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Category Archives: Iman

Must… not… break… salah!

I’m trying to concentrate on prayer, and the following conversation transpires before me:

Musfira: Iman, canna have a cotton candy?

Iman: Musfira, these are cotton balls, not cotton candy.

Musfira: Notta candy?

Iman: No, it’s not candy.  Do you know what this is made of?

Musfira: Cotton?

Iman: No, try again.

Musfira: Umm, cotton?

Iman: (rolls her eyes in big sister exasperation) Musfira, cotton balls are made out of sheep, ok?

And here we see a herd of sheep, grazing peacefully in their natural environment.

And here we see a herd of sheep, grazing peacefully in their natural environment.

Thankfully, I finish my prayer just before this insight into the wonders of nature.  Iman sees me smiling and loses some of her scientific confidence.

Iman: …what?

Me: Cotton balls are made out of cotton dear, not sheep. Sheep make wool, cotton makes cotton.

Iman: Right, hehe.. sorry Musfira.

Dare I say Iman looked… sheepish?

insert rimshot here.

I’m thinking of an animo…

Our lil family has a favorite  game, and the way it’s won is by preserving momma’s sanity with three children and no volume control.  We stick to animals to keep it simple, and a turn always starts with the phrase “I’m thinking of an animal,” followed by three clues.

We play the guessing game during long drives and boring waits, and I am working to slowly introduce concepts like animal families (Is it a primate? A reptile?) and habitats- does it live on land? Underwater? Underground?

Khalid, almost inevitably- is thinking of a dinosaur of some sort.  This is useful- because that’s how we introduced the concept of extinction.   Now, some kids know five or six dinosaurs.  Khalid, on the other hand, knows almost all of them.  Really.  MashaAllah- all of them.  He has memorized almost three encyclopaedias of dinosaurs, so when he’s thinking of an animal with four legs, a tail, and a long neck- he’s not thinking of a giraffe.  He’s thinking of a dipolodocus.  Or a mamenchisaurus.  Or an argentinosaurus.  Or a camarosaurus, which is also known as a morosaurus.  I believe there are HUNDREDS of -sauruses that serve no current purpose other than to confuse and bewilder anyone trying to guess Khalid’s animal.  Such is the universe.

He takes pity on us, and tells us the first letter of the dinosaur’s name when we’ve gotten stumped.  Then, he tells us the second.  Then the third.  Sometimes he will spell out the whole name and I will be no more clued in to what dinosaur he’s talking about- just because he can spell it doesn’t mean I can say it, or know what the heck it looks like.  Case in point: Do you know what this dinosaur is called?

ParasaurolophusIt’s a parasaurolophus. I spent almost twenty minutes once, wracking my brain and trying to figure this dinosaur out before asking Khalid to finally spell it for me, and even then- I still didn’t know what he was talking about.

Iman’s MO for the guessing game is adorable.  She doesn’t pick animals that are difficult, or get upset when her animal is discovered.  For the most part she isn’t even picking animals, she’s actually picking people.

Iman is acutely aware of who hasn’t had a turn in a while, and when she successfully guesses an animal and gets her turn, she will tailor her choice of animal to the person that she feels needs one.  She will direct her clues right to the person she has in mind.  For HF, she will usually be thinking of a shark.  For Khalid, she will be thinking of a dinosaur.  For me, she will be thinking of a lion or giraffe, and for Musfira- she is always, ALWAYS thinking of a cat.  Why? Because Musfira is always thinking of a cat too.

Musfira’s ability to participate in the guessing game has been increasing step by adorable step.  In the beginning, she was struggling with the concept, and would just repeat the last clue that she heard. If Iman said, “I’m thinking of an animal with two legs,” then Musfira would ask, “Is it two legs?”

When she realized that we were looking for answers instead of echoes, she started guessing as well.

Iman: “Musfira, I’m thinking of an animal with four legs, with brown spots, that says moo.”



Musfira: “Izzit the sun?”

Momma: “No dear, the sun is not an animal.  We’re only thinking about animals.”

Musfira: “Oh, ok! Izzit Lighting McKeen!”

Musfira had an epiphany one day, and she correctly guessed the lion that Iman was directing towards me.  That was her first chance for a real turn, and she started out pretty good:

“I’m thinking of a animo-”


“It has four legs…”

(“Very good.”)

“Anna tail…”


“And, it’s a cat!”

Musfira grins expectantly, anticipating all the exciting questions we should now be asking her. Iman raises an eyebrow and says, “Musfira, are you thinking of a cat?”

“Guj-job Iman!” Musfira cheers, “Your turn!”

We’ve played this game hundreds of times since,  and Musfira’s ability to sort and label is getting better, and so her turns are getting more interesting. However, they have yet to move beyond cat.

Once Musfira said to me, “Momma, I’m thinking of a animo. It has four legs, two ears, and iss bigger than a cat.”

“How interesting!” I said, excited that Musfira could finally be breaking free from her cat-only streak. “Is it a dog?”


“Is it a cow?”


“Does it eat grass?”


I tried a few angles and eventually I gave up.

“Alright Musfira, you were thinking of an animal with four legs and two ears that was bigger than a cat.  What was it?”

Musfira beamed. “A bigger cat.”

We have since thought of smaller cats, as well as a pink cat, specifically Musfira’s long-time crib companion, Meow-Meow.The only time we’ve ever thought of anything other  than cat was on the way home from the Dubai Mall after we had surprised the children with a trip to see the dinosaur fossil being exhibited there. It was a diplodocus.  Khalid knew this within seconds of seeing it, even before he was within range of the exhibit information.  He looked at the fossil- suspended from the ceiling in all its fossilized awesomeness- and he smiled and said, “It’s a North-American dipolodocus.”

We oohed and aahed, marvelled at the hugeness of its legs and the tinyness of it’s really tiny head.  Later, there was ice-cream, and on the way home Musfira suddenly announced, “I’m thinking of an animo!”

Iman interrupted, “It’s a cat.”

Musfira snarked back. “I didn’t finish my clues.” She has learned this phrase verbatim from Khalid and Iman and their tendency to start guessing before the clues are even given.

“I’m thinking of an animo, ” Musfira continued, “It has four legs, a long… long… long…. neck. And, a tiny, small head.”

“Is it a diplodocus?” Khalid piped up excitedly from the back of the van.


I felt I should translate. “Musfira, Khalid is asking if it’s a dinosaur.”


Iman tried again, “Musfira are you sure it’s not Meow-Meow?”


“Is your animal pink?” Iman pushed.

“Yes!” Musfira said.

A few seconds of silence passed.  “Musfira,” I said slowly, “Are you thinking of… a pink dinosaur?”

“Hooray Momma! You did it!”


Four legs, lives in desert. Gives milk. Rraawr.

The game has only gotten better and more interesting since Musfira has started participating actively.  HF was playing with her at bath-time the other day, and as he pulled her pajamas off he said, “Musfira, I’m thinking of an animal with four legs, a long neck, and it lives in the desert.”

“Oh! Izzit a chicken?”

“Musfira,” HF said, “This animal gives milk!”

(Musfira- who has a bovine milk allergy- has been raised on camel milk.)

“Izzit a milk?”

“Milk is not an animal dear.”

“Izzit a tannasaurus!”

And so, the awesomeness continues. Alhamdulillah.










Short Update

I think I may not have updated for over a month.  High score! So here’s the world’s shortest summary of last month:

I'm not sure how this is supposed to help her hearing, but there you go.

I’m not sure how this is supposed to help her hearing, but there you go.

Iman: Grommets in, tonsils & adenoids out.  Two weeks off school, ice-cream and lollipops FTW! We spent a day and a half in the hospital.  The first day was fun, because morphine.  She actually said- and I quote- THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!  Once the morphine wore off, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and she very sadly and heart-breaking sobbed, “Momma, I wish I never had a peration.”  Not an operation, a peration.  Say it out loud.

Alhamdulillah, she’s been off the pain meds for a week and is hearing better already. Alhamdulillah.

Khalid: Finally, finally getting his front teeth, Alhamdulillah!  Khalid’s front teeth had to be removed almost four years ago, and his gummy grin has been a source of embarrassment and self consciousness for him since. Now, there are four white bumps slowly growing on the front of his gums, and we excitedly check on them every evening after brushing.  Khalid’s been making dua his teeth.  Alhamdulillah, it’s been answered. 🙂 Also, MashaAllah, my little man is now eight.  And taller.  And handsomer than ever.  MashaAllah.

Musfira: Cute, small, crazy. Alhamdulillah.

The End.

Iman’s first blog


iman ice cream LOVE IMAN

Note from Momma: Iman typed this blog by herself, and I had no intention of making any changes, but when autocorrect underlined her spelling of “bigist,” she had to ask why the computer was putting red lines under her words. So we had an impromptu spelling lesson for superlatives (big, bigger, biggest) and one other correction was made for the spelling of “crem.”

The inspiration for this blog is that today is the big day- after ten days of nightly antihistamines (‘skusting!) Iman will be going back to the ENT to figure out of the pressure in her ears has normalized.  If it hasn’t, she’ll have the world’s biggest three-scoop sundae and perhaps an ear surgery- though not in the same day.  If the pressure has normalized, then she’ll just have the world’s biggest three-scoop ice cream.  One way or another, it’s going to be a good day, InshaAllah.  

Apart from that, the Photoshop work is entirely Iman’s, as is the image choice. And this is Iman’s first blog. By Momma, the end. 🙂

P is for poke, apparently.

(I am sitting at the dining table working on my computer, and suddenly I get a jabbing feeling in my left side.)

Me: Iman! What are you doing?

(Iman grins and holds up her pink pencil)

Iman: I poking you!

Me: Yes, I can see that.  If you want to get my attention, say excuse me Momma!

Iman: Excuse me momma?

Me: Yes Iman?

Iman: Can I poke you?


If this post had a theme-song, it would be ‘Me & My Shadow’

Iman is “flying” a kite in the front yard (*hint, Momma hung it on some fishing wire tied between the car port and the gazebo) and singing a song of her own making.

She’s been playing happily outside on her own for the last fifteen minutes or so, but I can’t help but feel a twinge of sadness for her- Khalid and Joy are at school.  Cindy is on leave and will be back home in the Philippines for the next month.

I’m home, but before I can take Iman out for some quality Momma/Iman time, I need to wash the dishes, cook lunch in anticipation of Khalid’s return and sweep the livingroom floor clean of the pancit noodles that Iman decorated it with for breakfast.  I also need to make a few time-sensitive phone calls, and visit the bank (with Iman, of course).

Then I’m going to buy paper plates/cups/bowls/napkins and heck if they made disposable pots I’d buy those too.  Without Cindy for the next month and no replacement available, I’m adding full-time housekeeping and Iman-entertaining to my directorship and corporate consultancy roles.

(And I’m thinking that when the mountain of laundry overwhelms me, I could start dressing the kids in paper towels.  Hey, they’re recyclable! )

I wonder what only-children do.  Iman is so bored.  It’s only ten am, and so far we’ve “flown” a kite, had a manicure, cut pictures out of the sales papers, drawn pictures of all the family members, and had not one, but two breakfasts, the first being pancit noodles and the second being cranberry juice and cereal.

Ah well.  Time to get to work and start sweeping, cooking, calling, driving, and somehow attending to Booboo, who has just informed me that she ‘needs to change clothes, to nice clothes.’

Off I go!