Thursday, October 15, 2009

Of Lice and Women

Dave Hibbert was curious and found a you tube link to the lullaby I mentioned last night.  Thanks, Dave.  Here it is, if you'd like to hear it:

Well, tonight we can't even get our blog to LOAD from here.  So, once again, I'm emailing something to Sara and asking her to post it.  She's become our go-to girl, and is convenient because she's only two hours behind us--thanks, Sara.

I'm on the "office" computer and the night receptionist is asleep on a mattress right next to me, so I'll be really brief.  Tonight I was determined to get down here before 10:00 PM so I wouldn't keep her awake (I usually write in Word in our room and then come down and just cut and paste, but even that takes a long time), but as I started bed time around 7:00 PM, I decided to do a lice check.  Ugh!!  I thought I got all the yuckies out of the way with the scabies stuff last night.  I thought I was just being extra careful because little B was scratching her head today.  But there it was, that awful bug crawling right in between two of her braids.  I took it personally.  Most of you already know how traumatic I found it to discover lice on Jasper and Ruby five years ago this month, in London.  I just can't stand the thought of bugs on bodies!  I can fly all the way over hear and do all this, but I can't stand bugs on me.  I'm fine if they're outside, or high up on the wall, or in corners and totally uninterested in me.  Dave tried to convince Sara and me this trip that earwigs don't actually crawl in ears.  He even read us a BBC report online that said any earwig found in a human ear would be sadly discruntled and very lost.  But Sara and I just wouldn't have it.  We're convinced they want us.  I don't remember a single other thing about The Wrath of Khan except that one of my most vivid childhood memories is of seeing that earwig put in that ear.  Way to censor inappropriate content for your children, Mom--I'm scarred for life.

Anywhile, I'm wasting my Internet time.  The point is that I just got down here because it took me three hours to check every head for lice, then wash them all with the death-to-all-hair-bugs shampoo, then "wait 10 minutes, lather, shampoo, and rinse," then check every head for nits with the nit comb, then gather all the clothes, PJ's, linens and towels that we just had washed in hot to be washed again, then have Steve check my head. T and B obviously knew the drill--no explanation was necessary.  They just sat down and let me go to work.  Tinsae even immediately started undoing Birhane's braids.  This is a skill.  I undid three in the time she undid the entire rest of B's head.  I must say we got an adorable picture of the resulting hairdo.  The worst part was when one bug came out and landed on my leg.  I, of course, freaked out and flicked it onto the floor,  then quickly realized I must find it and make it die.  This I did.  (Speaking of flick, Mom and Dad, one of my favorite name choices was Flicka, like the horse.  So if you don't like my name choice just know it could be worse.)  The best part (if there must be one) was having Steve help find the nits.  This is one of those tiny little detailed things with which I don't have much patience without his perserverance.  I'm more inclined to just pray for no more nits.

By the time we finished little B was exhausted and looked miserable.  She missed her nap today, and was up late, and we took her on a long day trip in the car--she clearly inherited my motion sickness from across the ocean somehow.  The only remedy here is to have her get out and try to poop on the side of the road, which they attempt freely.  Believe it or not, the Amharic word for poop is "kuh kuh."  Just like our explanation for yuck!  Birhane taught this to me the first day--it was the first thing she ever asked me.
It's also clear Birhane is sick, and has an allergy to something.  She sneezes a lot and has the sniffles.  Tinsae says it was already this way at the orphanage, so it's nothing in our room.

Our road trip today was to Portuguese Bridge at Blue Nile Gorge.  It was absolutely phenomenol.  This is how it went.  We asked for day trip ideas since we can no longer travel north.  Gaetcho and Ahki suggested this cool bridge about two hours away, called Portuguese Bridge.  So today we drove there via the Ethiopian countryside.  This was our first trip outside the city, and it was breathtaking.  Think Northern California/Montana/Northern Utah.  This is literally one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.  It's rolling green hills are dotted with villages made of conicle grass huts called "goha-bet."  They use eucalyptus wood for much of this building, so there are planted eucalyptus groves dotting the hills and it smells heavenly.  I think as soon as Ethiopia figures out how to serve tourists better, and tourists figure out there is more to Africa than animals, this will be one of the hottest African travel destinations.  We passed several cyclists, and with this beauty and this mild climate in winter (the weather here is beautiful, 70-80 degrees with a breeze), Steve couldn't imagine a better place to ride.
When we reached our destination, we did see some babboons and hike down to a neat bridge.  It was made of Ostrich eggs by the Portuguese in the 1600's, and is still standing.  But what they didn't tell us was that we would also see an absolutely amazing canyon, fed by the waterfall that flows under this bridge.  We told Gaetcho and Ahki they were billing this trip all wrong.  They need to say, "Come see Ethiopia's Grand Canyon."  I'll try to include a link to it, if I have time.  Though I was terrified of losing a child the whole time because there are no guard rails, I loved it.  Steve loved it even more, because he was not as paranoid.

Ruby and Tinsae played and laughed togethe the whole time, there and back, in the van.  Birhane chattered and looked out the windows, slept and felt sick.  Their only previous car ride--before they met us--was a bus trip from their town's orphanage to the big orphanage in Addis.  I let Ruby and Jasper bring their DS's (small, hand-held electronic game players) because there would be so much car time.  Tinsae couldn't put Ruby's down--she is enthralled with electronics.  I had to learn the Amharic word for "share."

Probably mainly do to very poor sleep, I had a bit of a freak-out day today.  I was struggling to deal with the fact that no one, including her, really knows how old Tinsae is.  I asked for little and she's clearly not little.  I was also worried about how chummy she and Ruby were the whole way in the van.  What about Jasper?  How will this work?  But, I continue to talk to ask the kids, and I seem to be the only one worried.  I don't want to create worry in them.  Jasper said couldn't we just take T to a doctor here to determine her exact age, because I was stressing everyone out.  OK--point taken.  Luckily, Steve took his turn at being the cool head today.  I had my moment, then tried to remember I was tired, and that this will, indeed, be hard on all the kids.  But that's OK.  It will work out, and we had our assurance.  I didn't get inspiration that said, "adopt these girls only if you're sure about TInsae's age."  I have to remember that.  Plus, that's such a small thing in view of all the other issues we don't have--no learning disabilities, developmental delays, health problems, noticeable emotional dysfunction, etc.  I just promised myself (and Belinda) that if I would blog about this at all, I would be honest about both confidence and anxiety.  That's only fair to other adoptive families, and the only way to tell a true story.

If I want reason to return tomorrow, I must go to bed.  Have I told you that everyone in Addis seems to own a rooster, and they crow ALL NIGHT?  At ALL hours?  That is a perfect picture of what this city is like:  it's a major capital city, home to the African office of the UN and the pan-African committee, and yet there are roosters and cows and goats and donkeys roaming the streets everywhere.

P.S.  I keep hearing that the blog is the new resume.  So, if you were considering me for a writing contract someday, oh anonymous fans of the publishing world, please don't disqualify me on account of this blog.  I have adopted the James-esque run-on sentence, the neurotic parenthetical, and the disjointed dash out of speed, fatigue, and laziness.  Given a fat advance, I can do much better.


garth bruner said...

A - I'm so like you.....NO BUGS EVER! Good thing you have Steve and I have Garth! If Garth is home, I will call him to wherever to kill the insect/bug. B - Wow, I thought all of Africa was Desert like! Ha, little did I know. C - Slow down and enjoy your ride. It will all be over too fast. T (as you refer to her) needs you as much as you need matter her age! Even if she is 10 (!), she has years of needed nurturing from your good family environment. Our children are our babies no matter how old they get! Lots of Love, Jen

Belinda said...

Not giving birth, defending a thesis while pregnant, nor even the loss of loved ones do you ever waiver...but tiny critters bring you to your knees?? Interesting factoid Em! You must know that earwigs can be expensive. The HVAC person claimed that an earwig once burned out our AC compressor--now affectionaly known as the $2000 earwig!! Sorry, are our blog comments inherently supposed to be sappy?? I did enjoy reading as you talked yourself off the ledge about T's age and your concern for the family dynamic--perspective is a beautiful thing isn't it? One day at a time. Am missing my friend. Love B.

Rachel said...

When we did the hand skeleton thing with was very exact. They said her skeleton was 5 years and 9 months. Of course it doesn't take into consideration slow or late growers. What a ride. I guess that adoption is just as full of surprises as a pregnancy. What is it with lice?! There's an infection at Ez's pre-school right now and we just got the beware note sent home today. Am loving the daily dose!
I truly wish I were there!

Emily said...

Lice sounds like the worst!
I'm jealous of the beautiful grand canyon trip. It would be wonderful to travel much more and to expose our kids to all kinds of cultures, foods, and experiences. Just think how much Ruby and Jasper are soaking in and how much even more the girls will experience just by coming home with you!
I'm glad to know you have freak out sessions once in a while. It's going to be OK, and just think, you'll get to chose a birthday!
The dynamics of your family are already changing, but they will settle down soon. Soon it will be like they were always there.

Lisa said...

I understand the freak out thing with the lice! When Cari brought it home from school years ago, I thought my world had dare that horrible, nasty bug even chance upon my baby's head! ugh! But don't worry about the other stuff....they're yours and they're beautiful and all is well! We're all so happy for you!

Brooke said...

Yea, Bjorn hears mention of a bug in a random room and knows he is to go and kill it or not come back. I too HATE bugs, especially lice. We all got it right when we got to Russia. It's not fun and I'm sure it's just another exhausting thing for you to deal with. Good luck eraticating it from the kids and yourselves.

I hope that B will get over her car sickness with a little more time in the car. I know last kids tend to spend a lot of time in the car. Maybe a proper car seat so that she can see and get ventilation will help however. That's no fun to be sick in the car.

We're still praying for your finger prints to be done in time for your Monday appointment at the Embassy. Good luck with all else. It will soon all fall into proper place and you will wonder what in the world have I been worrying about? Loves to all!

Chelsea Erickson Smith said...

Much love to you all. Your story is inspirational.