What was it about my wedding that made people give me stupid gifts? For example, I received a silver plated tea set with a silver plated tray. I was 22 and most of my furniture was second hand, what was I going to do with the silver plated tea set? In case the queen came to visit? However, the stupidest gift had to be a big picture book titled, “Things to make with your own hands for you new husband”. Flipping through it made me imagine myself sitting in a dark corner somewhere knitting socks for hours. As if I am ever, going to embroider pillows. One day, I am going to write a book titled “Things to do when your family is driving you crazy”. Married women will give it to about to marry women in a time sealed envelope. Seven years after the wedding day the envelope will unlock, just at the perfect time. It will be the ideal wedding present. For the book, I will collect stories from women all over the world of creative things they do when their family is driving them crazy. Here are a few of my favorite.
Story Number 1
Every Sunday morning my husband wakes up bright and early. He makes us all wake up, get dressed and march to the supermarket. He wants to be there as early as possible to beat the crowds. While my husband was on a trip abroad, I realized how pleasant it was to sleep in on Sunday morning, let the kids take their time eating breakfast. Me sitting on the couch sipping coffee and observing them giggle and make funny faces at the breakfast table. If the kids stay in their pajamas till 10 am, why is that so bad? I asked my husband upon his return. It really is very pleasant to take it easy one day of the week. I tried talking to him, but I got the “yes, yes, yea honey”, that says “ok! fine shut up now”. My husband wants to be in the supermarket before anybody else, as if we are in competition with all the residents of Vancouver. One Sunday morning he rushes us out the door before the kids had breakfast, I had to buy them muffins on the way and feed them in the car, we woke up late and my husband was nervous we would get their late. This is starting to get annoying, I decide on a passive aggressive technique. The next Sunday, I stay in bed and take my time getting dressed. My husband runs around and yelling, “yalla yalla” (Arabic for come on, hurry up, my least favorite word in Arabic). He is nervously looking at his watch, “oh no! we got to the supermarket at 8:30 instead of 8”. Next Sunday, I take my time even more. But my husband, knows few techniques as well. He gets the kids dressed and makes them ride in the car, then he stands outside in the backyard, yelling at me to get dressed. “Yalla, the kids are in the car already, Yalla, come on! hurry up”. I am in the bed room, listing to his yelling from the outside, thinking this is driving me crazy. And then, an epiphany came over me. I run downstairs and outside to the backyard…..naked. One hundred percent naked, not even socks. I pretend that I am walking into the garage to get into the car. The look on my husband’s face, just precious! He pushes me back into the house.
husband: What are you doing?
ihath: Trying to get into the car.
husband: but you are naked.
ihath: well, you were yelling so loud, I thought it was urgent.
husband: Go get dressed.
ihath: Oh! you mean there is time to get dressed?
ihath: Oh! you won’t yell at me while I am getting dressed.
husband: No! Now please get dressed.
That night we had another talk about our Sunday morning routine, only this time he actually pays attention to what I say. I don’t get the dismissive “yes, yes, yes”. I always heard that nudity will get you a guy’s attention; I didn’t think it could be this effective.
Many years ago I asked somebody if he thought that I should have kids, he answered by saying: “Absolutely, you absolutely should have kids……after the hell I have been through, I want everybody else to go through it as well.” So, I listened to his wise advice and had three.
Story Number 2
My eldest daughter, who was eight at the time, asks for candy. I tell her no candy before dinner. She has a major tantrum, yelling, crying, throws her self on the ground and kicks her heels. After all the time I have invested in teaching her to use words instead of screams, after all the effort I put into teaching her how she can negotiate for things that she wants. After all the tantrums she had at age two and then age three and then age four, I was a bit disappointed in her behavior. At age eight I expect her to already have figured out that tantrums get ignored in my household. So I ignore her and go sit in the garden behind our house. An hour later she joins me and starts playing with some toys, having calmed down. I decide to talk to her about the tantrum.
ihath: Why did you became so upset over something so silly.
daughter: You don’t understand me, you were being mean.
ihath: Ok! lets play a pretend game. You pretend you are a mother and I will pretend that I am your daughter.
ihath: when I tell you to give me candy, say no. Then I want you to act out what a nice mommy would do.
ihath: Mommy, mommy, I want candy.
daughter: No! you can’t have candy before dinner.
ihath: But I want candy now!
daughter: No you can’t have it.
ihath: (throws herself on the ground) I want candy now, I want candy now, I want candy now.
daughter: (her eyes widens in surprise and says nothing).
ihath: (lying on the ground and kicking her heels) Aaaaaaah! my life is ruined because I don’t have candy. (makes hysterical winning sounds).
ihath: (rolling back and forth on the grass, hitting the ground with her fists) Waaah! where is my candy….waaah!
daughter: (look of recognition, thinks to herself, did I do that? that looks so silly)
ihath: (sits up and out of daughter character) So what should you do now?
daughter: (places her hands on her hips in a defiant stance, then points with her finger) You are so unreasonable, go to your room immediately!
When young people ask me if they should get married and have children I tell them:”Absolutly, you should absolutly get married and have children, they will drive you crazy and you still love them despite it all. Because, when the moon hits the sky, like a big pizza pie….. you’re in love.