Live and Learn

One of the many valuable lessons I learned through my student teaching experience was that it’s important to not hold grudges against kids. For example, if the class was really rowdy and unresponsive right before Specials it would be silly to still be mad at them when they returned. Most likely while they were releasing their 8-year-old angst through a serious game of kickball they have completely forgotten about the incident and/or behavior. I would be doing them no favors by giving them the cold shoulder, rather I need to start over and perhaps alter my teaching strategies to make the classroom more manageable. I have found this to be true over here as well. Although it is slightly different since I live with these kiddos and I don’t have the luxury of sleeping in a different location.

Mondays are a relatively easy day for me as the Grandma comes and I have time to clean my room and bathroom. She usually doesn’t need me downstairs so I have taken to including checking email, flipping through magazines, and basic procrastinating into my routine. This morning I managed to draw out my cleaning process into just under 2 hours. I ambled downstairs to find Little Bean in an unusually sour mood. Whenever I came within a 15 foot radius she would shout “nay!” and throw her arm out as if she wanted to claw me. I know I don’t look my best in the mornings but that’s no reason to get upset.

I decided to draw with Taz instead and make some pictures for Rapunzel’s birthday, which is this weekend. Taz is still learning how to move seamlessly between German and English so most of his phrases are jumbled and the syntax is quite off. It took me a couple weeks to catch on, but even now I sometimes refer to myself as “having a hungry” as opposed to being hungry. So, this morning he asks, “Kristina, can you me a boat do?” This means, “Can you draw me a boat?” I made the mistake of drawing a couple sailboats when I first arrived and now that’s all he wants me to draw. I have taken to expanding my repertoire to ships and Bayliners and I could probably draw them in my sleep at this point. I whip up a fancy sailboat for him and sit at the drawing table as he proceeds to scribble over it and call it a masterpiece, which clearly, it is. This goes on for about 45 minutes until I run downstairs to shift around some laundry.

I am hauling my basket upstairs and I hear an ear-splitting scream from below. Not wanting any part of this action, I choose to stay in my room until the storm passes. This storm is far from dissolving, however, and Taz is now in the midst of a full-blown breakdown. I catch him on the landing kicking over a table, shattering the phone. Scared by his own Hulk-like strength he scoots his little behind back in his room and I shut the door on him. This only leads to more screaming and my inevitable trek downstairs to figure out what’s happened. The Grandma says he was mauling Little Bean and was sent to his room for a time-out. To make a (painfully) long story short, the yelling, screaming, and tantrum-throwing went on until I left the house at noon, sharp. I had plans to be in town, and even if I didn’t there was absolutely no way I was hanging around for that kind of rage.

After 7 hours spent in town, I slowly turned the key in the door to see what kind of psycho mood swings were awaiting me. I get three steps in the door and I hear Taz yell, “Kristina’s home!” He comes running from the kitchen with the World’s Biggest Smile and gives me a giant hug around the thighs. I kid you not, he says, “I’m so glad you’re home!” and I’ll be damned if he doesn’t mean it with that sweet expression on his face. He helps me out of my jacket and asks me if I had a good day. Then he instructs me to head to the kitchen so I can have some delicious (a word I’ve been teaching him) dinner with everyone. I picked my jaw up off the floor as I headed inside, wondering who this sweet baby angel is that looks frighteningly like the spawn of Satan that was present this morning. I was wondering if he was trying to replace me as an au pair and/or if he had aged 40 years and gone to some kind of butler-training school while I was gone. I realized he completely forgot about anything that happened this morning and there was no use in me continuing to be upset about it. I just let it go and let him lead me into the dining room so I could tuck into whatever awaited me at the table. Kids are funny in that way; it seems that nothing phases them and they are able to forgive and forget so easily. I think I will tuck this lesson away for future use.