Au Pair Appreciation: Popsicle sticks and masking tape

by cv harquail on May 8, 2009

International Au Pair Appreciation Week

As shared by a Host Mom for her family

Why do we appreciate our au pair so much?   Our AP is beloved by both my kids. They are five years apart and so have very different world views and needs, yet she is able to have a great time on a daily basis with both of them. They respect her as much as they love her. This is a joy to watch.

Our AP saves my sanity. When I come home from work and the kids go berserk, she will lure them to the bathtub with good cheer so I can have a few minutes to transition.200905071658.jpg

Our AP is a diplomat. She does not complain about the piles of paperwork on our kitchen table or the hideous linoleum in her room. She eats whatever we cook. She ignores the parental squabbles she overhears and neutralizes sibling feuds with a calmness I wish I could emulate more consistently!

Our AP is a font of stability. When I was in a car accident on the way to the office last fall and was unable to work for what ended up being the next four months, she kept the kids on track. She was there when Mom suddenly couldn’t stand to be around the kids for very long because of the noise and movement, couldn’t walk straight or hold a conversation for several weeks (I had a severe concussion).

Honestly, I don’t know what all she did during those days, but I know that my kids were able to keep up with homework and activities and not feel like their world had fallen apart because Mom’s had. I know that because of her, my husband, who had a new boss at the time, could get back to work and not jeopardize his own career while taking care of me. And I know that because of her, my recovery was faster than if I had been also worrying about the kids or trying to take care of them myself.

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These days, our AP is like a jump drive. She holds some extra memory capacity as I continue the slow transition back to full time work (like the day a couple weeks ago when I completely forgot about Kindergarten orientation, and she called to ask me when I would like her to pick me up from work so I could make it on time).

Our AP’s friends cannot believe the wall in her room that is covered with drawings from the kids. They get a little jealous of how much the kids clearly adore her. I get a tiny little bit jealous that she gets all the drawings, but at bottom I am so proud that my girls are able to show their hearts and trust so openly, even after the rematches and crises we’ve been through.

Our AP is not perfect, but since we are not either, we are sympatico. I am grateful to be able to host her in our family for another year. I’m sure we will continue to grow together, and I hope that next year I can help her figure out her own path, as she has helped me as I rebuild mine.

{ 8 comments }

Rayann May 8, 2009 at 5:26 pm

Really lovely tribute – she sounds like a beautiful person – as do you.

ck May 8, 2009 at 5:33 pm

What an inspirational story!!! I am a week away from my first Au Pair experience and I want to thank you for sharing this lovely piece. It has given me inspiration to try and be the best I can be for my new family, regardless of the situations life presents. :-)

Busy Mom May 9, 2009 at 3:02 pm

Waht a heartwarming tribute to your wonderful au pair – it brought tears to my eyes.

Jacqueline May 10, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Fico feliz por minha irmã transmitir paz aos corações de vocês!
( ed.note: translates roughly as “I am happy for my sister transmit peace to the hearts of you! “

Host Mom who Posted This May 10, 2009 at 8:44 pm

Jacqueline,

You must be a friend of our AP’s (or her sister?!) ! I have not yet learned enough Portguese to understand what you wrote, but I am so happy to be able to do this small thing for her.

Obrigado!

Monique Contento HOST MOM & Local Coordinator June 19, 2009 at 9:22 pm

I love to read all of these comments! It is so nice to see Host Families sharing the wonderful stories about their Au Pair and appreciating them. My favorite thing to do for my Au Pair is celebrate her birthday and collect pictures and phrases from the past year. For example, my Au pair Luisa is so lucky to have her birthday on 4th of July. Her mom and best friend from Germany are coming to visit as well. We have planned a big party in their honor and I cannot wait! We have a menu with both Traditional American BBQ foods as well as some fun German recipes. As for the end of the year present, I put together a beautiful scrap book with pictures of us together, the children, maybe a funny Au Pair meeting photo… and I also write the funny quotes that will stay with me forever. Would anyone like an ” I love my Au Pair” static cling label for their car?

CV June 20, 2009 at 9:28 am

I want a car sticker!!!!! :-)

Monique Contento HOST MOM & Local Coordinator July 26, 2009 at 11:42 pm

you can email me at monique.contento@lcc.culturalcare.com and I can get one out to you!

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