Saturday, 14 June 2014

The Au Pair's Guide to Babysitting

Before coming to Paris to take up a job as resident professional babysitter I had only ever done it once previously. I wouldn’t even begin to say that I think I have the art of looking after children down to a fine art after doing it for 9 months but I’m certainly starting to wise up to all the intricacies of getting two dangerously devious girls to do what I say. Here are my words of wisdom:-
1.       Make sure they know the boundaries. For example my girls know that I’ll let them stay up a little bit later if they don’t disturb me when I’m totally immersed in Game Of Thrones because if not they will incur my wrath. Something that is never pretty on a Saturday night when I could be out having fun.
2.       Don’t snitch on each other. I’ll tell your mum that you went to bed without a fuss and at the designated hour if you don’t let on that I’ve eaten most of the crisps. And drunk all the tea. And eaten most of the Percy Pigs.
3.       If I’ve let you watch Desperate Housewives past your bedtime (which coincidentally is really badly dubbed but it such a way that it’s even funnier) then you have to slowly glide from the living room into your own bedroom with the stealth of a leopard when your parents come through the front door – something I never perfected as a child.
4.       My solution for you being in a strop/scared of thunderstorms/not doing what I say is to tickle you. A fail safe negotiating tactic – why haven’t they tried this in the Middle East?
5.       Try hard to help with homework. Even if it’s explaining the German case system which fogs my brain in English never mind when I’m explaining it in French.  #linguistproblems
6.       Wifi passwords and laptop chargers are essential. But an emergency book is always good. Even if it’s just to pick up when the parents walk through the door so it doesn’t look like you’ve been watching a whole series of Real Housewives Of Atlanta back to back but actually reading Proust. (Fail safe technique – no one finishes Proust so you can keep it up for ages)

It is an occupation that is not without its certain struggles – I mean who can reason with 8 year olds? But it can be quite rewarding. My favourite moment babysitting was hearing some guy in the street screaming “YOU SHALL NOT PASS” to his friend. The Lord of The Rings nerd within me was quite gleeful that night I can tell you.  

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