Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How I Bought a Skinny Christmas Tree and the Night Habits of Son

Christmas has surprised me this year. It sort of crept up on me here because of the warm weather and the fact that there is not a single Christmas propaganda in the entire city of Dhaka. Not one! Not a single plastic Santa or glowing Christmas tree in the streets. Odd.

Before coming to post I thought importantly to myself that I have never used a fake tree in my life and was not about to. I was all about being natural, you know, because I am THAT cool. Let me tell you—two weeks of watching my friends’ happily glowing large, beautifully plastic Christmas trees in Dhaka and I was frantically searching for a fake awesomeness to call my own. Sadly, there wasn’t enough time for delivery. I was facing Christmas without a tree and while some of you cynics out there might think that this isn’t such a big deal (just like I did), it actually is. OK?? Rather distraught, I started asking around the diplomatic enclave whether anyone had a spare one (you’d be shocked to see the kind of multiple crap that expats collect over the years because you just never know when you will need an extra nativity scene or a ritual Indian hat or extra large peacock feathers). And then suddenly I saw in a nursery nearby my house several fairly large (5 ft or so) potted (sort of) pine trees. A bit anemic, they still could hold up a few ornaments and would give the house the sorely needed Christmas look. Triumphantly, I bought the scrawny tree and this past weekend decorated it with Son and the Diplomat. Actually, it was more like me decorating while singing loudly and unconvincingly a potpourri of Christmas songs while the Diplomat sat there trying not to look bored and Son ran around trying to break as many ornaments as possible. He broke only 3. And then I broke 2. While cleaning the mess, I broke a third one for good measure. Merry Christmas!

Speaking of Son, I have to complain of his recent night habits. Some time ago Son began to come into our bed in the early morning hours. It was just a few minutes before getting up so he served as a really cute and loveable alarm clock. Then he started coming in a bit earlier, say 5 am. He’d quietly get into bed with us, somehow make his way into the middle, and then spread his (seemingly) million legs and arms around and snore loudly. Between the foot in my ribcage, fingers in my ear and the 5 am morning call to prayer from our particularly loud and not so musical neighboring muezzin, I was beginning to lose some serious amount of sleep. Thusly, I decided to nip the friendly 5 am visits in the bud. So, the following night, when I woke up at 4 am to find him there, I quietly hugged him and carried him back to his bed. He never even woke up. I then went to the restroom and quickly went back into our bed only to discover with a start a certain asleep, snoring child is in there AGAIN! How and when he managed to find his way back so fast is a mystery to me. Not one to be easily deterred, I promptly carried him back to his own room and went back to bed. Somehow, I fell asleep. At 5 am, the dutiful muezzin called all faithful to prayer and me to wake up. I turned around to try and find a better sleeping position and found myself almost nose to nose with none other than a fast asleep obstinate child. Once more I carried the tiny stowaway to his bedroom (momma is way more obstinate than him). Needless to say, when I finally got up at 7 am, I found him right back there next to me. He opened his eyes with a wide grin and said, “Mama, I love you much!” I capitulated. And before any of you decide to berate me for not wanting my child in my own bed—I do, I really DO. But I just can’t sleep with him in there. And I do have to get up in the morning and actually go to work. So there.

With the holidays, the party season has really reached a crescendo here. I cannot even count how many dinner and afternoon parties and receptions we have attended for the past 2 weeks. Not that I am complaining but I do admit that both the Diplomat and I, after coming back from yet another bash last night, simply passed out in bed at 9.30pm. Not even Son coming to our bed at 5 am (blasted obstinate child!) could manage to wake me up.

During this past one week winter has finally arrived in Bangladesh. The temperature has dropped to 5-10C and we are actually freezing at home. The Diplomat has taken on sleeping in a particularly objectionable old brown sweater and white socks. While some women can certainly find that attractive, I have found that I am not gracious enough to accept the look with joy. It was indeed rather shocking to observe how fast the weather went from 25 to 5 degrees, it was truly a matter of 2 days. I write now, sitting on my governmentally-provided, neutral beige plush couch, dressed in PJs, fuzzy white slippers and wrapped in a fleece blanket while my nose is so frozen that if I tap it, it might break off. I never thought I’d say this in Dhaka, but I do wish we had heating.


  1. the winter here gets fierce sometimes...there are small heater fans available in the local market, i bought one last year because there was a week of cold wave. But be sure that your electric socket can handle the current load of the heater. :-)

  2. I also find it weird if there is no Christmas tree around the house when the season arrives. It just feels incomplete. By the way, I really find your son cute, making his way to your room and curling next to you. It reminds me of my kids, messing around the house and ending up in our room for a good night sleep. Kids are certainly charming.

  3. The broken ornament tally at the Lutz house this year was(2011): Jake (8- thanks to his tail, which never stops wagging), Reba (3- thanks to Kokanee chasing her off the table), Austin (at least 3- all intentional by the looks of it), Bassem (0- right on!), Larry (?), and me (2 with my broom while cleaning up other broken messes- argh!!).

  4. Fabulous blog! I'm interested in linking to one of your posts for a blog roundup I do. Is there an email address where you can be contacted? Thanks so much. Happy New Year.

  5. Stephanie, sure. Email me at Thank you!