Making a scene

A couple of weeks ago I couldn't stand the thought of my kitchen, so we walked through our little town to a burger place in an alley. We eat there once in a while, and always manage to nearly fill the place up, it's so tiny, with a few stools in front of and beside the grill, and a couple of small tables across the alley. Big van buses go by every so often, forcing everyone standing on the street to press against the edges and suck their guts in.

We got our food and sat eating in our various places. Kai had picked up a few of the yummy Schweppes lemon sodas that we all like, from the nearby 7-11. He ran back and sat down, ready to eat. There are photos on the wall of people eating at the burger place, and Kai jumped up to point out one that clearly had him pictured in it.

Then he said, “I feel really bad.”

I turned and saw that his face was gray and sweaty, so I jumped up and grabbed him, and he sort of sank in my arms and then got panicky, saying “Mama! Daddy! Mama! Daddy!” Chinua was with us holding him as well by this time, and then Kai’s eyes rolled back in his head and he slumped completely. He had sweat all over his face.

I’m going to stop here and say that when something like this happens completely out of the blue, an observer might be able to say, “Your son has fainted.” But when you are the parent? Deep and awful panic sets in. Your first thought is, “We’re losing him!” Chinua and I unashamedly starting shouting “Hospital!” Like calling “Police!” only we were calling “Hospital!”. Kai was still out, and Chinua was holding him, trying to get him to respond. A nearby Thai woman and her father stepped in to help.

“We have a car,” they said. “We can get him to the hospital.”

The man came and started talking to Kai, and Chinua was trying to keep him awake as well. I actually have no idea what I was doing or saying. I seemed to be out of my body and with Kai. I think I was helping him, wiping his face, talking to him, but when I remember back, I only see him and can’t remember me.

Kai came to, and at the advice of a young German couple across the street we laid him down and put his feet on one of the stools. It started to look like Kai had simply fainted, (sorry, Kai would like me to call it passing out) so the kind woman called a local clinic, asking whether they were open. When it turned out that they were, Chinua ran home to get our scooter so they could drive over to the clinic.

I stood with Kai, who was still lying in the middle of the floor with his legs up on one of the stools. I wiped his face with a wet towel, that's what you do, you know, when people have passed out. He seemed fine at this point, though still a little weak. Kenya was fluttering around feeling embarrassed about the fact that we were causing a scene. “Can’t we move him off the floor?” she asked in a fierce whisper. Kai, on the other hand, seemed to enjoy making the scene quite a bit, now that he was feeling better.

When Chinua came with the scooter, the Thai lady went with him and Kai to the clinic, to show Chinua where it was, and when Chinua entered with her, he discovered that she was a Thai TV star and that everyone knew her. It explained her crystal clear, perfect Thai. Having her help us was like fainting in England and having David Attenborough take care of you and help you to the clinic.

We were a bit mystified  and confused about why Kai had passed out at all. But the next day, when I looked in the freezer and found that about half a bag of chocolate chips was missing, it all became more clear. Kai has been hypoglycemic since he was a baby. I don’t remember him ever waking up without crying until he got food or a snack, he was always miserable after a nap until he ate. And one thing that can happen with hypoglycemia is a sugar craving, then a sharp spike after eating sugar, and a big crash if nothing else follows the sugar. He had eaten so much sugar that he crashed hard enough to lose consciousness.

That is all. He was and is fine.

This all mirrors events in my childhood so closely that it is a little uncomfortable, remembering. I never did faint, but had extreme sugar cravings and similar chocolate thievery. Even into adulthood I have to be very careful to eat before I go shopping, so I don't end up with Oreos in my cart. And oh, I'm so glad Kai is okay. We're working on keeping him topped up, to lessen those crazy sugar impulses.


Ever since Isaac was born, I sometimes look at him and feel odd, like I've had this baby before!  I'm sure some of it is the mystical connection that mothers have with their babies, but after looking through pictures, I realize that a lot of that feeling is due to this:











Apparently I HAVE had this baby before. 

Also, there are no pictures of Kai as a baby for two reasons: 

1. They are print photos, back in storage in California. 

2. He is the one who has a face like no other. He also hasn't changed since he was about six months old.

But remember when I had only babies?  When everyone was teeny tiny?



I can smell the rain.

It was a very busy day. I wrote before the sun was up.

Then Kai and Kenya (Kid A and YaYa)  finished work on Kenya's stopmotion movie. They worked on one with friends who came over yesterday. A school project- they did it from beginning to end, but when we watched it, we saw things that needed to be fixed. The camera moved too much- there was too much extra room visible. So Kenya got back to work right away and made another movie. She shot it all herself and I showed her how to adjust photo levels. Kai did some sound engineering this morning.

I'm very proud of them.

We showed it to Chinua from far away.

Then lunch and Thai class, some swimming, dinner. I didn't get to my email today. (I'm sorry.)

I read to everyone and lastly we had a big wind and rain storm with thunder and lightning. In the dark I climbed on top of a chair that was stacked on a table to reach our last chicken, who was swaying wildly in a high branch of our tree. He sleeps up there normally, but tonight we made him cozy in his own chicken hotel room. Spoiled chicken.

It was very hot this morning and now it is cool with lightning in the distance. All my people chickens are accounted for and in their beds, snoring softly

and I

A day on the town with Kid A.

It's a blessed woman who has a ten-year-old boy, which is just my funny curly way of saying that I love my oldest son. 

We went out on a mother/son date about a week ago, on the scooter, off through the jungle, south to Panjim, the capital of Goa. Our destination was a bookstore that has a lot of kids books, to buy him book three and four of the Percy Jackson series. (He then inhaled them in one day. Sigh. I can't keep the kid in clothes or books.)

All the way, he entertained me with his personal, Kid A form of love: random trivia delivered from the back of the scooter. Things about planets, Greek mythology, and micro organisms. When he starts telling me these things, I know he's feeling well, that he's feeling a lot of love, and that this is how he tells me he loves me. I bask in it. "Really?" I say. "I didn't know that."

(I truly didn't, most of the time. He can carry a whole world of facts in his head, just like his father.)

Bikes in the background.

I took him on some of my own errands, too. To the art store. I was looking for quality watercolors, but decided I couldn't quite afford the Winsor and Newton ones, and I bought a new set of Camel Artist Watercolors. The Indian brand. Not too bad, if you haven't worked too much with high quality watercolors, which I haven't.

He posed in his father's sunglasses, borrowed for the journey. A man walking by said, "James Bond."

Helmet kid.

A kinder, gentler, less womanizing James Bond, perhaps. (Younger, blacker, cuter.)

We then went to my favorite fish curry rice restaurant for lunch. Except that we didn't make it for our lunch time, we made it for Indian lunch time-- 2:00, and the restaurant was packed with people waiting for seats. People who weren't about to wait patiently in queues. Once I saw a few people saunter by me while we waited in line, I decided to do a little reconnaisance. We scooted to the back of the room and waited nearby two people who were nearly done with their food.

It's a dirty job, but sometimes it's the only way to get food.

The fish thali (in Goa called fish curry rice, as in: fish, curry (prawn coconut) and rice, and about three other vegetable dishes and clams) was everything I'd been dreaming of, and Kid A had a plate of golden fried calamari all to himself. (A splurge, at $3.)

Busy market before Diwali.

Then we went to Mapusa to buy flowers for the devotion circle and drink a coconut because we were so thirsty from all that driving in the sun. Mapusa was crazy because it was just before Diwali and everyone was out preparing by buying tinselly things.

I may have to start a photo series called "Kid A drinking things." His face is so awesome.

The drinking face.

Mine is rather splotchy with my lovely pregnancy mask. Lately I get hyper pigmentation in pregnancy, which I wouldn't mind if it was only evenly distributed, and not concentrated on my forehead and upper lip. But ahhh, who can complain, with all these excellent sons and years ahead of James Bondish riding on scooters, buying books, and drinking sweet lassis? Not me, that's for sure.

(This answers Leaf's question in the comments on the last post. To answer Eleanor's? Wellllll... we've been to the little banyan tree in the coconut grove beside our house, but we haven't been to the big banyan tree that we show in all our pictures. Not yet, anyways.)

Dear Kid A,

This is you ten years ago:

This is you now.

10 is a lot of candles.

You've grown a bit.

Here's a list I wrote about you on your birthday:

Kid A is:

smart- (I mean, it's silly how smart you are)
incredibly fun
a deep thinker
great to be around
getting more and more responsible
sunny/cloudy alternately
Brave (with a capital B)
a great swimmer/diver
a budding musician
a good and loyal friend

What a list! What a gift you are, my son.

This amazing kid turned 10 today. Happy happy birthday to our incredible Kai. (Kid A)

You think so fast you're always ten steps ahead of me. You've been this way for years, and I love that you're getting older because I can set you loose to act on your quick thinking ideas. You think we need more fruit and I'm still journaling in my pyjamas? Run on down to the fruit stand, son, here's 100 baht. Make sure you get the mangosteens that have a little bit of give to their skins. Do you HAVE to know an obscure fact right this very second? Google away.

Big kids are great. This year has been a pretty cool year for you. You've eaten enough green curry to satisfy even you, you've become an excellent swimmer, you've gone fishing, you've been driven around town in the chariot (which is pretty fun), you've swum in a waterfall, you'v played at your first open mic, you've beaten your dad at chess, and you've begun an epic project on machines and engines. I love when the little boys go up to bed with Daddy and you and your sister and I sit around together and talk about silly things, getting sillier and sillier. I love how your face opens up and your smile takes over, how you seem to shine pure light.

Kid A and YaYa

I know that sometimes fears plague you in the night, that you have bad dreams, that you wrestle with anxiety, and I know that you're strong enough to overcome any number of things. We're here with you, Kid A, we love you so much, we're so proud of you. And like Leafy says, "You're one of the bravest people I know." He told you this the other day when you were doubting your own bravery because you do have fears sometimes. You've always known so much, with your wise eyes and your pragmatism, it's possible that it would be hard for you not to have some fears, because of how much you know, how you measure the world with wisdom and see its dangers and capacity for sadness. But what Leafy knows, and what I know, and what you'll come to believe, is that it's the kids who break through their fear who are the very bravest.
I think you're one of the very bravest.

All my love,