As I was snuggling my tweenager on the couch after a hard day at school, my mind wandered back to all those times when I’d come home from the University to find this same daughter — infant sized — snuggled up in the rocking chair napping with our Au Pair Margit.
All the books I’d read warned against rocking a baby to sleep in your arms– babies were supposed to learn how to fall asleep on their own. I’d originally asked Margit to avoid teaching the baby to fall asleep only by being rocked. I wanted everything to be done ‘the best way’.
But when I came upstairs to see them both asleep in the glide rocker, instead of being irked I thought my heart would burst.
They looked so adorable, so comfy, so peaceful, in snuggly bliss.
I let them be.
This was the first of several situations where I realized that the “right” way of doing things, or the way I wanted things done, wasn’t what our Au Pairs always did.
They read five books aloud instead of four. The Au Pairs put real warm milk in the play teapot, not just water. They gave a few stuffed animals scary personalities, then taught the girls how to tame them. Things I might not have done.
And that was okay.
I realized that each of the Au Pairs needed to find her own way to connect with the girls, to share emotions, to offer something of her own family’s traditions, or sometimes just to feel creative, even when (heck, especially when) these were not what HD and I did.
Have you helped your Au Pair create her or his own rituals with your kids?
Have you flexed your ways of doing things to make room for them?