-The last month in Turkey was a beautiful tailspin of nice long days with my sisters around, a quick flight up to Izmir for a brief getaway in the small coastal town of Cesme, then another week and a half back in Antakya before we all flew up to Istanbul where we met C’s sister and her friend for week of vacation.  I have to admit that our time in Cesme was dampened by my crazy anxiety about whether Isla was getting enough to eat and whether she was taxed and confused by the total lack of routine.  In retrospect, I think I was the one who was taxed and confused, and there came a point when my sisters didn’t really know what to do with me.  Once I recovered most of my sanity, I could enjoy our month together, which was full of walking and hiking, new sites and sights, a few swims in the clear Mediterranean, nose piercings, home cooked meals and, of course, board games.

-C, Isla and I flew directly from Istanbul to Beirut, where we are spending the better half of the month of July.  It’s not a vacation, but it’s a good restful homecoming.  We’re all still missing my sisters, (Isla acted like she had 2 fairy godmothers at her beck and call), so a family reunion with the other side was a good stepping stone to ordinary life after their departure.  We’re glad to be back in our home for a bit with our own car to drive around in (a novelty that wore off quickly once we’d re-experienced the maddening Beirut traffic situation).  During the past month, I think my body tried to forget it was pregnant so that I could partake in all the activity, but then it suddenly remembered once we arrived in Beirut.  I was hit by that sort of brain-fizzing, verge-of-collapse exhaustion for a few days, and when we went to buy a carseat for Isla I found myself first needing to sit down inside one of the display carseats and then make my way quickly to the exit where I began blacking out and vomiting in the parking lot to C’s enormous concern and the shop patrons’ horror.  It lasted for about 10 minutes, but it was enough to convince me to take it easy for the next few days.

-Isla has become quite a pro at traveling simply because she is now–23 plane rides into her short 18 month life–so familiar with the whole routine; the drive to the airport, the wait, the boarding of the plane, the wait, the takeoff, the wait, the landing, the wait, the exit, the drive to whatever destination her can’t-stay-put parents are schlepping her off to next.  We found these magical little homeopathic chamomile tablets that she takes 3 at a time every half hour or so while we fly.  I’m not sure they put her to sleep at all, but they do seem to calm her down or at least give her a treat (a highly suspicious looking, multiple white pill of a treat) to look forward to.  We’re relieved to see that she is doing better on planes, because we’ll be flying back to Antakya via Istanbul, and then back to Lebanon via Istanbul before the new baby is born.  And then she will turn 2 and graduate from inexpensive lap infant status to full-price toddler, and we will really start to feel the burden of our frequent flyer lifestyle.

-On the inside, I have reached this point where I am heartbroken whenever I think about Isla losing her place as our one and only baby.  On the one hand, I am excited for her to have a sibling, since the entirety of her circle of friends is made up of adults, but on the other hand, I imagine how it will feel to suddenly lose the full focus of our attention and admiration.  Right now, we’re still obsessed with every last thing she does (“She was talking to her reflection in the drain today!!!  Isn’t our daughter the most hilarious child that ever existed??”  I am exaggerating only a little).  I wonder if we will still be as captivated by her, or if we will suddenly be too tired to enjoy it anymore.  In my mind, I worry that she will be utterly sad and confused and lost, and I can’t bear to think about it.  In theory, I know she will be fine, eventually at least, but theoretical knowledge doesn’t always serve any purpose.

-C is in the middle of an unusual temporary work-from-home situation, and I am growing so inordinately attached to his daily presence that I’m not sure I’ll recover when he’s no longer around.  Right now we’re in this oasis of calm where I can leave Isla in the care of her beloved grandparents for a hefty chunk of the day while I write and C works and we take a lunch break with his parents during Isla’s nap.  It’s very serene, and I’m afraid that when it’s over I’ll turn into this frazzled, frustrated, tired version of myself…soon with a baby to breastfeed every few hours and a toddler to feed and entertain.  I know countless of parents have managed this before, but they are Super Parents, whereas I am just a commoner.

-Regarding the impending human, I am still in the relatively easy 2nd semester.  I do not want this baby to get any ideas from Isla about taking liberties with the due date.  Every day I warn the baby to stay put for three and a half more good long months.  Even though Isla’s early arrival made her delivery easier than I ever could have imagined, and she was thankfully fully healthy, it’s not something I want to play around with.  (Watch me eat my words when I am gargantuan, three weeks overdue, and labor for 30 hours to deliver a monstrous 12 lb child).  Fingers crossed that this one arrives healthy and whole.

-Over and out!