Today has been a bit hectic juggling kids and work. Not that I’m working all the time – just 4 times a year, if you forget about the home Dad "work" (which a lot of people don’t see as being err… work). Thankfully my current job deadline has been put back.
But as it is Monday, it is one of two days during the week when Rémy eats with me and Emma. So I had to go and pick him up from school at lunchtime. When I arrived I got a hello and des bises from the mother of one of Rémy’s class friends, who walked up behind me as I was taking Emma out of the bike trailer. We walked together into the little open area in front of the school gates where we had a chat about usual mundane things like the fact it is chilly and problems with heating etc, and I was just explaining that we have doors all round the house rather than windows – so our place gets very cold. Then we were joined by another mother. They both obviously know each other pretty well and started chatting about things I couldn’t possibly contribute to. I felt pretty uncomfortable as if I was listening in on a private conversation and that the mother of Rémy’s classmate had totally forgotten I was there.
So after shuffling about uncomfortably (I was carrying Emma too) I just wandered away from them and left them talking.
As it is I am very uncomfortable when it comes to the school run. I have made the effort to say "Bonjour" to other people, but the majority never ever make the effort to say Bonjour to me unless I do so to them. It seems a lot of the kids in Rémys class also live in the same street – the other side of the village from where we live (including the mother of Rémys classmate). So they all know each other very well and I feel a bit like being stuck out in the cold.
Sometimes I come over all paranoid and think that they just don’t know how to deal with someone English and of course, I don’t seem to know how to deal with them either. Last year I would speak English to Rémy as I went to get him from his classroom – as I picked up his coat, bag, doudou etc. Admittedly I’d get some strange looks – well I’m the "only Brit in the village". But this year, from la rentrée, when in the school cloakroom and playground I speak in French with Rémy until I get outside the school gates and then switch to speaking English to him. Just to prove to everyone that this English guy both understands and can speak French.
But in general it is the big cold shoulder which now I’m trying to ignore. If they are going about their own business, then so will I and I’ll leave it at that.