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To want to sack the new au pair on day 2. Cast your votes.....

(45 Posts)
CoffeeAndCarrotCake Sat 12-Sep-09 18:49:41

Ok, we've had a couple of au pairs before, one wonderful and one ok but a bit moody, so we do have some idea of what to expect with them and how to deal with them.

Yesterday I collected the new AP from the airport - she's 20, from France and has loads of brothers and sisters (youngest are 3, 7 and 8) so I thought she had some experience with kids. Since she's been here (ie. since 11am yesterday) she's shown absolutely no interest in DD (2) AT ALL! She barely speaks to me, let alone to DH or DD, and hasn't done a single "nice" thing yet (eg. offer to help with dinner/breakfast/lunch, saying thank you for the presents we got her (chocolates, flowers and lots of v.nice smellies/moisturizers etc.) offer to help with any of the shopping bags, take DD to the toilet, catch DD who was running towards a road while I assembled the pushchair, so I had to dump it on the pavement and run after her myself while AP watched...shock

She's also asked me to provide notebooks and a selection of coloured pens for her English lessons hmm, and asked to use my adapter plug, and when she broke it by using it for a hairdryer when I said it was only for toothbrush chargers, she said "You need to get me another one, this is now broken." I said that it was my only one, so she'd have to go to an electrical shop if she wants one for her hairdryer, and she looked shocked and said "Oh. Ok, I suppose I could do that if I have to!" (ie. "Surely you should go and get one for me.")angry

The pens and plugs are kind of neither here nor there (I'll just stay firm and let her buy her own stuff) but I'm not happy to leave her alone with DD yet, as she has not taken any interest in her at all, and she's really pissed me off now.

So what do you think?

MaMight Sat 12-Sep-09 18:51:50

I think you need to sit down with her and talk about your expectations, listen to her expectations, and decide between you if this is going to work.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Sat 12-Sep-09 18:52:53

Talk to her about her expectations of the job and tell her so far you are very disappointed.

MistergodthisisSal Sat 12-Sep-09 18:58:41

Agree that you need to sit down with her as soon as possible so that there is no confusion about what you expect from each other.

I'd make it clear that whilst you understand that she might need a couple of days to settle in, certain things are essential.

Best of luck.

CoffeeAndCarrotCake Sat 12-Sep-09 18:58:43

Yes - both very sensible. I was planning to speak to her tonight. After beating around the bush with last 2 APs, I had determined to be a lot more direct this time. I'm going to have to find extra help this week though, because AP was supposed to be collecting DD from nursery and walking her home each day, but I simply don't trust her to do that yet. sad

SerendipitousHarlot Sat 12-Sep-09 19:17:47

Blimey. What on earth does she think she's there for?

Millarkie Sat 12-Sep-09 19:18:30

I suppose sensibly you need to discuss this with her - but (as a host to a few au pairs now, some good and one not so good) I would guess that she is not thinking about the au pair relationship from both sides and is unlikely to change her self-centred view. I would tell her that you need to see her making an effort to bond with dd and to be helpful and polite or you will be booking her flight home on Friday. (but then I've just put up with 5 months of self-centred au pair so I'm going to take the hard line in future).

stoppinattwo Sat 12-Sep-09 19:22:12

I think the responses to a broken adaptor etc are her literal english and I wouldnt be offended by her translation smile.

I would however say to her, now you have settled in lets go through what I expect your duties as aupair to be..and take it from there ...good luck

ginormoboobs Sat 12-Sep-09 19:31:10

I would sack. If she is that crap when you are there , what will she be like when she is alone?
A nicer person than me would sit her down and tell her how unhappy you are with her attitude and that it must improve or you will send her home by the end of the week.
If it was someone cutting my hedge and they made an arse of it I would give them another chance because it is just a hedge. When a person is entrusted with my most precious and valuable things in the world , there are no 2nd chances.

Disenchanted3 Sat 12-Sep-09 19:32:12

i agree with ginormmo, i would be presenting her with a plane ticket.

ingles2 Sat 12-Sep-09 19:32:26

Give her this week C&CC.
Make time to talk to her tomorrow, saying great, you've settled in, now Mon and Tues I'd like you to do this.
Come Wednesday talk to her again and if she's still like this give her an ultimatum. Pull her socks up or she goes.
Don't mess around after this week hoping she'll get better. The chances are she won't!

Disenchanted3 Sat 12-Sep-09 19:33:36

IMO ebing an AP isnt like being a bus driver, you dont just become one at 9am and end at 7pm, she should care for (emotinally)your DD constantly, shes not showing any kind of interest.

duchesse Sat 12-Sep-09 19:35:32

Day 2 of our au pair (well, we picked her up at 7:30 pm last night from the airport) and she has
1) helped me change the Bug's nappy
2) found out where Bug's things are
3) comforted Bug while I did other things
4) done the washing up
5) cleared the table after lunch
6) come for a walk with me with the Bug

All unbidden.

You are going to have to read the riot act to yours. Be very clear and very specific about what you expect of her. If she fails to help you in the way you want her to, then tell her you are not happy with her. She may just need a good kick up the bum. She may however be utterly useless. Only a few more days will tell.

MrsHappy Sat 12-Sep-09 19:40:42

I'd be preparing to get shot of her, TBH.

By all means have "the chat" but if at the age of 20 you don't know the difference between "job" and "holiday" I think there is a fundamental problem. I know that it is often their first trip away from home, but I would expect some sort of interest in children to be shown, an effort to muck in or whatever. Actually I would expect more of an effort than you describe from a house guest.

Looking back on the au pairs we had when I was a child the ones who started out badly never really improved much...

saltyseadog Sat 12-Sep-09 19:46:57

Oooh duchesse - I want an AP like yours .

I hope the chat goes well coffeeandcarrotcake, but I'm inclined to agree with MrsHappy - we had childhood APs and the ones that were hard work at the start stayed hard work. Good luck with it.

Laquitar Sat 12-Sep-09 19:50:59

Do they work on weekends?

CoffeeAndCarrotCake Sat 12-Sep-09 20:05:48

Ooh, thanks for all the wise words. In response, yes, she's lived abroad before to study, and lived awayd from her parents in France before that, so she should be able to cope with it. Duchess - I absolutely want to poach your AP!! Re. hedge cutting - exactly!! If she can stand there swinging her arms while DD races off to play with traffic KNOWING that I had my hands full and couldn't move (although i did by chucking the pushchair down in the road and running!), no way will I leave it to her to keep DD safe if I'm not there.

Re. working on weekends, no, she would never need to work on the weekend, but today and yesterday was a chance for her to bond with and get to know DD ready for next week. She hasn't spoken to her AT ALL without me saying "AP, why don't you chat with / play with DD."

Am angry and gutted . Right - going to cook dinner then have The Talk......

Wish me luck!!!!

frakkinpannikin Sat 12-Sep-09 20:16:58

The French are very direct - try not to be offended by her 'demands' but do tell her that in England it's much more customary to use the conditional etc when asking for something.

Be direct with her and see whether she responds to it but it doesn't sound particularly hopeful so far. What does she actually do with her time?

Eve4Walle Sat 12-Sep-09 20:36:32

Get rid now. She doesn't sound like she'll ever be much use. She would piss me right off.

famishedass Sat 12-Sep-09 20:43:19


You need to sit any au-pair down the day they arrive at your house for "the chat". If you don't tell her what you expect how can she know what to do?

lumnag Sat 12-Sep-09 20:50:18

She really isn't able to look after your DD. Please don't leave her with your LO.

frakkinpannikin Sat 12-Sep-09 20:53:21

famishedass - if CACC has sent her a job description and repeatedly indicated AP might want to spend some time with her DD then she isn't being unreasonable. Especially when it comes to catching a small running child. I'd do it even if it was a complete stranger if I saw the mother was struggling! And in any case it's just polite to talk to your host family and thank them for any presents/offer to help.

This isn't about the AP not doing her specific jobs to a satisfactory standard, this is about the AP not trying and giving no indication whatsoever that she'll be a good fit and it's definitely not unreasonable to expect a new AP to at least make an effort.

frakkinpannikin Sat 12-Sep-09 20:54:37

OTOH YANBU to want to sack her, YABU if you actually do!

But do check your contract carefully and make sure you have a disciplinary proceudre, specify what gross misconduct is so you can sack her immediately if need be and have a probationary period where notice is 1 working week.

Millarkie Sat 12-Sep-09 20:54:49

famishedass - Most au pair host families have long discussions by phone and email before the au pair arrives, that is how they know what is expected. Sitting down to tell them on the first day would be too late.
I would guess the 'chat' that coffeeandcake is going to do this evening is the 'as we discussed previously..this is what we expect so buck your ideas up or else' talk.

penelopestrawberry Sat 12-Sep-09 20:57:44

She sounds really awful coffee She must have a good idea about the expectations and her duties as I'm sure you were in e mail and maybe telephone contact with her a lot before she arrived.
I would have a chat to her and give her a week or so but be looking for replacements asap!
I hope it works out well for you.

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