Get kids out of the house on time with… The tomorrow box

Salaams, (peace to all)

“I can’t find my shoes!!!”  Words a mother dreads.  They inevitably come as soon as the final countdown to leave the house has already begun.  On various days I could substitute; coats, mittens, socks, glasses, homework, backpack and of course hat for “shoes”! It really didn’t matter what the actual item was, the result was the same.  LATE…AGAIN!  I know there are mom’s who have this problem well in hand, but I was not one of them.  In my house we resolved the problem with frantic searches, empty threats, tears and angry sparring.  After one terrible morning, of letting my frustrated and crying daughter out of the car fifteen minutes late, I decided this was no way for either of us to start the day!

One of the hardest things I’ve done is get my household organized.  Together my daughter and I have devised a solution that works for us.  The Tomorrow Box.  The tomorrow box, is a little canvas box that stores all of her items that she needs for the next day.  Items go in the box in the order that they should come out.  So undershirts, for example, are on top and shoes are at the very bottom. Even her eyeglasses, in their case, are on top of the shoes.  The only item not in the box are her coat and her toothbrush.  Absolutely EVERYTHING else is included.  School clothes are already pressed and folded neatly.  If you live in an organized house this small step probably seems unnecessary to you.   But in the organized chaos that is our home and her room, this was a lifesaver.  Or maybe I should say relationship saver.

When she goes to bed at night we both make sure the tomorrow box is completely equipped for the next day.  Now when we leave for school, on time, we arrive with smiles on our faces.  We give salaams, a quick kiss and the day is started the way Allah intended it…PEACEFULLY!


Why I am afraid of Tinkerbell.

My Muslim daughter loves the Tinkerbell character and all things fairy.  I was not happy with this but I accepted it as part of being a young girl.  Then we watched the 1st Tinkerbell movie, together.  It starts by asking, “do you ever wonder…” how the sun rises, how the seasons change, what makes the leaves fall from the trees. Now my Muslim mommy antenna is up!  Because there is only one answer I know as a Muslim…Allah! But no, the answer given is “it’s all the work of fairies.”  The movies go on to explain that “fairies” are responsible for these things and more.  I sat there thinking, crap, this is shirk!  And Tinkerbell is going to have to go!

Ideas put into the minds of children are very powerful and messages internalized can stay forever.  That’s why I’m trying so hard to get them to internalize love for and knowledge about Allah.  I have been teaching her that Allah has power over all things and it is Allah that is responsible for all of the things she sees going on around her.  Now Tinkerbell is telling her I am wrong.

I wondered…what is a fairy exactly.  What kind of mythology does it come from, the origins.  I found this answer on Wikipedia…  “Their origins are less clear in the folklore, being variously dead, or some form of demon…”

According to Wikipedia (and other sources) fairy folklore originated in stories of demons.  And although pretty in pink and purple wings now, originally they were scary troll like creatures who were either undead or demonic.  Similar to what we in Islam would think of as bad jinn. Now I don’t know about you but I don’t like the idea of my daughter walking around with “bad jinn” t-shirts, backpacks and sneakers!  And these fairies are on all of these items and more.  Fairies are back and they are everywhere, just as cute as they can be.

I don’t imagine, that most people buying or even selling these fairy items realize the demonic connection.  Certainly the children don’t.  As with most demonically originated items in our culture we have forgotten the true origins and meanings behind many commonly used symbols. (like the heart and arrow symbol) So I don’t really believe that my daughter will grow up and worship the devil because she likes Tinkerbell at age 6.

What I fear most about Tink is that my daughter will grow up and realize that Tink is an imaginary character without the power to do anything.  She will be taught in school, scientific explanations for the seasons changing and rain falling.  And she will grow out of believing in the unseen magical world.  My fear is that as she is told to explain her world through science and to grow out of belief in magical creatures, that her new cynicism will lead her to question a faith in God.  Because, Allah is also unseen, powers unexplainable, something that must be taken mostly on faith.  I heard an atheist on television today saying, “I am an atheiest, because I don’t believe in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, God or any other illogical thing.”  SubhanAllah!  This is my fear.

I want her to believe in the unseen world.  There are powerful beings and forces at work both for good and evil that we can’t see.  The most powerful being God.  This is my fear, with Tinkerbell flying around trivializing this FACT she may start to doubt, the real unseen world.  Scary thought.



childproof or not?

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

My sister does not belief in childproofing… I am living in my sister’s home. We will spend the entire summer here, my two year old, four year old and myself. The problem is my sister refuses to childproof. Her children are 22, 20, 18 and 12. She, unfortunately, does not remember the days when her kids got into everything. Under all of her sinks are poisonous cleaners, her doors to outside feature low, easy to open knobs,  she has a house full of china cabinets and collectibles.  And lots and lots of things for a toddler to touch and explore.  Except everything he touches is fragile.

My sister’s theory is that you should not have to pick up behind a child.  She believes FIRMLY that you should teach your child not to touch and to keep their hands to themselves.  Once the child learns this, then there is no need to childproof.  This is a great idea…in theory.  I would love to be able to walk out of a room and know that my two year old will resist all temptations.

However, I know my son.  I picture him literally about to bust, because he cannot resist.  He is the PePe Le Pew of collectibles.  “I must have it!”  He spends so much time in the naughty chair that now he puts himself on punishment when he sees me coming.  (Not a nice feeling by the way.)  If he has an item of particular interest, he will hold on to it with a fierce determination.  To guard his precious discovery he weaves through the house like an NFL running back and when I finally catch him he hurls the item away.  (If he doesn’t play in the NFL, I am going to be sorely disappointed.  The boy is really good.)

I admit he is not really trying very hard to control himself.  In the battle over her collectibles he is winning.  I noticed recently that she did move a few.  What’s a mother to do?  I think that it is developmentally difficult, for a two year old to resist temptation.  In this stage of his development he learns by exploring his world, using his five senses.  He sees, he touches, he smells, he tastes.  Everything.  In my opinion childproofing is best for children’s safety and for parent’s sanity.  If your home is childproofed, your child can explore in safe and healthy ways.  It greatly reduces the need to spank, and produces more positive environment for all concerned.  I met another parent recently who bragged that she never childproofed her home.  She states, I taught my children to leave my things alone.  I asked her how she accomplished this feat and she proudly announced, “Oh, I beat their little butts until they understood, I meant business.”  (She is a professional elementary school teacher)

I can only imagine.  How much “beating” would you have to do to destroy your child’s natural and innate desire to learn?  And what are the consequences for “beating” this out of him/her?

Okay I give up, I spanked him.

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

I admit it. I spanked him!  He is sooo busy.  I have to admit I am starting to lean towards, he is just bad.  We are visiting at my sister’s house.  He has broken her fax machine cover, lost some of her jewelry, broken her remote control and damaged her cordless phone.  But this is not the reason I spanked him.  Yesterday he took her “Tiffany” style lamp and knocked it to the floor scratching the glass.  Immediately he ran and sat in the “naughty chair”.  A chair that he is very familiar with because he is in it so often.

He earned a spanking by scaring me to death!  My sister lives very close to a beach and park.  To get there from her house he only has to walk down a semi-busy street.  Two days ago, I could not find him in the house.  After searching all three floors of this huge house I ran frantically down her long driveway to look for him.  When I didn’t see him, I searched the house a third time.  Still no baby.  I ran back outside and started running down the street to look for him.  No baby.  Frantic, praying desperately, I ran back up the driveway.  Suddenly he opens the handy man’s car door and jumps out.  My sister had a handy man over doing some home repairs.  He jumps out of this man’s car, (A stranger) where he had been sitting and playing with the gentleman’s fast food leftovers.  And in the process dumped a whole container of shrimp sauce over the man’s car seats and steering wheel!

Although I was ecstatic to see him.  Thankful, (Al-Hamdulilah, Praise be to God), that he he had not wandered down the street and gotten killed or kidnapped.  I could not believe that he had opened her door walked out of the house and wandered into a parked car!  I admit partial responsibility.  I should have kept a better eye on him.  But it just is not possible to watch him every second of the day.  So I gave in to the tried and true method.  I spanked him.  I didn’t beat him.  Just a light spanking on his buttocks to let him know when I say don’t touch the door!  (A command I had previously given several times.) I mean DON’T TOUCH THE DOOR!

What would the Super Nanny say?  Any suggestions for dealing with a two year old busy bee would be appreciated.



Where is Super Nanny when you need her?  As you know from the previous post, my son is a handful.  My daughter was also, at this age, but she quickly learned and improved her behavior.  My son is a challenge.  He ignores any command to “stop”, “put that back”, “get down”, “don’t do it”.  He ignores me so well that I actually had his hearing tested.  Al Hamdulilah (Thanks to God).  The response of the audiologist was, “He hears fine, he is just ignoring you.”

I was raised in a family where children were spanked.  Al Hamdulilah, we all turned out normal, so this method did work.  We learned quickly that some behaviors were not allowed.  But, I want to try a different method.  I am concerned with the mixed message I send my son, when I stress to him, “NO Hitting.”  And to emphasize the point, I hit him.  Ahhh the hypocrisy.  My mother says it is not hypocritical because I am teaching him that I am the only person allowed to hit.  It is supposedly okay for me because I am the authority figure.  But maybe what I am teaching is that as an authority figure I have a policy of “Do what I say, not what I do.”  This is not a policy I want to teach.

As I look at the violence in America, I wonder if this is another of the root causes.  Do we teach our children to resolve issues by violence.  If a child sees their parent reacting with violence, what do they imitate?  These are my college educated, social psychology background, responses.  The reality is that as I watch my son repeatedly hit his sister, jump off of furniture and worse of all, go running in the street….I wonder.

It is incredibly difficult to modify his behavior without spanking.  Spanking is by far the quickest, easiest and most effective way to change his behavior.  But I despise myself later.  I feel like a failure as a mother.  I have sunken to my lowest level out of frustration.  Sigh.  I have searched the Sunnah and the Quran  for advice.  The best I have found is the hadith, “he is not one of us (a believer) who does not show kindness to children.”  There are many exhortations to be patient.  I often reflect on the patience of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) when his grandchildren crawled on his back while he was leading the salaat in sajdah.  My son loves to do this also and it drives me crazy!  My first instinct is to knock him off, but I restrain myself and wait him out as long as I can.  Then I’m sorry, I have to get him down.  He can literally sit on my back, pulling my hijab and kicking my ribs for about fifteen minutes straight.

I am trying “time out.”  And we have instituted the “naughty chair.”  Thanks Super Nanny!  But I have literally had to put him in the naughty chair five times in a row for hitting his sister in one morning.  This worked but by the next day, he had replaced hitting with biting!  And he has so many behaviors that require a quick and immediate response that it is very frustrating.  I just wonder how other moms feel about this issue and what are some of your methods.  By the way, time out is the only thing that works because he doesn’t have anything that he enjoys enough for me to take away.  Nor does he relate his current behavior with future activities, so I can’t say, if you do this we wont go to the park later.  And before you ask, No, I am not the most consistent and I know that is part of the problem.  Sigh…