Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Water Woes, Mother Woes

At dinner this evening, Rachel denounced her babyhood. We ate out, at Pizza Hut, because I had failed to have dinner ready when Andrew got home and so everyone was starving to death. I had been intending to have some rice ready to serve up with leftover curry but our pipes ran dry all afternoon.

I immediately began to have day-mares of life in Jordan, day after day with no running water. We averaged 3-5 days with water. Sometimes, when we were lucky (or out of town for half the week) we’d have running water clear to the end of the week. Most often, though, we’d run out on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. It was dreadful. I’m not sure water ever meant so much to me until I had to live without showering, dish washing, or toilet flushing, among other things.

Quite paranoid, I checked the pipes every 10 minutes or so all afternoon.

With no water to boil the rice, I sat down and wondered what else to make for dinner. Pita bread and cheese somehow didn’t sound terribly filling.

When Andrew came home from work, he checked the pipes and, much to my surprise and relief, found that we had water again. He then suggested we just go out for dinner. I think he noticed how much stress not having water for one afternoon had caused me. I was a blubbering idiot when he came home.

“And I couldn’t do the laundry or clean Rachel off after lunch or *sniff* anything!”

Cowboy up, girlfriend! It was only one afternoon. Clearly I’ve seen worse, though I think that was really what pushed me over the edge—the prospect of having worse once more.

Anyway, we went out to dinner. There were several Muslim families there, waiting for the call to prayer so they could, essentially, dig in. As soon as the call to prayer started sounding there was a rush of waiters dropping pizza off at this table and that. I felt a little left out as we had to wait quite a while for our pizza to show up. I hadn’t even been fasting and my tummy was protesting the wait loudly. I’m kind of harboring the idea that our waiter was punishing us for being non-fasting Christians while he was a fasting-Muslim because he was surly. He didn’t bring our ketchup out with our pizza, if you can believe, and we actually had to ask for it.

Ordinarily this wouldn’t have been a big deal since Americans that I know of, including ourselves, don’t eat ketchup with their pizza (maybe Megan does…) but Arabs do eat ketchup with their pizza and I’ve come to expect a full bottle at my table. Besides, we’d ordered “potato wedges” and clearly those call for ketchup. Unless you happen to live in the Middle East, in which case you have to learn to eat your fries plain.

Surly waiters and ketchup problems aside, there was a cute little family sitting on the other side of the room from us. They had a little girl who was probably about a half year older than Rachel, and Rachel was rather excited to see her. She kept turning around in her chair and grinning so hard I thought her face would fall off.

For lack of a better term, we called the little girl a baby. I don’t know if Rachel was excited to see another girl her age or if she was simply jealous because this little girl already had her food.

“Where’s the baby, Rachel?” we asked, “Do you see the baby?”

She’d turn around and point to the little girl, who was clearly older than she was. When Andrew asked if she, herself, was a baby, Rachel vehemently shook her head no, much to my dismay.

And I suppose that she really has grown up in the past few weeks. We went swimming at a branch party and she kind of chickened out at the pool (wouldn’t blow bubbles or put her face in or do anything exciting), but after we’d met for iftar in the evening, Rachel was off playing with the rest of the kids. I was so sure she’d get trampled, or worse, but she really held her ground well.

I sat and watched her play for a while. She was chasing after Sam and mimicking his every move (except for sliding down the stairs—that was too tricky for her) and I was just sitting deftly to the side, wishing that she was my little baby again and not this grown up toddler.

When I asked her if it would be alright if I left, she gave me a look that said, “What have you been hanging around here for, anyway? I don’t need you!”

I went to mingle, albeit nervously, with some of the other “useless” mothers while Rachel played. I did see her get bowled over a few times by some tag-playing boys but she didn’t even cry or come find me. She just brushed herself off and rushed to catch up with whatever Sam was doing. Talk about feeling useless! Perhaps I just shouldn’t have spied on her playtime. Then I wouldn’t know how absolutely useless I was.

Aside from letting her venture out of my sight to play unchaperoned, Rachel has unleashed a few surprise words on use recently. She can say “dog” and “car,” although they come out more along the lines of “D-indiscernible vowel-G” and “C-random vowel-R.”

“Arf! Arf!” we hear somewhere in a distant street.

“Dog!” Rachel will say, although to me it sounds much more like “dig” and then she’ll start into her monkey sound, which is apparently also what a dog says, “Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!”

It will take some time to get used to all the changes Rachel is imposing on me. She’s just growing up too quickly—still hasn’t given up nursing, though. Although that is getting increasingly embarrassing to do in public since I never know whether she’s planning on starting the nursing session off by growling like a lion and gnashing her teeth at me or crooning a song of gratuity. I know you’re all thinking the lion growl would be more embarrassing but she usually gets enough milk in her mouth to gurgle with while she sings. I thank my lucky stars each time she goes through a public feeding without putting on a show.

I also thank my lucky stars that we were only without water for a couple of hours this afternoon and not for days on end.

I’m not sure I could hold together if both my baby and my water pipes abandoned me in one day!


  1. I think one of the great sadnesses of Megan's life is that we don't let her eat ketchup with her pizza. Ah well, just one more thing for her to tell her therapist about...

  2. I rememember feeling so sad to see my babies grow up. Much as I love my grown kids, I really miss each of their innocent, cuddly little baby selves. Sigh. I am sad for us that Rachel is growing up so fast, too. When we see her again, she will not think we are nearly as cool as she did when she was little. She will think we are old and boring.

  3. Hmm. Unfortunately, I can't relate to either circumstance this time! But it sounds like you are having all sorts of interesting experiences without water... Water's overrated anyway, isn't it? :)

  4. I need to not read your blog in public places. I often end up laughing out loud.