Don’t break your au pair
On the first weekend after our newest au pair arrived, she went nuts with the cleaning. She cleaned the plastics cupboard to within an inch of its life, she introduced fabric softener into our household, she baked this chocolate cake with chocolate toffee topping amongst other things, she jogged 5km with the dog, joined the gym, brought tangerine exercise shoes and new sponges for the kitchen. She came with infectious energy, and once again we found another unique soul to share our family with.
And then, because she has very long toes (hereditary apparently from her very long-toed father) and misjudged her step during a jog on holidays she broke herself (in spectacular fashion) on the pavement of a little beach town. She’s now got scabby knees, a cast on her cracked right elbow bone, a sling and a simmering frustration that must be driving her crazy. I jokingly said she’d have to go back to where she came from because she can’t hang out the washing anymore, but tonight I watched her fold a huge basket of laundry one-handed, so I think we’ll have to keep her, for effort at least!
She won’t really tell us how she feels (even though if I said pissed off, frustrated, aggravated, upset, sad, bothered, annoyed, perturbed, futile or useless I don’t think she’d disagree) and in an effort to help her out (and make sure she heals quickly so she can start hanging out the washing again, keep the plastics cupboard under control and cut the onions with swimming goggles on) we have given her a couple of very parental lectures on taking it easy, have taken some jobs off her (including arranging someone else to clean the house tomorrow, not because we’re clean freaks but because if it doesn’t get done she will be the one-armed vacuum cleaner bandit, which defeats the purpose of resting it!), and teased her mercilessly about falling over each time she goes to walk anywhere (well HE does that, not me, but I bet it’s annoying). Not only can she not do things in her au pair role BUT she also has to ask for help to do things for her – which she finds worse. I have promised I will make her make me tea and help me in the shower when she’s better!
But none of that really seems to be helping, and as this afternoon rolled on, we ended up kid free, so without the distraction of any girls, the boredom really kicked in. We should have challenged her to another game of Scattergories (because she can’t write very fast with her left hand, and doesn’t really get how a “Little beach towel” is a fair response to “Something found at the beach” using the letter “L” – I don’t think this is because of her injuries or because English isn’t her first language, but we all cheated in the same way much to her disgust!) but instead we’ve opted for an early night and some study.
So after all that my hot tip for Sunday is, don’t break your highly motivated au pair, not because it’s inconvenient but because she will go NUTS. And not with the cleaning.