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.
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,