I felt a little like I was seeing Yumi off to her first day at school. It is only a week-long summer camp but, as I was telling Nate this morning, it is the longest chunk of time for the longest period of consecutive days I have sent her off to do something. Usually, I come along too. But we enrolled her in the very last week of the US embassy kids summer camp and today was the first day. She will leave each morning at 8am with Nate and return with him by 12:30pm. He will exercise and study there each morning this week while she runs, jumps, and swims--in an all-American setting.
She was excited when we told her yesterday that she could go to camp, but woke this morning very anxious. She frankly admitted to being scared because the camp is something "new." She was worried the kids and counselors would only speak Arabic; while she can get what she needs done in Arabic, she obviously feels excluded among Arabic speaking kids. I tried to assure her. Nate admitted to feeling a little nervous on her behalf as well. Mayumi is pretty reserved; it is impossible to predict, however, in what situations or with what type of people she will retreat into her shell/display negative social behavior. I would assume that she'd really enjoy a camp in familiar territory that features a playground, pool, and ice cream, but I've been wrong before. I will keep my fingers crossed.
With just Emlet and Ayame Little Pants for company, things were very quiet and EASY. I put Aya down for an early nap and did an entire P90X workout (Legs and Back...ugh!). Emi just puttered around, as pleasant as can be. We eventually left at 10:30am for the commercial district south of our hotel. Our first destination: the airline office to confirm our flights. That done, we proceeded on to the Bird Garden! Maybe our last visit. Emi just cannot get enough of the birds and Aya, too, noticed them for the first time. Before, I've always kept her in the stroller so as to be free to chase after Yumi and Emi if needed. This time I got her out and she discovered the birds! She was glued to the cage fronts. Good times.
After playing in the sand with our fairly recently acquired sand tools, the girls teeter tottered their hearts out. Before we knew it it was time to jet. We needed to meet Nate back at or near the hotel where he would deposit Mayumi with me and continue on to class. We stopped in at a pharmacy and bank on our way down to our neighborhood, arriving at Samir's fruit shop just as Nate pulled up with Mayumi. He left and I eventually got everyone back to the hotel, fed, and down for quiet time. Yumi did fine at camp but seemed oddly neutral about it. Not ecstatic but clearly fine with it. She probably just did not make any friends today. My suspicions have grown as throughout the rest of the day she has mentioned just about every friend of hers back home and the few she made here (before they all left for the summer).
I had a few minutes between the time I out the girls down for quiet time and when Nisreen arrived for our marathon two-hour lesson. We meant to have a lesson after shopping yesterday but never got to it. I would have just been fine with missing it but had already paid her and I got the feeling she did not want to simply apply that credit to a future lesson. I o not blame her--I have my own policies too when I give private lessons. And so we spent our first hour sitting in the hall in front of our room and the second, after Erapie had arrived, downstairs in the courtyard. Interesting conversation as always. Much of it today involved review of "shopping words" and a discussion on fashion. We agree, we discovered, that not everyone is meant to wear skinny jeans.
I returned from my lesson to find an agitated Yumi. Erapie was pretty anxious to go so I assume Yumi was not easy to work with today. All three girls were up but Aya and Emi seemed perfectly content with their activities. The moment I returned Yumi started in with whining and moaning...her usual routine. I was calm with her but did not tolerate it. She did not change her attitude--and continued to be difficult until the very last second tonight. Sigh. In the meantime we went, as a family, to the Sports City running trails for a picnic dinner. They are located in a "forrest" and the girls had been asking to go back there for a while. As outings go it was alright. Physically demanding; the closest gates were all closed and so we had to all squeeze through a missing bar in the fence and Nate lifted the double stroller over his head with one hand and passed it over the fence into the other hand. My husband, Hercules. The girls' behavior ranged from trying to aggravating but they definitely had fun running about. Aya was filthy by the time we were done and had to undergo a serious scrubbing by Nate when we got home. I made smoothies, we read stories. Yumi was so resentful and angry. I fear that is how she will wake tomorrow morning. As always, I ask myself: why do our girls have such bad attitudes most of the time? What am I doing to contribute to this problem? I wish I knew.
To end positively with two "smart girl" stories: 1) Emi said to me, completely out of the blue and of her own accord in Arabic, "Are we going to the bird garden?" 2) If you sing "Old McDonald had a farm..." Aya will then gleefully chime in with "ee aiy ee aiy oh."