Friday, 13 April 2012

What I’ve learned and observed as an Au Pair

1.       That while I like children, I will not even consider having my own for a minimum of 5 years. I am quite enjoying my youth thank-you.
2.       The best or most effective ways to deal with temper tantrums are subjective. Each parent has their own idea of “what’s best”. How a situation is managed should depend on the severity of the child’s actions. One method does not fit all.
3.       That ‘being at home with children’ is a job in itself. Well obviously as I am employed in such a position. It’s not all clean floors and endless relaxation time. In fact, there is rarely any relaxation time.
4.       When children are involved, you are never finished cleaning up. And just when you think you’ve got everything done and back in order; someone is hungry, dumping a big box of Lego onto the floor, or emptying all the CD cases of their CDs.
5.       There is rarely a break. Even when you think you’re going to sit down and enjoy your lunch, someone doesn’t like what they have and wants something else or has already finished and wants more. Nap time is used for clean-up. It isn’t until both kids are in school, that you get a minute. 
6.       Children under the age of two should be in a high chair or booster seat they cannot get out of when drawing and colouring utensils are involved. Otherwise you end of with marker on: the wall, the chair, the dresser, other toys, and even...your pants. Does that song about black socks apply to jeans? Black jeans they never get dirty...?
7.       The ‘all by myself’ thing starts early. I sit with the toddler as she eats her yogurt. I watch her load up her spoon and bring it to her mouth. I continue to watch as she turns the spoon upside down, prior to it entering her mouth and watch as half the yogurt spills onto her bib and the other half eventually make it into her mouth. I watch as she scoops up the yogurt from her bib and places it into her mouth as well. We’re having Chicken Noodle soup for lunch. It is much runnier than the yogurt and runs right off the bib. I then watch her pick up the bowl and tilt it so she can drink the broth. Her pants are always soaked after soup. But she doesn’t want help. Good for her. I think she’s even starting to get it bit better.
8.       Dumping yogurt out onto the table and then moving it all around with your hands is a fun game.
9.       5 year olds have a great imagination. Tight rope walkers named Zucchini and people who dance with snakes are not imaginary games I would have thought of playing.
10.   Lock the bathroom door when anyone else is present in the house. Otherwise, children will let themselves in and expose your rear for anyone in the hallway to see.
11.   Children always get stuff on your clothes. Food, tears, snot, juice, marker, sand, etc.
12.   Their noses always run. Don’t go anywhere without Kleenex.
13.   I hate the parents that send their kids to school with the flu or any other stomach viruses. Naturally, the children touch everything and all the other children bring it home and pass it on to you. I’ve had at least two stomach bugs this winter. The last time I had a stomach bug, was when I was the child and in elementary school.
14.   People who park their car on the sidewalk or block more than half of it are the worst. Yes, I will wait as you move for me as I am not about to dodge into traffic with a stroller full of someone else’s kids. Also, your bike belongs somewhere other than the sidewalk. Oh yes, just let me pull the stroller over so you can wheel on by. And finally, hey street planners, if you want everyone to be so damn environmentally friendly and ride their bikes, put in some more damn bike lanes!
And finally, while I am already ranting about the sidewalk blockers and other sniffling children, I would like to add a note to the coffee shop/children’s indoor play place. Your store is geared to parents with children under the age of 5. Yet, your food is not overly kid friendly and you have placed toys that are for sale within the reach of a toddler under 2. In fact, you have put it at their eye level and then pointed out to me that the children are not allowed to touch anything that is for sale, just the toys in the buckets. Yeahhhh, the children don’t see the difference. And if you own or are working for such a business, you should know better.

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