It’s now Day 4 of half term – although it feels like day 44. I’ve done my best to be the greatest au-pair in Paris as well as chief rule-enforcer of the maison. Both are incredibly hard work and I have the headache to prove it.
My days seem to be falling into the pattern of: get up, make sure the kids have breakfast, help them with their homework, think of some fun activity, make their lunch, put Angus down for his nap, send the other two off to their tennis lesson, give them a snack afterwards and watch over them until their parents get home. When I write it down like that I realise just how much work it actually is.
The homework part first thing in the morning is probably my favourite bit – I have a homework timetable to follow so I dish out the reading/revision/online exercises as are applicable and then help each of them through it. I listen to the middle child read, get the oldest to recite his times tables and provide the youngest with stickers and colouring pencils. I have a Disney sticker book which I’ve designated as ‘Angus’ homework’ too – something I think he enjoys as it allows him to join in with his older brothers every morning.
On Monday my ‘fun activity of the day’ was baking biscuits. I made up the mixture, covered the table in protective mats, rolled up their sleeves and shared out the cookie cutters. We ended up with 5 full oven trays of ‘canards, avions et petits bonhommes’.
On Tuesday morning we decorated the biscuits with coloured glace icing, chocolate chips and sprinkles. Let’s just say I had to get the vacuum cleaner out afterwards.
Yesterday, Wednesday, I decided to let the boys have a go at painting some little wooden shapes. I found these in a French craft shop called Cultura – there are several of them around where I live, usually in the big shopping districts that are dotted around the place – and they only cost around €1 per piece. I picked up a variety of shapes and let the boys choose which they wanted (a dinosaur, horse and lizard) and then saved the rest for another day. I don’t want to use up all my resources too soon.
Yet, whilst I’ve had some good fun with the kids, there have also been a lot of stressful moments. The youngest wouldn’t eat his lunch, the other two were arguing over the computer, they were jumping on the sofa, shouting at each other, hitting each other… at one point I had to confiscate their DS consoles and make them read in silence for half an hour. I don’t want to be the big bad wolf but they sometimes need to realise that they’re being a handful!
I’ve also had a lot of free time to fill myself which I think has driven me crazier than the children have. I’ve been updating this blog, cross stitching, making things with origami, drinking coffee, job hunting, watching TV, writing letters… I even did some ironing for fun yesterday morning. My attention span is possibly worse than my 3-year-old’s. I can’t wait to get back to my French lessons next week, breathe some fresh air and meet up with people my own age. This week has certainly been a challenge – but at least when the Easter holidays roll around I’ll hopefully be able to prepare myself for what’s to come…