This past week was the week of final exams for Year 5. Sarah you showed signs that you were nervous and anxious. I was a bit worried, but tried not to show it. It reminded me of the times when I was your age and used to get anxious and worried every time school exams rolled by. The week before on the Saturday we celebrated your birthday at Skytrex and you had such a good time with your friends! It was really a great day - I think everyone really enjoyed themselves at Skytrex :)
Then it was exam week - you were doing OK at the beginning of the week. Monday you had English. You said it was a bit difficult. Tuesday you had Math - you said also abit difficult and you didn't answer a few questions. On the last day you had Arabic. The evening before you were so worried. You wanted to revise, opened your Arabic books and asked me to help you revise. I asked you what you wanted me to test you on, and you just started crying. I could see you were very overwhelmed. I said "Dont worry if you dont know - just choose something to revise." And again you replied "I dont know" and cried. The whole evening was like this. I left you to read my book in the tv room at nana's house. You were crying. After awhile I went in and said "Come let me help you" but you were too overwhelmed and just continued crying. I felt so helpless.
After you calmed down, showered and ate. I just started saying some words - tested you on the basics- pronouns - and we made some progress. I was using my own shallow knowledge. Alhamdulillah after that we made some progress.
To be honest I was really surprised to discover that you did not know the basic pronouns and vocabulary - but I did not say anything. Alhamdulillah. I'm so glad I didn't. I really pray that you don't feel afraid to ask for help. I felt like you might have been struggling abit with this.
I know it is my fault that in the past, I have not been very good when you ask me to help you with your homework. Firstly I have been resentful that I have to send you to school - which I don't believe in - knowing it is the same rote-learning, spoon-feeding system that I went through. But I should not take it out on you. I promise to be more helpful and supportive when you ask me to help you with homework.
I am listening to Brene Brown's Rising Strong audiobook - and the things that she says in the book are so profound. I was listening to her book the next morning after I sent you to school. And she was talking about being human and strong enough to know and ask for help from others when we need it. And I thought to myself - this is me. I was taught to never ask for help - that asking for help are for weaklings and I should not ask for help. As a result - I have been dysfunctionally dealing with my emotions. I was grief-stricken when your father and I got divorced - but I didn't know how to ask for help. I didn't know that I needed help. I just pushed down the emotions, and it showed up in other unhealthy ways. Like my yelling at you and Iman. I feel terrible and regret that so much to this day.
I recently joined a single moms support group - which I told you about - and that has been so helpful. I wish there was such a support group when I just came out of the divorce. Basically my journey of the last two years or so - seeing a counselor and joining this support group has been alhamdulillah so helpful. I'm so grateful I am starting to heal, and be a better person.
I promise to you that I will be more supportive - and show you that NEEDING HELP and ASKING for HELP is noble and normal and NECESSARY. I promise to not shut you out or play down or disregard you need for help. I want to be the one who can be there for you when you need someone. Both of you. I'm sorry if I haven't been really present in the past. I was dealing with my own issues. I want to change and pray that I will change to be a better mother and friend and role model from now on. I love you both so much!1 xoxo
Sarah you have been in Idrissi for about 4 months. Alhamdulillah. You are enjoying it. Last term (Oct - Dec2017) you were in the same class as Dhia and Ust Irzal was your teacher.. you had so much fun and you really enjoyed your class. Mama is so happy for you. Alhamdulillah. When you got into Idrissi, Mama was so grateful. I was nervous you were going to struggle to fit in, but you made a good friend on the first day! Dhia was so friendly to you and she became your BFF almost instantly!! This terms you are in a different class because they re-arranged the class and you are not in the same class as Dhia anymore, but you still like it. Asilah is in your class. I'm glad you are still friends with Dhia although you are not in her class anymore. The school is small so during break time and prayer time you still see your friends from the other class.
This past weekend we had both your friends over for a playdate :) You had so much fun ice skating from 1030 til 2pm! Then we went back watched TV for a little while then went swimming! Before dinner and then sending them back home. I'm glad you had fun... I was happy both of you had fun with your playmates :)
Mama still misses you when you are at school and I still wish I could homeschool you and connect with you in a more meaningful way... but I guess this is the best for us all at the moment. I still wish I could take you out of school and go traveling with you both. We'd all go on adventures together. Live & explore a new country together. LEARN about the world together. THAT is real learning. And all the while, we can marvel at God's beautiful creation...
Anyway, I'm grateful we are where we are at... we can still learn, explore & be curious together... One step at a time... any topic you are interested in, let me know. We can do research on it together ok??
Last week you did a tie-dye all by yourself. I'm so proud of you! Mama didn't help you at all... I just bought the kit. You read it and tied the rubber bands on the t-shirt and put the dye on it (though I helped a bit this part)... and when it came out it came out beautifully!!
Well done!! Love you both & am so proud of both of you !! xox
How time has flown by. We had a pretty good Ramadan Alhamdulillah. Sarah you were off for two weeks and you attended a Ramadan Program by "Our Homeschool Retreat" run by Auntie Kylie. You enjoyed it. But Aunty Kylie's family moved to Perth at the end of Ramadan. You both also went to Perth for Raya. I missed you so much. Especially because the day you left it was one day before my 40th birthday. I spent my 40th birthday without both of you... but I talked to you over the phone. Alhamdulillah Allah blessed us with a good Ramadan and good Eid. Now just two weeks ago we discovered that Sarah got accepted into Idrissi. Alhamdulillah mama was so relieved. Mama has been praying to Allah that He allows me to provide you with a more wholesome and islamic environment in which to grow.I'm praying that Idrissi will provide you with a better one compared to APSS. I just made du'a : Please help me provide Sarah with a wholesome environment in which to grow which will be best for her dunya and akhiraah. He Alone Knows Best what is best for both of your upbringing. Which environment will help you both love our Deen.
Anyway, so Sarah you had your last day at APSS about a week and a half ago. It was quite bittersweet - having to leave APSS. I know you've made a few good friends. We ordered button badges that said : P4 Earth Thank you for the memories. - Sarah", and you gave them to all your classmates. You also bought Teddy bears for your three closest friends - Emira, Debbie & Malissa. I'm so proud of you for being so thoughtful to your friends. I pray you all keep in touch :)
Then we were off immediately to SIngapore for a week holiday!! Wow that was fun. We just lazed around, spent time with Dahlia, Dean &Dhia, Nek Nor, Aunty Ayu, the whole week. We went to Science Centre, East Coast PArk, National Gallery Museum..so much fun!! Alhamdulillah. This week we are back in KL, trying to settle your stuff for when you start school in a week and a half ; uniform, books, etc.Hoping we settle it soon, so that we have time to go for a short break to the beach!!
I just wanted to pen some thoughts about your vacation. I'm really loving spending time with both of you. I feel I never want your vacation to end!! hahah... we are watching tv, movies, getting up late, sleeping late :) Yesterday you had a playdate with Asilah (I thought it'd be good to get re-acquainted since you'll be in the same school as her soon), the day before Aunty Tria and her kids came over and you swam in the evening...hehehe.. Sarah you were so shy around Aan.. aww ..Mama is less angry and more relaxed during your summer vacation..,.wish we homeschooled so you'd have permanent vacation..hahahah... but I guess there would be different stresses if we homeschooled. Allahua'lam.
I love you both so much. So grateful to Allah for allowing us to have this time together. You are small for only a short time... before I know it, you will be out the door :( but I'm not totally unstressed of course, last night we watched "how to do brush lettering" on youtube til late, and when we switched it off, I guess I snapped at you Sarah for just throwing your brush pen and sketch book on the side table. You shouted back and we had a shouting match. sigh. Sorry. Today I let you both watch "Worst Witch" from 330 til 6pm and when I turned it off, Iman gave excuses didn't want to solat. Sarah shouted at her for not "qomat"...sigh..I'm sorry I shouted too.. oh well... I still have a lot to learn ...at 40!!! Hope y'all turn out better than me girls <3 I will make du'a that you both turn out more patient and calm compared to me...ameen.
Assalamualaikum Sarah & Iman,
The days are turning into weeks, and the weeks are turning into months. Now that the initial anxiety of Iman starting primary school has more or less gone away, Mama is left wondering what I am meant to be doing next. Of course I have been putting effort into my work - HypnoBirthing classes and accompanying mothers in their births. The business is slightly waning (i.e. slowing down) There are fewer people asking for my classes. I am hoping this is just a phase. The truth is though, I have been doing this for the past 6 years. Alhamdulillah I love my job. I wonder often though, if it is enough to pull us through in the next few years. Alhamdulillah I make enough to make ends meet (just cover my cost of living). However, the cost of living is going up , and things are getting more and more expensive. For example petrol - which I use much more now since I send Iman and fetch her from school everyday. Allahulmusta'an (Allah alone do we ask for help).
Anyway, alhamdulillah the last few weeks have been quite uneventful. Sarah you had your sports day, so you have been occupied with that. I'm glad that you love sports. It doesn't matter that you did not participate in any of the athletic events; what matters is that you loved to take part in them when they were doing try-outs (when everyone was participating). Sports is really important. It helps us to release our "feel-good/ happy hormones" (endorphins) that make us feel good; not only that, we learn the value of team work in team sports. Now that your sports day is over, I foresee that you will have a lot of homework from now. I am bracing myself for that. Alhamdulillah we bought an English-BM dictionary, which hopefully will help us in your BM work.
Iman you had Reading/Book Week last week. You enjoyed it, because it was full of activities. You watched the movie "Cat in the Hat" & "The Lorax" at school. I am glad your school is trying to make things more fun for you. Last Friday you had a Book Parade, but Mama forgot all about it, and forgot to dress you up in your favourite book!! :( Sorry... there was not discussion about it at all in the mothers' whatsapp group :( I promise to be more up-to-date with your school stuff... It looked like a lot of fun because your school friends came dressed up as their favourite books/ characters.. inshaAllah we'll do something next year. biiznillah.
I saw my counsellor week after last. We thought it would be good to see your principal, Iman, to make a special request to create a space for Sarah in Grade 4. I hope it works. Will be working on that soon inshaAllah.
Ramadan is less than a month away. I'm preparing for the changes we will be going through inshaAllah. It seems like just last month we had Ramadan last year!! Time flies so fast. Iman will be "fasting" or trying to during school hours. I'm just trying to work out sleeping and waking times. May Allah make it easy for all of us. Ameen :)
April 3, 2017
Assalamualaikum Sarah & Iman :)
So its been some time since I wrote to you. I have been writing in our mother-daughter journal though. Iman has one too now, since she wanted to start one too. Mama now discovered a park near Iman's school. So after fetching Iman, I walk in the park. It is so refreshing and gives me a great energy boost to start the day.
I wish you both could have that too. Healthy living means starting the day with fresh air and exercise . And if you work in the rat-race (in a 9 to 5 job), you're not able to have this time to exercise in the mornings - and yet it is so important for our health - from a physical as well as psychological perspective.
Sarah you had your school holiday two weeks ago for a week. During that week we had breakfast together, we walked in the park together, we read books together at the mamak :), I sent you to a cookery class, we celebrated Iman's birthday, you had a playdate ice-skating with your schools friends. I hope you had a good time. But one week was just so short :(
After you started school, then Iman was on holiday. She is still on holiday (2 weeks). We went to Avillion PD this past weekend.... ah so nice to get away from the city, even for a night. I really enjoyed swimming in the sea with the both of you, kayaking, the bumpy seasports ride, walking on the beach in low tide, floating in the ocean at high tide, singing all those weird songs :) Wish our whole life could be a vacation! I can't imaging the lives of those families that worldschool their children. Subhanallah. The world , and their travels is their education. What a smart way to live. Mama does make du'a for that. It is not impossible for Allah to make it come true. He is the All-Powerful. I just have to want it enough.
Mama started seeing a counselor - her name is Dr Karen Golden. I am seeing her just by accident actually. I am a much better place in my life. I have come to terms with the divorce with your father - its been more than five years anyway. So I met up with her just to discuss how we could work together. She is co-founder of Islamic Parenting Consortium. I talked to her and we determined that I could benefit from some coaching - to have a direction on where I see myself and you both in 5 years. I dont really have a plan for the future. All I know is I'm ok now alhamdulillah. So I've been talking to her about my concerns about you both. I told her that I'm concerned that I'm not doing the right thing by sending you both to school. That I really want to homeschool or worldschool you, and that all the articles I read might indicate that I'm setting you up for mental health problems in your later life.
Additionally Sarah, you've been under a lot of stress with school work. You've had alot of homework everyday. You come back from school, and then spend so much time doing homework. This is not called childhood. This is torture. I feel so sad for you. Sometimes you're so frustrated you end up throwing tantrums. and Mama can't help, because I don't know how to help you with your homework. Firstly, I'm angry at your school for giving you so much homework.And then I'm angry that they don't teach you properly. They dont teach you HOW to think - they just teach you that you need to know this and not WHY you need to know this. Its aggravating for me. The deepest and most important questions you will ever ask yourself is "Who am I?", "What is my purpose in this world?", and school doesn't set you up for thinking about this - in fact it makes you accept whatever it is that you need to know,and not ask questions. If we do NOT ask these questions, we will never arrive at our true purpose in this world. I pray that you both ALWAYS ask these two important questions to understand what our purpose in this life and this world is. If we are sincere in seeking the answers, Allah will lead us to them. ALWAYS be sincere seekers of TRUTH. I love you xo
February 6, 2017
This week is the second month of Iman starting primary school. I have been so consumed about Iman settling in her new school, that I have not been doing much else. Alhamdulillah, I have students to fill my classes and I am able to earn an income for both of you Sarah and Iman. Psychologically, I have just been so consumed about how Iman settles in her new school.
Today’s post is actually for Sarah. I would like to apologize. This morning we were getting ready to go down and be picked up by your father for school. And I reminded you that your bag is heavy. You don’t want me to help you carry your bag now, because you know I will make noise about how heavy it is. I’m so sorry. I guess I think I’m just helping you. But for you, you hear someone who nags you constantly. You snapped back at me. Saying “I know”. I’m sorry, I know I am always nagging you. A lot of the times I do it without consciously thinking. It must be terrible to have a mom that constantly nags you and criticizes you. I should know. I have that mom too J Nana was like that to me and she still is. I hope I can be different.
When we were waiting for the list to go down, I touched Iman’s hair and tried to make a light-hearted conversation with Iman (because I wanted to make her feel better about school – in the mornings she is usually sad before school). I caught myself. I was trying to smile and encourage her, while with you I was nagging and criticizing. I glanced your way, and caught the look of resentment in your eyes. I’m sorry. I keep failing you. You are a wonderful child, and I’m so disappointed in myself that I can’t help but criticize you instead of encourage and empower you. I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine how damaging it must be for you, not only now, but in the long term. I’m so sorry. I need to change. I need to be a better mother to you.
February 16, 2017
Salaam. Two evenings ago I lost my temper with you Sarah and hit your head . I feel horrible. You were being rude to me when asking me how to do your homework. I was trying to help explain to you and you got angry and snapped at me. But that’s no excuse for me to hit you on your head. I’m so sorry L I need to break this cycle of anger , yelling and hitting L I just don’t know how. My mom used to do this to me, so it sometimes comes automatically to me. But I need to stop it now. I need to stop this cycle of poor parenting now. Unfortunately, we learn to parent from the way our parents treated us. So what my parents did to me, I find myself doing it to you and your sister. I need to stop this because I know its not right. If I don’t stop and change, then I will pass these patterns subconsciously to you and you’ll go on to do it to your own kids L
Allahu… give me strength and will power. I need to stop it now. The violence needs to end here now. I need to treat you with more respect and trust.
You were happy yesterday you went to a school trip – the zoo! You had so many stories. When we got back we wanted to swim and then watch TV. I think I was stressed, because I was trying to do things all at once on time. Swimming by such and such a time, dinner, TV, then solat and then bed. I should have been more strict on getting you out of the pool on time, because I was trying to get you botht o bathe quickly so we wuld have time for dinner and TV. Then you mentioned in passing your teacher said 9 hours of sleep is too much. I think you said it in response to me telling you to hurry up so we could eat dinner and get ready for bed. Then I snapped – I said “Who is this teacher? I want to talk to her. She’s talking rubbish. She’s being idiotic. She’s an idiot “ I shouldn’t have said that. I was so angry. As it is I don’t believe in a lot of the things that teachers in conventional schools do. This teacher does not know what she’s talking about, because mama has read a lot of research that shows the importance of sleep in a child’s life. A lot of mood disorders, tantrums and physical illnesses is caused by lack of sleep. There is a lot of research out there to prove this. And yet this teacher, cannot even read and irresponsibly passes on incorrect information to her students. It makes me very mad.
But I had not right to call her an idiot. I’m sorry L that was irresponsible and immature of me.
February 21, 2017
Salaam my darlings. This past weekend we went to Janda Baik and stayed overnight at a homestay called Ruang. I was actually stressed the whole time. I fetch Iman early from school on Friday. I was stressed because I was afraid your father would find out and be angry and threaten not to pay for Iman’s school. He has done that in the past. As you know your father and I have very different ideas about education. For me, the more the child is able to relax mentally, then the easier it is for the child to actually learn. For him, it is very important to go to school and get good grades.
I believe being out in nature and having time to roam and explore in nature is really important for allowing the child to learn about “ayaat” of Allah (Allah’s signs). Research after research shows that time spent out in nature helps us to regulate our moods and feelings better, and even makes us kinder! So that’s why I really wanted to get away from the city… plus I needed a break.. but sigh unfortunately because of getting Iman out of school early I was stressed. I shouldn’t have been. I should have just been firm. This is the way that I believe is right. So I should just do it. Its not like every day I take you out from school early – its just that day because check-in time was at 2pm. Anyway, Alhamdulillah all went ok. We had a nice time in the end even though we were the only guests in the whole place! It was actually very peaceful! I invited some of our friends but they couldn’t join us… anyway looking forward to going back there again.
Sarah on Saturday morning, there was one episode where you were so frustrated with all the nyamuk that was biting you. The day before – Friday evening we had already enjoyed swimming in the river for quite a long time and it was fine. That Saturday morning, I’m not sure what happened. I think maybe because both of you didn’t want to immerse your whole body in the water because it was cold- that’s why you got a lot of mosquito bites. And the mozzie repellant was not very effective either L So you had a break down. I had just got down from the room after changing into my swim suit and was about to join you in the river then you wanted to go up already… you didn’t want to go by yourself and cried and screamed so that I would follow you… owh… at first I told you to go by yourself , but you wouldn’t calm down and kept crying loudly… L I feel so bad for letting cry so long. I finally followed you up… Sorry I let you cry so long. I was and am still I guess quite frustrated with the fact that you can’t be alone even for a while. Even when we are at Nana’s house you can’t be upstairs while Iman and I are downstairs. This happened I think on Thursday, you cried because I told you to go upstairs to finish your homework while I sat with Iman to finish her lettuce during dinner downstairs.
I’m sorry sayang. I don’t understand your fear of being alone, but I should be more patient with dealing with it. Your fear of being alone by yourself is a VALID fear. You are afraid of something. I’m not sure what. It could be ghost or thief or jinn…Allahua’lam.. Usually these are metaphors or reflections of the fears that we have inside of ourselves. For example, you might be afraid of something that happened in your life. Maybe the fear of being abandoned by people around you? Maybe your father’s and my divorce has left you fearing that people around you will abandon you….?? You must know I will NEVER abandon you - you know that right?? You are the most important thing in my life. Both you and your sister are. When I leave you for a while, I just need to do some housework, or need to attend to your sister for a while.. I’m not abandoning you. Your father also NEVER abandoned you. He is STILL your father, you are STILL his child. He just lives somewhere else. He will ALWAYS be there for you. You and your sister MUST remember that. I’m sure that whenever you need to talk to him he will always be there to listen to you. Any time you want to call him or talk to him, or email him, do it ok?
Its good to have someone that you can talk to about the feelings you might have – it could be fear, it could be sadness, confusion, or even joy… its good to have someone to talk to. I pray to Allah that he gives us all good friends who we can tell our feelings to, who won’t judge us, who will accept us for who we are including our weaknesses and strengths. But if we don’t, know that we have the best friend ever – ourselves. We must learn to be our own best friend. I remember being like this when I was small… I wanted to find a best friend… but every time I made a good friend, I had to leave that school. I was always moving and changing schools when I was young. So it was difficult to make good friends and keep them. So I told myself I have to be my own best friend. I am still struggling to do this until today. I am still struggling to accept myself for who I am and to love and celebrate my strengths and weaknesses. Alhamdulillah I have only just recently felt the most confident about myself in the past few years.
The best bestest friend we also have is Our Creator -the one who made us. He made us have these feelings. He KNOWS these feelings, because He MADE them! He knows it is human and normal to have all types of intense feelings. And these feelings are powerful. They can be used for good – to create goodness in the world. Or they can be used for bad – to create corruption in the world. So when we are feeling overwhelmed with these feelings, turn to HIM. I do too. I say “Allah you know these feelings better than me, because you created them. You know my mind and my thoughts better than me, because you created them. You know ME better than I know myself, because you created me. Please help me accept who I am for what I am. You love me more than anyone can ever love me. You are the Most Loving.”
Something like that…. Always talk to Him ok. He listens!! I love you so much!! xx
March 1, 2017
Salaam Sarah and Iman, I am sitting at the café behind Iman’s school. Just had breakfast after sending Iman.
Sarah this few weeks have been a bit stressful for you I think. You’ve had so much homework everyday after school I feel so sorry for you that you have so much homework. But Alhamdulillah yesterday and the day before you didn’t have much homework. We went swimming the day before (Monday) and yesterday (Tuesday) we played UNO, sketched and coloured before dinner.
Sarah, yesterday I cam across an article that said that the more controlling the parents are, the kids are likely to be unhappy in adulthood. I thought to myself: I’m very controlling L I do have control issues. When I was young also Nana wanted to control everything about me. I’m so sorry. Now its happening to you. I need to stop that. I can’t tell you how many times I have told myself in my mind “I will not control her from now on”, and then next thing happens is I’m telling you not to do that or this L This morning you asked me if you could bring your new book to school (100 most famous people who made history). It is a thick book and you had to carry two other bags (one for swimming, and one for art) . So I said no. You were frustrated and angry. Then I thought to myself : “actually why didn’t I let her just take it. I know she’ll struggle with three bags and one heavy book, plus any books she brings back for homework, but that’s her lesson to learn”. So next time I promise I’ll let you do what you want, unless of course it involves physical danger to yourself.
Also, one way of recording the times that I’m unusually controlling over you is to write it here in my blog to you. Then it’s easy for me to re-call the times I’m controlling or the times I consciously try not to be. Writing is really helpful inshaallah. I’m praying that this exercise of me writing to you both will help me improve myself slowly inshaallah.
Iman Alhamdulillah this past two weeks you have been better at school. Last week you did cry a few times, and yesterday you cried too. Last week most of the times you said it was because your friend accidentally pushed you, but on Friday you said it was because you wanted to come home. I spoke to your teacher , Teacher Mirza this Monday morning to find out what was the real reason. Teacher Mirza said you are much better now.. you want to sit with your friends during lunch and break and not clinging to your teacher. I also brought up some issues about your play time with Teacher Mirza and Teacher Haliza , and they know my concern. I am so saddened though that your Principal Hameed is no longer in Idrissi L He was a really good principal. When Mamam went to the parent’s sharing day a few weeks ago, he answered all the parent’s questions with good answers and eased our concerns. A lot of what he talked about what based on research and best practices, and not the typical mentality of a typical Malaysian school. So I wrote him an email saying that I would like to work with him on some projects, but I’m not sure if he received the email as he didn’t reply. Anyway, I’m also talking to Principal Adam, who is still in your school and who is also a progressive thinker, but I’m not sure how much influence he has in the school. Anyway, Mama is just praying that it is the right school for you.
To be honest, Mama has been thinking about pulling you both out of school and putting you in a homeschool centre. This will definitely mean less pressure for Sarah. Homeschool centres tailor their education to the child’s level and they understand that each child has different strengths and weaknesses. I have not done much research in this. But if I pull you both out of school, I’ll have to be ready to pay for everything by myself and get opposition from your father. Inshaallah, May Allah make it easy for me to do what’s right for the both of you. Yesterday I read an article about children in Hong Kong committing suicide. These are children. There’s so much pressure there , that they can’t handle it and so they take their life!! I pray Malaysian never gets to that stage, but I also have to be careful about your childhood environment. I have to put in effort to make your childhood as stress-free as possible, and one of that means reducing the pressure on academic studies that schools put on children.
I love you. I am grateful everyday Allah has blessed me with you both.
March 3, 2017
Salaam Sarah and Iman, Mama sent Iman to school this morning and now 1030am at Setia City Mall. Iman you wanted me to fetch you early from school around lunch time, so I’m waiting around this area. No point going back to Subang because it is far.
Sarah you continue to come home with a lot of homework. I feel sorry that you have so much to do. Yesterday (Thursday) we slept at Nana’s house. You both missed Nana. You did some homework with her. Then you wanted me to go to Zumba. I know – that’s the time you get to spend with Nana and fall asleep with her. But Mama was very tired yesterday, so I didn’t go to zumba. Magrhib time came Sarah and you both solat with Nana, then I think you both wanted to spend time with her, but it was already time to sleep. It was 8.15. In Kelana Jaya, its uasually lights out by 8pm. When I told you both to sleep, you cried and complained. I feel so sorry. I don’t know what to do. I’m too strict.but I know if I’m not strict with bed time, it will be worse later when you have tantrums. Then later after you had calmed down before you slept we brainstormed ways of how to make it not so abrupt for you. I said maybe I could have given you a bit more time. I need to be more flexible like that. Then I thought to myself “ I could’ve given her 15 minutes more… it should’ve been ok on a Thursday night”.
I pray that I realize these situations to be more flexible before they actually happen and that I can make things easier and less controlling and restrictive for you. I thought to myself about my own childhood. I myself always felt that I couldn’t do anything – everything “no, no, no” from Nana or Dada. Now I have the chance to do it differently with my kids and I’m not doing it differently.
I think I’m fearful of what negative influences you might have –e.g. TV programs that nowadays has very adult themes even in cartoons. Nothing is innocent anymore. I need to find away to let go of this fear, but also be able to protect you from evil / shaytan’s influences from things all around us. TV is just one of them. But it’s a big one. I’m really not sure how to control it anymore. When you go to your father’s house on the weekend – literally the whole time you are there, you’re both watching TV. That makes me so pained. This weekend I am attending an Islamic conference (too bad Nouman Ali Khan can’t make it), but its on both Saturday and Sunday. I will miss you both.. but I am also excited to be spending my time doing something that will nourish my soul – listening to reminders about Allah. I wanted and suggested to you to come with me –to join their kids program, but you both didn’t want to.
Last time, a couple of years ago, I brought you along to these programs, at least for one day – probably Saturday – you joined their kids program in a separate hall and you both liked it. Some times Sofiyyah would come with her mother also, but you would be in separate groups la. Now you don’t lie it so much… hmmm… I’m wondering how to get you to enjoy these things again.
In terms of your schooling, I’m still deliberating on whether I should take you out of school and put you in a homeschool centre. I believ homeschooling will be better for you, and even a homeschool centre will be better for you, but I am lacking support from Nana & Dada. I hope I have enough courage soon. Am making du’a that Allah guides me to make the right decisions for you both. Love you xox
January 16, 2017
Salaam Iman, today you cried again when I sent you to school L
I feel so sad. I don’t know what to do.
In the mornings when you get up you are so sad. You have a constant frown and downtrodden face. Allah. Yesterday when you came back from your Papa’s house you were so sad about having to go to school today. I don’t know what to do. One hand you have to get used to it - the sooner you get used to it, the better. On the other hand, I can’t stand to see you so sad all the time.
I was hoping and praying that this week will be better for you. I emailed Principal Adam last Friday. I told him I would like to get involved in helping to make Idrissi a place for more holistic learning for the students. I hope to meet up with him soon. But he is not really the one who calls the shots in your school. I met teacher Mirza last Friday afternoon when I fetched you. I told her to give you a break. That it doesn’t matter whether you have done your homework or not, that academic work is not important to me. Teacher Mirza said you were better on Friday in class.
This morning we arrived late and it was raining. The other students were already in class. I sent you to your class, but you wouldn’t let me go. So I sat with you for a while. Then I left. You were crying when I left L
Oh Iman,…. Mama’s heart breaks. I’m not sure what to do anymore. Allah please help make it easy for my children. You are the best to guide and you are the best to help. You are well-acquainted with all that we know and all that we feel. You are the owner of hearts. Help comfort Iman’s heart.
January 17, 2017
Iman, you cried again today. It’s been about 2 weeks that you first started school.
Today I was firmer with you. I’m so sorry, I don’t know what else to do. I know it doesn’t mean that it helps the situation.
I’m not sure – maybe its because you are close to me and you can sense my ambivalence of sending you to school – although I myself am not fully conscious of it. Idrissi is truly probably the best school out there (In KL) – mixture of academic, islamic and nature. That’s why I thought it would be great for you, Iman. And you know that I’ve been trying to get Sarah into Idrissi for a few months. Since last year, you yourself said that you don’t want to go to Sarah’s school because you see how your sister has a lot of homework. So that’s why I saw it as a great opportunity to change both of your schools to Idrissi. Unfortunately there’s no space for Sarah in Yr 4, but there’s space for you, Iman.
I’m so sorry I was tough with you today. I brought you to the gate and told you to walk in. You stepped in the gate and you didn’t move. Teacher Mirza came to get you and bring you to assembly, but you still didn’t want to move. You were crying.
I’m so sorry L I love you. I will be with you in your heart even when you cry.
Sarah, I know mama has not given you full attention this past 2 weeks, because of Iman’s issues at school. I’m so sorry. I wish I could give both of you enough attention and love that you need. I really wonder how those mothers who have six or seven kids manage. Apparently their love is six or seven times more J Just like how mama’s love is double, because I have two kids J I’m sorry Sarah. I will promise to be patient and attentive to you too.. sorry ya. Am so proud of you and how you are able to take care of yourself. You have helped mama with some household chores. Thank you.
Mama has been a bit busier in the house, because I cook / prepare Iman’s lunch sometimes and I cook your favorite food sometimes, Iman, in hopes that it will cheer you up at school. Yesterday I cooked kari ikan for the second time! Yummm! Heheh… mama also likes it, and I should cook more!
January 19, 2017
Alhamdulillah, today you didn’t cry Iman. Yesterday (Wednesday) you didn’t go to school. You stayed at home – played Monopoly with Nana, went for lunch , bought your school shoes. You were happy yesterday J You were sad when you thought of school .Then I tried to make you not think of school. This morning you were a bit sad in the drive on the way to school. When you reached school, I sent you to your class. And said bye, you were fine J
Sarah, yesterday you were moody. When you got in the car, your sister wanted to talk to you and you snapped at her. Kesian you. Mama got angry and I told you not to snap at her or be rude to me. And then you were more rude to me. You answered me back. That has been quite common lately. I feel sad. But I think it is a phase. You are learning to assert your individuality. You are learning that you are not me and I am not you. You want to voice out who you are and be accepted for who you are. Sorry that sometimes mama has no patience, and that I can’t see that sometimes. I re-act with impatience and tell you not to talk back or be rude. I’m sorry I will try to be more patient.
Also I think school is tiring for you. You are in Primary 4 and have had homework everyday this week. I’m afraid the academic part is going to be more pressure for you. I am still praying and hoping for a spot to become free in year 4 in Idrissi. May Allah make it easy.
You know girls, Mama doesn’t know what is right for you. I sometimes find myself praying to find a husband that will be good to me and to both of you andwho understands the importance of homeschooling to maintain your childhood, so that I will have support to homeschool / worldschool you both. But then I think to myself – there’s a reason why Allah has not given me a husband until now. It has been 5 years since your father and I got divorced… and I have not come close to marrying anyone else. I think Allah is telling me “Get yourself and your kids sorted out first”, and then whether or not a husband comes along is besides the point. So I asked myself yesterday, why am I not strong enough to pull you both out from school and homeschool you? What am I so afraid of? What can your father do? He can bring me to court… sure… but will he? Allahua’alam.
Will continue to make du’a for Allah to provide me with strength and support to make the right decisions for your childhood – whether it be homeschooling or any other school or moving countries, etc. After all, Musa as asked for support. In the Qur’an, Allah told Musa to “Go To Firaun and relay to him the Message of Lailahaillallah” and Musa responded by “My Lord, please give me Harun (his brother), expand my chest and release the tightness in my tongue” Robbishrahlisodriwayassirli amri wahlul uqdatammillisanee.
January 12, 2017
Iman you cried again L It has been 3 days already L I am so sad. I don’t know what to do. You don’t seem happy about school. Mama asked you if you want to change to your sister’s school and you said you don’t want to go to any school.
Allah… Mama prayed to ask Allah to show me the right way. If taking you both out of school is the right thing to do, then please make it easy for me to do so. Mama feels like I don’t have enough support. I feel like homeschooling is the option that makes the most sense – instinctively. The rigidity and pressure of schools just hamper emotional and psychological development of children.
Your father has very conventional views about education. He wants you to be in school. Dada and Nana also don’t support homeschooling. So Mama feels like I’m all alone in wanting to homeschool you. All these thoughts go through my mind. What if your Papa takes me to court? :’(
I pray Allah gives me strength to make the right decision for you both. I want to give you the best childhood I can… I’m not sure how. I couldn’t sleep last night.. Trying to think of a way out of this.. Everybody tells me it is an adjustment phase for you Iman… that its just the first few weeks. And that soon you’ll get used to it.
I just can’t stand seeing you always sad and moping around the house. It breaks my heart. I don’t know what to do. Please pray for our family.
January 13, 2017
Iman this is the 4th day you cried when I left you at school. My heart is breaking L
Today I promised that I’ll pick you up at 1230 (Friday) I thought it would be better, but it wasn’t . You still cried. I don’t know what to do. I feel horrible for doing that to you.
I think you are overwhelmed with the long hours. It is very long. Apart from that, I think that you don’t get enough play time. That is the case with all schools, not only your school. Sarah’s school doesn’t have any play time at all. I don’t understand it. Research shows that play time for children is really important and kids learn problem-solving skills and regulation through play. Yet schools don’t enforce free play time. I’m just stupefied. I’m so frustrated… and I resent SCHOOLS in general for being so backward thinking!
This past week and a half, I have been at your school everyday (except on Monday when I had to work and was at a birth). The first day I engaged in conversation with Principal Adam – he is your school’s eco-principal. I asked him how much sunlight do the children get while in class. He said some, but not much. He seems like a person who is open to learning and understanding. But he says the general awareness here is low. I agree. I think he left the conversation feeling like I was telling him to improve the school. I wasn’t I just wanted to engage in conversation with someone who understands my concerns about the importance of sunlight and unstructured play for young children.
I’m so sorry I had to leave you crying again. It breaks my heart every time. I just don’t know what to do. I feel like writing an email to your principal asking him to enforce play time. I don’t know how effective it will be. I think I will write an email to principal Adam. He seems like someone who might be open to considering suggestions. Allahua’lam.
I love you, and am praying for you when you are in school. I pray for both you and Sarah a lot now. I ask Allah to help us get out of this situation. Or deal with it better. He Alone knows what is best for each of us. Turn to him. I am turning to him inshaAllah… and also making efforts to make things better. Hasbi’Allah wani’mal wakeel.
Today (Tuesday) was hard for me. Iman, you just started school in idrissi - Last Wednesday. Yesterday you cried when Nana sent you to school, and you cried today too when I dropped you off.
My heart was breaking abit when I had to tear myself away from you. You ran after me. And it took every ounce of strength to steele myself and continue walking out the school gate. I was crying inside and crying now as I write this at the café behind your school.
I’m sorry I had to do it, but I know it’s the best for you inshaAllah.
Idrissi is a school that inshaAllah advocates and practices holistic learning – not only academic, but also spiritual and emotional. I’m so grateful that I’m able to send you there. Other schools in KL are much worse, and I know if you went to Sarah’s school it might be worse.
Of course, my first plan was to homeschool you and your sister. I believe kids to need to feel self-motivated and self-regulated. And that won’t happen at school – in institution where everything a child does is regulated - from where you have to sit, how you have to conduct yourself in class, where you can go where you can’t go, what time you have to eat, what time you have to leave , etc. Sure there are regulations and rules in real- life, but when you are self-regulated, it is much easier, and its easy for you to be self-directed when you are an adult.
What is self-directed? When you have the motivation to make your life the best life you can. You love your life and you achieve a lot in life, and you are satisfied with who you are. You live your life for a purpose, and not because other people want you to do things.
Anyway, I pray it gets easier for you , Iman. I will do my best to help you and your sister have a good childhood. I make du’a to Allah to allow me to provide you both with a childhood without worry and fear. Unfortunately you both have gone through a lot of that already – what with your father and mine’s divorce, etc. I pray that Allah is able to lessen the mental, psychological and emotional burden on both of you. And help me provide you both with a holistic environment where you can flourish into well-adjusted and loving human beings.