Sunday, October 3, 2010

False Advertising

This job is not what it said on the tin.

Two weeks ago I received a lesson on how to clean the sink with a toothbrush. Yes you read that correctly. Also, it is pretty hard to give childcare when the children are never around. The main part of this job is meant to be a responsibility for and relationship with the children. In reality the state of the bathroom takes precendance as the children take a constant stream of classes (school of course, plus 25 kinds of dance, sport and music lessons.) I love my parents even more than ever before. I love that they let me grow an imagination. Who cares if I don't know judo or how to play the clarinet? Our weekends were spent together, frequently walking around large National Trust estates where I alternated my different horse-riding-princess fantasies. (I felt positively fated to become an aristocrat.) Here no weekend is free to do anything except ferry the younger half of the family to their respective appointments.

My struggles with the job have recently been discussed between me and the mother of the house, and the outcome is I feel more at peace than I have since I arrived. Although no resolution came from the conversation, and nothing has actually changed, the tension of having to keep my anxiety over it in a tight little ball that was hip hopping all over my stomach, has dissipated. I don't feel like re-living it too much to be honest, but it did end well even if in the most awkward hug of all time, not initiated by me, needless to say. I am quite a tactile person usually, but there is such an air of oddity about all physical contact I have experienced of late that I am beginning to retreat slightly.

Both girls had days off school recently and on each respective day I set up a one on one craft class to help them make some jewelry while I made them something for them too. It was relaxing and fun and they hugged me in thanks. Even though every time I get hugged here I feel a sense of Stepford Wife-ness about the place, there is genuine good intention behind it and that is reassuring. I am fascinated by these kids. When I was 14 I was listening to Nirvana constantly, and nursing crushes on Courtney Love and River Phoenix while spending all my spare time on the phone and painting my nails, often simultaneously. Here there are no thrashing guitar sounds coming from upstairs and no one is tying up the phone line (except me sometimes). There are no posters of Jared Leto on the ceiling (I stole that idea from a Judy Bloom book, which is how you can tell I was still a kid at heart) and no one ever slams a door.

I wonder how long it can last?

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