Friday, January 8, 2010

The Au Pair Reference Guide

In the few short days that the kids have been in my possession, I've learned a few important and key lessons very quickly.

1. Moms have large purses for 2 reasons: 1.) Snacks. 2.) To hold the items that have been confiscated that one sibling used to hit the other one with. ie: gloves.

2. Get in the car, start it, and say "Bye kids!" That will get them running.

3. Don't bother repeating yourself when saying "Hurry up!" or "Let's go, you're going to be late." They don't care. Just start walking and they will follow. See number 2.

4. When it comes to small decisions like what to eat or what book to read, don't give them a choice--you'll be wasting your time and theirs. They don't know what they want. Just put something in front of them to eat and start reading any book. They'll enjoy both.

5. Can't get your child to stop running around in a quiet waiting room? Give them a camera with a viewing screen. Best. Thing. Ever.

6. A piggy-back ride is the most effective method for a child that lags behind or won't stop throwing snowballs at their sister. They love it and it's a pretty good workout, too.

7. Snacks. Always always always have them. See number 1. Have one healthy and one junky (ie: a cookie and an orange). They are also incredibly effective bribing tools. Seriously, never leave home without them.

8. All of those ridiculous songs I learned at cheer camp in high school have finally come in handy. Go learn some for long walks home... Especially the banana song which will support number 9.

9. Run, race, hopscotch, jump. Just get them out of breath and exhausted and you'll have a quiet evening to yourself. See number 8.

10. Oh, what? You say that you can't get Clement to eat cauliflower? That's funny because today, when I "food-processed" it and mixed it in with white rice, he had no clue he was even eating cauliflower! AND, he asked for seconds. Lauren-1 Parents-0. Work smarter, not harder.

11. There is a wrong way and right way.

The wrong way: "Awww, poor Cecile? You tripped and fell in the snow? Oh my goodness! Is your hand okay? Don't cry! Give me a hug."

The right way: "Cecile, you fell in the snow? That's what happens when you try to hit your brother and aren't paying attention to where you're going. Your hand looks fine to me. Let's keep going, kid. If you hurry, you can get home and put a bandaid on before the germs make your hand fall completely off!"

12. Deep breaths and lots of them.

13. Make everything a game or a race against the clock. Dramatize.

14. Hand sanitizer.

15. When they decide to eat dirty snow, tell them once, not to do it. If they try again, just let them eat it... I'm sure they'll be fine.

16. If you want anything to be accomplished, turn off the t.v. It is a bribing technique, not background noise.

17. There are times where they won't like you. Get over it because in about an hour, they will, too.

To be continued...

Today's Gratitudes:

  • I'm going to Paris this weekend with my dad before he heads off to the the South of France!
  • Naps
  • Streaming television, mainly the Today Show (Side note: Regularly scheduled programs were made for people without children). It's nice to be able to keep up with what's going on back home.

  • My french is quickly coming back... although, there's been no other option seeing as English isn't spoken here.
  • The amazing few back home who are tying up loose ends for me. Thank you


  1. lauren this is my favorite post ever, so funny! you are always so witty but this is amazing. and so true, those are the same lessons i've learned with my little cousins/babysitting charges. Those kids are pretty darn cute though, esp the little guy. dude your french is going to be HELLA FLUENT when you get back ;). the "bye kids" trick works like a charm. and i'm sure a little yellow snow never hurt anyone..

  2. This is HILARIOUS. My favorite:
    "Let's keep going, kid. If you hurry, you can get home and put a bandaid on before the germs make your hand fall completely off!""
    You already have learned so much! You're like the perfect parent, err, au pair. Those kids are lucky! Your attitude seems exactly right. I think kids just want structure and rules, and they have no idea how to choose anything.
    Have fun in Paris!

  3. Lol this is great :) lucky kids!! You sound like a modern day Mary Poppins...

  4. I love that little boy's hat. I want to make one just like it.

  5. Omg, I bumped into your blog like yesterday and finished reading it today. The description of your daily life is hilarious while the ones of your relatives or even of the kids are just deeply touching.

    I've been an aupair for 3 months in Ireland and will leave in a week. And with four difficult girls and irresponsible parents to handle with, I can understand what you went through. It's a kind of a crazy job!

    Excuse my english, which is still not perfect. I thought of writing to you in french but according to your (funny) comments, you seem to have a quite bad image of my country. No seriously, I hope that one day, you will have an experience in France that would change your mind!

    Anyway, I will keep on reading your blog cuz it's just amazing. Good luck as a citizen of the world :)