Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A View of Being a Big Sis

One of my co-workers is about to have her second child. She's due next month. We had a baby shower for her today. There was the requisite pink frosted cake, frothy, ultra sweet punch mixed with sherbet and scooped with a ladle into paper cups, a fruit tray that everyone pretended they wanted as they devoured a second slice of the cake, and a "welcome baby" banner draped over a window. There were presents in glossy gift bags adorned with paper rattles, storks, and sleeping baby princesses. Mother-To-Be was glowing. She hugged everyone who came and shared a bunch of fun pregnancy stories with everyone.

The one that stood out to me was about her daughter's lack of enthusiasm over the new baby. Big Sis is about two years old and just getting used to being the center of attention, and she's not to thrilled about becoming Big Sis. Over the weekend, as Mom & Dad watched TV and Big Sis was lying on the living room floor playing with a coloring book, she said out of the blue, "That baby no share my crayons."

Mom & Dad tried to stifle a laugh, and asked her to repeat what she said.

"That baby no share my crayons," Big Sis repeated, never missing a beat with her coloring.

"What baby?" Mom asked. This was the first time Big Sis even acknowledged a baby coming. Big Sis put down her crayons, stood up, and walked over to Mom.

"That baby," she said, pointing at Mom's belly for emphasis, "no share my crayons." She then turned around and went back to her coloring.


The story took me back to when I was a child and my baby sister came along. We had the same sibling rivalry, evolving over the years into a relationship where it was clear to everyone who knew us that we could pick on each other at a level that would make Itchy & Scratchy look like amateur hour, but nobody else had better dare think of picking on one of us. It brought to mind our own crayon story, too.

It would've been around the time of this picture. I was about nine, my sister about four. I told her that crayons tasted just like food.

"In fact," I said, "The green one tastes just like green beans." Green beans, or bean beans as she called them, were one of her favorite foods.

"Really?" she asked. I assured her they did. How I kept a straight face until she bit into that crayon, I'll never know. Who knew she could yell so loud, run so fast, and hit so hard?

We still joke about that crayon prank to this day. I wonder what crayon prank Big Sis and her new baby sister will share - or if they'll share one. Big Sis has to be willing to let that baby near her crayons first. Over time, I know they'll become close. They'll share secrets, borrow each other's clothes, play with each other, and learn to become each other's best friend, just like my sister and I are today.

Then, my thoughts turned to a little girl who may not get the chance to run, play or be a Big Sis.

Tangena Hussain has been on my mind a lot since the news of her disappearance broke and an Amber Alert was issued last week. According to reports, she was with her mother's boyfriend, Jamrul Hussain (no relation to Tangena) that night. He told police he took Tangena with him to pick her mother, Nilufa Begum, up from work at Northland Mall and stopped at a gas station on the Detroit-Southfield border to buy a pack of gum. He left the little girl in his car while he went inside. When he returned to the car a couple of minutes later, she was gone.

As the case has progressed, Mr. Hussain has since been charged with the kidnapping and rape of a 15-year old girl. He's taken a polygraph test, and there are conflicting reports about the results of the test. Some reports have his lawyer saying he failed the test. In other reports this is a claim denied by his lawyer. Today, the FBI raided Tangena's home and the home of two neighbors, Mamunur Rahman Khan and his wife, Hena Begum (no relation to Tangena's mother). Mr. Khan and Mrs. Begum have been charged as accessories in the kidnapping and rape case. Crime scene investigators and the FBI seized items from the Khan residence, even going so far as doing some excavating in their backyard.

Nilufa Begum is scheduled to take a polygraph test tomorrow.

It's almost been a week since anyone has seen Tangena Hussain alive. Her mother pleaded with the public to help her and her daughter in a report published today.

"I'm still hoping that my daughter's still alive somewhere. Please, go out there and look for my daughter," she pleaded with reporters. Let's help bring Tangena home.

Tangena was last seen at approximately 9:00 p.m. on October 2, 2008 at the Marathon Gas Station on the corner of Greenfield Road and 8 Mile Road. She has a scar on her upper lip and chin. She was last seen wearing a brown long sleeved shirt with a cartoon character on the front, white cargo pants, and gold sandals.

If you know anything about the disappearance of Tangena Hussain or have seen her, please call your local police department, or call the Detroit Police at 313-596-1240.

Let's be a Big Sis for Tangena. Here's hoping she's safe wherever she may be.

More later.

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