Aiming to be happier families.

THE GOVERNESS DIARIES – Series 1, Episode 2 – Lizard snakes

“The snake, it isn’t a snake, it is a lizard, see it has legs…”

[If you’re just checking in, and haven’t yet read the first episode of THE GOVERNESS DIARIES, click on the link to the right under ‘recent posts’, where you will find them. If some of them are not there, you will find them in ‘THE GOVERNESS DIARIES’ under ‘categories’, just scroll down to whichever episode you missed.]

Just to fill you in, I had spoken to Vladimir before leaving England and had been told that Adelina (4) knew a little English, she is a real girl, who enjoys girly things and she is sensitive. Nikoli (8) has a good understanding of English and has passed the test to join the private college they have applied to when they settle in England in September. I was told he is a real boy who enjoys sports and is active. When I asked what year he would be going to, Vladimir said he would get Mark (his sports coach )to call me. Mark turned out to be American and said he thought he might be joining year 4 (not much help) He then went on to tell me that the children were spoilt, mentioning things like ‘spare the rod, spoil the child.’

 And so the saga continues…

Vladimir left me on that first night saying I will see you tomorrow around 10. Thinking he was just being nice and letting me sleep in because of the journey I woke up at 6:30 showered – no towel or loo paper in the bathroom … back upstairs to find a tissue… facecloth became a mini-towel – (note to self- find a shop and buy a towel) and got dressed, ready to meet  the children.

[By the way, I found out what an ‘occasional toilet is’ – it is a toilet you avoid using.  In the morning, after I had showered, I went through to the adjoining “bathroom”, only to find myself paddling. I checked to see where the “water” was coming from, and found a funny little tank thingy with an electric cable attached to it. It appears that you plug this in and when you flush the toilet it empties into this tank which is then pumped…. gee thanks for telling me, I say as I stand in what I thought was water.]

 So after mop-up operations I hung around, wondering what to do with myself until 9:30 when there was a scream that made me jump so high that I was thankful for my shortness or I might have hit my head on the ceiling. This was followed by shouting and banging and another slightly deeper voice shouting back. Then came the sound of bare feet on the stairs and Vladimir appeared. He put warm water in a pan and floated 5 tubs of yoghurt in it (?) Then he put bread cheese and ham on the table, which already contained a plate of biscuits, a bowl of fruit, and a bowl of sweets. The two children appeared and I introduced myself. They ignored me. Vladimir put two cups of juice on the table, opened the yoghurts and invited me to join. The children wandered off. I sat down. Vladimir wandered off. I sat and began to eat my yoghurt by myself.

Then Katja (mom) appeared and the children wandered back. Adelina drank some juice and Nikoli began eating his yoghurt.  Then Nikoli wandered off. Katja called him,  “Nikoli…” – he ignored her, “Niko…”“Niko…” “Niko…”  – nothing. She followed him and started prattling in Russian – he prattled back and an argument ensued for 15 minutes. Adelina wandered off. Katja aimed her back towards the table and she started hitting her. Katja returned to the kitchen. Adelina said something in Russian, Nikoli shouted, Adelina screamed.

I finished my yoghurt.

Katja said to help myself to cheese ham and bread (the bread was hard). In the lounge, the screaming and banging continued. Vladimir reappeared and the Russian prattling began again in the lounge – 10 minutes of arguing later and the children returned to the table.

Vladimir said that he thought it would be best for Adelina to spend time with me in the morning and Nikoli in the afternoon (at this point both children had again wandered off and after pottering and rinsing dishes under running water, Katja wandered off too).

At around 11:30 – my bread still stored in my cheek waiting for it to either soften or the opportunity to find a dustbin and spit it out – Vladimir, Katja, Nikoli and Adelina headed for the door. Adelina was aimed back towards me and a tantrum ensued. I told Vladimir to pass her to me and leave, which he did. 20 minutes of tears followed by a further 10 minutes of something that sounded like, “uka chukka mama”, repeated over and over until I eventually managed to distract her by (believe it or not) counting to 10 and then hiding. When she found me I said “I see you”. So we invented a new game of hide-and-seek called ‘ai see yuuuuuuu’  I then drew her pictures and she seemed to enjoy herself.

Just as I was drawing the 300th picture of “Lina” and “Niko” I was rescued by the return of the family. They had bought some “materials” for me – an exercise book, drawing book, felt-tip pens, pencils etc. They also said they had bought some ready-made sandwiches for if I want a quick snack and I was to help myself to food. I thanked them to the tune of Adelina and Nikoli screaming, shouting and pushing each other around. They said that Nikoli would stay while they took Adelina.

They headed for the door with Nikoli in tow and it was only when they got outside that they realised he hadn’t stayed….. Russian prattling, arguments and eventually Nikoli was sent back. I was at this point sitting at the patio table, where it had been suggested I work with the children. Nikoli came back and hovered around the table, filling his mouth with biscuits and sweets. I asked if he would like to join me. He ignored me so I joined him. He walked away and sat in the lounge. I picked up my keys and sunglasses and went to the door. As I went through it a voice said, “Weer you go?” Without stopping I said, “for a walk, are you coming?”

He came.

I told him I didn’t know where I was so he needed to keep track or we would get lost. The ice was eventually broken when he said, “I see snake,” and I told him that it was a lizard.

N:        “Vot ees zees lizard?”

Me:     “What is a lizard.”

N:        “No, I do’no, you to tell me”

Me:     “Say W – what is  lizard” – me showing him my lips pursed.

N:        “Wot ees a lizard”

Me:     “The snake, it isn’t a snake, it is a lizard, see it has legs…”

 And the lesson began.

 When we got home I got him to write a short paragraph about our walk to access his written English. His parents and Adelina arrived home at about 5:00 and I sat and began to prepare some exercises.

I can’t remember what supper consisted of that night, but I do remember it being strange, and rather like being in the middle of a rugby scrum with players leaving the field and returning at will…

I excused myself after supper and went to hide out in my laundry. I was exhausted… and fell asleep fully clothed. On about the 2000thuka chukka mama” in my dream, I woke up, washed in the laundry sink, changed into PJ’s and went back to my sleeper-couch where I told myself that tomorrow would be better and no child has beaten me yet…

Stay tuned for the next episode…




18 March 2013 - Posted by | The Governess Diaries | , , , , , , , , ,

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