Friday, November 15, 2013

Beirut - two weeks in

We have been in Beirut for a week and a half and I cannot believe how fast the time has went. I have been keeping busy this entire time with social calls and family visits and a few outings here and there. Soon, though, I will run out of people to see and things to do, so I am planning ahead for JR's sake and my sanity. It gets tiring carrying one and pushing one around with no car, and there are only so many places I can walk to that we have decided to put JR in a preschool part time starting next week: three days a week, four hours a day.

The preschool is walking distance from where we are staying and in good weather it is a good half an hour roundtrip. She will have breakfast and lunch at the school and I will pack her snack. She will come home in time for a communal nap. Afternoons will be with Yousef and I as will be the other two days in the week. I wish I could provide her with enough stimulation not to have to send her away but she needs the socialization and I need the break. I also wish I had the means to spend more one-on-one time with her but lately that has been really difficult. I guess I need to recognize my shortcomings and admit where I need help. It makes me sad to have to drop her off and I know I am going to miss her. I wonder what I will do with myself with her gone that whole time but I am sure I will still have my hands full with Yousef. My little girl is growing up.

JR has been completely entranced by her surroundings: the extended family, the toy store next door, the rides in the stroller, her brother. She spends hours with my cousin, her husband, my aunt, my uncle's wife, at the toy store without me near her and she is plenty happy and perfectly content. It warms my heart to hear her giggle and laugh and I am so proud of the little girl she is. She is so well behaved and so respectful and gets along with almost anyone. She is willing to try anything at least once and is honest about how she feels about it and is not afraid to voice her opinion. Yesterday she took a bubble bath with my uncle's wife's sister's daughter at their house and had a blast. Tonight she is sleeping with my cousin in her room; we will see how that goes. She completely enjoys the time with the family and I know she is going to miss everyone terribly when it is time to head back to Morocco. She even made friends with the maid and the concierge.

JR's Arabic has taken off and she now communicates as fluently as a native in both languages. There are some sounds in Arabic that she still cannot make but we are working with her on them. She is learning Koran and how to pray. She tried a religion class today but she did not fit it; she was the youngest and it was too strict. She is, however, very excited about the preschool and is looking forward to going there. She thinks her brother is going as well, so I hope she does not get too disappointed when I drop only her off there on Monday.

She opens the door and answers the phone like it was her house. She puts the laundry away and takes out the trash. She loves to help and already knows her way around the apartment and even the neighborhood. She has not been very demanding and is actually behaving well. She is, however, staying up way too late and sleeping way too little.

Yousef is being his own self. Eating, sleeping, playing. My little boy is surrounded by much love and he is responding well to that. Some days, though, he just wants to hide in Mama and won't let anyone else hold him. That is just as well with me.

We all miss Baba and wish he was here. It would be so much more fun with him. Today, we had a tea party with Baba on Skype. It was fun. We even set him up with his own cup and saucer. He will be here soon, but not soon enough. Until then, we will keep on enjoying ourselves as much as we can, eating good food, and having good company.

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