Archive for April, 2008

what does your toddler eat?

My four year old only wants to eat noodles.  My two year old only wants “mommy milk” (see previous post).  During this weaning process with my son I can convince him to eat one small meal a day.  A good day will yield two small meals and that is it!  By small meals I mean half a bowl of noodles and some yogurt.

I am so jealous of mom’s whose kids eat heartily.  I asked one mother how she accomplished plate cleaning and she proudly announced that she sits at the table with a belt and they get spanked for not eating.  This eerily reminded me of the “soup Nazi” character from Seinfield and I was afraid.  I don’t want to force the food down their throats but short of that I don’t know what to do.

I understand the new Jessica Seinfield and others craze about hiding and disguising nutritious foods in with their favorite treats.  But this will not work for my four year old who has the most sophisticated palate of any person I have ever met.  She can detect the slightest alteration in her noodles and rejects any version other than the original.

Al Hamdulilah (Praise be to God) right now they seem to be healthy and developing naturally.  The doctor has advised that I don’t worry about it.  This is a stage that they will grow out of but still I worry.  It just doesn’t seem right that she should go to bed at night and all she has eaten for the day is two or three bowls of noodles.  I wonder what the experiences of other parents are?  Did your child eat and how did you encourage it, (in a productive healthy way) when she didn’t?

April 25, 2008 at 8:43 am 1 comment

Gas prices out of control!

I recently filled up my mommy-mobile.  (A 2000 Caravan)  Average price of a fill up for the mommy-mobile these days is $55.00.  Al Hamdulilah (Thanks be to God)  I’m a stay at home mom and a fill-up will last me a couple of weeks.  But my goodness, what about all of the other people who are just struggling to survive!  If you are like a lot of Americans and live paycheck to paycheck then the seemingly non-stop rise in gas prices and the corresponding rise in food prices are probably killing you!  As a former social worker I know that the minimum food stamp allotment per month is $10.00.  In frustration people who are given this small amount, usually ask, “what can I buy with $10.00?”  I used to answer, patiently, “with ten dollars you can at least get your milk, eggs, bread and cheese.”    Today you could not even purchase these four items.

I know this is a direct result of this foolish and unnecessary war.  I support the idea of “National Security“.  However, I realize that as jobs, decrease and unemployment and poverty increase our internal national security is at stake.  The rise in poverty, homelessness, and uncertainty are ills that increase crime and drug abuse.  (Already the rise in mortgage foreclosures has brought an increase in arson related house fires.)

I’m concerned that as a nation we are spending BILLIONS each year on this war and our international policies while decreasing monies spent on our schools, our children, OUR POOR.  I see no end in sight to this vicious cycle.

As moms we are going to have to pull together.  (Especially during this election year.)  We are going to have to make our voices heard, so that Washington, and the new president knows, that record profits for oil companies while many Americans can barely get to work is unacceptable.  We will have to insist that using our tax dollars to rebuild schools in Iraq cannot take precedent over rebuilding schools in the U.S.  Don’t misunderstand, I do feel that we have an obligation to rebuild these schools especially since our bombing destroyed much of their infrastructure in the first place.  But we could do both if we weren’t spending billions to send more troops overseas to police people who don’t want us to police them!

As moms we are also going to have to pool our collective resources to help each other.  The internet is an excellent tool to find and share info.  When you find a product or company that is working to help Americans during this difficult time let’s support that company and spread the word.  I have been using http://www.gasbuddy.com  to find low price gas in my area.  I find this service to be relatively accurate and if we continue to feed them good info then we can be a part of the solution.

April 24, 2008 at 4:34 pm 1 comment

Summer clothes for my daughter

As-Salaamu-Alaikum, (Peace be with you)

I find that I am also experiencing the same difficulty (see previous post) finding modest clothes for my daughter. Although she is only four and doesn’t have the same modesty requirements as I do… I find the “daisy duke” shorts they were selling for her age group to be completely inappropriate! Everyday we hear more stories of little girls being molested and raped. Yet we allow, encourage and accept as cute, the sexualization of girls through their clothes. In my daughters size I found, “daisy dukes”, halters, bare midriff shirts and low-rise pants. Low risers on a four year old!!! What does a four year old need with low-risers?!! Mini skirt after mini skirt with no shorts sewn in. We all know that at four, they would need help keeping their legs clothes and not exposing their underwear so who would purchase or even make such items for such young girls?

SubhanAllah! Why do we allow such things. I would say we should not financially support stores that sell such items but then there would be no where left to shop because they basically all do. But at least when you see a modest item at a reasonable price, please purchase it. It will send the message to the store owners that this is what mothers are looking for. And spread the word when you hear of a store or a designer that offers modest clothes, so that we can all support them. We also need to request that our Muslim stores carry more items for children. Because although they are not required to dress modestly we should at least begin encouraging it as young as possible.

April 21, 2008 at 12:47 pm 4 comments

Muslim Mom Summer Clothes

I need playclothes!  Playclothes are those items you changed into when you returned home from school as a child.  Your mom told you, “take off your school clothes and put on some play clothes.”  Clothes just for playing.  I need play clothes.

I find that that it is nearly impossible to dress by Islamic Muslim modesty standards and be really comfortable.  Most western summer clothes are not modest.  I spend hours at stores, and on-line looking for loose, summer-weight long sleeve tee shirts.  I found long sleeve t-shirts that were either too heavy or too thin and tight.  This is very frustrating.  So frustrating that I am now thinking of making my own.  To take a pair of regular t-shirts and sew them together so that the sleeves and hem line are both longer.  I know I must be getting desperate because I don’t even know how to sew!  Last year I bought nurses scrubs.  They were loose, comfortable and cool.  They clean up very easily and require no ironing!  I loved them, but they were all short sleeved.  Appropriate for my backyard play with the kids but this year I don’t have a private backyard. 

To be fair, I found tunics and kurtas of summerweight.  However I don’t particularly like playing in those items.  (And never would I do so in an abaya or jelbab.)  So nothing offered on any of the on-line Muslim clothing stores was really what I was looking for…. I did find one store that sold very cute Muslimah t-shirts that were long, light, pretty and loose.  But the store was in Malaysia and the shipping estimate alone was $40.00.  Too much for a shirt I plan to wear to the park and get dirty in!

I wonder what do other Muslim mom’s do for summer “playclothes”?  If you have any suggestions or know of any great websites please let me know.  Meanwhile I’ll probably still be out shopping and praying to find something suitable.

April 20, 2008 at 11:49 am 7 comments

FLDS Moms

I am troubled by the stories I see in the news regarding the Texas members of the FLDS.  (On April 7th 2008, authorities raided the YFZ compound of FLDS members and eventually removed 417 children.)  I am deeply divided on this issue.  As a former social worker, I believe and accept that the rights of children to be protected supersede the parent’s rights.  If children are systematically raped and mentally abused as part of this group’s regular practice then the children must be protected, and should definitely have been removed.

What disturbs me as a  Muslim mom, is that it seems the biggest problem is that most people are disturbed by this groups apparent “strangeness“.  In several interviews with authorities and volunteers who are working with the children, remarks have been made about their strangeness.  Remarks like, “they’re just not like us.”  “You can tell by the way they dress that they are different from regular Americans.” “These children are growing up in a culture that is so different from the way the rest of America lives.”  Talk and late night shows are having a field day with the jokes about their dress and hair.  The media constantly reinforces and points out how they look different.  I have a problem with this, because I also look and dress different from the rest of America!  My hijab and modest clothes distinguish me at first glance.  Does that mean I care for my children less?

I worry that this is religious persecution.  The state is arguing that they have already found instances of at least 4 sixteen year old girls, who have either had or are having babies.  But if this is proof for sexual abuse then that same abuse exists in schools and cities across the country where girls sixteen and much younger are having children daily by men/boys who are not their husbands and there is no outcry.  Who is speaking out and protecting the rights of those girls.  We have to admit that we live in a culture that promotes just as strongly sexual abuse of girls as the people who lived in that compound.  If we close down places that promote sexual abuse (and they define sexual abuse as encouraging underage sex) then we would shut down MTV, ban hip hop and pop music, and treat any male who impregnates a minor as a perpetrator of sexual violence.  As a Muslim mother I would rather for my sixteen year old daughter to willingly choose marriage over sexual promiscuity.

This is not to defend what is alleged to have happened in that compound.  (Although it is hard for me to believe that all 417 children were in imminent danger.)   I do want Muslim mothers to be wary of these actions.  Because our lifestyles, dress and culture is also different from mainstream America, and I don’t want to one day have to explain to the court that just because I may seem strange and oppressed, that I am any less of a good mother. 

April 19, 2008 at 8:23 am 1 comment

My daughter’s hijab

My four year daughter old does not wear hijab.  (On the upside my two year old son is always trying to put on mine  LOL).  I wonder am I doing the right thing?  What is the proper way to prepare a girl to wear hijab in this country.  I do understand the difficulty of wearing hijab.  Yesterday while walking to the park with my children, a passerby yelled at me to “go back to my country.”  This is my country I would love to have yelled back…(along with some other things).  I have been told to my face, that I would be hired for the job if only I would I be willing to consider removing it.  I equate hijab as a minor jihad, because it is almost that difficult and you could be attacked from anywhere for wearing it.

So how do I prepare my daughter to wear hijab?  I try to find pretty ones that she will enjoy wearing.  Unfortunately there is no “Dora the Explorer” hijab, as she has requested. (She has also requested a “Dora the Explorer” prayer rug.) I find that they do not make hijabs in pretty pinks, and yellows and pastels that would appeal to very young girls.  I purchased a beautiful pink fabric that she picked out herself along with some beads and sequins and together we decorated it and made a beautiful hijab for her to wear…but where?  To the zoo, to the park, to the museum, these are her “hang-outs.  Ironically when we wear it to the masjid, it magically comes off in the first twenty minutes.  I never force her to put it back on her head.  I let her wear it until she is naturally tired of it.  I want her to get used to wearing her hijab because she wants to before she wears it because she has to.  I figure we have plenty of time.

My husband feels the opposite.  He feels that if we start her wearing it now, it will be a habit she keeps all of her life.  This is the same opinion shared by another Sister at the masjid, who has her infant daughter in hijab.  Every time I see this baby her head is covered, and her khimar  pinned around her neck.   I feel that yes children this young will develop the habit.   But the habit doesn’t remove the discomfit you feel when obscenities are yelled at you.  Or the feeling of isolation when a cup of coke is thrown at you from a moving car while you wait at the bus stop, something that happened to a pregnant friend of mine.

I want her to wear hijab because she has come to the conclusion on her own that this is required by Allah.  And so she wears it out of love for Allah and a desire to please Him.  So I feel my first step is to teach her to love Allah and to want to please Him.  But am I going about this the wrong way…Hmmm I still wonder.

April 14, 2008 at 9:17 am 1 comment

playgroup fun

I highly recommend starting a muslim playgroup.  My family has recently moved to a new town.  My daughter is at the age where she is concerned with having friends.  (MashaAllah at four!)  The final straw was when we were playing at a “McDonald’s Playplace” and I saw her talking to one of the other children, who was a stranger.  She asked the girl’s name and told her, “okay now you have to be my friend”.  I said to myself, I have got to get this child some friends.

So I started a muslim playgroup at the masjid we attend.  I found out that they were starting a Sister’s class on Fiqh.  I volunteered to sponsor a playgroup for children aged 2 to 5 during the same time so mothers with young children could attend.  We had our second group today and Al Hamdulilah, we all enjoyed it tremendously.  Whereas the two year olds wandered to and from the activity, as is appropriate for their age, the four year olds had a great time.  We did fingerpainting.  To make the fingerpaint, I mixed food coloring into plain yogurt.  this makes an inexpensive, non-toxic, edible paint that is perfect for their age.  We painted on scrapbook paper which is a little sturdier/heavier than regular paper and doesn’t fall apart as easily. 

I started on my paper with a bright yellow sun and as I worked we talked about, who created the sun?  Allah did, we all learned.  And it was a sensori-motor learning experience; talking, moving, feeling that helped to really bring the lesson home that Allah created everything.  I followed with a story, that illustrated the same point.  I think too often in masjids the very littlest muslims are forgotten. Study activities for youth to old age are frequently promoted but rarely things for toddlers.  I do believe as mothers of toddlers we can change this, even if we have to start some projects on our own.

 If you have a muslim playgroup, or can suggest an activity, especially an activity for muslim children specfically,  that you think we would enjoy…Please feel free to share.

I and the children THANK YOU – JazakAllah

April 13, 2008 at 3:09 am 5 comments

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