Notes on Raising Readers, and a Chapter Book Reading List

A voracious reader as a child, I handpick most of the books my school-age children read. This informal book-review habit is part-recreation, part-precaution, and part-service for other families. A librarian once asked if I would be interested in a job at the local library, because “you know how to find the best books!” Here is our GrowMama Chapter Book Reading List for Elementary Readers. I developed this list over months of reading aloud, scanning library shelves, reading Amazon’s reviews, and … [Read more...]

Khadijah-style

photo credit: wikipedia I feel like I mostly hear the name of our mother Khadijah, may Allah be pleased with her, being invoked by two camps: single sisters initiating a conversation for marriage with a dude ("Hey, i'm doing this Khadijah-style") and dude's singing off key about the wife that they want to have. She deserves more than that. So, why don't we redefine what Khadijah-style is. There is so much more to add. Khadijah-style  to me is:Being a business woman and carrying … [Read more...]

The Prayer that Shook a Dictatorship

Twelve years ago, I had the pleasure of experiencing the quintessential Egyptian Ramadan, a night in prayer behind Sheikh Mohamed Jebril in Egypt’s oldest mosque, the Mosque of Amr ibn al-‘As, on the holiest night of the year.  It was a night of peace, prayer and beauty followed by unplanned meetings with friends we hadn’t seen in so long, coming to experience the same Egyptian Ramadan night.Two nights ago, on the night of the 27th of Ramadan 2015, in the wee hours of the morning, my husband … [Read more...]

Ramadan is in the air!

My kids are still babies, the oldest is 6 (going on 16), but my nieces and nephews are newly minted teenagers. I have to say that, mashAllah, the good upbringing that their parents used to raise them is starting to blossom through their manners, priorities, and actions. In a group family message, they shared their resolutions for this Ramadan:Pray 8 rakat duha, daily Complete the Quran Watch the tongue and stay positive Do not touch anyone with anything that may hurt, annoy, or … [Read more...]

Ramadan Kareem from GrowMama!

We wish you a most blessed Ramadan! May we greet this precious visitor and worthy challenge with the utmost humility, understanding, and enthusiasm. We have rounded up past GrowMama posts that may be beneficial to you as we embark on these holy days:A Ramadan Prayer Celebrate Ramadan in the Prophet's Way You Can Make the Most of Ramadan Ramadan Suhoor Ideas Family Projects that Capture the Ramadan Spirit A Letter to RamadanThe Ramadan Sale 10 Ways to Green Your … [Read more...]

Reassurance from Fear

I have always been scared. Growing up, my peers would never have guessed. Valedictorian of my high school and undergraduate classes, cross country and crew team medalist, and voted Most Likely to Succeed, I certainly did not seem scared. But I was terrified.I remember after my first day in the grade six Gifted Program, I sat on the stairs, crying, and told my mom that I did not belong in the program because I couldn't understand algebra. Fast forward over ten years later, I came home to my … [Read more...]

GrowBaba Spotlight: What’s your bike?

Wives tell us husbands to do so many things that we really don’t believe in or even understand. For a variety of reasons which us husbands are and are not willing to admit, we end up doing most of those things for our women. I can’t answer for all the husbands out there, but my own introspection about the trust my wife and I share lead me to an incident that happened about 3 years into my marriage.I was married young (I was 22 and she was yes, yikes 17 … we are still married 25 years later) a … [Read more...]

Rotten Oranges

Pfffft! My eighteen-month-old son, Ibrahim, spit an orange slice out of his mouth. A few seconds later, my husband, brother in law, and I spit ours out too, realizing that the orange tasted rotten. “How did Ibrahim realize that the orange was bad before us?” I wondered out loud. “I guess babies can sense when something isn’t right,” my husband answered.This incident stuck with me all evening. It reminded me that we are born with a natural instinct, or fitrah, to do right. Our fitrah innately … [Read more...]

Scrambled Eggs, Bubblegum, and Sex

          This morning, over a relaxing weekend breakfast of scrambled eggs and tea with his mother and I, my 10-year-old was explaining to us that fourth grade is unlike third grade because now “everyone in fourth grade cusses.” He then added that, “they use all the cuss words like sh-- and a-- but the most common word is the F-word.” After a round of talking about what his own options are in such instances, he naturally then asked, "so what does the F-word mean anyway?" Without missing a beat, … [Read more...]

Guilt- A Very Powerful Feeling

I hate feeling guilty. It’s a gut-wrenching feeling of disappointment that I let someone down, that someone is upset at me. It’s a powerful feeling that gets hold of me and can make my mind spin in ten different directions. It makes me read people’s faces to make sure they aren’t too angry at something I may or may not have done. It makes me say extra sweet words (even if they were the ones who initiated the altercation), just to make the situation better. It makes me feel bad about myself. The … [Read more...]