we've had to get used to having a baby in the house again. It
is surprising how we're remembering what to do. Hannah loves having
a sister, especially when it means sharing her toys!
and Esther went to the Paediatrician a couple of days ago for
a check up. After doing a good examination he declared that Esther
was a "perfect baby"- of course we knew that anyway!
is on a cycle of feed and sleep throughout the day and yes, Hannah
continues to have a good look at her now and then and strokes
her hair gently. Hannah has become a lot more independent since
the birth, she is taking herself to the toilet a lot more than
before and also insists on dressing herself in her night-clothes
She stikes most people as a very clever 2 year-old.
the drive for independence went one step too far when she tried
to wash her own hair in the bath. I had popped out to do something
in the kitchen then she took the shampoo and squeezed it on her
own hair, using about one quarter of the bottle in the process.
The now liberated shampoo made two distinct escape routes down
from her head, one went directly down the back of her head, the
other made a course directly over her right eye. The inevitable
screams attained my immediate attention and a quick application
of a wet flannel remedied the situation. I explained to her afterwards
that she was very clever to try to do it by herself, but the next
time she show be careful to not let the shampoo goes in her eyes.
Somehow I don't think that she will try it again in the near future.
memory for names and events continues to amaze us. She remembers
Arabic names much better than me and Alison. A while ago we hired
a man to clean and dust our windows, Hannah didn't seem too interested
in what he was doing at the time. Some months later Hannah and
I were in a taxi and she asked me the driver's name. I asked him
in Arabic and he replied "Mohammad"- Hannah immediately replied
"The window cleaner's name was Mohammad!". At first I didn't know
what she was talking about because it was so long ago; then I
remembered the man and also remembered that his name was indeed
Mohammad (although if you had asked me I won't have remembered
it! It was only because Hannah said so that I remembered that
it was). Today Hannah reminded me of the name of one of our Egyptian
friend's sister. She last saw her in November and we haven't talked
about her since then.
Wednesday I registered Esther's birth to get a birth certificate.
As with all bureaucracy it took hours to do. Fortunately I went
with my Arabic teacher without whom it would have taken longer.
I had real difficulties explaining Esther's full name. In Egypt
and presumably across the Arab world there are no surnames; they
use the name of their father and grandfather as such- so in the
Arabic system my name would be Jason Stan Stan (yes, my father
and grandfather had the same name). Despite this system it isn't
a problem here to call a son after the father's name, It isn't
uncommon to hear of someone called Mohammad Mohammad Mohammad.
This goes for Girls names too, so in the same system Hannah would
be called Hannah Jason Stan. Ladies don't change their name when
they get married, they just change their title from the equivalent
of "Miss" to "Mrs".
the registrar asked me for my full name I had no difficulties:
Jason Anthony Fell. He then implied that my father's name was
Anthony, "No" I replied, "They are both my given names". I went
on to explain that my father's name was Stan, the same as my grandfather
but these aren't part of my name as it appears on the passport.
He was confused because my name had to fit into three boxes labelled
Name, Father's Name, Grandfather's Name. In this system people
aren't allowed to have more than one given name, so the boxes
weren't too big, Under "Name" he squeeze in "Jason Anthony", under
Father's Name he put "Stan" He asked me what my father's second
given name was, I said that he didn't have one, not everyone has
two given names, some people only have one given name, others
have two, some have more. I went on to explained that in order
to identify me as the legal father he would have to put my surname
as it appears on my passport so he put "Fell" as my grandfather's
name. (I thought that it would be best not to mention that Anthony
was actually my great-grandfather's name . . .)
took two registration forms and a lot of explanation in order
to get to this point. Eventually we got to the next part of the
registration form, Mother's name. Exactly the same thing happened.
I explained that her given names were "Alison Patricia", but Patricia
wasn't her father's name! Her father's name was Charles. So he
entered "Alison Patricia" as her name, "Charles" as her father's
name. Again I felt the need to enter the surname in order for
Alison to be identified so said "Fell" and the grandfather's name.
The registrar paused . . ."You have the same grandfather?"
I explained "That is the family name".
married someone in your family?"
she was a Davies before she married, then she took on MY family
took on your grandfather's name?"
it wasn't my grandfather's name, well, not his given name! It's
a name that is passed from one generation to the next. It used
to denote something like a profession, an ancestor or an area
where you lived"
registrar gave up trying to understand and just put what I told
him to do. So Alison's name was entered as Alison Patricia Charles
question: Baby's name. "Esther Mary as the given names" I replied.
The rest he entered himself without my intervention in case I
confused him I think. . . when I read the form afterwards Esther's
registered name is officially Esther Mary Jason Anthony Fell.
I've been told that we can get a British birth certificate from
the embassy here. They use a translation of the Egyptian birth
certificate but I will be able to explain the anomalies between
the different naming conventions and hence get Esther's name registered
as simple straight-forward "Esther Mary Fell" on the British certificate.
booked our flight tickets to Britain for April 8th, we'll be staying
most of the time with Alison's parents for about 6 weeks. It will
be nice to get a change of weather since we're having some problems
with sand storms at the moment, not nice when you wear contact
Alison, Hannah and Esther
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