Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Bribes (and how to calculate the exact perfect moment to accept one)

These are my confessions... The confessions of a corrupt au pair...

Of course, in theory I'm 100% averse to bribes of any kind.
HOWEVER, in practice, when handling a somewhat spoilt (and when I say 'somewhat' I mean 'extremely') child on a daily basis, you can afford to let your morals slip slightly.
Now, the child that I have dealings with can only be described as the undisputed king of 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.'
It started out innocently enough- 'If you give me one more macaroon, I'll do my homework before mum comes home.'
A mutually beneficial arrangement such as that is fine with me. It shouldn't be, but I need to get to the end of the day in one piece. So shoot me.
Similarly, we'd get things like, 'if I go to bed now can I have an extra story?' 
Sure hun! No probs! Hop on in and I'll grab The Hungry Caterpillar!
Once he worked out that we could happily haggle with each other, he began to use it to get other things that he wanted. Him finishing his dinner could be swapped for 10 minutes on the playstation, him brushing his teeth properly could be exchanged for an episode of Peppa Pig. Happy days.
However, as with most things, E.V.P. became greedy. Not content with our cautious toe dip into the black market, the bribes grew in frequency and became ever more unbalanced.
'If you don't let me play on the iPad for 15 minutes I'm going to be bad for the rest of the day.'
Right, already you can see that he'd stopped phrasing them as questions. Now they were simply threats. (I can't possibly win with a bribe such as this one, and this is where E.V.P. begins to lose his leverage over me.) So... You're basically saying that my two choices are: I either let you do something I've told you I don't want you to do, orrr I have the equally tempting option of you misbehaving even more than you already do? Guess I'll... NOT DO EITHER BECAUSE I'M THE ADULT HERE AND WHAT I SAY GOES AND WHY HAVE I EVEN HUMOURED YOU TO THIS EXTENT ANYWAY?!!
But the damage was done.
A couple of weeks back, he was being a petit cauchemar in the middle of the street (which is the worst- people look, and point, and tut and make me feel like a shit teenage mother being condemned), and I was losing my temper. Once he noticed me unravelling at the seams he saw his chance. He got that manic glint in his eye that means one thing and one thing only: 'I'm going to make you an offer you can't refuse.'
'Silvia, do you want me to stop being bad?'
Yes, obviously, you tiny lunatic.
'Well, you have to pass my test then.'
Okay... This sounds... Unappealing...
'You can pick from 3 challenges and if you do one of them I'll stop being bad all day.'
Here we go...
'Number 1: when we get to daddy's house you have to scream as loud as you can for a full minute.'
No. The neighbours will call the police, so... I'm going to have to say no.
At this point, he looks at me eagerly and sees from my face that that particular 'challenge' isn't going to be attempted.
'Okay, number 2: when we get to daddy's house you can run up to the top of the building and back and I'll wait in the house.'
No. First of all, there are six floors and I haven't been to the gym since the summer. Second, what is this? P.E? Third, there's no way I'm leaving that terror on his own for a second.
Again, he looks at me expectantly. I shake my head.
'Fine. Number 3: you let me watch you do a wee.'
'E, we're not doing challenges today. You're just going to listen to me and you're going to be a good boy and everyone is going to be happy.' 
I frogmarch him to his daddy's house and the matter is never mentioned again.
Bribes like the aforementioned are NOT the kinds that you accept.
Earlier today I was frantically trying to get him ready for his music lesson while he was frantically trying to hit me with a rubber plane. As I was calling for a taxi he increased his reign of terror. 
'Hello, yes, 9 rue....' BANG, the plane smacks me in the back of the head.
And I lose my shit.
And he sees it as a perfect opportunity to bring out the bribes-
'If you don't stop shouting I'm going to punch you in the nose.'
I narrowed my eyes as he reached for the pouf (seemingly to throw at me.)
I stepped towards him and lowered myself to his level.
He clutched onto the pouf even tighter and clenched his hand into a fist.
I brought my face up to his and looked him right in the eyes. 'E, either you put that pouf down and calm down RIGHT now, or I won't take you to music.'
And he sighed and put it down.
'Aaaaalright.' His anger forgotten he placed his little hand in mine and slipped on his teeny Air Maxs (yeah, I know, what you gonna do?)
At least there's someone around here who can judge the right time to accept a bribe.
Now... Just need to work on MY timing....


  1. That was a brilliant piece! You let him slip a bit, but you seem patient...up to a certain point which cannot be blamed. Your writing really brought out the scene in my mind, especially the one when you are in the street.

  2. Thank you! He's the cutest little handful around...