On Valentine’s Day, Give Your Au Pair a Heart Attack

by cv harquail on February 12, 2013


What are you doing to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your Au Pair?

My girls just finished decorating our kitchen for Valentine’s Day-– some shiny hearts, a glittery “I Love You” sign, and a few foil garlands. Tomorrow I’ll put up the heart-shaped wreath with the tiny lights, then the special valentine that Petal made me when she was 7, and we’ll be ready.

I’m embarrassed to say, but even now that my girls are tweenagers I still get a kick out of using the holiday decor I bought at CVS when they were babies.

At the end of January, the Power of Moms (one of the few mom blogs I ever have the time to enjoy) had a lovely feature:

7 Family Activities to Fill February with Love

One of the suggestions I liked the most was the “Heart Attack”.  It’s an easy one to get all the kids involved, to include your au pair, and to make a few mementos for her/him to take back home at the end of the year of adventure. The details for creating a Heart Attack are below, and also at the Power of Moms.

If you try this– take some pictures and send them in!!

What are you doing to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your Au Pair?

Heart Attack

power of moms heart attack.jpg

One of my favorite family activities is the “heart attack” we give each other. Towards the beginning of the month (usually the first Monday of the month), we cut out construction paper hearts (all sizes and colors), write down what we love about a  family member on each heart (the little kids dictate to someone who can write), then stick the completed hearts all over our kitchen cabinets.

It’s great to see what everyone comes up with ands we’re all reminded of the love we share every time we’re in the kitchen. Plus it’s an easy and meaningful way to decorate for Valentine’s Day.



Kelly Hand February 13, 2013 at 12:57 am

This is a fun idea, and I am sure au pairs would love getting such affirmational valentines from kids and host parents–at least if the relationship is genuinely good. If the relationship is not so great, this could just put the au pair on the spot to express warm feelings she does not have. I recall my own experience as an au pair when my host mom often wanted to perpetuate the illusion that everything was great when it was not. When I worked as a counselor for au pairs, it was striking how often there was a huge gap between the perspectives of the au pair and her host parents. Sometimes it’s the au pair who thinks everything is great and that her family adores her when in fact they may find her difficult. The blog posts on this site often express such points of view. This is why I wrote a novel about au pairs and host families–because these gaps in perspective teach us something about the very nature of stories. Every au pair, every host parent, every counselor, and indeed every person is an unreliable narrator!

Taking a Computer Lunch February 14, 2013 at 8:11 am

I agree. If the HF-AP relationship is not going well, then a cute Valentine professing adoration will seem forced. However, there are other ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day that say, “I am thinking of you and who you are,” without creating false sentiment. Give your AP a book that is relevant to who she is – a travel book or map for a city she intends to visit, another novel is the series you know she has been reading, a work on topic in which she is interested. Give her a small box of chocolates. In my house, everyone gets a small gift for Valentine’s Day, but only DH gets a card!

HRHM February 14, 2013 at 11:11 am

True that! We certainly don’t want to leave out our AP, even if we aren’t “in love” with her! What a glaring way to make her feel bad. There are plenty of neutral sounding cards, a little pink carnation in a bud vase or a 5 dollar starbucks gift card to just help her feel that she is not being left out of the “love-fest”!

Should be working February 14, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Our AP was all grumpy leading up to Valentine’s Day, because in her country it is apparently only a celebration of boyfriend-girlfriend infatuation, and she doesn’t have one now. She was so surprised to realize that the kids make valentines for friends, relatives send them to kids, and friends even give them to friends. She got her hands on my daughter’s extra “Li’l Bratz” valentines and loved signing a few for some of her friends.

ReturnAupair February 15, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Thanks for the Advice i made a lot of hearts with my kids (2,4,6) and wrothe on the hearts who they love. We put it on the frigde. The Parents where really thankfull when they came home with all those hearts on the frigde :)

cv harquail February 16, 2013 at 10:57 am

Woot! We did this at my house too, and DH loved it.

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