My Zuzu


Zuzu is Z’s nickname. It came about when we were in Algeria – my brother in law called him Zuzu when he was about 6 weeks old and it has stuck with us ever since. 🙂

I feel somewhat emotional writing this post and wallahi the tears are forming. Motherhood isn’t easy – in fact its the hardest job anyone can ever do. And it is particularly trying when you have a challenging child. I think Zuzu was a shock to me as he is the complete opposite to his sister. He is demanding, emotional, stubborn, strong minded and will argue his point of view and yes all at the tender age of not even 4! He is who he is and I have finally realised that I cannot change him but nurture his good qualities and work with what I have and that is his unique personality mashaAllah.

I have been advised by many sisters that he will change as he gets older – they told me that when he was 2. Two years on and he is the same old Zuzu. His strong personality has often made me cry – wondering if he would be better off in school. There have been times where he has driven me absolutely angry mad where I really wonder what I’m doing wrong. I have cried to Allah, made so much dua for him that he will turn out okay and that Allah shows me the best way to handle his strong character. SubhanAllah, since the last part of my pregnancy with him (3 week pre-labour of 2-3 min contractions apart!) he has been my test.

Sometimes we look at people and we think that everything is rosy but we do not know the struggles people go through behind closed doors. Every mother wants the best for their child and every mother hopes that their child will grow up to be a good rounded indivdual. As Muslims, our aspirations for our children are even greater.

It has been a struggle with Zuzu and there have been many times where I have pondered as to how he will turn out. But this week – something has changed – I’ve had a breakthrough with him.

I don’t know whether its because I have consciously spent more time with him or whether it is the answer to my duas. Only Allah knows. But this week, I have seen a MASSIVE change in my son. He is speaking a lot more, asking more questions, understanding what I’m saying more and smiling and making us all roll over in laughter. He has become a very affectionate little boy and not the terror I thought he was.

This week, he has shown qualities I never knew existed. Tuesday, he had his second swimming lesson (he’s never had any lesson prior to this) and he shocked us all by going under the water and picking up a rod from the bottom of the swimming pool floor. The teacher came and spoke to me afterwards and commented on how hard he tries. Other children takes weeks and months. I couldn’t believe she was talking about my Zuzu – who I thought would struggle with anything.

And then, this week I started to teach him some phonics. I was amazed at how quickly he was learning his sounds, how much he enjoyed doing the fun activities with me and it made a huge difference to how he was during those days. Don’t get me wrong – he still has his moments especially with his little brother but something has changed mashaAllah.

I feel terrible for how I have labelled him. I now see my son, Zuzu, as a child who is different, unique with amazing potential. I guess its down to me as his Mum to help him with his potential and to bring out his best qualities. I often feel very guilty as a Mum – I think all mothers do. I have often felt particularly guilty about how I am with Zuzu but he said something to me a few days ago which made me smile. He said, ‘Ummi, you’re the best in the world!’ I really hope by approaching him in the best possible way that would be good for HIM will make me just that – the best Ummi for my children.

Here is my Zuzu’s week of home ed:

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19 responses »

  1. MashaAllah sis, boys are very different than girls to handle especially on the home school front. They are more demanding and need more time with you in order to get the activity done; my daughter seems more able to just ‘get on with it’ than the boys ever were. And, in my opinion, the grown up boys are just the same……they all just seem to need that one on one attention, lol! But, don’t worry sis you’re doing a great job mashaAllah and I pray that the success you have felt this week continues and grows inshaAllah.

    Wassalaam xXx

  2. Aaaah, you make me cry too! Masha’Allah, it takes a lot of patience and energy to be able to tend to your children’s needs – as you said each one has their own unique personality. What works for one, may not work for another. After some time, they may surprise you in beautiful ways – like Zuzu did. Today I read this: A good mother is worth a hundred teachers!
    You’re doing a great job, masha’Allah.
    Keep up the good work insha’Allah. xxx

  3. Asalaamu alaikum sis,

    May Allah guide you and your family and stengthen the bonds you have!

    I agree with you sis, I think sometimes if we as mums approach our kids slightly differently we can get different results from them subhanAllah.

    I have an almost 3 and a half year old, and she sees her older sister being “taught”….and sees the extra time she gets from me during this (although I know my eldest would rather I didn’t teach her so she could go off and play rather than do her work!)
    -but my 3yr old used to have majour erruptions….anything would set her off……….but alhamdulillah giving her activities to do like her sister has helped…as also I think maybe the fact she is getting a little older which does alot to their devolopment & communication skills……… well as me learning to “know” her to “know” her triggers and best approach to things inshallah! Alhamdulillah!

    I like your phonic book idea mashAllah…..we just shove all our J.P worksheets in the drawer….nice way of presenting them in a book together with sound images! Will have to pinch that idea sis 🙂 JazakAllah khayr!

    Asalaamu alaikum
    Umm Khadeeja x

    • Ws,

      Ameen to your duas sis! Motherhood is a learning experience and just when you think you have it sussed, there is one of your children that throws it all out of the window! Ah, the joys! 🙂

  4. Assalamu alaykum,
    I agree with the sisters that boys are different. They are usually very attached to Mum so this is why they are so emotional and demanding. My son has a very strong “no” personality. But I deal with it with a smile and “I know you are a good boy and will do the right thing”. Then I leave him alone instead of having a power fight with him and he comes with a smile saying he did all I asked for. Sometimes he says he will not listen to me after he didn’t get what he wanted. I tell him that Allah will not be happy with him and leave him to think about that.I avoid too much confrontation and power struggles. I let him be his own boy as long as what he does is not haram. In return he makes my life easier. I think this is a good arrangement for us and works well alhamdolillah. I think the clue is not to try to break them in order to establish parental authority. You said it very well that we need to accept who they are, nurture their good qualities and work with what we have.

    I avoid also pushing them to behave bad in the name of my authority. I try to give them freedom as much as possible in a controlled environment. I assert my authority only in situations I need to and I choose a way which is compassionate and understanding and gives room for discussion and choices. Otherwise we can end up tyrants who expect everything done whenever we want, the way we want, disregarding the feelings and needs of the children.

    Oh, I can write a book about raising children and how rewarding is the gentle approach.

    A sister showed me in youtube how they beat in schools the children in Arab countries. I was so shocked. I was thinking that this creates abusive individuals.

  5. Salaam,
    Maybe his progress in speaking and understanding has made a big difference. Maybe he was struggling with communication before, and getting frustrated when he couldn’t express himself.
    Physical activities may be an important mode of expression for him, which might be why he could succeed at the swimming, maashAllah.

    • Ws, could be a mixture of a few things but I do think its because of my approach towards him. I also feel that as you said, he needs more opportunities to do physical activities.

  6. I have a 3 year old and she is as your son was and she is still giving me a very very tough time. I have just started home schooling her (she went to school for 4 months and was a totally different personality there). However I feel like I am failing and have been thinking if I can really teach her anything… and I really want some advice on how to handle my daughter. I would appreciate it if you could email me so i can discuss it more with you on how to handle her, if you have the time.
    JazakAllah for sharing!

    • I’m not the best person to give you advice sis as I’m struggling myself and each child is very very different. All I can advise is to make dua and ask Allah to bring to you whatever you need to raise her well. May Allah make it easy. Ameen. x

  7. SubhanAllah,
    I thought I was reading a post about my 3 year old daughter lol. But, Alhamdulillah she has come a long way in our homeschooling.
    Just imagine having all the best behaved children, where would the challenges be and how would we learn the effective ways of parenting? Alhamdulillah, children force us to think, reflect, ponder and we learn so much through them. My trouble was comparing her to her elder sister and drawing my own conclusions. We should not compare siblings. Allah swt created them with a different character, at the end of the day Allah is Muqallibal Qulub- the changer of hearts. So, we keep doing what we can and inshaAllah put our tavakkul in Allah swt. Dua, dua, dua and best example. (I know it is easy, i always remind this to myself as well- Just dont show your anger to Zuzu at all, because kids know which buttons to press : ) )

    • Each child is different and no 3 year old is the same, I’ve learnt not to compare my children to others as they are all different. Zuzu is my challenge and test but alhamdulillah love him to bits!

  8. It would be lovely to read more stuff on things you do with lovely little zuzu 🙂 My son in 3 and a bit, and I will be starting some phonics with him soon inshaAllah. Your blog is such a big help!

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