When I was pregnant with Shakir, I told my husband that I wanted to give him a name that had a great, positive meaning. I had the idea that I should speak positive things into his life from the very beginning, starting with his name. I figured that even if it was a 'made-up' name that he would set his own destiny and blaze a positive trail as long as I could inspire him from birth. Well, its all still a work in progress obviously, but there are days when I look at his attitude and think to myself that I had no idea what kind of monster I was really creating.
When Shakir was born, I told my husband that I wanted Shakir to speak his mind and not be afraid of his voice. Too many times I clam up and don't say the thing that bothers me and I still struggle with that. I never wanted my son to be unable to explain anything to me and I wanted him to be comfortable enough with me to express himself. From very early, I encouraged him to talk out frustrations and to ask questions. I also tried my best to encourage him to think of words to describe things if he was unsure what something was, rather than point to some obscure thing in the distance and expect me to pick the right thing at random. One thing I've always told him is that I'll never be able to read his mind, even if I do sometimes get a pretty good idea what he's thinking, so instead of assuming that I know what he needs, he has to open his mouth and speak. I knew it paid off when he went to school. His first teacher was quite impressed with the way he expressed himself, saying that he makes her job worthwhile. His questions challenge and there are times when his hand is the only one pointing in the air. That was a proud mummy moment for me.
The thing that I didn't realise though, is that this wonderful talent of his also has some serious drawbacks... at least for me. For instance, I've been in situations where I would be poised to punish him and Shakir would come up with a smart and logical explanation to what happened and I'd have to put the weapon of mass destruction down. He has even chastised me after punishing him on occasion by logically explaining why the punishment was unjust. If ever you want someone to feel a little guilt about something that they're doing, I'm willing to offer my son's services as he has a serious talent when it comes to that sort of thing, or maybe its just limited to me. I don't know.
This morning, Shakir was in one of his moods. He got up earlier than he should have and certainly earlier than he needed to so he was still tired. The thing with Shakir is that you can't tell him to go back to sleep. From the time he was just a few days old, I realised that he doesn't like to sleep. I don't know what sleep did to him, but that child sees sleep as another form of being idle. It took be a long time to get him to understand that the body needs sleep to revive and even longer, to get him to realise that its not always possible for the house to be pitch black so you can sleep. Anyway, from the moment he cracked his eyes open, he was fretting about something. It finally got the best of me and I had to speak to him. This is led to a discussion - its always a discussion. I was frustrated. I raised my voice. "Mummy, you tell me that I mustn't raise my voice to you and yet you do it to me," he said and if he had sounded less whiny and miserable and more like he does when he's reasoning something out, I might have felt less annoyed. I did what I thought was the best thing to do in that instance and I didn't answer. Instead, I took a deep breath and reminded myself that this is what I wanted.
Allison is mother to two active boys who challenge her on a day to day basis with their escapades. In her other life, Allison juggles a regular day job as a marketing executive in a health food organization. At night, when everyone is asleep, she dreams of being a fulltime writer and super hero.