediate. But, this is training grounds for time to come inshaAllah.

Despite the fighting, you have a loving relationship, mashaAllah. When you are sad, Z, for any reason other than T, T would sweetly ask you, “What’s wrong?”

And if you are out of sight for a minute, T’s only concern is, “Where is Daada?”

MashaAllah.

May Allah (Swt) protect and strengthen your bond. Ameen.

With all my love,
Mommy

PS. Z you did end up taking a nap, Alhamdulillah.

Displaying IMG_20160608_133709.jpg

Displaying IMG_20160607_141428.jpgDisplaying IMG_20160607_141232.jpg

It’s Tough


My Dear Sons,

It’s tough. Parenting is tough.
I’m sitting here now, waiting for you, Z, to fall asleep. It’s taking forever, but I can see that your eyes are nearly closing. It’s been nearly closing for a while now. I don’t know what it is that you’re fighting. I’ve been trying to make nap time an uncompromising part of the day. Everyday, around 11:00, after having spent real time playing with you and your brother, T.
T has already been in Dreamland for the last fifteen minutes or so, after insisting that he wants to sleep in my arms. Of course, you also want to sleep in my arms. And then, of course, there’s A as well, who seems to be the least demanding many times.
You’re finally in Dreamland now, Z. Alhamdulillah. A big Alhamdulillah. Only a few minutes out of sync with T. So, inshaAllah, you’ll wake around the same time and not end up waking each other.
I don’t always know where to draw the line, especially with you, Z. It seems you have always been needing more of my attention, but, since our move to Oman, you are even more clingy, emotionally and physically. You seem to have this constant need to touch me – it’s very hot in Oman – especially when you must sleep. You’ll put you legs on me, your arms, sometimes your body parts land in awkward places and I have to tell you to please respect my personal space and that there are certain parts of my body that I do not like you to touch. You never seem to really hear me or your needs are just so big that you can’t process what I’m saying.
At night, the whole situation is at its worst. It’s tough.
T, you follow everything Z does. You even pretend to be scared, saying “I’m scared”, when your brother says it.
Yesterday, at the supermarket, a more experienced mother noticed how demanding you and your brother can be, as both of you were insisting that I pick you up. Z, you had just had a small fall. I think you were taking too long to walk through the automatic opening, plastic ‘gates’ type thing and they closed on you as you wanted to walk pass. You had been a bit scared to go pass, getting confused between when they opened and closed, I think. You fell, and gave a big cry. I picked you up and comforted you. After a while, T too wanted to be picked up. You were okay now so I told you that I would put you down and pick T up. You didn’t insist. I picked T up for a bit and then put him down. Later,  T, you again wanted me to pick you up. I don’t know why exactly. The older, Egyptian mother was telling you no, in Arabic, and trying to playfully distract you. She was saying, “problem, problem”, telling me that your and your brother’s demanding dependence  is a problem. You were not pleased with her at this point, though you are fairly fond of her. Both you, T, and Z expressed your upset with her as she was trying to distract you from wanting my attention. It didn’t take long, T, before I picked you up again. She then pointed to me, saying that the problem lies with me. This left me baffled.
It’s tough.
You are so scared of so many things, Z. You worry –  like stress – about so many things too, like when we go out. You’re so so worried that someone might take T, or that he might run away. You hold his hand so tightly, almost battling him because he wants to be free. You then beg me to keep his hand. You also worry frantically, when we are in the supermarket too long, that they will lock us inside because they will be closing soon. Later, after chatting with your Dad, I discovered that you had concluded that we will be locked inside the supermarket because I had said, “Come, we have to hurry up now because they want to close the supermarket now “. How I have to watch my words all the time. It’s tough.
At the same time though, you pleasantly surprise me at how you do sometimes – I don’t know what the distinguishing factor is – overcome your fears. I then applaud you for how brave you are, mashaAllah. You did end up going through those automatic doors again, Alhamdulillah. And you have been brave about quite a few things in Oman, Alhamdulillah.
I try to always be empathetic and understanding with all three of you. But, these days, sometimes I have to grit my teeth out of frustration, annoyance and exhaustion, as I pick you up yet again. Often, I have to silently scream and roll my eyes when you’re not looking as, in that moment, I cannot believe the extent of fear and neediness you have. Sometimes I have to desperately count till ten as I accept your hot leg on me, Z and T. Sometimes I have to restrain, with everything in me, from not screaming at the top of my lungs, having a tantrum myself and setting the whole situation on fire as you, T, and you, Z, once again, communicate your needs to me in different ways. Your needs. Your valid, rightful needs. But it’s tough. And, time and time again, I do have my own tantrums. I shout. I make big eyes. I complain about how unfair this cycle is. Sometimes I remember to say salawat and a dua.
……
About thirty minutes into nap time, T, you come walking into my room as I’m breastfeeding A. Z soon follows, crying. Everyone wants to be in my arms, on my lap, on my whole body!! It’s FLIPPIN TOUGH!!!!
I ended up with A on the breast, Z on my legs, a very unhappy T next to me. Z, you woke up twice before sleeping again. Whenever you sleep, you wake up distraught and the only thing that seems to help you is lying in my arms. Now, T is following suit, with his extra bit of strong-willedness. Body and all on me. The sweat! T is nearly asleep again. Alhamdulillah. After a LOUD awake. T, you really struggle to be quiet, but sometimes you’re just on purpose. I had to swallow a big groan and cover up my frown of annoyance again.
…….
Nope, T, you didn’t nap again. Z, you woke up soon, probably due to T’s screams. A, you slept. Alhamdulilah.
It’s tough, but I understand. It’s nothing unusual or abnormal. I just need more patience. May Allah (Swt) give me the patience and forbearance, and the guidance to raise you in a balanced, healthy way. Ameen.
With all my love,
Mommy

So many questions


My Dear Sons,

Z, you have been asking me a lot about Jannah lately. Nearly the whole morning today consisted of questions and talk concerning Allah (Swt) and Jannah. Sometimes I wish I could instantly press the record button when you ask the questions you ask. I’ve tried to record what I can remember of our conversations…

This morning, you asked me:

Mommy, where is Salallahu alayhi wasalm?
In Jannah, with Biscuit Naani.

Then you asked me:

Mommy, where is Jannah?
High up in the sky.

Will we take an aeroplane to get there?
No, special, magical angels will come fetch us.

When Mommy?
It could be a long time from now. You might be a very big boy already. Big, like Daddy.

You began packing a bag full of all the things you’d like to take with to Jannah, despite me trying to explain to you,  again and again, that it won’t be anytime soon (inshaAllah).

Mommy, can Allah count? (as you took out your Monopoly money that you got in the aeroplane)
Yes, Allah can count.
I’m going to give Allah my money in Jannah.

Mommy, do I have to bath in Jannah? (again)
Only if you want to. In Jannah, you can do whatever you want to. Whatever makes you happy.

Somewhere in between, I overheard you telling T something about going to Jannah:

T: I’m scared
Z: Are you scared for Jannah?
….
Z: Don’t be scared, Allah will look after us. Allah will take care of us.

……

Mommy, why does Allah make people die?
Everything belongs to Allah. We are all Allah’s children. You are my child, but me, you, Mama, Papa, all of us, are Allah’s children. Allah put us here to see how we will be with each other, if we will be kind to each other and so on. And then, Allah will call us back.

Will Mommy shout at me in Jannah?
No, my angel. Everyone only talks nicely in Jannah.

SubhanaAllah.
May Allah (Swt) guide me and you towards a clear understanding of His miracles. Ameen.

With all my love,
Mommy