Tuesday, June 19, 2012
19 June: ???
19 June I can't decide which event deserves to be the heading for this post: 1) Aya taking her first steps or 2) Emi stripping off her pants and underwear in the taxi today. Our morning routine proceeded without incident today and before long we were off to meet another new friend from church at the traffic circle near her home for a morning of fun at a children's center she frequents. I had no idea where we were going; we just piled into her MINIVAN and took off. We arrived at "L'imagine"--a pretty magical place on the third floor of a nondescript building. L'imagine offers "edutainment"--educational fun experiences for parents and kids. The floors are a beautiful hard wood and the walls are coved in pastels. There are various rooms for art, sand and water, dressups, and imagination play (doctor's office, kitchen, store, construction site). There is a special room for babies and toddlers filled with beautiful wooden toys. There was a Jordanian girl on hand to watch over and interact with the girls as they played. I stuck by her side and asked a million questions. Now I know how to say the Arabic words for examine, frying pan, and share. I also spent some time playing with Ayame Little Pants--something I rarely do--and she rewarded me by taking three steps! It was VERY exciting and my new friend Charish tried to help me record these new steps (also a new word: steps) but alas--Aya would not walk on command. Let me insert here that Aya rarely gets mentioned in these posts because she is being so darn GOOD! And that is not fair; Aya deserves more attention because she really is the most pleasant little person. She snuggles next to me in the ergo all day, and when she gets tired she just lays her head on my chest and goes to sleep. Precious precious precious little girl. I love her. The girls had a blast--so much fun that suddenly it was 1pm and we had no idea where the time had gone. I decided Emi should go to the bathroom-a fatal decision. She immediately balked and, when I kept pressing the issue, launched into a massive tantrum. Once I realized that there was no way she was going to use the toilet and we might soon be unwelcome at L'imagine, I backed off...but now Emi's little brain was on overload and she could not recover. She would not put her pants and underwear back on (all while screaming that she wanted the toilet) but would NOT get on the toilet (all while screaming that she wanted Nate to help her). Well, eventually Charish and I just rounded up everyone else and got Emi forcibly into her clothes, into Charish's car, and then into a taxi back to the hotel. Emi was crouched on the floor of the taxi, screaming, and somehow I missed the fact that she'd removed her shoes, pants, and panties. I had to wrestle them back on her, trying hard to keep her flailing legs from braining poor Aya who was strapped to my front still. Fortunately Yumi was placid through all of this. Strangely (and blessedly), Emi decided that after 1/2 hr of constant screaming was getting tiring and suddenly flopped across my lab and almost went to sleep. We arrived at the hotel in serene silence. Lunch, naps. Whew! We all went down to the main drag tonight for dinner--about a 20 strenuous walk up and down the 2ft high Jordanian sidewalk curbs. I enjoy doing this because everyone is more or less peaceful while we walk and Nate and I can generally get in some conversion. Aya and Emi rode in the stroller and I carried Yumi on my back in the ergo. We ate some really terrible pizza at a small joint that was just closing when we stopped but eagerly offered to serve us. The pizza was, as I said, terrible, but we had interesting conversation with the owner's brother--a very large man--who showed up in his SUV presumably to collect the day's earnings and possibly the some of the employees home. Seems as though they were all family and all lived in one of Amman's many Palestinian refugee "camps"--tenement housing created in the late 1960s to accommodate the massive influx of refugees from the six-day war and such. I pulled out my map and all these guys gathered around eagerly to show me where they live. I am growing more acquainted with Amman daily. We went on from there to grab freshly squeezed juice for the girls and headed back to the hotel, stopping once for paper towels, oats, and honey at "Heba and Ahmed"'s store a ways down the street from the hotel. Bedtime routines went smoothly. All in all, another good day! Wow. I wonder if this trend will continue? Stay tuned!