Her First Smile

So, this is my first reference to the baby of the 5 Bankieteers after multiple references to Ja’far and the other siblings.

At her tender age of just 7 weeks she can still make us laugh, but in different ways to the older ones. She can’t yet climb my back in sujood or hide in a cupboard. All the internet is good for her in her eyes was using it to download the white noise app that sends her to sleep so you won’t catch her trying to sneak online. She barely had any hair either so you won’t catch her hiding her comb (yet!).

She doesn’t do much yet, but I witnessed her first smile at 3 weeks. Not one of those ones that they do in their sleep, or when they’re about to fill their nappy. No. This was an eyes wide open kinda smile. I was so sure it was a proper social smile, and not just an isolated case, so worked my efforts multiple times a day to try and recreate that beautiful moment once more, but it only seemed to make an appearance when she was sleeping which wasn’t the same. Beautiful as it is, it is not as fulfilling as the real deal.

The real deal – the one that says a thousand words without making a sound.

Soon enough the real eyes open smiles started happening. However, this early on they occur few and far between and require a lot of effort to receive.
The battle for that smile continued, but now with a reward shared every now and again.

The others had seen her smile too now, so they were also on a constant search for that smile again. There is something so beautiful about it.

So memorising.

So innocent.

A genuine smile that doesn’t know the pains of this world.

The things you do to make 6 week old smile! Between us we tried everything looking for that secret weapon; crazy dancing, blowing raspberries, pulling faces and, peekaboo. Most of the time every effort was returned with a ‘whatever’ face that says ‘I know exactly what you are doing, but you are not worthy of my time yet, you gotta really work it if you want me to smile’.

Tirelessly searching for tickle spot to no avail, except tears!

Talking in high pitched baby voices just to be greeted with the blank stare like she can’t even hear you, but you know she can!

Whilst I could see she was paying attention to me I was sure I could get her to smile now. I continued conversing with her in a high pitched, one way discussion about her new pink jumper with a bunny on it, extending every vowel and repeating every adjective 2 or 3 times. ‘a pretty jumper’ became ‘a preeety preeety jumpeeer’.
It seemed to be working Something was erupting in her lips. Corners up, corners down, one in each direction, yawn, pout, sneeze.

No smile yet.

Hold on, something was brewing there now.

My sweet chatter had not gone to waste. Maybe I should grab my phone and capture the moment.

Her lips were moving. Something was about to erupt…

… Oh, something erupted alright, but it wasn’t coming from her mouth! The eruption came from down below!
And so the battle continued.

She smiled for her siblings with little effort.

These are the siblings that will bug you later and you them, Sumayyah! Yet I, your mother, who bore you for 9 months, endured sickness, pain and illness in carrying you, went through excruciating pain to deliver you, and now wakes up multiple times in the night to feed you, doesn’t even get a little raise of the corners of your lips? Not even just a small token of your appreciation? Yet your siblings who bug you and make so much noise keeping you awake in the day when all you want to do is sleep for another 2 hours get the biggest, cutest gummy smiles?

All was not lost though. I was never going to give up.

Then it happened. In my highest pitch baby voice I said ‘Captain Pooooopypants’ whilst tickling her cheeks. A random statement that came out of my mouth as I saw Ahmad’s Captain Underpants book on the table in front of me. I didn’t expect a smile from it, but sure enough her eyes opened wide as did her mouth as she grinned her big gummy smile from ear to ear.

A single smile is worth a thousand sleepless nights.

That smile said ‘thank you for waking up at all hours to see to my basic needs’

That smile made me feel like the most important person in her world.

That smile melts my heart. Every. Single. Time.

That smile shines the light on a dull day.

That smile that no matter how rotten my day has been tells me everything will be ok.

That smile uplifts me in an instant.

 

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Where is your child? (Part 3)

This ‘where’s your child’ series would not be complete if I didn’t share Aaliyah’s story. Now, this doesn’t relate to her going quiet and disappearing somewhere as such, like Ja’far sleeping in the cupboard and Ahmad trying to sneak on to the internet.

With Aaliyah, she did disappear for a short period of time. But, for her, the trick was to disappear for such a short amount of time and return before anyone noticed she had gone. There is great wisdom in this as you’ll soon see.

As children of mixed races, the five Bankieteers have mixed features of a black African dad and a white British mum (that would be me 🙂 ). Sometimes they take his traits entirely (they all seem to have his ears), and in other ways they have mine entirely (my smarts, obviously 😛 ). In others they take a mix of somewhere between the two. In this case we are referring to the hair. For the boys, this is not a problem because they just shave it off, but for Aaliyah, it’s a different story.

Living in a reasonably small town in a dominantly white country, African hair salons are few and far between, with the nearest being over an hour away. So, that leaves me to be her chief hairdresser for the majority of the time.

When I found out I was having a girl I was so excited about the prospect of all the pretty hair styles I could give her once she grew enough hair. Sure enough, as soon as she sprouted enough locks for me to tie in a little band I was in the case. The moment it started falling out I was quick to sit her down and fix it back up again. I loved creating new styles and adding accessories.

That is, until her hair started getting long. Then it became the once a week dreaded event. For both of us.

Her hair is a good mix of mine and her dads. As fine as mine, but as curly as dads. Absolutely gorgeous, but a nightmare to brush. The task I once looked forward to, the task I enjoyed so much has become quite the opposite. I love weekends, but this task now puts a black cloud over weekends, for both me and her.

Two hours of torture. Not literally, but if you stood outside the house, or even a mile away, you would think it really was torture. The screams the cries, the groans until i have finished tugging her comb through mazes of knots tangled in her hair. Yes, I have tried and tested every product in the market; oils and detanglers, creams and gels, products for black hair, products for white hair and even products made especially for mixed race kids, yet nothing seems to have had the desired effect of allowing a comb to glide through her luscious locks. We’ve even tried different combs and brushes, but nothing has helped. Not even any amount of distraction; ipad, phone? No! You can still hear her screams half a mile away.

Anyway, that is just me venting my frustrations. Any parent of a half black/half white will probably feel my pain and understand the frustrations.
Except the rare occasion she gets it done in the salon, where miraculously might I add, she cries quietly, it’s the same routine every weekend. We both know what to expect.

So, same routine as always. Saturday morning, wash her hair. Saturday evening, give Aaliyah my phone and brush and plait her hair. Same old story this said weekend. Hair washed and evening was approaching. I sent her to get her brush, comb, spray and hairbands as always, but she returned saying she couldn’t find her comb. Well, she always kept it in the same place so it couldn’t be lost. Sometimes she said that just to try and buy a few extra moments before the torture began. Always solved by me going to get them myself. But, not so this time.

Sure enough, when I got there, it really was missing.

Maybe they’d fallen off the shelf?

No, not there.

Maybe she forgot to put it back last weekend and it’s on the shelf downstairs where I do her hair?

Nope, not there either.

Back upstairs, maybe she’d used it in the week on her doll and left it somewhere else in her room?

Her room is pretty small and she doesn’t have mounds of old paperwork and junk like I do so nit didn’t take long to search through everything, but no, not there.

Under her bed?

No.

Down the back of the drawers?

No.

Back downstairs again, under the sofa?

No.

Down the sides of the sofa?

No.

I had the entire household search by this point to no avail.

I felt an unusual mix of emotions; the frustration of not being able to find it (I’m always losing things so this is not new to me) and the relief of not having to done hair today.

I resigned. There was nothing that could be done now. No one else in the house used that kind of comb so we couldn’t just use someone elses.

I had hoped that it might just randomly turn up like these things always do, but 24 hours passed and it still hadn’t.
Sunday evening approached and I was going to have to do something with her hair because it was school tomorrow.

We had all searched the house up and down again, but nothing. Her comb had entered the realm of odd socks and pens. The things that disappear never to be seen again and years on you still never know where they went.

I packed her hair into a matted ball on top of her head and planned to go to African store next weekend so I could get a new one.

We gave the house a cleaning up on Sunday evening as always, wiping surfaces, vacuuming and the kids tidied their rooms.

When the kids were done, I took the vacuum to clean our bedroom. I was just about done, just finishing the little corners that usually get missed out. I don’t do this bit every weekend, but obviously something compelled me to this weekend. Maybe it was the stress of having turned the house upside down in search of the comb making me want to get some order back into the house.

They say routine is good, but this time Aaliyah had used it to take advantage of me! At some point this said weekend, at some point between the morning hair wash and the usual hair plaiting time in the evening, she had obviously disappeared quietly to get her comb and hide it in the very place that she knew no one would check, behind my bedroom door, which is where I discovered it on my once in a blue moon vacuum there.

 

His first open coffin/cloth janazah

Since I’m on the topic of firsts with ‘her first smile’, now I’m sharing the incident of Ibrahim’s first open coffin/cloth janazah. A pretty dark topic, but part of life none the less. Although it’s not exactly what you might expect. Far from it even. After all, this blog is all about the light hearted side of parenting.

He has attended 2 janazahs in his 8 year life thus far. Because of the laws in this country requiring burials in coffins, burials are always in a coffin. At his first janazah a couple of years ago, they opened the coffin, but it was so busy that he didn’t see the body. He attended another about a year ago, but the suspicious circumstances under which the man had passed away meant the body had been kept back for some time, and as a result was so badly decomposed that he was almost just wrapped up bones, so again he didn’t see the dead body.

Anyway, where we went to pray this particular week there is no ladies section as it’s just a small room in a hospital. When we go here, I wait back with a friend whilst the 3 boys and Dad go to pray.

Usually when they get back they report to me on how it was, how busy it was, if they saw someone they knew, what the khutbah was about..etc…

This time Ibrahim came back genuinely distressed as he told me that there was a dead body in the mosque today. He was completely mortified.

I asked if they prayed janazah. That’s probably why.

They didn’t.

Now I was becoming concerned too.
I asked if the body was wrapped in a cloth, or in a coffin.

He wasn’t either of these. Not wrapped, or in a coffin.

Did he die during prayer? That would be distressing enough, but this wasn’t the case either.

He continued to tell me how the body had been there since they arrived. The body wasn’t covered, it just lay on the floor, uncovered for the duration of Jummah prayer.

Now I completely understood his distress. I would be too. At my grand old age of 34, I’ve never seen a dead body in real life and I’d be distressed if I saw one too. Now I understood Ibrahim’s concern. But why on earth had they just left a dead body in the room and not covered it when they weren’t even saying the janazah prayer?

Maybe they’d already done it before prayer and the boys missed it? But why oh why would they leave the body uncovered? And why was it only Ibrahim that was concerned? My husband hadn’t said a word, and neither had the other 2 boys.

I continued quizzing Ibrahim to try and get to the bottom of it. Surely there had to be a rational explanation.

There was.

During my grilling session with him, Ahmad came over. Surely he could shed some light on this.

I asked him if they prayed janazah today. Perhaps they had, and Ibrahim had just been oblivious to what had been going on. After all, it’s not often they pray janazah.

He looked confused as he replied that they hadn’t.

I was even more baffled now!

But Ibrahim said there was a dead body in the mosque.

Ahmad started laughing hysterically.
But that’s not funny. A dead body in the mosque that no one seems to be bothered about isn’t one bit funny!

Why was it funny? There was a dead body open in the mosque. There had to be some kind of explanation.

There was…

It wasn’t a dead body.

It wasn’t even a real human.

It was a dummy!

Turns out they’d been running a first aid training course in the room just before prayer started and the trainers had not taken the dummy away.

After all, with no actual mosque anywhere local, the brothers have permission to pray in a room in the hospital which is also used for training exercises such as first aid and CPR.

Where is your child? (Part 2)

My last blog post related to where my 2 year old had been hiding out when he went missing at home. You can almost always guarantee that when someone wants to share a tale of where they’re toddler was hiding out, it’s going to end up in laughter, because toddlers do the most funny things. Probably why most of my posts seem to be about my toddler than his older counterparts.

Anyway, it’s not just toddlers that hide out in the house and get up to mischief. This very same issue can occur in older children too as I recently discovered. Only with older children the outcome is not always necessarily as funny!

Again, in the same manner as the previous blog post, when I notice a child missing from the local vicinity, i.e. the sitting room, I follow the procedure of locating them. With toddlers however, worrying about the potential danger or harm they could cause to themselves it becomes a much more urgent matter and the search party goes out immediately.

However, with my 10 year old, Ahmad, what possible harm could he come to?

He knows not to play with knives, he doesn’t climb shelves, doesn’t desire to eat medicine like sweets, he wont sneak outside without saying and he won’t play with the kettle.

When Ahmad goes missing in the house, it is a lot longer before I’ll start wondering of his whereabouts. Almost always he is just upstairs in his room writing a story or drawing a picture, not hiding in a car seat in a cupboard under the stairs sleeping!

In this particular instance, he had his friend over too so I had even less reason to be concerned. However, whilst there are differences in the level of concern I feel when my toddler and my 10 year old go missing in the house, there are some similarities in the cause for concerns, i.e prolonged episodes of silence.

Every now and then I was alerted to the sound of Ahmad and his friend sharing a funny moment and laughing out loud upstairs and that was enough to reassure me that they were ok.

However, as with a child of any age, the concern only arises when that prolonged moment of silence is noticed.

Funny how you spend the entire day wishing for silence and when it comes you start to panic!

I realised I had not heard anything from them for a while now so figured it was time to investigate. I didn’t believe they’d be in any harm, but thought it wise to check them. Surely they couldn’t have hurt themselves in anyway.

When you think of children coming to harm in the house, the first thoughts are physical incidents that they might have had with knives, hot kettles, fingers in doors, falling..etc.. but in this incident I first learnt that the dangers of a quiet 10 year old in the house are not knives, medicine, hot kettles..etc.. No, they have much bigger and scarier fish to fry.

As I walked upstairs to check Ahmad’s bedroom first and foremost, i caught them sneaking out of the spare room.

Strange.

It’s mostly just used as storage so we keep the door locked. Their faces looked guilty as charged. If it wasn’t for their brown skin, I’m certain they would’ve turned red as tomatoes. I don’t remember what excuse Ahmad gave for why they were in there but it was completely implausible!

I was baffled for a few seconds and highly suspicious, until I saw his friends smart phone in his hand. It didn’t click immediately, but after a few short seconds of contemplation I realised exactly what they had been up to in the spare room.

The only other thing in the spare room, amongst all the junk, is the wireless broadband router. It has the WiFi key on it that is needed to connect a new device to the home wireless network. They had been trying to connect his friends phone to the internet! This sets off a different kind of panic to a missing 2 year old.

What did they want with the internet?

Why did they need to be on the internet?

I didn’t expect it and didn’t really know what to say, especially since many children his age access the internet freely and maybe his friends parents allowed him to freely browse the Internet and maybe I’m just being overprotective in not letting Ahmad have free reign of the internet like many of his classmates.

I needed to do as much reflecting as he did!

Maybe I should be allowing him to use the internet and that’s why he felt the need to be sneaky about it, rather than just asking.

The problem here is about censorship. Hiding these things from him caused him to be sneaky in his actions. I remember as a kid of his age, the things my mum used to force on me or stop me doing are exactly the things I would become sneaky about to try and do. After all, what was so special about what she was censoring from me that was causing her to stop me from doing it? I wanted to know! Maybe that’s what Ahmad wanted to know about the internet.

But, then comes the next dilemma. Where to draw the line between freedom and responsibility. How to protect him from the dangers of online browsing that I’m all too aware of when I first had access to the internet as a young teenager, back in the days of dialup!

All his friends have smart phones and internet access, Facebook, Snapchat and the like. In my opinion 10 is far too young for the latter 2 at least, but preventing these things only unleashes curiosity and breeds sneakiness, which could be even more damaging!

The best solution I have come to is a middle ground of supervised browsing for homework for now.

Update: I have since let him use phone to do Internet searches for homework.

This post has taken a different, and more serious tone than my previous post, despite having the same title, so just to add a bit of light heartedness to this story and finish with a giggle, this is what happened the first day I gave Ahmad my phone to do some research for his homework.

Since he is not yet fully familiar with the internet I know that at least I can check my history if I have any concerns about what he is browsing. I don’t believe he is looking at anything other than what he is supposed to be as he was in the same room as me. Or maybe I’m just naive!

Anyway, I totally forgot, that ironically, as much as I can check his browsing history, mine will also be visible to him without him even checking it if he knew how, simply in the form of autocomplete and search history on.
When his search for ‘When did the last person climb Mount Everest?’, returned a gasp and ‘Muuum, why were you searching for ‘When…..’

It suddenly clicked, and in the space of 2 milliseconds I’m suddenly panicking like a 10 year old myself about to get caught out! ‘Oh my goodness, what have I been searching for?? What have I searched for in the last couple of days? Please God tell me I’ve not searched for anything inappropriate’

Suddenly I am the one in the hot seat, hot under the collar, beads of sweat forming on my forehead.
‘…do Mini Eggs go on sale?’

Phew!!

‘When did the last person climb Mount Everest?’, had autocompleted and returned my last search of ‘When do Mini Eggs go on sale?’

Now, as a Muslim I don’t celebrate Easter, but I totally buy into the commercialism at this time of the year in satisfying my sweet tooth!

My name is Hannah, and I have a Mini Egg addiction.

For a couple of months a year I let my addictions run wild and purchase bag after bag of mini eggs whilst they are still available.

On a serious note, what are your thoughts on internet usage of the youth? Do your children have smart phones? Do you allow them free access to the internet? Should they or shouldn’t they?

Where is your child? (part 1)

Do you know where they are?

Do you really know where they are? Or do you just think you know where they are?

If you ask me where mine are if I can’t physically see them, I can take a pretty good guess at where they are. The 3 boys will most likely be up to mischief in their room, boxing each other, playing some made up game or chatting and my daughter will most likely be sitting on her bed drawing something or other, and my newborn baby, well, if she was missing I would be concerned considering all she does is sleep all day!

Things are a little different however, when you’re all hanging out in the sitting room and then you suddenly realise that someone is missing. First things first, you do a head count. Yes, with 5 kids, I do a head count! Then when you realise the numbers don’t add up, you repeat the first step again. When it is confirmed that indeed someone is missing, it’s time to work out who, and send out the search party.

Just to rewind somewhat, how do you know when someone is missing? The silence of course! Most of us relish a moment of silence, but we know that seldom occurs when you have children. In fact, silence instead becomes something that causes much worry and a mini heart attack.

This brings me to my second blog post ever, right back to Ja’far again. Funny how, of the 5 Bankieteers, he’s the one that I seem to have the most to write about. Must be something about toddlerdom and the funny (and not so funny!) things that they can get up to, yet that cause us, as adults to find so humorous.

So, as indicated before, I had noticed things had gone fairly quiet and through my usual means of deciphering who was missing I realised it was Ja’far. A missing Ja’far = the most panic-worthy person of disappearing. He is the one who is most likely to be up to mischief if left alone and it’s therefore the one who is able to cause me most panic if it is he who is the one to have disappeared.

First, I check all the rational places he might be, the toilet or in his room looking for toys. At this point I’m yet to enter level 10 panic. Level 1 is more like it, because he is almost always predictably in one of the two above named spots.

In the unlikely event that he is not located after this initial search, we set the panic level up a notch or 2 as things get a little more frantic. Next step is to broaden the search and extend it to every room in the house. Very occasionally it might be that he’s ventured to the room where the bikes are stored and he’s sitting on his okada (yes, the one that he also likes to roll down my back in sujood), and other times you might find him raiding the kitchen cupboards for food, or even climbing the work surfaces to reach the cereals.

This time, he was doing neither, so it was time to turn the panic meter up again. Time to revisit every room again with the help of the 4 other Bankieteers and loud voices shouting his name now in a state of 7/10 level panic.

A minute or 2 searching all the rooms again and even going as far as checking wardrobes still yielded nothing.

Now the panic was really heightening. I froze for a minute. Where on earth could he have gone? We’re all inside and he had to be in the house somewhere because all the doors are locked.

Or are they?

We’re up to 8/10 now as I go and check all the windows and doors. After all, he has been known on one occasion to have taken it upon himself to go out and look for sticks. He has no fear of things like cars, so by now I was bordering on 9/10.

Turns out all windows and doors were locked, so panic was permitted to temporarily reduce as this meant that he really must be in the house somewhere.

The 4 Bankieteers continued to search in much the same way. We all turned the house upside down in search, still to no avail. Whilst panic had decreased to more like 6/10 now I was sure he was safe inside. But, where could he be?

We’d searched everywhere!

We all reconvened in the hallway downstairs to discuss the next plan of action.

Standing in silence we were disturbed by a feint, but unusual sound.

Where was it coming from? And what was it?

We all stood silently looking baffled at what it was, quietly tiptoeing the hallway directing our ears to each corner to try and find out which direction the sound was coming from.

I finally located the door from which behind the sound was coming from. The door to the cupboard under the stairs. It’s a small room saved mostly for things that don’t otherwise have a home, like the vacuum cleaner, some old bags and other general bits and bobs. On first inspection it looks quite small, maybe because it’s so dark, but you can actually fit a good bit in the cavity under the stairs, especially if you’re small…. Especially if you are a toddler… Especially if you are Ja’far!

Yes, there he was nestled into his old baby car seat, tucked right in the end of the closet, FAST ASLEEP!

So, let me ask you again, where is your child?

Mummy in Sujood

‘Mummy in sujood = the most unusual way to occupy a 2 year old…

I started off as a ramp for toy cars, soon progressing to a ramp for his tricycle. I then became a slide (my feet as the steps) and today I was upgraded to a tent pole as he proceeded to lie a blanket between my back and his chair before stuffing cushions, toys, shoes and a remote control in the space created under my tummy and into his newly created tent. As is the creative nature of a toddler!’…

‘Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar…’ It was that familiar call again. One that Ja’far was used to hearing 5 times a day. He didn’t quite understand exactly what it meant, he’s only 2, but he knew that every time he heard it, mummy, daddy, and his siblings would leave what they were doing and go to the bathroom and return a couple of minutes later to line up in the sitting room.

They always manoeuvred themselves into the same positions each time. Positions that intrigued Ja’far. For many a month he had just sat and watched them until his recent interest in toy cars sparked an idea. That position where mummy puts her head to floor makes her look like the most awesome ramp. Mummy had helped him to make ramps for his cars out of cereal boxes, but never had he seem a ramp this mighty. Mummy looked like the perfect ramp. Ja’far knew that she would go into that position some time again in a minute so patiently he waited, cars at the ready.

There it was. One by one he placed his cars at the peak of mummy’s back and watched them race down to the floor. It was amazing! He was having so much fun, but it was so short lived. He only had the chance to send 3 cars racing down before mummy sat up. He collected his cars back up and patiently waited until the next sujood and so the same routine continued.

It became a routine for Ja’far. The moment he heard that familiar call and his family rushed out of the room, he would gather up his cars and have them lined up ready on the table next to where mummy prayed. He thought mummy might get mad at him, but something about that familiar call always made her happy and she always greeted him with smiles after she had finished.

It wasn’t long before he realised the potential for something much greater here. This ramp was big enough for something more than just his toy cars. This ramp was big enough for his okada (his ride on tricycle). This one was pretty heavy to lug up to the top of mummy’s back, and it sure made a lot of noise when it crashed right back to the floor the first time. Soon enough however, Ja’far was able to manipulate the wheels in such a way that it balanced beautifully at the peak requiring a little push to send it sliding down to the base. Ja’far loved this. He had never had a ramp big enough to send his okada down and this really excited him. His toy cars were demoted.

That familiar call now called for his okada to be parked right next to mummy’s special spot and sure enough this became Ja’far’s new routine.

This new routine didn’t last too long because Ja’far had even greater plans once more. He could make use of this ramp himself. He didn’t even need his toy cars, or okada. He could slide down this makeshift ramp himself.

Ja’far was big adventurer and he looked straight past mummy this time, onto pastures far greater. This time, as the family all put their heads down he went for daddy.

He climbed onto daddy’s feet and tried with all his might to climb to the peak, but he just couldn’t do it. He was not going to give up in a hurry. This was too much of an opportunity to forsake. Daddy’s head went down. He tried again. Gripping onto daddy’s t-shirt, with one hand, with two hands, but he simply could not do it. Ja’far was not one to give up on his mission.

So, daddy was too big, but he had 3 siblings that were far smaller, so one by one, he utilised their positioning in sujood as a makeshift slide. As much as it was fun, it was not as fulfilling as he expected, they were just too small and his feet were already touching the floor as soon as he had begun his descent.

All was not lost. The final sujood of Zuhr was made and he had one last option.

Mummy. Perfect.

Daddy bear was too big, baby bears were too small, but mummy bear was just right.

He climbed her feet and mummy was just the right height that he could grip onto her dress and just slide right on down.

Over the next few days Ja’far experimented with different positions. He slid down belly down, back down, feet first, head first. The material of mummy’s dress was just perfect, silky smooth made for a friction free journey from top to bottom. This was so much fun. The only time he ever got to go on a slide was when he went to the park, but with the weather in Ireland that didn’t happen so often. Now he had access to his own, personal slide 5 times a day in his own home!

You would think that was it, what more could a 2 year old make from mummy in sujood?

Ja’far had been given the opportunity to exercise his creativity to the max and his final plan was the best.

Mummy was used to Ja’far’s routine now. If she wasn’t a car ramp for toy cars, it was for his okada, and if not for his toy cars or okada, then a slide for himself, but this time he had something even better in mind.

As always, the family dashed to the bathroom when the familiar call was made, but this time Ja’far did not line up any toy cars or his okada. This time Ja’far pulled a dining chair to the sitting room, along with his blanket and sat on the chair. Mummy thought this was unusual. Maybe he just wanted to sit with them whilst they pray this time?

When the time came mummy positioned herself in sujood and this time Ja’far, with his mighty plan, took his blanket, laid it between her back and the chair he had been seated on, creating a tent between mummy’s back and the chair and if that wasn’t enough of a creation, he grabbed the cushions from the sofa, his toy cars, his shoes, the remote control and one by one, pushed them under mummy’s tummy and into his new tent and proceeded to follow suit, making himself comfortable, sheltered by his fluffy blue blanket positioned between mummy’s back and the chair, much like mummy was sheltered by Allah. He could have slept there if it wasn’t that mummy sat up, unfortunately resulting in the demise of his tent.

All was not lost however, after prayer they remade the tent between 2 chairs so Ja’far could continue his adventures.

It was narrated from ‘Abdullah bin Shaddad, this his father said: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came out to us for one of the nighttime prayers, and he was carrying Hasan or Husain. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came forward and put him down, then he said the Takbir and started to pray. He prostrated during his prayer, and made the prostration lengthy.” My father said: “I raised my head and saw the child on the back of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) while he was prostrating so I went back to my prostration. When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) finished praying, the people said: “O Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), you prostrated during the prayer for so long that we thought that something had happened or that you were receiving a revelation.’ He said: ‘No such thing happened. But my son was riding on my back and I did not like to disturb him until he had enough.'” (Sunan an-Nasa’i 1141)