Dolphin Tale!

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Finally a movie for the whole family!

This afternoon I took my 8 year old brother to Shatti Cinema to watch Dolphin Tale. “Oh, great- one and half hours of my life that I will never get back”, I though. It also turned out to be 3D. Oh, Joy! Having sat through Cars 3 (?) earlier this year I could tell how enjoyable this experience would be for me.

 

Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be an enjoyable family film that was both simple and very educational. For once there weren’t trucks being blown up or a gang of kids having a burping contest. It was genuine. The storyline revolved around Winter, a dolphin which was rescued by an 11 year old boy and cared for at a local Marine Clinic. Because the dolphin was badly injured when it washed ashore it’s tail had to be amputated and a team of doctors needed to find a long term solution that would ensure a long, healthy life for Winter. Sawyer,the kid who rescued her dedicated all his time to helping Winter and got the entire community involved in the process. Both children and adults with disabilities were drawn to this creature which against all odds swam, played and jumped through hoops despite it’s close call with death.

I know that my brother learned a few important lessons out of that movie, for starters he stopped gasping “That man doesn’t have a leg” half way through the movie and saw that even children can be in wheel chairs or without a limb. He asked me a lot of questions on the way back home, like how the dolphin could survive if it didn’t have a tail or how come a girl had a plastic leg instead of her real one.

First time in a long time I felt like a movie actually made an impact and bestowed some wisdom into his tiny mind. I would greatly recomend this movie if you have a family movie night coming up or if you just want to teach your child to undrestand and accept dissabilities better. Great film!

Kids these days…

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Recently we had the pleasure of spending about 90hrs babysitting my 8 year old brother. Both of his parents were out of the country on business and we stepped up to the challenge and offered to look after him. Family. I thought it would be a nice practice run for “the future”. Since we are both working full time, juggling his school, extra curricular activities, homework and etc was extremely challenging. Luckily my mom was able to arrange for a close family friend to pick him up everyday afterschool so at least that was off our shoulders.

My mom was sure to leave us a detailed (seriously…A-Z guide to Eliya) schedule, lunch box contents plan and school uniform rotation schedule (for P.E Days, Karate Days and normal school uniform days- see what I mean?)

A typical day would start at 6:45am when I would drag my sleepy lifeless body out of bed into the shower for a blissful 15 minutes of what was bound to be the most peaceful part of my day! At 7:00am sharp my brother had to be woken up, bribed to get out of bed and sent along to wash up and brush his teeth. We would then both rush downstairs to a ready lunch box, uniform and school bag (thank God for his nanny!). I would then get dressed and ready for work to the theme of Perry the Platypus while the child enjoyed a few minutes of TV. At 7:sharp we would be out of the door with his dragging what appeared to be a 10kg schoolbag (Umm..pregnant…can’t carry heavy stuff…whats in there? Bricks???”. HI FM Radio and a buckled seatbelt were just some of the requirements of the journey. Along the way we would revise for a spelling test ” Spell SEAT…C-E…NOOOO….S–E—E—Noooo!!!”  or he would tell me about his most recent discovery “There is a spider that can kill you in seconds”. Dropping him and the giant backpack (full of concrete bricks) at the gate I would then probably have to return back to my parents house for any of the following: a.my bag b.my change of clothes for yoga c.both of my phones. (Pregnant-memory of a…of a what? how does that saying go?)

Then my day would return to some level of normality up until 5:30pm when I knew he had to be picked up, dropped off somewhere or called. On Sundays he had karate. On Mondays he had Music. On Tuesday he had Arabic lessons. The one time it was Alex’s turn to pick him up he managed to be 20 minutes late to a half an hour music lesson, by then I had a frantic Arabic teacher calling me to claim that they have an exam tomorrow and he is waiting to revise with him and a really frustrated husband who could not find the way to the music teacher’s house making international phone calls our mother! Phew. There was just so much going on. I mean- I was exhausted for him!

In the evenings we could no longer come back to a quite house, flop on the sofa and enjoy an hour of absolutely meaningless conversations or TV Shows. Oh no. Alex was forced to play motor racing games on the PSP (noisy black pocket-sized killing machine) and I was then in no position to refuse a round of Plants vs Aliens on the IPad. All this was usually followed by a viewing of “My BabySitter is a Vampire” or some other absurd show on Disney Channel.

Bedtime was really chaotic. By the time both of us were on our last breaths (9pm ahem…) the child was refusing to go to bed and threatening to “phone mom and make her let him stay up longer”, which is where I would usually lose my cool confiscate the telephone and send him marching upstairs. After a few minutes of ” I am…yawn…not even…yawn…sleepy…yawn” loud snores would fill the room and I would breathe a sight of relief.

This only continued for about 4 days but it has really taught both of us a lot. After 3 peaceful years of just us and the cat ( a very quite chilled out cat) we were definitely taken aback by all the commotion and disruption a child can cause.

Ah. 8 year-olds and their 5 thousand afterschool activities are such an eye opener.

What hurts more?

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First of all, I am here and I am alright…just up to my ears in work and hospital checkups (more on that later).

I wanted to write these thoughts down before they escape my feeble pregnant brain and dash away at the speed of light…(seriously, memory of a gold fish these days).

Yesterday we came back from yet another ultrasound and as usual I had plenty of pictures to show my 8 year old brother who has by now become an pioneer in distinguishing the babies foot or hand in the ultrasound images. Turning the picture 180 degrees and trying to make some senses of the “nose” I was pointing to, he asked me precisely the following:

Ilya: “Will they cut the baby out of your stomach?”

Me: “I don’t know yet, the doctor has not decided, he will let me know soon”.

Ilya: “Does it hurt when they cut it out of your stomach?”

Me: “Probably not, because doctors will give you medicine for the pain”

Ilya: “But what hurts more, having the baby come out of your butt or getting it cut out of your stomach?”

(Dumbstruck. Insert shocked facial expression here. )

Now, I am not generally good in awkward situations. Had this conversation happened 15 years ago I would have giggled and run away. But yesterday I just sat there with really wide eyes, shook my head and mumbled “I don’t know”.  I need to come up with a better answer by the time baby girl is old enough to ask these questions herself. I certainly will cannot tell her babies come from storks forever.

Seriously- where do you even begin when trying to explain where babies come from? I really need to think this one through. I understand how he knows that babies come out of the stomach when it is cut- our mom had a c-section with him. It is the “babies coming out of the butt” myth that I really need to clear up with him ASAP…

I can across this quote about parenthood in one of the newspapers recently and it really got me obsessing thinking:

“I remember lying in bed before my son was born, quite pregnant, thinking, ‘I’m going to ruin him. The first thing I say to him that’s meaningful is going to scar him for life,”. I’m going to mean to be helpful, and it’s just going to destroy him, and he’s going to spend the rest of his life flat out on a couch in a therapist’s office.” SJP

Food for thought.

The Boss of "Not Fun"

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Those of you who know me personally or read this blog often know that I have a little brother who is just 7 years old. We have a 15 year difference between us which of course makes me the adult in this relationship-right? Consequently the latter also gives me the right to dictate, oppress and generally boss him around. Kids are supposed to behave. Adults are supposed to worry, obsess and calculate every possible risk that surrounds the child.
I firmly believe that my brother is utterly spoiled. He is not a brat by any means, he just always gets his way. He even has a shirt that says ‘If mommy said no, ask daddy”. Did I make my point? The kid owns an IPad for God’s sake! Did I make my point now?
Now, I try to spend as much time as possible with him although my work schedule tends to get in the way of this. We go to the cinema, he sleeps over and we even take his dog to the beach sometimes (ok, we did that once, but we will do it again!). I like to think that we generally have fun! I even let him eat ice cream for dinner. I am a fun sister.

He begs to differ. It just so happened that our mom left on a business trip yesterday and she will be away for the next ten days! I took a stand, pointed my finger at that child and said “Listen Ilya, while mom is gone, I am the boss around here”. To which he swiftly replied ” Ya…the boss of NOT FUN”. I was speechless I tell you. Am I really the boss of not fun? Ok, so maybe I did give him a hard time about having pancakes with jam for dinner, and ya I never let him do back flips in the pool and he is certainly not allowed to cycle without a helmet- but that just makes me a sensible adult, right?
I may be just a little obsessive compulsive but in the long run he will benefit from it. I just don’t want him to grow up thinking that his sister is a bore…because I can be all sorts of fun!
A few months back the husband and I witnessed a scene that is forever burnt into my brain. We were standing at the counter of Oman Dive Center and a little baby who could not be more than 10 months old was crawling half naked on the floor behind the counter. This kid was everywhere. (She?) got hold of diving equipment, climbed into baskets, ate things off the floor and eventually crawled out of the reception area…right towards the pool. No one was watching this kid. She kept on crawling until she was at the very edge of the pool and that’s when I could not take it any longer, I ran to her, picked her up and brought her back to the lady who I assumed was responsible for her. The woman thanked me  and calmly said “Don’t worry she almost always stops when she crawls to the edge of the pool”. Seriously. I was petrified. The husband on the other hand applauded the fact that the child is growing up so freely and can explore and learn on her own and is not “wrapped in an overprotective bubble”. Seriously? I cannot emphasize the extent to which I would freak out if our future kids ever get near a pool without proper swimming lessons or a life guard on watch.  The fact that Alex applauds Tarzan-like upbringing worries me somewhat.
It also makes me quite certain that when we have kids I will have pictures similar to these to share:

Will I soon be promoted to Mayor of No Fun Land?

Day 5 pt 1. The one with all the DE-NI-AL

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On the 18th of November, Yulya’s day 4 in Oman she was eager to go to Zouk, unfortunately the rest of the country did not agree with her wish and protested with a 15 km long traffic jam in the Shatti area.  One thing was clear, disappointed at not getting the chance to try the infamous “Flaming Lamborghini” in Zouk, Yulya is determined to come back and make up for it.  We remained at Park Inn rooftop for rest of the evening, making our way home close to 1 a.m. We had an early night for a change, or maybe we didn’t…I forget. I vaguely remember another house party that lasted till 4 am, but maybe I had imagined that due to my selective amnesia caused by ABSOLUTELY NO SLEEP.
The following morning, on Yulya’s last day in Oman, we had a dolphin watching trip planned. We were feeling strangely energized, or maybe that was the final kick of adrenalin settling in because we knew we only have 10 hours left. We headed to Marina Bandar Al Rowdha, picking my 7 year old brother on the way, as well as a few other people. It so happened that during the National Day holidays, someone was always entertaining a relative or a friend. My Cynthia was escorting her cousin from Lebanon, a friend of mine had her mom come over for a visit, and I had the hot-crazy-mess that also goes by the name of Yulya in these posts. Hence, we all met on the boat. A man by the name of Ameen, endured my calls during the week “we need to add one more person, no sorry 3 more people, wait do you have space for 5?.  He was able to get us all on board at a fantastic rate! All 8 of us (ratio of 5:3, Russian and Lebanese respectively) completely took over the spotlight on the yacht, whist calmer and better mannered tourists scattered in far away corners. From past experiences I expected to be violently sea sick on the boat, but I think a hangover and exhaustion was enough for my body to handle, and it decided not to include sea sickness on to the menu that morning.
I struggle to enjoy my time when I have a hyper, cheeky, fearless 7 year old running around the boat, leaning over the bars to “catch the waves”. I was glad when the boat came to a halt once the dolphins were spotted. We were in luck because according to the captain no dolphins were seen in the last 4 days, a fable used to insure the company against outraged tourists if the dolphins indeed decide to detour and not show face- in my opinion. Cruising around for half an hour along with other boats, we saw a team of dolphins race past our boat, playfully fueling our interest until they disappeared under the murky waters. This was our cue to head to a tranquil bay for an hour of snorkeling.
This was Yulya’s first time putting on a snorkeling mask and setting out to explore. I had both her and the 7 year old Nemo to look after, one minute he is there, the next he is gone. Being a fearless daredevil my brother was in the water within minutes, exploring the coral reef and pointing out fish as big as himself to other participants. Half heartedly jumping into the deep blue, I was surprised to find it warmer than I feared it would be, the water was turquoise and the marine life abundant right under my feet. However this was the first time we snorkeled at that specific location, and being quite careless I assumed the sea is a lot deeper than it actually was. Let’s just say that flippers are always a good idea when snorkeling. A few bumps and scrapes later, defeated I stumbled back on board leaving a blood trail all the way to the First Aid Box, I guess Yulya must have followed that trail because she was right behind me a few minutes later in queue for her share of iodine and a bandage.
Yulya was unusually quite during the trip, and no one from the entire party dared to mention her flight that was only 5 hours away. We were deep in denial about her having to go to Kuwait, because for the 4 days that she was in Oman every minute of it felt like it was exactly where she belonged. The girl was thrilled that she could wear knee-long shorts in public, do recreational activities without being stared at and just enjoy herself amongst close friends. If my Happy Place narrows down to Beach A in Sur, Yulya’s must extend to the entire Oman from the peak of Jabal Shams to the depths of the Gulf.

Clutter International Ltd. or Day 54

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How typical of me to disappear after writing a post on inspirations. FAIL. Oh well moving on now, below is picture of the day number 54. Close to giving up and absolutely out of ideas, I suggested to Yuliya (also doing project 365) to take a picture of the inside of our bags. Girly. Her picture can be found HERE But there is a good explanation for all of this. What women carry in their bags has boggled the minds of mankind over the centuries. It is perceived as the modern Pandora’s Box. And since most do not have the decency (or should i say…guts?) to peek in, I decided to reveal all. The contents of “the bag” change over the years. When I was 17 and working in Mango as Merchandiser and Window Display Manager I used to carry everything from staplers to rolls of wire in my bag. It would typically weight 4-6 kgs, on a daily basis. Now when I am 22, and the job is calmer and the hours are predictable I only have the following in my bag:
1. Foundation
2. Concealed
3. Lip gloss
4. Mascara
5. Dettol Hand Sanitizer
6. My Canon Camera
7. Flash card
8. My keys
9. My supermarket key tag (yey discounts!)
10. My wallet
11. A few pens
12. Whatever my brother drops in there (Pokémon and pirates included)
13. Candy
This is a fairly modest list and after taking this picture I realized a few essentials such as band aids, Panadol, tissues, sunglasses, hairbrush, perfume,pins and bands and my phones are missing!!! Hence since, my bag has gained another 0.5 in weight. This may look like absolute clutter to you, but trust me- the “items”are in absolute harmony in there.
To us girls, these tresures are absolutely vital on a daily basis. I could never go out without my bag, I tried once, and ended up with pocketfulls of telephones, cards, cash and make up. Not practical.

The rattle does embarrass me a little, especially once when walking to my car and digging in the for the car keys, balancing the bag on one knee, elbow-deep in it with both hands… something fell out, and later got picked up by my colleague, who caught up with me and cringed…”you dropped your Pokemon” he said…

Day 42. My favourite role…

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I am your big sister that is why…

…I will put a band aid over your finger even if the blood makes me throw up

…I will re-read your bed time stories as many times as you want

…I will watch every single cartoon in the cinema with you and 4 of your noisiest friends

…I will leave the cinema half way through the movie to get you popcorn

…I will cross my fingers and reassure you that our dog did, indeed…run away

…I will promise to buy you a Porshe car, a jet plane and a submarine when you turn 18

…I will eat all the pickles you remove from your sandwiches

…I will make you sandwiches with pickles so that I can eat them later

…I will make you a chocolate-strawberry-banana milkshake, just like you asked

…I will hold your snails, ants, warms, pebbles in my hands like treasure

…I will never doubt any one of your secrets

…I will embarrass you continuously by worrying about you every second

…I will insist on holding your hand even if you are too big for it

…I will cover every sharp corner and keep you away from other dangers

…I will make you put your seatbelt on and remind you to drink your milk

…I will be proud of every one of your achievements every day of your life

…I will forever owe you the world for making me a better person

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