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You may read the second part of this article here.

I love this one; with his brown eyes, cute dimples, and not-fully formed disarranged teeth. I call him ‘Bundle of Joy’ because he was born in twenny twenny; the year we were all occupied at the supermarkets, with plastic containers on our heads, and almost coming to blows for the tissue papers and sanitizers (wiilddd times!). I needed him and maybe my vanity allows me to say he needed me too, for I was there to receive him from the moment he took his first breath. But mostly, if I am really honest, I love him because he loves me too, almost in an obsessive manner.

‘You got what you wanted didn’t you?’ My mum would often chorus it to me when I complain that he should give me a moment to breathe. As if to rub it on my face, she would repeat it again when he is holding the lower part of my dress with his tiny hands, following me from room to room, from corner to corner, until I get to the washroom and I stare at him. He stares back with a fake cry until I close the door on his face. He continues whining till I am out and we continue our tailing game. When I am out of his sight, he comes and throws the door to my room open, and walks in with vigor. And when the door is closed, he lays down flat on the floor outside like a typical spoilt brat, crying. Once he sees the door opening, he slowly gathers himself up and seizes to cry. Or when I ignore him, he throws himself to the floor, down on his knees before finally lying flat on the ground. You can see him summon his cry from the bottom of his heart, his hand on his forehead and I roll my eyes ‘Drama king!’ Sigh. Is this how tough motherhood is?

They say the third’s time is always a charm. Indeed. How else did I deserve this love? I, who used to fight for Hassan and Halimi’s affection endlessly?! (Tough times y’all!) And suddenly I am receiving this profound love on a silver platter. Hassun (somehow all their nicknames start with H) comes to my room every morning blabbering and with a big smile, ready to terrorize the room, sometimes throwing anything he gets hold of out of the window. This makes me grab him and leave the room together. We sit in the sitting room and he cuddles up on my chest or other times on my lap, occasionally looking up to my face as we watch ‘Omar and Hana’ or ‘Dave and Ava’. He smiles often and sometimes he spontaneously kisses my hand, which warms my heart with all sorts of colours I never knew existed. He lets me kiss him endlessly which makes me appreciate how easy I am having it this time compared to the other two. And when it is his time to nap he lays his head on my shoulder as I pace back and forth singing or rather struggling with Swahili lullabies; more words missing than not. Or I decide to sing for him ‘You’re my honey bunch sugar plum…’ Again, with so many words missing, I realize this is not my thing at all. Yet when I get to the part ‘Snoogums, boogums’ (I googled this lol) which I sing as ‘Schikum chikum’, he bursts into laughter or gives me a big smile like it is the most amusing thing ever… and it melts my hearts. I imagine this is what motherhood is about; whether by biology or nurturing. It is these small, tiny moments of pure joy that make all the difference. So even when I want to breathe and he is attached to my side and I just want to put him down, I just have to look into his adorable eyes and joy fills my heart, erasing all the irritation he causes me in the first place.

While we are the inseparable duo the whole day, here’s the plot twist for you; when his mother arrives from work, he doesn’t even maintain eye contact with me. The theory is that if he looks at me, he probably assumes his mother will disappear. So my mere attempt of touching his hand or kissing his cheek brings about shooing me away with his agitated, ‘Nonono’. His ignore game so strong at this hour, and all I say is, ‘Well, morning shall come, shan’t it?’ Despite his arrogance when with his mum, I am content with the love I am given during the day. Granted, a mother will always be a mother, and I am not trying to compete with her. So I take my rest like the part-time mother I have become. My family calls me his ‘mama two’. It is not such a baaad job anyway. Any mother wouldn’t mind having some selfish-not-so-selfish hours to themselves. The next morning I resume having a tail; with his fast and tiny feet trying to catch up with me.

Hassan and Halimi have grown considerably. The once rebellious Hassan is now a disciplined, typical-first-born child. When I go pick them up from school, Hassan still has his shirt tucked in (almost). His socks are still above his ankles. He still has his mask on his ears. He wears his lunch bag on his neck until I arrive at his class when he hands it over. Who ever thought? (If you read My Happy Person 1 you know what I am talking about 😀 ) He is caring and affectionate and so loving. I see it every time he sees his baby brother Hassun on the table, or when the door is open; how he rushes to call out to an adult so he can be protected. Sometimes I’d send him downstairs to open the door and he will chorus ‘Hassun, Hassun’ to indicate that there is the risk of baby brother following him downstairs. He still hasn’t articulated his speech like other kids his age but he has significantly improved since he started schooling alhamdulilah. Once we get home from school, he quickly changes his clothes, eats, and asks to do his homework (mashallah thu thu thu). He then sits and watches ‘Numberblocks’ which is pure math. Sometimes we look at what he is watching and just be amazed and amused. He would be watching multiplication of rather huge numbers you’d think he is in grade 4 (or above) and not PP 2. He seems to be thoroughly enjoying it because he is fully focused and complains if you dare change the channel. As such, he’s memorized rather difficult multiplication numbers bigger for comprehension than his age, so we call him our little genius mashallah tabarakallah. I look at him concentrating and call out his name. He smiles shyly. I tell him ‘I love you’, he says it back, quickly before looking back at the TV. He says it back now; without hesitation or arrogance. My dad was right after all; sometimes you should let people appreciate you at their own timing without forcing your love on them.

Halimi is the total opposite; he is cheerful, charming, full of energy, and playful mashallah. When I pick him up from his classroom, he has no mask, his shirt untucked, and his shoes untied, full of dust. His teacher often has something to say, ‘He sleeps the entire afternoon’, ‘He was crying for his mother’ ‘His Juzuu is torn’. SMH. I tie his shoes and off we go. Throughout our trip home, he is shouting, ‘LOOK! LOOK! MOTORCYCLE!’ ‘LORRY!’ ‘COW!’ ‘LOOOOK! TREE!’ ‘VEHICLE!’ With a lot of blabbering that I can’t really make out what he is saying. He is loud enough for passersby to look our way. His excitement is almost touchable and so innocent. His curiosity is seen in his cute eyes. ‘It’s cominggg!’ he would say loudly upon seeing a vehicle approaching us. He would read random words written on the doors of kiosks, and make sure that I am listening to him. His obsession with vehicles is fascinating. You should see his excitement when he sees a garbage truck- GARBAGE TRUCK! LOOK! Who is even this happy to see a garbage truck?! EXCAVATOR! he would shout upon seeing one. And this priceless reaction is the same every single time as if it is his first time seeing these things. He has an entire vocabulary of different types of vehicles, all thanks to ‘Blippi’ (A very educative and enjoyable series for kids. If you have kids you should definitely check it out). All this while Hassan is silently walking but then at some point when he sees people looking our way, he would shout to Halimi ‘Nyamaza wewe!’. Typical introvert-ambivert exchange. They both fumble with words with their English accent (Blippi again) and rather big words that I never heard of till my adult age (Blippi!). It never stops to amuse me how different the two brothers are; like two sides of the same coin-and I can’t wait for Hassun to grow up so we can discover his personality too.

Halimi is the trouble-maker, so once he gets home he quickly asks one of us to remove his uniform. He says it with such urgency you might think he is in clutches. Once changed, he eats while he plays with his toy cars-the excavator is his favourite, or watches Blippi or any kids channel that has vehicles in it. You have to beg him to do his homework. He teases you around while laughing, as you try to change him or make him do his homework. He comes to my study desk often; which always ends up with me kicking him out of the room with ‘I love you but NO!’ He gets to my nerves. He knows it and thus enjoys frequenting my desk with his toy cars and making bridges out of my books. Sometimes he would request that I (or one of us at home) open for him ‘police monster truck’ on youtube and once we do, he would shoo me away with his finger, while saying ‘wendaa! wendaa!’ to mean go away. We are yet to understand whether he does this out of shyness or arrogance lol.

When we started telling him ‘Allah yihdiik’ (May God guide you) whenever we were angry with him, he would repeat to us ‘Allah yihdiik!’ like it is simply a game for him. But other than his mischief, he is adorable, and sometimes when he is in a good mood, he gives random hugs and kisses, which means the world to me.

My baby Hassun turns two this year in shaa Allah. Whenever they ask me who is my favourite I say I love them all, but then he is the only one I created a verse for. It goes like ‘Oy oy ooooy, bundle of jooooy, handsome boooooy’ (lame, I know!) and his two elder brothers would chorus along with me. They tell me I am a chameleon, for with every nephew’s birth I claimed the newborn is my favourite (It isn’t a lie though). But this time it is different; he loves me as dearly as I love him. That counts for something, doesn’t it?!

May Allah protect my babies, grant them good health, guide them and make them great and kind human beings, ameen!

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