Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I'm in a bad mood

The sounds of toddlers squawking and squabbling are echoing off the walls. "Don't push me!" "Bive me dat!" and "MINE!" reverberate through my bones and make my brain ache.

Every now and then a tower of blocks comes crashing down, each piece clinking against the next until one child's masterpiece is reduced to a pile of rubble. There's a moment of silence while the head architect processes what happened, and then the screaming starts again, followed, shortly after, by the giggling of a young demolition expert.

Maisy is playing, completely neglected, on the television. Still.

Paper and bits of crayons are strewn across the living room. Pre-evolutionary caveman-esque drawings cover each scrap of paper. Several crayons have been broken in half over and over again, as if they were earthworms and expected to regenerate, and only tiny stubs remain.

I'm ignoring it all, too exhausted to even get up and turn off the television. I think I'm going crazy.

I needed a break so I assigned Sam and Rachel to make a red tower and leave me alone for 10 minutes. Writing makes me feel better so I sat down here and resolved to not write about children. Unfortunately we write about what we know and right now I know children, so this is the best I could come up with.

I tried desperately to think of something interesting to write about life in the Middle East but the best I could come up with was the topic of water. And it doesn't even count about not being a story about little kids because it involves Megan, who was brushing her teeth. Jacob caught her rinsing her toothbrush in tap water and immediately began yelling at her,

"MEGAN! You used tap water! The tap water isn't safe! You could get sick! You could DIE!"

Let me tell you something about Jacob. He's not at all melodramatic. Oh, wait. Yes, he is. Megan, on the other hand, while also a bit of a drama queen is her own class of ditz.

She answered, "But I never knew that!"

Now, rinsing your toothbrush in tapwater is about as likely to kill you as slaughtering all the pigs in Egypt is likely to keep the swine flu from making its way here. It's traveling person-to-person now so the only way to keep it away from Egypt would be to get rid of the people. And that sounds more deadly than letting the disease make its rounds. However...there is no possible way that Megan could not have known that. The Lewises have lived here for 10 months and for all of those 10 months they have brushed their teeth with bottled water. How Megan could have missed that is beyond me.

While the Lewises brush their teeth with bottled water, we brush our teeth with tap water and have for a long time. Technically the water in Maadi is potable, though it is highly chlorinated and sometimes comes out looking or smelling less than appealing. We don't drink the tap water; we used bottled water for drinking, just to be on the safe side. We do, however, use tap water for washing our fruits and vegetables, washing our dishes, and bathing, besides for rinsing our toothbrushes.

Rachel drinks the most tap water out of all of us. She thinks that the bathtub is her personal resevoir and I find myself constantly trying to convince her not to slurp it up.

We've come to accept the occasional tummy bug as both normal and expected.

This post took me the whole day to write. Andrew is home now and he verified for me that I'm not going crazy. Rachel and Sam really are more annoying than usual today. More demanding. More whiny. More noisy. More bothersome. More troublesome. More argumentative.

Oh, and Sam took the liberty of taking off his pull-up during his nap and wet the bed. So that was a lovely way to cap off a wonderful day. Dinner is on Otlob tonight. Thank goodness!


  1. Awww, poor Nanny! I know how you feel :)
    What's Otlob?

  2. Otlob is a website where you can order food from hundreds (I may be exaggerating) of restaurants. They send your order to the restaurant and the restaurant delivers it to you. It basically rocks.

    We ordered pizza tonight, but you can get anything, really.

  3. I don't want you to get jealous or anything, but Sarah and Emily moved out on Monday, Jacob is at school/work all day, and Reid actually went in to work today. Can I just say how nice it is to have a totally silent house?

  4. Bedtime is in 37 minutes, not that I'm counting, or anything.

    And they have this wonderful thing called "reading time." That starts in 7 minutes.

    I am a little jealous, though!

  5. A very justified bad mood if you ask me. Feeling how I've felt so far in this pregnancy, I don't know how people take care of their other children when the one growing in them takes everything you have. Hats off to you. And I hope tomorrow is a better day.

  6. How do you keep ending up with so many kids? Is this a paid gig or a favor. I'm pretty sure this is at least the second if not third time?

  7. It's good/depressing (I'm not sure which)to know that motherhood is the same no matter what continent you live on.

    Yesturday the first words out of my mouth when Clay came in the door were, "We are only having one child. I'm sorry you'll never get a son."

  8. Sorry for the crazy kid day--my comment has more to do with the water situation as that has been something we've heard lots about and heard lots of differing opinions on how safe it is to even look at the water. We are a generally healthy family so it's nice to see we may not have to go to the extreme to stay healthy. Thanks for the tidbit of information I've been looking for.

  9. @ Crystal -- It's a paid gig. We really don't mind so much. Truthfully it's kind of fun! :) But having 6 kids is a lot of work and quite the adjustment from having only 1.

    @ Catherine -- We find that the water quality here is better than in Jordan. Oh, the water woes we had in Jordan! The water here isn't stored in tanks on the roof; they actually have enough water pressure (at least in the nicer neighbourhoods) to keep the water running all the time. So you don't have to worry about using up your supply or about a backup tank or anything. And you don't get the same algae that grows in the tank while the water sits still on your roof all week (blue algae? I can't remember). Our water comes out of the Nile, which is why it is so heavily chlorinated/treated.

    As I said, Rachel drinks water straight from the bathtub/swimming pool/you-name-it (I can't seem to get her to curb the habit) and she really doesn't get sick more often than either Andrew or I do. So the water here really is pretty good!

  10. Actually, I think in this instance Jacob earns the ditz award, seeing as how everyone has been brushing their teeth with tap water since like the second week we were here. I'm wondering where he got that from. All I can figure is that he made it up, forgot, or...uh...hasn't brushed his teeth in 10 months.

    Please don't ask me which of those scenarios is most likely.

    P.S. Sorry my kids are crazy. :)

  11. Sara, that is too funny. I'm glad I got after Jacob (telling him to leave her alone) instead of reaffirming to Megan her eminent death. How funny!

    Here I am all spreading rumors about your germaphobe family brushing their teeth with bottled water... :)