Russian Word of the Day

  • present = padarak

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Barfy McPukeypants

Day 7
Here is the math equation of the day:

A baby with a full stomach of watery mashed potatoes and meatballs
excited playtime with mommy and daddy
mommy's only clean shirt

The answer, of course, is today's subject... Barfy McPukeypants. Our sweet baby threw up on me every chance he got today. It was sort of like an SNL comedy sketch! We arrived just after his lunch time and returned him with a completely empty stomach. If he wasn't absolutely darling and practically perfect in every way it would have been pretty gross. But such is the extent of motherly love that even when wearing a sweater newly soaked in vomit, all I could do was coo "ohhh, poor little love, but we feel better now, don't we."

O.K., enough barf-talk, I don't want to turn you all off. Let me tell you, instead, about the oily bile-smelling cups of lukewarm fermented mares-milk tea we were forced to drink. Just the thought is enough to stir my gag reflex and send a shiver up my spine. It has been a gross day!

Here's how it went down. After the whole bundling the cute baby for the unseen blizzard routine, our interpreter, Makhabbat, ushered us into a new room at the babyhouse. It was the foyer attached to one of the older children group's sleeping quarters. Brightly colored cloth streamers hung from the ceiling in loose loops. A poster on the wall declared "Happy New Year!" Indeed, everywhere you looked were decorations for tomorrow's big holiday. Makhabbat told me that this group had won the babyhouse prize for best decorations and the caretakers were having a small feast to celebrate. We were truly honored to join in their party. A group of six of them were seated around a low circular coffee table that dominated the room. The table was covered with a white cloth, small dishes of food, and mismatched cups of tea.
(Here is the feast: plates of apple and orange slices, jelly roll cake slices, jam filled cookies, dried fruits, foil wrapped candies, cheese curd, slices of lard, fried bread rolls, fermented mare's milk tea)
They scooted over on the couch and invited us to sit with them. They were all talking and laughing, and in this jovial condition they seemed like entirely different women from those we usually encounter storming through the narrow corridors. It was a wonderful sight. Makhabbat sat too and told us to help ourselves. She gave us each a small roll of fried dough and pushed two china cups of watery-looking broth towards us. The dough was really tasty, but the broth looked sinister. It was almost clear, with a slightly milky hue. At the top of each brimming cup was a thin layer of oil. Small curds of cheesy whey clung to the sides. With all expectant eyes upon us we were induced to drink. We did so in the animated manner of a mother at a child's lemonade stand, when the mother knows full well that the child used a grubby fist to stir the lemonade. It was horrifying! Tim later ranked the experience in the top five of the worst things he has ever tasted. Hor-ri-fy-ing. Ugg.


The party got better after that, and honestly, we were thrilled to be included. If gagging on a cup of fermented horse milk tea is all that is required of us to show the caregivers how much we appreciate their work, I'm happy to do it. Makhabbat showed us the various bits of Kazakh culture strewn around the room, including the Kazakh version of the Christmas stocking. It's a big apron looking thing to which a hostess attaches lots of little gifts. Then, during the new year's celebration, the hostess doles the gifts out to various guests. Several of the caregivers also slipped away and put on tradional Kazakh jackets, head scarves, and hats. The jackets were sleeveless, beautifully bright, and intricated embroidered with gold thread. One of the women put on the traditional men's costume, much to the amusement of the other caregivers. She and a friend then pretended to be "deyadooshka e babooshka" (grandpa and grandma), linking arms and giggling. Tim and I nibbled on cookies and apple slices. Before long all of the caregivers had to get back to work, so we retreated back to the activity room, where Garrett proceeded to alternate between looking darling and puking on me. Ahh the joys of motherhood.

Love you all. Paka!


Caro K said...

Happy new year! (In case dad hasn't pointed this out, tomorrow is the spring equinox, so there's celebrating going on all over the place. In Iran they give goldfish and potted wheatgrass as presents. Isn't that wonderful?)

Also, you two--actually, make that you five--are positively heroic. I'm wowed every morning. Nicole and I were out last night and all we could talk about was how garsh darn impressive you all are. Thank you so much for sharing!

Love love love,

Anonymous said...

Becca, you look beautiful even with a pukey shirt. ;) Tiff

Channing said...

From one mom to another, pukey is the hot scent of the season!

Happy spring!

Sam, Ryan and Gabby said...

I actually miss the pukey days, so I envy you. The mare's milk tea sounded horrific, but it sounds like it was worth the horror. You guys take care and I love the daily updates on Garrett and what you are doing. Keep up the great writing. Gabby is also teething like crazy right now with molars, so it must be in the air.
Sam, Ryan, & Gabby