Au pair life: it was just an ordinary day...
It´s Wednesday evening I just torn away another day from my table calendar saying March 6th and I proudly told myself: you successfully survived another day!
It has been three months since I moved to Scituate and half of year since I left my comfort zone in Slovakia and decided to go to the US to be an au pair (or perhaps “au poor”). How it is – living in a house with strange people and take care of their kids and being an au pair in general you will be able to read short after I will come back home. Until then you can read this short article about my ordinary day. Let´s begin:
6am It´s early morning and I am upset that I´m already awake. I still could have slept for 40 more minutes. Nevermind the most important thing is that I got some rest at least.
6:40-6:50am Time to get out of the bed, dress up into something clean which will be challenging because I didn´t have energy to make my laundry, brush teeth, go down to the kitchen and get ready for today. I´m telling myself: I hate Wednesdays…
6:50-7:50am This is relatively calm part of the day with the kids. They go down one by one to the living room to watch TV. During this time I am making myself breakfast, coffee, unloading the dishwasher, serving three kids with breakfast (fourth one is still sleeping) and preparing lunches. Correct, I take care of three nine years old kids – M, L and H. Other than them I have fourth kid – an eight years old C. Making lunches for L and H is relatively easy. H eats all the time about 10 the very same meals because he doesn´t like anything else and to L I cook pasta or rice every morning. He usually brings it back home because he says he didn´t like it and then it ends up in the trash…
With M and C it´s not that easy. I asked M what she wants for a lunch. She asked me back what did I prepare to her already. I said nothing and that´s why I was asking her what would she like to eat. She gave me an ugly look and started yelling at me saying how is she supposed to know what she wants. She doesn´t know. So I made her lunch upon my decision…
7:45am Time to wake up C. She is upset about me saying why am I waking her up that late since everybody´s still down watching TV. I am telling her that the following day I will wake her up 5minutes later then. As I was leaving her room I was mumbling that the worst is that the last time she was angry at me saying that I woke her up too early and she didn´t have time to watch TV. This girl doesn´t know what she wants either (including her lunch).
7:50-8:30am Morning rollercoaster begins. HM is dealing with morning moods of M and C and I am trying to get L and H to their room, prepare them clothes, make them to stop fighting and starting getting ready because they´ll miss the school bus. I left the room with yesterday´s clothes and went to the laundry room. Shortly after that I was back in the room. L and H were still fighting, laying on their beds (in the better scenario they´re not completely naked) and I start nicely talking to them (my HM forbid me to yell at them) to get dressed, brush teeth, pack lunchboxes, put on their shoes and catch the school bus. This sentence I say daily about 10 times. Also during one morning I walk up and down the stairs about 5 times. That is the secret of my perfect butt haha. During the whole morning I am listening M who is yelling and C who is crying and yelling in the same time. I am telling myself that I am happy that HM is home trying to take care of it. M went to take a shower. That´s fine we have a lot of time… H brushed his teeth. I don´t know what happened and I was impressed (he hates brushing his teeth). I always tell him that he´ll end up at the dentist but he doesn´t care. He says that his teeth are healthy so he doesn´t have to brush them. That is philosophy of a year!
8:20am Today is weird. Usually at 8:25 boys just leave the room to brush their teeth and pack their backpacks meanwhile I am under pressure because I am not sure if they will be able to catch the school bus. Anyways on Wednesdays I drive L to school because he has a band practice and the bus driver prohibited him to take his drum into the bus. But she doesn´t care about the way back home which is weird… M and C are at this point still upstairs and HM is trying to talk to them she is yelling at them… At this time H was also already outside walking on the snow and L was packing snow pants and gloves into his backpack. Basically they are already ready for school. I am proud of them.
8:25am C, M and HM are walking down the stairs. M is having a breakdown and she is yelling at me that she doesn´t like the lunch I prepared for her. She is opening the fridge and continues in yelling because she can´t find anything she likes. C is having similar issues but at least she´s not yelling. She is just crying and complaining that she is not able to catch a bus.
8:30am School bus is coming. The only kid who made it was H. L couldn´t go because of the drum. M was yelling at me to ask the driver to wait for her. Too late. The bus driver moved and M was telling back to me saying why I didn´t stop the bus.
8:35am C is ready as well. Halleluiah! As I was about to take the car keys to drive kids to school, HM told me that she will do it instead. So I stayed at home and had to my daily routine – clean up the living room, playroom, kitchen, make up four beds, do the laundry… Yes I do the laundry everyday sometimes several times a day. Also every week I have to change the bed sheets but I do one week girls and one week boys. Sometimes I forget which one I did the last week so I just make a guess. HM wanted me to change the bed sheets every week to all of them but I couldn´t make it – emotionally or physically. One bed contains so many sheets and pillows and stuffed animals that two kids´ beds fill up completely the washing machine and changing the bed sheets takes me about 20 minutes!
9:20am-3:30pm Free time. During this period of time I go to the gym with Natalia, watch TV shows, try to force myself to study Spanish language, answer to my friends, do shopping etc…
3:30pm I´m waiting for kids to come back from school at the drive road telling myself how much I hate Wednesdays. Wednesday is such a horrible day. You survived Monday and Tuesday but you still have two and a half days ahead. And that half day is super long. I just hope that the bus won´t come before 3:40… I am also trying to cheer myself up remembering me last Wednesday, waiting at the drive road saying to myself how much I hate Wednesdays… And how fast the week passed.
3:40-4pm So we have some new rules here. When kids come back from school they have to take off their shoes and coats and leave them in their cabins in garage, take out their lunchboxes and homework and put it on the table. Then they have free time until 4pm. In reality it looks like this: after kids came back from school bus, I became a drum and clarinet holder, bag with winter shoes and pants holder and they decided for the first time since I´ve been here to enter to the house through the front door instead of the garage door. All four of them ran into HM´s office (she works from home). Shoes and coats ended up somewhere on the floor or they were still wearing them. Their backpacks ended up the same way. HM came to me with a question why we are not following the program. I tried to explain the reason why I failed with kids but she just asks me to make it work and then she left. The following minutes I spent by trying to fix everything up – to explain the kids that they don´t have a free time unless they don´t do their duties. Well L doesn´t care. M and H did their stuff. C suddenly started doing her homework. There is another philosophy about their homework. They have to guess how long they think it´ll take them to make it. Then I have to turn on the timer and check it. At the end we compare the results. I also check the quality of their homework and help them if they need.
Ideal scenario is that at 4pm everyone is sitting at their table (thanks God we have 4 tables) and start doing their homework. In reality some of the kids do their homework straight after they come back home from school or after 4pm because at 4pm they ignore me when I tell them that they have to start doing their homework.
One of the kids is yelling at me that she needs help. Another one wants to play with me and the third one needs help as well. Fourth one is upset saying he has already done his homework at school and now he has to go on computer to read the audio book. Well notebooks are in HM´s office because they´re not allowed to use them. I knocked on the HM´s office door and she just says that she´s been having a meeting. So we have to wait…
4:20-4:40pm At this time kids are usually done with their homework. I check it out and they have to put it back to their backpacks.
4:40-5:30 L is jumping on me, I am throwing him over my shoulder and he is sliding down through my back on the floor to make a handstand. As soon as C sees that she wants to do it as well. I ended up by doing this until the moment when I lost feelings in my arm. Those kids are not that light! The HM is taking L to the library, because he needs a new book to read. I stayed at home with three kids. The rules were simple: no TV, YouTube or computer games (unless they weren´t educational). H decided to finish his book and I´ve experienced something unbelievable today – during the whole afternoon until the late evening H was just reading his book. He just made a short break to do something to school when suddenly I heard yelling from the garage. M and C were screaming my name. I was screaming back that they have to wait because I was helping to H. I also thought that since they were in the garage doing gymnastics they probably just got into a fight or so and they´re just fine. Well they weren´t. Soon after that they ran into the house, screaming, crying and fighting. When I finally separated them M was upset why I didn´t come when they were yelling at me. C was crying on the couch saying that M was chocking her. M got offended. After a while they both calmed down, M went to do some crafts and C left upstairs calling me to go with her. She turned on the TV. I remembered her that she is not allowed to watch TV and since I didn´t want to disappoint my HM again I told C that she can´t watch TV or YouTube. She didn´t care. She was holding the remote and turning on the TV. I took another remote and turned the TV off. She turned it on. I turned it off. We were doing this until she didn´t get a hysteric attack then she started yelling at me saying I´m not her mom and I´m not supposed to give her orders. Then she told me to pack my things and leave and that this is not my house and she was cursing to me. She was talking her things I was talking mine and then I just finished this suffering saying: “You know what maybe you´re right I should leave this house.” And I left to another room. Five minutes later I came back up, turned the TV off, gave her a malicious look and left. As I was on the stairs I heard her turning the TV on again. I met M and I told her to join me that I will show her something – how I was irritating C by turning the TV off. But meanwhile C locked herself in the room. M asked me if I have a hairclip. I gave her a one and M showed me how easily I can unlock the door. I turned the TV off again. C was threatening to me that she will say it to her mom. I was laughing at her asking if she wants to tell her that she locked herself in her room so she can watch YouTube. She got upset, turned the TV off and went downstairs. I was surprised that H was still reading his book and didn´t try to turn on computer to play games meanwhile. Yes, the order was not to do that but as we already know my kids never care… M went back to do her craft and C was trying to figure out what kind of craft she wants to do. The winner was henna and painting it on my body.
5:30-6pm I´m looking for a meat, potatoes, rice and vegetable. It´s time to cook dinner. I asked M and C to help me to set the table. They said no and left to garage to do gymnastics. Well at least I can take a break from them for a bit… I thought. Few minutes later they were calling me to come to garage to help them with their workout and watch them on a bar.
6pm L is back. Soon after that M and C run into the house. C hit herself but M helped her and brought her an ice bag. C is happy and this was probably the first time since I´ve been here when I saw C hugging M and thanking her. Usually she´s just mean to her and tells her that she is fat (she´s so skinny!).
6-6:15pm We all are sitting at the table going to eat the dinner. Just few more minutes and I will be off!!! HM left for a dinner with a friend.
6:15-6:45pm I am cleaning the dinner table, putting dishes into the dishwasher and cleaning up the pans. Girls are calling me to come to garage – to do gymnastics.
6:45pm Hooray, HD came home I can be off! I wish… we´re still doing gymnastics and I can barely see.
7:15pm Finite! We did all possible and impossible bar workouts, handstands, backbends, font walkovers and back walkovers… C felt off the last front walkover and she ended up lying in my arms. She was hugging me. I was telling myself that perhaps she really doesn´t want me to leave.
7:30-9:30pm I´m leaving to a bar for some beers and to play pool. I was also thinking about staying at home and going to sleep immediately but I really need a beer.
9:30pm Here we are – at the beginning – or at the end? I came back home where I literally run from the car to garage (because we have coyotes). I torn away another day from my table calendar with the date March 6th, lied down to my bed and told to myself that the following day will be better.
So this is how my days look like. Sometimes there is more of the yelling, sometimes less. I have been here for 3 months already and I will stay here for 6 more. Some days are better, some days are worse. Some days there is a completely anarchy and I am just asking myself what am I doing here. I am taking care of kids. I am an au pair. Or I am just figuring out what can I handle and where are my limits?
Just an ordinary day. Wednesday.
Have I already mentioned that I hate Wednesdays?