Children & Vegetables Sunday, Mar 23 2008 

My children always have a problem with eating vegetables. Although, I tried to feed them vegetables from a young age, it seems like we are always struggling.
They eat salad (mainly cucumbers and lettuce), carrots at times, corn, spinach, peas but that’s about it.

My mother used to cook vegetables, when I was small, but it would always be with meat. So my diet, as a child, was more meat and a very small quantity of vegetables. My husband, on the other hand, didn’t eat vegetables and still doesn’t like them but is trying to (and has a lot) change his diet and he wants our children to get used to eating vegetables. But it is not easy picking out their food for them and forcing them to eat something they don’t want to!

Here is a nice article from about.com by: Vincent Iannelli, M.D

If there is one thing that parents could change about their child’s eating habits, it would usually be to get them to eat more vegetables. Most kids, even picky eaters, do fine with all of the other food groups – but vegetables are often an issue in many households.

How do you get kids to eat more vegetables?

Do your kids need to eat vegetables?

Vegetables

Vegetables are an important food group and a key part of the food pyramid, so ideally, your kids would eat some each day.

In addition to being high in fiber, most vegetables are low in calories, low in fat, and don’t have any cholesterol. Most are also important sources of many vitamins and minerals, including calcium, potassium, vitamin c, and vitamin A.

Eating fruits and vegetables can also decrease a person’s chances of developing many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, stroke, some types of cancer, and may even help prevent cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. 

Vegetable Recommendations

One of the first questions parents have about vegetables is how many do their kids actually need to eat each day.  

Following the food pyramid, some general recommendations include that:

2- to 3-year-old children eat 1 cup of vegetables each day
4- to 8-year-old children eat 1 1/2 cups of vegetables each day
9- to 13-year-old girls eat 2 cups of vegetables each day
14- to 18-year-old girls eat 2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day
9- to 13-year-old boys eat 2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day
14- to 18-year-old boys eat 3 cups of vegetables each day  

When thinking of serving sizes and daily recommendations for vegetables, keep in mind that 1 cup of vegetables is usually equal to:

  • a medium baked potato
  • a large ear of corn on the cob
  • 3 spears of 5-inch long broccoli
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 large stalks of celery
  • 1 cup of cooked vegetables

And since that can be spread over two or three of your child’s meals and perhaps even at a healthy snack, it becomes much more reasonable to think about your kids eating their vegetables each day. 

List of Vegetables

In addition to eating their recommended serving of vegetables each day, it can be important to try to vary the types of vegetables that your child eats so that he gets all the nutrients that different vegetables have to offer. For example, it would be better if your child eats, broccoli, peas, lettuce, carrots, celery, beans, and potatoes, instead of carrots being the only vegetable that he eats.

When serving vegetables to your kids, try to vary their diet and choose different ones from this list of vegetables: 

  • Dark green vegetables (broccoli, greens, spinach, dark green leafy lettuce)
  • Orange vegetables (carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, winter squash)
  • Dry beans and peas (dry beans, black eyed peas, tofu)
  • Starchy vegetables (corn, green peas, white potatoes)
  • Other vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, zucchini)

Vegetable Recipes 

You may have to do some experimenting, but you can likely find some fun ways to get your kids to eat more vegetables. For example, it often works to buy fresh vegetables and not overcook them. These vegetables will have a lot of flavor and will still be crunchy, which is a big plus for many kids.

Some popular and kid-friendly vegetable recipes include:

  • vegetable soup
  • vegetable lasagna
  • pizza with vegetable toppings
  • egg omelet with bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms or tomatoes
  • sandwiches with lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, bell peppers, or onions as toppings
  • whole grain pasta with vegetables added to the sauce
  • carrots and broccoli with a dip as a snack
  • vegetable wraps  

It can also help to let your kids choose vegetables at the grocery store or farmer’s market, or even grow their own in your backyard.

What about hiding vegetables in your child’s food? This is one way to get your kids to eat more vegetables, but you aren’t really teaching them healthy eating habits. Instead, it can be better to offer your child small amounts of vegetables at each meal, don’t force him to eat them, and model healthy eating habits yourself. 

(See the complete article here) http://pediatrics.about.com/od/nutrition/a/0308_vegetables.htm

Tired of ECZEMA!! Thursday, Feb 28 2008 

 The following brochure is personally written by my daughter’s allergy specialist. My daughter severely suffered though eczema for almost 10 years. Then, by Allah’s Mercy, I found this doctor for her. Alhamdullilah, Allah has blessed him with much knowledge and experience in his field. He is the head of the research department of Allergy and Immunology at Alferd I. Dupont Hospital for Children. This brochure is very very useful for all those who know the pain of eczema, both for the child and the parents!

ATOPIC DERMATITIS 

What is it?

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin disease. It is not contagious, and cannot be passed from one person to another. “Atopic” refers to a group of diseases where one has an inherited tendency to develop allergic conditions, such as asthma or hay fever. “Dermatitis” means inflammation of the skin.

Eczema is a general term used to describe inflammation of the skin. Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema. In atopic dermatitis, the skin becomes extremely itchy. Scratching leads to redness, swelling, cracking and weeping of clear fluid from the area. The skin ultimately crusts and scales.

What can you expect in future?

In most cases, there are periods of time when the disease is worse (called exacerbations of flares) followed by periods when the skin improves or clears up entirely (called remissions).

As some children with atopic dermatitis grow older, their skin disease improves or disappears altogether, but their skin may remain dry or easily irritated. In other children, atopic dermatitis continues to be a significant problem into adulthood.

How can we treat atopic Dermatitis?

There are two major goals in atopic dermatitis management:
1. Prevention of inflammation

2. Treatment of inflammation 

PREVENTION OF SKIN INFLAMMATION:

We need to prevent factors that lead to skin inflammation such as:

  • Strictly avoid any food to which you child is allergic. Also avoid any airborne allergen (pollen, dust) that he/she is allergic to.
  • Avoid a smoking environment.
  • Prevent skin dryness (see instructions below)
  • Prevent or immediately treat skin and other infections. Use bactroban on any broken skin, under the nails and around nostrils.
  • Avoid extreme hot or cold temperature, especially overheating since this causes sweating and may make the AD worse. (See Table 1)
  • Avoid flare-ups of asthma and seasonal allergies.
  • Prevent scratching (see Table 2)

TABLE 1: How to Avoid Overheating 

  1. Wear 1-2 thin layers of clothing only.
  2. Try to wear summer clothing throughout the year.
  3. Keep bed covers to a minimum (one sheet in summer, an extra cotton blanket in winter)
  4. Avoid heaters in the bedroom and keep the house cool (around 68 F)

TABLE 2: How to Prevent Scratching:

    • Be aware of the scratching. Keep a record in a diary/calendar of times and situations when this is the worst. Try to limit your exposure to such situations.
    • Change clothes as quickly as possible.
    • Control itching without damaging the skin by teaching your child to press a finger or thumb into the skin.
    • Keep their hands occupied while they are watching TV or changing clothes.
    • Never leave the child unsupervised in the first 4 days of a flare-up.
    • Remember to reward your child by praising him/her for not scratching their skin.
    • Never say “stop scratching”. All interventions should be positive.
    • If your child starts to scratch, try to actively distract him/her by talking and playing. This is most important after applying medicated creams. Play with you child intensively for next 10 minutes.
    • Night time scratching diminishes as scratching stops during the day.

Why skin dries so badly in Atopic Dermatitis?

Children with atopic dermatitis have increased water loss and decreased ability to bind water in their skin. This leads to skin stretching, which makes children want to scratch. Scratching causes further itching, dryness & damage to the skin. 

How can we Prevent Dry Skin?

The goal is to restore the water content of the skin and prevent further water loss.

  • This is achieved by:
    Daily lukewarm bath for 10-15 minutes (cleanses & moisturizes the skin).
  • Add 8 teaspoons of salt, baking soda or aveeno to the bath water. Keep the water out of the eyes.
  • Use mild, low acidity cleansers (like Cetaphil). Do not use cleansers or moisturizers with alcohol.
  • DO NOT allow the skin to become dry after bathing. Pat the skin lightly and gently with a towel. While the skin is still DAMP, immediately apply the moisturizer to avoid water loss. Aquaphor or Crisco are good initial choices.

How do I Apply the Moisturizer or Prescription Creams?

LIGHTLY: pressure or rubbing can stimulate further inflammation.

GENTLY: reddened, cracked skin is brittle and dry- DO NOT RUB.

THINLY: a thick layer can trap heat and cause inflammation

FREQUENTLY: emollients prevent dryness, not treat dryness.

Remember: apply medicated cream BEFORE the moisturizer (to seal the skin with the medicated cream) 

How often should my child be bathed?

DAILY!!

Bathing, followed immediately by applying moisturizers, not only helps reduce skin dryness, but also lowers the level of germs in the rash area. Bathing also allows you as a parent or caregiver to take a little time out from a busy day to inspect your child’s skin. Not to mention that bath time is a fun time to interact with your child. It may take some time to settle on a bathing routine that fits in with your schedule and to determine which moisturizers and medications work best. Be patient.

Remember, when you control the itch, it makes the eczema so much easier to manage!

What else should I Remember about Skin Care?

  • Avoid large containers of moisturizers. They can eventually harbor bacteria.
  • Use unscented, mild, liquid laundry detergent. Avoid ALL types of fabric softeners.
  • Rinse clothing and bedding twice to remove detergent residue.
  • Wash new clothes/beddings prior to using
  • Avoid irritants, such as smoke or heavy perfumes
  • Keep well hydrated- your child should drink water during the day, especially before and after exercise, or when experiencing a fever.
  • Use air conditioning in hot weather and keep your child indoors as much as possible to prevent sweating and the itchiness it causes.
  • Use sun screen
  • Avoid skin contact with rough materials such as wool and sand. The skin is very sensitive and reactive to these. Your child should wear soft, thin cotton materials. Do not wear wool if you are holding your child. Place a cotton diaper over your shoulder. You may notice that your child itches more after crawling around on a wool rug.
  • Saliva is the main irritant in childhood eczema. To avoid this irritation, regularly apply a thick moisturizer such as soft and liquid paraffin, especially before eating food. 

TREATMENT OF SKIN INFLAMMATION:

1.      Stop the Itch:

    • Itching is a vicious cycle that must be broken.
    • Scratching stimulates a type of cell in the skin called “Keratinocytes” that produces chemicals that causes FURTHER itching and inflammation. To break the cycle, skin must be restored to the texture of normal skin. (PREVENTION IS THE KEY!)
    • Anti-itch medication by mouth also help, like Atarax, Peractin or Benadryl.
    • Medications sometimes loose their effectiveness after 6-12 weeks of usage. If this occurs, rotate the medications for maximum benefit.
  1. Medicated Creams:
    Method of medicated cream application: Steroid creams should not be applied more than twice daily (only once a day for the newer preparations). Cover the area of eczema evenly with a fine film of ointment so that the surface of the skin glistens in the light. The amount to apply is in ‘fingertip units’. The amount of strong topical steroid applied on a small child should nto be more than 20g in a wekk. If more is used, the natural steroid production in the body will be suppressed. 

ATOPOIC DERMATITIS FLARE:
How is this treated?

3 level treatment:

1. Skin care as described above

2. Use of antibiotics by mouth or applied to the skin, as prescribed by the doctor.

3. Use of steroids prescribed by the doctor.

What About Follow-ups?

  • After the acute flare-up completely stops, continue with regular skin care measures along with low potency anti-inflammatory medication cream for some time.
  • Beware of relapses.
  • Recently healed chronic eczema remains unstable for several weeks.
  • Therefore, look at and feel the skin daily for

Itchiness

Dryness

Redness

Broken skin

  • When an acute flare-up is identified, consult doctor and treat IMMEDIATELY.
  • The sooner you begin aggressive treatment, the sooner the skin will heal and less steroid will be required.
  • As time progresses the skin becomes more stable.

 

An Effective Teacher Part 2 Monday, Feb 25 2008 

“If you dare to teach, then you must dare to learn” this is how Harry Wong has summarized his book in just one sentence. His book is not a ‘plan’ or a ‘model’ but full of suggestions and experiences of other ‘successful’ teachers.

First chapter is about being an ‘effective teacher. Here is a brief summary:

Key Idea:

A. Your success during the school year will be determined by what you do on the first days of school. This day will either make you or break you!

B. Student achievement at the end of the year is directly related to the degree to which the teacher establishes good control of the classroom procedures in the very first week.

Effective & Efficient:
Being ‘efficient’ means to do things right.

Being ‘effective’ means to do the right thing consistently!

Four Stages of Teaching:
a.
Don’t fantasize that you are a ‘perfect’ teacher. This will close the doors on you of learning and improving.

b. Don’t ‘survive’ teaching. If you are not ‘enjoying’ it then quit!

c. Employ “effective” practices to achieve student success. Manage classroom, teach for mastery, and have high expectations. This can only happen by reading and relating to professionals.

d. Impact your students’ lives. Open the door of learning.

*Effective teachers Affect Lives*

The Effective Teacher:
1. Has positive expectations for students

2. Is an extremely good classroom manager

3. Knows how to design lessons for student mastery.

4. MAKES himself/herself do the things that unsuccessful people will not do.

5. Teaches students how to ‘think’.

6. Is adaptable and flexible

7. Listens

8. Understands how and why research is done.

9. Learns from others and seeks out mentor as a role model.

10. Has a goal of striving for excellence.

 

(The following is from Dr. Mamdouh Muhammad’s lectures for the same class):

FOUR MAJOR CHARACTERISTICS OF AN EFFECTIVE TEACHER

  1. Knowledge of a scholar
  2. Design of an engineer or the practice of a surgeon
  3. Attitude of a merciful parent
  4. Managing ability of a team leader or CEO

1. Knowledge
A teacher should be very qualified and have adequate knowledge to the degree of a ‘scholar’ depending on the area where s/he teaches or depending on the level of students, like high school students, or elementary school students.

Knowledge is crucial in teaching. If a teacher lacks knowledge of the content or the subject of his/her teaching, s/he will be perplexed when students ask and teacher is not able to answer.

However, even a very knowledgeable teacher can come across questions that s/he cannot answer, but a ‘knowledgeable’ teacher is able to handle the situation confidently, whereas a teacher who lacks knowledge lacks confidence too and this can lead the situation out of his her control. In other words, learning should be an ongoing process for a successful teacher.

Problem: Teachers don’t keep up with the new knowledge in their filed once they gain some experience.

2. Ability to Design an Effective Lesson Plan.

This design method is called ‘instructional designer’ or ‘instructional technology’.

How a teacher designs lessons will directly affect his/her teaching method.

Teacher needs to get the ability of how to design the lesson, starting form the goal and the skills that will be integrated, and the subject matter or content that will be presented, and the evaluation of how to evaluate and how students can benefit in ‘real’ life.This area needs a lot of hard work on a teacher’s part.

Designing is one part but practice is another issue. Design can be very well but in practice it may not work so teachers need to design and then practice to see if it works. In fact, one of the definitions of teacher is ‘knowledge carrier in action’. They need to see the knowledge acting and working in real situation in real classroom.

The other aspect is how to practice or how to present the lesson plan to the students.

Practice is different from designing and these two are totally different from knowledge.

Many teachers may have a lot of knowledge, very adequate for the level they teach at, but they cannot easily design a plan to present to their students. Or even if they are able to design they cannot practice it well. Sometimes other teachers work better in classes on their own better then those who actually develop the lesson plan.

An important advice: Steal and learn from other teachers how to apply knowledge and design lesson plan.

Practice, however, is another profession of a teacher. Knowledge is acquired when a teacher is studying at college or university. Designing can also be achieved there too. However, practice is from experience.

Practice also requires being skillful like a surgeon because they are in a more delicate situation then a surgeon! They are handling a human personality, a human brain and the minds of their students. These valuable human beings will be effected by whatever practice the teachers carry out during the teaching.

3. Attitude of a Merciful Parent:

This characteristic has nothing to do with 1 or 2 or practice.

Ø Teachers need the attitude of a loving, merciful, ambitious parent.

Ø The teachers need to be positive in every aspect, when they present the content, positive when they integrate the skill, positive when they comment on students, positive on the feed back on evaluation or assignments, positive on high expectations.

Ø One of the teachers’ jobs is to provide and prepare their students for the next level and do whatever is needed to take them from one academic level to a higher level. This requires teachers to realize and learn “Individual Differences”.

“Individual differences” is to remember that it is impossible in the whole world to find students of identical characteristics. Every student has specific needs, good and weak points.

So a teacher should not have ‘one’ standard level for all students. A good teacher is the one who mobilizes the abilities of a student and raise them higher then the current level that they are at. But if a teacher put one standard for all students, it means he/she is depriving important and good skillful advance students from learning more.

That’s why one of the more challenging situations is to deal with different level students and address their needs. This requires a lot of experience and there are many techniques that can be learned from other teachers.

Without the positive expectations, the skills of a student may not increase a lot which is a great loss not only for the school but for the whole nation in general because the teacher didn’t utilize all the potential of the students in the area that they were skillful at.

Ø Also, a teacher must be fair, academically and morally, with all students. Teachers must learn how to control their emotion and neutralize emotions when dealing with students regardless of their race, color, or nationality. Remember the Islamic principle: ‘be fair because this is the closest to piety’!

Ø Teacher must also be a helper and guide to each and every student.

4. Managing Ability:

Teacher must know how to manage and control the classroom like a team leader or a CEO of a company. If the teacher cannot manage the time and behavior of the students, s/he may not be able to fulfill the goals of the curriculum of the course.

To sum up about these four skills of an effective teacher, the teacher must have the patience to gain these skills, it doesn’t happen overnight. Kalmaza’ is referred to in Arabic to the skill of watching other teachers and learning from them their teaching skills.

An Effective Teacher Part 1 Wednesday, Feb 20 2008 

I am taking the Teaching Methodology class at AOU, and I am reading this book, “How to be an Effective Teacher: The First Days of School”. Although, the book is meant for ‘professional’ teachers and how to handle students/ in a school etc. I think every mother AND father should read this book. I learned so much from this book. Basically, the book is divided in 5 sections.

1. The Teacher: 3 characteristic of an ‘effective’ teacher

2. Positive Expectations: What are positive expectations and how should a teacher apply that to make students successful.

3. Classroom Management: (this is my favorite chapter) It discusses from discipling students, to keeping them busy, to applying rules and procedures (very nice explanations of how rules are different from ‘procedures’).

4. Lesson Mastery: how to design lesson plan, how to make sure that the lesson plan is ‘effective’ and how to help students with tests and exams.

5. The Professional: how it is important for a teacher to constantly learn and grow to become a ‘proessional’ educator.

After I am done reading the book, inshaAllah I will outline the main points from each chapter and post them here so mothers and others can benefit! 🙂

Ramadan, Eid & Our Children in West Thursday, Nov 8 2007 

When I was young, I had the privilege of spending my first few Ramadans in Saudi Arabia. I must admit that if anyone has done so, they will not be able to enjoy Ramadan anywhere else.

As a child I used to have so much ‘fun’. Not only my father’s job hours would become flexible in Ramadan but even the school would pretty much stop functioning, and completely closed during last 10 days and plus the Eid vacation. Ramadan nights used to be very amusing. I used to stay awake all night. And it wasn’t me alone, almost everyone stays awake all/most part of the night in Saudi, even the markets and bazaars would stay open until 1 or 2 in the morning. Sometimes, I would go with my father to pray tarawih at the Masjid and sometimes all the kids in the neighborhood get together to play all night. So, it wasn’t like I would ‘improve’ spiritually but just having a different schedule, the yummy food, and playing all night would me look forward to Ramadhan.

For those children growing up in West, Ramadhan could be pretty much like any other month, especially if not surrounded by a large Muslim community. My children’s first few Ramadhan were spent in Houston. They loved breaking Iftaar at the majsid. Although, the iftaar would be simple dinner, but for them seeing their friends and playing with them at the Masjid was far more important. Then we moved away to a smaller community but very close to the Masjid. The Masjid here doesn’t hold iftaars every day, but children come here for Tarawih and play outside in the masjid’s huge parking lot. This made my children’s Ramadhan special again and I was happy that they still felt that Ramadhan ‘spirit’ as they did back in Houston. Of course, my husband made my son pray everyday a few rakahs, but mostly he would play. It is very important that our children look forward to Ramadhan and feel the ‘specialty’ of it even if it is by more entertainment and less spirituality for small children.

Similarly, Eid should be made very special for our children as well. They should not think that Christmas or other celebrations are more fun then our Eid. I never felt the need of doing anything ‘extra’ for my children in Houston because with all the parties our families and friends would throw and all the carnivals Houston Masajids would hold even days after Eid would make Eid special in every way. But here in smaller community my children were missing out on all that fun.

So, I planned to make our own Eid party. I let them make a list of all the friends they wanted to invite and then let them write the Eid invitation cards (I never realized children enjoy that so much!!) Next we planned the activities together. We rented a moonwalk and cotton candy machine. We went shopping together. We made goody bags together and blew balloons. My children were very excited and their glowing faces paid off my hard work. And of course, I can never thank enough my husband for his assistance in every possible way and giving me the full freedom of doing whatever I wished!! I took my husband’s suggestion of making it potluck to make it less hectic for myself! So we had a variety of food. Cotton candy was a big hit. I think I might buy it instead of renting it every time. It is cheaper that way! 🙂

The party turned out very good alhamdullialh. Not only my children are looking forward to Eid-ul-Adha but even the other kids who were invited!

I think all the parents should plan out special events for their children for Eid. Gifts are mandatory. Anything that children are not allowed to do normally should be allowed on Eid day, like candies, soft drinks etc. I told my children that there are no ‘Nos’ for them on Eid. My kids are clever enough to keep reminding me that Eid is THREE days. Although it is for Eid-ul-Adha but I guess I can spare them Eid-ul-Fitr as well!

Can’t wait for the next Eid!

Fasting Child Saturday, Sep 22 2007 

I got the following article from someone. It is really nice and helpful. Read and benefit from it:

A Child’s First Fast

First Day of School Sunday, Sep 9 2007 

My daughter started her first day of school on Tuesday. The exciting part was that it was her first time in a ‘real’ school (as my husband puts it). We learned about this school from a friend who moved from Houston. She started sending her children to this Islamic school and was very impressed by their academic standard (which is rare, unfortunately). It is an ‘honors study’ program and the students are tested before they are admitted in the school.

The school is quite far from our place, so Reem ends up spending almost 2.5 hours everyday in just the car ride! So we will see how long will this last! 🙂

It is too early for me to say anything about our decision of sending her to a ‘real’ school.  At this point, I cannot compare homeschool vs. Islamic school. But, inshaAllah, in a couple of months I will have my thoughts on this.  I am, however, experiencing to interact with a diverse group of Muslims i.e. parents and teachers at the school.

The campus is exceptionally beautiful. It used to be someone’s house before. It was funny when the school teacher told me that it was a family of only four members but they had 12 staff members! The drive to the school is also scenic, but it is another story that both of my kids get car sick once we start driving around the mountains. Abdullah throws up and so he hates going to “aapi’s” school!

I had never realized how stressful is ‘school shopping’. I thought it would be fun, but it ended up being a headache. I started shopping just a day before school started (my mistake but what can I do, it was my first time!). I went to 5 different stores before I finally found the composition books! It took me 4 days to finalize school shopping. Reem’s school has a unique uniform that only one store carries which is, without exaggeration, an hour 45 minutes from my house.  And I had to make two trips to the shop because I got the wrong size! So, in totoal, I ended up spending almost 8 hours driving everyday last week. My little one thinks that we have moved in the car and her car seat is her new room!

Hopefully, next week will be easier inshaAllah.

Revisiting Childhood Thursday, Mar 1 2007 

Sometimes I feel like altering my childhood, making a few changes here and there 🙂
Come on…no harm thinking about it, right?!

When I was small, I used to read Surah Yasin a lot. I suppose all Pakistanis consider Surah Yasir to be ‘the special’ surah of the Qur’an. I too, used to seek special blessings from it. I remember making ‘nadhar’ (oath), “if I get an A in my exam I would read Yasin 3 times in one day!”

Well, I got many As, so I ended up reading Yasin many times, 3 times a day 🙂 And that is perhaps why when I was making my daughter memorize it, I could almost read the Surah back to her without even going over it once. I never memorized this surah, just read it more then usual (mostly when I was under 10). And same happened when my son started memorizing it. He thought I had memorized it and forgot! He was surprised that I didn’t need a mushaf to listen to his surah. (more…)

Raising my Daughter… Saturday, Feb 17 2007 

When I was growing up, I never had a close relationship with my mother. I could not approach her for every question/issue I had in mind, but between my mother and father, I always loved my mother more!

As I grew older, I noticed most of my friends had a very close relationship with their mothers, and it always made me want to have the same with my mother. Unfortunately, it was not until after I got married my mother became ‘informal’ with me, but, by then it was ‘too late’ (for the lack of a better term)!

Now that I look back at my life, I do appreciate her ‘strictness’ some what, not only because it kept me in-check but I was also ‘forced’ to obey her, if you know what I mean. So there are not too many memories of me disobeying my mother even behind her back, not out of respect but out of fear! However, I wish I had a friendly relationship with my mother, more informal then what I had because it did turn me rebellious at times.  

And now that I am raising my own children, I don’t want to create a distance between them and me. I wanted to keep a very close relationship, like a ‘friend’. However, as my daughter, 9, grows up I can see that although she is fairly close to me (at least closer then what I was to my mom), she doesn’t have the same level of respect for me that I had for my mother. It is not that I don’t get upset with her or punish her, but still she is far more ‘outspoken’ then I ever was with my mother. And it is very hard for me to figure out where to draw a line, or can I draw a line if I want her to be close to me?!

I want her to be able to approach me for any and every question/concern of hers, and it is for this reason that whatever she has asked me I have always answered her, even some of the ‘difficult’ questions. But, I also noticed that now she even questions me about everything that *I* do/say, curious to know everything and pretty much interferes in everything that I do! I want to be her ‘friend’ but at the same time I want her to learn to respect me (for the very fact that if she doesn’t learn to respect her mother, she will not be able to respect anyone else). And to be honest, I am not really very sure how exactly to do this.

I know what my parents did for me was best in their minds, especially knowing that they grew up overseas, it is norm to keep a distance between parents and children. But raising children here is like a ‘mission’, but of course not a ‘mission impossible’!!

I don’t have a role model to follow here in West (or perhaps I just haven’t found one yet). How I wish there were written guidelines for raising children to follow step by step, it would have made life so much easy. I know I make mistakes, but I try to learn as I go along, however, I do hope and pray that my mistakes don’t damage my children’s personalities.

How true is what someone once said, “It is easy to give birth, what is hard is to raise them!”