I’m not typically in the business of doling out unsolicited relationship advice here on the blog. I just write about my life…and yeah, through that, I probably end up waxing poetic (or actually, let’s be honest–probably not so poetic) about how we’ve made things work in our relationship. And through that, I get a lot of “What do you think about my situation?” emails from different folks (especially women in relationships with Saudis). But aside from a post of advice here or there, with guidance mostly gleaned from my own mistakes, I try to stay away from marketing myself as some sort of relationship expert. Because (and I’m laughing as I type this) I am so not that. But over the past few weeks, I’ve had some experiences that have led me to believe that this one suggestion will be tremendously helpful to anyone in any relationship.
Take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a questionnaire that helps you sort yourself into one of 16 personality types, based on combinations of four different personality traits. (I won’t go into a lot of detail in describing them; folks have already done that elsewhere on the Internet in much more detail than I can provide here. So you can read about them, and then you can find your own personality type, if you wish.) Business types use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator a lot, and so do educators. And it just seems to be getting more and more popular. I’m guessing that in the next few years, our Facebook newsfeeds will be filled with trendy listicle thinkpieces that dispense advice on how to deal with certain personality types, much the same way we currently see constant discussion about introverts and how to deal with them (or, you know, us…I’m an introvert. Interestingly, introversion/extroversion is one of the four Myers-Briggs personality traits that go into making a personality type). And maybe in 50 years or so, we’ll all see the Myers-Briggs craze as nothing more than pseudoscientific pop psychology, like the way a lot of people feel about psychoanalysis now. But even if that’s the case, I gotta say that so far, I’m totally aboard this hokey train.
Today, on this Thanksgiving morning in Riyadh, I’m very thankful for Miss Lavender.
We’ve had a rough few nights, she and I. Despite a few promising attempts to remedy the situation (last week she actually went to bed at 10 o’clock at night—nothing short of a miracle), her inner clock is persistently telling her that one or two o’clock in the morning is an appropriate bedtime. She sleeps until eleven in the morning or so, wants to go down for a nap around four in the afternoon, and then stays up until the middle of the night.
I’m exhausted. In the morning, I usually wake up a little bit after Mr. Mostafa does, or right before he leaves for work, and of course, I stay up with her at night, because Baba needs his sleep on a normal schedule; he has to go to work in the morning. But I haven’t been able to really sleep in or nap with her, mostly because I’ve got work to do and even if I didn’t, I’m too keyed up to rest because I feel like if I can’t get her to sleep on a normal schedule, I should at least be taking advantage of the time she’s asleep in order to work uninterrupted.
Hollywood has a history of giving movies present participle titles that include the word “saving,” presumably to indicate that this is a Very Important Film. Saving Sarah Cain. Saving Private Ryan. Saving Mr. Banks. And I think there are like, four different movies called Saving Grace. (Spoiler alert: I’m pretty sure the main character in each one is named…wait for it…Grace. Punny.) And then there are the not-so-important movies that piggyback on this precedent, like Saving Silverman.
I think if Mr. Mostafa and I had a movie, it would be called Saving Cerelac. Because we always seem to end up eating Cerelac.
Once upon a time, about seven years ago, Mr. Mostafa and I paid a visit to the only Middle Eastern store in our city (or town? I’m confident that some people would call the place where we met a town; its population is around 165,000. But for me, growing up two hours southeast in a town–or I’m confident some people would call it a village–of 212, that big “town” was, to me, the big city. Also, fun fact–that Middle Eastern store was also a Latin American store, because the couple who own it are bicultural–the husband was Middle Eastern and the wife is Latin American. Love). Anyway, Mr. Mostafa took an immediate liking to this store, obviously, because it was the only one in town (city?) that carried such homesickness-alleviating items as black limes and Vimto.
Since I wrote about attempting to wean Lavender from the breast, I’ve received a few emails and messages asking how it’s going (or how it went). So…here’s an update. Because I know everyone is just dying to know what’s going on in my bra (that was sarcasm, just to be clear).
Some may find this oversharing (heck, as long as we’re there, I guess some might find the entire blog oversharing. Oh, well. My response is the same); it’s okay. I don’t mind. As much as I respect women who feel empowered by posting breastfeeding selfies, I’m certainly not going to be among them any time soon (although you can be sure I have taken lots of them for purposes of private memory-keeping…my favorite was taken back when Lavender was maybe eighteen months old or so. With a Hello Kitty calculator in her hand, she crawled into my lap, settled in, latched onto the breast, and promptly fell asleep there…with the Hello Kitty calculator placed right on top of my boob, just above her head, as though it were sitting on a desk. As a piece of art, that photo would probably be called something like, “Future Accountant in Repose”…which, naturally, made Mr. Mostafa very proud), so you can consider this detailed but illustration-free discussion of how my boobs are currently being utilized as my small, ironic contribution to the ongoing struggle for nipple freedom.
So, as I already disclosed, day weaning went swimmingly. Lavender never nurses during the day anymore, and she never even asks to, either. I’m baffled by all these moms on the Internet who say that night weaning was easy-peasy, and that it was day weaning that was tough. This is so not how it has all worked out for me. Who are these women?! How do they get their children to sleep without the boob? I mean, I’m really confused and amazed. We’ve tried everything. We’ve read books. We’ve watched videos on the iPod. We’ve sat up with her and watched TV. We’ve stuffed her full of food (that’s supposed to make her tired, I guess? Eating like that sure makes us tired, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned about parenting, it’s that children can be such illogical little creatures) and then did all of the above. We. Have. Tried. Everything.
This is probably going to be a really basic, boring post. I’ve really been shooting for the goal of publishing a post per week, but lately I’ve been feeling like there isn’t that much to write about. My days aren’t amazing, nor are they terrible. They’re just…routine. The same. I hug and kiss my kid. I hug and kiss my husband. I write. I read. I cook dinner. I crave random things that I can’t find in Riyadh, like wild berry Pop Tarts (no, I’m not pregnant). I miss my mom and dad (am I allowed to say that again? I know I talk about it a lot. But the truth is, I do miss them. Very much. Especially since we had a bit of a health scare in this past month. Thank God, everything is absolutely fine now, but that sort of thing can sure shake a girl up). I have conversations with my toddler while she sits on the potty, patiently waiting for something to happen. I get super excited when it does. And then she gets to flush the toilet, which she considers one of the greatest honors in the history of the world. BUILT-IN POTTY INCENTIVE. And to think there are kids who require a candy reward for doing their business in the toilet. How did I get so lucky?
I’ve got a few blog-related projects and plans in the pipe (down the pipe? In the pipeline? Down the pipeline? Why can’t I get this saying right?), but for the present, it can be a struggle to cobble together a post full of things to say, even on a weekly basis. You know what they say about how life is full of uphills and downhills and valleys (that doesn’t sound quite right, but you know what I mean…seriously, I’m really having trouble with idioms right now)? Blogs are the same, I think. Right now I’m in a valley (or maybe, I’m slowly trudging uphill? Idioms and analogies are really not my strong point today. But to be fair, English is really weird about these things. Like the way “it’s all downhill from here” means that it gets easier, while “it all went downhill from there” means it got worse and worse. Ugh, my brain hurts. No, literally–I have a headache as I type this). Sometimes I’m just firing on all cylinders and other times I can’t even get the engine to turn over. So not only am I in a valley (or going uphill, whatever makes more sense), I’m parked there.