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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

just a spoonful of sugar

Okay, okay, it's getting a lot better.

The kids weren't delivered by Satan, and Paris isn't the depths of hell.

It's just all taken some adjusting. I'm not used to a job that is so demanding on so many levels, or this city, or a new outlook on a culture I thought I knew so well. I may know a lot about the French culture, but Paris isn't France. It's a common saying that there's Paris, and then there's the rest of France.

And so now I'm covering up a bit more. My midriff is making less of a scene on the streets of Paris. I'm keeping my wardrobe as simple and comfortable as possible, so I can run after children while looking somewhat kept. I may not be a woman of the 16th, but I'm an au pair who makes an effort by combing her hair...most mornings.

I'm having fun with the kids too. Yesterday when I picked them up from school, the boy waved at me from the school windows before getting outside, I waved back with a big smile, and he came out jumping with joy. Instead of yelling at them for acts of immaturity, I join in. I let them get dirty, and get get dirty myself.

Today in the park we made Barbies fly. Unfortunately one got stuck high up in the tree. A young black man, with a handsome face, and a Parisian cool attitude, came to the rescue. "You shouldn't be throwing them up there," he said, in his nonchalent manner. "But we're making Barbies fly!" I protested. He just looked at me. I stopped trying to be cool in elementary school. I thanked him and he gave me a French "No worries," before heading back to his posse.

Another thing I'm working on is getting the kids to stop hitting each other. I hate violence, and one always cries. Today it all started with a whip of her skipping rope and then a smack from his stick. She got a cut, and cried. I took his stick away, took her skipping rope away, and told them they would be returned once they listened to me. She wouldn't listen. All she wanted was the skipping rope. She cried and hollered. I held it high above my head, and told her that all she had to do was listen for two seconds and it would be returned. She kept crying. I left the room. Eventually she came to me, leaned on me, starting kissing my arms, and biggest shock of all, listened. "You understand, oui ou non? We don't hit." "Oui."

I'm starting to get the love and respect I'm looking for. Mostly due to the fact that I'm getting more sleep and learning to be patient. Learning what makes them cry and what makes them smile.

I'm making an effort to feel good here. And it's starting to work.

I'm remembering how to be adapatable. To a new life. To a new country. Or my matress last night, which would not lie flat and stayed curved as I attempted to crawl into bed. In the end I had a nice head rest. Hey, you work with what your given.

au pair in the park
le bricolage!


Blogger Yvonne said...

Oh Gill, what a lovely blog. Loved the scene with the little boy waving at you. Children are so honest. And I love the thought of you covering your lovely belly. Mothers are forever protective. Love you, yy

7:50 AM  

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