Next leg of my journey, another Islamic school. We meet the principal, observe the class in session, pick the teacher’s brains again with questions. Nice, I think again. Friendly staff, colorful/creative classroom setup, a paced out school day. I leave the school hopeful, this is it. We walk to the car, my husband and I, to talk to it over. I point out to him how the school day is not too jam-packed with lessons and academics. There’s time for lunch, recess, snack, and nap. And he says, “So, this would kind of be like babysitting for him wouldn’t it? Not too challenging…” Oh no! Would it really? Well, I was determined not to give up and keep searching for that perfect fit…
One morning, I’m trying to get the day underway by trying to get the kids to finish breakfast (is it still called breakfast at 11 am?) and get cleaned up. They’re bundles of energy at this time of the day, so I better have a plan to release some of it. I’m trying to put the dishes away and feed the baby. I can hear them taking out their energy in my room upstairs. I go upstairs to see all the bedding on the floor, the two of them squirming around in it, playing some kind of game. No problem, I’m used to this, but my nerves are on end. I get clothes for them to change into, clean up a little in one of the other rooms, now I hear them running downstairs. My son is rough-housing it with his sister, she starts crying and complaining. I try to stop the commotion and he’s off running again. The baby is crying in my arms, his gums are bothering him, I need to cool down. Next thing I know, I grab my son’s arm, take him to the kitchen, have him sit down, and take out one of his pre-k workbooks. Frantically, I find a page and say, “here, sit down right here, and practice writing this letter ‘D’”!! This to a boy who can write his first and last name. He stares for a moment at the page, puzzled, and I know what he’s thinking, “I better do what this madwoman tells me, otherwise it’s my head!” I storm out of the kitchen to my daughter now, who’s crying about something she’s upset at me about. I try to distract her by bringing out a book to read, she continues crying, so much so, she throws up all over me! It’s not even 12 pm and I’ve already lost my cool. I storm back into the kitchen, see the page where my poor son wrote that ridiculous letter ‘D,’ and I grab the phone. I phone back the first Islamic school and blurt out, “Do you have anymore openings for kindergarten?!?!” The sister immediately recognizes my voice and says, yes, there are still spots open, she’s glad to hear back from me. She tells me, “Don’t worry so much, just enroll him.” Ahhh, I can feel my breathing ease up again and my heart rate return to normal. And what follows hours later, of course, is a clear mind and I immediately feel remorseful about my behavior. I was in utter reactionary mode. I snuggle up a little bit extra later in the day with the kiddies, apologize, and I’m back to square one.
Fariha Khan lives in Maryland and is blessed with one daughter and two sons. She loves reading, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends.