Carrie’s back to tell us all about her third month as an Au Pair in America. This month she tackled looking after 3 lovely little ones under the age of 3 all by herself… (and totally nailed it!)
Today I read over my previous blog posts and realised I have not really discussed my day-to-day routine with the children. So, this blog post is going to focus on just that.
First off I am going to give you a breakdown of my situation, a refresher if you have been following my blog and a recap if you’re a frequent visitor. I matched with my host family rather quickly after my profile first went live, something I expected would take time. I skyped with them, asked all the relevant questions and knew we were a good fit for one another… fast forward 8 months and I have been living in America for three months still confident that my choice was the best one I could have ever made.
I live with a lovely family consisting of mum, dad, one toddler, a boy, who is two years old and six month old twins, one boy and one girl. Yup, three children under the age of three years old. You might be thinking I’m crazy, right? I get this reaction a lot. When first arriving with your host family it is mandatory that they spend the first three days introducing you to the family, getting you familiar with the schedule of the children, going over house rules and letting you know what is expected of you. For me, I didn’t get three days of working alongside the family, I got three months. During the final week of August is when I first experienced looking after all three children by myself; all the experiences of the previous three months were being put into action, solely by myself, but only for three days. Guess what? It was perfectly fine. I was naturally nervous but when I got into the swing of it, I realised everything was going accordingly… there was a rough schedule in place for their days which was easily followed (most of the time).
My main concerns were: will I be able to split my time with them all equally? Will they all get their naps at the right times? Will the toddler throw any tantrums (which rarely ever happens with me but hey, he’s a toddler so you never know). I’ve learnt to multi-task and spend time interacting with all of them, they all get the right amount of naps and there’s been no tantrums so far. I always consider how lucky I am with my host kids. Before arriving, I expected toddler meltdowns and long periods of time of babies crying (there’s two so that’s double the amount of crying, right?) but these kids are so happy and well-behaved that it doesn’t usually happen. Of course, babies cry but that’s their way of communicating so once I meet their needs, they’re happy and content again, for the most part… (teething is happening at the minute so they are inevitably uncomfortable and sometimes agitated, the poor little babies! But a good variation of teething toys help soothe them).
*I shall give you a (rough) break down of my day:
My typical Au Pair Schedule:
My day starts with sorting the babies by changing diapers and getting them into their clothes for the day. At this point the babies have been fed and the toddler is eating his breakfast. I then get the toddler changed and we’re ready to start our day. When the little ones go down for their morning nap, I clean up dishes from breakfast, clear away any toys that were played with in the morning and make myself some breakfast. I try to get as many tasks completed before they wake up again. Once the babies are awake, it is time to feed and change again! After this it’s usually story time or tummy time or we go for a walk before we have to pack up and collect their big brother again.
The afternoon can get a bit hectic because it’s nap time for everyone (except me… obviously) so I like to get everyone together to have story time before it is time for sleep. The toddler is really great, he’s well-behaved and I rarely have any trouble with settling him for his nap. By this point if I have all kids down to sleep it feels like a massive achievement because everyone is fed, changed and getting their rest. During this time, I tidy up the new mess that appears after we get home, sort any laundry there may be and attempt to make something to eat before anyone wakes up again. When everyone is awake I usually like to take them to the park or library until their parents get home.
(*Disclaimer: it’s not often that the day follows this rough schedule because children of this age… well your days fluctuate, you can never be certain how it will go.)
I do not know anyone else who looks after twins who are so young but I do know that I tried to find other people’s stories to try get some perspective and comfort through learning from their experiences. It was quite difficult to find this information so I really hope this reaches any future or current au pairs who may be in a similar situation.
Having a schedule when you’re looking after children is a great thing to have but I must stress, don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t go exactly to plan. Some days I know the kids may be on complete opposite schedules, some days they may be on the same or sometimes there is no schedule followed that day. This is ok, children can be unpredictable and things change. I take each day as it comes. As I said I’ve only had the children by myself for three days as their Granny has come to stay with us for a month and she helps me out. But in those days, I feel like I grew in my confidence and I’m comfortable knowing I will be able to handle everything when she leaves and I’m looking forward to beginning my time with the children solo full-time.
Looking after the kids with my host parents was really a lot of fun. They help me in any way they can and always make sure that I am comfortable in my environment with the kids. They are always checking in with me and constantly I’m reassured that I have got it right. I am lucky to have such open and honest communication with them.
To quote Julius Caeser, “Veni, Vidi, Vici”…. I came, I saw, I conquered! I’ve come to America, I’m still seeing magnificent things and I’m conquering all of my goals one by one. I hope you are too.
In the next month, I am going to my first concert in America and my first girls vacation to the Bahamas with two friends from the UK! I’ll be back with many updates and pictures for you all!