The daily chronicle of my family as we embark on our quest to relocate from New York to Cairo... the impending journey to get there and the daily lives of myself, my husband and our four children... and other random thoughts while living in Cairo!

Looking to make contact with other Muslimahs who are like myself with small children living or will be living in a foreign country.

I invite you to share the experience with us as we try to make this happen!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Trying to raise our daughters with mirror images of themselves

I've started to take my daughter with me more frequently when I shop and I'm starting to see what she's looking at when we go to the mall or the supermarket. Now, I let her pick DVD's for her and her brother to watch- always either Diego, Dora, the Backyardigans or Elmo and she has a few Barbie movies... and I notice her looking at all the "big girls" when we go out and even at the age of 4, she has begun to take notice of what they're wearing. One day, when we were walking she said, "Mommy, look at her hair!" as the girl hair was very long like hers, MashaAllah and "I like her pants..." which the girl had on a pair of decorated jeans. So it made me realize truly how early we need to start to "instruct" our girls with the proper way of covering herself. Now, we started to put hijab on her just a little before she turned 2, not full time but to get her used to the idea of wearing it. Now that she's 4, she knows what it's all about... there are some days when she'll say to me, "Mommy, I don't wanna wear it today!"- these are the days when we paid a visit to the Dominican salon for her monthly deep condition and "blow out"- if any of you know about it or ever had one, you definitely know there's nothing else out there like it! But for the most part she doesn't protest about putting it on and on some days when the house is crazy and I'm trying to get everybody out to get some place on time, she'll even remind ME by yelling, "Mommy, you forgot my hijab!!!"... MashaAllah.

It made me start to think about all the images they see on a daily basis and how even when we think they're not listening, their little ears hear ALL things.... on more than one occasion while driving, if I had an episode of "road rage" and called someone an "ignorant donkey", she would say to me "Mommy, why did you say that? That's not nice...."- and she's right. That's when I catch myself and tell her Mommy was wrong and that wasn't a nice thing to say and that I'm sorry. She would say to me in return, "Mommy, okay, NOW you're being a good girl... excellent, Mommy!"- the phrase I always tell her when she corrects her behavior, subhanallah.

So I never bought her any dolls until recently as my husband IS NOT an advocate of them but as a Mom, I knew I grew up with too many to count so I wanted to her to have a few so she would be able to "play house" the same way I did coming up... so I bought her three Pottery Barn Kids dolls as she fell in love with these particular ones when she saw their latest catalog in the house. While the dolls are fully dressed and look "normal" meaning not like those hoochie Bratz dolls, I said to myself I should find her something that would be more suitable for her as a little Muslimah- which started my quest for the beautiful Fulla doll. Now, I became familiar with the doll when it first came out but since she just came along and now she's starting to took at dolls, I thought I'd better be proactive and give her something to identify with in a positive way. When she visits her cousin's house in Long Island, she has more dolls than any one shelf in Toy'R'Us and they play with them for hours... including those provocative Bratz girlz... and I see she likes them as I sit there and watch her by the way she stares at them- NOT the image we want etched in that mind of hers!!!

We've also made it a practice of having her wear her abaya when she goes out to masjid so she can get used to that idea as well- and when I recently started researching where here in the US I could purchase the Fulla doll, I saw that you can get her in her abaya, in her prayer outfit, as a dentist, as a teacher and totally dressed up in a gown... just the thing I was looking for! They are quite costly but to me it's worth it- if I can buy her a non-Muslim PBK doll then I can pay a few more dollars to buy her something that she can identify her Mom, my friends and her little friend's Mommies with... properly covered and wearing a hijab! Even when I showed my 2 year old, Big Papi, the Fulla doll, he exclaimed, "That's Mommy!"...

MashaAllah, she LOVES wearing niqab when we visit one of my girlfriend's house or when my best friend is around, she'll take the niqab and put it on herself! At home since I don't wear one, she improvises by taking my inside scarf and tying it around her face... InshaAllah, I hope in the future she elects to wear one... she would look sooooo beautiful (MashaAllah). They need to make a Fulla doll complete with niqab!!!

Just jotting this down to remind myself and any of you sisters out there with daughters that they are sooooo much more aware than we realize and we need to be more diligent with showing our daughters to guard their beauty by covering properly- early intervention saves a WHOLE lot of headache later...

25 comments:

*~Ange~* said...

dolls are good. there are many hadiths wear aisha, the prophets wife, was mentioned as having dolls and playing with them infront of her husband, either alone or with friends.

Empress Anisa said...

Ange- yes, I know but it seems alot of people get caught up with the dolls having "eyes" and all that jazz- so I said I wouldn't "go there" but how many of us didn't have at least one doll? So.... I broke down! lol
But I'm trying to present it right so she can see herself and me in those beautiful dolls, MashaAllah

Umm Travis said...

I heard there are a lot of women who make dolls without faces. I think that wouldnt really be hard after a few tries, if you want to make an effort ;)

Cute post

Empress Anisa said...

Umm Travis, my sista! Yes, I knew one sister who makes them but she's since moved back home to Turkey... if you know of anyone there, please do share the info- I would prefer those to any other... and that way I keep the hubby from hitting the roof! :O

Inspired Muslimah said...

Salaams sis, Masha'allah she sounds sooo wonderful and mature at 4, about the hijab. More than me!! :(
LOL,

malizea the french hijabi said...

Asalam'aleykoum I know a sister who makes beautiful dolls without eyes well even withou mounth and nose, but there really pretty mashallah, If you want one just tell me I'll give you the infos!! wa salam

Empress Anisa said...

Inspired- my princess is quite mature for her age, MashaAllah... I wish you could meet her- definitely a chip off the ole block! lol
It's called conditioning... train them early and they will comply- wait too late than they're not interested especially when they see all they do around them. Yours will come in time- as I commented your nice blog today (MashaAllah) since your a nee revert, take your time- start with long loose skirts and loose tops, InshaAllah, when the time is right, you'll know when to throw your abaya on... and won't look back!

Malizea- oh sis, that info would be great! Please here in comments so if other sisters out there are looking for the same foe their little Mamas, they can contact the sister- Shukran!

malizea the french hijabi said...

the dolls cost 15 USD without the shipping price! I'll put pics on my blog inchallah as soon as possible! I'll tell you also the shipping price inchallah!

Empress Anisa said...

Malizea... thanks sis! Look forward to your post, InshaAllah

malizea the french hijabi said...

ooo it's ragdolls!! not dolls like barbie or fulla!!

Desert-Veil said...

Mash'Allah, she sounds so wonderful and to be so young! Insha'Allah when I have children and if it's a girl, I pray that she is as loving, mature and understanding towards Hijab.

OK now you HAVE to let me know where you got the Fulla doll sis! Even as old as I am; I WANT ONE ;o) hehehehehe

Naimah Umm Khadijah said...

Assalamu 'alaykum sis, Masha'Allaah your daughter sounds so cute, and mature for her age subhanAllaah, would love to meet her insha Allaah.
With regards to the hijab etc.. it is best to get them used to it early on, as you mentioned, I started my duaghters early, and I have allowed them to take if off now and again, especially in summer when it's so hot, but now my 8yr old is wearing it all the time, alhamdulillaah she is accustomed to it, and I hope she will manage it in the summer insha Allaah, my 5yr old does on the odd occasion not wear it, but then she's normally got a hat on instead.
They are verrrry observant, subhanAllaah, my daughters will also correct me at times on certain things, it's important now at this age for them to have an islamic identity, there are so many things out there that can tempt them, my eldest daughter not long back, developed a like to high school musical, through her cousins and from school (which was a muslim school)subhanAllaah, it's all part of them growing up, but we do have to instill in them love for Allaah, teach them the deen, and how the woman covering is so beautiful and special masha'Allaah, as we are obeying Allaah, and a protection from bad things insha Allaah.
My daughter likes to play a game where she pretends she's coming to my house, masha'Allaah, she goes to get ready, and each time she always get's her abayah on,hijab and most often niqab also,Allaahumma baarak feehaa. May Allaah guide us and our children, and keep us upon the siratul mustaqeem, ameen.

Btw sis, here is a link for the 'aisha dolls' I think they're based in UK, but they are faceless and very cute masha'Allaah.
http://aishadolls.com/

Empress Anisa said...

Umm Khadiajh- with the high school musical thingy, my niece is into that too, the same one she plays (my niece is 8) but Alhumdulillah, since it's not like a cartoon, she isn't interested! Yes, they need to able to eastblish their identity early so they wont have issues later on as they mature- hence my other reason to wanting to move from New York- there are plenty of sisters here but the feeling, the connection and the Islamic environment is not here... I want her to able to see MORE women in abayas and hijabs, not just Mommy's friends or at the masjid on Fridays- so she knows it the norm and not that she looks different. Whenever you're in Cairo, you're always welcomed in my home- my daughter would LOVE to play with yours... and MashaAllah, she's sooooo social and friendly, I hope she stays that way! Hey, summer is coming... any vacation time? lol
And thanks for the link for the Aisha dolls

Malizea- rag dolls are okay! They don't have to be fancy like Ms. Barbie or Sista Fulla... lol

Desert- InshaAllah, I pray if you have daughters they LOVE hijab and niqab!(Ameen)
Okay, what I did was google "fulla doll" and three sites came up- pick ur choice! The first one has the abaya Fulla for 20.00 US but the dentist, teacher and prayer one run from 39.00 to 55.00 US... to set an example for our little Muslimahs (and in your case for you to play with- LOL) I think it's worth it- enjoy!

Naimah Umm Khadijah said...

Yes definitely better to be in a muslim country insha Allaah, so our children especially don't feel so much of a minority, and see hijab as the norm.
So masha'Allaah your in Cairo now? sorry I havent been keeping up with your posts much lately, but I'm happy for you, how are you settling in and finding the transition?

Jazakillaahu khairan for the invite, insha Allaah if I ever get the chance to come to Egypt, will definitely come visit insha Allaah. Would be lush to meet you and your kids.

Empress Anisa said...

Umm Khadijah- not in Cairo just yet, InshaAllah, if all goes as planned, by the beginning of next month!

"Would be lush to meet to you and your kids"... I'm loving that- so very English! lol

Empress Anisa said...

Desert- to be exact on the website to purchase the Fulla dolls here in the US:

http://www.fulla.us/

Three stores will pop up when you click "where to buy".... enjoy!

Naimah Umm Khadijah said...

Oh ok thought you were there already, alhamdulillaah, subhanAllaah this mth will probably fly! insha Allaah.

People here say that word alot, especially in Wales (where I'm orginally from), almost everything is described as 'lush' lol.

Blabber and Ranter! said...

Awww Subhan'Allah sis, amazing post. yr daughter sounds soo cute! may Allah swt bless her and may she grow up to be a beautiful muslimah just like her mom :)

A'qilah Saiere. :)

hijabee said...

Mashallah, your daughter is beautiful inside and out! May Allah protect her and May she always stay that way. You're right, it's good to start early coz kids are conditionned by their environment and especially their parents. See, we have a dilemma in our house. My stepdaughter is 11 years old and she isn't muslim because she spends more than half the time with her mother and grandmother who are Christian and Budhist respectively. Because she is so grown, it's hard for us to instill Islam in her. Her dad tries by teaching her little surahs and so on but sometimes we don't know what to do since once she is out of our household, she gets other teachings, goes to church and so on..... I really don't know what's the Islamic thing to do in this case. All we can do is pray that Allah guide her...

Empress Anisa said...

Hijabee- InshaAllah, I hope Allah leads the little girl in the right direction (Ameen). I mean, that IS alot to deal with- not one religion but three... that can be a bit overwhelming especially since she doesn't have a "central" base that the others could be deemed as an occasional interference.
InshaAllah, I do hope my princess stays this way- I watch her and pray that Allah guides her heart and make her a pious Muslimah, INSHA ALLAH... especially with all the trappings this gruesome world has to offer, as a parent I become very afraid. We try to instill the best values but they're not with us the rest of their lives (hey, that's not a bad idea- marry them off and keep them all home with me! lol) so we won't always be able to control all the outside "stimulus".
And I look at her and things she does and says... subhanallah, the pure innocence of children....

Millz said...

Salaams! I love this post. As crazy as it seems dolls are almost like role models to little girls. It' so important for them to have images of beauty that reflect who they are. Growing up, my mom would only buy me Black dolls. All my Barbies and rag dolls were Black. My mom has always said that did that so that I would have an image of an African-American women as beautiful. So many of the dolls on the market now are just so over the top. I saw a doll the other day wearing a a crop top, leather jacket and mini skirt and knee high stiletto boots! I would NEVER buy that for any little girl in my life because I would NEVER want her to think that that is the way a woman should present herself. I think it;s so great that you're giving your daughter positive images that are a reflection of the woman she will become.

Anonymous said...

oh please tell me you know how to do a dominican blowout!!!!!!!! my daughter needs ones! nice post by the way!

amy

Empress Anisa said...

Amy-

Sorry, just getting back to you! Busy, girl... anyhoo, I take her to a Dominican salon where they have this technique of washing, conditioning and then blowing the hair out (mega straight) with a high heat blow dryer- sounds damaging, right? Well, I let her go once a month and the conditioners they use as fabulous so there's no real damage to her hair. If you have patience, you could do it yourself but I'm not sure you'll be able to find anything there remotely like the products they use here- InshaAllah, if I have the time, I'm going to try to get some of that conditioner to use once a month to keep up her treatments.
A good high heat blow dryer and a excellent round bristle brush- good luck!

Empress Anisa said...

Amy- Most important, I guess I SHOULD tell you how to actually do it! Duh...
When the hair is damp from conditioning, take the hair, part it in small sections and with each section, take the dryer on high heat and the brush, starting from the roots, apply the heat of the dryer directly to the hair and go all the way down to the roots. Repeat this step until the hair is straight and proceed to the next section. When the hair is all done, take the brush and make sure to apply ample heat the "edges" so they are just as straight as the rest of it. Then do one overall sweep of all the hair with the dryer and brush (meaning with all the hair together blow dry some more)... Ta Da!

desertmonsoon said...

You can get the fulla dolls here so easily and they aren't very expensive either I don't think. I bought them for my nieces, who aren't muslim, just as something different. They really liked them. My older sister (mother of one of my nieces) was impressed with the plastic underwear that they have on underneath which prevents them from being naked even if left undressed. I still remember my father (who is very conservative) bellowing at my little sister to pick up her dolls and dress them when she left her naked barbies sprawled across the living room floor.