Your baby is crying inconsolably. She is cranky and clingy, clingy and cranky.
The usual things that work are not working and you are not home.
Once she is home again, she starts to settle. Maybe the familiar walls and clutter soothe her. Maybe the way the familiar sunbeams befriend her transform her from an inconsolable infant into a consolable one.
Home, the one syllable word, has more weight than you think. As your feet brush against crumbs on the kitchen floor, you do not think of sweeping, but are simply grateful to be home again.
Later, when you are at the grocery store buying frozen waffles (the waffles to help you reach school by the dreaded time of 8:00 am), the cashier strikes up a conversation, the way they often do.
“Enjoy these days,” she says. You nod an “Of course,” in agreement before confiding, “I really am trying to, but there are moments when the baby is crying and I haven’t got enough sleep… ”
The other cashier joins in, “I do not miss these days,” she says shaking her head vehemently, confidently. “I do not want to have another one,” she says before casting a quick look at your baby, complimenting her, turning her back, and resuming checking out groceries.
When you’re pregnant, the cashier will look at your belly and confide, “My labor was the worst pain I ever felt in my life…” before she resumes to dutifully scan apples.
When your toddler sobs when the cashier scans items because she thinks the cashier is taking everything away from her cart, the cashier will look at your toddler and say, “Spoiled, isn’t she?” before going on to scan the toothpaste with a resolute beep.
I admire the conversations of cashiers. The way they comfortably slip into a place where they can offer unabashed advice, controversial or not. Direct. Quick. Honest.
So as you walk away to your car, you ponder over what was just shared, wondering if you agree or not. You hope that honesty can coat your tongue the way it coats theirs.
Photos below from this month:
“When they are a few months old, they lie and look around and wave and smile and undergo a constant gentle agitation, as though they were sea anemones, gently waving in some other element, delicately responding to currents we cannot feel.” – Margaret Drabble.
Baby H is not a newborn anymore.
She has already morphed into a one-and-a-half-month old. In baby days, that seems farrrr away from that of a Newborn. The itty bitty size NB onesies already seem small and when I look at old photos like this one from below, I am struck by how fragile she once was.
I love the delicateness of babies.
Of how they really stretch their bodies as far as they can go, which isn’t really very far. Of how their bodies stretch into a curly question mark after you lift them out of a car seat. Or how their legs and arms cycle, cycle, cycle. The above anemone quote and image of baby A here reminds me of the constant gentle motion.
When you have an infant in the house, it is easy to sometimes forget to take photos of the bigger ones. The bigger ones suddenly seem more giant like and savoring them becomes a feat when you have to deal with issues like homework, morning routine, and bathing because they lack that sweet newborn smell that reminds me of cocoa puffs.
With that in mind, I picked up my camera with the goal of photographing the older two. When I pick up my camera, I love the perspective it gives me. I love how raindrops freeze in motion, how vibrant the colors look from behind the lens, and how happy jumping 7-year-olds are suspended in mid air.
Z’s ice cream art
why can’t adults have nifty pockets like above?!
My fingers are clumsier as they form a braid in Z’s hair. The hair lifts and folds as I tighten the braid and I realize I am rusty at braiding. I will typically make a quick braid when Z goes to school, but the benefit of summer is that our routine softens while we take it slow. Meaning not many braids. I step back to admire the neatness that the braid brings to Z’s face.
I thought this summer that we would have pancakes and eggs often for breakfast, and at the beginning we may have, but now Froot Loops and Apple Jacks welcome little hands in the pantry.
One of the beauty of summers is that is appears so Endless. Summer days are long and lazily stretch.
So that when August does come around, and pencils, erasers, and notebooks grace the aisles of Target, it is easy to walk around wide-eyed, wondering Where did the summer go?
I read this article about how it’s good to take a leap when you’re almost ready. Reality is that you may never feel ready and you need a push to do things. Ready to go to college? Ready to walk across the stage to pick up your diploma? Ready to stand in front of a classroom of twenty students and teach? Ready to get settled and married? Ready to give birth while in the painful throes of labor? Ready to nurse, rock, diaper your baby? Ready to sweep grimy floors, wipe sticky counters, and raise children? Ready to now send Z off to second grade and A to pre-K?
Sigh. But a Grateful Sigh.
We have a few more days before school officially starts, a few more opportunities to make French Toast/pancakes, to swim in cool, blue water, to practice easing back in a routine and sleeping earlier! A few more moments to savor time. Until then…
“By time, indeed, mankind is in loss, Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.” (Quran 103:1-3)
I had the opportunity to take Fela’s one year photos last week! This is my last summer session! I may be scheduling photosessions in the fall and will keep you posted. If you think Fela looks a little familiar, you are right as he is related to Jasiah, a previous little client of mine! To see Jasiah’s one year photo session click here.
Like his cousin Jasiah, Fela started walking early! He was running before he even turned 1! I love photographing smaller children and seeing them mature from a sleepy newborn into a squirmy smiley six month old to a running one year old is a beautiful feeling! I got to see Fela’s cousin Jasiah morph from a six month told a toddler and I hope I get to see Fela mature too!
Enjoy Fela’s session below!
It’s a magical blessing to see your baby grow, but it passes somewhat in a haze! When I get to photograph repeat clients, I really see how they grow. Here are a few of this mommy-baby duo from a sleepy newborn on a spring day to an alert 6 month old in the fall to their one year old birthday session in April! I feel privileged to have photographed their motherhood/infanthood journey thus far!
I love the joy these two exude and the comfort this little (who is so rapidly growing!) one seeks in his mother’s arms.
Today is Z’s last day of first grade. I can’t believe she will be a second grader, the grade I used to teach.
It doesn’t seem like yesterday in which I packed up my crayon-filled second grade classroom and had a newborn in the sweltering June summer. It seems ages ago. To be precise 7 years ago! For me, those newborn baby days were long and slow, tiring and tedious. But to have that slow time was a gift in which I could find pockets of peace.
Once Z transformed into a running toddler and child, that was when time caught up with Z and then A and started to run too.
Ramadan for Muslims starts this Saturday. It’s nice to see my book Lailah’s Lunchbox pop up on people’s radars again and to see it displayed proudly for Ramadan.
I love seeing how creative people get with their displays. If you do use my book in a Ramadan display, please send me a picture. Sometimes while I sit on a computer cranking out words on a plain old Microsoft Word document, it can be hard to see my words as a book.
Speaking of books, I am excited to say that I should have two picture books coming out in a couple of years I believe!
Amira’s Picture Day (Holiday House) for Spring 2019
Ramadan is over and Amira can’t wait to celebrate Eid. Spotting the new moon, she celebrates because Eid is tomorrow and she gets to miss school to go to the mosque for the Eid prayer and brunch. But then she realizes that tomorrow is Picture Day at school. How will her class remember her if she’s not in the class picture? What will Amira do?
2. Let Me Show You The Way (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers) TBD
The main character often happily volunteers to help a fellow classmate who needs a little extra assistance in school. It is only when she gets picked on by two popular students for helping him, she decides to distance herself from the fellow classmate to fit in more with her popular classmates. Later, she feels regret for her actions, but it is too late. Now, she decides to take matters into her own hands…
I will share more about these two projects soon. A big thank you to those who helped me thus far with these stories, editing, critiquing, printing, submitting! The publishing industry is quite a prooooooooooooooocesssssssss. And a long one at that! And an additional thank you to all of you who have read Lailah’s Lunchbox and supported me. I hope you all will like these two picture books as well.
I hope for all those of you who will be celebrating Ramadan that it is a beautiful and peaceful month full of growth, renewal, and that you find time to enjoy the slow moments. Meanwhile…
Five Fun Things:
- a heartwarming Middle Grade book I read recently by Lisa Graff with a strong, emotional male character’s voice:
“My dad’s face, you should’ve seen it. It went from normal to chili-pepper red in seconds. He was angry. [. . .] The fire, it was all the way to the tips of my fingernails. Digging down to the bottoms of my heels.”
2. A teacher’s blog post I liked about my book.
“Lailah’s Lunchbox is a fantastic story based on Reem Faruqi’s own life experience moving to the United States and explaining what Ramadan is to classmates and friends in Peachtree City, Georgia. This story captures many different and important social issues, including moving somewhere new and different religions. This story emphasizes the humanity of the children and their experiences and promotes understanding and empathy of others.”
3. A beautiful Ramadan Read Drummer Girl by Hiba Masood and illustrated by Najiyah Maxfield about a spunky female character Najma and the tender relationship she and her father share during Ramadan. I love how author Hiba Masood loosely based this story on a true one of a female drummer girl. The imagery, language, and pictures are gorgeous. I am a fan of Hiba (Drama Mama)’s words and this book showcases beautiful language. I have been saving this story for Z and A to read during Ramadan so I know they will savor it this Ramadan.
“Najma held her breath. Would he be angry? Would he say she was being foolish? No woman had ever been a musaharati in her neighborhood…”
4. A fun activity to do. Envelope decorating with nail polish. It kept Z and A busy for a while…
5. the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta will be doing a Ramadan puppet show at the Children’s Museum on June 24th for your children. Check our newsletter here for more details. (scroll to bottom!)
Have a Blessed Ramadan and Beautiful Summer!