Discovering Your Middle Child

MiddleChildAs I was sitting on my prayer mat with hands lifted in Dua, tears were rolling on my cheeks. After performing my Isha prayer, I was begging to Allah (swt) for Sanya! My daughter Sanya (10) is the second of three siblings.

What is wrong with her? Your query is just! Have you ever come across the picture, in which a happy newborn is in the lap of her happy eldest brother, while the middle child is angrily ignoring both siblings? The caption reads: “The moment he realized, he was now the middle child!”

This middle child of mine is a problem for me. Sanya – a problem child. Should I say it for my talented daughter? Let me share my feeling about her!

Maria is twelve and Yasir is six. The eldest and youngest are quite reasonable, while Sanya always creates a problem for me. She disapproves of what is favourable to all of us. When I have to accommodate my offspring for any program, a refusal by her disturbs me, for then I have to revise my suggestion. Her argument in each matter creates a dispute. She is harsh in commenting. What and why goes wrong with her? Let me share some incidences.

Both the girls went with their aunt to a neighbour, who served fruits to eat. Maria tasted all of them pleasantly, while Sanya coiled and declined. The daughter of the host, who was a professional doctor and mother of a girl, exclaimed “That is why her (Maria’s) skin is glowing – she eats fruits.” I felt the toxicity of her remark that resulted in disturbing Sanya for weeks; but I must say she didn’t forget that negative response.

She went with me to a social gathering and was standing beside me. A girl from the guests pointed towards her eyes and said to her companion, “Look! Such beautiful eyes!” I noticed anger on Sanya’s face, which she later expressed as follows: “Look at this girl! She didn’t notice my poor health, just my eyes… the only good thing I have… she has a devil eye on them.”

I didn’t know that girl, but felt sorry about Sanya’s gesture on her comment. However, soon after that incident, Sanya’s eyesight got weak and doctor suggested wearing glasses. I am afraid she would relate it to that remark she got.

She is cross when her fellows are joyfully excited over a matter – either going on a picnic, getting the news of a teacher’s absence or getting a free period; whatever makes all laugh and enjoy, she over-reacts about it. The noise in the class makes her unhappy. When her siblings get any advantage by breaking any rule, she teases them. All these acts depict discipline in her nature, of course; but her isolation makes her more frustrated.

Surprisingly, all near and dear ones are concerned about her. What is she doing? What is her plan/schedule? Everybody wants to follow her. This concern makes her angry or maybe a little proud, I don’t understand. Being a child, she should like being cared about – why does she react negatively to all this care? It leaves me puzzled and worried. I get especially embarrassed during social interaction.

It does not mean that she has no good qualities. She is the most obedient child of mine. She gets up in the morning at my one call! She helps me with such domestic chores as washing dishes, spreading the cover, answering the calls, teaching younger brother and more. She is sharper and more confident than her sister, which satisfies me, as she can defend herself in any situation. May Allah (swt) save my children!

She has a good sense of humour. I enjoy her wittiness! She is definitely an extrovert. Then why pretend as an introvert? It confuses me! I know she has leadership qualities, because her friends and cousins try to follow her. I wish she would turn into a polite, contented girl; an expressive and determined girl, who didn’t like the society and termed its people as hypocrites. I feel helpless. I think she needs some counseling.

I was sitting on a prayer mat, thinking about how my life started with kids. Maria, the first born in both families (maternal and paternal) was a beautiful and adorable child. She gained so much love and care along with many gifts from grandparents, uncles and aunties!

Sanya, born just 18-eighteen months after Maria, was totally different from her sister. As she grew up, everybody noticed she was more active, expressive and creative. Her learning was pronounced. She started reciting poems at a very early stage.

At the age of four, she was admitted to school. It is a big change for a child, but for her it was harder, as she missed her first week of school because of her sickness. Plus I was in hospital, as my son was born. Although I am not a psychologist, but as a mom I realized that her absence in the first week of school did not allow her to interact properly with teacher and fellows. My assumption could be wrong, but the reality is that she had a class of nearly forty hyper students; when they cried, she coiled.

Today, at each PTM (parent-teacher meeting), teachers complain about her lack of interest in class. But the fact is that she is never given a chance in co-curricular activities. She is a good writer. She expresses her thoughts eloquently through her writing. In the last PTM, I complained to the teacher about her ignorance towards Sanya: “Many of her compositions have been published in different magazines.” In a lighter mode, I told her that “in future, when she becomes a famous writer, you would say she was your student; but now, you do not even acknowledge her for her skill. This is her last year with you – she will be moving on to secondary class. Kindly, take notice and cooperate.” The teacher was surprised and promised to look into the matter. But unfortunately, when next day she was shown the magazines, she remarked, “These are published due to her grandfather!” It dimmed Sanya’s delight, and the worst was that teacher lost all the magazines having the record of her compositions! Due to all this, Sanya got upset, which affected her health.

Recently, she misbehaved with me at the time of supper. I was hurt, so was praying about her. I know she has a remarkable personality, but how can I make an ease for her? I cry and feel that Allah (swt) is answering me:

“I gifted you a unique creature of mine! Would you thank me?” Oh yes, I take the challenge, trying to stand up. Then somebody came and put her head on my lap: “Mama, sorry – I have taken bread with curd.” She was crying. I hugged her. She was Sanya, my little angel. I kissed her shining eyes and wet cheeks. I have to handle her with the care she deserves.

Diversity is the Beauty of Nature – A Short Story

diversityHina hurried to pick up the phone as the bell rung. She was delighted to see the number on the telephone screen. It was Saba on the other side; her only daughter had married two weeks ago and flown to the UK. Hina was impatiently waiting to hear from her daughter, but as she was travelling, she hadn’t gotten a chance to talk to her. She had only received an update about her safe journey with her husband. As it was going to be their first proper conversation after the wedding, Hina was keen to talk to her daughter and find out how married life was treating her.

Hina asked: “How are you? How is Adnan?” Saba replied: “Mama! It is so dull here! Nobody to talk to! I am all alone the whole day! No helper here; I have to do all the work myself.” She was crying and saying, “Mama! I can’t live here anymore!” Hina was thinking worriedly, “She is a victim of home sickness and climate change!”

Hina got very concerned after the call. When her husband, Rashid, came home, she told him about her chat with their daughter.

“Come on, she is no more a teenaged girl! She is 27 now! She should be tackling her problems on her own! Rashid was realisitic, even though Saba was his beloved daughter.

After a year…

Saba had not been able to adjust. Brought up in a family that did not socialize too much, her social skills were almost non-existent. She had no contact with any neighbours or the community. She would only chat over Skype with her mother.

One day, however, she called her mom and said joyfully: “Mama! Maham is coming here.”

Maham was Saba’s first cousin, three years younger than her. Unlike Saba, she was an extrovert. Inspite of the difference in nature and habits, both of them were good friends.

“Aha! That’s good!” Hina exclaimed. She did caution her daughter not to dwell too much on her problems in front of her cousin, and stay composed and contented.

Finally, Maham arrived, with stars in her eyes. A confident and an enthusiastic soul, Maham was engaged to marry a Malaysian doctor, known to her family for six years.

Saba was puzzled at Maham’s decision to stay with an Egyptian family, instead of staying with her. “Are they dearer to you than me?” Saba asked.“Certainly not!” Maham answered, hugging her. “This Egyptian family was very near to my paternal grandfather! Now his daughters are my friends and that’s the only reason I want to stay with them while I am visiting England!”

Maham and Saba talked all day long. “ How do you spend time with the people belonging to different statuses and speaking different languages?” Saba asked.

“Oh dear! How can we find similarity in this world? All humans are equal.” This philosophy was hard for Saba to digest.

The next day, Maha took her to a convention. It was a strange world for Saba. Muslim ladies of different age groups, belonging to different countries, were mingling with each other. They were hugging, kissing, making introductions and exchanging smiles. Saba was highly fascinated. Maham was totally at home there and Saba felt proud of being her cousin.

“Diversity is the beauty of nature! Tolerance and patience is the key to relish diversity. You know I am fond of continental foods. I have never tasted Malaysian food but now I am learning to cook them for my husband-to-be, in order to assimilate into their culture,” said Maham laughing while leaving Saba in a deep thought.

After one week

Maham left the UK! But the desperate Saba gained so much from her friend!

A few days later, Hina asked her over Skype: “Where have you been? I was waiting.” Saba told her, “Oh! I was out to visit my Bengali friend; she has been living here since three years. She helps me with grocery and other domestic problems. I go to a park where I get to meet many interesting ladies. Mama! I plan to continue my studies as well.”

The new enthusiastic Saba left Hina happily astonished.