Growing up Ramallah

As I write this it’s dark outside and neighborhood kids are playing in the street. I can’t understand their words but it’s easy to imagine what they are doing. Someone is clearly the boss of the game, someone else is objecting, some other kids thinks everything is hilarious, someone gets angry, someone cries.

Soon the volley of gun shots we hear every. night. will begin. Last night they were so loud I wondered if we should sit near the windows. Faris rolls his eyes cautiously…surely we are not in danger.

My 2 babies have gotten so much older since we arrived here 6 months ago. Laila is potty trained except for night time sleep. What did I do to accomplish this miracle at 18 months? NOTHING. Not a damn thing. In typical Laila fashion she decided that the potty is what her brother does so that is what she is going to do, too. “my TURN, brother.”
If we did anything to encourage this it was to allow her to be naked a lot, to wear cotton undies before we thought she was officially ready and maybe those first 5 months of EC helped (we stopped around 5 months because the EC positions seemed to aggravate her reflux).

Sufyan is officially beyond toddler-hood. Somehow “toddler” just doesn’t fit. He is lankier, older, more coordinated, more talkative than a “toddler”. And what a gentle soul. Laila is very loud, and Sufyan is very sensitive to loud (and any other sensory experience that potentially is overwhelming to him). This makes for a tricky sibling dynamic. For example, Laila likes to scream as loud as she can—-and sometimes she does it at Sufyan. And while he always tells her “Too Loud!” and asks her to stop, she can’t hear him over her exuberant screaming so he often dissolves into tears before I can intervene. But yesterday Laila was screaming “da da da DA!” over and over at him. It went like this:
“da da da DA!”
“too loud, Laila.”
“da da da DA!”
“too loud, Laila.”
“da da da DA!”
“too loud, Laila.”
“da da da DA!”
TOO LOUD LAILA!!!!” at which point I came around the corner from my listening spot to intervene but was met with a funny scene. Sufyan was marching Laila out of the room, a hand on either of her shoulders, his face impassive and his pace deliberate. No tears, he was simply marching the little screaming one out of the room gently but firmly. No hitting, no pushing, no crying.

Laila spent today entirely at home due to a stomach bug, but told me this about her day: “I went to the park. I climb and climb. I was bare feet!!! I see a baby there. His name is Faris. He cried. Then he laughed! Then he climbed.”
She has also taken to calling us Ravyn and Faris. What’s up with that?

Sufyan told me, when I jokingly asked him if he is 5 years old, “No. I’m 3. But my feet are 5!”
Below is a gallery of recent pictures of my 2 kids and some shots of Ramallah. Note the actual “snake oil” on the shelves…


4 thoughts on “Growing up Ramallah

  1. Hi Ravvyn,
    we’ve never met, but I got tuned into your blog through the yoga list and I’ve been enjoying it for some time. It is truly amazing stuff. I often wonder how you find the time to put your thoughts down, much less in such a well-written and entertaining way, along with the fantastic photos! When you do feel isolated and burned out, know that there are those of us out here in the ether, reading and nodding our heads in agreement and empathy. I felt compelled to write this time because picturing Sufyan and Laila as you described their interaction literally made me laugh out loud! Wonderful.

    • Thanks Kristy! You know, there actually is a lot of comfort in that idea that other moms are empathizing. This blog creates a community for me while I’m so far away.
      I’m glad you laughed, BTW. It cracked me up, too. Kids are hilarious.

  2. Thanks for sharing all that! I love all the photos and hearing what they are up to. Laila seems to have her heart fires LIT! And Sufyan is a tiny teacher of sorts, just letting Laila be who she is but setting the firm and loving boundaries

  3. Oh, fires are definitely lit in that girl. In her heart, and under her little bum as she runs around the house at break neck speed. It’s lovely to hear from you and I want to see more pics of your little man. He is so much bigger than the last time I saw him! Miss you guys.

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