I’d say however many it took to get you to write this email, SafetyConsciousHostMom.
Any email that asks “how many kitchen fires are too many?” gets my automatic reply “Rematch Now”.
We are a family with an 18 year old bro pair who’s been so-so. He’s not super great with the kids or the chores, but he’s been tolerable.
In his second month with us he broke his arm so badly he needed surgery — recklessly skateboarding sown a hill. I had thought that that might make him become a bit more cautions, but no.
So far our au pair:
Broke a kid’s bed, roughhousing with the child
Broke his own bed frame — don’t even ask how
Blew out an electrical circuit in our house using too many appliances at once.
Ruined the washing machine by overloading it
And last week, he caused a small fire toasting bagel sandwiches in the oven.
This morning, I awakened to the smoke alarm. I ran into the kitchen to see flames coming out of the oven and smoke everywhere. Our au pair had tried to toast a bagel sandwich, again, but this time using the same cookie sheet on which he’d broiled bacon. The pan was full of grease, and caught on fire. I grabbed baking soda and dumped it on the sandwich while my husband turned off the alarm.
Our au pair was remarkably relaxed and unconcerned about it all.
I am very touchy about fire safety, since I lost a house to fire as a teenager. The au pair and my husband both seemed to think it was not a big deal and that small kitchen fires are a perfectly normal part of life. I do 90% of the family cooking and have never once started a fire. Much less twice in someone else’s house.
Even looking at the bigger picture, my husband thinks this level of carelessness is very normal for an 18 year old boy. He may be right, but I am at my wits end.
I am frustrated. I am concerned my children (8 and 13) aren’t safe. And I think I need this au pair gone.
My husband thinks I am overreacting because of my own experiences. What do you think? Is there a number of fires or accidents that should be allowed before I can set my foot down and say, “You’ve got to go!.”?
In addition to that obvious answer, there’s also the question of how you can get support from your Host Dad partner for taking some action. Host Dad thinks you’re overreacting while you feel he’s not being sensitive about your legitimate fears… and this is something to address, too.
Moms and Dads? Au Pairs? Weigh in, below: