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Entries in parenting (20)

Monday
Nov192012

Sick Day

Y. is home sick from school today with a mild fever and a cold that is causing him to produce such copious amounts of mucus that I'm in a serious state of regret about why snot isn't trading on the world's commodities markets. I'd be a rich woman, I tell you.

I'm feeling a little sketchy myself in terms of an annoying cold that I'm hoping doesn't get as bad as the boy's. Tariq offered to stay home, but because his job is more important than mine, er, I mean, he had some important meetings, I decided to stay home.

When Tariq announced that he wasn't going to be staying home with Y. and I was, my son actually cried. Let me repeat that in more dramatic words: MY SON WOULD RATHER GO TO SCHOOL THAN STAY HOME WITH ME. See, when Daddy stays home to take care of him, it's fun. Games and play time are the order of the day -- all day. When I stay home with him, it's all "Let's take a nap so you can feel better." Some of that is just good sense, most of it is that I'm projecting my lack of sleep for being the reason my children are sick. I'm pretty sure there's a medical study out there that relates a mother's sleep deprivation to her children's immune strength. If there is no such study, it's imperative that someone get on that.

When faced with my son's disappointment, I did what any parent would do: I promised him that we would play games all day and that it would be super fun. In retrospect, this was probably a bad idea. Besides the obvious problem of promising to make it "fun" for my son to stay home from school, I also implied that being popular with my son is more important than us both getting much needed rest. So far, we've made a tent city (the state of Arizona would be proud), made some patterns with blocks, taken random pictures with my NEW iPHONE 5 (!!!!), and played Scrabble.

Yes, I played Scrabble with my three year old. I mean, mostly it's like playing Scrabble with yourself. Luckily, he decided it was time to build trains before I lost. All in all, I think I might be finally be in the running for the title for "Most Coveted Parent to Stay with Home With When You're a Snot Machine." 

The best part of all this is that Yusuf asked me for some "privacy" while he played with his Tinker Toys and then pronounced that he was so happy that I was the one who stayed home with him since Daddy had to work. I'll take what I can get.

 

Monday
Nov122012

Epic Battle: Ninjas vs. Burqas

 

 

This is rad. I hope that if you ever have a question like this that you ask me. I think it shows initiative and a deep sense of compassion to want to say and do the right thing. Also, four year olds are hilarious.

So, let's talk abount ninjas versus niqabis. (A niqab is the veil part that goes across the face and a niqabi is an Urdu slang term for women who cover their faces.)

With absolutely no disrespect to my face covering sisters in Islam, I can totally see the ninja-niqabi connection.The subtle differences in clothing are difficult to ascertain, especially for a four year old.

But the question isn't why does a four year old think a Muslim woman with her face covered is a ninja because that's an honest and obvious comparison. We are more concerned here with how we can make this a teachable moment.

1. This.is.SERIOUS.

Put your hand over your mouth, turn your head, pretend you're coughing and get the laughter out of your system. While this situation is hilarious (did I tell you about the time that N. thought Taye Diggs was Barack Obama?), it's important to turn this moment into an opportunity to develop compassion for the different. Laughing with your child is great, but it's important to make sure it's not distracting.

What to Say: "Other than those face coverings, what else looks like ninja clothing? Don't ninjas have swords? Aren't their clothes tighter?" My response to N.'s misperception regarding our president was something to the effect of "Are that man's shoulders as broad as the other handsome guy you saw at the DNC?"

2. Down with Shame!

There is nothing wrong with a child confusing a woman with a veiled face for a ninja, so don't make them feel bad for saying that. Ignorance is not the biggest obstacle to the elimination of bigotry. It's shame. People often feel shamed for making a mistake and then they fight that shame with anger, actual bigotry and denial. 

What to say: "You're right, what she's wearing is very similar to a ninja's mask, but she's not a ninja -- that's called a burqah and what she's wearing on her face is called a niqab." At this point, most children are going to ask another question. If they're under six and don't ask any more question, this is like the sex talk-- just answer what they've asked and don't go any further. Give them the minimum amount of information so they don't feel overwhelmed or worse bored.

3. Identify simple lessons in the opportunity.

Geography is super fun, so try explaining the disparate geography of the ninja and the niqabi. Use it to distract from topics that will likely lead to an incredibly controversial discussion on the constructed cultural concepts of modesty, patriarchy and the Western objectification of Middle Eastern women. And why they're called "Chinese stars" when ninjas originated in Japan.

What to Say: "I definitely see how that veil reminds you of a ninja mask, but did you know ninjas originated in Japan and the veil's history is in the Middle East?"

4. Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of another.

And also how you and I are going to save the world together. Let's bring home the point that everyone has different ways of expressing their feelings about clothing. This is a great opportunity to discuss relativism (how much should people cover) and acceptance (how much business do others have in telling people what to cover).

What You Can Say: "Would you go to the grocery store in your underwear? Why or why not? Do you think I would? Why or why not?" Okay, don't say the "why or why not" thing. Do explore with your child the different ways that we determine what is okay to wear and what is not. Move a step further by exploring the issue of how we feel about someone else bringing their determinations from another country. I know this is a tough topic, but that doesn't make it less important. Remember that while your child is their own person, you do have a right to present your beliefs within the context of a value system you've chosen to implement in your home.

5.. It's really just a piece of cloth over someone's face. Mostly.

Here is something to consider: men who ascribe to the practice of Islam which mandates face veiling are required to grow beards that are of a certain length (no longer than a clenched fist) and must wear their clothes in a certain way (for example, the cuffs of their pants must not go below their ankles). And, in my experience, the husbands of women who cover their faces generally adhere to these rules stringently. They never seem to make it as topics for debate on TV or the Internet. Why is that? Something for you (and your child depending on their age) to think about it.

What to Say: I don't know. I just felt the need to throw this last one in there. You do what you want with it!

The thing of it is that a person who wonders (worries) about approaching a cultural misunderstanding with grace has nothing to worry about in the first place. Asking ourselves questions about how we can coexist and be sensitive to difference is an important skill that you can only model by doing.

If you have any questions for me, always feel free to tweet me or post a message my Facebook Community page.

 

Monday
Nov052012

Election Day is Coming. And I Decide to Brainwash My Child.

As the presidential race comes to a close, I'm proud to say that both of the children have grown in their awareness not only of the election, but some of the issues, as well. At my Babble Voices Blog, Native Born and Raised, I explain how I tried to teach N. the difference between Republicans and Democrats and how that was a colossal failure.

We value ideas because they are, wait for it, valuable to us. Many times, we choose one set of values over another because we believe that what we have chosen is superior to the alternative. Not all the time is about superiority, but most of the time is. So, when I explain politics to my child, no matter what I say  or what my intention is, I color that presentation with the passion of what I believe to be both just and true.

You can read the whole post here.

Also, many thanks to Nijamatics for the DOPEST MASTHEAD EVER.

Wednesday
Oct242012

It's Been A Caps Lock Kind of Day

NO. 

SERIOUSLY. 

EVERYTHING IS FINE!!

I AM SOOOO.GOOD.

REALLY.

On a completely different note, have you read Stuart Little? The movie is pretty popular, but the book was written in the 1970s and is by E.B. White. He also wrote Charlotte's Web which made me weep in the second to last chapter when I read it for the first time last week. I'd only ever seen the movie. I didn't cry in the movie, so that leaves me wondering how many truly gratifying reading experiences will be stolen by the need to compress a story in a consumable two hour piece.

Anyway, in the book Stuart Little, E.B. White tells us that Stuart was simply born looking like a mouse. 

As in he wasn't adopted or anything.

Like, Mrs. Little gave birth to a two inch mouse?

Quesiton 1: Is it me, or is that just the creepiest thing you've ever heard of?

Question 2: How did something creepy get past an editor?

 

Thursday
Sep202012

I've Been Writing. Just Not Here.

Did I mention I got a day job? I did! You are now reading the words of an assistant to a montessori elementary class. I'm having a terrific time, etc., but have been regrettably busy "assisting" and what not. 

This doesn't mean, of course, that you've lost your full access pass to all things Faiqa.

Here's me being self righteous about world hunger.

From "Children Are Starving in Africa. So, Eat That." on Babble.

“There are children starving in Africa.”

I’m not making this up. That’s exactly what she said.

The kids hadn’t finished their lunches or something. She thought they were being wasteful. With a heart full of beautiful intention, she sought to imbue them with perspective. Instead her words plunged me into a deep state of irritation and anxiety.

There are children starving in Africa.

 

And then here I am being very un-self righteous. Because consistency is for weenies. 

From "Helicopter, Free Range or Honey Boo Boo Parenting? Who Cares" also on Babble.

According to Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids, I’m a negative symptom of the stranger danger campaigns of the early and mid-eighties and am hindering my children’s developing self reliance and their independent social maturity. Parents who won’t let their children ride the subway alone or play in Central Park unattended are control freaks — obsessed with their own sense of security rather than their children’s good, don’t you know?

Wait, there's more. Let me tell you about my mutha, Dr. Freud.

From "Coming Soon to a Theater Near You: I've Become My Mother":

"Even thinking about the movie The Exorcist creeps me out. Like, just now, my husband just walked into our room while I was typing this and I almost peed in my pants because I thought it was the devil. I once tried to read The Exorcist, but couldn't finish it. The book makes the movie feel like that episode of "The Cosby Show" when they sang on the staircase and Rudy was all "BAAAABY!!" Which is to say that the movie is a cake walk because every time I finished a page of the book… I almost peed in my pants because I thought the devil was under my bed.

These days I find myself living in a benign, yet twisted version of my own horror movie."

 

BUT.WAIT.

There's even MORE. 

"I just wish that I could, like, possess the body of the body of someone who does PR for Mitt Romney. I'd be like, 'So, the good news is that we have a celebrity endorsement. The bad news is that it's Nikki Minaj."

From the Hey! That's My Hummus podcast episode "Voter Registration Laws and Creationism".

That title makes it sound like creationism and the attempts at revising voter registration are somehow related... which they probably will be if some people have their way.

Anyway, it was good catching up with you.

How are YOU?