We went previously to a local psychiatric health resort and met an Egyptian doctor, apparently that held a PhD. If you know me, you know I don’t hold a lot of Egyptian education in high esteem anyway, but with good experience, I hoped that she would be helpful. We sat with her for maybe 40 minutes while my son circled the room touching everything and asking many questions. She seemed knowledgeable. I felt mostly comfortable. She told us we would get an assessment and to make an appointment. We did. Later that day, some things she said sat with me. I obsessed over her words. I obsessed over the assessment that should come and all the ways in which they would get it wrong. Firstly, she said she thought he probably didn’t have aspergers because he was “too social.” I know autistic individuals have issues relating socially and this was my concern as well, that he was “too social”, so initially I felt if she had a similar opinion to me, then why did I feel so bothered ? Second, the assessment would take 2 hours, in one day. I kept thinking over and over how could they properly determine if my son has aspergers while having a one time assessment with an adult ? I felt in all likely they might do exactly what she hinted at… diagnose him with ADHD which, according to her was easily treatable (probably by drugging him because as far as I know its not a simple task). At any rate she mentioned as well that it wasn’t a big deal and many kids have it these days. All these things swirled in my mind and ate at me for days. Then the hospital called to cancel the assessment and said they would reschedule, which they apparently forgot. Which was fine, because I decided to go with a more well known centre, albeit a lot more expensive.

In this next meeting, I felt that I was asked many appropriate questions and that their system was more logical. They may assess him over numerous visits if required as well as let him play with other children to observe him. They didn’t meet my son at the time, and I felt that was smart, to talk about the child while he wasn’t present. I have to wait a few weeks for the assessment but since deciding to go here I have felt a lot more relaxed, that I chose the best option for him and that we may get some answers and a path toward some help for him, and our family.

It couldn’t have come at a better time. I no longer have any doubts we need this. His general demeanor these days is angry, irritable and lashing out. Our family is under great stress, and I can only imagine how all this affects him long term. I’ve lost hope in my own abilities to cope or help him. I want to be his mom for one day, not a therapist. I want to enjoy my child for one day and not be called names or screamed at. I can’t remember the last time we enjoyed anything without multiple meltdowns over nothing. I know it isn’t normal to react this way all the time. And I am not sure how to help anymore. I’m at a loss, and feel we were guided to this place. I only pray that it opens doors for him, and for our family to thrive once again .. to feel there is support, guidance and healing inshaa Allah. To feel he is whole, that we are all whole, and that things start to make sense once again. I know that is a lot to expect. But for the first time in years, I have hope that we might gets answers and that he might find some direction. Allah only know the best… we rely on Him always.

Till next time..

The Problem with Psychology

Psychology. I have a lot of experience here, actually. And this is the main reason I told myself I didn’t need an assessment for my son. Whatever they tell me, I believe it is largely subjective, even though they have assessments tests and all, you can easily fall into numerous categories. Many of us can. Its happened to me before actually. There are some diseases that are more clear. Perhaps, schizophrenia or any condition where someone has a clear psychological break. Then again, you hear about that happening too. Doctors rush to diagnosis and miss a growing tumor in the brain, for example. Sometimes you just see what you want to see. What you believe, or have experience with. And that is what led me to seek a diagnosis for him too. Because of my experience with autism, I’m afraid I see autism. I looked at my son, 9 months old, bashing his head into the floor and I was on full alert. He has always been hypersensitive. He cried all the time. As he grew, some things got better but it never got easier. Even his self aggression comes and goes. I basically feel he cycles through behaviors. Now he repeats after you when you tell him to stop doing things. He also has a knack for repeating phrases, inflection and all. Lately he has hypersensitivity to smell. He doesn’t like the way his sister smells, or the scent of an open tube of toothpaste bothers him. You see where I’m going with this ? If you know about ASD then you could see my concern. Most people would just think he is naughty or strange but I see something else. 

Alhumdullah he is mostly well developed except minor fine motor difficulties. I don’t see significant speech issues either, except for a difficulty in using pronouns which could be normal at his age. The problems we have are related to high anxiety, anger, easily frustrates.. mostly you feel you are walking a mine field with him. And eventually someone gets set off. Usually him. At least 10 to 20 times a day. It never fails. Another reason to get diagnosed.. to get help.

I don’t believe a large majority of doctors are helpful or skilled. Here especially, but even in the West. I had gall stones for example, at the age of 12, and doctors couldn’t figure it out. They kept telling me it was gas. Research my autoimmune disease as well… all doctors treat the hypothyroidism aspect and never consider the cause. How to treat it… do they read about it? Listen to their patients? Generally, no. Psychology of course is even worse. So, my point.. how can I get help if I don’t trust them? Well, I don’t trust myself 100 % either, I am not a doctor of course. I also need support. Advice. Opinions. New ideas. People just don’t get my problem. People who don’t know us, definitely judge him as naughty and me as a bad parent. Those who do, say it is normal or it is biological or its nothing. Before considering an ADHD diagnosis I have to admit I didn’t completely believe in it. Or in its severity. I felt it was caused biologically perhaps with issues related to the life we now lead and the foods we eat. That could still be the case, but with Musa, I believe it is.something he’s always had, whatever it is. He has always been this way, or at least since his stint in the NICU. So it could be whatever caused his hypoglycemia, or the time spent in the incubator untouched as they do it here, led to this. Allah only knows.

My problem then with psychology, is that it doesn’t give you definitive answers. Now, the doctors want to assess between aspergers and ADHD but I won’t feel confident in the result. I suspect I may get other diagnoses at another place, and really I want to know if its aspergers or not. I want to know because it’s a different issue, and so many people get diagnosed with one disorder only to be “correctly diagnosed” or maybe just differently diagnosed later. 

So back to the why. Why get diagnosed if I don’t feel its trustworthy? Yes, well, to get ideas. Brainstorm. Support. Sometimes you get good information from doctors that can lead to something else. I also worried that if it were ASD ( high functioning) that he may feel different later in life and need to understand his difficulties.

My first son was assessed once too. The doctor said there was a good probability of ADD non hyper, and high anxiety. Till now that diagnosis is pretty accurate. I don’t know if it changes things or not. At that time, it simply meant a.license to drug him which we tried for a short time, not completely commiting because of all the adverse reactions. Clearly knowing and recognizing our issues can only be a strength if we use it with wisdom. Being ignorant might be easier, but it isn’t more beneficial, surely.

And we will see. He is who he is regardless. What I know is that we have been struggling for a long time, and I feel confidant now he won’t grow out of it, he needs help adjusting to everything, and life is very hard for him, and on the family as well. So, here we go. Lets see what they say. It can’t really hurt.

Until next time.. 

Where I am

I am constantly assessing myself. I always look back to what I was doing last year at this time and consider if I have met my goals and if I am still on the path I have set out for myself and my children. I don’t mind taking different routes or even changing my goals if needed. Rarely have I looked back and thought I am in a worse condition in any way.. In fact, I don’t think that’s happened. That’s not to say I’m a great person either, but Alhumdullah I just don’t look back in regret and wish life was any different. I simply keep moving forward trying to shape my life in a way that seems worthwhile. 

However, lately I do feel a longing to homeschool again. I haven’t been very consistent with the children because they already spend half a day at an Islamic centre and when they get home, they do have homework lately and they need to eat, unwind, play and be kids. I keep telling myself they are young, there is no hurry, and they are learning at the moment, perhaps subjects which are even more important than what I would teach them anyhow. Being bilingual is an important skill, and very easy to learn in this age. Besides, they have Arabic teachers which is more important to pick up the correct pronunciation as well. So, I tell myself they are doing excellent Mashaa Allah and to let go of my idea of what they should learn and just go with the flow. Besides which, I want more than anything to also be bilingual so that I can easily teach them anything they need to know in the future years as well. 

The centre they are attending is great, in that it feels almost like a homeschool. The kids aren’t forced to follow a rigid schedule and pressured to over achieve. When I compare my kids to others they seem at least at level in both languages. Of course English is much stronger, but perhaps another 6 months and they will have a strong foundation that I can continue to build upon. 

I can’t help but worry about them, in a world which still finds homeschooling strange, and institutionalized learning normal. Especially with a son with special needs. I know very well he would struggle in school, especially in Egypt. He is as smart as his sister but is not able to follow traditional methods of learning and development. Even though my daughter thrives in any learning environment, I still find myself repulsed by the demands of a traditional school environment. And in all honesty, I often question if I have the patience to endure homeschooling. The only thing I do know is I will try my best, and change as they need it, even if at some point they need to go to school, we will. I just pray Allah grants me the capabilities to fulfil my obligations toward them all, because they are precious little gifts that deserve so much more than I feel I have, but I hope with duaa and love, it is enough.
Till next time..

Learning, searching, healing, growing

There are so many reasons I haven’t posted in almost a year. The main one being, I was really wrapped up in studying. The centre I was attending was quite serious, and I really enjoyed it at first. I passed 4 levels, each one 6 weeks with a lot of hard work and some tears. I really did learn a lot, about Arabic of course, among other things. I struggled with the early mornings, and 3 young children with a serious work load. When I reached the fourth level though, I really began to struggle. I changed many things, determined to continue, but alas it wasn’t meant to be. Before Ramadan, I gave in, realizing this pace was burning me out and took a time out. I didn’t want to give up, but I still felt after all this I wasn’t able to express myself easily in the language, or easily read Arabic texts. This, combined with my exhaustion at the pace required, forced me to decide to change centres after Eid, to find more balance, continue to study, but at a place which will better equip its students with tabeer, that is, more language, and less rules and grammar.

Another thing, to be honest, is that I have been under construction myself, in a manner of speaking, and every time I opened a page to write, I immediately shut it down again, thinking I shouldn’t write that in public, or that I simply didn’t want to open up to anyone. I’ve really closed myself off to people, as I’ve been struggling so deeply, and couldn’t find the support I thought I needed. I still find myself in that place, I guess but there are other issues which have compelled me to write again.

When I used to write and document my journey as a new wife, muhajirah, and muslimah struggling to make my way in this crazy city and life, coping with a strange culture and infertility, I found great strength and clarity in the writing process. I forced myself to see the positive side of things and not complain endlessly.. to find joy in the journey, so to speak. It helped me through difficult times, and also opened up the possibility for others to ask advice or support.

One thing that has been a dark shadow in my experiences is this disease I have called hashimoto’s thyroiditis. My body isn’t recognizing the thyroid as a part of me, and attacks it. After time, you require synthetic thyroid hormone to stabilize your symptoms and the vast majority of doctors will end their treatment there. They look at your numbers and adjust your dose but they never address the autoimmune condition. I have had this for over 15 years, and been relatively stable on medication but since before my youngest was born I cannot seem to get it under control. When I increase the meds, its too much. When I decrease it, it is not enough. I am fluctuating between hyper and hypo thyroid symptoms like a bloody yo yo. In this time, I started reading about what it actually means to have an autoimmune condition and a huge bell went off, let me tell you. I began to really understand – through facebook support groups and holistic health sites – so many things I have been feeling for the past decade. Mainly, the aches and pains, sensitivity to temperature, easily fatigued, muscle cramps and irritability or depressive and anxiety episodes. Anyhow, I still haven’t found a doctor who can really help other than increase or decrease the medicine according to my lab results, but the awareness has brought some ease as I no longer push myself to do more than I am capable and I allow myself – in fact, I push myself to be more easy going in all areas. For example, in studying, this means I cannot cope with a lot of extra stress.  So, I mold my life around routines and stability. I force myself to eat well, sleep early, and just let go of things I cannot control. It is not easy, but it is important to my ability to cope. There is so much more, but I suppose we will see how it unfolds and I find my way through it.

The last thing I wanted to mention was that I have also been struggling with what I once called a ” high needs child,” and have been avoiding seeking  a diagnosis if he may actually be a “special needs child”. Not because of shame, but because he is developmentally and intellectually normal as far as I can tell, and yet there are some red flags in his behavior that resemble more than someone with high needs. Secondly, because I believe psychological assessment is highly subjective, and that no matter what psychologists try to say, at the end of the day it is experience.and opinions that guide them to a certain diagnosis. I myself have been labelled with various things as a young adult, and it wasn’t clear really what was wrong with me. And yet, 75 per cent of what I used to feel has all but disappeared today. So that, combined with a bachelors in psychology have me a little wary of other so-called professional opinions. And yet, his behaviors have pushed me to a point where I wouldn’t mind some professional opinions that might aid us in seeking paths for our son that are beneficial to his future development. I’d like some input basically, even though I am never convinced of the diagnosis I feel it can still offer some insight I guess.  Perhaps, just an experience to add to our experiences that may or may not help. It is strange, I do believe that psychology is very important but I dislike very much what modern doctors and medicine has done to it. Very little in psychology is scientific I guess… most of it is personal, subjective and experimental. I do believe that things like autism and schizophrenia are real. But there is just so much that isn’t in your head, that can’t be measured and is treated with ineffective and dangerous drugs. And that is in the developed countries so one can only imagine how it is in the Middle East or Africa! 

But alas, I will try. I always try. Especially for my son, who very clearly is suffering and I would like some support from somewhere and pray I’m guided to some insight and support for his sake.

And these very personal issues are what I have been occupied with, but have come to a point where I no longer can stay up in my own mind and thoughts. I’m not sure if my experience can help anyone else… but I do believe it can help give me some clarity and peace of mind as well.

Until next time friends. Peace.

Study study study

So when you are feeling overwhelmed and bogged down what is a girl to do? Why go back to school and add more responsibilities of course!

Actually there are many things which led to my decision to go back to studying. The first thing of course was the children. They were losing the little they had gained in Nigeria. I also felt overwhelmed with the day to day grind and no break (ever) from the children. And when I had a break I didn’t know what to do with myself. Then a group I’m on had constant conversation about Arabic centres or places of study. And one thing led to another and I decided to try to find an Islamic centre for the kids. There are very few by the way and no matter how difficult things get I cannot send my kids to school. They learn so much better at home and I am very against the stressful system of studying (while being forced to socialize with often inappropriate people and incorrect methods) especially that which is prevalent here in the Middle East. So no. I also feel the kids are too young for a full time Quran school (of which there are few suitable anyway) and as we live in the Boonies of Cairo basically, it is also highly problematic to find suitable teachers to come and tutor in the home. I am not that comfortable teaching Quran and Arabic  (although I could and have but feel they would benefit from other teachers and role models)… so I was left with one possibility that seemed suitable. The old (really really difficult but religious) centre I had attended now offers a hadonna at a really small price. My first priority is them and when I thought  about it I realized how disappointed I feel when I consider all the language and memorization I have lost since having my little family. The centre also offers a baby room mashaa Allah. In fact I am now wondering why other centres don’t offer such things for students subhanAllah! What a superb idea to offer an Islamic environment or madrassah for children so that basically all the kiddies can study when mom studies! Orrrr  if mom just wants a break she can take her kids to a religious environment for a few hours…. why not!? They offer part time or full time and I HOPE and pray it works out for them because it is only a few hours a day but seems like a GREAT opportunity.

At first I was like…. how in the world am I going to study ? But subhanAllah I just couldn’t send them on their own, I felt so excited about the idea of us all going together even though I had no idea how I personally would manage… did I mention HOW DIIFFICULT the centre is?? But I prayed about it and went for the entrance exam. I was quite disappointed that 75 per cent actually put me back in the beginning class as I had issues with pronouns, numbers and sentence structure LOL! But after some thought I thought  alhumdullah I can really ease into it this way and perfect what I have already learned so inshaa Allah I won’t forget anymore. So here we are.

That is the other thing I am trying to change to make my life a little less complicated. Accepting less than perfect especially in myself. If I study I may not be able to keep things so organized and that’s okay! I may also fail my classes and that’s fine too. The goal is not to achieve high grades but simply to understand and grow! If it takes repeating the classes than so be it!

So.. inshaa Allah I am ready and hope this new perspective will take us to new heights. All of us inshaa Allah. My eldest is even excited to learn the local dialect so I really hope we find something that is suitable for him as well.

Return to studies

The thing about my twins is that we need to be on a schedule and they need to be on task. If I leave the room for any amount of time to do anything then fighting ensues. I don’t know if it is the age (please tell me yes!) Or the fact that there are two of them but it always feels impossible to have free time or let then “just play”. Of course they play, but every single activity needs proper supervision I feel and 90% of the day I am basically a referee. Now if you add in a sickness or my son needing to wear an eyepatch to “exercise” his eye, well, beware. Almost always chaos and drama. It is exhausting and hard to maintain patience 24/7 for real. This is why homeschooling works at their young age. However momma does feel at times that she is drowning which is why we tried the hadonna (daycare.) We found one suitable (clean and caring about the kids, not beating them for example). However they watched too much tv (please if I wanted the tv to babysit I could do that) and a lot more table work then I preferred. I wanted my son to PLAY but it seems that does not exist here. So …. off to find another solution.


This photo was taken at 630 am. Yep. My kids wake up verrrry early and always have. They love playdoh… but ya. Fight over every thing. Who has the bigger piece who has the red one or the blue one blah blah blah.


It was quite hot for a month or two but we did manage a few days outside to ride bikes and color with sidewalk chalk. My daughter loves all kinds of creative projects. My son, not so much. So it is nice to divide and Conquer sometimes.


This is our homeschool room. Since putting my son into daycare I decided I will not study with them at the same time. I just can’t take the competition and arguments. One can do a useful activity and the other studies for 20 min and then switch. I hope one day it will get better but truth is they are so different and at different levels anyway so it may work better this way.


Sigh. Arabic. It has been so hard to get any this regard. They were learning so much in Nigeria and I wanted to keep up but there is only so much they can do and I can do with them. I don’t want to push them at this age, merely make it something fun and entertaining. We had a teacher that kept delaying and then not showing up and I decided we needed to find a proper program. I’ve decided we will all go for classes part time. The old arabic school I attended now has a baby room and children’s classes in the same facility and I’m really excited to try. The kids are at such an influential age I do not want to miss this chance to make arabic an easy second language and for Quran to be second nature to them.


My daughter loves when I color with her and do puzzles. She amazes me at her skills. Perhaps it is normal but I feel she is advanced for her age Allahu alim. I’m proud and blessed to have all my kids. I can’t even believe I now have my 4 children in this house. 5 years ago I remember how often I felt childless and empty. It is really a dream come true to be where I am now mashaa allah. I always tell people about my story because Allah only knows the future and what is best in all regards. Never give up hope. Never.


We will continue to homeschool and take lessons part time outside as well. The kids are currently also taking swim lessons. It is busy and crazy and about to get more so! But that is how we roll.

Until next time. …