From 3 to 4…

Bismillah,

Very late Ramadan Mubarak to all!!! May Allah bless us with good deeds and enable us to rip the rewards of the last ten days, amin.

I don’t know where to start and what to write. SubhanAllah, I have been super busy with the arrival of baby Saida. Allah has blessed us with a baby girl on 13 June 2013. Alhamdulillah, she is healthy and growing well. As you can guess from the title of this post, there is a massive difference from being a mother of 3 to a mother of 4. I am so tired and exhausted these days. Each wants attention, each wants one-one time, each wants a bit of love and hug and each needs disciplining. I am so tired of being the judge between the elder 3. They are always fighting for the same book, pen, pencils or crayons or something else. I am often stuck trying to think how to deal with sibling fighting and sibling jealousy between them, or trying to think of ways diverting one of their attention to something else. I think any mother learns how to be a super clever with 4 young children under her arms.  And I am no exception, slowly but surely adjusting to be a mother “with- multiple- children- born- within- short- age gap”. Ya Allah, please make me among the patient…

Home-ed has pretty much stopped well before the arrival of the baby. The main reason was the warm weather we had over the past 2 months. Kids have been literally spending all day outdoors playing. They are out in the garden from 8am till 8pm. Both of our neighbours’ daughters come out and they have spent a lot of time with them. They often go barefoot in the garden, love playing with sand and mud, like digging, running, jumping, throwing, collecting sticks and leaves, making stuff out of everything and anything they could find out in the garden.

They collected lots of different flower petals and sealed in a jar with some water to make a perfume the other day. Sumayya likes to make things using leaves. Alhamdulillah, they are so good at keeping themselves busy. If I give them a bit of resources and instruction, theyspend some time being creative. They make things out of any packaging or paper/newspaper we have at hand.  Because I have not had a time to plan and organize more structured learning sessions, they have had a lot of creative play time. MashaAllah, they learn better when they take the lead through their own ideas and plans (but also fight a lot when left unsupervised, one wants to stick it here and another wants to stick a there and third thinks sticking is not a good idea)

I just have to be a bit more patient and to do a bit less shouting. I just have to do a bit more connecting and a bit less correcting. I keep trying to remember my own childhood, how I grew up and how I behaved etc. I can only remember the flashbacks of happy moments. I want them to have a memory of happy childhood. I keep making dua asking Allah to give me the ability to deal with their arguments and fights in a more calmly manner. I often think I might break their confidence with my “no-stop-pointing-out-only-the-negatives”. It is true though, we don’t notice quick enough to comment when children are so nice, behave and play well together. But, as soon as something goes wrong, we jump with criticism. I have read a lot of posts by Hands Free Revolution in my search of guilt-free parenting. MashaAllah, she writes very useful stuff

Anyway, here is the photo reportage of how they have been spending the summer.

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Sumayya cutting pictures out of newspaper for her story

Safiyya is making flashcards for herself

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Sumayya building a masjid with a friend

We took them to have a paddle and swim in the big fountains at the city park daily when the weather was nice.

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Ibrahim at the city park

Ibrahim loves playing football in the water

We take them to Lister park 2-3 times a week where they can discover the nature in botanical gardens, play in the playground and go visit the gallery inside the Cartwright hall.  Sumayya often rides her bike and Safiyya rides a scooter. We need to get her a new bike soon (Alhamdulillah, we are lucky to live so close to this park)

Safiyya and Ibrahim outside the Cartwright gallery

I have resumed the Qur’an hifdh sessions again at the start of Ramadan after we had had another 2-3 weeks break. It is just so difficult to restart once we stop. Sumayya had a lot of meltdowns and did not want to memorize or revise any surahs she has memorized before. As soon as I call her for Qur’an, she starts feeling “not so well”. I remind them both of the benefits of reading and learning the book of Allah, give them treats for doing well. But, subhanAllah, can not think of how I can make it more enjoyable for them.  One day when I asked Sumayya to revise some surahs, she started reciting unwillingly and she started crying. I was so angry and upset so I asked, “Why are you crying? As soon as it is Qur’an time, either you are tired, either you are hungry, either you have headache. How do you want to enter Jannah if you don’t want to learn Qur’an. Even if you don’t want to, you have to force yourself. It will be difficult at first, but then Allah will make it easy and enjoyable for you. You have to keep trying.” At that she was crying even more because she knows I am right. When she knows she is in the wrong she feels sorry for herself and cries even more. I wanted to tell her off but I calmed down myself. So I asked again “Why are you crying, just tell me?” and she goes “Because I have to cry when I make dhikr of Allah”. I burst out laughing. She quickly thought of a healthy alternative to why she cries when she reads the Qur’an. Anyway, 20 days of Ramadan already behind, and we have just re-established our daily Qur’an hifdh sessions in the mornings. May Allah make it continuous, amin.

After they finish hifdh, I ask Sumayya to read 1 surah from 29th juzz. MashaAllah, she can now read the Qur’an, though she finds it a bit difficult and challenging at times. I think she enjoys reading more than memorizing. Then we read either from the English or the Uzbek translation of meanings of some of the surahs they have memorized.

One day we read the tafsir of Surah Burooj. They were so impressed with the story of “The owners of the pit”. Then we all watched the Boy and the King and loved it. We had long and fruitful discussion afterwards. You can watch it here with your kids when you have a spare time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0hJU4rvKqw

We have not been able to do anything specific on Ramadan other than following their Ramadan calendar. I had 4 Ramadan calendars from Islamic Relief’s Hilal kids’ club. I don’t know where I got them initially but I have had them for the past couple of years and waiting for the girls to grow a bit older to use them. They all came in Ramadan pack with a calendar, “I am fasting” stickers, penny-box and some activity sheets. They both made the penny-box using the materials provided and have decorated a sadaqah jar each as well. Every day after the Qur’an session I give them some pennies or any other changes I could find in my purse. That is their treat for learning Qur’an during Ramadan. They are so eager to calculate how much they could collect till the end of Ramadan. They want to donate it to the needy in Uzbekistan inshaAllah.

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Ramadan calendar with flips for each day of Ramadan

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They can read and follow up a good deed for that particular day under each flip

Sumayya can easily fast till 6-7pm in the evening. Safiyya fasts till lunch lol. She eats so often and so much (or so it seems to me). Ibrahim just knows we are fasting and therefore can not eat.

I ask Allah swt to grant us all mothers a beautiful patience, bless us all with pious children who could serve as means of purification and entering Jannah for us all amin. May Allah make us content with what we have and make parenting easy and enjoyable for all. Please keep me and our family in your duas inshaAllah.

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