The Au Pair Experiment #3 Meet Anouk

 

As I mentioned in my last post, Smart Au Pairs are really good at ‘holding your hand’ through the whole experience of finding an Au Pair.   Once you have confirmed your Au Pair, they will continue to stay in touch with you, and provide you with information for welcoming your Au Pair to your family.

 

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Getting an Au Pair is called a ‘Cultural Experience’ – but initially I wasn’t really interested in that side of things, I just wanted the help – and I wanted a big sister for Ella, as she is surrounded by boys.

However, when choosing an Au Pair from Holland (Netherlands) was an option, my brain started racing.

I realised that although I grew up with Dutch grandparents, and listening to my mother speak dutch all the time with my grandmother.. my kids had never experienced that, as sadly my grandparents had both died by the time my oldest was 18 months old.  I wanted to expose my kids to this side of my heritage.

It turns out I did want a Cultural Exchange after all.

 

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Everything else went on the back-burner whilst I moved the kids bedrooms around and set up a new bedroom – so that we could fit in Anouk.

The kids made little signs, and I put together a welcome gift basket with ‘famous Aussie’ goodies for her to try whilst she is here.

 

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Then, it was an early start to meet Anouk from the plane.    Although I had emailed her, and seen photos, I still wasn’t sure if I would recognise her, so I held a little sign… but it was no problem.  The next question was ‘do I handshake, hug, kiss’ her?  I went with a European kiss to the cheek (except I forgot to do 2 kisses, ha ha).

 

We planned Anouks arrival so that the kids would all be out of the day.  After a 24 hour journey, I thought it would be a good idea for her to have a sleep, and a brief orientation before she met the kids afterschool/daycare.

 

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Anouk is such a lovely girl and everyone is adjusting well to having an extra person in the house. I had totally forgotten how much I missed the Dutch/English accent – I am reminded daily of my grandmother (Oma).

 

Luke our youngest has settled down considerably.  When I HAVE to go out, and Luke is upset, I don’t feel as bad leaving him anymore, as I know he is very happy and in very capable hands with Anouk.

If you have ever considered getting an Au Pair – seriously, do yourself a favour, do it! I cannot believe I waited so long.

 

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Every morning when I wake up now I feel a sense of calm about the day ahead. Still lots to do – but I am not fighting fires anymore.  Prior to Anouks arrival I was waking up with my brain ready to explode and tackle the day.  I am only realising now how bad it was, now that I feel so much more in control.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Previous Post:  #1 Making the Decision (to get an Au Pair)

and #2  Finding our Au Pair

 

Image credits www.avatargeneration.com (pretty cool if your kids like science)

 

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2 Responses to “The Au Pair Experiment #3 Meet Anouk”

  1. Hayley

    Great article. We have also had a lovely Dutch Aupair. We hear some awful stories of host families who aren’t as considerate as you and get the girls to clean the whole house, do the ironing and even clean the family car! Heaven knows why they don’t get a housekeeper. Poor girls being taken advantage of.

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    • myakahawkins

      It is a tough one / as I do think its a fine balance. Our Au Pair does do ironing and is responsible for keeping the Au Pairs car clean. We are very clear that 50% of our role is housekeeping – there wouldn’t be enough work to justify having an Au Pair if we took the housework out of the equation… But I understand every household is very different. We have another dutch girl starting with us soon – great girls, I am pleased you are happy too 😄

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