Wednesday, October 30, 2013

...of imaginary friends

Abram likes to talk about imaginary people. Not "imaginary friends", but people that don't exist with names he has made up (which are often variations of the same name).  Maybe he just likes names. Wonder where he got that from...  

Last night, we asked him who he wanted to pray for after dinner. He said "Hyops".  We humored him. "Hyops? Is Hyops real?" "Yeah, he lives in India, in a small town. He's sick. He needs to feel better." (There was some stuttering in there, but I'm not embellishing any vocabulary).

Quinn and I looked at each other. Usually, we tell him that we can only pray for real things; no made up people, no stuffed animals, etc. But it was so weird that he was so specific about where this person lived, that we thought maybe God wanted us to pray for a man named Hyops who was sick in a small town in India. So we agreed. Then I reconfirmed his name. "Hyops?" And he said "No. Pyops." And the glass was shattered.  He prayed a sweet prayer, anyway.

Tonight, while I was writing an email to a friend and he was playing before bed, we had this conversation:
Abram: Mom! Can we get on the airplane and visit Mox?
Me: Sure buddy. Let me just finish this email.
Abram: He have a sister named Myops.
Me: Uh huh.
Abram: And his mom is named Hyops.
Me: Oh, really (recognizing a pattern)
Abram: And, and he have a dada named... Pyops.
Me: Of course he does.
Abram: And they have two swings and a slide at their house!
Me: Wow!  That's awesome!  Where do they live?
Abram: South America

I was a little baffled. We have definitely talked about America and Africa and the UAE, but I didn't think he'd ever learned about South America. Where does he pick up this stuff?

So we get on a plane to South America, where I get to "play sleep" and he gets to play with toys until bed time. 

I like this kid.

Friday, October 25, 2013

...of a vocabulary

I may already have a post titled something similar to this about Abram, but I'm too lazy to check.

Selah's vocabulary is growing everyday. She says a lot of things imperfectly, but we know what she is saying in context and there are a few words she says pretty darn clearly.

Some of the clear, full words: cat, hat, ball, car, all done, up, no, yeah, happy, please, juice, toy, you, me, nose, eyes, Jesus, shoes, yay, and ummmm...

Some of the sounds that are definitively a certain word: Seh (Selah), bee (baby), Pah (Poppins, as in Mary Poppins), tup (as in "feed the birds, tuppence a bag" - she uses this to get me to sing the song to her. I guess it's her favorite...), Dohd (George (Jennings)), air-pah (airplane), fow (flower), tee (tree), dess (dress), Da (Dad). The one that can get a little confusing, but I usually know because of context, is "ma". This means several different things: Mom, more, milk, and mosque (which she says during the call to prayer). She can also say "ay, bee" for the abc song when she wants me to sing it, but not for her brother's name. She still doesn't call him anything except maybe "buh" once or twice. And she can tell you the sounds that a cow, horse, sheep, cat, and goat make.

That's crazy, now that I write it all out! I didn't realize she was talking so much. It really has been over the last week or two that it's taken off. So fun to watch her learn and grow. We are just working on learning the right, nice things. We are also teaching Abram that he needs to set a good example to Selah and Simon, because when he does anything and she is around, she's not far behind him - especially during his bathroom trips. We are working on that one.

On her 1.5 year birthday, I told her at breakfast that it was her birthday. The first thing out of her mouth was a perfect "happy!" Must be all those times of Abram singing "happy birthday" to himself and all of his stuffed animals that taught her that one. So I sang the song to her and right at the end she set down her spoon and yelled "yay!!!" incredibly loud and clapped vigorously. It was adorable. And since then, she's done that at the end of every song she hears. Love it :)

Here is a video of her happy birthday day when we celebrated by watching... Mary Poppins!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

...of a name

If you've been tracking with us for awhile now, you may remember that when we were pregnant with Selah, we had a boy name chosen.  This time, we had a few boy options, but the old standby won out, because we really do like it a lot.  But just like two years ago, we still can't quite agree on a middle name for this kid.

That's where you can help.

His name is Simon.  After Simon Peter, the apostle.  It's five letters and it's Hebrew (like the other kids) and we like it.

But, here's the thing: We have four options for middle names.  The two that Quinn really like, I have been vehemently opposed to.  I will share them with you in the most unbiased (yeah, right) way possible and you can tell me if I'm wrong.  For real.  I won't be mad.

He likes Simon Quinn and Simon Peter.

Now, you may be thinking "Wait a minute... isn't Quinn Abram's middle name?" Why yes, yes it is. Much to the credit of his beloved parents, Quinn likes his name and he likes the idea of naming all of his sons with it.  Like "Abram, son of Quinn" and "Simon, son of Quinn". I think it sounds good, but I think it sounds a little egotistical (although that's pretty much the opposite of what Quinn ever is or will ever be). But also, I say Quinn's name quite a few times during the day, then I say "Abram Quinn" at least 20 times a day (which rises exponentially each day he gets closer to three years old).  If I'm going to be saying "Simon Quinn" 20-1000 times a day, I think I might never want to hear the name "Quinn" again, which would be tragic if it were three of my family members' names.

Then Simon Peter. This just feels like too much for some reason.  Like naming a kid after George Washington, but actually naming him George Washington Smith. I don't know...

Also, the other kids have a Bible name and a family name.  So that's kind of what I wanted to stick with. One of Quinn's grandfathers was named Paul.  I never had the opportunity to meet him, but his wife and children and grandchildren are all amazing people who loved the way he lead his family to love and serve the Lord.  The one small problem I have with Simon Paul, is the existence of Paul Simon - who I actually really like - but I wouldn't name a child after him.  But most people probably wouldn't even think of that when they heard Simon Paul Smith, right?  Kind of like how I was apprehensive about choosing Anaka Shockley Smith after I got married instead of Anaka Christine Smith.  But it turns out no one even thinks of my initials unless I point them out.


The one I like is Simon Ward, which is my grandparents' last name. They are both amazing people, who have played a significant role in my life and my walk with Jesus.  I think Quinn just doesn't like the way it sounds as much.  He's not super opposed, but just not a huge fan.

So there's that. We aren't in a big rush to pick it, since at least he has a first name. Besides, it's not like I'm going to be monogramming any baby stuff any time soon.  My sewing machine is broken.  And I have two other kids.
The two other kids.  Hanging out in Randall's majlis next to the kitchen while I made dinner. Love how much they like each other.

Simon's 16 week ultra sound.  He looks a lot more like a peanut than he feels.  He's getting significantly bigger by the day, I can see it :)

All done.

Monday, October 21, 2013

...of an insomniacs birthday

Today, Selah is 18 months old. She woke up at exactly midnight on her 1.5 year birthday (approximately three hours ago), right as I was falling asleep. Of course.

I am reminded of her one year birthday, six months ago, which was the first night we had any problem with her sleeping since she was about 7 months old and started sleeping through the night. That night, she bawled when I laid her down and didn't stop crying for almost an hour. So unlike her. The next night, it was a little shorter, but still some crying. And the next, just a little whimper before falling to sleep like a champ like her old self.

That drama ended right then, but it was about that time that she started waking up for long periods of time in the middle of the night. At first we didn't know how long she was staying awake. I would hear sporadic babbling and then quiet and our noise machine that made it possible for us all to share essentially one big room probably drown out any other sounds while I slept.

Then we got a video monitor and we realized how much time she was actually awake in there in the middle of the night. The first few nights, when I watched her still rolling around after an hour or so, I would rock her or give her milk thinking she might be hungry. But when she would stay awake for the same period of time regardless of what I did, I just started to let her be. Since we got the video monitor when she was 14 months old, she has spent an average of two nights a week awake for around 2-3 hours at night, usually beginning around midnight (but none of this is absolutely consistent.)
When we moved when she was 16 months old and put her and Abram in their own room together, I praised God for one child who could sleep like a rock while the other, insomniac child would randomly squeal at the top of her lungs in the same room over the course of three hours. Her insomnia and my pregnancy insomnia never seem to coincide (like tonight, when all I wanted to do was sleep while she was talking and squealing and when she finally falls asleep, I'm officially awake.)

I've gotten frustrated by being the only person who is awake with her. I'm glad Abram's not awake, but I've struggled with feeling like Quinn should be awake sometimes instead of me. But the thing is that she is so quiet, for the most part, that he would never be able to stay awake until it ended. And he often wonders why I just don't go back to sleep and just turn the monitor down or off and let her be (because I do that anyway, I just watch and listen in the monitor). But it's because knowing how long she is awake during the night and at what times totally affects what I do with her and what she needs the next day. If I know she was only awake for 1.5 hours, maybe I don't need to cancel the play date and she can still have just one nap. But if she was awake for 3.5, I'll probably need to put her down for two naps and we pretty much aren't going anywhere all day.

Recently, she has started responding to discipline. So one of the things we are working on is being quiet in bed. Despite his Quinn rock-sleeping genes, Abram is not super human and he does sometimes wake up because of her. The next morning he is grumpy and tired, but we don't have a monitor on him, so I have no idea how much sleep he might have lost. So we are trying to teach her to stay quiet. As much as she answers "Yeah" when I say to her "You need to be quiet. Do you understand?" But it's obvious she doesn't understand (or is being defiant) as evidenced by her ear piercing squeals only minutes later.

If I were in the States, I would have had her in our pediatrician's office a few months ago trying to figure out whether it is normal or worrisome that my 18 month old seems to be struggling with legitimate insomnia on a regular basis. As it is, the language barrier and cultural differences with pediatricians in this country and our experiences with them and other doctors lead me to believe that we would either get the brush off or an over reaction. Man, I miss our doctor in Austin! His English was so good :)

Not sure when the breaking point will be or should be. We pray for her every night that she would sleep through the night. Obviously, sometimes, God doesn't answer that prayer. But overall, she is a happy, smart, well rested, good eater of an 18 month old and we feel really blessed by her and her sweet (but sometimes feisty) personality, which is why we haven't been too worried about all of this. It's just on nights like these, when it's 4am and she's finally sleep and I'm wondering when it will be my turn, that I also wonder if I should be doing something more about it.


Happy one and a half years on this earth, Selah Christine! You are quite the walker, talker, Momma's girl. No really, you love all Mommies, not just me. Your Aunt Katie gets more snuggle time with you than anyone else (besides Uncle Randall) and if there is an empty mommy lap at our play groups, you'll sit in it for at least a few seconds before going off to someone or something else. Everyone loves you, especially your brother, who assures me that he will always protect you and makes sure that you are following the rules (tonight he asked you if you needed to go to time out for tipping your cup over on the ground and you politely said "no".)
Even though you still don't really like diaper changes or teeth brushing and you let us know that you don't, you love love love baths and dresses and your shoes. You also love cars and books and Mary Poppins (you bring me the remote almost everyday and ask me "Pop?") You are spunky and adorable and opinionated and affectionate and lovely and we cannot even begin to imagine our lives without you.

Love you Sel Bell. And I pray you don't have to deal with this insomnia for much longer, because I feel for ya, sweet girl.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

...of Fall

Thanks, Coloradoans, for posting all the pictures of the snow you just got.  And Texans, thank you for the pictures of your weekly weather forecast, which is comprised mostly of lovely 75 degree days.  It really just makes me really happy for you.  No.  For real.

Here in Fujairah, we have been blessed by a little temperature drop.  It even rained the other night!  The kids were very, very excited.

Today was a modest 32/33 degrees (Celsius) when we got out of our car to go to the park at 11am.  That's a wonderful 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  We'll take it!  They were watering the grass at this big park when we got there.  I don't know if they do that often, but it was by far the kids' favorite part of our trip.  We just let 'em go.  If I had to be dripping sweat in a long sleeve shirt in the 90 degree sun, at least my children could be soaking wet.

Then we had some swinging time.  Most playgrounds (unless they are at newer, more ex-pat centered schools and parks) have painted metal equipment that gets burning hot in the sun.  Luckily, there were some choice swings that were in the shade or under things, so the kids got some swing time. 

(Bumping feet.  Selah thought this was awesome.)

This park was pretty neat.  I'm sure it becomes a hopping place when the weather cools off in the "winter". There are tons of chairs and tables and places to sit and eat.  You can bring in food or there is a little cafeteria in the park (not sure we would ever eat there, though).  There is also a mens pool and a ladies pool (we probably won't ever use those either), but it was a fun place to go and hang out and maybe make some new friends.  

Sorry I have been completely inept at picture posting these last few months.  Quinn used to never go anywhere without his camera (before we had kids) and I would beg him to just leave his camera bag in the car sometimes.  Now, we rarely go places with the camera.  I mean, we rarely go places at all.  Selah is still taking two naps sometimes and then I feel like I have at least one kid who needs to be sleeping all points during the day, which makes it difficult to go anywhere. But we are almost completely to one nap a day, I think. I do take a decent amount of pictures on instagram (@anakasmith), so I'm trying to get the grandparents hooked up over there, since the blog is failing them miserably in the picture department.

Anyway, hope you enjoy these precious few!  Happy Fall!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

...of the proper pronoun

Ever since I was little, I've really loved names.  I would write stories just so I could name characters.  The stories were mostly just a few handwritten pages, because I would quickly move on to another story where I could name different characters.  I would also name my children.  I don't think this is too weird, right?  And with each guy I dated, I had a different set of names that I would have named possible children.  Mainly just for fun.  It was just a thing.  It really didn't mean that I was sure I was going to marry any of the four guys I ever dated (except that last one...), I just liked names.

But one thing was always the same with my imaginary children.  There were always the same number: three.  I thought this was the perfect amount at the time.  They were also always in the same order.  A boy, then a girl, then another boy.  My thought process was that every guy wants a boy first.  This is probably not true. And I am also sure that men who have a girl first are not disappointed when they are holding her in their arms, but my non-existent husband would surely want a boy first.

And then it happened!  Although Abram Quinn was not the name of any of my imaginary children.  Come to find out, sometimes husbands have something to do with the naming of their children (although sometimes they are glad to let their wives name that child exactly what she had been dreaming she would name him since she was 12.)

Then, the girl.  She was second because she was fulfilling my dream of having a big brother.  I always wanted one and if I didn't get one, my daughter definitely would.

And I got her!  The name Selah Christine was also a joint decision and not a name we even thought of until after we started having kids.

Finally, another boy.  This was because I thought that I wouldn't want a girl to be the baby.  That's just a princess complex waiting to happen (this is teenage Anaka thinking here...) If a boy was the youngest, he would be special because he was the youngest, the middle would be special because she was the only girl, and the oldest would be special because he was the oldest.

But Quinn and I thought we were done after two.  My teenage dream was brought down by the realities of actually taking care of and raising these previously only imaginary children and we thought that two was a handful enough. However, when we found out we were having a third my dream was rekindled.  I wanted a boy, but something in me said that this baby was going to be a girl.  And as I thought about it, I got more and more excited for two girls.  I had a little sister and I liked it, for the most part (I mean for all the parts, Liese!!) We could have two peas in a pod who would play together and be best friends.  It would be great.  But another boy still sounded perfect.  Selah would be the special, only girl. Our baby (if we don't have anymore surprise children, or decide we actually want more) would be a boy and my dream would become a reality.

Long story short, we would have been happy with either a boy or a girl.  We were able to find out at our new (and way, way better) doctor's appointment on Sunday.  Watch this really attractive video of me to find out!

We are very excited to have found a doctor who attends our old church in Dubai and is American!  The language barrier with the doctors in Fujarah actually ended up having some painful repercussions (long story).  So, the just over an hour drive to Dubai for our future appointments and the significant price jump for those visits is definitely worth it to us.  I can't have my absolutely wonderful Dr. Seeker in Austin, but Dr. Branch is already a new favorite!

Still working on the name, but knowing us, I'll be back with that announcement soon enough...