Due to Rachel’s early hour of rising on Saturday morning, we got to the beach earlier than usual, as well. The tide was coming in, so the beach was void of jellyfish bodies, since the tide is what brings them in. Instead little crabs had been at work all night long, burrowing under the sand and leaving intricate star patterns in the sand.
It was as captivating a sight as freshly fallen snow; we didn’t want to walk on it and ruin their pristine piles of sand, but Rachel had already taken across the sandbar at a dead run and we wanted to catch up with her before she swam to Sinai or something. We followed her sandaled footprints to the end of the sandbar where she sat, splashing happily, in the water.
Of course, she wasn’t in the water alone. She had dragged Naanii off to the water before we’d even gotten to the umbrella Andrew was headed to. Andrew was leading, and carrying most of the stuff. I was following him, and Rachel and Naanii were right behind us. Next thing I knew, they were tearing off through the sand towards the water. It took Andrew and I a little while to get caught up with them since we had to set up camp.
We spent all morning at the beach, then had lunch at the condo. We left Naanii and Rachel there while we went snorkeling, then we went back to the condo to pick them up and we all went to the beach again. It was a long beach day!
Something bit Rachel, either in the water or before she got in the water. We’re not sure what, but I suspect mosquitoes or these little pesky black flies that I’ve caught biting me. She, however, blamed it on the little minnows swimming around her and wailed about the fish all day.
“Little fish eating me!” she’d shriek whenever she saw a fish or remembered that she had a bite on her foot.
Soon she forgot about the fish enough to enjoy herself in the water and was just as excited as the day before. We stayed until sunset again and wished that we had our camera with us for our last trip to the beach on Saturday because we saw, get this, a cloud! And not just any cloud, either. It was a cloud that was big enough to cover the whole sun, making for a beautiful sunset.
It’s been a while since we’d seen such an enormous cloud and I have no proof that it happened.
We stopped by a swimming pool to rinse the salt off before going back to the condo for dinner. The shallow end hit Rachel’s chest, which she found thrilling. She demanded to be put down every time anyone touched her and kept trying to swim. Again, this was a little scary for me to watch--I always worry about secondary drowning—but she’s bound and determined to swim. She kept dunking herself and then reaching around for something to grab onto to help upright herself.
“I went in there!” she would say each time she came back up.
I kept reminding her to blow her bubbles under water so that I could have some security that she wasn’t inhaling too much water.
We were all exhausted when we got back to the condo and fixed a quick dinner of sandwiches before getting ready for bed. Rachel took forever to fall asleep, it seemed, because her bites hurt so bad. She kept scratching at them and irritating them so they were all swollen and, indeed, painful looking. She woke up in the middle of the night and stayed up for forever, crying about how the fish were eating her and how bad her foot hurt.
It was a long night. She finally fell asleep at around 4:00 AM in our bed and slept in until 9:00, which was nice. We were all so exhausted, but she remembered that we had promised we could go to the beach one last time, so we rushed off to the beach and spent a while there before cleaning up the condo and heading back to Cairo.
It was a long car ride. Rachel wouldn’t sit in her own seat, so she sat on my lap…or at least what’s left of my lap. She kept trying to climb all over everything and I kept trying to convince her to sit down, preferably in her own seat.
“Rachel, we are in a car and when we are in cars we have to sit down.”
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no…” she stalled while she thought of the right word, “No, not car. Van.”
SUV. But still, that’s not the point. The point was to sit down!
Miriam kept kicking me and Rachel kept elbowing me and I was going crazy. I can’t really do much about Miriam kicking at this point, but I can do things about Rachel’s behavior.
“Rachel, take your elbow off my belly, please. You’re hurting me.”
“No, please! Please may I more having elbow there?”
“Why? Why would you want to have your elbow there when you are hurting Mommy?”
I was so happy when we saw the city rise out of the nothingness of the desert. It doesn’t take very long to get anywhere once you’re in Cairo. As much as we complain about the traffic, things run remarkably smoothly.
When Rachel saw that we were in Cairo she immediately asked if she could see a donkey.
“Please may I more seeing donkey?”
“Maybe,” I answered. “We can look for one but I don’t know if we’ll see one today.”
“Please, Mommy! Please!”
“Let’s just look out the window and see if we can find one. I don’t know if we will, but we might.”
We looked and looked and looked, but we didn’t see any donkeys. Sometimes we see donkey carts passing under the overpass by Carrefour. I knew that if we were going to see a donkey, that would be where we would see it. We didn’t see one. Rachel kept on with her pleading.
“Please, Mommy! Please more seeing donkey! Please, please please!”
I told her that I would love to have her see a donkey but that I really couldn’t do anything about it. For some reason she thinks I’m magic and can conjure up anything her little heart desires if only she says please enough. That might work some of the time, but it certainly doesn’t work all of the time.
It was so nice to get home and showered. We all needed a good scrub down after being incrusted in sand all weekend.
We went out to dinner at Arzak so that my mom could try some local Egyptian food. I don’t cook Egyptian food much here because it’s so cheap at Arzak.
After a quick trip to Road 9 to search out some aloe vera for Andrew’s back (yeah, they don’t have that here, apparently) we went home and relaxed until Rachel’s bedtime. Time was dragging by. We were all so tired! Seven o’clock…eight o’clock…
We played some Cinderella Go Fish and Winnie the Pooh UNO to help pass the time.
The grumpies started around nine o’clock so we got Rachel ready for bed, and she said goodbye to Naanii. Then Naanii took a nap while I put Rachel to bed and cried. When Naanii woke up, we talked and talked until 1:00 AM when her ride came to take her to the airport.
She told me not to cry, so I didn’t. We like to pretend that we’re just going on little trips instead of great big ones so that we can hold things together a little better. We pretend that we’ll see each other tomorrow or next week instead of next year.
I lost it when she drove away, though. Poor Andrew, always having to console me. We stayed up far too much longer and didn’t get to bed until after 2 AM.
And then Rachel ran into our room this morning at 5:45 AM.
“Hi, Mommy! I want cereal. Naanii goes back Mrita? I like clouds. I’m dry. I want water. I wanna hold baby sister. Hold me, Mommy!”
She wasn’t dry, so I had her pull off her wet underwear and climb into bed with us, bare bum and all. She fell back asleep after about a half hour, which was wonderful. We all slept in until 10 AM and had the most lazy day today, with Rachel running in to Naanii’s room every once in a while to see whether she was still sleeping or if she really left for America.
It was so fun to have my mom here, but so sad it was for such a short time. And now the countdown really begins, I guess. Uncle Patrick comes in two weeks. By the time he leaves I’ll be 33 weeks pregnant. Grandma will get here 6 weeks after that, a week before Miriam’s due date. Then we’ll have Miriam. At least, that’s our plan for the order of arrival. It wouldn’t be much fun if Grandma came after Miriam was born since we’re banking on having Grandma here to help with Rachel while I’m busy having the baby and everything…we still need to come up with a solid backup plan just in case.
Sometime in there Andrew’s next semester will start, and then before we know it the semester will be over and Grandpa and Uncle Jacob will get here and…and I need to stop thinking about time like this because it’s going by way too fast. Already I have Miriam aged to 2 months post-delivery and we still have the whole third trimester to go through!