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I am 3 hours away from my family.  This is the farthest I have ever been from Sufyan or Laila.  The room is dirty.  They forgot sheets and there is no towel.  The trash bin is full of the last person’s detritus.  And you know what?  I really don’t care.

I am grateful for this time to myself.  I am grateful that this is a beautiful state to drive in.  I saw cows leaping and playing 3 times on this drive!  I  am grateful that my mom gifted me a private room at the retreat center that I am driving to.

The night is so silent here.  The wind is moaning through the wooden stairway which is built between the dormitories and which leads up to this room.  It’s 3am and the silence is deafening.  I am setting up my computer for white noise.

But first, I am so grateful to hear true silence again.  I am reminded of times I slept on the top of a mountain called Concho in WV as a young white water rafting guide.  I am reminded of times I slept in the Red Woods of northern CA as a young woman and times when I was deep underground exploring a cave and turned off my headlamp to experience true darkness.  Like that.  I am so grateful.  I had forgotten how constant the highway sound is in my world!

Concept of Mortality and the 5 year old

loves to climb trees.
Sufyan is dealing with the concept of mortality right now.  In the last 6 months he has begun asking questions about death.  More than asking questions, he often makes statements to see if I will agree or not.  To see if he’s right.

loves to dress up!  Note the remote control connected to nothing.  A Goodwill find.  He loves buttons.

loves to dress up! Note the remote control connected to nothing. A Goodwill find. He loves buttons.

It started like this:  “Mama?  When Laila dies, then will we get more alone time together?”  (which cracked me up).  

Then it shifted to, “When we die we are still here, right?  But just we can’t talk.  Right?”.  (which is challenging because saying no means providing a better answer and saying yes means I’m lying.  Unless ghosts really do exist.)

Then it was, “Mama I don’t want you to die because if you die then you won’t hear me when I call you and I need you!”  (which broke my heart and I’m glad I was driving so he couldn’t see my tears from the back seat.)

Then, “Mama I think when we die we are still here but we are just…you can’t see us.  But we are still in this house.  Because I never want to be without you.”  (ditto the above.  more tears.  Honestly, I never want to be without him either.)

“I don’t want to die because I want to always think and when you die you don’t think any more.  I want to always think about gears.  And buttons.”  (he’s hilarious.  And REALLY obsessed with buttons to the point that I think I can say that if samskaras are real then yes my son, you will still be thinking of buttons in your next life.  Have no fear.)

casual day at the office

casual day at the office

*Note:  Sufyan woke up last night from a sad dream and told us about it.  But at the end of the dream he found a panel of buttons and his tears turned into giggles of glee.  mmmm.  buttons.

Finally, “Mama when you die then we will just have Baba and Laila and Sufyan and instead of Mama we will just be lucky!”  (I was all, “huh?”)  

he made us dinner all by himself the other night!  It was taco night!

he made us dinner all by himself the other night! It was taco night!

needed a little help opening a can...

needed a little help opening a can…

what an incredible Baba he is.

what an incredible Baba.

I am grateful that my husband so often refuses to rise to the bait and snap back at me—I’ve been a little stressed lately.   Hence the retreat.  I’m learning so much about enduring love from my husband.  I am grateful that my little Laila has been so loving lately.  I am grateful that my brother, SIL, and 2 nieces are happy right now.  I am grateful for knowing love as huge as what I feel for my family.  

the dynamic duo prepares to get groceries.

the dynamic duo prepares to get groceries.

Laila’s growth has been amazing lately.  Her vocabulary is expanding, her physical abilities are beyond precocious (example:  she can reach up and hold a bar, swing her legs from the ground up over the bar above her head and hang upside down.  She’s not quite 3.  Oh, alright, twist my arm.  Here’s a video:)

and she is really into helping me (sweeping, cracking her own eggs for breakfast, opening the fridge to get the bag of sunflower seeds for our salad).

spreading the sauce for homemade pizza night.

spreading the sauce for homemade pizza night.

Her emotions, however, have always been something of a force of nature.  She is a cyclone followed by a soft summer night, a bouncy spring day followed by hail and lightening.  Repeat.

she gets herself dressed, too...

she gets herself dressed, too…


elasta-girl at the park

However, she has recently developed a new method for dealing with a non-negotiable “no”.  It is brilliant if I do say so myself.  And it’s simple.  She just makes up her own reality.

Example:  It’s bedtime.  Laila insists that she is too hungry to sleep (a common ploy to avoid sleep lately).  I tell her she can eat again with us all in the morning.  She starts to yell, then throw herself around the bed, then get up and hop around trying to hit anything near enough to be slugged.  The anger escalates to hurricane velocity, the walls get a beating from tiny heels and still it’s time to sleep.  Just when I think she really can’t get any angrier and I’m feeling frustrated and sad for her, she suddenly stops and says, “MMMMMMMMM!  This food is YUMMY!  Thank you Mama!  MMMMM!”.  She even pantomimes eating.  And then…it’s over.  Universe back under her control, her wishes answered, now she can sleep.

At first this freaked me out.  I wondered how in the world I should interpret this behavior.  But now I am just totally amazed by her.  In a world that is not under her 2 year old control, armed with emotions bigger than she is by far, and a mind that is seemingly just biding time until her body catches up, she is coping.  In her own Laila way.  My girl is going to rule the world (says her Mama).


Also, instead of “guitar” she says, “tiktar” and I love it.

Parenting Thought for Today:  maybe you already thought of this
You know those tiny containers of play-doh that people gave out on halloween instead of candy?  Well if you are like me you went to Target the day after halloween and bought 2 bags of them at 70% off because play-doh is expensive (unless it’s homemade).  But then that leaves a billion little tiny containers to throw out or recycle…

don't throw them away!

don’t throw them away!

I came up with a use for some of them when I was trying to pack for a weekend retreat.  They are PERFECT for packing a few days worth of face cream, hair product, and/or hand lotion.  A much better size for a weekend getaway than the usual travel size, which for me is too big and often leads to wasting whatever goop I put inside it.

More Growth

And finally, the traditional kid experiment!  Day one of growing an avocado tree:



6 thoughts on “Growth

  1. Glad you got some time away. And thanks for thinking of us! I love Sufyan’s super hero costumes. Pretty awesome! I can’t believe he made a whole dinner on his own! We’re still working on basic cooking skills with Elise but she also doesn’t have a lot of interest unless she’s getting something sweet at the end of all the work, haha.

  2. P.S. We found a great children’s book called Lifetimes that deals with mortality. It talks about the cycle of life and the phases that everything goes through. Really beautifully illustrated and simple. It doesn’t really discuss what people think happens after death but we often answer that with examples of people we know with different religious beliefs and what their tradition believes.

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