Up until I arrived in Rome I thought that I’d heard my share of crying. I’ve worked for my mom for the past 3 years and most of the children I’ve looked after have been under the age of 6. So believe me when I say that nothing prepared me for what I walked in to here, living my life as an au pair, in Rome.
Every morning (and I mean every morning), a tantrum occurs. Over absolutely nothing. Today everything was going well! Bea told me what I was wearing was going to make me sick (obviously something she heard from her mother about my clothing choices), but overall the children were quite happy. I made some “cootie catchers” for the children, packed the lunch bags, played with the kids after they got dressed…but then the wailing started. Bea was having a full-blown tantrum! She wouldn’t let me approach her to help her get dressed and for 20 minutes she screamed, called her mom “bruta” or “ugly”, and pounded on the bathroom door as her mom got dressed. Every time I got near her she screamed louder until her voice was going hoarse.
Her screaming didn’t die down until her mom came out of the bathroom and coaxed her into getting dressed. Her mom then asked me to make her a cootie catcher so that she wouldn’t start crying when she saw that all the children had one except her. Now giving a child a reward after a tantrum is not something I like doing but in this case there really was no room for argument. So I gave Bea the cootie catcher and what does she do? Start crying! So now she is following me around the house, crying. At me!
This little situation didn’t let up until we were halfway to school and the mom realized her child was upset. We then tried to give her the cootie catcher again and she accepted it and stopped crying. So why was she crying in the first place?!
Every morning I pray that it will be a good one. Unfortunately 9 times out of 10 someone gets upset, drags their feet, throws off their clothes, hits someone, screams, and calls someone names. It is inevitable in this household.
This morning escapade is just a regular routine in the household I’ve been living in. These things then reoccur in the afternoon at least one more time, if not twice. Wednesday – Bianca wanted ice-cream. I told her I didn’t have any money. She proceeded to scream, cry, and drag her feet all the way home from school. Last week – Bianca wanted Bea to be picked up first. I told her ‘no’, I was here for her and she proceeded to scream, cry, and drag her feet all the way home from school. The week before that – Beatrice…well, you get the idea. These things happen daily. Sometimes I am able to talk them out of a tantrum, sometimes I am not. Oh, and let’s not forget the occasional crying sessions Pietro has as well when his mom is home for the day. ARGH!!
Alright. So if you’ve stuck this blog post out until now, I want you to know that I’m sorry for complaining. It’s just that the behaviour I’ve witnessed since living in Rome is unbelievable and I’m surprised that I’ve been able to put up with it for this long! I was talking with a friend last night and we both agreed that absolutely nobody will be able to understand fully the behaviour that these children have faced us with. But maybe after reading this description you’ll have a better understanding?