Immediately upon arriving in our household, Florian quickly became a part of our family. Our first trip with him to Moab, UT was a resounding success and truly showcased the strength of character and loving spirit that we eagerly wished for from our au pair. Quickly integrating himself with our four kids (ages 2-10), Florian led hikes and encouraged our kids to explore new challenges and seek out new opportunities at every turn, all while providing the leadership and support that they needed in a dedicated care provider.
Florian integrated himself quickly into the home and sought out any and all opportunities to discover what resounded within the children, and what best he could do to serve as an invaluable member of the house and of the community. Promptly dodging foam darts, he found himself waging a battle with the three boys across the house, promptly filling the air with the sounds of laughter and joy as the baby sister also joined the fray, insisting she was on Flo's team. Florian found himself often alone with our youngest as she rapidly warmed up to him and he became her new best friend, being instructed to "go to sleep" so she could cover him up, a dance that he gladly accepts. We expect tea parties within the year as their bond grows stronger and her interests grow with him.
As the temperature dropped and the snow arrived, Florian would be one of the first ones out the garage door with a sled, followed closely by three bundled boys, reminiscent of the Christmas Story snowsuit, yet all eagerly trying to keep up with their new best friend. With buckets in hand, snow forts were erected and snowball fights were had, often with Florian finding himself on his own versus the boys. When the temperature or temperament precluded an outing, Florian would work to entertain the boys with boards or video games, and has consistently ensured that the kids' well-being and fulfillment was his top priority. There have been numerous occasions in which we have come home to find that our dining room table was without chairs, only to find that our living room had been converted into a seven-room fort, complete with blankets, curtains and mattresses making up the walls and towers, filled with giggles and the shine of flashlights as a new Florian-led adventure was underway. After homework and daily chores were completed to his satisfaction, of course. Florian brings a level of physical activity that is desperately needed to dissipate the abundant energy of our boys.
Florian takes all of this in stride and encourages excitement while ensuring fairness, temperament, and mediation when tempers flare. Well experienced in helping raise his sibling from a young age, Florian is a steady voice in this house, giving out consideration and care every day. His emotional intelligence is in tune with our children and our way of life, and we have already seen this effect on our boys as they learn to express themselves with more confidence and gusto than ever before. Our youngest has started gymnastics under his supervision and this shared experience has grown a bond between the two of them as Florian throws himself into her lessons, rolling around with her and jumping into foam pits while other parents sit on the sideline wondering who this crazy French man is.
Florian goes above and beyond the expectations levied upon his role, and works to support our children as a big brother would: helping with homework, overseeing the completion of household chores, providing structure and a few life lessons along the way. We have ensured he is aware of his hours and responsibilities and he continues to insist on being not just support, but a key part of our household. He brings a sense of stability in a household headed by two dedicated parents who find themselves called to working longer hours than they would wish. When those times come, we know that our kids are in not only capable but caring hands that have their best interests at heart. He has become an integral part of the family, filling as a big brother, a role model, a friend and mentor, and we couldn't imagine our lives without him. Our time together is relatively short, however the memories we are sharing will last the rest of all of our lives. He is the Ultimate Au Pair for our family.