An Evening Together

My children continuously ask me to write about them on my blog. They look at old posts from a few years ago and find their stories funny and intriguing.

At this point though I am reluctant to go into detail, out of respect for their privacy. I am sure they’ll come back to me one day as young adults to complain about what I might write about them via this outlet 😉

They are now 8, still full of questions, the beginnings of little emotional drama, fights, and deepening friendships both between themselves and with others.

They asked specifically that I write about a lovely, simple family moment we shared yesterday – an evening on the beach competing who could throw stones into the sea the farthest, collecting bright, colourful, almost perfectly shaped sea shells, and walking in the breeze as the sun set. We ate pizza, drank wine, soda water, and juices.

Most of all it was a special moment being together, and importantly – present.

AE145D59-8216-440C-BD1F-8F64B0943DEDThe children sense it when we are around, especially when the gadgets are put away, that we are not in between chats with friends miles away or scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. Nothing wrong with that, there is so much power in the technology we now have in accessing our family, friends, news and ideas, but it’s quite detrimental when we multitask on the phone while trying to engage with the kids. I do it much too often.

I try to be compassionate with myself,  knowing how hard it is to change habits. I try to take the time for myself everyday, to share moments with Maher regularly, to take time to connect with my people on the phone, and then exclusively spend time with the kids.

It’s all part of the practice.

I know when it’s working. It’s those rare moments that just feel right, when the underlying anxiety fades away.

7E4E75D7-06D9-4E21-BCB4-5B711340CDD8

As much as my kids enjoy the time together, they are already asking “Why do we have to go out for dinner ‘the four of us’? Why don’t you and papa go out alone and let us stay home and watch Netflix?”

And yes, we have started doing that a little more frequently, going out just the two of us. The kids are growing up, and like a wise woman said to me yesterday after I shared this story with
her, “I hope you, mum and dad, have something meaningful to do when the nest is empty. That time is coming soon it seems!”

 

 

Jungle Play

This morning Maher noticed something dangling off a roof right next to our bedroom.

A snake had shed it’s skin last night.

The kids were intrigued. Until they looked at it closely, they thought it was plastic.

And then…it wound up in the play-doh.

25560503-022925.jpg

25560503-022956.jpg

25560503-023014.jpg

25560503-023022.jpg

25560503-023044.jpg

25560503-023100.jpg

25560503-023111.jpg

25560503-023122.jpg

Trust in Me,The Jungle Book

Raksha Bandan this Year

Last year we celebrated the bond between brothers and sisters in our first Raksha Bandan. Leila tied a rakhee (usually an ornate string that symbolizes a bond of protection), around Rahul’s right wrist. Leila had to have one as well – that bit is what made it Raksha Bandan – Our Version. They hugged and fed each other something sweet.

We had a repeat of our version this year at our Koh Samui hotel room. My mum was with us on the day, the full moon of August 2nd, so it was all the more special even in the simplicity of our unmade beds, daily wear, and impromptu rakhees – I cut out the bookmark-ribbons from two of L and R’s story books and used them as rakhees. (Don’t tell my little brother;))

Here’s Raksha Bandan – Bond of Protection, the post I wrote last year about this celebration during my childhood.

Conversations

Some conversations from the last month:

Koh Samui, driving around the Southern parts of the island

Maher: Les gars, vous avez vu les vaches? Et il y a des chevaux aussi! (Hey guys, did you see the cows? There are horses as well!)

Me: Do you know what cows eat?

Leila: Gra-nola

On the beach one day:

Rahul picked up a strange white jelly-like fish egg (I think)

Me: What’s that Rahul?

Rahul: Mama, this lenses (as in contact lenses)

——————————–

Chengdu –

One evening just before bed:

Leila: What dat Rahul?

Rahul rubs his body: Keam, body. (As in body cream / lotion),

Leila picked up a tube of zinc oxide used for nappy irritation: What dat Rahul?

Rahul pointing at it: Toos paste that.

Leila tapping her bottom: No Rahul, Keam bum-bum.

Rahul: No, toos paste.

Leila: No, keam kiki(cute way to say vagina in French).

Rahul: Afu zizi, Leila zizi (cute way to say penis).

Leila: No, Leila kiki

Rahul smiling: Leila zizi

Leila: Noooo, Leila kiki

Rahul really pushing her button: Leila zizi

I had to pull them apart. Stop them from shoving and pushing each other after that one.

In bed that night:

Leila: Mama, where papa?

Me: He’s in Hengyang. He’ll be back in two days.

Leila crying: Leila kiss papa.

————————————-
Early, very early one morning:

Leila pointing at some soft boiled egg that she spilt on the table: Mum look. Fwog.

Me: Wow Leila, is the from jumping around in your egg?

Rahul walks into the kitchen, barely awake.

Leila: Rahul, look. Fwog. Egg.

Me: Hey Rahul, did you see the frog in Leila’s egg?

Leila: Fwog, water, jump ribbit ribbit.

A little later, still at the table that morning –

Rahul: Tomorrow xiao He ayi back. Some bady bump, went see doctor. Better now.

Me: Yes Rahul. She’s much better now, and she’s coming back tomorrow!

(He ayi, our dearly beloved nanny had a motorbike accident a week ago. A three-wheel-taxi driver bumped into her, watched her fall to the ground, and zoomed away.)

Still at breakfast-`

Leila: Banana mama

Me: Nana nana banana banana

L and R: Nana nana banana banana

L and R: nani nani chapatti chapatti

Me: Jiddo jiddo potato potato, teta teta batata batata

L and R: jiddo jiddo potato potato, teta teta batata batata

Rahul: Zazu Nanu, Zazu Nanu

Leila: Zazu D2, Zazu D2. D2 jiddo.

Me: D2 jiddo or Jiddo Kamal

Leila teasing: D2 Dubai

Rahul: Jiddo Kamal Dubai

Leila: Teta Houda Lebanon

————————–
One evening all of us in bed:

Me taling to Maher about something: D2 was talking to his girlfriend.

Leila: girl-fwend mama?

Me: Ummmmm, D2’s girlfriend Stephanie, do you remember her? She is his girlfriend.

Leila nodding her head: Member mum.

Me: Ummmmm Pasca is my girlfriend.

Leila: Leila mama dotter. Rahul mama son. Mama papa girlfwend. Liu yan Marwan girlfwend. Leila Rahul girlfwend.

———————-

The four of us together. Maher sings a song. I join in. After two years of “practicing”, I’m still out of tune!

Rahul says: Mama no sing!

My Little Lady Leila

I’ve never carried a purse that way. A purse?! Never worn pink, Winnie- the- Pooh high-heeled slippers that light up (flashing-red bling). I don’t own a flowery hat, or a flowery dress.

She’s two. Doesn’t dress like this every day only because she can’t have her way.

A Zimbabwean yoga teacher, MoT, sister who’s lived in the Middle East for several years claims to have figured it out, “It’s definitely her Lebanese genes!”

I remember the first time we went to Lebanon, she was 9 months old. Leila was mesmerized by an older woman on the plane, fixing her make-up. Wow! My insecurities came rushing up to the surface.

Another yogi friend looked me up and down today, looked at Leila styling, then said, “Yeah, of course she’s gonna be the girly girl. Just to, you know..?” and she winked at me.

She calls herself princess, and even tried to crown me. I resisted initially, I’ve never thought of myself that way. But hey, what’s the big deal if she wants me in her kingdom. Lucky me!