If you’re a steady reader, you may have heard me mention my friend Haniyyah at least a few times.  And besides my mom, she comments the most on my posts.  We used to work together in Detroit, which seems so long ago.  And now since we are both stay-at-home parents, we have the same job again.  Just in different states.  Her daughter Zayna is about six months older than Ellie, so I often use her as a resource since she is just one step ahead of me.

GREAT UN-EXPECTATIONS

Hello, everyone!  Long time reader, first time blogger.  Being BFFs with Matt, we gab on the phone a lot and talk about sleep schedules, poop schedules, parenting concerns, exchange advice, and attempt to convince the other that OUR baby is acting MORE crazy that day.  Our phone conversations are like Matt’s posts, but happening in real time, and I am beyond excited for all of you to read my side of the conversation for the first time!

When I was expecting my daughter Zayna, now 22 months, I was CONVINCED I was having a boy.  I don’t know why. I just did.  When I pictured my baby, it was always this lil man cuddling with me, my lil momma’s boy (but not in a creepy way).  So imagine my surprise at 22 weeks during the ultrasound when the doctor pointed to the screen and said “and here is your baby’s (insert medically graphic word for lady bits)!”….Wait….What?  Boys don’t have one of those!  I would not say I was disappointed, but I was definitely confused.  I had no idea what to expect now.

Everything I had imagined up until that point was wrong.  I remember talking to my mom about it, and she reassured me that a lil girl would be my best friend.  She will look up to you.  There’s going to be a lil Hunno running around.  (Side note #1: Hunno is what my friends and family call me) Hmm… a lil Hunno?  That could be cool.  Just what the world needs!  So I began totally embracing this whole having a little girl thing.  I designed her nursery with a crystal chandelier and multi-colored stripes and went shopping for clothes! OMG the baby girl clothes!  I will dress her like me!  Or at least what I would dress like if I had no clothing restrictions.  (Side note #2: I am a Muslim girl.  I cover my hair with a scarf and only wear long sleeve shirts that cover my butt, long pants, etc.)  I was super stoked for my lil girl to arrive.  How could I have pictured a boy before?  MY baby is soooo a girl!

And then she arrived.  She was beautiful.  She was perfect.  Aaaaaand she looked exactly like my husband.  ….Wait….What?  I knewhe’d be in there somewhere, a mix of us two, but literally I saw nothing of myself.  This is definitely not what I expected.  I would not say I was disappointed, but I was definitely confused.  I even had a moment where I thought ”Oh no! What if I am not the mother of this child???” (Side note #3: Yes I know that makes absolutely no sense considering she looked just like her daddy and I LITERALLY saw her exit my body, but keep in mind I was a hormonal new mother and lil “cuckoo banana” as my mother would say.)  How was she supposed to be a lil Hunno if every person I saw said to me, “She is 100% her father. I don’t even see you.”  Then one day my sister said, “She has your feet, Hunno. They look kinda froggy too” You have no idea how happy this made me!

As time went on, her cheeks filled in, her nose was shaping to be more Mommyesque, and she started smiling like I did.  I saw more and more of myself in her every day.  By then, however, it didn’t even matter anymore.  We were already officially best friends JUST like I had expected….finally!  We were always together.  Everything she did, I did as well.  WE got our ears pierced at 2 months.  WE were tired because we didn’t nap so well today.  WE ate carrots for lunch.  WE pooped on the potty today!  Matt’s favorite response to these statements was “Both of you?  At the same time?  Really?”  And I would say “I was there too!  She sure as heck didn’t do it herself!”  We even often wore coordinating outfits, on purpose and by coincidence.  She was my little buddy.

Time went on a lil further, and she was learning more and more everyday.  She would follow me around the house mimicking everything I did.  I would be making dinner at the stove, and she would be sitting at my feet with a bowl and oversized spoon.  I’d be cleaning up toys, and she would be right behind me throwing stuffed animals into her basket singing her “Clean Up” song.  I’d be applying my make-up and she would watch me mesmerized, absorbing every little thing I did.  As much as I had imagined this, I still could not believe this kid looked up to me so much.  Out of all the people in the world, she wanted to be just like me!

All of a sudden I was acutely aware that not everything I did was a trait I wanted my child to inherit.  Sure, I was thrilled when she paraded around the house wearing a  scarf around her head the way her Momma does or when she would pray alongside me miming the movements and mouthing the words the way she imagined I did.   I felt like “Yeah…I’m doing something right here.”  But when it seemed like she was looking forward to watching the 2-3+ hours of Grey’s Anatomy and Oprah every afternoon and could sing along to Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream in the car did I seem to think “Crap, should I be doing something better than this right now?  Hmmm maybe I shouldn’t be saying “Crap” either.  Crap!  I know I am not a perfect person.  There is much in my life that I would like to do better.  I watch waaaaaay too much TV, would rather eat eight cookies for lunch than something real any day of the week, and can get really high pitched when I’m upset or frustrated about something.  These are all things that I would not want my child learning from me.  (Side note #4: Maybe you’re thinking “Those don’t seem like such awful things.”  But trust me, I have worse character traits.  Just giving some easy examples for the blog.)  I realized maybe another Hunno isn’t the greatest thing in the world.  I need to make something better! A Zayna!

In order to do that, I need to conjure a better version of myself.  Fake it til I make it!  Yes, I want to eat 14 pink donuts, but instead I will share a bowl of cantaloupe with my lil girl.  Oh man! I love me that new Beyonce booty shaking jam, but how about we listen to Z’s little Islamic nursery songs instead.  I am dying to know what happens during this Real Housewives of New Jersey marathon, but I will turn off the tv and try to teach Zayna her colors instead.  “What, Zayna?  You would rather spin in circles and make yourself dizzy?  Ummm….alright, we can do that too!”  This is not the real me, but hopefully it will be the real her, the healthy eating, clean lyric listening, cool-headed better version of myself.  This kid is a sponge and I only want the best of me being absorbed.

So motherhood has not been exactly what I had imagined while I cooked Baby Z in my tummy for 9 months.  There have been some unexpected twists and turns, which in turn changed my game plan here and there.  I was not going to be raising a lil  boy or even a lil Hunno after all.  I was raising a lil Hunno with so much more, a total Zayna.  I look forward above everything else to see the kind of person my baby grows up to be.  I pray she carries me in her core but is smarter, sweeter, stronger, healthier, more confident, more loving, more respectful, more religious, and more honest than I ever was. I will purposefully and consciously be better than I am so she can be better effortlessly.  I need to do this now because Lord knows there may come a day when being like Mommy wont be the coolest thing in the world. I know these are those crucial days where I am able to make my mark on her.  And that whole weird spinning around and around until she falls over dizzy thing, THAT she must have gotten from her daddy…=)

4 thoughts on “HANIYYAH, STEP UP TO THE MIC

  1. Great post! As a mom for almost 36 years, I am still learning . I also love the adults my sons have become, each with his own personality with a little mom and dad mixed in. 🙂

  2. Friend-of-Hunno here! Great post…and trust me the world could do a whole lot worse than having another Haniyyah running around. Love you & Zayna (and your coordinating outfits)!

  3. I was laughing the entire time I was reading this because 1. as a mother of two boys, it’s totally true and 2. I could totally imagine Hanno saying this to me (Side Note: BFF since birth) and 3. I saw that you put shoes on in the picture to hide your feet. This totally made my day :).

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