Thursday, November 11, 2010

Midweek reflections - towards Mid-November 2010

…on work
My husband, the Professor, is literally working night and day for the moment. A teacher and a department colleague by day, an author by night, and a travelling conference speaker in between (although there really isn’t any time in between right now), he has no time at all for family, household or even sports. He’s not getting enough sleep either. I am left to manage everything: the boys and their schooling and activities, all our meals, all the cleaning, cooking, washing, laundry, you name it. I don’t even have a tennis partner. It’s an unsustainable situation; we’re all getting really, really tired and I find it absolutely unbearable at times. I constantly have to remind myself that it is only for another month, and it’s really going to give us a huge push forward. “Come mid-December and we can relax. Come mid December, and we’ll relax.” Deep breath.
…towards an education
As August finished Spelling Workout E this week, and since the next book, Spelling Workout F, is supposed to be for sixth graders, I decided to hold him back a bit in the spelling department and focus on perfecting his writing instead. It has always been hard to get him to write. When he does, he doesn’t do it half bad, but he has such trouble coming up with ideas, and he really, really doesn’t like the actual physical work involved. “Do I HAVE TO write a final draft? Can’t we just pretend that all these insertions, corrections and edits ARE the final draft? We know exactly what it will look like now anyways! Pleeeease, mama?” I am determined to get August to where he will not make these kinds of complaints or requests any more, and now is as good as a time as any. I’ve designed a curriculum and set out a method. Let’s all hope it works!
…on the food we eat in Lebanon
Ever since that horrible food poisoning week earlier this fall, we have practically been eating all our meals at home. A couple of times we got take out Chinese from Chopsticks, and a couple of times we ordered pizza (Dominoes – there’s no Papa John’s here L), but that’s about it. For the rest, we’ve [or I guess it’s just I have] done weekly menus with a big shopping, and our five major meals - breakfast, snack (usually fruit), lunch, snack, and dinner - take place around our dinner table. It’s a lot of work, but at least I know we’re eating well, we run a much smaller risk of getting sick, and we can eat food that we know is good and that we like. I let the boys choose one meal every week. Not only do they feel like they have a say, but it also helps me come up with things to cook.
…on our home
Our home is perpetually messy! I live with four males that have no sense whatsoever of order or tidiness, and I can make all the chore lists, threats, pleads, and cleaning sessions I want; they just don’t think the way I do about leaving socks on the floor, cups on the coffee table, empty toilet paper rolls in the bathroom, toys and books EVERYWHERE, or shoes in the middle of the hallway. With all these meals, and with our family spending so much time in our apartment, you can thus imagine that there is a lot of cleaning that is constantly required. Today I ran into one of the owners of our building, who also is one of our upstairs neighbors, a very friendly lady, and she said she knew of someone who can come by and clean our apartment once a week. What a help this would be! I hope it works out (I will find out next week).
…on the upcoming holiday
Our first Eid Al Adha in Egypt was amazing, in that I studied and discovered a lot about [Christianity and] Islam that I actually didn’t know before; things that make these religions very different - and not so different. I found the Muslim community I lived in encouraging, in that people really worship, and encourage worship in the society, even if it’s not to Allah. Religion is an important part of everyone’s lives, and this feast especially, which is a celebration of faith, was a demonstration of this. I am very glad I got to experience it, and our decision to name our son who was born in Egypt, Abraham, was certainly influenced by this inspiring holiday. A lot of people complain about the killings, the blood and stench, but these things don’t really bother me. I can think of several equally gross things elsewhere.
This year I’m looking forward to the experience of Eid Al Adha in Lebanon, and I’m excited to see if it’s anything like in Egypt.
…on the future
Today we – the boys and I - walked over to Mothercare and bought a couple of no-spill cups for Abraham. We made a big deal out of it so that he would get excited, and I think it worked. My idea is to get him to seek out his cup (containing milk or vitamin juice) whenever he gets thirsty or snacky, instead of tugging on my shirt and asking for “nam-nam.” Am I weaning him? Not really. Just encouraging alternatives, now that he is getting older, and imagining a future where I don’t have to buy my underwear in the maternity/nursing section.

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