Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Doctor, doctor, give me the news..

Expect more fun reports like the last one about Thomas. Bethy picked out the Mister Bump book for him and it fits Mister Little All Man. He performs all his own stunts.

All this having been said, Thomas is doing really well. By the 2nd day after his accident he didn't seem to need the pain medication and was far more concerned about a tiny scratch on his foot than his mouth. Dr. Motaz Awad Alla Hassan Bahagheel did a good job. (I got his name off the discharge papers, in case you're wondering). The stitches should gradually absorb, and there's no sign of infection.

The day after it happened there was a knock at the door. "Ma'am, excuse ma'am, groceries for the baby." Two bags of fruit (apples oranges and bananas) and a variety of beverages carefully arranged on the table and in the refrigerator.

The phone rang several times. "How is the baby Ma'am, what can we do Ma'am?" "Is there anything you need Madam?"

Another knock. Another plate of fruit. Lots of fruit. I may have to make more applesauce.

So the day was going very well, and we took it easy for the little guy's sake all day.

The next morning there was a knock at the door. It was Ram, one of the security guards we've befriended. He's always wherever we are. Bethy asked him if he was following us, but I think he's just constantly circulating around the building, as is his job.

Ram gave me the most polite, most thorough dressing-down I've ever had in my entire life for not taking better care of Thomas. It may have been subtle, but it was also unmistakable. I protested that I wasn't even here when Thomas fell and that pretty much sealed Ram's case as far as he was concerned.

I am seriously on probation.

Ram said he hadn’t come by because yesterday was his day off. Trying to change the topic I enthusiastically asked how his day off was.

He practically rolled his eyes at me. He’d gotten a call about what happened to Thomas and had worried all day and all night. "No sleep, Ma'am, all night long I think about this baby Thomas and I worry and worry."

Yikes. So I took the negative feedback on my maternal safety record with all the humility I could muster.

You take care Ma'am he said with particular emphasis and a dark-eyed look when he left after checking over both children thoroughly. I think he meant take care of the kids or you'll answer to me, but I could be mistaken.

He's been to our room at least once a day since, including warming up to me enough to shake my hand hello and good-bye, chatting with us about his family and other Indians here in Dubai, and bringing a toy for Bethy. Every day he finds something he feels is unsafe (today it was clothes that were too warm in his opinion, and the doors to the laundry not locked tightly shut---can I mention that I brought the safety lock from the US?) for the children and has me correct it. The kids love him as they do the room guys Selvam and Venkat.

Venkat and Selvam were fortunately much more forgiving, having seen Thomas catapult and crash many times after they've mopped the floors, and how he jumps as hard and high as he can on the beds while they try to make them, giggling furiously, all of them. They also keep their hands up to prevent his plummeting off the bed to those aforementioned marble floors.

They gave him lots of their particular brand of kisses, touching his lips and then bringing their fingers to their own mouths and kissing them as if to steal a kiss. I cracked up the first time I saw Bethy doing this to Thomas. It's very endearing.

There were many "Oh, my God" comments when they first examined Thomas' wounds, and something also repeated several times what sounded suspiciously like the sh word. Their English is pretty good, and I can't imagine they haven't innocently picked up some of the more colorful expressions of discontent.

In fact, unless I'm quite mistaken, a taxi driver pretended to teach me how to say "thank you" in Urdu the other day, and the second time he had me repeat back what he had said was the correct phrase it was quite different, much longer than the first iteration he'd told me, and he laughed so hard tears came. Goodness only knows what I said, but hey, at least he got a laugh out of it.

I'll go to the villa tomorrow and take some photos and give you the whole scoop on our home-to-be then. After I go tour the Jumirah Mosque, and before we go to the Irish Beer Festival...there's a varied day for you!


sherrip said...

I don't know what these guys are going to do when you move... They sound like they've been so wonderful.

Jean said...

Pessimist that I am, I just knew someone was going to accuse you of being an unfit mother after Thomas' unfortunate encounter with the marble floor. But who knew it would be the security guy? Do you suppose he has been following you so closely because he feared for the children's lives from the very beginning? That's my happy thought for the day.

Seriously, it's wonderful that you are receiving so much concern and support. Your new friends sound like great people.

Natalie said...


I (mistakenly) thought we were going to have to move out his weekend (it ain't so, and thank Allah for that!!!) and when I told Venkat we were leaving his eyes instantly filled with tears and his usually happy mouth turned down like a the Greek mask of tragedy. He declared he'd change his (one) day off so he could serve us until we left. I nearly cried with him. Now the staff asks me every day whether we'll still going to be here the next day, sometimes more than once to make sure they understand the answer.
I am trying to think of ways to thank them when we go for all they've done.


Ram the guard has adopted us and spends time with the kids every day now. I think he spends his break here, if I'm not much mistaken. He politely refuses any offers of tea or food, but today I finally passed safety muster (!) and he half hugged me upon both his arrival and departure, so I guess he trusts me with my kids now.

I'm sure that, as seems to be the cultural norm for those from India, emotions are very much on the surface, family and especially children are valued above all else, and openness is very much the way of the day, even when dealing with us cold withdrawn Westerners, so the concern exhibited was not anything unusual. Truly villages raise children.

I feel very blessed to have such friends on both sides of the world!