The Men in Our World

“There is a problem with the men in our world,” she said. 

We sat
In the stillness
The final quiet 
The aftermath
Of babies crying 
Toddlers whining 
Children needing 
The attention of both parents 
We sat
As dishes piled up 
Spills grew bigger 
Food messed over the just-cleaned carpet 
Beds unmade 
Pots of food uncooked 
Our entire beings in full action 
as we sat
With babies hanging onto our breasts,
Toddlers sitting on our laps 
Children holding our hands and…
A husband not far away
Traced by the smoke of a cigarette…
“There is a problem with the men in our world.”
“It is a problem of the human condition, of communication, of intelligence–“
“No, it is a problem with the men in our world. You have to identify the problem before you can fix it. We are supposed to be the fixers.
I can’t imagine our role model, our hero, our living example ignoring the cries of a child, no matter how insignificant in adult eyes 
Yet, they say it is not in the design of a man to respond lovingly to a child’s cries
I can’t imagine our Prophet Muhammad (SAW) hitting a child (whose brain is not even fully developed yet in order to distinguish right from wrong, so much so that Allah (SWT) does not even hold the child accountable)
Yet, they argue that men discipline differently 
How have the men of our world missed the manuscript, the example of manhood from our Prophet (SAW)? 
Where did we lose that piece of the puzzle?”
“But we need to reflect on the roles and responsibilities of wives and mothers. We women are the designers of life, of moulding boys and girls into men and women, each filling out their roles and responsibilities as prescribed–“
“Prescribed by who?”
I sat there
Alone now
The noise put to bed
I sat there
Trying earnestly to understand the male and female species
The miscommunication
The misunderstandings
The longing for approval
And acceptance…
The not knowing how
Maybe it is the fault of us mothers
    Of our history
    Of our legacy
Maybe we need to step up and raise warriors
And maybe we were never meant to understand a man
And maybe they were never meant to understand us
Maybe it is all part of the test of selfless patience, of making 70 excuses, of love and mercy, of being a slave to worship.
And my Lord knows best in all situations.

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,

Toddling, Brushing and the Beach :)

My Dear Son,

14 months old. SubhanaAllah. I watch you sleep, look at your face, your hands, your legs, your feet… How you’ve grown maa sha Allah :). I miss you when you’re sleeping, even though I know I need you to be sleeping because I need a break, but, I miss you being awake at same time. I’m enjoying and loving your company so much more as you grow into a beautiful personality maa sha Allah. May Allah, Most Compassionate, bless you with honorable traits as you grow into a little man, Ameen.

A quick update…

Yesterday, you got your first pair of walking shoes :). Yes, you are now officially a toddler, not a crawl in sight.

Maa sha Allah, I love your sense of humour. It just seems to be getting better as you grow. Like, in the week, you were standing on your Dad’s and my bed, (you love being on our bed) facing the mirror. You looked at your reflection and kept offering something to your reflection, finding it so amusing. I don’t know what was going on in your little head! Lol!

Something you do that’s not so amusing to me at the moment though is when you pull out my hair. Yes, you not only PULL my hair, but you pull it OUT and then find it so amusing, laugh, and nicely hand my hair back to me :-l. It’s not at all funny when you’re doing it, but later, when I think about it, I can’t help but laugh at your innocent humour. I think your Dad finds it funnier than you do. :-l

These days you love opening and closing doors and playing with door handles.

You like giving hand shakes.

You absolutely hate us to brush your teeth. You don’t mind doing it yourself, but obviously can’t do it properly. So, we’re forced to force you. 😦 It’s as unpleasant for us as it is for you. We’ve tried so many different things to make it more endurable. I play videos for you as your Dad brushes, I sing and dance and go all wacky mad. We’ve tried giving you some inspiration by showing you videos on Youtube of other babies brushing their teeth. But as soon as the brushing starts, uh-uh, nothing else matters except that screeching protest. We get the job done though, hopefully it’s done properly.

On to something lighter… A few days ago, you did something that convinced you Dad you’re a genius! You peeled your own banana, broke it in half and nicely ate it :). You just saw it lying there all lonely and decided, since no one is giving it to you, you might as well help yourself to it! Hahahaha!

You enjoy the beach. Here’s a photo of you and your Dad at the beach, watching the sunrise. 🙂 

With love,