Friday, March 25, 2005

Second Wives

The family was surprised last week to hear the cries of a newborn baby coming from our upstairs tenant's apartment at all hours of the day and night. The tenants have been living here for four months, long enough for us to notice if the wife had been pregnant. We mused among ourselves, "Do they have houseguests?" The astute Owl, guessed, "I think he has a second wife." I dismissed the idea, but a couple of days later, Hubby met the husband who announced he had a new child. Hubby incredulously asked how, and the man innocently asked answered, "Oh, didn't I tell you? I have two wives!" Had he asked that question of me I would have replied, "No, just like you didn't tell us you had five kids before you moved in."

Now we are trying to guess how many kids are living upstairs. It seems that since wifey number two has delivered, she and wifey number one will rotate between the husband's parents home and the upstairs apartment. So now, after finally getting wife #1 trained to please not use the front balcony as a garbage-launch or a laundry line, I now have to train wife #2 to the house rules.

And speaking of second wives: my husband has taken a second wife. Although he still sleeps with me, he spends all his waking hours basking in her glow. He is totally mezermized and intrigued by her. She's not a new love; actually he knew her long before he married me. They grew up together, and were childhood sweethearts, so how much can I complain? I'm lucky to get a meal with him before he runs back to embrace her. He won't run errands for me, he's neglecting the restaurant, and he has abandoned our children.

I thought after 25 years of living with me in American he may have forgotten her, but I was wrong. Moving back to Pakistan my husband has rediscovered his first love. Her name is Cricket and she is my enemy. Why do I put up with this treatment? Because I know her days are numbered… Win or lose, India or Pakistan, she will go and I will stay once the last ball is bowled, she's out of here.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Madcap Weekend in Lahore

This weekend Owl,Crayon and kids and I flew down to Lahore in Crayon's snazzy little white car. Abez, who masterminded this trip was ill and unable to make it and so with me and Owl as sad and sorry last minute Abez substitutes, the trip proceded as planned.

Somthing I learned this weekend: McD's Happy Meals have only a short term happiness factor, then the sugar and caffine from the Pepsi wear off and the hyped-up three year old then becomes a broken wreck of a human (in other words, throws a collosal temper tantrum). I think we chould get a class action law-suit going here citing false advertizing, irreperal damamge to body and soul, and alienation of affection between parent and child.

Crayon and I got to meet a new Foreign Wife of a Pakistani, blogger Leena. Wish we had more time to spend with her, but in light of the fact that we had dragged three sick and tired kids to the Mehndi, we came early, met, hugged, kissed and offered our sage advice that such marriages do work, but take lots of effort. Our very best advice: Be willing to change and adapt in someways, but still be true to yourself.

This weekend had a very profound effect on Owl. She saw firsthand the immense amount of work it takes for a mom to drag young kids out and about on long trips. She saw Crayon struggling with the stress, sleepless nights and extra work it took to travel with young children. She frequently expressed her appreciation for my efforts in years past when I drove my 4 youngsters 6 hours each way to grandma's house. Hubby was self-employed and I made the trips without him 4 or 5 times per year. (I've never admitted to anyone the the key to my success was the ability to drive for hours with the radio on full blast, the windows down to drown out the noise of a baby crying/screaming his lungs out in the baby seat till he fell asleep. Thank you Crayon for increasing Owls' esteem for the mothers of the world and especially me. I have to say Owl preformed wonderfully as an on-call Auntie of young kids. She has had very little exposure to young children but she handled the situation very well, kept her cool and gained huge amounts of experience.

Props to Hemi and her wonderful, kind and loving family for hosting us, driving and guiding us about town, and helping with the kids. All their labor was appreciated and rewarded with the love of Crayon's adorable kids who, even though they were tired and sleep deprived, were cute, fun to be with 99.9% of the time, loving and sometimes just plain halarious. The whole family was charmed by the engaging and sweet Choti, amused by the playful and active 3 year old KC, beguiled by the happy and smiling 9 month old. I'm theorizing that Grandma/Auntie/Daddy genes have been awakened by the kids and Hemi's older brother's single days may soon be numbered in a quest to provide the family with permenant children of their own to play with.

All in all, although the trip was unexpected, and had some rough spots, it was a huge success because everyone pitched in. It provided much needed socialization for all of us, the very anti-social Owl and myself, house-bound Crayon and the kids too.