I'm saying these things now because I know you won't want to hear them next February.
Thomas figured out a new game. He'd picked up a pretty big rock in the parking area, back by the trees and shade, and carried it all the way out to the water. He threw it in the water, then flung himself after it like a golden retriever and fetched it, getting happily soaked in the process. Returning to the sand, he threw it back out into the water and repeated the gleeful fling and chase several times. Rather like golf, actually.
Then he figured out that he needn't return to shore, so he threw and splashed around with his friend the rock for the rest of the time in the warm salty water.
Bethy was torn between constructing the perfect sand castle and collecting more shells. Thomas has been a little bit clingy again, very lovey and kissy, so it was nice for both kids to get out, run and play, even though we had to get up pretty early.
The little guy is terrified of the vacuum cleaner for some reason, and comes running to me to be picked up the moment it's in the vicinity. Today he screamed in total terror. I've never seen him move so fast. The room guys feel terrible about this and we're working together to desensitize him slowly and gently.
We've gotten him to the point where he'll push the vacuum as long as someone is holding him, but he seems to forget the exposure therapy as soon as the evil killer vacuum shows up again.
"Tohm-aaas, Tohm-aaas" the room guys soothe as he runs howling to me "up UP pick me UP!"
The funny thing is, he loved the vacuum we had in the USA. Had a little one just like it and would vacuum with me, go figure.
I went running with a new-ish acquaintance again tonight, Graham from the UK, originally, anyway. He is a super nice guy, the one who I'd written to from the USA and had reassured me that not only was it OK for me to run but that he'd set me up with someone to go running with if he was in the UK when we arrived. He's the organizer for the Dubai Road Runners, and is involved in several other running, marathon, and triathlon groups here.
A liberal and compassionate fellow, he amazed me with his understanding of US politics and his commentaries on sociology and his views on his fellow countrymen and women here in the UAE. While I didn't agree with everything he said (didn't argue much; too busy concentrating on things like sucking in oxygen, not falling over and not dying), I was very impressed with his world view and got to see for myself a westerner who has been in the Middle East for a long time and has maintained my policy of respect for everyman and interest in the culture. This was really reassuring, and he's going to help me a bit with Arabic.
"They've a great word for winter here", he grinned "شتاء shita"
"As in, we're in deep shita right now?"
He also told me the words for the other seasons, but I rather liked that first one.
We ran on a soft track that circles Safa Park, a beautiful green space with the Burj Dubai looming in the distance, trees, mosques, even a camel in a pen, I think for the children to pet. One circuit is a bit more than 2 miles and he moves out pretty good. (Keep going, almost there, keep going, almost there I mentally chanted over and over ) There was his car. I had survived.
I stayed upright, walked with him while he got himself some water (mine was nearly gone, I was holding it in a death grip). After a minute of striding around he sized me up and said "Are you all right with that or would you like to go another round?
Now I was really in the shita!!!!
So we did it again. Never have I prayed so hard for anything as I did for him to turn on the air conditioning as when we finally got into his car.
"You know," he said, "you really should wear shorts."
"Mom, what is it?"
Thomas was circling enthusiastically. "Potty! Is a potty!"
Bethy's face was priceless, especially when I explained the squatting part. Luckily for her there was one western version hidden away in the furthest stall.
See the sprayer there? That's for cleaning. Thomas is quite intrigued by those. Every potty has one, and if I manage not to get doused by him in a public stall I am going to be really, really happy.
Most of the villas we've looked at have had your regular potty model, and also a bidet. Bethy was all excited about the bidet.
"Look! Look! A little bath for Thomas!"
Now Thomas thinks it's a little bathtub for him. Sigh.