Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Not good for bearing sons

Our landlord was supposed to come by last night at around 8:00 PM  to fix our satellite, again. We haven’t had television for a while now; I can’t remember when it stopped working, exactly, and we haven’t bothered to get it fixed because we don’t watch all that much TV.

Still, it’s nice to have it working, so we mentioned it to Hatim when he stopped by the night before to pick up our rent money.

He was surprised that Rachel was still awake; she’s usually already in bed when he stops by. That’s because he has this habit of stopping by really, really late at night.

He told us that he’d stop by at the same time the next day to fix the satellite. We told him that would work out fine.

And then last night, when 8:00 was rolling around, we began to get a little anxious about Rachel’s bedtime routine. Should we start it? If it gets interrupted in the middle we often have to start all over at the beginning again—brushing teeth, going potty, reading stories, reading scriptures, saying family prayer, singing a goodnight song, hugs and kisses—before she’ll even agree to go to bed. Starting at the beginning can be time consuming. Missing steps causes her to stress out.

After we’d finished FHE, we debated for a minute about whether or not we should move onto the bedtime routine thing. We decided we should but hesitated every step of the way. It’s one of those Mormon Murphy Laws that if you are going to be interrupted it’s most likely to be during scriptures or prayer.

We had her brush her teeth and use the potty. We read scriptures because those are somewhat interruptible. And then we waited for the doorbell to ring.

We eventually gave up and said family prayer, without interruption, and then finished putting Rachel to bed.

And then we went off our merry little ways, ignoring Rachel crying softly in her room about the injustice of being put to bed. Andrew told her that people were coming over to fix the satellite and they didn’t want to hear her screaming. I read and Andrew wrote and after checking to make sure Rachel was asleep we watched an episode of House and then we waited, and waited, and waited.

Finally our landlord showed up, with his wife. Just before 11:00 PM. So typical of Arabs.

It’s always interesting to see Hatim when he’s with his wife. He always seems so confident and intimidating when he comes to our apartment alone. When he’s with his wife, though, he’s timid and submissive. She definitely is the one who wears the pants in the family, even though he was some top-dog police officer before retirement.

She explained how she told Hatim that he had to come back personally to fix our satellite because he had told her how badly we got ripped off the last time he sent some repair man.

She explained a lot of stuff to us. She’s so hilarious to listen to.

All I do is listen because I don’t have a lot to contribute in Arabic and she doesn’t speak English, at least, not really. It’s hilarious, though, because she’s constantly throwing in English words and phrases.

Arabic, Arabic, Arabic, for example, Arabic, Arabic, Arabic, blue, blue, blue, Arabic, Arabic, Arabic, vacation.

I just smile and nod. It’s a good thing she repeats herself a lot because it gives me a chance to process what she’s saying before she moves onto the next idea.

My favorite part of the night was when she was asking about our yet unborn baby.

“Will it be a son,” she asked in Arabic, switching to English to say son, and then back to Arabic to finish, “Or a daughter?”

“Another girl,” Andrew answered.

“That is your fault,” she scolded Andrew, “Not hers. She’s a good wife. If you can’t have sons it’s your fault. Maybe the third will be a son, God willing.”

How are we supposed to respond to that when we’re both perfectly happy to be having another girl?

“Yes, Insha'Allah,” Andrew answered.

He’s quick like that. All I could think of to say was, “Uh…yeah…”

We’re not exactly thinking about child #3 right now. I don’t think anyone thinks of the next baby when they only have five weeks of pregnancy left. I think mostly they think things like, “I can’t wait to not be pregnant!” not “Sign me up for another 40 weeks!”

But maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, we weren’t lectured long about our apparent inability to have sons because the satellite problem ended up being an easy fix (which means that it will end up breaking again in the near future, I’m sure).

There’s a random stray dog that lives on the fourth floor. We found out that it isn’t just a random stray dog; it belongs to our landlord’s son and sometimes our son lets the dog up onto the roof. Hatim thinks the dog chewed through the cord or something.

I wouldn’t doubt it.


  1. You can console Andrew by telling him that my grandpa, who had four daughters and one son, always said that it took something special to make a girl. :)

  2. You know, when I had Abraham - our 3rd son - every man in the neighborhood came up to shake Courtney's hand, pat his shoulder and congratulate him on his virile achievement. A real man! Al hamdu l'Allah! So yes, they are funny like that.

  3. That's funny! Most people, when they find out that I have one boy, one girl, and am done with having kids, they tell me that worked out perfectly because now I have one of both and don't need any more.

  4. hey... at least is not India where they end up killing the girls right?

  5. It's not just you. I don't feel like being pregnant again any time soon.