Friday, August 17, 2007

Sharon: Jules, and Keeping House

So, Mom asked how Jules was doing with the nanny, saying she assumed that since I hadn’t mentioned it, everything must be going okay. Well…actually, I’d just been holding out, not wanting to complain amidst our otherwise great fortune, and still hoping things might turn around.

Background: Jules is one of the easiest kids I’ve ever met in almost every regard. Never minds a stranger, never minds a babysitter. Loves to socialize with random folks at the pool or in the store. Sleeps well for naps and nighttime, loves to play with other kids. In all of our planning for this trip, we never considered that he might not be amenable to our plans. Never.

Well, he’s not amenable to them. He just didn’t like Lady. In her defense, I think the Spanish was distressing for a kid who is so verbal, who loves to narrate his world to a rapt audience and depends on being able to easily communicate his needs. On the other hand, she wasn’t exactly perky or engaging, and exuded a lack of confidence. After 8 days of trying desperately to get them used to each other, we officially gave up.

It’s not so bad. Max and I can at least take turns having a morning out to relax. Plus, we had a few lovely mornings alone together, more than we have in months at home, so I’m very grateful. We’re saving some bucks. And I’ve also realized that I’m kind of into housework, that I need to be rooted in the care of the place where I live. So.

Jules actually doesn’t seem to like much of anything about our plans for him this trip, come to think of it. He wasn’t going to be “potty-trained” in three days like Liam was at the same age, so we gave up on that, too, for now. He doesn’t want to sleep well anymore, preferring instead to wake up many, many times each night and be up for good around 5:00 a.m. He has started climbing out of the pack-and-play (and toddling out, quite proud of himself), so we put him in a bed, and now he asks for the crib!

The thing is that I needed a guru for this trip. Max and I have both felt a little aimless, unused to all this free time, but also a little greedy. Jules has reminded us that as much we want a vacation from the kiddos, parenting little children is our life right now, even in a tropical paradise. He’s also helped us remember that they know when we’re trying to ditch them, and they don’t like it; as soon as we stopped having Lady come and started making Jules a big part of our day, he got so much happier overall.

But it takes a lot of housework here to keep nature from taking over, and Lady was supposed to be helping with that, too. There’s gecko poop on the living “room” floor in the morning, scorpions to shoe out, dust and leaves everywhere. Our clothes get covered in mud before noon, and there’s salt water on an outfit a day. Today’s my day off and Max has Jules at the beach, but they’ve been gone for two hours and I’ve only just been able to take a break, having swept and mopped the floors, done the dishes, done a load of laundry. I found myself thinking about how in a Buddhist monastery, the most menial chores are given to the most senior monks, and I mopped with care and contentment.

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