May 20, 2010

Windblown Woes

There are advantages to living in a concrete block house. One advantage is a cooler home during hot weather without using an air conditioner. And since we live in a very sunny, low humidity climate, we tend to stay cooler inside downstairs. A disadvantage to having a concrete house in a very sunny climate, is that when the sun beats down on the upstairs walls and roof all day long, even when nightfall comes and the temperature drops considerably, the upstairs rooms feel twenty degrees hotter than outside. Now combine that with a husband who cannot stand even a tiny bit of a breeze blowing on him at night because it makes him literally get a cold and you have one roasted American. I used to think it was an exaggeration, really, I didn't believe him until I saw him in air conditioning. He got the sniffles, stuffy head, and pretty much the whole gambit of cold symptoms.

Over my time here, I have realized many Mexicans have the same problem. I guess when you grow up without air conditioning and sleeping with the windows shut and all covered under blankets, you might have a bad reaction when you change that habit. There is a tendency here for mothers to completely bundle their babies even in hot weather. They won't let a breeze touch them or even unwrap a sweating baby. Obviously not all mothers do this. My friends, who are also moms, tend to do the opposite and we have all received a tongue-lashing for it from our mother-in-laws and little old ladies on the street. Beware of carrying a baby in only a onesie with no shoes or socks, even if it's 80 degrees outside.

I remember going to the beach when Alex was six weeks old. We were in a thatched roof hut-type restaurant that had giant ceiling fans. My mother, husband, mother-in-law and I were all dripping sweat because it was 100 degrees in the shade. Anyway, there was my Alex, dressed in a tiny little t-shirt and nothing else, chill-axing in the breeze from the fans. My mother-in-law looked at me and in a stern voice said, "Tápalo!". I stared back at her. Tápalo means cover him. I was like, um no I'm not going to cover my baby in this heat. When I didn't obey, she came over and covered him up. I uncovered him, then she covered him again. I uncovered him, she covered him again. This went on a while until she gave up. She had the best of intentions. She didn't want him to get sick. At the time though, it made me pretty mad.

Now, I grew up in Georgia. It is about 100% humidity there and gets very very hot in the summer. We had air conditioning but because it was so expensive, my parents tried as much as possible to turn it off. At night they would put box fans in front of our beds with a sheet cothespinned to the fan and to our beds. We called them wind-tunnels and we couldn't sleep without them. I would invite my friends over to spend the night and most of them would turn me down, they said it was too hot in my house. Needless to say, I was used to air blowing on me most of the time. And when we did use the air-conditioning, it was heavenly.

So, in my opinion, I think the whole air-blowing phenomenon could maybe be bypassed by not over-bundling babies and small children. This in not an original idea by any means. I have friends who grew up here walking barefoot in their homes; another no-no since most homes have tile floors which stay pretty cool. They didn't overdress in heat and they seldom got sick as children from what I understand. I am trying to do the same thing with my boys. I get a little interference as you can probably imagine but I'm pretty persistent. So far, so good. I mean they get colds (a normal part of childhood) but they don't seem to resent a breeze like their dad.

So, that just leaves me. I guess I will continue to roast until the rainy season.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad I'm part of your "rebel" section of barefooted, roasting friends!! I'm HOT! (in both senses of the word!) hahaha!