Monday, 13 December 2010


I don't know why badly paid jobs like being a cleaner and looking after other people's children are considered 'low skill'.

They are Very. Difficult.

I was moaning to Lauren at the weekend, saying 'Oh I'm so shit I can't even do someone else’s washing and make their kids obey me, how am I ever going to get a proper job if I can't even do this?' and she pointed out that it is stupid to think like this. Being an au pair or a live in maid or whatever is not an easy job, so it doesn't mean I am a pleb if I am struggling. And also it is pretty insulting to people who are cleaners to go around saying "If I can't even do your piss-easy job, there is no hope for me."

Tonight it all kicked off with the three kids because I gave them soup for dinner. There was a big pan of homemade soup in the fridge and last week the mum had a go at me for not using soup up the day after it has been made, so I thought, right we'll have the soup to please the mum and we'll have snails for starters to please the kids. They are obsessed with snails and they have them in the freezer in packs of twelve from Picard which is like a frozen Waitrose, or a luxury Iceland.

Anyway after the snails they caught sight of the soup on the hob and they went siiick. The eleven year old girl stormed off saying they had had soup 'every night' and she rang the mum and was bitching about me in French.

"You can make rice or purée!" the kids yelled.

I wanted to yell back "I'm not the weird one!!! Rice or pureed veg is not 'dinner', rice with chicken tikka masala and naan bread is normal, or roasted vegetables served with roasted meat and gravy is normal, not plain fucking rice or pureed fucking vegetables!!'

I didn't shout this, but I did shout quite a lot tonight. They wouldn't come for their dinner, they wouldn't have a shower, and they wouldn't answer me. The only thing they would do is shout 'putain' at me which they use to mean fuck or shit as well as to call people a 'whore'. I yelled 'Don't say putain to me!' and they went all quiet because they didn't think I'd understand.

This was all before they came to the dinner table and ate the snails and realised there was soup for dinner. After the soup revelation or Soupgate as I'll call it from now on, I was really worried that the mum would be mad at me, because even though the mum had told me snails followed by soup is a perfect 'dinner' and even though she had told me I must use up soup if I see it in the fridge, the kids made me feel as if I was doing something ridiculously wrong.

That’s the thing with spending so much time with kids. You loose your common sense bit by bit until one day you are letting them eat ice cream for dinner whilst they paint the house turquoise blue.

The situation got worse and worse but something the mum said to the eleven year on the phone made her sit down and attempt to eat her soup and the other two followed suit. But then the oldest asked me to pass her some bread. So I passed her what was left of the French baguette. It was not a large amount but in the French way she exclaimed 'All this!?' (You don't need to read that book 'Why French Women Don't Get Fat', I'll tell you the answer- it's because they don't eat big portions and they don't eat between meals, simple) so I said "Just tear a bit off" and she shook her head and said 'You don't know!' and went to get a knife.

They say this a lot. They say 'You don't know' when I don't put balsamic vinegar on the salad (I thought I'd let them put their own on because a lot of five year olds in England wouldn't eat salad swimming in balsamic vinegar, but before I could explain this I was drowned out by a chorus of 'You don't know!' and they proceeded to add so much vinegar that none of them could eat it), they say 'You don't know' when I eat the stalk of my broccoli, they say 'You don't know' when I leave the skins on the potato...

You get home and you think 'What do I know?'

And it turns out, not a lot. I don't know what I'm going to do after Paris, because I don't know what I could possibly do. What job could I do, really? What job in the whole world? I can't do cleaning, cooking or looking after children, I can't do maths or science or business type things, I can't speak a foreign language or make baskets or talk to horses. I can make tea, but sometimes I fuck that up if I'm not paying attention and I pour too much milk in or don't leave the bag in for long enough. The only really good thing I can do is sleep. I can make myself sleep if I am bored. Is this a skill I make money from? Probs not, I fear.

No comments:

Post a Comment