Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Plea for Help From A Crazy Parent of a Sleepless Child


I haven't had a goodnight's sleep since June 14, 2009. That was the day BEFORE my daughter was born. Okay, so that's a bit of an exaggeration, but not really. She is 13 months and still gets up to nurse through the night. I did manage to get her to go back to sleep without nursing one night, but it took about an hour. I'm going crazy here! All you seasoned parents out there, I need you to save me from the brink of insanity. Suggestions? Advice?

Leelou Blogs

 Zara's Mommy, Nadirah Angail

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Baby Z's Goals


I was listening to a famous speaker once, and he asked a question. He asked, "How many of you have helped your children make 5-year plans?"

No hands went up.

"I've been all around the world asking that question," he went on to say, "and in other countries, they're raising their hands." He then spoke about how Americans have fallen so far behind other countries when it comes to educating and preparing our children for the future.

That was a few months ago, but it stuck with me, so I decided to help the baby with her very first plan. She said 5-years is a little much, so we started with this:

Baby Z's 5-Month Plan

 *Note: All of these plans were written by the baby, not me.

Month 1- Learn how to do my own hair (I guess my mom does an alright job, but she keeps giving me these baby styles. I've got an image to uphold.)

Month 2- Audition for American Idol (Why not? Everyone else does.)

Month 3-Get the parents to start giving me allowance. (I mean, seriously, how do they expect me to save for college and I don't have any money?)

Month 4-Get enrolled in kindergarter (Since I already know how to scribble, sings songs and take naps, I figure I've already got pre-school down. I'm headed straight to the big leagues!)

Month 5- Get an iphone 4 (I keep telling my mom, "I'm not a baby anymore!" I'm 13 months old, for goodness' sake. And I'm the only baby young adult on the block without one. How embarassing.)

Okay, so this is obviously a joke, but when she gets older (like around 5 or 6) her father and I are going to help her start making goals. We gotta prepare these kids early. It's tough out there!

Leelou Blogs
Zara's Mommy,
Nadirah Angail

Monday, June 21, 2010

So what exactly is a "good baby"?

Baby Z is so popular. Every time we go somewhere, she makes friends: random strangers that just have to come check out the baby with the awesome cheeks. Among other things, I always hear "She's such a good baby!", to which I often reply "Yes, she's a really calm baby." Though she has her moments, for the most part, she has her own little zen to her. If you don't bother her, she definitely won't bother you.

But then I started thinking. What if she wasn't like that? What if her natural disposition was feistier, more aggressive, easily excitable? What then? Would she no long be a "good baby"? Would she be a "bad baby"? We're all born with different dispositions, and though some may be easier to deal with than others,there is no hierarchy. Well, there shouldn't be. 

When I see babies that seem to cry a lot (or are at least crying a lot in that moment) I can't help but to think if people are judging that baby by the same criteria they use with baby Z:

Quiet baby = good baby.
Crying baby = bad baby.

More importantly, I wonder what the parent is thinking. Is (s)he thinking the child is bad? That question seems like its answer would be obvious, but I've written before about the crazy things I've seen from parents. Just as my daughter is able to absorb the happy, peaceful energy of those that think she is so "good," other babies absorb the anxious, angry energy of those that think they are "bad."

I believe in the value of a baby's cry, so I'd never just write one off as being a "whiny baby," but I know everyone doesn't think that way. I've heard people say things like "He just likes to cry," and "Ignore her. She cries all the time." If only these parents were aware that their dismissive reactions only promote more of the same behavior. (To clarify, I'm talking about actual babies, not 4-year-olds that are crying because they want another Ring Pop. That's a whole other topic... DING *light bulb goes off in head* Think I just thought of another blog topic!)

I hate to see children that actually believe they're bad. It's sad to see corruption at such a young age, but it happens, more often than I'd like to think about. I've heard young boys declare "I'm IS bad!", as if the opposite could in no way be true. What can you expect for a child who, at 4 years of age, has already been convince, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that his very core and nature are bad, not good? How do you expect him to treat others? Himself? What type of life do you foresee him having? It doesn't look good.

On baby Z's behalf, I thank the strangers for their kind words, but I hope they have that same kind approach with other babies, too. 

Leelou Blogs

Zara's Mommy, Nadirah Angail

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Preparing Baby for Her Future

First of all, shout out to Baby Z for completing her first year of life! What a big girl! What a blessing! I am thankful!
I like to talk to Baby Z while she sits on the potty. It doesn't matter what about (I know she's focused on the task at hand) but I like to use the time to deliver some important messages.

Sometimes, I just sing songs that I make up on the spot. Sometimes, I show off my baddest dance moves. Other times, I'm a bit more serious. I tell her how wonderful she is and how much she is loved. I tell her that I will always support whatever she does in life as long as it is good and honest.

Lots of parents want their children to pick up where they left off, succeed in all the places they couldn't or follow in their footsteps. As a writer, I'd love for her to take that same path, but I acknowledge that she doesn't have to.

I don't want her to grow up feeling pressured to do what I want for her. I want her to be free to pursue what she wants. So many people neglect their own dreams to make their parents happy.  Her father and I are already happy with her, and we will continue to be as long as she does her best and does what is good.

I'd hate to stifle her creativity. It may be in her to do so much more than be a writer. I have no right to stamp that out. I like to use everyday moments, like potty time, to  instill a strong sense of support and acceptance. Children can make some horrible decisions when they feel unsupported and unaccepted. She's only one, and I know I may be jumping the gun a bit, but is it ever too early to prepare your kids for the future?

Leelou Blogs
Zara's Mommy, Nadirah Angail

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Oh, Barbie, What Great Cleavage You Have

I thought I was done with this topic when I wrote "Whore-in-a-box." Guess not.

Baby Z isn't even into dolls yet, but I'm sure she will be one day, so I like to scope out the scene, you know, get a lay of the land. I want to know beforehand which dolls are up to my standard and which ones ain't coming within ten feet of our home.

So, there I am walking through the toy aisle at K-Mart and I pass a "Barbie Basics" display, full of a nice variety of Barbies in various variations of the little black dress. Now, I'll start off on a good note: I loved the diversity of the dolls. They had every skin color from pale white to the darkest shade of brown. I applaud them on that. Ever little girl needs to be able to see a doll that looks just like her.

What I don't applaud them on is this...

I literally stopped in my tracks when I saw this "no bra required" plunging neckline on a doll, you know, those things little girls are supposed to play with. I bet Mattel would make the claim that these dolls are "collectors items, meant for a more mature crowd." Sure, they said the same thing about candy cigarettes. I don't care what your PR guy told you to say, when you make a TOY and then place it in the TOY aisle, the message is blindingly clear.

I remember some years ago they came out with president Barbie, astronaut Barbie, banker Barbie, and whole bunch of others that were supposed to clean up Barbie's image and make her more of a tool of empowerment for girls... Guess president Barbie wasn't selling. They needed to sex it back up to get back in the black. And really that's a shame, that the more provactively dressed dolls sell better. I'm certain if people stopped buying Barbies (and Bratz) and only bought dolls that wouldn't make a grandmother clutch her pearls, they'd pull these things off the shelves immediately. Unfortunately, most of these companies only care about money, which means they'll supply whatever we ask for. If there were a big enough demand for Streetwalker Barbie they'd definitely make that. Get a petition going for Crackhead Barbie and watch them deliver.

We are the ones in control.  We parents need to stop buying these sexed-up dolls and demand something more appropriate. It is up to us. Let's let them know this isn't okay.

 Leelou Blogs
Zara's Mommy, Nadirah Angail

Sunday, May 23, 2010

So, I Guess I Should Stop Dying My Hair. Whatchu think?

I've dyed my hair a bunch of times. Nothing major, only a deeper, darker shade of brown, anything to get rid of my natural shade (which I used to refer to as "dusty"). If I ever decide to get hilights, I guess that'll still be okay, but the full-on dying must stop.

When I was pregnant, I just knew my daughter would be born with black/really really dark brown, could-pass-for-black hair. That's how my husband's hair is and I assumed his genes would over power mine. I was right. She came out with a head full of shiny, black hair.

As the months went by, though, it changed. It kept getting lighter and lighter until it turned borderline red (in the right light, anyway). It's still just as cute as it was black, but I was shocked to see she was taking after my color.

Then it hit me: I can't put my own hair color down, call it mean names like "dusty", and expect her not to be affected when her hair is almost identical to mine. She's not even a year old yet, so I'm sure she hasn't noticed my abusive hair color comments, but it won't be long before she does.

I'm gearing myself up to raise a confident, self-loving daughter who doesn't feel the need to change things about herself to be beautiful and accepted. I have to start by accepting myself--reddish-brown hair and all. Sure, I could tell her "No, mommy's brown is ugly, but yours (which happens to look just like mine) is gorgeous," but we all know how well that would work. Children sometimes listen to what you say, but they always pay attention to what you do. I have to always keep that in mind. 

I don't want her to grow up thinking it's normal to put herself down. It may seem harmless, but all these seemingly harmless messages about our "flaws" are definitely being absorbed by our daughters. There are more than enough crazy messages out there. I can't allow myself to add one more.

Leelou Blogs
Zara's Mommy, Nadirah Angail

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Battle for Your Kids

I went to my grandmother's house on Mother's Day. My mother made a comment about her third and youngest child only having two years of college left. To that, my grandmother responded, "You did good. You won the battle."

I laughed, but then I thought. It really is a battle. When you consider all the ugly forces that are coming after our children (drugs, alcohol, bad influences, bad people, etc.), it really is a battle to keep them on the narrow path toward success and safety.

I've only been a mom for about 11 months, so I've never really had a reason to think about this before. Now that I have my own little one, I'm so much more aware of the icky things in life. There is always someone or something waiting to snatch them up.

As much as I'd love to raise my daughter in a bubble, I know that isn't possible, so I'll have find another way to keep the scary things away.I look at my mother and all the steps she took to keep us away from bad influences: She kept TV watching to a minimum (though we would sneak at times), she was always aware of who we were around, and she made sure we went to Islamic events and services. She kept us in the library and always made sure we did our homework. If we didn't know how, she'd help us, sometimes for hours.

I've been blessed with a great mother who has definitely gone to battle for us. I plan to be the same way. I'm not the type that believes good mothering comes from pouring yourself completely into your children, leaving nothing for yourself, but I do believe it requires a concerted effort. The forces that work to sidetrack our children are putting in work, so how can I not?
Leelou Blogs Zara's Mommy,
Nadirah Angail

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Official Book Post

It's the small book that's making a big impact...

"On All the Things That Make Me Beautiful" is my first book, hopefully the first of many. It only seemed right that I start with something close to my heart. Even when I'm not trying to, I often gear my writings toward women. I encode in them messages of love and support. I have to. I can't see what I see and know what I know and not do it. Just isn't possible.

Women are so amazing. We're often considered the weaker sex, but we display a type of emotional strength most men can't match. Quite literally, we've carried the entire world, from the comfort of our wombs to the hustle and bustle of this mortal life... I could go on. This is  my passion.  Let me stay focused.

This book covers so many topics. Everything from health and beauty, to love and heartache, to music and friendship, to doubt and forgiveness. There is something for everyone, even men. Many of the topics are universal and can benefit men just as much as women. It gives men a peak into the feminine mind (which many of you say you don't understand). Visit my official site to read an excerpt and buy the book.

What people are saying about it

"Nadirah your book is so inspirational and so insightful its one of those book that you can't stop reading. Nadirah your book touched me in a way that no other book has, and it was shocking when I noticed tears rolling down my face." N. Khalifah, Kansas City

"I read the book in one evening and I suggest it for anyone who wants to be inspired or share inspiration with others. I really related to the part 'On Love' because this author knows how to write in a very REAL and beautiful way. I hope you all benefit from the book as much as I did and enjoy!" C. Hartmann, Kansas City


Leelou Blogs Zara's Mommy,
Nadirah Angail

Saturday, May 08, 2010

A Letter...From Baby Zara

I woke up this morning and found a letter sticking out from underneath my pillow. It was from the baby...

Observations of Bath Time

Foreword: Please, read the following letter aloud in your best British accent, for I feel that would best convey the sentiment of an Afro-Parisian sophisticate like myself.

My Dearest Mother,

I’ve tried countless times to address this subject with you in person, but your knowledge of Baby Speak is quite abysmal. (Might I recommend Rosetta Stone’s Baby Speak computer course. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it, but I digress.) Frustrated and at my wits end, I decided to try one more time in this letter.

Let me begin at the beginning, for that would make the most sense, I feel. I appreciate the time you take to bathe and clean me. Your efforts do not go unnoticed. However (certainly, you knew there was a “however” coming) I am quite bothered by your bathing methods, as they present a considerable problem when it comes to my bathtub playtime.

I’m sure you know as well as I that we babies have few cares in life. We pretty much do what we want when we want with little or no concern for how it would affect you (or anyone else for that matter). This is the attitude I take to bath time. I know you have a job to do, but, quite simply, I don’t care. I, too, have a job, and it has nothing to do with wash cloths and baby wash (which smells heavenly, might I add). Okay, let me get to the point, for I feel I am rambling.

Hmm, how shall I put this? You see, even at the tender age of 10 months, I’ve already developed a sensitivity for the emotions of others, so I will choose my words carefully. Here goes. Every time you interrupt my playing to wash me up, I feel as though I’m being ROBBED of precious play time. Forgive me if I am being dramatic, but we’ve all heard stories of adults who didn’t get enough play in their childhood. Surely, you want a different outcome for me, your dear firstborn.

I DEMAND uninterrupted bathtub playtime. This washing up nonsense must stop immediately. I am not amused. Might I suggest washing me up at night while I sleep? Yes, it will cut into your sleeping time, but, remember, I am a baby and do not care of such things. I must caution you, though. Should you take my advice (and I hope you do) be careful not to wake me, for I would then be force to pen another letter entitled “Observations of Bed Time.” I’m sure you can guess what the contents of such a letter would be.

Well, I’ve spotted some miscellaneous debris on the floor, and it would be against my better judgment not to put it in my mouth. I must leave you now. Feel free to write back. If you haven’t guess by now, I can read and write.

Your dearest daughter,


Leelou Blogs Zara's Mommy,
Nadirah Angail

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Have you gotten your sexy back?

My Zara is almost a year, and I STILL have baby weight to lose. I can't complain; my belly went down within a few weeks after she was born, but the scale didn't move. It has been moving slowly, but not like I want. My goal is to be back to pre-baby weight by her first birthday, and it's a very attainable goal. I just need to do what we all need to do: be consistent.

A lot of people talk about how hard it is to lose weight. Actually, it's not hard at all to lose weight. All you have it do is burn more than you take in and the weight will fall off. It has to. What's hard is doing what needs to be done to make that happen. I'll be great for a few days, then fall off and forget about it. Then, I'll get back to it. Then, I'll fall off again. If I were more consistent, I could have easily hit my goal by the time she was 6 months. *SIGH*

Why must I be so easily distracted? Well, because I allow myself to be. I will not make excuses and talk about how I just don't have time to workout and how I'm so overwhelmed as it is. Excuses aren't cute, and they don't help me get back into my cute clothes. My jeans are slowly but surely getting loser, but they're still tight, and I can't rest until they fit like I want.

It's not a superficial thing. I'm not just chasing a number or a size. I just don't want to look up and find myself at a weight I never thought I'd see. A lot of people allow themselves to gain a little here and a little there until they're nowhere near their starting weight. I don't want that to be me. I plan on having more children later (God willing), so I need to stay on top of it now so it doesn't get worse and worse with each child.

How about you? How long did it take (is it taking) to get your sexy back?
Leelou Blogs Zara's Mommy,
Nadirah Angail

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Soda or Water: Which do you choose?

I hate that I have these huge expanses of time between some of my posts. I just get busy and distracted. I will do better. Anyway, on to today's post...

All parents want their children to make better choices when it comes to their diet. It's only natural that you start getting concerned when they think the food groups are candy, Ho-Hos, fish sticks and Kool Aid.

It's not enough to say, "Now, Billy, eat your green beans before you finish that bag of M&Ms." *Spoken in your June Cleaver voice*

You need to make sure you're not eating a bag of M&Ms, too. Children can only eat what is in the house. It seems a lot of parents want to eat one thing, but magically expect their kids to eat another. It doesn't work that way.

"Yes, I know I drink a soda with every meal, but you need to drink water. Soda is icky!" *Said while making a really exaggerated "icky" face.*

They follow in our footsteps. They eat what we eat. Take a second to open your fridge and cabinets and see what you have. If you see the types of foods you want your kids to eat, you're good. If your cabinets look like an oversized vending machine, something needs to change.

It can be overwhelming to try to completely change your eating habits over night, so start small. Make it a point not to buy anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup. (That alone will be a challenge since companies seem to put it in everything.) After that, cut out artificial dyes. (If it's electric blue, it's a no-go.) Then continue to make cuts as you go along, but don't rush yourself. You have to find your own balance and do it in your own time in order to make a lasting change.

Some parents complain that healthier food is more expensive and harder to come by. This is true, but it is worth it. A lot of us obsess over the cute little clothes we put on the outside of our children. Why not obsess over what we put inside?

Leelou Blogs Zara's Mommy,
Nadirah Angail

Monday, March 29, 2010

Are you raising a mini me? And is that a good thing?

 A lot of people refer to their children as their "mini me." Do we just say that because it sounds cute, or do we actually mean it? Is your child a smaller version of you, and, if so, is that a good thing? We all shall I say this?... "unsavory" characteristics that we don't like. Are you passing those on to your child?

A lot of the time, we aren't even aware of the things we do and say. We go through life behaving in the same ways we've always done and rarely stop to examine what we're really doing, what message we're really sending. We get frustrated when our children are impatient, mean, greedy, and bad tempered, but do we think of where they get it from?

We all owe it to ourselves and our children to be more aware of our thoughts, our words, our behavior.

This is a wonderful 10-min video about the choices we make and how they affect others. The whole thing is good, but if you're in a rush, fast forward and watch from 4:41.

Watch this

Leelou Blogs

Zara's Mommy,
Nadirah Angail

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Girls vs. Boys: Which is easier to raise?

I have a daughter. She's freaking awesome, but I've met people who only have boys and couldn't be happier about it.

"I'll take 10 boys over one girl," I overheard a woman say while I was maturnity shopping in Old Navy. I rushed to put my hands over my belly, doing my best to cover the spot where I thought her ears might be.

"Don't listen to her," I told me baking baby.

Are girls really that hard? I've hear so many women say they don't want girls.

"Too much attitude."

"Too much hair."

"Too moody."

Maybe women who say this know they put their own mothers through it, and aren't ready for the karma. I'm not sure what the deal is, but people definitely seem to favor boys.  I favor healthy babies, regardless of the sex, but I still feel the need to look a little deeper into this issue. For those of you that prefer boys, leave a comment and let me know why. For those of you that prefer girls, do the same. I'll start. (See my comment below.)
Leelou Blogs

Zara's Mommy,
Nadirah Angail

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On Mothering: Words From a Non-Superwoman

I’ve always loved my mother, always known that she is invaluable, but it wasn’t until I had my own child that I truly realized the work mothers put in. Even now, I type this with one hand. (The other is on baby duty.) There is little in life that prepares you for the task of raising a tiny person. No book can tell it; no class can teach it. It all has to be learned there on the spot, right in those moments when you’re tired and frustrated, angry and agitated, lost and confused. That is the job of a mother. Yet and still, it is the most rewarding job around.

I don’t know what other mothers went through, but nowadays, it’s tough to be the Superwomen we’re expected to be. “Have it all,” they say. And we sure do try, balancing parenting, careers, personal relationships and our social lives better than any juggler you’ve ever seen. It all looks so easy—to the ill-informed observer. We, however, know better.

Anyone who is decent in math is already aware: A pie cannot be divided into “wholes.” The more shares there are to go around, the smaller each share is. That is an absolute, in math and in life. The harder we try to be Superwomen, capable of all things at all times, the farther we get away from the natural balance.

This is not to say that a mother must be that and only that. I am completely against losing yourself in the eye of motherhood. This is to say that sacrifices do have to be made. Somewhere between June Cleaver and GI Jane, some of us adopted the idea that mothering is just another notch on the belt, a blip on our life events radar. Being a parent takes a type of commitment that can’t be replicated. It takes a type of energy that can never be depleted, and it takes an understanding that it is okay human.

Mothers aren’t larger-than-life super beings. Attempting to be one only leads to disappointment you definitely don’t need. Finding the balance between fading into nothing and reaching to be everything can be hard. Between the two lies a thick gray area that is rarely discussed in public forums. It sometimes seems that the only options are to lose yourself in motherhood or lose yourself in an attempt not to lose yourself in motherhood (if that makes any sense). I suggest another option, a middle road. Give yourself permission not to be that overworked woman with much worth enjoying and little time to enjoy it. Give yourself permission to wait, breathe, and experience wherever you are in your life right now. Before you know it, your children will be grown and you will be wondering where the time went.
I have plenty of personal goals I’d like to accomplish outside of motherhood, and some of them have had to be shelved for the time being. I’m okay with that. I had no problem bumping them down a spot on my priority list. My focus now is building a foundation for my daughter while still maintaining a semblance of my previous life. That alone is a handful. Everything else will be achieved in time.

~Nadirah Angail

PS: If you’ve noticed, I haven’t posted in a while. That’s because I’ve been working on turning my women's issues blog into a book. Be on the look out for “On all the things that make me beautiful: Short inspirational essays on life, love and self.” Stay tuned for more details.

Leelou Blogs

Zara's Mommy,
Nadirah Angail

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A case AGAINST being a SAHM (GASP)


It's not what it looks like. I assure you. I'm not selling out on my SAHM squad. Just listen...
I love being a SAHM. It's something I've always known I've wanted to do. Never questioned it. And that's why it works for me. It's a labor of love.
Whenever you do something you truly love, it's that love that gets you through the hard times, the frustrating times, the OMG-somebody-please-come-and-get-this-baby times. Women that do not have this same love are the ones that should not be SAHMs.
Women that feel obligated or forced to to stay don't deal with the stresses as well. If you don't feel like it was your choice, and if you don't have a genuine connection to it, it becomes more of a prison sentence rather than a bonding time.
You've heard the saying: If moma ain't happy, nobody's happy. That's so true. An unhappy mother who feels trapped in her own home will only yield unhappy children and an unhappy husband. It's far better to be a satisfied mother with a traditional job than a depressed mother that stays home.
It's not always that easy, though. Some women, out of expectation from their family or requests by their husbands, feel like they have no choice. Some people are so attached to the idea that the mere suggestion of something else seems outrageous. What’s really outrageous is that mothers are suffocating and taking it out on their children. It's outrageous that marriages are being stamped out by resentment and deserted dreams. I see it in some of the blogs, women trying to mask their bitterness with jokes and folly.
Some people are extremely gung-ho about women getting out of the house and abandoning traditional roles. Others cling desperately to the conventions they feel are 100% necessary for families to thrive. I wouldn’t put myself in either group; it’s too dangerous out there on those poles. I’d rather stay safely in the middle, protected by the shades of gray.

I wouldn’t say that a woman has to stay home or that she should work. I’d only say that she has to take care of herself and her family, that she has to have peace of mind so she can spread it throughout her home. That’s about the only thing a woman has to do. Everything else is up for negotiation. At least that’s how it works in my mind.

Leelou Blogs

Zara's Mommy,
Nadirah Angail

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Something New


Parents love to brag about how smart their babies are. "Did you see her pick up that block? She's so smart!" The little things babies do give us insight into how their brains are developing. Its fun to watch, but one of the main things that gives us a glimpse into their true genius often gets ignored: the fact that babies wake up smiling.

You've noticed it before, I'm sure. You dismissed it as "a cute little things they do" and went on about your day. Had you looked a little closer, you would have understood. You would have received the gift.

It’s hard being human, dealing with all our built-in imperfections and overwhelming emotions. The various obstacles we face have a tendency to sidetrack us from our goals and detract from our natural joy. We carry our hurt and frustration with us through the day, a heavy sack of resentment that slows our progress. It fills the space in our beds at night and shoves us into corners, robbing us of a good night's rest. It nudges us awake in the morning and distracts us from the beauty of yet another day. This becomes our sad routine. This becomes our life.
But, babies wake up smiling. Whatever anger they experienced the night before (and you know babies get angry), they leave there in that moment. Never would they punish themselves by mixing yesterday's irritation with today's calm. They don't even let the frustration of five minutes ago interfere with the current blessing. They treat each day— each moment—like something new.

We adults, with our extensive vocabularies and intellectual reasoning, haven’t made this discovery. Rather than accept and praise the potential of a new start, we focus on our misfortunes and give them the kind of attention they don’t deserve. There is so much to be thankful for in life, so much to make us smile. Yet and still, we frown. Yet and still, we complain. Yet and still, we sabotage our own happiness.

But, babies wake up smiling. They guard their joy, because they know its value. They thrive on it. It’s what their innocence is made of. It’s what makes them so pleasant to be around. We could learn a lesson from these adorable little creatures. Our very lives depend on it. Abandon your sadness where it is, and sleep well tonight, knowing that tomorrow's sunrise will bring something new.

P.S. This post is an entry in the My Brown Baby "Beautiful Mind Writing Contest"

Leelou Blogs

Zara's Mommy,
Nadirah Angail

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Why I Sometimes Want to Kidnap Little Brown Boys


This world is backwards. A lot of people are nicer to complete strangers than they are to their own children. I don't care how much attitude you have. I don't care how foul-mouthed you are. There are certain people in your life you owe complete respect and kindess: your parents, your spouse and, yes, your children.

Because they're "yours," some people seem to think they can treat their children any ol' way. I completely disagree. Parents should model for their children the type of behavior they want them to display. In my case, I want Zara to be kind and respectful, so that's how I treat her.

Not everyone takes this approach.

Jus the other day, I saw a woman tell her no-older-than-6-years-old son "If you don't shut the F_ _ _ up, little boy..." I was in Target. I think he was pestering her about getting something. Begging children can be ANNOYING, I'll admit, but to talk to a child-your own child-like that is never called for.  I was so bothered. I wanted to just grab that little boy and bring him home with me. I'm not saying the woman is a bad mother. I dont know her in the least and have no business judging her overall parenting, but in that moment, she got an F. 

I notice a lot of times its mothers speaking this way to their sons. That makes it even worse. There seems to be an abundance of low quality men that have no clue how to relate to and respect women. This is no surprise when you consider the first relationship any male has with a woman is with his mother. If she curses him out as a child, its extremely easy for him to grow up and repeat that same behavior with women.

It's a cycle.

I'm even more disgusted when I see brown mothers doing this to their Little Brown Boys (LBBs). LBBs are born with targets on their back. It seems the world is just waiting to label them as "bad" and "disruptive." LBBs are more likely to be punished for their behavior in school and more likely to be held back and put in remedial classes. This is not because they're intrinsically flawed. It's because the odds are stacked against them. Every mother of a LBB should know this and do everything in her power to fight it. Cursing at your son and calling him things like "lil nigga" (yes, I've heard people say this) is downright criminal and teaches him that he has little worth and even less potential.

I don't have a son, but I have nephews (6 and 9m), and we've constantly covering them in the protective salve of kind, self-affirming words. We fill in every crack with love and reassurance that they are nothing less than the best and worthy of good things. They doesn't realize it, but they internalize these messages, and will be able to project them back out into the world when they get older.

It's a cycle.

Regardless of if you have a Little Brown Boy, a Little White Boys, a Little Yellow Boy, or a Little Brown-White-and-Yellow Boy, treat him with respect. Fill the space around him with beautiful words that let him know just how special he really is.

Leelou Blogs

Zara's Mommy,
Nadirah Angail

Monday, January 18, 2010

Zara Fell Off the Bed :(


It was about 3 in the morning, and I had to use the bathroom. No big deal. It happens, but she was awake. I knew it would only take a minute, so I left her on the bed.

BOOM! I knew what it was the second I heard it. I yelled for her father to scoop her up and he did. Luckily, we just happened to have a huge pile of covers and pillows on the floor, so she wasn't hurt, but it scared her. She just needed some reassurance that she was safe again.

In a few minutes, she was sleep again and everything was back to normal, but I had realized something. No matter how much parents want to protect their children,  you can't shield them from everything. At some point, they're going to have to fall, get hurt, fail, experience rejection, feel sadness and anger. Everyone, including my little Zara, has to live their own life.

I know this. I have known this, but to realize it in that moment made it real, shoved it up into my face so I couldn't look away. It's hard to look at her and know that I can't do everything for her, but the sooner I accept that, the better off we'll both be.

Leelou Blogs

Zara's Mommy,
Nadirah Angail
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