Monday, October 4, 2010

The triumphant twos!

I am trying to remain positive about all the changes that have come with Alessandro turning two, hoping that a sunny outlook will dampen the difficult moments that come with it. Exactly the week of his birthday Alessandro started climbing out of his crib at night which led to a lot of late night antics. The climax of this experience was certainly his success in locking himself in his bedroom. Jetlagged and exhausted I could not for the life of me find the key to the room. An hour, thirty dollars and a screwdriver later he was safe and sound in his crib minus one side and a door with no lock thanks to security which responded faster than I expected (but nothing is fast enough for a hysterical mother imagining the things a toddler could do inside of a locked room). I found the keys exactly one minute later. So his third year on the planet started with a bang! He is now fully adjusted (most of the time) to his new freedom and he finally falls asleep in his new car bed. He doesn't sleep with his head at the top or use his comfy covers or pillow but sleeping through the night is my only care at the moment. We still have a lot of ridiculously early mornings but this week he has slept until 7:30 every day so let's just hope and pray it lasts. The thought of possibly being up with two kids in the night/dawn makes me shudder. It was a rough time for me because as most of you know Alessandro has always been a great sleeper and seemed at times to have the sleep cycles of a teenager- sleeping in late in the morning and still mustering the energy for a long nap in the afternoon. Bedtime was never a struggle so for a few weeks I thought I just might lose my sanity but alas all is well again.
Other changes around here. Alessandro is officially aware of the baby in my belly and I catch him checking out my silhouette often marveling at the soccer ball like shape under my shirt. He kisses the baby on demand and seems to listen to me when I tell him that we are making him a best friend to play with. Book reading has become one of the biggest joys of our life at the moment. I always enjoyed reading to him but lately watching him point out so many of the animals and objects in the book and answer my questions as we read along is beyond rewarding. A lot more pieces of the language puzzle are coming together which brings me to his favorite words: car, choo-choo (pronounced dut-dut), juice (duice), fly and mine. "Mine" is his blanket. It started as a joke with my mom over the summer when she would try to steal his beloved taggie blanket and declare it hers. Now it is forever known as the one and only mine. We have successfully managed to cut back on it's appearance in our life. When we returned home this fall it had worked it's way into a lead role in our lives like an egotistical star that would not and could not be left behind. We have managed to reduce this to more of a supporting role. Mine must always be hidden in my purse for emergencies but for the most part it just comes around for sleeping, eating companionship and post-waking play. Cameron (Alessandro's bff) even imitates Alessandro asking for it. I say asking but I really mean whining which is also a new skill that is being perfected at the moment. Toddler whining has a way of really grating on my nerves so I try to maintain a will of steel so that I never give in to it. As long as he is not overtired it stays under control.
Alessandro takes a gym class every monday called muscle builders. He works on balancing, climbing, jumping and building stuff out of blocks. He absolutely loves it and has a huge crush on the teacher. He also likes the assistant, Jeremy, who is a girl...seriously. I never knew that name was uni-sex! Don't worry it isn't on our list for potential names. I think that pretty much sums up life with Alessandro at the moment. He keeps us busy and my favorite moments are when his sense of humor comes through. You just never know what to expect. Just last week he disappeared for a few minutes and just as I began to think about a search party he came running into the living room wearing my shower cap and laughing!
Next week is going to be very busy. We are moving into a bigger apartment with more outdoor space. Like everything in life it isn't perfect but it was a good deal (for Dubai) and I think we will be very comfortable there. It will also give us plenty of room for when the baby comes and we have a steady flow of visitors. So far the pregnancy is uneventful which is just how I hope it will stay. We do have another active baby though- this one also keeps me up a lot kicking and squirming and yesterday I saw it squishing my bladder with it's head on the ultrasound so I finally have a real excuse for going to the bathroom all the time. Well, I hear the sounds of a two year old stirring from nap time. In a moment I will him at his door calling "Mom" so I better get ready.

Friday, April 30, 2010


So it is yet another Friday night and I am waiting for Chris. He returns tonight after being gone almost 2 weeks. He is almost done with this project and we are so relieved, it has not been easy for anyone. One of the things that has helped get me through the past couple of months has been the amazing community of moms here in JBR. As we approach our third year in Dubai I can say it truly feels like home. I am attending a hen night and a baby shower this month and it is these rites of passage that really build friendships and the feeling of home. Tonight I participated in a very sad rite of passage. One of our neighbors lost their 11 month old baby to a tragic choking accident at home. It was a very everyday situation, one that could have happened to anyone and one that every parent fears. While this kind of grief is truly something I hope to never witness again it was a beautiful ceremony that really showed what an amazing community spirit lives here. It was moving to be allowed to grieve with the parents and a relief that we could be there for them in their darkest hour. A big group met on the beach for readings, poems and a candlelight ceremony. At the end we all released balloons and in what seemed like just a moment they were all gone. As I left I really wished Chris were at home (and I still do) but when I opened our door Alessandro greeted me with such glee. I took extra care in each bedtime step tonight, enjoying each moment and cuddle. He picks the bedtime books now, he tries to read them and he gives me a kiss each time I say kiss when reading the book "Mommy's best kisses". Well...what more can I say except goodnight and brush up on first aid if has been a while- a community class was put together this week so we could be proactive as a community to try to prevent future accidents and although it was a small thing it felt like it was something.

Another hug

Alessandro embracing Aisling at the playground this week! Now, I only get hugs once in a while but I have started getting kisses from Alessandro. After over a year and a half of the give-a-thon that is motherhood it is pretty nice to get a few kisses now and then!

Best friends

Cameron and Alessandro have a special bond and it is so exciting to watch their friendship grow as they do. One of Cameron's first words was Sandro (finally someone calling him by his nickname) and their faces just light up when they see each other. Tonight we visited and Alessandro had a tantrum when we wasn't fun but was pretty short lived like all of his moods and although tantrums aren't cute seeing him form emotions and friendships is rewarding.

Big slide!

Alessandro can finally go down all slides without any help- playgrounds are a lot more enjoyable now!

Evenings at the beach

We go to the beach most evenings and it is just amazing. My favorite time of day no matter where I am in the world is just before sunset and the beach in front of our home is no exception. The evenings are getting hotter and hotter so we are trying to enjoy every last moment we have splashing in the waves and playing in the sand. Alessandro loves to collect shells, tear down sand art and sit in the gentle waves. The feeling of the tide pulling beneath you is a wonder I still remember from childhood and it is truly something to see him taking it all in. When my mom was here she built him a car out of sand, something I begged my parents to do each and every time we went to the beach...well he like it for about two seconds, it was just too stationary for him!