How to teach children about their bodies and keeping safe.
“When she has her first baby, she must manage for another life even more dependent on her personal sacrifices. By the second, third, or fourth child, her days and nights belong almost entirely to others. Whether she has a spiritual path or not, such a mother can seldom resist a glance at the past, when there were more prayers, more meanings, more spiritual company, and more serenity. When Allah opens her understanding, she will see that she is engaged in one of the highest forms of worship, that of producing new believers who love and worship Allah. She is effectively worshipping Allah for as many lifetimes she has children, for the reward of every spiritual work her children do will be hers, without this diminishing anything of their own rewards: every ablution, every prayer, every Ramadan, every hajj, and even the works her children will in turn pass on to their offspring, and, so on till the end of time. Even if her children do not turn out as she wishes, she shall be requited in paradise forever according to her intention in raising them, which was that they should be godly.
Aside from the tremendous reward, within the path itself it is noticeable that many of those who benefit most from khalwa or ‘solitary retreat of dhikr’ are women who have raised children. With only a little daily dhikr and worship over the years, but much toil and sacrifice for others, they surpass many a younger person who has had more free time, effort, and ‘spiritual works.’ What they find is greater because their state with Allah is greater; namely, the awe, hope, and love of the Divine they have realized by years of sincerity to Him.” Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller
Motherhood by Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller
My Dear Son,
Last Friday, I put you to sleep and then hurriedly went to the bathroom and performed wudu, fearing you might wake up and scream upon not finding me. Alhamdulilah, I completed my wudu and you were still sleeping. I then started my salah, still nervous that you might wake while I’m performing salah, demand my attention and make it difficult for me to concentrate… You woke, came to my room (we leave the doors slightly ajar so it’s easy for you to get out and find us), I got nervous that you’d scream and then climb my back, my head and interrupt my focus. You didn’t. Instead, you tugged at my abayah, said “Mama”, saw you weren’t getting a response (I think you know that when I’m in salah, I can’t talk to you) and then quietly lied down next to me. You were so still, I wasn’t sure if you were sleeping or not. As soon as I ended my salah and said salam, I looked to my left and saw you peacefully asleep. I just cried. I don’t know why. Maybe because of the realisation of what it means to be a mother… the difficulties, the frustration, the exhaustion, the patience and impatience, the sheer joy, and the reward of completing my salah and seeing you sleeping silently next to me, on my musallah. What a beautiful picture that was!
My Dear Son,
It’s been so long since I’ve last written. I barely have the time or energy these days. Much has been happening Alhamdulilah. You are now one week away from 19 months old. You are growing and learning so much Alhamdulilah.
Since the last time I wrote, you’ve been to Makkah and Madinah and thoroughly enjoyed yourself with all the family (Mom’s side and Dad’s side). You went with your father right to the Prophet’s (SAW) grave, Alhamdulilah. We did not take you on any umrahs this time round though as it was very hot and full. We left you with your grandparents, Alhamdulilah. It was so nice to be able to do that.
A few days after saying goodbye to the family in Makkah, we met up again back home in Cape Town. On the flight to Cape Town you were so good mashaAllah. You were the ultimate social butterfly, walking up and down the aisle, talking and playing with all the people. They all loved your company!
On one of our flights to Madinah though, it was the complete opposite! Shoo! What a nightmare that flight was! For all of us! You were shouting uncontrollably! We think you were overstimulated from all the sweets people had given you at the airport… Anyway, you seem to be quite the traveler since then, Alhamdulilah. 🙂
In Cape Town, you were quite the showman! You loved all the attention and people around you. You slept better (next to your Daadi) and you ate better too! Alhamdulilah! You definitely are a social boy.
Your three most used words these days are: more (taught by Papa), hot (taught by Daadi) and water (taught by Phoepoe) :). The word ‘more’ you use correctly most times, but ‘hot’ has become any and everything dangerous or bad, like when you knock your head against the wall. The wall then becomes ‘hot’ (I try to then use the opportunity to teach you the word ‘hard’, to no avail). ‘Water’ has become everything you could possibly drink. 🙂
The most recent big recording I have to make is your weaning off the breasts, Alhamdulilah. It didn’t take long. On the morning of 23 August, after breastfeeding you for a long time and still not getting you to sleep, I was exhausted and told your Daddy, today is the day. Your Daddy then tried to put you to sleep, to no avail. You knew what you wanted. You knew we were not giving it to you. You understood well what was happening. I also told you at one stage, “No more milk” and pointed to the breasts. So, the screaming, shouting, kicking and throwing things started and went on whole day basically. The next day wasn’t that bad, you just kept pulling at my tops, trying to get to what you wanted. Now and again you would vent out again. Nap times were the worst. You were only allowed one feeding a day, it was just before bed. I would breastfeed you to sleep. And that was it. Even if you woke in the night, which you still do, you just got cow’s milk from your sippy cup (now just water). After four days of just one night feeding every night, I replaced that with milk, sometimes Pediasure. You were absolutely fine. I think at this point you were over the whole milk deal. 🙂 Three days and nights went by with absolutely no milk and I thought this must be it. And it was! Alhamdulilah. Took you about four days (and a lot of dua!) to say bye-bye to about one and a half years of attachment. Alhamdulilah! 🙂
Now, the next challenge awaits us as you take off your pants, stick your hands in your nappy, pull at your nappy, take off your nappy… Aaaaah! Drives me crazy! Your Dad has started putting you on the toilet once every night just before your bath.
The other thing we’re slowly conquering is you being able to be on your own for short periods, like when I need the bathroom. Before, I was never able to close the door because you would then shout and cry hysterically. Now, we are slowly getting there. I’m just letting you cry a bit sometimes. Earlier though, you were so determined that you managed to open the door on your own! I didn’t even know you could reach! So now I have to lock the door.
Besides reaching door handles though, you are able to stand on your little chair and open your room’s door with ease (something your Dad taught you). You’re also giving me a hard time as you grab anything you can think of to use as a step to get you places you can’t yet reach, like Mom and Dad’s bed.
You are becoming a big little boy now, Alhamdulilah. Moreso because you are going to be a big brother soon inshaAllah. Yes, we will soon welcome a new little bundle to our family. Ameen. And you will be showing your sister or brother all the tricks. 😉