Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What's the matter with kids today? (put on a happy face)

Thomas, Bethy, their individual milk pitchers and little table and chairs.

I was quite pleased with myself the other day...home way before the bus was due (whose actual arrival time varies by about 45 minutes), hadn't gotten stuck in the flat-out awful traffic or anything. You may scoff at this as any sort of accomplishment, but one day I had to call the other wives from Mike's company to find someone to please please go to our house and rescue Bethy from being dumped in front of an empty house because I was stuck in traffic. Actually, on an entrace ramp to a freeway that was not moving at all. I'd given myself 50 minutes to go a 25 minute route, and had chosen the "alternative" (and therefore usually easy) route to no avail.

Many mobile calls later Bethy was safely picked up and I was now on the main road, which, once we escaped the flood of the other drivers deciding to escape Al Khail Road and try Sheik Zayed Road, we made good time, getting there only an hour after the time I'd set as cutting it too close. I hadn't pulled out too much hair that time. I still am hoping against hope that Thomas won't learn PG swearwords from me, though perhaps I should just take him aside and teach them to him properly and get it over with. He'll need them here if he ever comes back to drive.

The flow of traffic reminds me of a stampede of cattle sometimes...big bodies all trying to move as fast as they can in the same general direction. Motorcycles scattered among the larger vehicles, taking any opening they can, (bigger cars doing this too, but hitting them wouldn't be quite as tragic!) lots of horns and dust, people driving backwards on the shoulders, narrowly missing the people driving forward on the shoulder, and if there's an accident, no matter how small, everything must stop.
Play-Doh Camel by Bethy
All of this leads up to why I was so happy to be relaxed and home to welcome Bethy. The little blue bus stopped and Bethy didn't get out. Instead the helper got out and came up our walk, gesturing to me. "You must come, Madam please. Bus driver is needing to speak with you."

Hmmmmm. Okayyyy...

Bus driver: "She was fighting Madam your daughter. She would not stop fighting and hitting and yelling Madam you must tell her to stop."


Bethy (looking innocent): "Whaaaat, Mom?"

I assured them that I'd talk with her, took her inside, and put her in her room. She claimed no knowledge, then, after an extended stay in her room, admitted something might have happened.

I decided to pull out the stops and let Mike deal with it.

He, in turn, showed me the fingernail marks and bruises on her upper arm that the larger kid had given her. Lovely.

I made sure the bus driver heard about the marks, but also made a big show for all involved of having her proimise to behave before boarding the bus the next morning. She was true to her word and no incidents occured.

All day I wondered about how it was going to go, and to distact myself I decided it would be fun and relaxing to return to the Gardening Centre (I give up. It is its proper name, after all) and try to find out what kind of flowers we have growing in our garden. Thomas put up with the 90 minute drive that covers about 5 miles, (morning traffic), happily eating digestive biscuits and mint lemonade in the backseat, drawing on his frog magnetic erasable board. Before checking out the plants I thought we'd go to check out the home section, full of expensive outdoor furniture, fountains and lovely pots. I let him run around while I chose two medium sized, beautifully glazed pots in cream, pale blues and greens for 15 Dhs apiece, a good deal, I thought. Taking Thomas by the hand, we walked towards the outside area. Passing some tall slim patterned black terracotta vases, Thomas reached out a hand and, playfully catching the lip of one he could just reach, toppled it towards us and to the ground.


Uh-oh, said Thomas.
There was no one around, so we went and found someone who clucked his tongue, picked up the pieces and the price tag, which I was appalled to see read 495 Dhs.

495? For a pot? Our gardener costs 200 a month!

Uh-oh, said Mommy.

There was nothing to do but follow the assistant, who had also secured my paltry 30 Dhs worth of prettily glazed pots, and pay up. Thomas said "Sorry I broke-a pot. Mommy, I broke a pot, sorry, sorry." Beguiled by his cuteness and my balking slightly at the total, the cashier gave me a 10% discount on the smashed crockery, which brought the cost down in USD from $135 to $120.

Expensive blog fodder, I must say.

Fleeing the scene of the crime, I didn't have the fortitude to go look at any more flowers. Thomas looked penitant. I said it was an accident and that I wasn't angry with him. He promptly asked for candy.

Actually, candy wasn't such a bad idea, so we went, found some gourmet chocolate covered dates and called it a wash. So much for fun and relaxing, but whatever.

At least Bethy was good on the bus and the other children apparently didn't assult her this go-round. Hey, life is good!

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