Tuesday, April 15, 2014

On Miss Clavel and Dust Bunnies

It's been a settling in process here in Abu Dhabi. I have not had to deal with much of the "culture shock," side of things since I've had my go with that already, but just the unpacking, rearranging, hanging things on the wall, finding my balance type of settling in.

Grace has not handled it well.

Sweet girl.

She went the entire six months bouncing around from house to house, church to church in the States and even did well coming to Abu Dhabi for a week, then on to Jordan for a month, then back to Abu Dhabi in a hotel. But the day we moved into our house and she laid her eyes on her things and her bed, it all fell apart.

She has been just a glimmer of herself for the past six weeks.

It's rather heartbreaking. Sleep issues, waking up with nightmares, a complete rejection of Ian (since he is no longer working from home, we assume,) and a different demeanor entirely. It's so hard to see her grieve and handle the change. I stayed home for two weeks straight with her just to give her some semblance of stability and normalcy and that has helped a ton. We've laid down the law about bed time and reestablished lost routine. Slowly, surely, she is coming back to us.

There is still a part of her that is sassier, more disobedient, but I guess that is part of her testing the waters as a new three year old. Giving grace to Grace and extra snuggles has helped as well. Forehead to forehead, nose to nose, with her hot breath on me until she relaxes into sleep. I really do love those few minutes each day.

I've definitely had more and more "Miss Clavel," moments. You know the ones. Where she wakes up from her sleep and "knows something is not right," and takes off running down the hall? Yes, that has been me, several times a night when Grace wakes up screaming and disorientated. Nap time too. I've become a pro at taking our stairs 3 at a time in a maxi dress.

All the boxes are unpacked and everything is put away. Our living room needs more furniture and the house needs more carpets to help contain the sand and dust. For now, I sweep the entire house every day and I still get a dust pan full of dust bunnies.

And Sophia? She is our happy baby. Until you tell her "No." Then she is our screaming mad, inconsolable baby, with a perpetual state of diaper rash.

The summer is upon us, with temperatures touching 100 degrees each afternoon. And yet, I found myself with the doors open yesterday while the girls played outside in the water table because it felt comfortable.

That's where I am right now. That's what life looks like.That's my picture of motherhood, expat life as of today. I'm sure tomorrow could look entirely different. Or, perhaps, exactly the same.


Alison H said...

Glimpses into normalcy can be some of the most interesting things to read! You're an excellent writer! Kiss those babies for me!

Unknown said...

Waking up at night . . . one of our best times with the girls was when we first kept them for you and Ian and that Friday night, actually that Saturday morning early, Grace woke up a bit disoriented. Coffee and Barney . . . Barney and Coffee. . . a combination never previously experienced at 5:00 am on a Saturday morning. . . honestly, a fond memory!

Brandy said...

Poor Grace, and poor mom and dad trying to get back to normalcy! And the whole "terrific threes" is a bold face lie! I think every child I have come across has been great at the beginning of their twos then finds themselves towards the end and the rest is history. Praying for peace in Grace and patience for you and Ian.