Giuseppe Lazzarini insists on opening doors for people. He enjoys building things and just sitting and watching a good film. His favorite foods are pasta and pizza. Sounds like a perfect gentleman? Well, Giuseppe is 5, and was also not too keen on the idea of having a nanny (me).
When I arrived, Margherita, his little sis warmed right up to me and was walking hand in hand with me almost as soon as I walked off the plane. Giuseppe was polite, yet shy. However, soon the shyness turned into a general dislike of my presence. I tried everything. I didn't show my irritation at his stubbornness and had been nothing but sweet to this kid, so my friends endured my venting as I described his various insults throughout the day. I was so confused! Kids like me, and I like them. Even the most stubborn and closed off kids have become my buddies.
His mother, Monica, was encouraging, and said that he told his school friend that he liked having me here. However, I was greeted with a 5-year-old death stare. I was told that on Wednesday I was to pick him up from school for the first time, bring him home, and hang out with him for a few hours. I was completely convinced the kid wouldn't leave the school door if he saw me standing outside of it. The picture was clear in my mind: I would walk up to the door, he would take one peek and see the American invader waiting for him, and he would slam the door with a quick "Arrivederci!" I was sure this is how it would go. I needed a game plan.
I knew that Giuseppe loves to watch cartoons. So I planned to let him pick out whatever one he wanted and watch it with him. I prayed for the rest to come to me as Wednesday I walked to his school with a fake "everything is fine" face and slow walk.
I reached the gates and entered a world of moms chattering in Italian. I took a breath, walked up to the door, and asked for Giuseppe. They opened the door wider, and there he was, no expression on his face. I smiled like a good nanny and said "Ciao Guiseppe! Come stai?" No answer. Well, this is getting off to a great start. We walked to the side of the school and he ate his snack in silence. One the way home he did not walk next to me, only behind, no matter how slow I walked. When we got home he asked if he could pick out a cartoon and I cheerfully replied that of course he could. Halfway through the movie I asked him if he was hungry and when he said yes, I brought him and I cookies to eat. You may call it bribing, but save your judgment for when you have a scowling 5 year old Italian on your hands. He smiled at me for the first time. Ok, this is good!
After the movie he was a bit more talkative. By the grace of God (literally) I was able to understand his Italian. I was even able to reply a few times. We went outside and I seized the opportunity to have fun with him to show him I was not scary. Him and I played a combination of soccer, football, and who knows what else in the yard and had a grand time. After that was over we returned inside and watched a short cartoon again. He got up during the parts with music and danced, and jumped around, looking back at me and laughing. I could not smile big enough to express my relief and happiness. We are friends.
Peace in Christ