Monday, November 19, 2007

Knitting the Dishes

Sometimes we wash the dishes, and sometimes we knit them.

I’ve started my on-off habit of knitting again, because of the distant prospect of moving to a cold climate someday. Then, I hope my family will be happy for the thick, warm, homemade socks, hats, and mittens. For now though, the knitting habit serves to keep the housework from ruling my life.

A sink filled with dishes taunts me all day, laughs at me, and pulls me away from my kids. Every night, my daughter drinks two cups of milk before bed, and now that we are doing away with sippy cups (I’m tired of cleaning out milk that has turned into sour cheese), she sits in her chair and chats in her two-year-old vocabulary.

Normally, I would be unable to ignore the dishes. I would wash and scrub the sink clean with my children babbling in the background. But now, anchored to a ball of yarn and knitting needles, I can sit at our new kitchen table late at night, listen, and enjoy my daughter’s exploration of her newly acquired language.

“Ana ashrab balan. Ashrab balan. Ana ashrab balan. Balan min…al-baqarah. Ashrab balan min al-baqarah. Ashrab…aseer. Ashrab aseer. Ashrab aseer…min al-baqarah. Ureedu aseer min al-baqarah. Ana ureedu aseer min al-baqarah. Umee, ureedu aseer min al-baqarah. Umee, ureedu aseer min al-baqarah. Umee…”
“I drink milk. I drink milk. I drink milk from a cow. Drinking milk from a cow. Drinking milk … juice. I drink juice. I drink juice….from a cow. I want juice from a cow. I want juice from a cow. Umee, I want juice from a cow. Umee, I want juice from a cow. Umee, …”

I smile, knit, and ignore the dishes. And explain that only milk comes from a cow.

“Ana khayyat? Ana khayyat…ma’aki? Khayyat ma’ umee? Ana khayyat…kabeeeeeeela. Khayyat kabeeeeeeeela. Oooh, umee, jameelah. Jameelah jiddan umee. Khayyat ana jameela?”
“I sew? I sew…with you? Sew…with umee? I sew…when I’m BIIIIIIIIG. Sew when BIIIIIIIIIG. Oooh, umee, it’s pretty. Very pretty umee. I sew pretty too?”

Yes, Insha’allah you’ll sew pretty things too when you are bigger. The house is quiet and still, little sister and father are asleep. Our bedtime milk chat is almost done, and the sink is still filled with dirty dishes.

“Hibbeeni Umee? Hibbeeni?”
“Do you love me Umee? Love me?”

Yes, my love. And Alhamdulillah that I am knitting right now, not washing the dishes.

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