Family Reunion Time! My husband and two older girls got to go home to the Mountain West in the US while I was still recuperating from my labor and delivery from our third daughter. While they were there they took some lovely photos with a professional photographer. They came out lovely! The pictures almost made up for 50% of their jet-lag crankiness when they returned and 25% of how much I missed them while they were gone. It’s so tough getting good family photos too… Wish I could have been there (notice how S looks like he’s “single” in the shot of him with his parents and siblings + siblings-in-law) but I’m glad they got to be together with family.
After nearly an approximately nine month hiatus (What a coincidence! I’ve just had my third child!) I am back. What can I say? Postpartum feelings seem to have driven me back to my feeeeeelings. I am feeling all sorts of of mommy guilt, knowing that I will need to go back to work soon. Add on to that the fact that I’m also anguishing over quarter-life crisis angst since it’s becoming abundantly clear that there are too many things I haven’t done and won’t get done during this desperately short period of “maternity leave” (only 2 months… and it’s sick leave, don’t ask) and may not even get done in this lifetime. Throw on top of that my totally OCD desire for perfection and you get sleep-deprived mother-of-infant irrational depression when you sprinkle in a suddenly-not-functioning-maybe-I-broke-it? (I totally broke it) piece of technology (external hard drive with all my photos and videos, including wedding and first steps…) at 2am between newborn breastfeeding sessions.
Is this an over-share? Oh, let’s not dwell on if I’m making more mistakes in life as I type. Let’s focus on the positive: my children seem to return the favor of being raised by me with moments of levity when I’m wallowing shamelessly in self-doubt and self-pity. This morning my second daughter, K, locked herself in her room and with my husband S’s coaching, she was able to unlock the door to everyone’s great relief. She was crying and scared in her room but the moment she got out she bounced out happy, relieved, and demanded an ice-lolly (Look, her nursery school teacher is British…) to her father’s great amusement. Later, when I was trying to express to S these aforementioned feelings of stress as he was trying to drive off to work, we stood by the car not quite arguing but clearly not enjoying each others’ company at that moment. Our daughters, watching us as they waited to wave their father goodbye for the day, began to shout: “NO FIGHTING! You want a candy?” We couldn’t help it. We laughed and some of the tension was broken.
It was good reminder that perhaps I should just accept that I have good in my life and face what stresses me out with a sense of humor. I leave you with this onesie which summarizes my current self-assessment while reminding me not to take it too seriously:
Our afternoon date at Chill Out ice lounge yielded some excellent photos and a good fix of non-desert-like teeth-chattering. The novelty lasted a good forty-sixty minutes until I got too cold to enjoy the excuse to publicly sit close to my husband in our conservative Muslim host-country, UAE.
Enjoy the photos of the decor, our silly poses, and the ice-glass used to serve out drink!
This past weekend S and I decided to venture out to Chill Out, our local Ice Lounge, for a little couple time. What is an Ice Lounge, you ask? It is a cafe with temperatures kept at -6 degrees Celsius in order to keep the tables, chairs, bar, walls, and decor from melting since they are all made of ice. Yes, frozen water.
Why would someone want to spend time in such a place? Well, given that Dubai is in the middle of the desert some might think it might just be a nice break from the heat. On the other hand, no one ever seems to spend time outside and everywhere inside is air conditioned so that brings us to the establishment’s tagline, a “reason to get closer.” It is a date spot in a place where PDA is firmly discouraged and sometimes forbidden. As such, one needs an excuse to sit close to someone of the opposite gender in public and sitting in a refrigerator room apparently provides a perfect alibi.
S and I had a great time getting dressed in the cafe’s provided winter gear, taking loads of pictures, and sipping hot chocolate with chocolate fondue during our couple time. You can see that we got a bit silly but all in all it was good fun. We laughed at the silliness of it all but while I was in there I really did get cold! Afterwards we picked up a few groceries and I can tell you that I stayed far away from the freezer section and even got a bit shy around the produce chiller. If anything it was a fun introduction to the novelty-fest known as the Dubai scene and a nice reminder of why I love living in the tropics!
Yesterday S and I came home from grocery shopping to find that C had cut her own hair with her safety toddler scissors. It was her first haircut ever and she did it herself. While I was upset with her, I couldn’t help but feel that it was a comeuppance for my own childhood misdeeds.
True to the pattern which I myself set and followed as a little girl, after being told not to play with the scissors C she simply continued her cutting more quietly and hid in a corner creating a small pile of hair trimmings in the few minutes that her nanny’s back was turned. In the end she only gave herself a few choppy bangs so it was no real disaster but I still made her take a mug shot with the evidence of her crime (see above) while also making her do a “sorry face” (also above) for the camera to show extended family.
When I was a kid I cut my sister’s hair and then let her cut mine. I had already given her the requested “Minnie Mouse” (read, close cropped with an exaggerated widow’s peak) haircut and she was halfway through giving me a Peter Pan haircut when my horrified mother found us. Her mother-in-law, our grandmother, was just about to visit our family for the first time and our naughtiness would be visibly crowned and unavoidably displayed for that entire time. From the pictures, you can tell that I didn’t let my haircut bother me when my grandmother came to visit so while I am trying to teach C not to play with scissors, I’m trying not to let it bend me out of shape this time either.
Happy Grandparents’ Day, Pohpoh & Gonggong! Oma & Apa! Our little girls were so excited to share the poster C made for you in nursery school today (first project from her new school!) She wanted to share with you in person but we hope this will hold you over until she can give you the original in person!
Love, C & K
C’s first day at her new school! K came along for the ride and tried to sneak in but wasn’t staying since we know that she is having plenty of fun as it is with her neighborhood playgroup crew.
Even though it isn’t “real school” it still feels like our baby is growing up! She wasn’t nervous and was excited for school but she still cried when separation time rolled around…
The dancing was definitely the best part of the whole evening - the tanoura dance was like nothing I’ve ever seen. The dancer spun and spun in a style that must be related to the style of whirling dervishes and from what I’ve read it’s related to that line of Sufi mysticism. Aside from the him, the belly dancer was excellent, complete with hair tossing, can snapping, and, of course, whirling hips and feet. To complete the evening, the manager of the camp came out and performed a fire dance which thrilled us with it simplicity and danger. Out of everything we saw and did, I think the dancing is what will stay in our minds.
Getting pretty, local style. S donned a keffiyah and I rocked the face veil for the first time and thankfully there was a guide to help us do it in style! S was intrigued to see that i appeared to have herbal frosting on my hands after I returned from the henna painting booth. It’s always fun to get henna done and it’s interesting to see how the local patterns and designs differ from the South Asian styles I grew up with (more curls & less feathery leaves…)
Sand sportspeople we are not… yet, anyway. As you can see, our camel riding skills are still tentative at best and our sandboarding, well, we tried but there wasn’t much slope to work with! S decided to make his own fun in the and went dune rolling instead. As soon as our sleds arrive, we are going to go dune-sledding!