A day late and a Diaper short

Posted on February 3, 2011


Dear Disastro,

Yes, “disastro” is clearly a disaster…and that is what we had yesterday. I am writing today since I, again, was out late and did not get a chance to blog about 2-2-2011. I went with Nana to pick up the boys at school and Matteo made a “disastro” in the bathroom, on his pants and jacket. He becomes easily embarrassed and refused my help and yelled at his Nana as well. Disastro. I understand that he is still “potty-training” but I am clearly not ready for this! I remember my application for the Aupair profile and I chose children over 4 so I wouldn’t have to deal with any merda and diapers etc. Between the super over-cologned El Salvador guy in class, the adorable yet smelly dog of Nana’s, constant smell of urine, Macdonald french fries and now poop on clothes and stinking up the car ride home I thought I might really lose it. I remained calm on the ride home and tried to gather my thoughts and breathe at the same time. I rolled my window down a little and prayed to hit all the green lights while bracing myself to avoid whiplash. She is a crazy driver. But everyone here is. The sooner we got home the sooner Nana would fix this “disastro”. I didn’t have to clean up the mess, grazie Dio, but this did not mean that the entire bathroom and hallway was polluted by him! What did I sign up for? I am laughing today but yesterday I couldn’t wait to go out for the night! Hence why I came home at almost 2:30 am….more on that later. Non ora. (Not now!)

I am having trouble keeping the older boy interested in English. He seems to not really care much about anything except his DS Nintendo. Mario is retired and on a long vacation hopefully til next year, but the new Pokemon game is his new addiction. He doesn’t even say hi, the first words out his mouth are,” Dove a DS??” Mama mia. It is not an easy task to try to incorporate English into a game that I have no idea what the hell it is. Is Pokeman a dinosaur? an animal? a dragon?  it is some ugly mythical beast that is as foreign in to me as the Italian language. I feel that I got lectured by Nana to spend more time with the older one and make his speak. Her speaking to me was fast and in Italian and I just nodded after the multiple, “capito!??!!” in between some of the words I did understand. From my interpretation of her words to me I think that she was saying that I have been here for 2 months and he doesn’t say enough words in English. She made me feel like Matteo’s soiled pants! Ughh, but perhaps that is not what she said. I will never know exactly what she said to me that day but I remained with Tommaso for at least twenty minutes on the couch watching his play his video game and asking him OVER AND OVER AND OVER again how to say “today (oggi)”  and “tomorrow (domani)” with a few other words in English such as “tree” “pants” “shoes” “hat”. He doesn’t answer his own parents when they speak to him and ask him anything so I acknowledge this and try to remain patient and calm. I poke him while he plays and say, “Dimmi……dimmi……Tommmmmmasooooo….dimmi….come si dice____ in English?? hmmmm?? Dimmi!” Dimmi means “tell me” if we forgot. Eternity with this child in this Eternal City. I am unsure what kind of “teacher” that I am or how successful I will be in the end.  The little one is extremely easy. He generally likes me so he wants to speak with me and ask me things. He remembers everything I tell him! We all know “head, shoulders, knees and toes….knees and toes!” he loves it and understands each body part separately so with him I feel the feedback is always positive! He knows many animals and playing with him is easier. Easier does not necessarily = more fun. I don’t know how to “play” and “interact” with a tiny screen on the DS that is smaller than an Iphone. As soon as I figure out how to make him become interested in me and learning more English with me will be the best day. Please come by next week. Please and thanks. Grazie e prego! It is so important to me this “job.”  I want to do well and feel of value with the family…capito?? 

After class me, L and our teacher, Francesca went to have lunch together. I just think that Francesca is one of the sweetest people who I have ever met! She is really funny and super understanding about me feeling so “lost” here. There is a saying in Italian, similar to an English one that we have that translates best to: “wear my clothes.” Which is how we say, “walk in my shoes.” To try to understand how someone feels. And another saying: “in one ear out the other!” I think that one is universal. She tells me that I have to be very careful because Italian boys never listen. They “hear” but they don’t listen! That is what my mom says about me. Francesca reminds me that I must constantly tell myself to “think in Italian” and to stop thinking in English. It is something easier said than done! I understand what she means because thinking in Italian and then speaking in English does not make sense. Literally and verbally it does not work. English is very metaphorical whereas Italian is always literal. I must think in Italian! Speak in Italian! Eat like an Italian! Use my hands to communicate!

I will share later about the sign language lesson in class…best twenty minutes spent in class! Later today I will explain best as I can all the signs. If I am lucky maybe I can find images to share to truly emphasize the significance!



Posted in: When in Rome