Aha! Parenting Course

black and white connected hands love

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If you’re a parent wondering HOW DO I DO THIS PARENTING GIG AND NOT IMPODE/EXPLODE – please check out Aha! Parenting’s Parenting course! I’m on Week 2 and am looooving the support and resources. Trust me. I’ve desperate-read like alltheparentingbookseva, and Dr Laura Markham’s books have been my absolute favourite. Especially if you have more than one kid. Because that, my friend, is a whole new world of pain/gain. (Note: If you have a strong-willed child, this book may save your sanity – Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.)

I love how much emphasis this course places on self-regulation. So instead of looking outwards and blaming my kids for “making me angry”- I need to look inwards first and figure out why I’m getting so rattled in the first place. I need to accept my feelings of overwhelm/anger/helpless/etc, choose to respond from a place of calm, and not react from my own triggered lizard brain. Yup, easy to say, hard to do. But the beauty of this approach is the more I practice pausing while one (or both) of my little girls are screaming/crying/wailing/etc, then the easier it’ll be. I’m telling you, kids under the age of 5 are Zen masters who can train you to be one too, but only if you don’t terrify them into compliance. Be open. There’s a lesson in there.

Special note: It’s so hard not to yell at your kids when you’re angry, or when they don’t cooperate. JUST LISTEN! OBEY ME! NOW! DON’T SHOUT AT ME! Gah. Now research shows how harmful that is.

But it’s so hard not to get mad at kids! I know, I know. I’m not saying don’t get mad, because every day offers plenty of opportunities of button-pushing behaviour…I’m just saying don’t yell, don’t spank, don’t emotionally blackmail/abuse..that kinda stuff. Find another way to discharge that stress. Just not on your kid(s). I’ve seen what happens in the long-run. Said kid will grow up and not want to be around you anymore. BUT when you inevitably mess up and lose it, which every parent does at some point because we are HUMAN…just say sorry. Hug. That teaches your kids something too – how to apologise when you mess up, and how to make things right. Valuable life lesson.

Why No Child Needs Punishment

The Secret of Not Yelling When You’re Having a Bad Day

If you’re a chronic yeller, then something isn’t balanced in your life. Yelling like that every day is exhausting for you, your spouse, and your kids. There is a better way of living. And you can learn how. And your kids will cooperate without you needing to shout! As impossible as that future feels right now (I’m in the thick of it) – one day, our kids will grow up into adults and move away. How far away depends on how connected they feel to us, right now, when they’re still little. So. Hang in there. This is hard work. It’s every day. It’s relentless. But this chaos can also be fun, joyful, and full of wonderful surprises.

Here’s the course outline:

Week 1
Peaceful Parenting 101
In this session, I’ll introduce you to the 3 big ideas that will change your life as a parent and shift your family, over the next 12 weeks, to less drama and more love.

Week 2
Regulating Your Own Emotions
You’ll learn tools this week to notice when you’re getting close to the edge, and powerful practices to return yourself to calm. If you’re a yeller, here’s where you take your Vow of Yellibacy.

Week 3
Connecting with Your Child
Parenting is 80% connection and only 20% guidance, because until children feel connected they have no reason to follow our guidance. In this session, you’ll learn best practices for staying connected with your child, and specific tools for reconnecting after tough times.

Week 4
Parenting for Emotional Intelligence
This week you’ll learn how emotions work, including some secrets about anger that most people don’t know, how to help your child empty a full emotional backpack, and how to heal even the most turbulent emotions. We’ll practice using empathy, your magic wand, to give your child’s brain the best possible environment to learn to self-regulate.

Week 5
Discipline
In this session, we’ll discuss why children misbehave and what the research says about the best way to guide your child and teach the important lessons. You’ll learn how children develop self-discipline and impulse control and why time-in works while time-out doesn’t. We’ll practice setting limits that stick, without power struggles or drama.

Week 6
Preventive Maintenance
You know those problems that always seem to blow up in your face and land your family in the breakdown lane? You can avoid most of those surprises with preventive maintenance. This week we’ll explore the power of routines, empathy, special time, scheduled meltdowns and other preventive maintenance practices.

Week 7
Tips for the Transition to Peaceful Parenting
If you’ve been relying on bribes, threats and punishment to get your child to cooperate, you can expect some bumps as you and your children learn new patterns of relating. This week you’ll learn some tips to make this transition easier for your family.

Week 8
Self-Care
You can only give your kids what you have inside. This week, you’ll create a self-care plan to keep your cup full, so you can be emotionally generous with others. We’ll focus a lot on emotional self-care, or how to parent yourself!

Week 9
Mastery: Developing resilience, self-discipline and grit.
This week we explore how children develop the fortitude that leads to mastery. We’ll practice encouraging rather than praising, and learn how to find the sweet spot between free range and helicoptering.

Week 10
Healing Your Triggers
Those times when you say or do something you later regret? They’re always when you’re triggered, so you get hijacked by anger. This week, I’ll guide you to begin identifying and healing those triggers, so you don’t get upset so often, and can recover more quickly when you do.

Week 11
Siblings
This week, we’ll apply the peaceful parenting principles to raising siblings, so you can stop the fighting and raise children who will be friends for life. You’ll learn simple yet powerful ways to foster a loving, supportive bond between siblings, and teach your kids to navigate conflict constructively.

Week 12
Putting it all together
This week, Dr. Laura answers questions from Course participants in a Live Call. We’ll celebrate how far you’ve come! And we’ll help you put together a plan to use what you’ve learned, every day, to stay on track in the future.

Click here to get notified when the course open next on November 19!

I’ll be reading at Readings@Seskan!

white ceramic teacup with saucer near two books above gray floral textile

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Love reading? Enjoy writing? Want to support local writers? Come down to Readings@Seskan this Saturday 🙂 The ever-supportive and wonderful Sharon Bakar invited me to read an excerpt from my unfinished short story collection. Thank you Sharon!

I’ve been meaning to attend for so long, and am so excited that I’m actually days away. (InshaAllah nothing cataclysmic happens from now until then, ahem)

***

Update: Hanna Alkaf’s Q&A at Kino was wonderful. I enjoyed hearing her story about her own journey as a prolific reader, and how that shaped her writing. I really appreciated how honest she was about how much hard work writing is.

It was great to hear how supportive her editor (Zareen Jaffery) is in not italicising words in Malay and Chinese. Makes for a much more fluid and Malaysian story. She read her first chapter and I can’t wait to read the rest of it when her book is out on Feb 5th 2019!

Her advice to me? FINISH A MANUSCRIPT. Because I have like three unfinished manscripts, but my “book is in [my] first draft,’ #hannasaid #mustlistenlah

Plus! Her stunning book cover has been revealed! So Malaysian – I mean, just look at Melati’s uniform! Read more here.

Reflections

IMG_7728Here are some of my poetry notes during Baraka Blue’s poetry workshop during his first visit to Malaysia. I flipped back a few pages and noted the date – 21/5/2014. Pre-babies. A lifetime ago. These were nights where I performed my poetry on the same stage as Jamal Raslan, Malaysian spoken word guru. Baraka Blue sat in the audience, my teacher thoughtfully watching my word play. My nights are now spent communing with my daughters, or simply enjoying the solitude when they are asleep. I have moved from the performance stage, a public space, to a very, very private space. Expansion, contraction. The cycle of life.

We’re on Day 9/30 of Baraka Blue’s online poetry workshop, and it’s such a treat, writing and reading poetry every single day.  I struggle with the discipline of writing daily, and being part of a safe, spiritual writing space has been so, so helpful and so, so healing. It is so exciting for me to lean into the spiritual practice of poetry! I’m learning so much from my teacher and classmates. Interestingly, writing poetry has been unlocking my creative juices for my fiction and creative non-fiction works. Woo! Bonus.

On those inevitable bad days, even writing a word will do. And the words add up to lines, lines add up to stanzas, and stanzas add up to poems. Speaking of poems, please scroll down to my Day 8 poem, inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke’s gorgeous, gorgeous poem You Who Never Arrived.

Reading Rilke’s poem, so full of haunting longing, catapulted me almost a decade ago, when I was a young student of knowledge in Jordan, I remember being torn by so much longing. Longing for the Divine, for marriage, for children….now that I’m in my thirties, alhamdulilah, I have the marriage and the children I always wanted. They simultaneously give me so much joy and also stop me from jumping onto my next plane adventure lol. Ah well. Gotta wait til my girls are older, then we can adventure around the globe together ❤

 

Day 8 Poem – Wanderlust

A decade ago
I sat upon a mountain and
sang qasidas to You
my fractured heart
only comforted by this –

one day, I would be gone
and these giants would
remain

my brother hovered behind me
making sure that
I wouldn’t fall off said mountain
or injure myself
in other ways

the traveller inside me still
longs for deep forests
blue desert skies
vast oceans
for in motion, I see You

I am homebound now
growing two daughters
from scratch
like bread, they rise

It’s harder now to
catch glimpses of You
when my days are filled
with so much minutiae

Sometimes –
From the periphery
You surprise me
– my youngest’s gummy laugh
my eldest’s fearless dance
I forget myself
for a heartbeat

and then I remember
and fall back to earth

You are so close! and yet, always out of reach

The Naming

Aaaaaaaah! This is the sound of my EXCITED KAKAK SQUEE! My adik’s poetry book is available at Wardah Books! Buy buy buy!

OK. More coherent words.

Taskeen, Husna (in utero) and I were lucky enough to make it to Aisyah’s chapbook reading in October last year. It was such a gorgeous, unifying event. It was wonderful to witness people from all walks of life come together for the sake of poetry. This is the beauty of art, and how it transcends so much.

Aisyah’s reading was so well-received, and I marvelled at how she had her first chapbook published in her early twenties. May this be the first of many more!

She very sweetly named (ha!) me as her nominated poetry reader, and I was so thrilled to be able to read some of my own work. I have a video of my reading, somewhere, and hope to upload it soon-ish. Here’s to my poetry being birthed one day soon and finding its way next to Aisyah’s at our favourite bookstore ever.

Once I re-read The Naming, I can post a proper review ❤ I remember loving how experimental, brave and lyrical it is. And I have a signed copy muahaha.

 

It’s a girl!

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Alhamdulilah, I gave birth to my second baby girl, Husna Aminah Binti Mohamed Irfan at 12:56 am, Friday, 12th January 2018. She was 40 weeks and 10 days, a solid 3.53 kg, and 52 cm long ❤

For any mamas looking for a gentle birth-supportive hospital, I highly recommend Dr Bheena and her Columbia Asia PJ team of nurses and midwives. Dr Bheena was hands-off and supportive enough to respect my birth plan, trust my birthing instincts, leaving me and my amazing Pak Bidan/birth coach husband, Irfan, to birth my baby.

I really recommend Hafsa Hasan’s wonderful holistic care for any fear release exercises and homeopathic support. After weeks of having my baby’s head being engaged and in position, all it took was one session with Hafsa on Tuesday, and I gave birth to Husna early on Friday morning. Woo! She does Skype consultations for anyone outside KL.

Husna is almost one month old, and I’m trying to nap when I can during the day. I’m so grateful for the support of my mum and mum-in-law – they help keep my 2.5 year old daughter entertained so I can rest.

It’s still early days in this precious and exhausting fourth trimester, and after putting my feet up, getting my painful and healing postnatal massages, heat pack treatment, herbal washes, belly-binding etc I’m starting to feel a lot better.

Which brings me to my next point – HOW DOES ANYONE RECOVER WITHOUT CONFINEMENT CARE???? IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?

giphy

My next question – HOW DOES ANYONE HAVE MORE THAN TWO CHILDREN??

Elmo

Sigh. Work in progress, work in progress. Learning to juggle life with a newborn and a toddler is truly a laboratory of patience-making. I guess the difference this time is that I know the painful stages will end…only to be replaced by something else lolol.  And then my toddler and newborn smile at me and I’m mush again. Haha. I live for them squishy smiles. Ahh smelling my newborn’s head makes all that sleep deprivation worth it.

If you’re pregnant, want to be pregnant, or just are curious about all things related to babies and birth, check out some of my favourite resources:

101 Tips For Having A Natural Childbirth

Spinning Babies

Gentle Beginnings Doula Services

 

February 2017

….already? RIS is around the corner! My todder is almost 20 months. SubhanAllah. Time flies.

I love these reads:

  1. Surviving as an Introverted Mother
  2. 5 Strategies to Help Introvert Parents Maintain Their Sanit

One really amazing piece of advice by Anse Tamara Gray: recharge during the hour before Fajr, and the hour after. Now that is a goal worth aspiring to! That’s only really possible if I sleep early.

Pre-baby: Ah, how I love the long, uninterrupted hours of night! I can write lyrical prose and poetry and [insert whatever else that used to happen]

Post-baby: Must. Sleep. Zzzzz

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