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Should I send our new AP packing?!(6 Posts)
(Just posted this on the AIBU thread - but this is probably a little more approtriate) 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...
She's also asked me to provide notebooks and a selection of coloured pens for her English lessons , 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.")
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 to boot!
I'm planning to speak with her about it tonight, give her 1 week (but with constant supervision for now as I absolutely do not trust her alone with DD yet) and then, if she's no better by Friday, send her home. We don't have time to look after another "child" who is no help to us at all.
What do you think...
I would not take offence at her way of asking for adapter it could be a translation issue, the French can be direct. I also think being the weekend she probably thinks of her self as off duty and as she is new may feel at bit shy to get stuck in??. I personally would be concerned she let DD run off towards the traffic that shows a complete lack of common sense and awareness of what young children may do. I would also be concerned about her lack of interest in DD and you should tell her this. She sounds like a young girl who has come here to learn English and they think the 'easy way' to do that is stay with a family ...oh and play with their children in a big sister capacity eg a bit of drawing , puzzles etc. They haven't thought through what the AP role really is and what you might need. Do you have a schedule? I would sit her down on tomorrow and run through it on the pretext you want planning for next week, review her performance Monday Tuesday etc with warnings if she is not what you want or she is not responding to DD. If you still have problems by the end of the week pack her bags and get rid asap.
I answered on AIBU but totally agree with Jules post below. Although she is showing signs of being like our last au pair (there's a long thread on her if you can be bothered to search) who was very self-centred (would put her requirements above the children so booked a gym class when she should have been helping me with them, took more than her fair share of certain types of food when she had heated up food I'd left for them), grasping (in a 'host family must pay for as much as possible' way) and judgy (in a 'you English are so wrong' way which led to enormous amounts of stress for having to justify our lifestyle (no, we don't like expensive cars or designer clothes etc).
I would send her home straight away, as she sounds like a liability. Anyone who makes no effort with the children at all, especially in relation to stopping them running into the road, is unsuited to being an AP. Shyness is no excuse when it comes to children's safety, for a start.
Funny she couldn't be bothered to thank you for the presents, but speaks up with demands for stationery ...
Exactly as Jules and Millarkie say - I don't think you can send her packing before she has even started work (Presuming weekends are off duty time) and the French can come across as abrupt if there English isn't great (I know I have the same problem in French as I can only use the current tense).
If it were me I would probably give her a fortnight but with a close eye and nightly feedback meetings with lots of herr is what went well, here are areas for improvement, how do you feel it is going.
Why a selection of coloured pens? Give her a biro and say there you go.
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