Kareem with Shadi, his kind brother

Kareem with Shadi, his kind brother

Sunday, 28 February 2021

Feb 11th 2021

Thanks to covid19, changes in school systems, lockdown, and school closures, Kareem is refusing to go to school for his 2 days a week. We used to persuade him to go by getting my daughter’s dog and sometimes my sister’s dog to wait for Kareem outside his school to take him home. Now he is not even persuaded by this.

He has a very creative teaching assistant who tries to teach him online, but Kareem gets bored quickly. He'd rather play word games or watch specific TV programmes where he is in control. At least these activities are helping him to improve his language vocabulary, expressions and conversational flow.

It has been almost a year since he stopped coming to my house and me going to his. We used to do some learning using programmes like BBC bitesize, which he used to enjoy. Now his education is totally dependent on his parents in his house, and it takes long time to persuade him to do 10-15 minutes work.

I hope that once I am vaccinated, I will be able to have him at my house to work and play. I dream about him playing like this picture from last summer. I love this picture. It is of happy Kareem.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

You are my sunshine

There are several blogs that I have written but not published yet. I will publish them by the date they were written even that they may appear in the wrong chronological order! . 

09 January 2021 

This week I walked with Kareem and Ottah, my daughter’s dog to the nearby park. Kareem loves playing with the dog throwing a ball and see the dog catches it and runs with it before leaving it for Kareem to throw it again.

It was so cold so we did not stay long. As we were walking home, he left me and walked to talk to two ladies walking about. He said hello then complemented one on her colourful scarf and the other on her jacket! I came near them – preserving distance- and he introduced them as the ladies who help him swimming and introduced me as “my favourite aunt”. Not sure how accurate he was in describing me as such!  

I have not met many kids who have something nice to say to people like Kareem does. He sees beauty in everything and everybody. He told them that he was missing swimming.  But then was happy to continue walking with the dog.

Every night Shadi and Kareem ring me say good night. Tonight, Kareem said to me: you are my sunshine. In reality he is my real sunshine who brighten my day and evening by just seeing him, listening to him and celebrating his achievements big and small.

Thursday, 29 October 2020

A morning with Kareem

Ottah, my daughter’s dog, and I went to pick Kareem up. He was happy to see her and walked with her with his coat and his glasses on. I was watching for the moment that he gets frustrated and throws his glasses, but it did not happen. He kept stroking the back of the dog as we walked and telling her that he loved her. Clearly, he was happy with the dog so there was no cause to be frustrated. Gradually he gained confidence and took the lead from me and walked gently to the end of the road pulling her gently when she wanted to go elsewhere.


At my house, Kareem played and talked to Ottah for a while bringing her toys to her to play. She responds to his commands very quickly has he enjoys telling her to sit or gives him a paw, after which he rewards her with a bit of treat. Because she would eat anything he gives her, he thinks she is constantly hungry and I have to tell him that she is not!


After playing for about 20 minutes he went to the office, sat at the computer and started karate Cat. I cannot thank the @BBC enough for these wonderful educational programmes.

Kareem stayed 30 minutes with uninterrupted concentration doing the English grammar exercises. I was delighted to learn that he knew his punctuation really well (about 95% without my help), all the spelling and correct words. I was happily surprised that he recognised adverbs and adjectives without my help and more over he knew the type of sentence: past, present progressive, past progressive. At first he confused verbs and nouns then after a couple of sentences, he got it right.


Doing well has succeeding is his biggest motivation. It was lovely (and also melting for my heart) when he looked at me with a huge smile on his face after finishing all the questions in each “belt” and said: I am clever. Yes my darling you are clever. Very clever indeed if you get the right stimulating environment and a patient helper who can find the right material and encourage you to achieve your great potential.


Afterwards, he wanted to play some of his usual videos, but I said no. He got upset and turned to his video (he had control of the computer). I was going to switch the screen off but realised that it would irritate him more. So, I asked him to talk and decide what to do together. We agreed on two minutes to watch. His mum arrived and he just peacefully left it.

In fact, we arranged the morning on the night before. May daughter discussed and agreed with Kareem that if he does his work, he could have a sleep over. The expectation of that, I think, made it easy for him to do what he was supposed to do without being angry. He did not need to show his frustration or to get his voice heard by spitting when he was not listened to. Everything was agreed beforehand.

 I love you Kareem.


Saturday, 10 October 2020

Kareem sleep over


Kareem's sleep over 

Kareem is having a sleep over with me today. He was so excited although he knew that the dog was not in the house!.

 First thing he started playing around, dancing then decided to be the dog and slept in her bed! In passing by the piano, he decided to play. He played with his fingers not “hand bang bang”. It sounded like “Brother Jack” .


After doing a bit of drawing we had to negotiate some homework. This normally takes time. Stupid me, I put an educational game on the computer for which he immediately turned to some of his own games. So we had to go through another negotiation using carrots like: walking the dog tomorrow or coming again for a sleep over. He said “ I promise” to do homework after the game. 

Well, it took sometime but eventually he chose a page of “spelling double letters” and we played it as a game. I think when he knew the answer, he wrote it quickly but when he was not sure, he would try all the possible options and laugh at the ones that sounded wrong/funny.

I thought he would do only one page but to my happy surprise he decided to do another one. Then I cajoled him to do a page of math-timetable 10.


He decided that he wanted to have pizza for dinner, but I said that I never made pizza and I did not know how to make it. He immediately insisted that he would teach me after he played another game.

Looking at my Italian cook book, I  got an idea about making pizza. I thought that I would have to negotiate leaving the game but to my pleasant surprise he just came and asked me to carry him to the kitchen top and he told me how to make the pizza. He rolled the dough and watched me putting it in the pan and finishing the filling then he left to the computer.


Kareem is one of the politest kids I have ever seen. He always says please and thank you for anything and everything. It is a sheer pleasure to cook for him. Not only he appreciates good food, but he also always has lovely words for the cook. We had our pizza and then went upstairs to read a book. He read one of the Gruffalos to me. Good reading even that some of the words are not clear.

After a long bath he insisted that I read a book and he read another then brush teeth and I was rewarded when he said “ I love “.


Good night my beloved boy. You are the pleasure of my life since the first day I say you as a newly born baby.



Friday, 9 October 2020


Every night Kareem and his brother calls me to say "good night". Sometimes they call but he refuses to start and I have to say it first. Depending on his mode, he may reply with fast sentences: Good night. I missed you today. See you tomorrow.  Other times he listens to me and puts the telephone down.

Today he came to my house and played with my daughter's dog. The dog is almost the same size as kareem. While I have to repeat an order to her at least twice before she listens, it is enough for Kareem to say "sit" and she immediately does. Kareem gets her to lie down, gives him a paw, speaks, spins around even without a treat.

He also loves Milo, the other dog int he extended family. Milo has the advantage of being small so it is easier for Kareem to handle him. 


Tonight he rang to say: good night, see you tomorrow, it was nice to see you today.

PS I have not been writing Kareem's diary because he has been  unhappy at his school and his mum is still trying to sort things out at the school. 

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Kareem at the time of Corona

I have collected lots of stories and pictures of Kareem and his family during lockdown but I have been too busy to write them down. So I am starting from today and hopefully will focus later on publishing snapshots of what I accumulated.

Today I had a knock on the door. It was Kareem in T shirt and pants asking for some yeast for his cooking. Apparently, he outgrew all his shorts from last year and his parents bought new but wrong size!

He knows about keeping your distance, but I will ask him next time what he understands about Corona virus.

Later on, his mum sent pictures of the pizza he made with his brother Shadi. They take over the kitchen for themselves and together they make the pizza, adding all the toppings they prefer. Then Shadi puts the Pizza in the oven.

Kareem loves his trampoline and so that was where he and Shadi had their lunch and then their desert: cold watermelon.

I think if my love for Kareem were distributed in the Middle East, all the wars would have stopped!

Friday, 3 April 2020

I saw kareem after 2 weeks afar!

At last and after 2 whole weeks, I saw Kareem! He came to my house and stood outside 3 meters from me. His mum hugged and kissed him for me from afar. He came to show me his new look after his mum cut his hair. I very much miss him during this “stay at home” time. However, since they moved to their own home, he and Shadi, his brother, ring me every evening to say good night before they go to bed. Shadi is normally gives me a short “hi, good night” while Kareem says: “good night. I love you. I missed you today.” “I may see you tomorrow -with his lovely pronunciation of letter r”.  

He has been staying at home and deciding what to do every day. He gets dressed in school uniform in the morning after inventing a game to play in bed with his mum as he used to do during school days.

Yesterday he had a painful finger so: “ I cannot do my home work my finger is ill”. But of course, the bad finger does not stop him using the remote control.
When he came to my house, he saw his old scooter that I put out for anybody to pick but he decided to use it and go home riding it.

 God bless you Kareem.