Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Au Pair Mon Frere?

You may or may not know that are household has grown by one during the month of April. We have enlisted the services of an Au Pair. He’s a young Swede named Sven with blond hair, blue eyes, muscular build about 6”1. Come to think of it, I don’t know how were going to pay for him now that Sheri has decided to stay home full time and have an au pair.

All seriousness aside (although you can request male au pairs) we have selected a 23 year old Bosnian Girl named Asmira. Only into her fourth week, I can say that she has surpassed all of our expectations. She has taken real well to the kids and the kids have taken well to her. Cooper is a little more reserved as he is in school all day and not around her like Ethan and Isabel but I think he’ll come around once school is out. He’ll really come around once he finds out she’ll wait on him hand and foot. I’ve been trying to break her of that habit because you know how kids are; give them an inch and they’ll work you like a dog.

I guess if that’s the worst she could do, I should be pretty thankful. I just want to make sure that my boys don’t treat her like some fancy new toy they can take advantage of. “Get me this, get me that, I’m hungry, change the channel.”

We all get the added benefit of the cultural exchange as well. She sings to Isabel in her language, she has taught Ethan how to say hello in Bosnian and she has cooked a Bosnian meal for us. She taught me how to count to ten in Bosnian and of course, I have taught her to count to 400 in satellite. You know 333 is MTV, 206 is ESPN, 360 is Fox News. I have also extolled the virtues of some of America’s most technological advances as well, such as (angels singing) TIVO. Damn if I didn’t catch her fast forwarding through the commercials on American Idol last week. My work here is done.

Asmira’s best friend Almira is an Au Pair for a family that lives just north of Baltimore. This past weekend I drove her halfway to meet the other host family so she could spend the weekend with Almira. On the drive up we were talking and I was saying how television is a great place for her to pick up more English skills. She told me that she has learned a lot from Ethan in just the short time she has been with us. That’s fine but the day she tells me that a wight bulb is burnt out or she weally weally wikes something is the day that she may be learning a bit much from Ethan.

This weekend Asmira and Almira are off to Atlantic City. I still can't believe they're going; they leave Saturday evening at 6 pm and return Sunday morning at 9 am. Apparently, these are pretty common trips where you gamble all night and come home. When I told Asmira I couldn't believe she was going, she asked me if I used to do things like that when I was her age. I was puzzled and I said what are you talking about, I am your age. Then it dawned on me, no I'm not her age and yes I DID do stuff like that when I was 23. I'm almost an entire generation ahead of her for god's sake! It only took me 4 weeks to figure it out but boy did it hit me like a ton of bricks. I don't feel that old.

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