Dear AuPairMom — Our family has had au pairs since 2008. We had some amazing aupairs some mediocre and some terrible experiences that resulted in rematches. So one would think that we went through so many situations, we now know how to pick the right au pair and we know when it’s time for rematch. But NO.
Right now we have our first male au pair. He came 5 weeks ago and so much has happened and right now we are totally torn whether to go into rematch or not.
We have 2 energetic boys, whose fights and behaviours are not always the best. One is very competitive and the other one struggles with school work (slow to learn how to read and thus doesn’t like school).
We could immediately see that the au pair is a natural when talking to kids and playing with them. The silly boys jokes that the girl au pairs couldn’t really handle didn’t bother him but he knew when to say it’s too much. The boys listen to him.
I had high hopes from the beginning. Interestingly, my husband didn’t like his energy. DH said that when we skyped, the au pair seemed a bot hyper and in a too good of a mood.
As usual I took my time to train him and talk to him about everything every night for about 3 weeks. Mistakes were made, but I felt that is part of the training. He would forget things that I wrote for him in notes, told him few times and even texted him to remind him.
Then spring break came and I started doubting the Au Pair’s judgment:
One of the biggest topic of training was that our boys who are 7 and 9 are not allowed to cross the street by themselves. I don’t even know how many times I said that, it’s in the HH rules, everywhere. Recently, while the AP and I were talking about something completely different, I mentioned the rule against crossing the street alone. The au pair tells me he lets the older one get the ball from the street when they played baseball in the driveway. Red Red Flag!
A day or two after: I see that my younger has burns on his arm. How did that happen? The au pair brought the huge hot pan from the oven on the table to serve the chicken!
When they went to friends house who have a trampoline: I told him the trampoline makes me nervous, make sure they are safe and watch them all the time. He ended up joining them, but jumping so hard kids couldn’t control their movements; my older one fell weird on his knees and he was limping for more than a day.
Finally I told him that the kids don’t have to play sports all the time as they are very competitive with each other, but if they play the same sport to put them on the same team. After school they played soccer on different teams. Younger one pushed the older one and he broke 3 bones including a growth plate. I know it can happen anytime to anyone. But the fact that it happened while not even checking if this is ok, makes me very concerned.
There are other issues too.
Our au pairs usually work 30-35 hours: if I asked him to add 10 min to lunch time so he can wash the pans or pots, he said no I’ll do it in the evening and then nothing. Whatever I would suggest he had an opposite suggestion.
Any time we give him feedback he is very receptive, but nothing happens. So we ended up having a serious talk followed by mediation and he is really now trying hard: doing extra things in the house that I don’t care much about it. Trying to implement other things with kids, like arts and crafts… Still very nice to kids, very patient, needs to work on setting limits to kids etc, but that is ok.
But can I trust him?
Can I believe that once my son’s cast is off the kids will be safe with him? I don’t know. I’m nervous of something else happening.
Can someone without a common sense somehow find a common sense? I suspect not, but then it’s so hard going into rematch when the relationship with kids is one of the best.
I need some perspective from other host parents! NervousHostMom
Image by Julius Vols on Flickr