Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Cave dwellers

One of these days I'm going to learn how to post pictures that don't come up first. Don't laugh. I really don't know how.

I'm sitting in hour new rented home away from home, which is about a three minutes walk, down to the other end of the street and on the other side, the river side, of the road, from our old home away from home. All the shutters are shut and it is delightfully, coolly cave-like in here. I suppose that is the point. The French love to build houses with all the windows on one side, leaving vast expanses of stone with no windows on the other side. So, when you enter the house, it feels like entering a cave.

With the intense heat these past few days have brought I am content to be a cave dweller.

The girls are upstairs, each with a playdate. There is a certain amount of bickering going on, as always, but generally they are content as well.

Esther is talking in her faux British accent, for the benefit of her Brit/French friend. They had a sleepover last night and I can hear Esther's fatigue coming through her voice.

Isla is giggling with her little friend. Since her little friend is one year younger than her, and learning two languages at once, she is very quiet and their fights are much more physical, and easier to break up, than those of Esther and her friend.

I'm finding parenting in France to be more challenging than parenting in America. Nothing to do with the country, everything to do with the fact that the mere foreign-ness, the daily challenge of adapting to that which is different, a new language, a new culture, taps what last reserves my children have before they are completely done.

Where once I could predict how much they could handle before they needed to be sent to their corners, think boxing, for a powwow with the coach, here I'm often blindsided by the meltdowns. Food for thought.

We spent the day up at the farmhouse yesterday and Esther and Isla played with some French kids, mostly grandchildren of the neighbors. It's so fun to see them interact, watch them communicate. Esther learned how to say, "climb a tree" in French. Isla just kept kissing this one little girl on the cheek. She fits right in here.

She's come to think many of the women in our town are named "Madame," since we say "Bonjour Madame," whenever we see them.

More TMI can be read over here.


Kingsmom said...

I sure do love reading about your adventure.

Was wondering if you'd shoot me an email. I have a question.

Brooke G. said...

Great pictures!!! (ps - you should be able to drag and drop them in among the text of your post... or upload the pictures first and then just type around them.... which is what I usually do! - hope that helps!)

I love reading about your girls and their french adventures. I hope the move went well - much easier than the original move to France I'm sure, but being "up rooted" once again must be tough!

MT said...

Ooooh Brooke, great tip on the uploading and then typing. I have found blogger doesn't cooperate when I try to drag and drop. Or at least we disagree on what constitutes "close enough".

I have wondered if parenting abroad is more difficult than at home. We came over when the oldest was 13 months, so I only really know one side of the story. I do find myself wondering (often) if some parenting issues arise from or are exacerbated by being in an unfamiliar environment/culture and/or the stress of being immersed in a foreign language (rereading that sentence, I realize it is a titch convoluted :) ). I suspect that if I were back home similar issues would arise, I would just have one less variable (being abroad) to consider as the culprit.

At times when I feel the overseas issues most distressing, I begin my mantra of "this is such a great opportunity for the long run" I really hope it is true!

Sprite's Keeper said...

Love the pictures! The one of Isla in motion is perfection.

Emma said...

Oh my gooodness, Betsy, I just read your latest post at Baby centre! I hope you are feeling ok now after your 'exciting' day at the fun park. What a way to get out of a birthday party... ;)