Through the Au Pair program, participants and host families take part in a mutually rewarding, intercultural opportunity. Participants can continue their education while experiencing everyday life with an American family, and hosts receive reliable and responsible childcare from individuals who become part of the family.
Me, I just call it cheap child care!!! (Just kidding, Department of State. I would never say that....when you might be listening.) But honestly, we've used au pairs to help take care of the little princesses here at home for 6 years now and have been blessed with some of the most incredible girls who have truly become additional family members here with all the rights, responsibilities and complete and total weirdness that comes therewith! In fact, Marie still lives about an hour from here since she got married while she was here. Mandy, Alina and Juli continue to come for regular visits "home." And we keep hoping to see Laura on her next visit to the US. So see? This is like evidence that we can't be all that bad.... or that we've brainwashed them all over to our brand of that bad. Whichever sounds nicest is what I'm opting for! I also find that it helps if you make them say "The Queen is a joy to be with," multiple times daily. It worked for MPH (My Poor Husband)!
Here are two of our au pairs with the princesses. That's Hanna and Alina!
The one thing that none of them can say is that they weren't warned in advance. You see, I interview all of our au pairs before selecting them. And this is always an interesting process. First and foremost, however, I feel compelled to explain to them the way things are around here. It's easy, really. I simply say, "We're weird!" They usually try to laugh it off and I follow that up with, "No, really! We're like weird as shit! I mean totally screwy, and you really have to be okay with that sort of thing. We won't kill you in your sleep with an ax or anything, but we might as if you're comfortable dangling from the roof wearing a harness and angel wings just because I think that'd be cool for when someone comes to sing Christmas carols or something.... not that I've asked that but suddenly it does sort of seem like a good idea." About that time I usually get one or two reactions. Hopefully they laugh in absolute delight at the obvious creative genius they now have the opportunity to come and live with! Otherwise they tend to do that whole fake static noise, you know the one, "CHKKKKKK You're breaking up!.... CHKKKKK I can't hear you....CHKKKK We should talk later!" and then they disconnect. Really, it's all kind of silly especially since we do these interviews on video chat so I can see them the whole time. Oh well. Their loss! But my point here is that these girls get full disclosure before they get here. Which is why I'm always so proud of them when they just roll with the punches like they always do. And Hanna has been a trooper!
The bad thing is that I don't usually even think about the fact that some of the things I say and do might be a little odd until sometime AFTER I've said and done them. Actually, Hanna had to mention a few of them to me the other day before I said "I asked you to do that? Hmmm, yeah, that might have come across as odd, I suppose... but I had a reason!!!" The first one she mentioned was that episode when I decided to handcuff myself to different things just to show how it was done because I was upset that Joan Rivers had done it wrong! (Go ahead and click on it to remind yourself. You know you want to.) Apparently she hadn't been here very long at all when I knocked on her bedroom door and asked her if she'd take pictures of me handcuffed to various things. You see, I'd tried to do it myself but it just wasn't working. That sweet girl didn't even blink when I whipped out a pair of cuffs and pulled her along with me to figure out what all to cuff myself too!
See? That's me cuffed to MPH. I don't think I bothered to tell him what I was doing before I did it and tried to drag him in for a picture. Poooooooor MPH.
Periodically I tell Hanna that I'm still trying to scare her off. Fortunately, anyone who has willingly spent longer than 10 minutes in my presence tends to have a pretty good sense of humor so I have failed. It wasn't until the whole episode with the deer head in the yard the other day that I finally found something that Hanna just wasn't willing to help me out with. It appears that burying partial carcasses.... carcassi... whatever... in the back yard was that final line that should wouldn't cross... even for the Queen. This fact I'm planning to remember in case I ever REALLY need someone to help me bury a carcass. I'm just sayin'. Looks like I'll just have to call everyone's favorite Butlette, Tammie, to help me with that one, or perhaps the Duchess Donna. She's my sister. She HAS to help me bury the bodies! It's somewhere in the sister rules I'm sure.
There really was a point to my post tonight, but I'm having a devil of a time remembering what the hell it was! Oh wait, I remember now. I am now officially on a mission to figure out what weirdness lies somewhere between delivering cat poop to the vet's office and burying a deer carcass on Hanna's "willing to do" list. I figure I can spend just hours coming up with odd things to ask her to do before I find the exact limit. This should be fun!!! Any ideas?