Monday, October 17, 2011

Scarred for life

Thumper is down for quiet time. Khubz is in full time kindergarten now (a whole separate blog). I go to take the longest, hottest shower of my life. I am pooped but it feels so good.

I finish, get dressed y consider a short nap (what a blissful thought.) I take two steps out of my steamy bathroom y jump back.

Thumper is sitting on the couch. He came out, saw I was in the shower y turned on the tv. Lucky us, it was the rerun channel y the current selection? Cops. Great. Cops.

Time to drop another quarter in his therapy fund. . .

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Time to worry?

Scene: thumper is heading to time out after hurling his body repeatedly at Scully.
Khubz: Thumper!! Be gentle with mama! Be nice to her!! Because if you kill mama first then we'll never get a puppy because mommy is allergic!!!!

Monday, September 5, 2011


We have just finished getting the kids in bed.

Khubz had her birthday party today. Fairies. It was awesome.

A beautiful day in the park
hide handmade fairies in the woods
build and decorate your own fairy houses
line up in front of the pinata that khubz decorated herself
frolic on the playground in the sunshine
get your sparkle on with glitter on your eyes
gaze at the tia-lila-made clay fairy on the cupcake
excellent friends
marvelous family
explore the world of a woodland fairy

kind of day.

Total bliss.

I love my children.
I love my family and community and this day and moment forever and ever.

I love I love I love
this feeling of bliss
and love.

I love I love I love
watching a gaggle of cousins and friends race across the park green
the joyous study of possibility in the tall grasses
tromping across the bridge
the stand of mommies and mamas and tias and friends all watching
and watching out for all
these dazzling children

today was love
in glittering

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Thumper's word for dental floss. I think it has something to do with the spearmint variety we recently got.

"I need some flossting!"

He loves to dangle it in his mouth with the sides hanging out. "I ama vampire!" And a minty fresh one at that.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Outside today

We are at the picnic table with watercolors y markers. Painting y storytelling.

I know for sure this is the finest stuff in life.

Monday, August 22, 2011

I should mention

That I am completely in love with my life.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

And not the sexy kind

It turns out therapy is a drag. . .

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My working metaphor

i'd rather something edgy:
fingernails or cleavage
or blossoms on a fig tree

not this.
i don't want this
running through
all my best stories y lies.

i don't want my working metaphor
to be my body
or invisibility
or skin or fat or size

don't want consumption
don't want eating
don't want to swallow
each emotion

don't want food

i do not
to feed
on this

but i
am a poet
& this is
the meal


it doesn't matter
if you say queer
or gay or femme
or dyke

i am not insecure
about who i love
or what that
makes me

my only anxiety
comes from your
silent assumptions

so sure
that all those words
you'd never use
don't apply

Thursday, July 14, 2011

old tx seabed

my children's eyes

are full of fossils
on this ancient ocean floor

their pockets fill with
dust & dirt & rock
and the imaginings
of a vanished sea

nostalgic hijab

i miss the
tug & tuck
wrap, pull, down & around
no pins or clips but
practice, discipline, training
i miss the privacy
like a click of a closed door
the feeling that my body was
my own
& not
a public offering

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I wrote the previous post out in a notebook before posting it bc I didn't have computer access.

This morning Khubz is flipping through the notebook (her tinkerbell notebook--how appropriate is that?) and finds my scrawl. "what is that?" she asks.

"it's mommy's." Scully simply replies.

"but what *is it??*"

"it's a poem. Mommy wrote a poem about who she is. "

"then why does it say, 'I really am a duck'?"

Scully bursts out laughing, compliments her reading skills y sends her off to me.

Now we have animal poems on our agenda for this morning.

It does make me love life a bit.

Shut the fuck up

I really am a dyke.

These posts are not full of girl-on-girl action, of heaving y licking y the occasional fist. Frankly, I wish there was more fruit here at the basket but I am a dyke who also needs to pay bills, pack tomorrow's lunch, argue with my partner y push the laundry off the bed so I can collapse.

And I really am an Arab.

I am pretty useless in my americanized, non-Arabic speaking way. I am not brown enough to be a collectible but my light skin y perfect English make me oh-so-approachable. My ethnic inheritance includes a load of anger, a suspicious name, fearful reverence of the evil-eye and poly cystic ovarian syndrome (the leading cause of infertility among Saudi women).

I never read the gaygirldamascus blog or the lezbireal site. My life is too messy to fulfill all the imaginings of racist boys bored with their own heterosexuality. They will surely continue jerking off to eachother while howling loudly about " not being taken seriously."

I will not compete with idiots y assholes about the glamor potential of my mis/representations.

I am busy carving out my actual existence.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mommy, I love you more

Than a grass hopper loves grass!

Gift received From the big girl this afternoon to hold forever in my heart.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Need to know basis

> I don't need to know who
> And I don't need to know why
> But I would like to know how long
> How long was the slice of processed cheese stuck to the outside of our screen door before someone noticed? It looked like it may have wintered there.
> Additionally, how long was it there after someone noticed? How long did it stick there, willfully ignored, in the hopes that someone else would defend the dignity of our backdoor?

Need to know basis

I don't need to know who
And I don't need to know why
But I would like to know how long

How long was the slice of processed cheese stuck to the outside of our screen door before someone noticed? It looked like it may have wintered there.

Additionally, how long was it there after someone noticed? How long did it stick there, willfully ignored, in the hopes that someone else would defend the dignity of our backdoor?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Khubz wins a prize

For worst trip to the dentist ever. 

She is now asleep. 

She puked all over their carpeted reception area. Three times. She got puke all over her shirt y shoes. I took her to the bathroom to clean up y she left little vomit footprints the whole way. 

This happened right after we walked in the door. Before I could even give them her name. It was totally horrible. 

She felt much better after puking y wanted to stay so she cd get her teeth cleaned y get a new tbrush! I told her no. Really, it seemed like the only reasonable answer. 

I took her shirt off y wrapped my cardigan around her. Two receptionists were wearing masks y gloves y scrubbing up a lot of puke. It was disgusting. 

I want to take a tray of cookies or fruit or something in to them. I feel really bad. I don't know why puke is embarrassing but it is. They were so nice. I tried to clean it but they shooed me away with a "this happens more often than you might think".  I will think of that every time I see really ugly carpet at a dentist office. Ah, they're probably just planning ahead. 

There is apparently a stomach flu going round the preschool. 

Poor girl. When she said this morning that her tummy hurt I thought she was just nervous.

 One of these days I will learn to stop projecting!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My name keeps fucking up my whiteness

Scully & I were chatting about the events of the day and I said "but *I am* white for all intents & purposes. Its just that my name keeps fucking up my whiteness." She insisted that was the title of my next blogpost and here we are.

It seems like too much to explain but the boat now tips towards public school rather than homeschool. So she is enrolled for the fall. I have filled out the piles of paperwork to document her age & existence.

Then I get a phone call from the school district. They want Khubz to come in for a language assessment to see if she speaks english.
Yep. English.

Of course we think first of her race and name. In defense of the school district I did fill out a form that indicates I speak English, Scully speaks English and Spanish and Khubz speaks English with some receptive Spanish. So, in their defense, the word "Spanish" did appear on the language survey.

I get a call from a woman and she starts by saying "oh. you sound like you speak very good english." Thanks, I reply. I would be pretty lost without it as it is the *only* language I speak. She tells me that because I indicated another language exists in our home (beyond what is spoken by Dora the Explorer) we need to come in for an assessment.

It was a little funny. No, really. She's English speaking. I don't want to waste your time. Really.

But she insisted that we have to do an assessment simply because the wheels were in motion. Then it was less funny but still frivolous. So we set up a time to drop by the school so Khubz could speak.

Thumper is hanging out with Grandma. Khubz and I head off to the school. She is awed by the big-ness of the big-kid school. Awed into silence.
I am not kidding. Absolute & total silence.

The assessment starts with some challenging questions.
"what is your name?"
Khubz looks at me.
Can you tell them your name? I prod her. She shrugs. I look at her. Then she replies in her most heavily accented "G**********" ever. Then I ask her which nickname she prefers, Khubz or Khubzita. "KhubzITA" she offers, also in her best accent.

And that was pretty much it.

They'd show her a picture of a foot and ask what is it.
"foot" she'd mutter without moving her lips or looking at them.
"Can you use it in a sentence,honey? Can you say 'this is a foot'?" the woman asked.
"foot." she replied.

At some point (in about the first 3 minutes) she wouldn't even look at the woman. She turned to me, pulled my skirt around her and hid. Every once in a while she would make eye contact with me. The woman would try to engage her and Khubz would look up at me and say (in her best 2 year old voice) "mmmmommmmy!"

They started talking to me about ESL classes. I am not kidding.

Of course I support ESL and she would likely have met some fabulous friends and maybe her spanish would have even improved. (as might her Croatian, Swedish and Urdu--this university attracts a lot of international students due to a low cost of living.) But she speaks English.

I also never envisioned myself having to defend my kid's english. It is super weird to say "she speaks fluent english! put her in her proper place!!" But at the end of the day it is more weird to have my english-speaking child in an ESL class simply because she is shy and brown.

It was a bit unbelievable. "She is reading! Books! And I read her chapter books--not picture books! She is verbose, for fuck's sake!"

It was a good try on our part. Trying to sneak her in with the mainstream kids. But like a dash of coffee in the milk they spotted her right away.

She walked out of the school grinning at me like she was a little uncomfortable and a little giddy to see what I might do to her. As we left the building we spotted the library's bookmobile. "Look, Mom, the bookmobile! Can we please go borrow a book? I'll get one for Thumper too so he doesn't feel left out."

I stared at her. Sure, honey. Go ahead into the bookmobile. I'm going to stay out here and set myself on fire but I'll see you in a few minutes.

The next day the woman came by our house to attempt another assessment. We were in the middle of reading a book (in english.) Khubz introduced everyone (grandma, baby V, Maj and Thumper--all speaking english with a thick iowa accent.) She chatted about nocturnal creatures, whether or not they were primarily carnivorous, what kinds of magic school bus books we've read that explored these ideas. . .

To her credit, this woman seemed apologetic. The administration, she told me, said they had to go with the data they had. They could not take my word for it that my daughter speaks english, I could not fill out another form. So she simply wrote down every word Khubz said in the 10 minute visit. That was apparently enough to make her hand cramp up. She seemed to think this new data would be enough to get Khubz placed correctly.

Some of it was funny--because I know my kid speaks english and *a lot* of english

Some of it was creepy--because I'm sure in a parallel life my daughter "Betty Cathers" would not have garnered such attention
Some of it was sad--seeing Khubz get so small and shrink into the floor when the woman was speaking to her in Spanish especially. It made me want to scoop her up and yell "SO WHAT?! SHE DOESN'T SPEAK ARABIC AND NEITHER DO I BUT IT DOESN'T MAKE HER LESS WHO SHE IS! FUCK OFF ALREADY! AND I **DO** KNOW HOW TO SAY THAT IN ARABIC!". . . .ooooh. we're talking about me again. (uncomfortable grimace.) how did that happen exactly?

Some of it was just Khubz through and through. She is determined and stubborn and willful and enormously powerful when it comes to her own labor. She is self-possessed. And (at the risk of fucking up my whiteness even more) I would like to add a masha'allah.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Let's please all remember

when you talk about muslims
you are talking also about
those who kneeled in prayer before
water cannons
machine guns &
smoke bombs

And when you talk about america
please remember also
where the tanks come from

Bright shining son

There's tons of bright white snow everywhere. Thumper is squinting his eyes y keeps saying "it's too early!" which I think means bright. Makes me chuckle about how he made that connection. It's too early!!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

3 guesses

"mommy. I need you to come here"

"what's up, honey?"

"um. I sneezed a big sneeze and now there is something on my shirt and I don't know what it is but I need you to get it off. Because it's gross. Yeah, mommy, really gross. Please come get it. Yechhh."

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Something new

It is seven am on a Saturday. Khubz has woken up y I heard her in her room convincing thumper to wake up. "it's morning! It's wake up time!! Come on!"

I readied myself for the migration to the mommies bed. But they are still in their room. They are playing together. It sounds like they're playing with cars.

They haven't sought us out at all. They woke up y wanted each other.

Yesterday was all time-outs all the time. This is a nice start to a new day.

Friday, January 7, 2011

impromptu sensory tables

I have a memory of being three and finding a bowl with a small amount of popcorn left in it. My family had an air popper and to make up for the healthfulness of the snack, we would melt butter (probably margarine, before we knew the menace of trans fats) and pour it over the fat-free, air popped goodness. I may have eaten what was left in the bowl, I don't remember.

I emptied the bowl of leftover husks (probably poured it on the ground.)

It was a big metal mixing bowl, light but sturdy.
I put my bare feet in the bowl and squished and squashed and "skated" in a circle. The bowl was greasy from the leftover butter and streaky from the leftover salt. I spun around and around, climbed in and out again until my salty, buttery footprints were discovered. I'm sure (after they vomited) they put me in time out.

Khubz was getting over a slight fever today. Thumper was hyper because we'd been in the house all day. Somewhere between the bonkers atmosphere and constantly running noses I got irritated with them. Calm down! And go wipe your nose!!

Then I got out a large pan, poured some uncooked white rice, got some scoops and measures and stepped back. They poured and "splashed" and drew and stood in the pan, sprinkled it into each others' hair. . . All the stuff the parenting books talk about. And it calmed them. They focused, they engaged, they settled.

And I got to remember being in my popcorn bowl.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


When we cook up a fresh batch of playdoh or, gasp, open a newly purchased canister I take 3/4 out and hand it to the kids. They each get their own color. At some point I encourage them to switch. I hover, collecting stray scraps y return them to their proper segregated container.

One day khubz y thumper swapped half for half. The next question still makes me grimace.

"Can we mix them?" khubz inquires.

1. You are a kid playing with playdoh. ••your•• playdoh. You can do anything you want y it shames me that you felt the need to ask.

2. Oh my GOD. The kids are going to mix the playdoh. I can't watch!! (deep breath)

My new years resolution is to mix more. It is just playdoh, for goddess sake. Or glitter. Or paint. Or gravy.

We have a lot of fun here at the fruit basket, especially when I can relax my shoulders. The table must get wiped down anyway. The floor will need to be mopped anyway. There is a shitton of work to keep things moving around here. I should make the mess worth it.

Ps. Additional resolution? Get a freakin tattoo already. I think on my wrist. I think it should say "inshallah" but maybe "mashallah" wd be better? Votes are welcome--as are donations! :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Thumper 2.0

In twenty four hours our beloved Thumper will be two years old.

Have I told you what he's up to?

He is a total dancing queen. We listened to "I'm bringing home a baby bumblebee" about 149 times between TX and iowa. Other favorites are ABCD (sung on his OWN, no thank you, mommy), Jungle Book music, Dan Zanes, Eidelwies (sung as sweet lalo) and Elmo's song. He taps his toes but really loves to swing his hips and dash his arms about.

"abyater?" is "maybe later?" he can take a "no" to almost anything as long as he also gets a "maybe later." Of course, then he follows up. "aternap?" Yes, baby. After nap.

He loves a mess. Art is a fine byproduct. Or bread. Or nothing. But the mess. The mess, itself, is the thing. (btw, check this out for some Thumper in action pics.)

He loves bath time and naked time and cuddle time and dinner time. He is possessive about everything (as he frequently has to scrap to keep what is his.) He is unendingly sweet and frequently bonkers.

We are doing a train theme for his birthday party next week.

He has got blue, yellow and red. Other colors are still confusing.
There's lots of stuff that I did, unthinkingly, with Khubz that I need to remember to do with him. Like finger plays, "where is thumbkin?" all that stuff.

He seeks Khubz out for guidance. "how can I get to the cookies on the counter?" and they collaborate. He doesn't want to go to bed without her. I remember seeing the kinship between Noise and Funk, how they looked to eachother as a reference point for home. Thumper and Khubz have that now. It fills me with warmth.

When we were packing up the van in texas Scully and I were dragging suitcases through the living room and out the front door. Thumper grabs Scully's laptop and drags it along (sized like a suitcase to him) saying "I gotit! I got it!" waving away anyone in his path and then hollering, "I'm coming!!"

He pet the horse in Texas and it shook its head at him, razzing its lips and delighting him to no end. When we came upon the grasshopper carcass I offered it to each of the children. Tito (6 yo cousin) declined. Khubz held it and pet it and asked if it was "real" and had been alive. She speculated as to its death. Thumper took it in his palm and closed his hand around it, smiling broadly with the satisfying crunch! He was thrilled.
He is so big and still he fell asleep in grandma's arms today for nap. In the midst of chaos. Children running around, presents on the ground kind of chaos. He cuddled up, nestled in and fell asleep. He is my grand, two year old boy.
I love him. Fiercely.

this, though,

makes me think twice about the homeschooling utopia in my head. It is a pic of Khubz on her first day back at preschool. She was thrilled. To pick out and put on a special "school" outfit, to pack her backpack, to "show me the way" from the car to the door. She loved every piece of the ritual of school. That's something to think about too.


I love having Khubz go to preschool. It is three days a week, two and a half hours in the morning. Perfect. An hour of free time where she directs her own play, explores, cavorts with friends, runs around in a space other than our house, half an hour of snack time, twenty minutes outside on the playground. . . It seems the perfect fit for us.

Scully and I have been talking homeschooling all the way back from texas (the most fabulous trip we have ever had, btw.) She's ready to switch our room with the study so there's more space for craft/learn/do. I am surprised (and thrilled) with how excited she is about the idea of homeschooling. We both feel like we need to do some more research into options, resources etc. We aren't at the point of deciding anything. But it feels like we are approaching this question together. Nice.

In the mean time, all I want to do is make some lovely sandpaper letters, play some number games, and organize a journal to track the things the kids are learning.

Everyday Khubz asks me a million "why"s. "Why when you scoop up some snow in your hand does it melt and disappear?" There are lots of simple answers about heat and physical changes. I was much more excited by her question. "Does it disappear? What do you see in your hand?" "Water!" So we talked about water and snow and ice and steam being cousins. I am not pretending that I can prepare her for an organic chemistry class. I do think I can take in wonders, with Khubz and Thumper, and articulate our senses, notice how cornmeal feels, mix colors, make a salt map, craft/learn/go/do

I am excited about that.