I am the Worst Au Pair in Paris, today has confirmed it for me. Other cities I cannot comment on, but I know quite a few au pairs in Paris now and I am certain that I am The Worst.
First of all, I break and lose things a lot. I've lost a skipping rope and I lost some highlighter pens that the girls were fighting over. They ask me for this bloody skipping rope and those pens nearly every day. Also, the three children all have these hand-made breakfast bowls that have their names on and on Friday I smashed one. It kind of slipped out of my hands and I watched in slow motion as it fell to the floor and smashed into a million pieces. The little boy came running in and I had a horrible feeling it would be his bowl so I quickly gathered it all up in my massive cardigan and pretended nothing was wrong. He was shouting at me in French and there is nothing worse than being told off by a five year old so I shouted back 'It's fine, it's fine! Get out of the kitchen, it’s fine!' and then put all the pieces into a little bag and hid in behind the coffee maker. That was on Friday and I've not told the family yet.
Today was an awful example of how shit I am. It was 11.05 and I was sat on bed in my pyjamas drinking tea and stalking Girls Who Are More Attractive Than Me on Facebook. I have to pick the little boy up for lunch at 11.25 but I always, always leave it to the very last second before I leave. When I was finally ready I left, but then came hurtling back to my room because I realised I didn't have the family's house keys. I looked everywhere and couldn't find them. I looked under my bed, in all my bags, in my kitchen cupboards, in my underwear drawer... I looked absolutely everywhere and couldn't find them. By now it was 11.25 so I threw myself out into the corridor and ran down the street to get the little boy from school, all the while thinking 'shitshitshitshitshitshitshitshit.' I got there ten minutes late and had no idea what to do next. I am supposed to take him back to his house, cook and eat lunch with him and then take him back to school, all within an hour and a half.
At first I thought maybe I could take him back to mine for lunch, but I wasn't sure if this would be 'appropriate' and anyway I only had dry pasta and a satsuma in. Luckily I have the grandparent's phone number and they live on the same street as me so I rang up and asked if I could borrow their key. We went up to their apartment and the grandma gave me the key but she was quizzing me about where I thought the key was and she clearly though I was a scatty twat. I was sure that I'd left the key on the side in the family's apartment when I babysat on Friday night, but the grandma pointed out that surely the family would have seen the key and told me over the weekend?
You know when you have lost something really, really important and you are on your way to the place where you think it is and you are thinking 'What if it's not there, what if it's not there?' and there are those two opposing voices in your head and one is going 'It will be there, it will be there' and the other is going 'It might not be there, you have to be prepared...'? Well I those two little voices were both silenced when I finally got to the family's apartment because it wasn't there. I had lost their key and I had no idea where it could be.
I was panicking, trying to quickly cook something for lunch and think where the fucking key could be. I thought maybe I’d left it my big bag that I took to Lauren’s at the weekend and it had fallen out somehow, but I could only hope it had fallen out in her bedroom and not on the bus or in the street somewhere. While I was panicking about the key I found a note from the mum which was so, so confusing I just wanted to pack up my things and go back to England rather than decipher what ‘give them coru for starters, Wednesday I come form Turkey’ meant. Because this is the other reason I am a shit au pair; the food thing. I have no idea what they think a perfect lunch and dinner is because everything I give them seems to be wrong.
The mum said in her note that she was having a dinner party tonight and that she had bought some special cheese to make a ‘raclette’ which I think is like a fondue. Obviously I didn’t want to use all the ‘raclette cheese’ but I didn’t know what it looked like. The little boy said he wanted cheese on his pasta so I sliced a Babybel cheese because it was the only cheese I knew wouldn’t be the special dinner party cheese. The little boy came to the table and inspected the cheese. The other day he smelt that we were having goat’s cheese as soon as he walked in the door so I know he has a good knowledge of food. I waited, on edge, while he poked it and nibbled it. Then he went SICK. He was crying and yelling in French, telling me that Babybel isn’t cheese and that there was loads of nice cheese in the fridge so why did I give him Babybel which isn’t even a cheese it’s a snack… He got up and was opening the fridge and pointing at cheese and yelling and I just kept yelling ‘I KNOW WHAT CHEESE IS. I KNOW WHAT CHEESE IS. I KNOW WHAT CHEESE IS.’ I hope none of the neighbours can speak English.
After lunch I went straight back to my room to look for the bloody keys. I used the prayer that my nana always tells me to use and honestly, it has never failed me or my nana, never. It goes ‘Blessed Saint Anthony, Blessed Saint Anne, Please help me find my (lost item) as fast as you can.’ I kept saying it over and over again whilst looking all over my room. After a couple of minutes I found those bloody highlighters and my gloves (that I’ve been looking for everywhere) in my little leather rucksack. After five minutes I found- HALLELUJAH- the family’s keys. In my underwear drawer. I have no idea why there were in there but the annoying thing is I did look there this morning, but obviously I didn’t have the Saints on my side then.
Anyway, I’m so glad I found the keys, but I have absolutely no idea what I am supposed to be doing this week, part from feeding the kids ‘coru’ and ‘folding summer clothes well in case’.