Wednesday, June 20, 2012
20 June: Rainbow Street
20 June We are finally settling into a routine: 1) Rise and shine at 7am followed by about 15 minutes of barely comprehensible Skype time with family (we have very poor wireless here but hey! I am thrilled because otherwise you would rarely hear from us as there are no Internet cafes nearby). 2) Get the girls up, changed, teeth cleaned, etc. 3) Feed Aya some oatmeal and a bottle. 4) Nate and I get dressed. 5) Move aya's crib out of the sitting room and into the second bedroom. 6) Go down to breakfast. 7) Nate leaves and the rest of us come back up. 8) Put Aya down for a nap at 9am and get Emi working on crafts and Yumi on ABCs. 9) I change again and do my workout for 30-45 minutes. 10) I shower and usually shower the two big girls. 11) Get everything for our outing ready: water bottle, wallet, room keys, dictionary, pad/pencil on which I write new words, something for Aya to eat and/or her bottle. 12) Quick tidy up and visits to the toilet. 13) At 10:30 (if we are lucky) get Aya up and leave for an outing. 14) Stay out until about 1pm or later if we are eating out. 15) Come back for lunch or gospel directly to naps after another round of visits to the toilet. 16) Aya goes to her crib in the second bedroom, Emi to the master bedroom, and Yumi to the bathroom! 17) I sit down, read and respond to emails, write up our morning adventure, record our expenses, study my new words, study the map, look up ideas for activities in Amman, edit the photos I've taken, and try to read my book. That has pretty much been our day today, minus the various other inevitable events: Yumi and Emi are just simply not interested in the hotel breakfast and are far more interested in the hotel parrot. Thus, they will not stay seated at the table without a major fight. On the one hand, I can hardly blame them for wanting to be up and near the bird and I feel like after they have had the two bites they are willing to eat than it is only fair to let them get up and play with the bird. On the other, it seems bad manors especially in a "restaurant setting" to let your kids be getting up and down from the table and roaming about (even if they aren't causing a major ruckus--which they actually do sometimes). I dither between wanting to feed them before we go down for breakfast on the same oats I make Aya AND wanting them to be hungry so they will actually stay at the table and eat. Well, today was like all others in that we had some of the same table battle that resulted in an abrupt and early return to the room on the part of us girls. Emi was the offender. This morning we went to Rainbow Street. We have been there several times as a family and I have decided that it is kid friendly enough to make it one of our regular morning just girls activities. The girls enjoy the neighborhood and the shops well enough to make it worth it even if it is NOT playground or a fancy "edutainment" club (like yesterday's activity). I never heard of Rainbow Street when last living here in 2006 and wouldn't have frequented it anyway as it is full of upscale shops and pricier cafes and restaurants (approx 6USD for a meal as compared to 2USD in less fancy neighborhoods). It has this amazing bookstore, however, that has destined it to be a regular destination for the Ayer girls. The children's section is huge and chock of full of Arabic and English kids books. I intend to buy out their entire stock of Arabic books when we leave. We limited ourselves today to three books: A little board book for Aya called "The little lion"--one of those books that feature a little clothe animal you can animate by sticking your finger through the book and into the cavity if the animal, only in this case you have to use your left index finger since the book reads from right to left. A book for Emi called "Where are you (mommy)!?!" that is part of a series on common children's issues (to be honest, Emi wanted a book featuring Jasmine (from Aladdin) but I just couldn't bring myself to buy it!!). A book Yumi (unsurprisingly) chose about what it is like to go to the hospital. It follows a little Arab boy's visit to the hospital and operation. Yumi is obsessed with hospitals and doctors and shots. It is more of a macabre interest rather than an intellectual of vocational interest I think. She is very glad that our hotel is near the Amman specialty hospital and takes great delight in telling cab drivers where to go ("near the specialty hospital please!"). Rainbow street also is home to a nice household goods shop where we purchased a cutting board (new word!) kitchen knife, two cups and plates (ikea, I am certain), some Tupperware to store fruits and veggies, and some hand towels (getting the hotel to provide us with adequate number of towels is arduous and I am just tired of it. Time to take matters into my own hands.). The girls had fun filling up baskets of stuff we did not buy (well, got to give all their employees something to do, right?) and I had fun asking one of the employees the name of everything in the store, including the word for curling iron which they do NOT have. New word! Rainbow street also is the location for the British Council English school. We pop in their each visit to use their nice toilets and are quite popular. On employee always takes Aya while I take the big girls to the toilet. When I come out, she is surrounded by admirers. Aya owns that place. They also have a small reading room for kids that we did not visit today. Finally, we stopped for shawarmas. Juice was also promised but that fell through when Emi started hitting. Alas, it was time to go home--1:30pm! It was enjoyable. Maybe not quite as much conversation opportunity as at the children's museum or another indoor spot where I can watch the girls play and chat up the employees, but SUPER enjoyable because the weather was great (90 degrees maybe?), books were involved, girls were happy, AND I learned a few new things. So I am content. Our evening was not stellar. I had meant to meet Nate near his school at the close of classes to eat at an Egyptian-style fuul sandwich place nearby. We hadn't communicated very well on what time to meet, however, and I had not actually left the hotel by the time he called and expected us to be nearly there. I said we would get right out the door and be on our way but...we were hardly 100 yards away from the hotel by the time he walked up. He'd tired of waiting for us and just walked back...about a 20 minute walk. Some confusion and irritation ensued, and we ended up going to buy fruit and veggies before leaving to eat, so it was pretty late before we ended up setting off as originally planned to eat fuul near Nate's work. I just love Egyptian fuul and I hoped the girls would enjoy it as well. But, as always, neither Yumi not Emi could get into it. Why is it that they could not get enough hummus when I'd make it at home and yet here they won't touch it? Or they just love any type of beans I make at home and yet they don't like fuul? I make a different cuisine every night for dinner and they are expected to eat it. And they do, for the most part! But not here. Sigh. We lingered at the outdoor tables of this place for a bit longer than we should have, eating freshly roasted peanuts I bought from a street vendor next to the restaurant. We popped into a nearby cafe to see about getting some freshly squeezed juice when it happened--Yumi freak out. By the time Nate got Emi, Aya, and the stroller stowed into a taxi (and the awesome taxi driver was out of his seat and HOLDING Aya while Nate got the stroller in the trunk!!), Yumi had given up and collapsed in my arms. So it was short-lived. And so clearly related to over-stimulation and exhaustion. Truly-eating out every night is taking its toll. But we don't have a kitchen nor do we want to just order in food all--or even half--of the time. Even in spite of the fit, I am GLAD we went to this fuul place. We WANT to have these little adventures. But we can't seen to have them without a strong likelihood of a tantrum of some kind. I know--this is sounding like a broken record. Don't forget that this is my journal so I am thinking through things as I type them. Bare with me. And if you have any ideas, SHARE THEM!