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Category Archives: Khalid

The Tale of Peter Rabbit

As part of our homeschooling exercises, I give Khalid written questions to answer about stories we’ve read. ¬†This was his terse, and entirely pragmatic response to the epic tale of Peter Rabbit. ūüôā


Who is Peter Rabbit?

He was the rabbit who robbed Mr.McGregor’s garden.


What did his mother tell Peter Rabbit and his sisters to go do?

To pick berries.


What did Peter do instead?

He snuck into a garden.


Why was going to the garden a bad idea?

He had to go home.


How did Peter get home again?

He escaped.


What advice would you give Peter?

Don’t go there again.

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. ūüôā Also, MashaAllah, my little man is now eight. ¬†And taller. ¬†And handsomer than ever. ¬†MashaAllah.

Musfira: Cute, small, crazy. Alhamdulillah.

The End.

Choo choo


A Post Without A Name

I was going to title this blog “A week in the life of” but it occurred to me today that it’s been more than a week since some amazing madness took place. So let us begin from the beginning, the beginning being about, errr‚Ķ nine days ago? Ten?

Once upon a time at 3 am, after I had just finished assembling the crib, rearranging furniture, moving a rug and reorganizing storage, I went to sleep on the sofa. I was waiting for HF to return home. He did come home, and he brought me a surprise cup of Chai. No, not the kind you drink, this one. Chai, my homey who was presumably nowhere near this part of the earth at the moment. And there was much rejoicing.

Props to HF and Chai, it is NOT easy to surprise Abez. Also, it is apparently not easy to induce early labor either. If moving furniture and arranging a nursery and being surprised nearly to death at 3 am aren’t enough to do it, I don’t know what does.

Day two: Owlie, Momma and Daddy (of Chez Daddy) arrive as per a pre-planned lunch. Owlie, being traffic-weary and in a frazzled mood moans, “I need a cup of chai!” Chai, of her own theatrical volition (and what theatrical volition it is) then runs out of the room and exclaims, “Someone said they wanted Chai?” which gives Owlie several small happy heart attacks. The rest of day two is spent in shopping, showing Chai around, and getting ourselves ice-cream drunk from the Marble Slab Creamery. The evening is spent playing Scrabble and eating popcorn and jellybeans while watching Howl’s Moving Castle. There is much rejoicing.

Day Three: there is more out & about as we again fill Chai full of ice-cream, take her shopping and then return home to grab her luggage. I am left at home due to logistics. Had I come with Owlie and Chai to the airport, then Owlie would have had to double-back to drop me off before driving home again. Chai is delivered to the airport. HF returns from work and we take our sleep-deprived, over-funned selves out to a friend’s for dinner. We get home around midnight and collapse into bed.

Day Four: Khalid is born, 3.45 kg, or about 7 1/2 pounds, at 5:30 pm SubhanAllah, with his eyes open and his little fingers and toes wiggling. I’m not sure where to begin with this. SubhanAllah, my limits of pain and tolerance were pushed farther than had I ever thought possible. Then suddenly the pain ended and the nurses placed my tiny, precious, amazing, perfect little son on my stomach, and the threshold for love and emotion and overwhelming joy was pushed farther than I had ever thought possible. These emotions were not just for Khalid, but for my loving, amazing, wonderful HF, who was not technically allowed into the labor room but kept me company on my cell phone, and who so endeared himself to the staff that they even snuck him in to be with me during the most difficult stages. If you thought you loved before, try being a parent, try going through nine months with the best man you’ve ever met to give birth to the most beautiful little man you’ve ever seen. Everything before that is just the first stage of understanding how deep, how overwhelming, how desperately in love you can feel for someone.

Day Five: Khalid and I are discharged from the hospital. Before we even clear the delivery ward, he manages to work his hands free and grab big handfuls of both his own cheeks. (Hey, what are these, and who put them on my face?) We decide we need baby nail clippers very soon.

Day Six: Khalid and I spend the day sleeping. We’re both exhausted. Me, from the delivery, him from all the effort required to repeatedly escape his swaddling and wave his arms around. His face is less swollen, and he develops the ability to open one eye at a time while sticking his tongue out, my cheeky little son.

Day Seven: Khalid looks decidedly yellow, and a visit to the pediatrician confirms that he is jaundiced. He is admitted to the pediatric ward where he will spend this and the next two days being gently roasted under a phototherapy rotisserie to help clear the biliruben from his system.

During his baking period, he will discover, and later master, the art of removing the cover that protects his eyes from the ghostly, electric-blue light. He will also establish himself as a baby evil genius, and be pitted against his mother for the first time. Momma vs. Khalid, The Mask Battle. I eventually won the battle by taking a baby hat and cutting the band loose. I fitted that over his eyes and challenged him to work that off. I won. Ha!

Day ummm‚Ķ Nine? Khalid and I return from the hospital around 9 pm, and it is like the first homecoming again. I am exhausted from 3 days of waking, feeding, changing, and turning Khalid every two hours, and Khalid is looking less yellow and quite happy to have escaped captivity. I check my email and discover over 25 unread messages, none of which are spam. I write one letter to my brother informing him of where on earth we’ve been for the last week and I crash in bed. There is much rejoicing.

Today is day, err.. ten? Khalid is still being fed every two hours to help clear his system, and I’m still in my pajamas. In about 15 minutes it’ll be time to wake him up again. I’m wondering what new skill he’ll have learned. Yesterday he learned what his fingers were for (sucking on) and the day before that he got his first case of hiccups outside of the womb. That was hysterical to watch, as each hiccup took him by surprise and left him confused. (Hic! What the? Hic! Who did that?! Hic!)

I’m still in wonder & amazement mode. I still can’t believe that this tiny, silly boy is the son I carried for nine months. His face changes every day, and he learns new and devious things faster than I can account for. Today he peed in a perfect 3-foot arc, clearing the towel and the changing area and squarely hitting the leg of his crib. Not only was that a well-aimed shot, it was also well timed. I had been sitting with him as he lay naked, soaking up some sunshine, and the minute I decided to get up and grab a cup of tea, he let the waterworks loose. My boy, I tell you he has timing. I commended him on the good shot and diapered his deviant little cheeks before cleaning the puddle up.

Yes, updates may be short and few for the next few weeks. Khalid and I can’t settle into a normal routine just yet because of the two-hour feedings. As soon as we do though, I want to get back to the things I missed during pregnancy- like my feet. I haven’t seen them in months, and we have a lot of catching up to do.

Love, Peace, and Handi Grease