All In a Days Work
5/26/11: This morning I awoke at 4am to the unpleasant experience of my 2yr old vomiting last night’s dinner in my face and all over my blankets. The contents? Well, in the pitch-black of night it was your typical slimy vomity chunky grossness. The smell is yeasty and sour. But as I rushed to turn on the light it was revealed to be rice. Rice, rice and more rice. It was everywhere. I spent the next hour picking up the ex-contents of my daughter’s stomach by hand (fore there is no vacuum and wet rice does not sweep from carpet well). Okay, morning obstacle hurdled and successfully defeated, right? Wrong, this was just the beginning. As I have just bathed said “vomiter” and have put her snugly in bed, my oldest daughter awakes. She’s has just urinated on herself (and my bed). So, it’s off to the gallows once again; this time with pee-soaked blankets, pillow, pajamas and child.

Second bath in the hour of 4am and I am back into my warm room. But no rest for Mommy just yet. The second wave of stomach heaves are arising from the 2yr old. “Oh no! Not all over another bed and carpet!,” I quickly snatch her from under covers to the tile floored hallway where we are just in the knick of time to witness the second coming of rice. Needless to say, but will say it for authenticity purposes, I wanted to cry right then and there. I wanted to fall onto the floor to kick and scream, flailing my arms about like a helpless child in the throws of an anger induced, seizure-like tantrum. Its 4 IN THE MORNING. No vomiting at 4 in the morning! It’s in a rulebook somewhere. Its gotta be. This is just so unfair. Did I mention that I’m in PMDD mode? Where are my meds????

Vomit / Pee laundry is washing (thank You Allah for giving our host a washing machine), said offenders are back in beds, the boys have been awakened to go to pre-fajr class at the Madrassah and I’m freezing (it’s the end of May, winter in South Africa right now). All of the evidence of my sorted morning activities have been cleaned and sanitized. I now can sit and relax. I am free to read Qur’an and remember Allah. I can separate myself from the chores this morning has already brought on and gaze over to my three sleeping girls; so innocent and unaware of the world that doesn’t revolve around them. I can breathe in their dreams and feelings of security and contentedness. They know I’m there waiting for the next “catastrophe” with ready arms. I may fuss and moan but they know it will be short lived and dismissible. Their unconditional love emanates from their pores as their little chests rise and fall. My unconditional love swells back at them.

All is right in the world again. I’m going back to bed.


It’s 9 am and the second phase has struck; diarrhea. 2yr old unleashed an explosive load on the kitchen floor right in the middle of breakfast. Did I mention this is also day 2 of official potty training (so no diapers)? I think we can chalk this day up for a FAIL.

The rest of the morning went as follows:

“Mommy, she did it again!”

“I’m in the bathroom; keep her in the same spot and I’ll be right there!”

I rush in to find the toddler standing in a puddle of liquid feces and a guiltily pained look on her sad face. This scene repeated itself at varying degrees and locations all day.


I’m fuming because I had loaded all the soiled clothes, rugs etc, into the washing machine. I delayed washing until the last pair of potty training panties was soiled. Our host comes by (when the house is in its messiest condition, just great) and Masha’Allah he brings us some lamb. At this time, I’m starting to feel ill from either just handling all the nastiness of the day or possibly getting the cooties that my 2yr old has. So I lay in the room while the boys talk to the brother. Papi got the lucky task of informing our host that the freezer has stopped freezing and all of its contents are now melting and smelling ripe.

After he has gone, I notice that I hear the washer working. I find that he has taken out all of the soiled, disgusting items, placed them into a laundry basket and replaced them with his own clothes and they are now happily spinning in suds taunting me. Now, I realize that this is not my home; the brother is going out of his way, above and beyond what most would do to let us stay here. So, why should I be upset that he has chosen to make his clothes a priority in the wash? I don’t know. It just feels like an invasion when he’s here. I have to get completely dressed and covered and I’m constantly (and anxiously) taking mental note of what is out of place or filthy when he arrives. This is why I need to be in my own home. I’m on edge when the kids play for fear they will pull down a curtain or tear a hole in a sofa cushion. So, after I talk myself back to humility, I let this issue go and I go bake some bread.

The bread dough is rising in the a warm, dry place; the washing machine has finished its last spin cycle and I’m on my way to hang his clothes on the line to dry. Just as I approach the hallway between the bedrooms I hear a trickling of water up above. There is water dripping from the ceiling!!!!!!! Oh no! Oh no! What to do; who do I call? Go turn off the main water valve! WHERE THE HECK IS THAT? I don’t know. I go to the washer and shut off the water valve behind it. That doesn’t stop the leak. I run frantically around the flat looking for anything resembling water valves and attempt to turn them all off. Nothing doing, the leak increases; the puddle grows. I hear the adhan, that means the boys will be praying Asr and then come home. I can get Papi to find our host afterwards. Meanwhile, I begin to mop. I mop like a woman on a mission. I grab towels from everyone’s suitcases and build barriers at the bedroom doors. The hallway is tiled but the rooms are carpeted. I don’t want the water to reach the carpet. I continue to mop.

The adhan was some time ago. The salah should be over by now. Where are the boys? Where is my help? I’ve made the girls all go to the living room. The ceiling is beginning to buckle under the pressure of the amount of water obviously leaking. I don’t want the girls to be trapped in a room if the ceiling caves and water begins rushing down. Just then I remember the boys were planning to go to the commercial center after Asr. I originally was going to go and let them stay with the girls but with the 2yr sick and my own health deteriorating I decided against it. But this means they won’t be home till Maghrib. That’s practically in 2 hours!!!! So I mop. I continue to mop. The amount of leakage spots has increased to 5 and I have only 3 buckets. An inch of water is now building up in the hallway. My makeshift towel dam is beginning to fail. I feel like a woman uselessly trying to mop up the damage from the levy breakage during Hurricane Katrina with a sponge. This is not working. Water is now drifting into the kitchen. I throw down my mop, put on my hijab and head over to the neighbors. “Sooooo, (after salaams) who do you call when your flat is flooding?” I ask. She stammers for a moment and I explain the situation. She tries to call my host on her phone (which I would’ve done myself except there are no more minutes on my pay as u go phone); doesn’t matter anyways because his phone goes straight to voicemail. She promises to continue to try to call him. I thank her and run back to my awaiting tsunami.

I’ve been mopping for 2 hours now and it looks worse. My socks are soaked. Yes, in all the uproar I forgot to take them off. My back and shoulders are hurting. The Maghrib adhan has just been called. The boys should be here by now. I go next door again and my neighbor says her husband is at the Masjid and will find the brother after the salah, insha Allah. Whew, that’s what I needed to hear. That gives me the hope and reserve to go back and mop some more. Just as I do, the boys arrive and learn of my fun filled afternoon at the water park. They too go to the Masjid and will search for the brother after salah, insha Allah. “Mommy, she’s dookied all over the floor!”

Ya Allah!!!!

As I press on with my tasks at hand, I go into a sort of daze, or automatic pilot mode. My hands are getting splinters from the old mop I’m using and somehow without realizing it, I’ve twisted my ankle during one of several “near slipping” incidences and its aching something bad. Then I realize (what I already know but often fail to recognize) that Allah is Most Merciful. This may sound strange considering the circumstances. But, had my 2yr old not vomited in my face at 4 am I might not have gotten up for fajr prayer on time. And the diarrhea, well, I can’t think of anything for that, but as for the laundry; had the brother not put his clothes in the washer, it would’ve been my load of laundry that made this waterworks begin and I’d be feeling somehow responsible. And even more of a blessing is the fact that I had originally intended to leave Zayd with the girls and go to the internet cafĂ© at the very same time that this water disaster began; how would he have handled that? So even though this is a trial I can see the “silver lining” in the clouds. I’m grateful for this as well.
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