Tuesday, April 21, 2009

2 Feb (Mon)

Frannette emerges from her tent traumatized this morning. She swears she heard a buffalo being murdered during the night, but on investigation, there is no sign of a kill this morning, and in fact, no sign of the lions.

Sit at my desk wrapped like a mummy in kikois to stop the feeling of the flies crawling all over me. For some reason today we have been invaded by tiny, annoying, biting flies. We think the crew brought them back with them after having spent most of the morning watching a herd of buffalos. This is the worst aspect of trying to function in the bush. Sweaty, dusty and fly-ridden. This is more than my fragile psyche can handle and I spend the day in a foul mood.

Rio and Keita really struggle with the fact that mom is so close yet so unavailable. The way the camp is structured the office tent adjoins the kitchen tent, which is close to their play / classroom tent, so they can literally see me at all times. During 'school hours' which is somewhere between 8 am and 11 am, depending on how long Frannette manages to restrain them, I can get some work done. After that, they have free play time. This is when they are meant to find bugs, dig in the dirt, entertain each other and so on. Instead they take it in turns to visit my office. 

Keita has developed a dramatic slow-motion run, arms out, head back, like a death-scene from an Oliver Stone movie, which she does from the play tent to my office, all the while moaning mommmmmyyyyy and then flinging herself onto me. She perches on my lap, sucks her thumb for a while and then proceeds to touch everything on my desk despite my telling her not to, until I can't stand it anymore and toss her out. Rio then mooches in and stands at my side. If he doesn't get the requisite amount of attention immediately he licks my arm, from shoulder to elbow, which is guaranteed to get a response. Generally I shout at him and then evict him. This scenario plays out every 20 minutes or so, and usually I just give up trying to work and end up playing hide and seek or lions an buffalo (Rio's current favourite - he loves being the buffalo and Keita and I have to be the lions and eat him), all the while getting more and more hysterical about the work that is piling up. 

This is not a happy situation. We are well entrenched in the cycle of negative attention seeking behaviour, something I practically killed myself trying to avoid. I am assured by my friends who have tried working from home that there is no alternative. Kids struggle with the concept of mom being around but inaccessible. This doesn't do much to assuage my guilt though.  

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