Thursday, July 19, 2012
19 July: Lights out in Amman
19 July 47 degrees Celsius and the electricity just shut off. Apparently we have reached some kind of heat record and Jordan's electricity grid just cannot handle it. That is, at least, what the hotel staff told me when I slipped downstairs to enquire. The girls are napping and shouldn't be effected unless they are bothered by the lack of air conditioning (absence of cool air AND the electrical hum that blocks out other sounds). Hopefully it will come on again before night...I've spent a night without AC in the dead of summer in Virginia and we relied heavily on our electrical fans. Without the use of a fan (and we have one, as it happens), no one is going to get very much sleep. Not that we did last night, either. Ugh! Aya has been a gem of a sleeper her whole life and, thankfully, has done just fine here. Beyond the first three nights she has slept nearly 12 hours straight each night. Amazing. But last night was the third night in a row she as awakened and not gone back to sleep. For a LONG time. Initially, we decided to leave her in bed this time after checking to make sure the problem was not a soiled diaper. I checked (it wasn't) and gave her a bottle with water. It was 2am. She cried HARD for a very long time. Maybe an hour! I am sure you cannot believe we let her cry that long in a hotel room but I could see a trend had started and was determined to put an end to it. And Yumi, who shares a room with her, miraculously stayed asleep. After an hour, or so, she stopped crying and I figured we had seen the worst. Now, I thought, she will know to just go back to sleep and not expect special treatment at night. Well. She woke again, and to make a long and exhausting story short, we finally got her out if bed at 5am!!! We had been awake THE WHOLE TIME and so had she, nearly. We held out for three hours and finally I snapped. Or broke. Whatever it was, it was brought on by exhaustion AND the fear that this problem will continue throughout the rest of our stay here. I don't know what is worse: Mayumi's hysterical fits (which are fewer and fewer in between now, thankfully!) or being up for hours in the middle of the night. Some people with colicky newborns deal with the latter problem every night for months; we've been blessed in that department, however, and I don't know how I can handle it. If and when our girls have needed a little sleep "reprogramming" I have not had to fear that the crying child will wake her sister/s and I have had a far corner in the house to go in which to escape the noise. Not so, here. I now dread the likely fact that I will wake each night from here on out and will either have to listen to her cry or bounce her back to sleep in my arms. Such a scenario would be unpleasant during a one-night stay; exhausting for a week-long stay; nearly inconceivable for five weeks. Well, we shall see. I intended to visit a pharmacy this afternoon to see about teething gel (when we DID get her up she refused a bottle of milk and just wanted to gnaw on the plastic case of my ear plugs). All stores may shut down, however, thanks to the universal power outage. Also, I bought some batteries today for our flashlight with the intention of giving it to Mayumi and taking her little battery-powered nightlight and giving that to Aya. That is what I tried at 5:15am this morning when I put Aya back in bed; she is fascinating by the light and I used it to lure her peacefully back into her crib. Good thinking, buying those batteries. We may need them for more than one reason now. There is, of course, the possibility that her stomach was bothering her. If the number of her diaper explosions are any indication, I would say that she is likely experiencing some gastro-intestinal discomfort. Which leads me to the next major event in our morning of 18 July. We were able to sleep in a little, resulting in about 5 hours total of sleep. Moving slowly, I got the girls fed, ready, and Yumi out the door with Nate. I put Aya down for a nap even though she had only just awakened 1.5 hrs before. I figured she would be tired anyway due to the loss of three hours of sleep during the night. I could hear, however, that it took her a long time to go to sleep. She did not cry but was vocal nearly 1/2 hr into her "nap" time. Eventually she quieted down. I did a workout and took my time getting ready so she would have an hour to sleep before I woke her. I went in to her with my shoes on and ergo around my waist. My intention was to strap her in immediately if she did not need a diaper change and head right out. A terrible smell met me when I opened the door to her room. Not only had she had an explosion, the mess was all over her body, in her hair, and crusted on. Gracious. Naturally, I scrubbed her and her crib down. She was very sad. I wasn't too happy about it myself but cleaning up after messes is much more straightforward than dealing with an hysterical four year-old and I know how to tackle them. Tackle, I did, and then we still headed out on a abbreviated version of our morning plan: to go to Books and More library. Emi, Aya, and I enjoyed our brief visit to the library (where I exchanged our Foyle's War DVDs for new ones) and even briefer visit to the nearby Safeway. This library--and Safeway--is quite far from our hotel and sports city; it took us 1/2 hr to get back to the youth club where we met Farah and an ebullient Mayumi at the entrance. It seems as though Yumi had a great last day at camp. Alhamdulileh. And that brings us to now. With the help of an uncharacteristic purchase of string cheese from Safeway--something I don't even buy in America--I had very happy girls in the taxi ride and at lunch time. And here we four are now; only one of us is asleep while the rest of us reside in our separate quiet time spaces and sweat. Yes, it is quite warm in here now. This evening: The electricity (and air conditioning) came on again after only two hours. Not bad at all. It was super hot but that did not keep us from going out. We picked up laundry, fruit, and dinner from the usual places. Everyone is holding breath waiting to find out if Ramadan starts tomorrow or the day after. Ramadan is a lunar holiday and begins with the first sighting (in Saudi Arabia) of the new moon. The girls enjoyed the decorations adorning the shops--similar to Christmas decor but instead of candy canes you get suns, moons, and stars. Our original plan was to meet Nate over at sports city after his workout with a picnic dinner, but it was too hot and, more importantly, just too late. It was 6:30pm by the time I had even purchased our dinner; too late to head off for a picnic. We agreed to meet up at the hotel. I arrived first and got the girls eating. Then ready for bed. I was starting to worry about Nate when he called at 7:30pm wondering where I was. It seems as though he asked the hotel staff if I had come in yet and since no one saw me come through he figured I just was not back. He got into a conversation with the hotel owner and before he knew it, 45 minutes had passed. Ah well. I am marveling at how much effort it can take to get three little girls ready for bed EVEN when you have a small space and few distracting toys. In addition to the usual routine, I gave Aya two medicines--one for diarrhea (new word!) and one for teeth pain--and gathered various supplies in case of another nocturnal crying marathon. Wish us luck! I think we will be going to bed early tonight just in case. But first Nate and I are going to eat our own little picnic dinner here on the bed. The girls opted for cereal over the shish tawook, pita, and hummus that I picked up at salsabiil, so I saved it for us adults. As Nate did not arrive home in time for dinner, we will be eating it here on our bed..