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Life & Community

Mumma Knows Nothing Batool Haydar on the start of the power-struggle journey in parenting and its positive aftermath


t’s official. I have a rebellious, independent-minded child. This is an unexpected turn of events for me. It’s not that I had expectations of a mild, obedient toddler who played by herself and cleaned up her toys after her. (Really, I didn’t.) However, all signs in the past three years pointed to a little girl who would grow up with a love for listening to stories and doing what Mummy did. My daughter was a quiet baby. She rarely laughed out loud or giggled. In fact, the way she calmly observed our antics and attempts to crack a toothy smile out of her was unnerving. When she did start speaking just before she turned one, it was to point and name pictures in her baby books. From there, the conversations seemed to flow naturally and we indulged in wonderful ‘chats’ over almost everything from what our breakfast plate held to where her nappies went when the garbage truck passed by especially to pick them up. Life was good. A couple of months ago, however, she suddenly regressed to baby-talk, whining and speaking in broken sentences with a squeaky voice, all with one goal in mind: to refute every single suggestion I put to her. She didn’t just say ‘no!’, she created an array of negatives and refusals to pick from. It’s just a phase,


islam today

March 2018

I told myself (and anyone else who was around to witness her tantrums) and I have been repeating that to myself in the hope that acknowledging that will make it pass faster. It’s not really the baby-ness that is getting to me. She might be trying out behaviour that she never indulged in before. We all do that sometimes, right? The thing that does worry me is her rebellion against everything I try to share with her. Where Mummy was once the Source of all Answers, Mummy is now the Source of All Things To Be Rejected. I used to be delighted by how she would come and pray next to me, or repeat verses of the Qur’an after me, inevitably mispronouncing certain words as her tongue explored new sounds. Now she not only refuses to do these things with me, but defiantly states that she does not want to pray or recite anything. The first time she said this, I felt the entire world stop and all of creation pause to glare disapprovingly at me. What had I done to create such a resistance to all that was Holy and Divine in my child? How had I failed so badly as a parent? In the days and weeks that followed, I waited for the phase to pass and kept asking her - probably a dozen times a day whether she wanted to repeat after Mummy or join Mummy

Islam today issue 57 march 2018  
Islam today issue 57 march 2018