Sunday, March 30, 2008

We had electricity yesterday all day long, which was very appreciated What I did not have was even a minute to spend on the computer, blogging or keeping up on emails...
It was my own fault, really. In an attempt to avoid brain-exploding cognitive dissonance, I ended up with a very, very busy day.
You see, I think of myself as a nice person, so it kind of locks me into doing lots of nice things.
If I don't do nice things, that means I'm not nice.
And If I'm not nice, I'm probably bad.
And bad leads to evil.
Oh no!
So, I had to say 'yes' when asked late Friday night if we (Valentine got dragged into this as well. She's also really nice. ) would babysit a friend's four children Saturday morning. Then half an hour later, she called to ask if the four children of one of her friends could come as well.
The parents would all be at a wedding in a nearby neighborhood. They said it would take an hour...which I knew was just completely mad wishful thinking. There's no WAY a Burkinabé wedding could be over in one hour, ever. Just isn't possible. And I just couldn't see consigning 8 young children to sitting outside in the heat on metal chairs with nothing to do for hours. That would be definitely evil.

So, the eight children were brought by on Saturday morning. Plus I have four of my own. Plus my twins had had a sleepover, so their friend L was still at the house. And then their friend A (of Earth Shrine fame) called, sounding sad and bored. So I said she could come over, as well. Heck- when there's 13 kids in the house, one more is not going to make or break you.

The littlest one was K., who Mallory was excited to see ("She's so sweeeeet" Mal says) K is a characater straight out of a Dr. Seuss book- The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
No, she's not large, geen and hairy, harboring a grudge against a major Christian holiday.
She's "Cindy-Lou Who, who was no more than two".
Valentine had special charge of her, as she wasn't feeling well and the big crowd of kids was a bit overwhelming. So, Val carried her around, played with her, jollied her out of a crying jag and in general was a great babysitter the whole time.

The rest of the group was much older and a lot less demanding. The boys (Two 11 year olds, a 12 year old and an admiring 7 year old) stayed in the livingroom, occupied with board games and then a movie.
As for the girls, there were two 5 year olds, a seven year old, and five 10 year olds. My main task was to watch them in the pool. (We have a very small, shallow pool that can just about hold nine pre-adolescent girls.)

The only real challenge was feeding them lunch. It hadn't been planned on, but as noon rolled by, I figured that food would have to be found. I fed them pasta in plastic bowls and I assure you that it looked like a scene from a low-budget orphanage. Valentine even came up to me with her empty bowl in hand and said "Please, sir, I want some more."
It's lovely to have a teenager that quotes me Dickens rather than, say,Larry the Cable Guy. (He's from Nebraska, srsly)

Actually, I lied (Not about Larry- he really is from my home state) But the fact is that it was not any real hardship at all to have 14 kids at the house for a few hours. They were all really well-behaved and lovely to be around. In fact, they were almost supernaturally good and polite.

So, I kept my reputation as a non-evil person, with very little actual cost to myself. Way to go!

And Valentine was, quite rightly, given some cash by the appreciative parents for her efforts.

Other than that, there were errands to run, homework to help with, and all the usual weekend stuff. Plus, I started my kids on a program of viewing the old "StarTrek" films. Last week, I realised that the phrase "Beam me up, Scotty" meant nothing to them. Horror! So, I hurriedly found a copy of the Wrath of Khan at the video club. They didn't have the first ST film, but that's ok because I seem to remember that it wasn't very good. On the other hand, Wrath rocks and the kids loved it.
Next weekend will definitely find us watching The Search for Spock.
Live long and prosper!


babzee said...

Jolly good fun! The more kids, the easier the babysitting. Kudos to Valentine, as usual, for keeping Mom hair on her head.

Email yet?

Benoit Lescarbeau said...

I've been following your blog for a month (plus archives...) and I must say it's quite entertaining, congratulations! I also wish you and your family good health, lots of fun and a nice trip back to the US.

I'm a young canadian engineer and I'll be going to Ouagadougou to work for a year, with my wife. I tried searching for packing advice, renting advice so if you need ideas for your next post, don't hesitate, it would be much apreciated!