Did you click onto this thinking you’d get a cheeky little post on the greatest spots in Sydney to go partying and drinking till the sun comes up? Or a list of the best tourist attractions that you can squeeze into a stopover trip to the city?
I’m sorry to disappoint, but neither of those things are in this post… maybe one day when I hit the jackpot in the lottery and can afford to go to pubs and clubs all the time without thinking how it’ll destroy my purse.
As I sit here on the evening of my first proper day off at my au pairing job in Sydney, I’ve had a little bit of time to reflect on little (and big) things I’ve learned over the last week, and share with you the challenges, laughs, and ‘oops’ moments I’ve had so far.
7 things I’ve learned in the last 7 days:
1. There is nothing on this beautiful place we call earth that will ever, and I repeat, e.v.e.r trigger your gag reflex as quickly and as viciously as a toddler’s full nappy. My youngest au pair kid had an incident where her poop literally spread all over her back and her changing table and I swear it must have taken 3845 baby wipes and a hose down in the shower to get the smell all away. In times like these you need to choose between breathing through your mouth and tasting the smell, or breathing through your nose and passing out dead on the ground as the two older AP kids laugh at you and the youngest giggles away on the changing table.
2. Children think you’re stupid. The middle AP kid, who is 5 years old, learned how to roll his eyes just before my arrival in Australia, something that him and his big sister call ‘sneaky eyes’ and he does it when he’s slightly unhappy with whatever chore or task he needs to do, or if I threaten him with a lack of lollipop after dinner if he doesn’t quit throwing food around everywhere. I see him do it, and by that I don’t mean I catch him in the corner of my eye, I mean he basically stares at me and does it in my face. And when I tell him to not to, he says he hasn’t done anything. When I tell him not to lie he says he isn’t and we go on and on in a circle till I give up and tell him to colour something in or go jump on the trampoline. Point is, children think you don’t know what their game is, but will argue with you till the bitter end to prove that they’re more cunning than you are.
3. There is no problem that Netflix can’t cure. Kids won’t eat dinner? Say they’re not getting Netflix for the rest of the evening and they’ll inhale their food quicker than a vulture descends on a dead animal. One kid keeps practising jujitsu on his sister? Change Finding Dory to the news and he’ll say sorry to her straight away. Tired because your oldest AP kid wakes up at the crack of dawn and you’ve been running around after them since 5:30am and you’re functioning on coffee and whatever snacks you can find? Put on Matilda and keep repeating to them how important it is to read books whilst napping with your eyes open. For your own sanity, invest in Netflix.
4. Don’t tidy up till kids are in bed. My first day here, my host mum asked that the house be tidy when her and her husband got back from dinner, so, being me, I thought it would be best to get the kids to tidy up first, before I got them to have baths, eat dinner, have quiet time and go off to bed. Big. Mistake. Literally 5 minutes after everything had been tidied and the floor had been vacuumed and the beds made, toys were once again strewn all over the ground, the oldest AP kid brought in their guinea pig from outside and pulled out all their craft materials to try and fashion him a collar, and the toddler started chucking jigsaw pieces everywhere. This whole process happened a good few times before I finally just got over it and decided to wait till they were in bed before getting things sorted for the arrival of their parents, and that ended up being the best thing to do.
5. Children ask questions. So. Many. Questions. I have been interrogated on my life choices, what I’m doing every second of the day, why I do certain things, why Miss Trunchbull in Matilda acts the way she does, why some pasta is twirly and some are straight, how frizbees work, why we poop, why mummy needs her eyebrows done… any question you can think of, I’ve been asked it. And it is exhausting. So, if you don’t know the answer, I’ve found that just asking them why they think certain things work the way they do gets them to be quiet and have a wee think about the whole things, giving you approximately 12 seconds of peace before they give up and ask you for your phone so they can google the answer.
6. Cheese and pasta pleases everyone. I knew this already but I didn’t know how handy it would come in in life. Honestly, when I ask them what they want for dinner they’ll just say pasta. Sometimes I’ll throw some veg in, sometimes some bacon, but the most important thing is that there are always happy kids at the end of it.
7. Pretend like things aren’t really happening and they’ll work out eventually. Instead of getting annoyed or frustrated at the fact my au pair kids won’t follow me when I try to leave the park, or if they won’t tidy their rooms, I’ll just walk away or ignore them, thinking happy thoughts, and, right enough, because they’re not getting attention, they’ll end up doing what I asked in the first place. Honestly works a treat.
I hope you enjoyed this, au pairing is truly an eye opening experience!