Nannying has had its fair share of bad PR. British au pair, Louise Woodward and her murder trial did little for its image; so too did Jude Law when he, rather bizarrely, cheated on his fiancée, Sienna Miller with his children’s nanny. Then, of course, there was the Robin Williams film, Mrs Doubtfire, in which the profession is depicted as an opportunity for some cross-dressing, gender bending, slapstick humour. (“My first day as a woman and I am already having hot flashes.”)

And though, in her casual clothes, she does look somewhat like a small boy, my ex-girlfriend, Beth, is single-handedly improving the public image of the au pair industry. She is meticulous in her care of the four Wheeler children and careful too, to instil some racial tolerance at an early age. I witnessed this first hand yesterday, when I met with Beth and her youngest – two-year old Bea.

“I like your shirt,” I said. “It’s pink. Do you like pink?”

“Yeah,” she replied, coyly.

“My shirt is blue.” I said, pointing to it. “Do you like blue?”


“And what about brown, Bea?” asked Beth. Then, pointing at my face, “Do you like brown?”

She thought about it. It was an excruciating moment, but rewarded with relief.
“Yeah,” said Bea. “Brown!”