This is just so apt about people being egocentric…really get out in the world people
This is just so apt about people being egocentric…really get out in the world people
This is not about a wedding, but about my 6yr old’s habitat diorama that she had to make for class. As soon as she returned from school that day we were all told to sit down while she educated us about habitats, environment, animals and what their babies are called. We couldn’t move from that couch. Her accusing eyes followed me as I tried to text my friend on the phone. My 9 yr old tried to grab a snack but was reprimanded.
“It is rude to not listen when someone is talking.Sit down.”
My son was more successful, he just put his Beats on his head!
So after I was told what a habitat was, she and her sister sat down and made a list of items we needed for the diorama:
1. New Shoes because we need a Shoebox (Mom, it can’t be pink because you know giraffes are not like My Little Pony – they are real) Oh! And I thought Twilight Sparkle was real.
4. Kool Aid
5. Flavoured Water for our pond I think my Giraffe will like lemon
6. Ice Cream
I step in to ‘monitor’ the list. I ask why do you need cookies? Do giraffes eat cookies?
“No Mom, if I have to build a whole habitat I will get tired and hungry and thirsty.”
We manage to move beyond the list, and I find an old shoebox and some paints to get her and her sister started. The project is not due till next next week, but we MUST start NOW or else the sky will fall on my head…
“Haadia, let’s start I have the supplies. Where are you?”
“Mom, I am asking Siri how to build a habitat.”
Amazing, Siri has now replaced me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! iFume, iHuff, iPuff…but Siri rules. Wait till she needs lunch humph!
Here are our stages of habitat building…
Do not forget to notice the cookies…
Next Siri has informed us we must print a rock face and a lion just like ‘The Lion King’ because in the grasslands of Africa you must have a king.
“Mom, grasslands must have grass, Siri didn’t tell me that.”
Ahhh, finally something Siri doesn’t know, so we Google how to make grass from construction paper. Her sister helps her, and while we are at it we do clouds, and trees and leaves. Yes, the rock face is upside down and the lion is enormous, but she did it all herself so it is even more beautiful. The concept of things receding as they get further seems to have eluded her.
Next, we go thru our stash of play doh, we have egg plant purple, barf green, and pee yellow. My 9 yr old who has just learned about mixing colours embarks on trying to get pristine clear blue by mixing these. The result is an indescribable goo…
To the rescue our friends who we learn Islamic History with once a week, they have more trees, and a pond and rocks…in fact a whole diorama. And the best part we can have it. So we borrow components, to make our something new, something old, something borrowed and something blue habitat diorama for a giraffe form the grasslands of Africa that we bought from a toy store in Dubai, UAE and flew to Karachi, Pakistan on our flight home in 2009, and got shipped to Winnipeg. Who knew what an exciting journey this giraffe was destined for.
So if you ever need to make a habitat for your first grader…make sure you have cookies, Siri and friends who will give you their pond…I love Winnipeg.
Now to go hunting in the grasslands of Africa…
When I was in high school I learned Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address for an elocution contest, that our team won. (I have proof people, it was published in the magazine). Almost 25 years later, I still remember that speech, and actually use it to confuse my children in random conversations, it goes something like this…
Me: Isra, Haadia you guys need to go shower.
Isra: Yeah I’m going. (she is sitting on the couch and hasn’t moved an inch)
Haadia: Mama, Isra isn’t going, please can I go in 5 minutes.
My son: Get up you two, didn’t you hear what Mama said, move it, you are being disrespectful. (Don’t be impressed, he just wants the spot on the couch)
Me: Move NOW! (I yell this out with a smile because I have recently read that Prophet Muhammad always taught children in a playful manner, and he always smiled)
15 minutes later…
Isra: Yeah I’m going. (still sitting on the couch and in fact buried herself deeper into it)
Haadia: Mama, Isra isn’t going, please can I go in 5 minutes.
My son: Get up you two, didn’t you hear what Mama said, move it, you are being disrespectful. (now physically moving his sister so he can get the spot on the couch which has the iPad charger close to it – his iPad is at 7% charged!!! PANIC)
Now to use my high school training, listen carefully because it does work wonders. And not only in situations that require me not to lose my patience and smile, but any situation where I need to mind control my children. I subtly start my speech, actually it is an amalgamation – I like to call it my personal anthology of several famous speeches, and put together like I have trained myself to do, it makes sense.
Bilal, Isra, Haadia, lend me your ears; I come to bury the dirt, not to praise your oily hair. I have a dream that one day my children will rise up and live out the true meaning of sanitation: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” At the stroke of the midday hour, when the world sleeps, Isra will awake to life and bathing. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in Haadia’s life, when she steps out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a household, long suppressed, finds utterance. Four score and seven years ago your fathers brought forth on this continent, a new family, conceived in spotlessness, and dedicated to the proposition that all men should smell clean. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that child, or any child so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in the bathtub, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the body wash we use, we shall defend our spot on the couch, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight we shall never surrender.
By this time, my kids are all just staring at me, incredulous. They call their father to tell them that ‘Mom has lost it, what shall we do?” My husband, who is no stranger to my speech-giving prowess, tells them that they must listen very closely and then call him back so he knows which doctor to call. Meanwhile I ramble along…
During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of my children. I have fought against germ domination, and I have fought against grime and dirt domination. I have cherished the ideal of a iridescent and sparkling society in which all persons live together in scented harmony and with equal opportunities to shower. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. Nobody ever helps me into the bathroom, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a Mom? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have cooked and cleaned, and gathered the laundry into piles, and no man could head me! You must see that you sustain no damage; you must not suffer while showering. You cannot apply soap carelessly, you cannot avoid shampoo, you cannot turn down the hot water, you cannot use any excuse. And so, my children: ask not what your shower can do for you—ask what you can do for your shower.
The kids, to now make me stop quietly get up and go take showers. I get the spot on the couch, have my coffee and read my book. Whoever said that because I choose to be a stay at home Mom my education is of no value. I could start with more anthologies if you want. Below is a list of speeches I use often. The order changes, but the effect is amazing, I can get my kids to do anything. They are trained, that the minute I start saying I have a dream, or Fourscore and seven years ago, or In the midnight hour…they run, scramble away to whatever it is they must do to make me stop. Enjoy seeing the Northern Lights tonight in Winnipeg.
Anthony’s Speech – Shakespeare
I have a Dream – Martin Luther King
Tryst with Destiny – Jawaharlal Nehru
Gettysburg Address – Abraham Lincoln
We Shall Fight On The Beaches – Winston Churchill
I Am The First Accused – Nelson Mandela
Ain’t I A Woman? – Sojourner Truth
The Pleasure of Books – William Lyon Phelps
Kennedy Inauguration – John F. Kennedy
As my kids realise they know ‘better’ English than I do I am constantly reminded of the fact that I am old. It was cute at first, but it gets old fast. Anyhow, I thought I should let other ‘old parents’ partake of the river of wisdom that I have been recently allowed to swim in. Well, more like forcibly drowned in. So here goes,
Phrases that mean something else – or so my kids tell me
1. Adult Movie: Now to me this means a movie that is rated above PG 13 – a movie that is not animated, that I cannot watch with kids. Like Catching Fire. But I was politely told, “Mom, it’s MOVIES FOR ADULTS!” not what you said. That is just gross. Ahhh….I see, I understand, I comply.
2. I am hot: I have mentioned this before, I am allowed only to say , “I am warm.” Hot is not to be used as part of my vocabulary any more, it has been eradicated.
3. I feel like a healthy snack: There is no such thing informs my daughter. “Mom, you are healthy, but your snack must be healthful.” Huh! Come again? I am given a lesson, much needed according to my kids in English Grammar. Healthful is for things you eat. I Googled it, they were in the right. I wonder if my brother who recently got his Ph.D. in English knows…
4. Lightening refers to something illuminating or brightening. Lightning is what is accompanied by thunder during storms. Admitted my spellings are 100% at the mercy of Spell check, but this one stunned me. It’s like I was struck by lightening, or is it lightning? Really why do my kids know this? I think that is the question to ask.
5. This one is still up in the air, open to debate. Do we say “draw the curtains‘ and mean open them or close them. Because when I say it my kids do the opposite of what I mean. I think they are just pulling my leg, but really it could mean both. Right.
Will keep you posted of more faux pas that I am destined to make, it is inevitable my kids tell me because, “Mom, you are old.” I laugh in their face. They don’t know what old is!
Another wonderful poem by my friend’s daughter, after we bribed her with home-made choc covered almond dates…. yummy. Of course we ate most of them, but the poem is wonderful. Now I need to write as well….
How do you make these delicacies, here’s is my friend’s recipe…
Chocolate Covered Dates
First you gather at least seven kids in one spot (this is essential to the assembly line nature of the project and child labour policy in my house), then take out the choco chips, there will soon be an attack and the chocolate will be all gone, but voila, you forbid them and eat some yourself – the privilege of being a mom. You have saved the day, I knew being older and wiser would come in handy someday.
Next you melt the semi sweet choco chips in the microwave, making sure you check every 15 seconds that they are the perfect consistency by licking a bit of it. Now time for child labour.
The first child: Will score the dates – ideally they will be old enough not to be distracted by all the chocolate around them (soon due to distraction from all the chocolate and the hazard of cutting off a finger you will take over this part of the assembly line)
The second child: Will pit the dates – make sure their hands are clean, no nose picking etc… (yes, kids do it even though we deny that our kids do it-soon due to hygiene concerns you will take over this part of the assembly line)
The third Child: Will stuff the dates with two almonds (yes, two, no not one, no not three, yea they can eat some, no the almonds are not pits-soon you will take over this part of the assembly line)
The fourth child: Will using two forks roll the dates in the melted choc chips (licking the forks to ‘clean’ them after every dip-you cannot do everything so you let the licking pass-this child can stay)
The fifth child: Will roll them in dessicated coconut (if you want) and put them on a wax paper lined dish (you realize that thsi child has disappeared, yes you will be responsible for this part too)
The sixth and seventh child: Will be pretending to be robots and jumping on each other while waiting for the dish to be put into the freezer (and now you know where all the children are)
You and your friend will supervise. Ideally on the couch with a cup of coffee and some strawberries, but this is reality – snap back and do it all yourself. What really happen was that only one child helped the rest were trying to learn taekwondo. But in the end the dates were delicious, and there was so much love in the room, we loved making them. Also, everyone licked the chocolate, so no dishes. Clean fun I call it.
I think I am going to learn a martial art as well – the kids seemed to be enjoying it, I mean how hard can it be to lift my leg above my head and kick someone. I know they will be standing there waiting for me to attack, right. They will not be moving. Am I mistaken?
Excitedly my 5 year old runs down the stairs from her room asks, “Mom what does carsick mean?”
“Well it means that when you are inside a car, you feel like you want to throw up and must get out.”
“Oh! And so can you be plane sick as well, like on our flight from Dubai to Winnipeg when I wanted to throw up?”
“Yes, that’s exactly it, but only in a car. And we do not say plane sick we say airsick.”
“Ummm….so do you get boat sick or water sick?”
“No, you get sea sick, not water sick.”
“Mama, this is way too confusing. You are carsick, but not plane sick, and you can be airsick but not water sick, how can I learn this language?”
“Don’t worry you are doing great, you know three new words now.”
“But tell me the reason why, why can’t I say land sick, or plane sick or ship sick, why, mommy why?”
So I go to my most trusted source for such dilemmas, no not my mom, but Google. I Google, and Google and here is my answer: NOTHING! Google has no answer for this conundrum. I was still searching, even posted a status on Facebook to see if I could get answers, but no one could come up with anything. A few hours later, my daughter comes running in and asks, “Mama I am homesick, can we go to the park?”
“Sweetheart, homesick means you want to go home, you miss home. When you are away from home that is when you are homesick.”
“Mama, you just told me that carsick meant I feel sick in the car and want to get out, sea sick meant I was on the sea floating and I wanted to get out, so why does homesick mean I am not at home and want to go home.”
“That is just how it is, it makes language interesting.”
So now I face the task of trying to find out why carsick and seasick mean the same but homesick means something that is completely the opposite, where do I start? I gave up on Google and started to think of a logical answer. Of course, fifteen plus years of being addicted to Google, doesn’t help. I didn’t know where to begin. Without the internet I feel naked. I unplugged myself and dragged myself over to a physical library; maybe a real person could help me.
I went in search of the Holy Grail of English language, an explanation that would alleviate my daughter’s confusion. I looked in the archives, linguistics galore but once again I came out empty handed. I did learn that carsickness is caused by motion, but airsickness is caused by drop in air pressure, so maybe that was the reason for the change. But that doesn’t explain sea sick!
My last and only desperate hope was my brother, an English literature professor in New Zealand. His reply was. “Sis, just tell her you are the mom and that is why the words mean what they do, you are the mom and you say so.”
“So mom did you find out the answer to my homesick question?”
I bite my lips; I promised I would be a better parent and would always logically and with utmost calm answer all my kid’s questions. I say, “Because I am the mom, and I say that is the way it is.”
It was that simple, all my fretting and Goggling for what, all I had to do was say, “I am the mom.” Yes that’s right I am the mom.
(By the way, if anyone knows the answer to my dilemma, please write me back, I am dying of curiosity.)
I am now a respectable stay at home mom who knows how to fluff and fold, I know not to mix colours (of course only last week my teenage son had to wear pink socks to school and he had gym!), I know what needs to be line dried and things that actually don’t need to be washed (that shirt was my husband’s fault, it now fits my 6 year old – recycle everything they say). What! Dirty clothes that do not need to be washed, there is a secret?
Yes, and because I have been there, where you are inundated by laundry (dirty), folding, dirty dishes and cooking all on the day you just had your nails done, I have a few tips that I perfected over 5 years at Architecture school. They all work, and no one knows the difference!
1. If you have stinky but not dirty clothes, just line dry them in the sun (or if sunlight is not available put on hangers near the furnace),spray them with perfume and you are done! Washed, dried, fluffed and already on hangers ready for the closet.
2. If the stinky clothes are really stinky, like 3 hours at the gym without air conditioning stinky, just toss in the dryer with extra softner. People will ask you why your laundry smells so divine – I kid you not.
3. Avoid white clothes at all costs, but if you do get a stain on them, do not panic. Pick a shirt that runs colour, soak both in very hot water, and 30 minutes later throw them in the dryer with extra softner. Voila! you have a new exclusive shirt, that was white but now is a custom dyed colour. One of a kind for free.
5. You have friends, this is when they come in handy – so what you do is divide your items of clothing with the number of friends you have. So say you need to wash 30 things and you have 10 friends, that means you sneak (innocently) 3 things into each person’s laundry basket and shazam laundry done! For this to work, you need to find a different set of friends each month, and cycle only three times a year.
6. Elemer’s or white glue is magic. If you get a stain, smear whatever, put a blob of elemer’s on it. No need to wash, the stain is preserved and eventually it will look like a work of art, an original piece of clothing you paid to have look the way it does. And yes, people will ask you where you bought it from, you just give them yours for $20 and buy yourself a new one.
If you follow these handy, cannot fail tips, you will never have to do laundry again. Now that I am a mom, I am espousing the virtues and excitement that doing laundry brings, thankfully my girls (6 and 9) think it is a fun way to spend an afternoon, so they are Laundry Queens. They even have a crown. However all good things must come to an end, so when they noticed (I think it was brought to their notice by their father) that I was not ‘supervising’ the wash, fold procedure they rebelled after only one afternoon. I am now on the look out for new victims, ummm, trainees for my world renowned laundry program. Please send me an email to sign up.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
I will write and write until it's all written out.
Life, Love, High Heels and Vacuums - Thoughts From a Housewife's Home.
islamic classes for children, tips, resource material
Shaykh Ahmed An-Najmi said: "The mother is the first school. If she is righteous, the progeny becomes righteous." [Fath-ur- Rabb al-Wadud (2/256)]
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