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January 19, 2002
Kid Stuff (Gail)

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Preparing a fondant au chocolat dessert for dad's return

It's Saturday afternoon, the boys have had lunch, Russell is in Paris and I have some time to work on my needlepoint. You would think that all would be quiet here, but think again. On this property are two caretaker families. One has two children, a seven year-old boy and a three year-old girl. They are very friendly, cute and well mannered. They also have the understanding from the owners here that they can walk into the house when they want. This is okay but it is a bit unnerving to be upstairs and hear voices in the upper hallway, doors opening and you know where your whole family is. This makes it hard to commit to a shower time, especially when you are the only adult home. I lock the doors when needed.

The other very inconvenient thing, well for me anyway, is that they do not speak any English at all. Zo seems to address me as "American," as in "American, Joss has a stick" (translation by Cameron). I can only imagine that she has heard her parents talk about the "Americans" living in the petite maison. Despite the language barrier we can communicate very well, her three year-old French to my two year-old French. I like Zo, she doesn't correct me, seems to understand me and always shows me her doll. She and I have established a rhythm to our conversations. She says what sounds like "J'a bow coo cadoh, c'est vrai," or some such variation of the sounds, with a very definite period at the end. I say "vraiment?" (really?) She nods happily and we get on with the "conversation." I have no idea what was just said but she is happy so all is well. Over apple juice and coffee we had a little talk in the international female language and determined that we both like chocolate. This resulted in my having to give her one of my cookies once she had eaten her two. Ah, the sacrifices you make in the name of friendship. I can convey the basic information, like they must play outdoors, would you like a snack, where's your coat, etc. It's a good thing "toilet" is pronounced pretty much the same in both languages.

It is very good for Cameron and Joss to have someone other than each other to play with. Cameron is great with little kids, he helps Zo get on the swings, stays with her and sort of watches out for her. He thought she was about five and was surprised she's only three, same age as his little cousins. I am surprised he thought she was that old because she's just a little bitty thing. Joss just hangs around doing his own thing interacting if needed. He is still not using his French as much as he could.

Before Russell left he gave the boys a box of rubber bands. Cameron has wanted some since Christmas. These are now all over the living room as Lego target practice is an ongoing thing. Lego are lined up in defensive positions around the room and "exploded" rubber bands lie everywhere. I don't mind so much, they are happy and they aren't fighting. What is tough is when I walk across the floor, don't see the skirmish lines and tromp on all the troops, scattering them across the floor. Today I wiped out a bug that was minding its own business, hit him with a Lego head. Couple this with the paper air force that has landed here and we are ready for just about anything. With that said I notice that boys don't really communicate with words. It's more by sound effects, like explosions, booms, vrooms and aahhhs (as in a falling sound). The war zone can get very loud with three of them booming and exploding.

As I write Cameron, Joss and Loc are playing war and Zo, mimicking something Joss did earlier is scooting across the living room floor under the laundry basket. Now the two younger boys are terrorizing her. It is definitely not quiet.

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Joss, Cameron, Loc, and Zo


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