Tip: Save those Ice Skates!

by cv harquail on January 18, 2009

edgemont pond

At the park across the street, the pond has frozen.
(This is actually what it looks like!)

Every time the pond freezes, I congratulate myself for saving my old ice skates.

About five years ago, when my little ones were taking skating lessons , I bought myself skates that actually fit me so that I could avoid renting the smelly ones at the town rink. I intended to give my old size 6 1/2 skates away. But I never got around to it.

Then, we had a cold snap, the pond froze, my kids wanted to go skating outside, where you’re really supposed to skate, and our au pair wanted to take them. But they don’t rent skates at the pond.

52 Weeks - Ice Skating! on Flickr - Photo Sharing!_1232308691533

But then, I remembered those old skates. They were still at the bottom of the equipment basket in the garage! And although this particular au pair had tiny feet, the skates fit her well enough that she could join the kids on the ice.

And the takeaway tip:

Keep some of that old stuff — the extra bike that your brother left at your house 12 years ago, the bag of soccer balls, pinnies and cones from the years you coached the 3rd grade soccer team, your partner’s squash racket from graduate school, the guitar you don’t play any more — you never know when you’ll have an au pair who can enjoy them. We even had an au pair who used the first generation roller blades that my little sister handed down to me in 1994, that I think I used a total of once.


Yes, of course, I should recycle a lot of this stuff to friends, homes or charities that can put them to good use. And I do recycle some of these sorts of things. But ever since we’ve had au pairs, I’ve been happy to think twice about whether it might be worth it to hold on to something just in case I have an au pair who might want to use it.

Especially with things that wouldn’t make sense for your au pair to buy — like the ice skates she’ll be able to use just a handful of times, or the guitar that she can’t take back home on the plane — it’s great to be able to share what you already have and may not use.

Finally, a way to show my au pair that this super-cold weather can actually lead to fun!


Fernanda January 21, 2009 at 9:17 pm


You either take me as au pair too?
I love ice skating here in Brazil has some places that is skating on ice, but ice is all done because it is very hot in here …

But congratulations on your initiative, it is true that there are many au pair that has amazing gifts such as playing guitar and violin, keyboard, paint. or even love to go back, skates and really there to buy and leave it very difficult, but if you have and allow them to use is incredible.

Every day I am most impressed with the attitude of mothers like you who are concerned with both children and the au pair …

God help me to find one like you!

Again congratulations!

A question? It bother you that I read and write this blog, because I want to be an au pair?

Beth January 25, 2009 at 8:28 am

This was great advice…my au pair loves to ice skate. And I remembered that we have a couple pairs of roller blades in the garage for when it’s warmer. She was excited to hear that, she couldn’t bring her rollerblades from Germany. So thanks!

Sara Duke January 5, 2010 at 11:10 pm

I have saved items that were too small for me: waterproof pants (for unanticipated snows here in Washington DC so au pairs can join my son sledding), down vests, heavy mittens, etc.

I keep some of the clothing my former au pairs have discarded when they move on: a down coat, a rain jacket with hood, a chunky knit sweater, polartec vest, etc. They come in handy for au pairs from warm climates who have no experience acquiring clothing to stay warm, and I don’t have to spend a penny when the temperature suddenly drops and they’ve spent their salary clubbing. We have a large closet for our au pairs, and I talk about each item when they arrive, and tell them that they don’t need to use them, but that they are to stay when they move on.

(We also have an electric space heater for the basement bedroom for when the mercury drops and the au pair wishes she still lived in the tropics.)

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