Au pair, pronounced "oh pear" for those who are not familiar with French phonetics, here's what the online dictionary has to say:
a young foreign person, typically a woman, who helps with housework or childcare in exchange for food, a room, and some pocket money.
The term "au pair" literally means ‘on equal terms’. The phrase was originally adjectival, describing an arrangement between two parties paid for by the exchange of mutual services; the noun usage dates from the 1960s.
I live in an upstairs bedroom with a private bathroom. I help around the house, cook dinner 6 nights a week, chauffeur children to/from school, football (think soccer for all you American football fans) and squash practices, Spanish classes and more. I clean up spilled milk, wipe dirty faces, read to the children, bath them, play with them, hug them and sing songs in the car. Like I said, I'm a M.I.T.!
A few of my favorite M.I.T. moments:
- Cooking for the family and out of town French guests my first week here -- dinner for 9, no problem!
- Hearing my sweet 3yo call from the bathroom:
Natalie, come and clean me! (aka come and wipe me!)
- Singing "The Wheels On The Bus Go Round & Round, Round & Round, Round & Round...." while driving down the road
- Reading The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe aloud. This book helps with their english vocabulary (english is NOT their mother tongue), comprehension and exercises the imagination too!
- Last week while playing at the park, the 3yo calls to me from on top of the jungle gym, "I have to pee!" And before I can respond, I see pee running down her leg, wetting her pants and getting on her shoes. What can I do? Nothing! So I chuckle and remind myself to just breath. One thing at a time. We shall live to see another day. :o)
- Or the other day when my 6yo boy had "to go" and had "to go NOW!" There weren't any bathrooms in sight, so I sent him behind the nearest tree thinking to myself, I can't believe I'm doing this! I'm really doing this whole Mom thing!