Archive for August 2012
Just for fun, here it is:
6.15 to 8.30am: Woke up, argued with DS about staying in his room till 6.30am. Cuddled children. Got up, showered and dressed, had breakfast, made two packed lunches, packed two bags.
8.30am to 10.15am: Drove to Mall of the Emirates to drop DD, drove to Gold & Diamond Park to drop DS, drove back to Arabian Ranches.
10.15am to 12pm: Worked at home.
12pm: Drove back to Gold & Diamond Park to collect DS. Drove back to Arabian Ranches. Had lunch, persuaded DS to have a sleep. Did some more work.
2.30pm to 4pm: Drove to Mall of the Emirates to pick up DD and friend. Drove to The Villa to drop off friend. Drove back to Arabian Ranches.
4pm to 7.45pm: Played with the children. Made their dinner. Took them swimming. Bathed them. Got them ready for bed, put them to bed. Wrote blog.
8pm to 10.30pm: Made dinner for DH and I. Ate dinner, chatted with DH, posted blog, went to bed.
And there you have it: 16 hours of non-stop expat fun.
My day started this morning, as it does every morning, with the pitter-patter of three-year-old feet on the landing. Then a thunk as a water cup was plonked on my bedside table, followed by a small elephant clambering over my shins as DS climbed over me into the middle of our bed.
In that respect, today was no different to any other day.
Only today, I noticed that, as the little visitor arrived, it was still dark.
“DS! It’s still night-time!” I hissed, trying not to wake DH. You lie still and go to sleep! Or else!”
“Yes, mummy,” he whispered, settling his head on my pillow and hugging his teddy.
Looking back, I don’t know why I thought a boy who’d woken up at 4.30am was going to go back to sleep when it’s perfectly usual for him sometimes to wake up at 5.15am. But, somehow, optimist that I am, I was hoping that, if he was ensconced in our cosy bed, he might actually sleep till 7am, which would give me enough sleep to make me feel like a new person.
With hindsight, what I should have done is put him straight back into his bed, tie him in it, turn off the monitor and lock his bedroom door.
Then I might have had a chance of tackling the day with some degree of competence instead of driving to the wrong summer school at 9am this morning then getting in a wiggle because I was too tired to figure out how to get back to the right one.
Anyway, as I’ve told DS: One more morning like that and he’s on his own. I’m checking into a hotel. Seriously.
For those of you who live outside the UAE and wonder how or if Western press is censored here, this one’s for you. It’s from the UK’s Easy Living magazine – that well-known hotbed of depravity.
It’s become a bit of a joke (hear me laugh), that whenever I sit down to eat breakfast (inhale some yoghurt and fruit) or lunch (gulp down a bowl of soup with the remains of the kids’ packed lunches), the children suddenly need me urgently.
Sometimes there’s been a head-bump or a finger-squash, or maybe there’s been a squabble, a scratch or a disagreement over the toys that has to be sorted that minute. But, 99 times out of 100, it’s for a pooh.
It’s like my own bum hitting the kitchen chair sends an immediate signal to the children’s bowels to open.
And if there’s one thing I really hate about parenting, it’s getting up from a meal that was only ever going to be a few minutes long anyway, to bend over the loo and wipe a stinky bum.
Sometimes they do it in tandem so I have to get up three or four times in my 10-minute lunch as they change their minds over whether or not they need me (DD) or whether or not they’re actually finished (DS).
Mealtimes are such a small, but enjoyable, part of the day for me. Sitting down with the Daily Mail online and something reasonably nice to eat is a small island of pleasure in an otherwise demanding day when it seems that everyone wants a piece of me. Together, breakfast and lunch take up a total of about 20 minutes. Is it too much to ask to be left alone for that little bit of “time out” in the 13 or 14 hours I’m on mummy duty?
I’m beginning to wonder.
Since a trusted (albeit very highbrow) friend described the world’s most popular book ever as “50 Shades of Shit”, I decided not to bother reading 50 Shades of Grey. Aside from not being interested in the subject matter, I’d heard it was badly written with badly drawn characters and jarring, repetitive prose.
Life’s too short, no? And, to be honest, I’d rather talk to no-one than join the vacuous hordes discussing it at the school gates.
But, you know, when everyone’s talking about a book there comes a point at which you start to think you should give it a try. Case in point? The Hunger Games, which I would never have read had everyone not been going on about it, but which I really enjoyed.
So I took 50 Shades on my Eid break. I decided to give it three days of poolside reading. If I couldn’t crack it in that time, I’d stop.
And – remember here that my expectations were very low – it was a pleasant surprise. The characters were not as two-dimensional as I expected. The plot was better than I expected. The writing was better than I expected. Before reading it, I’d failed to note that it is actually a love story – and, to me, that came across as more important than all that non-stop, eye-watering S E X.
I managed to race through the 500-odd pages in the allotted three days (with two children and no Gerlie, by the way) and, as I finished it, I realised I actually cared about the protagonist, Ana, even if her best friend Kate is the most irritating waste of space ever created by an author. She’s a plucky thing, that Ana, and I liked her principles.
But is it worth reading? Yes, if you’re at a loose end and fancy an easy and absorbing read. And, yes, if you accept that you’ll be sucked into 50 Shades Darker and 50 Shades Freed as well.
Edited to add: At one point, on loungers around the pool, four out of 25 people (all women) were reading it!
When I first had DD I was convinced she was going to be an only child. This was not (just) because of the 52 intimate stitches that accompanied her arrival, and nor was it solely because of the shocking lack of sleep I experienced in, ooh, the first 12 weeks [thinks of DS three years on, rolls eyes, yawns].
No, it was actually because of the amount of car seats one would have to own if one had more than one child.
As a new mum with a full-time job, I was traumatised by having one car seat permanently fixed in the back of my car. How would I be able to drive more than three of my work colleagues out to lunch now, I wondered?
And worse: If I had two children, there would be two car seats in the back, rendering the entire back seat a no-go zone for trendy media types needing a lift to press conferences / the airport / boozy lunches.
Furthermore, as DH got involved in dropping off DD, we were faced with another dilemma: It was too damned complicated to take the car seat out of his car in the morning, leave it at the nursery, and for me to fix it into my car at pick-up (I was truly blonde then, my dears).
So a second car seat was purchased for DH’s car – and I practically came out in hives. Two car seats! What was my life coming to?
And now I feel we need to dub these two original car seats Adam & Eve, for they have, in the last six years, bred exponentially.
A recent inventory of car seats I now own shows prolific growth:
3 x high-back boosters (for DS – one in my car, one in DH’s car, one in granny’s car in the UK)
5 x booster seats (three in Dubai for DD and friends; two in UK)
2 x BubbleBums – One in UK, now punctured but apparently still safe thanks to pelvis buckle bits, and one new, in Dubai, for travel and unexpected children in car.
I have two children and I own 10 car seats. Honestly? The new-mum “me” would have been horrified.
Edited to add: I have two more I forgot about! Both baby seats needing to be sold – one in Dubai and one in the UK, so 12 car seats!!!
Ever since my PE teacher described me as a “wet lettuce” when attempting my first ever head-spring over the box in gym class aged just eight, I accepted that I’d never be picked for anyone’s team at Sports Day.
Let alone the Olympics.
But never fear. I won’t be deterred by a label cast upon my forehead at such a tender age. This week, we’ve had the Olympics at home chez Mrs Dubai: The Chocolate Olympics.
To be honest, I thought it was a no-brainer. We have the divine, delicious, decadent Patchi – and we have Lindt in all its more-ish darkness.
Actually, any attempt to compare the two was just for show. My heart has always been – and will always be – with Patchi. Or Lindt. Or Patchi. Lindt.
And then DH brought home a box of Sprüngli.
“Don’t let your wife try these,” said the miscreant who gave them to him. “You’ll want to keep them all for yourself.”
Intrigued, I tasted….and the Chocolate Olympics took flight.
So, after multiple evenings of intensive tasting and, on the day after the closing of the 2012 Olympics, I give you the medal table for Mrs Dubai’s Chocolate Olympics:
Gold:The Middle East’s Patchi, in any shape or form.
Silver: Lindt (&Sprüngli , I believe) Excellence Caramel Intense
Would you care to add any more?
When I tell people for how long DH and I have been married, they imagine me to be a lot older than I am. I guess I was just one of the lucky ones who met the love of their life while still a teenager.
So tomorrow DH and celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. We’ve been “dating” for 21 years.
But let me tell you, the fact that DH has been in my life for over half the time I’ve been alive doesn’t make buying him an anniversary gift any easier. In fact, it was easier when we were a new couple with a limited budget. I knew then what he wanted – and I saved up and bought it.
But now his money is my money is his money – for a start, anything I buy will really be bought with his salary, which kind of takes the edge of it, don’t you think?
And then there’s the issue of what he wants. Nowadays, if he wants something, he thinks about it for a bit, then he buys it. All he really, really wants that he hasn’t yet bought is a 2012 Range Rover Sport and an achingly stylish holiday home on the beach in the tropics. I don’t have to tell you that I won’t be buying either of those in Mirdiff City Centre this evening.
But, as you know, it’s not about the money; it’s about the thought. We’ve both wanted to see the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel since it came out a couple of months ago, and every attempt we’ve made to see it, in the cinema, on DVD or even on the plane, has been thwarted.
So I decided that I would buy DH the DVD – we could get a take-away and watch it on our anniversary, I thought. It’s only a small thing, but I knew it would make him happier than staying in a posh hotel for a night.
That night, DH came home and set up his laptop in the living room.
“I’m downloading Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” he said as I dished up supper. “I thought we could get a take-away and watch it on our anniversary. What do you think?”
It’s love. That’s what I think. Happy anniversary DH.