16 March 2009

My Boys and Laughter

I've just realized that I've never properly introduced the two Grobet boys. Please allow me to rectify the situation.

This is Felix. Felix is six. He's awesome! He wears sunglasses a lot because he has sensitive eyes. I anticipate a funny tan line come summer. This picture was taken just down the way from our house, on the shore of Lake Geneva, just before we were attacked by angry swans that didn't realize we weren't made of bread.

This is Jules. Jules is four. He's fun! He's a punk. Can't you just see it in his eyes? The day this picture was taken, his hair was way too long and getting in his eyes, so I put it in eight little pigtails and just waited until Charlotte came home. Both boys got haircuts the next day.

Please also allow me to discuss a matter dear to my heart - laughing with children.

Laughing with children might very well be the most refreshing thing I know. There's something very magical about laughing until you can't breath because you understand a joke from a child's point of view. I love the things in which children find delight. Laughing with them is like partaking in innocence, and that is where I find my own delight.

Felix, Jules and I had some good laughs tonight. The first one came at dinner, which is always a good time for laughing.

First of all, you need to understand that Felix is fascinated with magic tricks and performs them almost every day. His favorite part of each trick is afterwards when he gets to tell his secrets to the crowd (me) and revel in all the praise (which invariably sounds something like, "BRAVO, FELIX!! That was veeeery sneaky!!").

So tonight Felix told us a story about a magician he saw at a birthday party. This magician pulled a trick where he had an "empty" glass that he was holding upside down, and he somehow managed to dump water on his head. So Felix decided to try this trick tonight at dinner - and he also managed to dump water on his head, though his cup wasn't even pretending to be empty. Jules and I laughed so hard! Felix was so shocked at himself - don't know exactly why...getting his head wet was what he was trying to do. But he just sat there blinking while Jules and I laughed, and finally he saw the humor too. It was a good dinner interruption. Here's what Felix had to say about the matter: "I just don't understand. You know why? Because it really worked when the magician used an empty one! It was really empty!"

Bedtime is a great time to laugh with children. I love to get the kids all stirred up before I tell them they have to be quiet (call it a little aupairing revenge). Tonight we played the this-little-piggy toe game, and the both Jules and Felix shrieked with laughter because I said concombre (cucumber) instead of piggy - in reference to the time that Felix told me concombre meant "pig" instead of the real word for a pig, cochon. It's been an outstanding joke ever since. (If you don't think it's funny, try picturing three cucumbers building houses out of straw, sticks, and bricks, saying things like, "Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin," or getting eaten by a big bad wolf.)

The itsy bitsy spider also ate several knee caps and arm pits.

The kids laughed the hardest when I said it was time to sleep and asked for hugs and kisses. We have a bit of a game for this part of the evening. They refuse to give me hugs, and I pretend to pout and act really grumpy. After they refuse a few times, I always end up shouting, "JE VOUDRAIS UN CÂLIN ET UNE BISE TOUT DE SUITE! (I WOULD LIKE A CUDDLE AND A KISS RIGHT NOW!)" And the boys laugh and laugh because I'm acting angry while asking for cuddles. (I adore watching Felix laugh. He holds his stomach with both hands and really puts his heart into it.)

Of course after the lights actually went off and I was walking away, both boys wanted to attack me with hugs, and Jules even called me back a bit later to say, "I love you!" one more time. :-) They were a half hour late going to bed.

Saturday night I was delayed while on the train heading to Morges for a birthday party at my friend Brad's house (it was his birthday - people here throw their own parties). Someone in the next car was sick, so we had to wait for an ambulance before we could leave the station. In the seats across the aisle from me sat a little boy and his father, and as they spoke I noticed that they had American accents. I just sat there, however, and said nothing until I realized how late I was going to be to the party and decided to call my friend Camille, who was waiting for me at a different train station. When the two Americans heard me speak, they realized that I was American as well, and so a conversation began.

The father of this duo was very annoyed with his son, who I learned was eight years old. They had apparently been together all day at a huge car show near the Geneva Airport, and I deduced that this dad wasn't so used to keeping up with a kid for that many hours. So to kill time, and because I saw how antsy the dad was, I talked to the boy for about forty-five minutes so the dad wouldn't have to entertain him. We talked about everything - he showed me pictures of all his favorite cars, he told me about his mum's birthday, talked about all the trains he rides, the Bakugan he was playing with (he was totally impressed that I knew what it was), their home in Atlanta, and everything else we could think to chat about.

Toward the end of our wait, the boy said to me, "You really laugh a lot!" to which I replied, "Yeah! It's because I'm really happy a lot!" (And that earned a smile from the dad.) When they exited the train one stop before I did, the boy gave me a little pat on the shoulder. I sure hope that dad learns to appreciate laughter.

And our conversation was a nice revelation for me - just saying it and knowing that I'm happy. And having other people know it too, all because I "really laugh a lot." Whether or not I'm happy isn't something I've thought about in a good long while, but as soon as I said it I knew that it was true. It's a great feeling!

I love being an au pair. I really do. I'm so glad I decided to come to Europe this year. My life is better for it all 'round.

So Satisfied,
That girl in Switzerland


  1. Sounds like your having fun. The boys are so cute! I was talking with your mom about the whole au pair thing a little. She was telling me kinda how it works, and said there was an agency that sets it up. I was wondering if they have a website I could look at? You never know, I might need to leave the country for awhile;)

  2. THanks!

    Yeah! I went through greataupair.com, which is a really great website - you can even get travel insurance through it!

    I highly recommend leaving the country for awhile! It's way too much fun!

  3. aww! Heather, your kids are soo cute! sounds like your having fun! =)