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
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