Yahya’s struggles to settle down

Throwback to when we got to Karachi and my Son Yahya started school.

A beautiful Karachi morning with a rain shower. From the overcast sky tiny droplets of water fell, though not fast enough to soak me but slowly clouding my glasses. My vision was now marred with these minuscule drops. I resisted the strong urge to take off my glasses and wipe them with my scarf. I wanted to experience this hazy vision. It felt strange to have my vision broken. Kind of feeling out of control.

I was walking back to the car after dropping the kids off to their classrooms. Even though I knew my way around well but I felt uncomfortable and unfamiliar with the place. Why do we crave predictability? Is it innate in us the desire to know where we are headed? To have a clear path in front of us. I walked with many thoughts floating in my head.

Yahya again refused to get out of the bed this morning. His eyes were tightly shut as his Father hugged him. He looked tired. I feared an onset of him coming down with some illness. Over the last 3 days he had been sleeping less, eating less and getting really cranky.

All day yesterday he came to me a number of times with just one question “Can I sleep in your bed tonight?” “Yes Yahya” I said. He knew well that we had a new rule of him sleeping with his Brother.

With the unpacking still in process I had been busy with the mover and packers. They needed me to tell them where to put my things. I had been standing with them since morning till 6ish in evening when they left.

Even though I knew Yahya needed me, I had no choice but to hand him the ipad to keep him busy.

Yahya was upset and looked more upset as day came to an end. For dinner he asked for the same food that he had in Singapore. He wanted me to cook for him. He didn’t want the food made by the cook. He wanted the same milk he had in Singapore. He cried that the milk here didn’t taste the same. He refused to listen. His tears and his loud cries made me feel helpless and angry.

I had cooked for him last week but he said it didn’t taste like the food in Singapore. He refused to understand that it cannot be the same.

I understood that he was trying to cope with this change by surrounding himself with familiar things. The school was new, classmates were new and to make it all worse they wanted him to write. He absolutely detested having to write. The thought of holding a pencil is perhaps his most distressing thought.

He got homework from school. He had to write 3 words starting with the sound “Sh”. He had told me all evening that he would do his homework in the night after dinner and now he just cried. He wanted me to tell him only 3 alphabet words with “Sh” sound as 4 alphabets were too long for him. No amount of reasoning worked.

With his hysterical crying everyone in the house tried to help him with his homework. He wasn’t listening. My mom, a typical grand parent, scolded me for being unreasonable and not helping Yahya. She insisted that I didn’t have time for the kids.

We finally settled on 4 alphabet words to finish the homework and got ready for bed. He agreed to sleep with his Brother if I agreed to let him come to my room in the night.

So I didn’t lock my room door. Past midnight he walked in with his water bottle, pillow and torch tightly clutched. In my disturbed sleep I heard him come, climb in the bed and hug his dad.

We spent most of the night tossing and turning as the electricity played hide and seek. I had actually forgotten what it felt like to have no electricity. Yahya could not understand why the fan stopped all of a sudden.

In school the rain meant that he could not play with his friends in playground. He stood next to me outside the classroom door. He wanted me to stay. I explained to him that I had no umbrella and if it rained heavily I would be soaked when I walked back to the car but he said Mama stay. I stayed.

I am worried. Yahya needs my help to figure his emotions but how do I help him. Perhaps I am not a good Mother I think to myself. As I drive home I look out to the vast sea – the waves splash. The sea looks rough maybe it’s loud. I cannot hear the sound with the windows shut. I feel a tightness in my chest. I feel inadequate.

Once a Friend said to me when I was struggling with Yahya and feeling very challenged at handling his situation that we are entrusted with our children to guide them on their journey here and if the Lord choose me to be his mother than I am going to do a wonderful job.

I repeat her words to me like I have done many times before. The messy house, dirty laundry can wait, the boxes can be opened later, the zillion things I need to do I can do on another day. I am going to catch my breath for now. I am definitely not letting negative thoughts find their way in.

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8 Comments

  1. Just the fact that you’re trying to understand him makes you a wonderful mother. We just feel so helpless when we don’t know how to help them and it’s not one of those things that they need to figure out on their own.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. With this boy I often feel helpless he asks me deep questions that I have no answers for and I feel lost. A Mother once said to me when I was totally feeling broken “don’t worry you are fine the force out there has chosen you to be his Mother you must have something in you”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My son does that sometimes. I’ve always honestly answered, ‘I don’t know. But I think that/Let’s try and find out together/Maybe we know someone who knows the answer.
        Mummy doesn’t know everything, he knows that. But I think admitting that you don’t know and wanting to find knowledge is a good place to begin.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sometimes his questions I cannot find answers like where do we go when we die? Who is God? When will you die?why do we die? For 4 year old he asked me some very deep questions … thanks for sharing I often get confused as to how much to tell a 6 year old he is a child after all.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think mine was about that age when he started asking me those questions. I remember telling him that I didn’t know. I just knew what I believed. Some people, like his grandmother, believe differently.
        He’s always been very reflective and intensely curious about everything. Sometimes it’s been hard to balance if he’s asked about war or violent crime, but without going into too many details I’ve always tried to be honest with him while not scaring him.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yes war and violent crimes were the scariest? I took him to see war museum in Vietnam and the weeks after that were tough! He still asks me “mama why are people bad? Mama what do bad people look like? Mama do they have children?

        I wasn’t sure what to say to him. I felt so inadequate, what if I said something wrong? What if what I believed was not the correct view of world? Is there a correct view of the world?

        Thank you for sharing I want to help his curiosity but at times I get scared what if I give wrong impressions. I still remember when we talked about death he was so angry with God he kept insisting God is evil…. I felt so horrible inside.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I don’t think there is a correct view of the world. I think we can just teach them to treat other people with kindness and respect, and that curiosity will one day be the driver that makes a real difference in the world. I think he sounds like a wonderful little boy.

        Liked by 1 person

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