Thursday, 8 September 2011

New Au Pairs and Old Au Pairs

I am waiting for a man to come and fit some blinds. I'm quite relieved because every time I go for a shower I look into everyone else's windows and think 'If I can see them, can they see me?' But I thought the fact that I didn't have any blinds meant that it was a given nobody could see in... Oh dear. As the mum of last year's family often said to me "You don't ask enough questions." I guess she was right. Which reminds me...

On Tuesday night me, Kayt, Georgie and Georgie's new Gentleman Friend drank quite a lot of wine outside a little bistro near where Kayt now lives. We got stared at rudely all night by the group of French people on a neighbouring table, but we had a marvellous time anyway and me and Kayt decided that we like Georgie's Gentleman Friend a lot, and not just because he paid for everyone's wine...

Anyway, the next morning, after a horrible period of about ten minutes when I got completely lost and found myself outside the Moulin Rouge, I made it on to the metro home and who did I bump into but the dad from my au pair family from last year, or 'Family Decent' as I often referred to them on here.

I was resting my head against the metal pole with my eyes closed, trying to wish away my hangover with willpower. When I opened my tired eyes I saw him sat opposite me, with his head buried in a newspaper. He looked all fresh and ready to work, while I was wearing the same clothes I had slept in, after drinking wine all night (I know- urgh). As I debated whether to let on or not, he looked up at me as I was looking at him, so I quickly jumped into Enthusiastic Ex-Nanny Mode- saying hello, asking after the kids and the new nanny etc etc.

Blind Man is here!

Half an hour later...

He is gone now, while he worked I walked to the Grand Palais and back, it is just beginning to sink in what an amazing location I am in. By the way, when I said Blind Man, I meant that the man who is fixing my blinds had arrived, not a man who happens to be blind.

Anyhoo, there I was on the metro, looking very hungover and disgusting, and there was the dad of my family from last year (probably thinking I had fallen on hard times since I left them). He said they have found a new au pair and she is Swedish. So now, as well as Super Au Pair to mentally compare myself against, I also have this to worry about:

Logic tells me that their new au pair probably won't be an absurdly attractive Swedish Bond Girl, yet I've just spent a good five minutes Googling 'Swedish nannies' and let's just say you wouldn't kick them out of bed. Damn, I can just see her now, Swedish Au Pair, worse than Super Au Pair...

I can picture her sashaying to the school in her blue and yellow cheerleader's outfit, with her white blonde hair swinging behind her like a shiny curtain. She'll be on time to collect the five year old year for lunch, and when he sees her posed by the school gates, standing a foot above all the other nounous, he'll yelp with delight and run to her... She'll laugh a good-natured laugh that shows off all of her straight, white teeth and then in one graceful movement she'll pick up the five year old and lift him onto her slim shoulders. (This will be easy for her because she's so strong from all the stuntwork she did for action movies back in Sweden.) Then she'll take the five year old home for meatballs and cloudberries, which he will eat with relish. If he doesn't comply, she'll talk to him in her special, stern voice and he'll Obey Her because she's Swedish Au Pair- Super Au Pair with blonde hair and a sexy accent.

That bitch.

She must speak fluent French and fluent English, because I know the mum wanted someone who could talk to the kids in English and help the eleven year old with all her homework. Hang on, she's not eleven anymore, she'll be twelve now! I didn't send her a birthday card or anything. I really am Shit Au Pair. She sent me a text over the summer saying 'How are you, our new au pair arrived today but I think of you every day' and I didn't text her back until a few days ago because I didn't have any credit.

Aww. I do actually miss them. I bet Swedish Au Pair won't play Dragon Babies with the five year old after she's had two hours sleep and a lot of cheap wine. I wonder if she'll fight Invisible Robots with her invisible Sword Ball?

Ha ha, I am just imagining the five year old trying to explain the game to her and Swedish Au Pair thinking 'What was wrong with that au pair, did she really do this shit?'

Yes I did Swedish Au Pair! I might not look like a Bond Girl but you should see me in action with an Invisible Sword Ball!

No, no. Karma, karma. I wish her well. I imagine she is more competent than me at everything. I bet the mum looks back over the past year and thinks 'Why did I keep paying that maniac?'

The good thing about my new job is that I am actually friends with their old au pair, Chloe. (Well, we have met three times, but we email each other a lot- honestly, I am not being a weirdo thinking she is my friend when she isn't.) She is giving me loads of advice about what to cook for them, what kind of games they play etc.

I haven't really talked about my new job yet... I was going to continue blogging about Ibiza but I can do that later- I have lots of free time and no desire at all to leave my room or do anything productive, like learn French for example.

So. On Monday I was terrified that I was going to Fuck Up but it went well. I found the school, I got there on time, and because it was the first day the mum was there with me. When we got back to the house I just had to play with the Eight Year Old until it was time for her to have a bath. I got a bit stressed about cooking dinner because the Eight Year Old doesn't like being on her own and I had no idea where anything was in the kitchen or what sort of thing I was supposed to cook. In the end, there was some chicken that needed using so I cooked it with cream and butter, and the baby's nanny had steamed some broccoli for me to use.

Their old au pair told me today in an email that she used to cook them risotto, homemade burgers, fajitas... all this sounds great but this was my problem last year- I want to cook them nice things but then I look in the fridge and all I see is courgettes and ham. So I just muddle along, slowly making the children dread mealtimes...

It's so different from last year though, because the mum and dad, and the baby's nanny, are in the house most of the time. I'm not used to that. There'll be no more sitting in the kitchen crying into the Nutella when things go wrong.

In some ways this job is more intense than last year, but in other ways I have less responsibility and I'm working a lot less hours than last year. For the first few weeks I'll be working more hours than normal because the girls haven't started their after-school activities yet, but once they start tennis and ballet, I won't start work until about six pm. Then I have to make the girls do their homework, cook dinner, run the bath for them and play with the Eight Year Old. I have to help them tidy their room and then that's it- I should be finished by about eight pm.

The Ten Year Old mostly looks after herself and like I said, the baby (well, he's really a toddler I suppose) has a full-time nanny.

I think once I get settled in I will feel more at ease with being in such a full house. The only problem is that the new family were supposed to pay for my Navigo (metro pass) but they didn't realise how expensive it was if you're not a student. So now they want me to try and forge myself some student papers... I am about as keen on this idea as a mushroom is magnetic, but Kayt has suggested I offer up a compromise- they pay 40 euros a month and I pay 20. So we'll see.

But so far everything is going quite well! Please don't let me have jinxed myself...

The other amazing thing about this job is that they have A CAT. It has the colouring of a Tabby but it is really long-haired and it has a little squashed up face. It is a bit of a struggle not to scoop her up and wear her on my face like a balaclava, especially as I am allergic to cats and have neglected to mention this to the family, but we have already had some sneaky stroking sessions and I know it is only a matter of time before I become the cat's favourite person in the house...

So that is my plan of action: Try and sort out Navigo, get cat to love me. After I have acheived these two goals I will allow myself to worry about the huge cloud hanging over me which is MONEY. But enough for today. I don't have to leave for work until about half three, so I am going to make myself another cup of tea and then I am going to settle down and watch Geordie Shore: Magaluf Madness.


  1. Can you please tell me how you sorted your Navigo card problem? I have the same issue, it's too late in the year to register for a student metro pass, but the Navigo is too expensive! Perhaps I should offer to pay the difference? I live out in zone 4 so it is very pricey.

    1. Sorry for the late reply! I suggested to my family that they pay half, which amounted to the same as 'paying the difference' for me, but I am only zones 1-2. Definitely ask your family if you can pay the difference and they pay the rest, because even though you live in zone 4, you came to Paris to go IN TO PARIS and they know this! Good luck!

  2. Hi
    I have read a bit of your blog and found your advice for au pairs very helpful so far, so now I hope you can help me a little bit more ;) I am searching for a family now and currently speaking with some people living in the 15th district of Paris. What do you think about this area of Paris? Yes, I googled, and that was a mistake (some people say it's boring). Yes, I know that Paris is Paris and it's probably great no matter what, but I am still curious as what to expect. Do you have any opinion about this area?

    1. Hi, I hope this reply isn't too late! The 15th is a bit boring but it's pretty and it's safe, you will be able to travel to other areas of Paris and come home to a nice part, so if you really like the family I wouldn't worry about being in a boring bit, although beware the shops and cafes are so expensive there! x