Thursday, February 18, 2010

These are my mornings

I wake each morning sandwiched between two little souls, their mouths puckered and gulping periodically throughout the night. I pull each one to the contour of my body and take the greatest pleasure in rubbing the lines on the perfect casing for their little hearts and veins and brains and breath. In the night if one cries and the other is just fed I whisper to Youssef , “quick pull that one over, hand me this one, shh, quite, is she moved yet, hurry before the other one wakes”. We are in it together and it feels like we are robbing a parent or something like that and have to hurry quick before someone turns around or comes in a room we shouldn’t be in.
When Youssef rises for the day, he takes one with him, whichever one I just finished feeding and he changes her diaper and I hear all kinds of going and gahhing and laughing and “oh my god Carrie you have to see what she is doing” coming from the bathroom. Then he will bring the one back and take the other or if he is ahead of the clock that morning he will put the dry one in a stroller and take the other one and then take them both out of the room. This morning he left me with both, but brought coffee to make it better.

I finally crawled my way out of the mountain of blankets and pillows on our bed and found my way to my slippers, half disappeared under the edge of the bed. My legs stiff and muscles sore from yesterday’s return to working out. I stretch and slowly make my way to the kitchen to make him breakfast. I relish in doing so, to be able to do something so little but so important for him.
Because he does so very much for me.

So many dinners and lunches. So much paper work and taking care of business, his whole life seems dedicated to working for us. So I love making him his breakfast in the morning. My favorite part of doing it is when I fold the aluminum foil over the breakfast sandwich and fold two little paper napkins onto each other and put the whole thing into a nice plastic sack that we have saved from the previous evening’s baguette. I set the precious goods on the table and he finds it and takes it with him.

Each morning as I am folding the napkins, I think about two things: One- I should really write him a little love letter on one of these napkins. And Two: I wonder if he notices the extra touch of my napkin fold, I wonder if he knows it means I love you and I think you deserve a folded napkin each morning with your egg sandwich.
After that there is usually laughter and conversation and sometimes I follow him around as he is getting ready, sometimes I am already back in bed with the brats sucking away at me again, Sometimes I say good bye a the door and then over come with emotion swing the door open and yell after to him to be careful on his motor bike, to come back safe to me, to please protect our happiness. Protect himself.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How about these lemons!

Ok, so...I have not been this excited about a new fruit/veg thing since jerusalem artichokes. There are these lemons here. I swear, I promise, that are more fragrant than any lemon I have ever tasted or smelled anywhere. They inspire me to lemon cake with lemon zest, lemon squeezed over large plump strawberries. These lemons taste and smell like perfume, literally, ummm, err but in a good way. Not in a yucky, gross, I accidentally sprayed my perfume in my mouth kind of way.

These lemons just kinda appeared on the scene about a month ago. The first time I had it the maid drew it to my attention. She came over one day with about four of them and let it drop that the markets have some special seasonal lemons out right now. First, I smelled, then smelled again then compulsively a third time. I said oh no, wowzers, it must be some kind of lemon-heaven hybrid thing, this is too good to be just a lemon, have you heard of Meyer lemons, we have those too and...sniff sniff sniff, no...I have never smelled anything quite like this before. Thus life has proceeded for the past month, I am constantly trying to find appropriate ways to cook with these bad-ass lemons. I love them, they deserve an entire post dedicated to them.

Youssef actually had the audacity to come home with a sack of waaaaaaaay inferior lemons from the Turkish chain store Bim. Needless to say he still regrets that, as we have never let him live it down! Poor thing, I think he has learned his lesson though.

So yes, that is one of the major joys of my daily life these days, the lemons and the strawberries and the fennel and the oranges, and the beets - so many good seasonal foods available in the market these days... In times like these when we are struggling financially to make ends meet every month (don't scoff, the maid is actually the nanny too which is an absolute necessity), it is a blessing to be able to eat strawberry salad and have an array of fresh fruits and vegetables that fit into our 20 dollar fruit and veg budget for each week. It is all organic, it is mostly local and it is all seasonal.

One thing I should be better about: canning!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A tale of two Mobiles

Dear Sophia and Mae,
Your little rose budding lives are almost 4 months old at this point. Most of our days are spent, inside, rocking and singing and changing clothes and diapers. You also spend your time crying and eating and sleeping and looking and sometimes smiling. Your father and I are happy. We love you both together and separately so much. He sings Bob Marley to you and does this Moroccan drum procession thing with his voice and hands and I have gotten pretty good at doing the hand clapping accompaniment to the drum procession. We have fun with it. Sometimes we bathe you together. Generally I sleep in a little later in the mornings because I take turns feeding you two at night and he works early. So the deal is that he gets up and changes you both and plays with you so I can sleep a little longer.

Sophia, you are so friggin' intense. You scream and scream and scream all the time. You a re screaming beside me, in your swing, as I am typing this.

Mae, you are sweet and smiley and understanding and patient. You have noticed Sophia already (no wonder with her always screaming beside you) and you smile at her and at your dad and at me. You laugh out loud and your sister Sophia clicks instead of laughing, which is pretty adorable.
I have been thinking about and knowing that it is time to, you know, make an effort with myself. Well I have made progress, I get dressed everyday now and I even put on a little rouge! But I know it is time to like, stop eating a pack of cookies everyday. The thing is I have turned into a total sugar fiend! Probably because I am still breastfeeding you both.
Some days I get tired of pumping and working and feeding and going back and forth. But I keep going, I find the fuel. I do it because I love you both and wouldn't even consider doing anything less than I am now. In fact I know all the time that I can do more. For example I have tried to get better about changing your diapers. There have been days where I have forgotten to do so for like 5 hours or something crazy. Sorry. But I am getting better now about that being on my radar.
You two are full of life and personality and you can almost sit up on your own and I put you in your frenchie little sleep sacs everyday and parade you around the house. Sometimes on the weekends we go out. We sling one of you and put the other in the stroller. Because we live up 3 flights of stairs and have no elevator it is hard for me to take you out on my own during the week.
You have TWO nannies. And they both love you so much. Their names are Fatima and Souad. Fatima comes in and will put one of you on her back while she cleans. You love it, both of you. It also makes you sleep immediately. Yesterday I saw her praying with you on her back. As you know, praying involves getting down on your knees and putting your forehead to the floor. You just stayed right on sleep through the whole thing.

For Xmas your aunt Chelsea bought you a mobile. In my excitement I threw away the box and put it together and got it on the crib...only to find out the motor was broken. Because we had no box we decided to try our luck with taking it back. But then we ran into your aunt Soumia on the street on the way to take it back and because she is much better at things like that done, your father asked her to take it back. I didn't think it was a good idea but the whole exchange happened so quickly that the mobile was ushered off before I could even say no. Enter Soumia' s kids, your cousins, Sara and Ryan stage left. They found the mobile in the car and proceeded to fight over it and broke it into two pieces.
Your father and I could not let her pay for it because of everything they have done for us, so we kindly just took it back and your father then dismantled the mobile into, and I am not exaggerating here, about 100 little pieces. Everyday I would look at it all strewn about his work station and get angry all over again and miss my sister and feel bad for my children for not having a mobile and then berate your father for giving the mobile that MY sister bought to HIS sister in the first place. This went on for an entire month.
And then I came home from work all unsuspecting on a Monday night (last night- Feb the 2nd, remember you got the mobile on December 25th) and there is a beautiful new mobile hanging over the crib for your entertainment purposes. How wonderful. How lovely. Finally...a Mobile. You done good Dad.