My first week as an Au Pair or 135,602 Reasons why I’m not having kids anytime soon.

Photo: Me, out for a walk in beautiful Bandon.

Apologies for the great big gap in communications! I have arrived safely in Bandon, Co. Cork, and settled in nicely. Its hard to find time to write in between looking after the kids – the eldest girl tends to stand next to me and watch everything I’m doing and ask constant questions. This happens even when I’m ‘off duty’, because, of course, I’m living in their house, and its hard to draw a line between what I’m doing for work and what I’m doing just because I like her. Its tricky, because of course, I want to be friends with her and want her to like me, but at the same time, I want to be able to do my own work and write emails and take walks in the quiet etc. etc. The littlest girl is just SO full of energy. Its a constant game of chase with her – NO, don’t jump in the muddy ditch, NO, don’t slide into the mud, NO, don’t pick up the container full of old dog food and water, NO, don’t put paint on your face, put it on the paper. Fun times!
There’s so much to talk about, but its all over the place, all different topics. So, I’m going to restrict myself to talking about my job as an au pair at the moment, and later I’ll tell you all about the awesome people I’ve met and the artsy things that are going on and the rolling hills and all the cider I’ve been drinking.
Well, to give you an idea of what I’m going through, I just had a break of about 6 and a half hours between writing that last sentence and starting again. In that 6 and a half hour ‘break’, I have painted with the youngest, and then changed her clothes. Gone into the garden with her, played on the swings, played on the slide, played chasies and then changed her clothes. I’ve played endless games of Ludo with the elder girl (this is not the real Ludo, by the way. Its game of her devising, which basically involves us rolling the dice and moving our counter the amount of spaces the dice says. When she thinks I’m not looking, she moves her counter more spaces, or rolls her dice more times until she gets the number she wants – I’m trying to break her out of this! Cheeky monkey!) I’ve watched ‘The Witches’, and ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks’. I’ve watched ‘Peppa the Pig’ (over and over and over again. Peppa Pig…. Peppa Pig… there’s a tune that goes with these words, but I can’t accurately describe it in my blog). I’ve helped both of them climb a ladder. I’ve helped them climb down. I’ve helped them climb up. I’ve helped the climb down. I ran all over the place getting ‘food’ for the eldest girl, who was pretending to be a queen, and then packing it up. I’ve then attended mass, presided over by the Queen/Pope, where I was told I had to pray to God, eat lots of fruit and veggies and not play Wii too much. I went outside with the girls and Murray the dog and Lucky the cat. I tried to stop the youngest getting entirely covered in mud. I failed. I changed her again. I taught the eldest ‘chopsticks’ on piano (mistake!) I cleaned her shoes. I did 4 loads of washing, drying and folding clothes. I washed all the dishes. And about 10 minutes ago, when I sighed, the eldest asked, ‘Are you bored?’
No, no, I am EXHAUSTED.
Its been a steep learning curve. I flatter myself that I’m pretty good at the job. I’m not bad at multi-tasking, or finding things for the girls to do, keeping my energy up and being patient. But, my goodness. I couldn’t do it full-time. The eldest girl in particular is very difficult at finding things to do on her own. If you leave her alone for all of 5 minutes, she’ll come looking for you saying, ‘I’m bored’ and demand attention or games or…. anything. Something. Entertain me! She just found me. ‘Can I watch you write your email?’ Good lord. She also wants me to be exactly the same as her. ‘We have the same earrings.’ Whilst eating porridge: ‘Are you going to eat porridge? I think you should eat porridge.’ Whilst eating ice-cream: ‘Don’t you want an ice-cream?’ ‘I’m allergic to those earrings, aren’t you allergic to those earrings?’ etc. etc. etc. She’s also very competitive, she tries to find sneaky ways of getting me away from her sister, and she tells me things like, ‘Is your house bigger than ours? I knew it wasn’t,’ or, ‘My Dad is the strongest in the house. And then my uncle. And then my mum, and then you.’ Great, thanks. She is lovely though, its just the age she’s at. She tries really hard to help me, telling me where everything is in the house, telling me how to use the computer, how to use the stove, how to use the DVD player etc.
The youngest is adorable and very enthusiastic. She claps her hands and hits you and wiggles her bottom when you suggest things to do. That is, as long as you agree to go along with what she wants to do. That usually involves getting very, very, very messy. In fact, I venture a guess that a great deal of Ireland’s carbon footprint is due to this 4 year old girl. Today, she has been changed at least 4 times and all of these clothes now need to be washed, and dried, to make sure she has enough clothes for tomorrow’s assault on the world.
Despite all this, its a pretty rewarding job. There are definite perks. Like, spontaneous hugs and/or hand-holding. Incredibly enthusiastic morning greetings. And there is an incredible sense of satisfaction and achievement after a day with the girls and cleaning the house. I think its a combination of the physical activity, the simple tasks, and the appreciation you get from the girls (its a rare job that your employers give you hugs and kisses when you’ve done something they like…. well, it would be a weird/potential sexual harassment case if most employers did that, anyway).
I’m going to have to leave it there, I think. I don’t know if I actually listed any reasons why I’m not having kids soon, but I presume it was assumed in all the things I was saying. I’m too selfish, basically. There is still more Jenny time to be had. I don’t think I can devote my every waking hour to little ones just yet. But, anyway, I will reiterate again, my brain feels like mush. I am utterly wrecked. I have so many things I want to do this evening, but I’m going to have to watch some more Alvin and the Chipmunks before then. I have been watching a lot of telly and drinking a lot of cider recently, because I’m so tired by the end of the day, so that is also a drawback, but hopefully I’ll start getting used to it and get back into writing etc. a little bit more.
Love you all!

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “My first week as an Au Pair or 135,602 Reasons why I’m not having kids anytime soon.

  1. Just read that through again. Not great grammar or proof-reading or descriptions. I reiterate: brain of mush.

  2. HI Jen — You will have to introduce yourself to Mohammed Shobaki on FB — He's our Manny and I am sure you two could share some very similar experiences. Alina sounds a lot like Jackson and Connor sounds like Alex — particuilarly with the changes of clothes! I hate to admit that my boys could be held accountable for water shortages here — fortunately we've a had a fair bit of rain in the last year!

  3. Hahahaha soo funny! Now Jen, just think if you have kids then you could hire an au pair yourself! πŸ˜‰

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