Saturday, July 07, 2012

6 July: Baby steps!

6 July Sabbath Day in Amman.  Nate said "you know church services went well enough when you don't strangle anyone (of our children).". I'd amend that to say you know it went well enough if you don't have to take anyone out.  Which we did not.  The girls were VERY wiggly and Yumi is definitely on edge, but everything went more or less alright.  Once again we have no Internet at our hotel--for the third day--so we lingered after church to check email, etc.  The English speaking congregation here has many semi-permanent members (domestic workers) and many more semi-semi-permanent members (embassy employees).  July is when foreign service officers switch posts so today was the last church service in Amman for several families in the congregation, including Yumi's two friends she has made here.  I feel badly for her; not that we see them every day, but we have seen them on Fridays at church and at least one other day during each week we have been here.  Natalie and family are headed to Bangkok; Charish and family are headed to Nairobi.  Wow!  The life of a state department family. One exciting thing happened at church: Ayame Litte Pants has decided to renew her efforts to learn to walk!  Suddenly, today at church she started standing up on her own (without holding onto anything) and taking some steps. She takes anywhere from 2 to 8 steps maybe before falling, but she is doing it on her own without prompting or persuasion.  I guess she is on her way!  I love that little chub. This afternoon:  Nate had a teleconference at the embassy scheduled for late this afternoon so he left after we put the girls down for naps to get a little studying in before the meeting.  Like yesterday, the girls went down early for naps so they woke up early.  Anxious to avoid a repeat of yesterday's fiasco, I got them out the door by 4pm.  I decided we would walk to the Bird Garden.  We have been there several times, always by cab, and I felt like it should be close to enough to reach by walking.  I got some initial instructions from Yasir at the front desk and asked people along the way.  It took only 1/2 hr of walking uphill in some serious heat, but we made it.  I was happy to do it as I always love a chance for exercise, to do something knew, to explore new places.  The girls were pleasant so I enjoyed the walk.  We arrived and the girls took off running.  We met a nice family with whom I chatted while the girls played.  Yumi and Emi played with their kids (three girls almost exactly the same ages as ours), but not perfectly.  I have observed that Yumi, especially, is reserved around Jordanian kids.  I am pretty sure it is due, in part, because she is aware of the language barrier.  Also, Jordanian kids clearly understand there is something "different" about my girls...and probably are uncomfortable with it.  They may even think my girls are slow.  As soon as I started chatted with their mother, she urged her eldest to go play with Mayumi but it just did not happen.  Yumi seemed happy enough tooling around on her own but it made me a little sad for her.  I know she misses her friends a lot.  Eventually, Yumi did start playing with this girl and her sand toys.  I could see that the girl was not really sharing her toys with Yumi and I could hear Yumi reprimanding her in loud and awkward Arabic ("no, no, be nice, don't").  Small wonder they did not become best friends.   All in all, however, I think they had a good time just playing hard as ids should for nearly 1.5 hrs.  Our friends left and Nate called to say he was done.  I pried the girls away and was heading back when we ran into my friend Pete's cousin Daniel, with whom we had dinner the other night.  I invited him along to eat with us again.  We met up with Nate at salsabiil, the place by Abu Manal's and Amir the Egyptian fruit guy.  Salsabiil is beginning to grow on me.  My initial experience there was poor (just me and the girls in our first week and it was not pretty) but it has become a convenient and tasty place to eat with friendly staff that have become our friends.  Tonight we ate hummus, shish tawook, Arab salad, and stir fried tomatoes/onions (qalaiya).  Yum! The girls were fairly cooperative.  While Nate took Yumi on a special little walk to get ice cream (a "booza" walk), I bathed a very dirty Ayame Little Pants and Emi.  Emi was proud because she washed the soap out of her hair herself.  Emi, by the way, is no longer crying at her door when Nate puts her to bed.  Why not?  Because he has been leaving the light on.  Which she can and does turn on by herself the moment he leaves, but apparently she prefers it to be left on by him.  Ah well, we will work on that habit when we get back.  For now, we just go in before we go to bed, rearrange her from the usually very awkward position in which she has fallen asleep to something more comfortable, and turn out the light. A better day than yesterday.  Thank heaven.

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