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life in a heat wave

Monday, November 23, 2009

it's been between 41 and 47 degrees celsius here almost every day for almost a month. many nights it doesn't dip below 30. for those of you who don't think in celsius - this is HOT. very hot. like around 110°F.

now, we did just move to the jungle, and we did know that the summer would be very, very hot. the thing is, it's not summer yet. and this is very, very, very, very hot.

(plus, i might have mentioned that the power goes out a lot here - meaning no fans, no air conditioning. plus, our river flooded not long ago, making the bug situation pretty extreme, meaning some days we have to shut ourselves up inside and can't go to the beach or splash around in the kiddie pool in the backyard).

i do take solace in knowing that even the locals are suffering. and i especially find hope in their assurances that this much heat, day after day, is unusual, and, importantly, is as bad as the worst part of the summer. if i can survive november, i'm sure to survive january, then, right?

a few random thoughts about the heat (keep reading, i get more positive towards the end):

- you have to be really quick when you wash the floors, or all the water will dry up before you can swish your mop around.

 - my little 14-month-old monkey sweats a lot. i mean a whole lot. he is covered head to bum-bum in a prickly heat rash - poor guy got his mama's skin. i am going to follow all the locals and start rolling him around in cornstarch. (the picture is of him in his favourite coping-with-the-heat position.)

- bugs and itchies are the bane of my existence.

- nursing in the heat is hell. add mosquito bites and black fly bites to that and it seems like a personalized hell designed especially to see if i really am such a nice, patient, laid-back and loving mother after all.

- ditto for babywearing. i wear the monkey everywhere - it's our only transport on the sandy streets, unless we're all going Somewhere in the car. i love carrying him, but it is very, very sweaty.

- i no longer really like hanging our laundry. wierd, i know, but it was one of those few domestic things that i took the initiative on (instead of my partner), and i would feel all long-haired and skirt-flowy hanging my little guys' pyjamas and watching the hummingbirds feed on the flowers. now i come in from hanging the clothes with a bunch of new itchy bites and positively steaming from the heat. (on the plus side, our clothes are dry in just 2 hours).

- living 4 blocks away from a beautiful beach on a beautiful river is sweet.

- the river has become a good friend to my 3.5-year-old monster. it thrills me to watch him laugh and splash and shriek and jump in the water. he's so not the reckless type, so i love seeing the little bit of wild that it brings out in him.

- spray bottles filled with water can be quite refreshing, when used constantly.

- i am a total believer in the institutionalization of the siesta. everyone here naps in the afternoon. and everything is closed between 1 and 5pm. it makes for an entirely different structure of a day, but it is absolutely essential.

- visitors beware. 
we've been lucky to have first my mom visit and then some very good friends stay with us.

luckily, my mom only cared about spending time with the little guys, since she melts (and melts down) in the heat. staying inside and blasting the air conditioner between frequent power outages managed to keep the situation under control, kind of.

our friends and their 2 little ones dealt with it all really well, or as well as one can. splashing in the river, naps under a fan, the occasional blast of the air conditioner, cold and icy alcoholic drinks... we had lots of fun.
(and off topic, but the monster went alone with them to the beach and to the supermarket several times, without a problem! my mind kept jumping forward to imaginations of when he and the monkey can both be happily at friends' houses for a whole afternoon, and f. and i might have a child-free romp. in just, what, 3 more years or so?)
- i am losing weight. i always do in the summer, but overcompensate in the long canadian winters. now that i live in a sauna, maybe i will drop down to a lower natural weight. i can try to write that casually, like a naturally skinny (or confident, or body-loving) person would, but as much as i would like it to be otherwise, this is so important to me. it actually makes me happier. and it makes me feel sexier and more beautiful, and so it's good for my relationship with f., too. i would love to say that i am starting to like my body more because i am growing up, growing into it, getting over all my issues and things. but the truth is that i am starting to like it more because i am losing weight. i will keep trying to teach my head to love my body no matter what, but in the meantime i can't deny the pleasure i feel from being comfortable in my sundress, instead of my usual  hyper-aware negativity about my appearance.

- yay for paraguayan dresses (see picture, above). despite everything i just wrote in the previous point, when i'm really really hot and i have 2 kids hanging off of me and my ankles are itchy from all the bites, i don't really care at all how flattering my dress might be. which is a good thing, because these dresses (i've been told they're called paraguayan dresses) have many qualities, but flattering is most definitely not one of them.

let me share all their other qualities with you:
  • sold on busy street corners by women holding about 20 of them in one arm and the same amount of padded bras on hangers in the other arm. makes for an authentic latin american shopping feeling.
  • costs 18 pesos = about $5 US.
  • made of the lightest, coolest cotton (yes, totally see-through, but read above about not caring).
  • elastic neckline - ideal for the nursing mama.
  • 2 pockets! ideal for a plastic dinosaur and a special, must-be-collected, purple flower or little stick.
  • such ugly prints that it was easy to choose - i picked the craziest one and i think it does a good job of crossing that line into so-horrendous-that-it's-funky.
do you have any tips for dealing with the heat? or keep-cool activities for the kids?


Hobo Mama said...

You absolutely crossed the line. Good for you.

I hate heat. Hate it. I don't know what to do but sit around complaining. Well, pre-kid, once we were staying in a hotel without air conditioning in the middle of a heat wave, and we got a big bucket of ice and rolled the cubes all over ourselves. Then a maintenance man came in in the middle of this, because he thought our room was empty!

My friend who's going through menopause carries one of those battery-powered mini-fans everywhere she goes. I suppose a paper fan would work, too!

Deborah said...

I'm never going to complain about the heat in Adelaide again.

Actually, I take that back. I'm sure to complain about the heat in Adelaide again, but what you're enduring looks quite a lot worse. I felt so sorry for your wee lad, all stretched out on the cool floor.

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