I've mentioned before that the life of a nanny is much better to reenact than live. Fortunately for me my setup here is pretty sweet. However this week was one frustration after another with an outrageous culmination in the form of an absolutely ridiculous temper tantrum compliments of Jade. She had a little poem to write and in exasperation at the perceived impossibility of it she began something for which I have no words to properly describe. She ran from room to room making a constant eruptive yell that was more like a roar than a scream and slamming doors. This roar was punctuated by the most violent of french and casting of her self on any available surface. When roaring and yelling couldn't accurately convey her frustration the tone and volume would escalate to a piercing scream. I considered adding to this volume by some yelling of my own and the stare contest that I've engaged her in from time to time where I flatly command her to go to her room. It doesn't seem like a punishment but she's so stubborn that making her do anything I want her to is extremely painful to her pride. I had at first told her I was happy to help if she calmed down but when it got loud I just went on with the laundry. It was at first just the two of us but when Anne and Agathe came back I thought I'd let her deal with it. I know it's my job to deal with the kids during work hours but for reasons I'll explain later I was feeling less generous with my energies than usual. After all, she was the one who gave birth to this monster that was currently alerting all the neighbors within a kilometer radius of bad parenting.
I was naive enough to expect an expression of surprise and then some sort of punishment. I won't go into all that followed but it never ceases to amaze me how out breaks like this are treated like an unfortunate upset that is more important to calm than punish. Anytime parenting decisions are made that I see as grossly mislead I become robot-like with suppressed anger. There were other events in the evening that made me more eager to leave the moment the clock struck eight.
I headed out to have an evening with a few friends. We went first to the apartment of one and then later we took the metro across town to meet some others at a bar. The heat and crowdedness of the bar caused me to take off my cardigan that had my keys and phone in it. I'm not sure exactly when and what happened but all I know is that I arrived on the very last metro at my stop with the sudden realization that my keys were no longer in my pocket. I became faint with panic. My keys were no where to be found and though the night wasn't very cold and I didn't mind walking I had no idea where or when any of the night buses ran. I made a frantic text to one of my friends and then my phone died. I hadn't had anything to drink at the bar but I was certainly a little fuzzy minded from the wine we'd had before I went. This only added to my distress as I walked slowly to the apartment going over all the options. Theoretically I could walk to Sarah's apartment but my phone was dead and she'd have no warning and there is not a building in France that doesn't have a code to get into. My only real option was to buzz my own apartment waking Anne at 2:30 to let me in. I paced around my lobby considering the knock this would be to not only my pride but my carefully maintained moral superiority(and yes, I realize how horrible that sounds). It's one thing to be put in this position by your parents(and since I don't even have a house key this hasn't been a problem), and it's another with a land lady, but an employer? I was mortified. Though we have a nice enough relationship our personalities keep it from being very candid or natural. I emptied my purse and pockets twice before pressing the buzzer. In the stillness of the apartment I heard the buzzer all the way down in the lobby. I waited about 30 seconds and then heard Annes sleepy voice on the intercom. I immediately began crying and explained that I didn't have my keys and how sorry I was. When I made up into the apartment Anne was so gracious and forgiving of the situation that I was even more humbled. I felt ashamed of my past discontent and frustration with her. Until now we've always been like two adults in the house and I've never felt like a kid for a lot of reasons. I've felt like an adult who maybe has more accountability than usual but I've always been firmly in the position of another adult. Recent events in the family have made me the constant in the household. All of this made this situation harder for me.
As I said, it's better as a story than in real life but though it's infinitely less painful in retelling I'm so far from looking back at this as some funny work story that I'm forced to examine my position here. I have a different kind of homesickness now and am more eager for it to be over than before. I feel somehow stifled and tired from being a certain kind of person here. I'm tired of not being able to leave work at work. I didn't realize how different my attitude was about being here until yesterday I walked through Place de Concorde in the midst of hordes of tourists in the blazing sun. It forcibly reminded me of my first few weeks here when I would walk in the beautiful summer sun with the crowds through that same area. At that time I looked ahead to the year as one full of opportunity. Though I've developed an affection for many things French and had countless wonderful experiences and made great friends I found my attitude completely changed. I feel as if I'm waiting it out, as if I don't belong and am ready to leave this mess that I feel I only add to. I will miss many things and I hope I've changed for the better but it will be a huge relief to be home.