Yesterday, just before I was about to head out to fetch Daughters Two and Three (and therefore set the entire evening off on its four-hour child-care team marathon), their Mother and I sat down and sorted through exactly when she wanted me to work, and what she wanted me to do. I had been sort of hoping this would happen but she is so busy that I hadn’t wanted to ask, so I’m very glad it came from her.
My hours have changed quite radically – I now only work two mornings (thank goodness for that, I hated getting up at 7am and now I can stay up til half eleven to chat to people in the UK without any qualms about having less than 8 hours’ sleep) and have no definite hours on weekends. If I am needed on a Saturday those hours will be extra, and actually I have gained an hour already so I will be being paid more than we had initially agreed.
I think I am pretty happy with the new hours, with the expected disappointment that I still can’t go to the Thursday night choir practices. The Mother has made very generous allowances for my French lessons and done her best to give me as much time off in the day as possible – and really finishing at 8.30pm isn’t that bad now that I don’t always have to get up before dawn the next day. I can go to the cinema for a 9pm film, I can go out for dinner, etc.
So that’s probably all for the good. We’ll see how it works but it’s definitely helpful to know when I’m needed. I haven’t been “on duty” during weekday afternoons before; it will mean that I will be in primary charge of Baby Girl sometimes! I’m pretty excited about this because it is approaching what I had hoped au pairing would be about – walks in the park, playing with interesting baby toys, applying some of my baby development theories and hopefully bonding with Baby Girl in a way that I haven’t had a chance to do yet.
We also talked about some points we were a little unhappy with, and at some point in the next day or so we need to discuss them again with some conclusions. I won’t go into details about the issues because really they’re fairly predictable in this sort of situation – first time as an au pair, first time having an au pair – but once we’ve ironed them out I’m fairly sure things will be fine.
It is such a comfort to me to know that the Mother and I are able to sit down and discuss things honestly and reach a mutually acceptable compromise or solution. On some issues she can be a little unmoving, which I suppose is fairly natural when she has five children with active and hectic lives and a busy life of her own, but she is always willing to try and sort out problems and so far neither of us have offended or upset the other (to my knowledge – and I’m fairly sure she would have told me if I had done so to her). I know it’s quite a basic thing but if I had found that I couldn’t bring up an issue and know that it wouldn’t cause bad feeling, then I would have just gone home because that sort of thing isn’t workable over six months. Minor niggles grow and become major resentments which just get in the way of any effective communication.
Well, that was all fairly overwritten and messy but I hope it makes sense! I just wanted to pour out some thoughts.
Today I start at 1.30 so I slept in gloriously late, read through my regular blogs, sent some emails, put on a load of laundry, listening to music and still have over an hour to work on my French homework for my class tomorrow. I will be trying to get up earlier most days otherwise I’ll just totally miss the opportunity to go out and see Paris but it was great to have a relaxed day.
It was also important because I woke up with a fairly sore throat and I’m coughing up bloody mucus again, which is a sure sign that I’m a bit worn down and need to be careful to avoid another bout of tonsillitis. Sort of like an early-warning system!
One last thing before I end this long long post. I got an email from the college tutorial office yesterday to say that I had received permission to degrade. Well, that’s reassuring! If they for some reason hadn’t granted it I would probably have been kicked out anyway since I’ve missed almost a term’s worth of supervisions by now. I thought that was quite funny.