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This must be the most frequently used word in modern Egyptian households!! The term supposedly asks the person you’re addressing to rush whatever they’re doing. I bet you anything, as a mother, you must be shouting out this word at least 50 times on average per day, depending on how many kids you have. Needless to point out, that the tone of voice used to say every one of those “yallas” depends on the intensity of each situation.
From the moment the kids wake up, it’s one “yalla” after another. A typical school day starts like this: “yalla” get up, “yalla” wash your face and brush your teeth, “yalla” finish your breakfast, “yallaaaaaaaaaaaaaa” you’re going to miss the school bus!!! As soon as they step back home, it’s “yalla” finish your lunch, “yalla” get on with your homework so you can catch swim practice on time, “yalla” finish your reading and switch off the lights, “yalla” sleep and stop chatting with your brother so you can wake up tomorrow and do it over all again, but try to be quicker this time!!
Sounds familiar? Guilt inflictions anyone?
I certainly get many of those, and the worst kinds always hit right after they leave home early in the morning or soon after they sleep and look all angelic and cuddly. Am I too frantic and hyper for my kids? Am I always nagging them to efficiently complete chores and tasks faster than their real ability? Why am I defying their nature? How much time difference will all this hysterical pestering actually make, an hour in total for the whole day?
Is it really worth it? Not so sure.
So far yelling “yalla” all day and night has not worked for me because it seems the more I say it, the more meaningless it becomes. Not for once have any of my “yallas” given me the result I anticipated! Although that hasn’t yet discouraged me from using it, miraculously wishing for different results every time.
May be I need to give the kids more free time and space or keep our demanding schedule under control by dropping some of the structured extra-curricular activities. At their age, daydreaming, stalling and procrastinating every now and then are all legitimate rights. The kids should have enough downtime to rest, reflect and hangout. The robotic behaviour we expect of them all the time sucks the fun and happy out of any situation. Their life becomes mechanic chasing one task after another, without even a moment to blink.
We needed to SLOW DOWN.
I know the kids like to take their time in the morning, so I decided to wake them up half an hour earlier than I usually do. That gave everyone enough time to rise and shine, stall in the bathroom, finish breakfast, and even make conversation without getting one of my classic morning “yallas”.
Would you like to hear every single detail of your child’s day? Simply say “it’s bedtime”!!! The most interesting stories always seem to pop up just as you’re about to tuck them in and kiss them good night. I decided to be a little bit (just a little bit) flexible with bedtime, sit with them a minute, snuggle under the duvet and listen to their day.
I will cherish every moment because their childhood is not here to stay. I will never have that day with my children again; I will notice, pay attention and relish the charms of the present because it will be over before I know it.
There’s no need to rush, what’s all the fuss? Breeeeeeeeeathe mummy……