Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Out of Wit

I'm exhausted.

Our English classes have begun. BG and I, on the verge of killing each other having not spent nearly enough time together over the past six months, are teaching two English classes together every morning -- Primary kids aged 7-9 and Secondary kids aged 13-17. We had grand plans to teach our primary kids their ABC's and numbers, teach them some fun songs, and some fruit names over the first week. Imagine our surprise -- and chagrin -- when they completed all of these things in the first twenty minutes of our first class, as they knew them all already. We filled in the gaps with some lamely improvised "Simon Says" and general chaos. The second class was more of a success; I'm not sure how much English they're actually learning, but they do like to us draw animals!

Our Secondary class is full of teenagers. Need I say more?

We still spend our afternoons with the babies and toddlers at the orphanage. At any given moment there are crying babies, screaming babies, sleeping babies, laughing babies. There are babies falling over like soggy, bottom-heavy dominoes. There are babies hitting each other over the head, repeatedly, with toys. There are babies climbing on volunteers, crawling on their nannies, climbing on their cribs. They fight over toys, step on each other, pull hair, push each other over, and still hold hands when they eat dinner. When they sleep, their legs and arms poke out of their cribs and into the cribs next to them. They waddle around on their chubby legs like tropical penguins gone amok, always on the verge of teetering over. It's madness. It's mayhem. It's anarchy.

The toddlers, though -- they make the babies seem like sweet, docile little lambs. They are like the babies in many ways, except they don't fall over as much, and are way more demanding. WAY. And they've totally mastered the climbing thing. They've also mastered manipulate-the-volunteer-by-crying-pitifully thing. And the pointing thing. And the jumping thing. Still, when a two-year-old motions you over in the dining hall, pats the bench beside him, and offers you his spoon, it's hard to not plan to come back the next day.

This evening I ventured out on an exciting quest to do laundry. The laundromats here are not so much buildings or even stores as they are randomly placed washing machines on the sidewalk. So, I sat outside in the limpid heat of the evening at a streetside food vendor and observed two not-very-believable Thai lady-boys work their magic. They had the hair, the makeup, the miniskirts, and the high heels. They also had the square jaws, the broad shoulders, the muscled arms and legs, the beer bellies, and the five o'clock shadows. I have a feeling that anyone that picks up one of these two by "accident" is actually looking for a little bit of "by accident on purpose." Right.

1 comment:

JRechsteiner said...

I love it! You've captured the essence of taking care of children under the age of two. As difficult as babies are, they are like docile little lambs compared to toddlers. That video of the toddler room is nuts. Aria is now 18 months and is decidedly a "toddler". Her first words were "all done", then "no", then "mine". lol