I'm back from hell. I returned to Paris on Saturday. The moment I stepped off the train and inhaled second-hand smoke, I felt relieved to be home. Fredèrique bear-hugged me and congratulated me on surviving. I vowed to never return. It was as if I'd lived through a hiking expedition to the top of Everest, and returned physically unscathed (although emotionally fucked).
Here's the deal: I've had a lot of contact with the twins during the 2 years I've lived here. Our apartment is literally above theirs, so they visit a couple of times a week and I constantly see them in the grocery store with their nanny or walking around the neighborhood. Over Christmas vacation, I'd even babysat a couple of times for a few hours. Perhaps this explains why I was given no warning as to the emotional, mental and sometimes physical beatings I would take over the course of the 10 days I spent in the south of France.
My days consisted of chasing after Baptiste while yelling, "You come here!" and trying to coax the twins away from playing near the pool (while fighting the urge to kick them in and walk away). Initially, I wondered if my accent was so bad they didn't know what I was saying or were they just NOT listening. Turns out it was the latter. The mantra was "Obéis Awna." Everyone told them they most 'obey' me and yet I can't recall a single time that happened. Even the housekeeper said this to them, but these small devil replica's had no desire to obey anyone, except perhaps their creator below.
By day 10 I was running on empty. Over the course of a week and a half, I'd managed to have about 2 hours (collectively) to myself. As our stay ended, I had become quite a bitch. I was yelling at my kids for anything that annoyed me. In fairness to myself, they do a shit ton of things that are insanely annoying but I've become so accustomed to them that I tend not to notice. The entire train ride home, I had my iPod in my ears and was closed for any requests. Thibault asked for water; get it yourself. Clément asked if I could help him carry his soccer ball; absolutely not. I could count in German how often they'd helped me during our vacation, I was in no mood to be a caring and compassionate nanny.