Well, I've been having misgivings about this job for a long time now, in fact I intended to give them my notice as soon as I got back from the half-term break, but there'd been some kind of change in Pablo and I was actually enjoying spending time with him, so I put it off.
Something changed last Friday though. We were playing Monopoly and at the beginning I was winning (for once). As normal, he was trying to cheat so I was watching him closely (I don't care who wins, but I hate cheating, there's no point in playing if you do that, and he's well old enough to learn). He didn't like this and started getting nasty. Everything I'd say he'd correct, and not in a nice way, he'd say stuff like "why do you say that? that doesn't mean anything, it's stupid" which leads me to try and explain that I'm not bloody French and it's not easy for me, to which he'd say "well the last au pair didn't make mistakes like you. She did at first but by the time she'd been here this long she could speak better than you". This really smarted, cos I'd been dead flattered a couple of weeks ago when he told me my French was much better than hers!
So I was sitting there having my language and my Monopoly skills insulted, which I agree isn't the worst thing in the world, but it was completely relentless. I felt overwhelmed and bruised by the end of it.
Luckily, I spent excellent Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights out with my friends which really cheered me up.
But Monday came around and he was being quiet and distant with me, so I just let him be. But as the days went on it got worse, every time I tried to start a conversation or even ask a simple question I got shot down. He just spent loads of time alone watching TV, which he doesn't normally do. So my mind was now thoroughly made up to quit. I don't want to be here, it didn't look like Pablo wanted me here and I didn't think Michele would care either way.
So tonight I took Michele aside and told her, look, I'm not happy, Pablo's not happy, there's other stuff about this job I'm not enjoying so I don't want to come back after Christmas. I should have prepared myself better, after all she's a top journalist and knows how to argue. In her eyes, Pablo's been miserable this week because his dad's been away (even if this was the case, still no excuse to be horrible, in my opinion). Also, when I tried to argue it seemed better for Pablo if I left, she used the argument that the best thing for Pablo is to have as stable a home as possible, seeing as his parents are splitting up (a situation which wasn't spelled out to me before I came). Well, then you should have checked my references, lady! Then you'd see that if consistency and staying-power is what you were after, I'm not your girl! I know when you take a job looking after children you have to have a degree of loyalty to them, but it's not an uncommon thing for au pairs to quit or change families. You can't expect everyone to just turn up and live somewhere for a year when they hardly know anything about the place or the family beforehand.
So I spelled out to her that I was very much under the impression that Pablo wasn't happy with me at the moment, and moreover the entire time I've been here I've felt more like his servant than his boss. But I made it clear that I didn't think he needed to be punished, it wasn't his fault he was unhappy, he just needed it explaining to him that his behaviour can't go on like that. So she said she'd talk to him, and asked me to wait a couple of weeks before I decide to leave or not. I could only say yes.
Then, when I was back in my room, there was a knock on the door and she came in with Pablo, who had obviously been crying. Apparently he'd heard a lot of what we'd said - brilliant. Then she made him look me in the eye and apologise. I cringed - this wasn't what I wanted, really, and I certainly didn't want it to seem I'd been telling tales. I was less bothered about my hurt feelings from the insults than the fact he's felt the need to be so petulant and sulky lately. Then, she said absolutely the worst thing to him - if your behaviour doesn't get better in two weeks, Helen is going to leave.
I still feel like staying here even UNTIL Christmas is going to be unbearable, but know he's going to feel like it's all his fault when I leave. He sees his shrink(!) tomorrow, I only hope he does him some good.
P.S. Also, I tried to mention to Michele how I don't think his piano lessons are going very well because his teacher is too strict and Pablo isn't very enthusiastic anyway. She said, "well no children like piano lessons, you can play piano, didn't you hate it?" I couldn't believe that! I taught myself piano, I'd have loved to have had lessons. When I was a kid I always had a musical instrument of some sort in my hands, I was addicted to making noise. With Pablo I practically have to strap him to the piano stool. I think forcing him to take lessons does more harm than good, I really can't see any point to it.