• Harriot Grinnell-Moore

Never Work With Animals or Children

Disneyland Paris

I've been working for around 3 months now looking after a 7 year old boy and teaching him English, which definitely has it's ups and downs. He's such a cheeky little chappie and I've definitely learnt a few things: never leave the bath alone, don't trust him when he wants to help make lunch, once a horseyback is given, it must be given everyday and if you accidentally swear they will never let you forget it.

I definitely haven't been the best of teachers, he was trying really hard one day to practise his English as much as he could so before we went to the swimming pool I asked him, "Have we got everything?" and started listing off what we had in the bag and did we need anything else. He repeated everything I'd said, perfectly I might add but then asked "What about the MONAY?" Normally he has the most high pitched angelic little voice but just for this one word he descended into a very deep, east London accent and I couldn't help but laugh, luckily he didn't cotton on. Note to self: Be more encouraging and don't laugh at their mistakes.

However, never be too encouraging as when he asked if he could help run his bath I thought yes of course, finally he's learning to help out around the house, (after many arguments of making him put his dishes in the dishwasher after lunch) so I let him! More fool me. I let him add the bubbles, under my guidance, showed him the right temperature to turn the tap to and so on. My rookie error was leaving the room to shut the windows. Oh no. I'd barely been gone a minute and already half of the bottle of bubble bath had left the bottle and the rest was hastily following. He saw me coming and immediately jumped in the bath, the little shit, and watched with glee as the bubbles overflowed everywhere. He refused to get out and I refused to argue so he got washed in the mountain of bubbles, and of course told his parents straight away when they got home. Thanks.

So you'd think from a boy that loves baths, bubbles and all the rest of it that the swimming pool wouldn't be an issue? HAHAHA. No. Firstly, he hates getting water in his eyes although he refused to wear his googles. Logic and kids? You must be kidding. He decided he didn't like all the splashing by the pool so got out and pulled one of the sun loungers next to the pool... so he could still get splashed. Then continued to complain about it, but would he move the sun lounger further away, no how dare I suggest such a stupid thing!

He's 7 years old and he can manage on his own thank you! Especially crossing roads, he's a big boy and no he doesn't need to hold your hand thank you and yes it's fine for him to run ahead and cross the road on his own (because he definitely looks properly both ways). That is until he runs into a construction site and I hear my voice take on a high pitched, screechy, desperate scream "STOP! VIENS ICI MAINTENANT!" To which he turned around inches from a huge hole next to a digger, with the world's most nonchalant look asking "quoi?"

Ummm, "c'est interdit" I replied, he just shrugged and started to touch the digger. I've never ran so quickly in my life or felt quite such a mix of fear and rage.

Yet, despite all of the things he does to drive me up the wall, saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I've done. You build such a close, personal relationship when you work with children on a day to day basis. I taught him the word hop, and everyday after that he'd hop to school and be so proud that he could tell me what he was doing in English. We would sing twinkle twinkle little star every bath time and eventually he could remember all the words on his own. I would ask him every day "Shall we take the lift or the the stairs?" and it wasn't long before we'd walk through the doors and he'd tell me he wanted to take the stairs without prompting.

Watching him learn and grow like this is the most rewarding thing I've done. Watching him run towards me after school and hug me without hesitation, watching him begin to trust me more day after day, watching his excitement each time he learned something new proved to me this is the type of work I want to do. Growing up, my mum had lots of careers who would be in charge of looking after me, some I loved, others I hated but all of them taught me things and left an imprint on my life. I want to have the same positive impact with the work I'm doing, and help these children to grow more than just academically.

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Contact me: helgm1@gmail.com | The Netherlands

© 2017 by Harriot E.L. Grinnell-Moore

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