Au Pair

Sep. 21st, 2009 02:54 pm
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Решила что давно не писала ничего про Сабрину.  Она у нас уже 3,5 месяца, и в принципе писать особо не о чём, что говорит что мы все очень довольны друг другом.  Никаких проблем что были раньше у нас с ней нет.  Дети кушают адекватно, одеты правильно и по погоде, по дому делают всякие вещи типа убирают свои комнаты, иногда моют посуду, помогают со стиркой, и т.д.  Излишний телевизор не смотрят, ходят по разным паркам и мероприятиям, познакомились с другими детьми (Сабринына подружка-опэр за ними смотрит), очень довольны. 

Сабрина обзавилась кучей друзей и в нерабочее время её дома практически нет, что меня полностью устраивает.  Иногда они всей компанией (в Субботу их было человек 7) приходят к нам и сидят у Сабрины в комнате, болтаю, громко смотрят телек и слушают музыку всю ночь напролёт.  В такие моменты я просто счастлива что между нами 2 этажа и нам их не слышно. 

Вот в принцепе и всё.  Будем надеятся что и дальше у меня будет очень мало постов про Сабрину. 

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I just found out from my supervisor who found ouf from her Au Pair who was friends with Tania that last week Tania went home back to Mexico.  Apparently, after she left us, she rematched with another family in New Jersey where she was the second au pair -  family had two au pairs at the same time.  I don't know details, but I was told that she had it made there and was very happy saying that now finally she is happy and comfortable.  Then last week, one day she woke up and decided to go home saying that she does not need this and does not want to do this.  Her year was supposed to be up September 22nd. 
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I told Sabrina last night about my company moving.  I explained to her that I don't have all details yet myself, but that at the very least it will affect her schedule once the move takes place, and that I will not be available to just stop by at home in the middle of the day if I need to.  We both ended up crying a little over this and then trying to calm each other down.

Then this morning,  I found her on the couch in the living room crying again.  She was upset about my job again and being concerned how it will end up affecting girls and that they will not see me as much and I wont be able to do things with them as much.  She ended up with telling me that she will do what she can to help girls to adjust and to help me out on the home front.

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What is it about our au pairs?  First one's parents divorced while she was here.  Second one's grandmother died while she was here.  And now third one's grandmother had a heart attach and now her dog died and she has only been with us for a month.  I hope it is not a pattern.
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While Hannah and I were cuddling:

Me: Hanny, how did you get to be so cute?
Hannah: Sabrina tought me.
Me: Whad did Sabrina teach you?
H: How to make my bed and clean my room.
Me: Do you like Sabrina?
H: <very enthusiastically> Yes!
Me: What do you like about her?
H:  I like that she calls me her baby and pick me up upside down.
Me: Hanny, who is your favorite au pair?
H: Sabrna! <after a pause> And Alla.
Me: What do you like about Alla?
H:  She is skinny like me and she speaks Russian.

Au Pair

Jul. 2nd, 2009 03:53 pm
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Yesterday, girls told me that from now Sabrina is their older sister, not just an au pair.

I am just quietly keeping my fingers crossed for this to work out.

Au Pair

Jun. 29th, 2009 03:36 pm
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Yesterday, Hannah spontaneously decided that today will be Eeyore's 2nd birthday. Eeyore is her very best friend in the whole world that she aquired while were in Disney last year.  I mentioned to Sabrina last night that Hannah wants to have Eeyore's birthday party today and here are the results together with some other random pictures Sabrina took of girls.


Hannah hiding under Sabrina's bed

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In Sabrina's room

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Eating cake baked for Eeyore's birthday today

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Birthday boy with his cake (with animal crackers)

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More cake

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Happy birthday Eeyore!

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Just to point out, that half the cake is covered in jam and the other half if plain.  That is because Becky does not like jam, but Eeyore LOVES!!!! jam, so Hannah just had to have jam on the cake for Eeyore.  Also, since Eeyore is a toy, Hannah just had to eat both her's and Eeyore's cake. 


In the library

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In the park

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Hannah with Sabrina

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Hannah with Sabrina

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Becky with Sabrina in the car

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Au Pair

Jun. 29th, 2009 10:51 am
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I know that should've made a post about our new au pair, Sabrina, for a while now, but just have not had the time.  I will do that may be next weekend.

However, I just have to say that according to Sabrina, all of her friends think that I am the coolest HostMom around and consider her very lucky. 

Gees, I dont' know about the coolest, but was pretty sure that I was not the monster Alla and Tania made me out to be.
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June 11th cannot get here soon enough. That is when our new au pair is coming. I need my children back home after school where I can dictate what, when, and how my children do and what they eat. 

 

Becky is in after school program. Overall it is good. They do homework there. They play outside or in the gym. She is always sweaty and tired from active play when I pick her up, which is great. However, they also provide a snack (included as part of the program). Typical snack is a apple juice and a bag of either Doritos or Pretzels or some other chips/candies.  How’s that a snack? How is that supposed to give kids nutrition and energy?

 

Hannah spends afternoons at her school-friend’s house. Great for me since Hannah know the family, likes these kids, loves her perpetual play date, and has fun after school. Bad, because that family’s idea of after school snack is either McDonalds kids meal, chips, candies, or some other junk like that, plus sugary drinks. 

 

The worst part is that I cannot do anything about this in either Becky’s or Hannah’s case. Yes, I pay money for both arrangements, but I cannot change after school program and I cannot dictate to Hannah’s friend family what to feed her. Even though I am paying for this through the nose, they are doing me a favor after all. 

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I am so glad this week is over and the new week will start.  This has been one of the craziest, logistically difficult, tiring weeks lately. 

Girls were home on school break.  Between, our au pair, Adam, and myself we needed to cover all hours of the week to make sure someone is home with kids.  Normally, it is not such a problem, except that our au pair takes classes in college when kids are school and her Spring break was during the previous week.  In addition, she is in school 4 days a week instead of 2 days a week, so we needed to cover extra days, and that did not work out.  Au pair ended up missing two days of school this week. 

Although girls were not in school, they were fully booked and scheduled for the whole week - 3 days they had activities in the local library.  2 track practices, 1 baseball practice, 1 playdate that lasted 5 hours instead of the planned 2.5 hours, a Mets baseball game that Adam took Becky to see, a birthday party to attend, and we will finish off this week with a classical music concert I will take Becky to see.  Plus Sveta with Zacky are coming over on Sunday for the day and we will be going shopping.  No rest for the weary. 

The result of the craziness is such that we are looking for the new au pair now.  Every single thing that this au pair could have done wrong this week - she did, in addition to our constant struggle with her to follow through with the things she needs to get done.  As much as I like her for the type of person that she is, she should have never been an au pair.  On Friday, we talked and she was the one who suggested that I should look for someone else.  She will stick around until I find someone and then she will go home.  She does not even want to finish her year which ends in the middle of September.  Oh well, you live and learn.  I just hope that I will strike gold at some point and find an au pair that will work out. 

In addition, the load at work is starting to pick up, so I will need to juggle the work with an inadequate au pair and basically micromanage her for the remainder of her stay with us, look for the new au pair, and stay on top of kids activities.  Wish me luck.
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I was expecting Becky to get sick since last Friday.  She has been supper tired and lethargic starting Friday morning (slept till 8:20am instead of usual 6:30am), did not eat her lunch in school, did not snack after school, and then slept the whole afternoon after school till 6pm.  Then the same on Saturday and Sunday, although she was better on Sunday, but her tiredness did not go away until yesterday (Tuesday).  So now it seems that she is fine, did not get sick or anything, although I still don't know what made her so tired for 4 days.

Hannah on the other hand seemed perfectly fine the whole time.  But, then yesterday evening while eating dinner she complained that her throat hurt when she was swallowing.  I checked and her throat did not seem to be read and she did not have any other symptoms.  So at first I thought she was just tying to get out of eating dinner.  However, after going to bed at normal time, Hannah woke up around 10pm naked, crying, and completely congested.  I know for a fact that two hours earlier when I tucked her in bed, she were pajamas. Anyhow, a decongestant, a new pajama, and a bunch of hugs later, Hannah went back to bed.  At 3:27am she came to visit me saying that she had a nightmare again, but went back to bad without any problems.  Then this morning, she woke up with 101 fever.  A tylenol and a short nap later, she is feeling a bit better, although she still have a fever. 

So now the fun part:  I am home with her this morning until Tania comes home from school around 12:30pm and then I will go to work.  Tomorrow Hannah has no school, so I will have to be home with her in the morning again, until Tania comes home from school, and then on Friday, Hannah has a school trip to the circus, so I will not be at work again in the morning.  As understanding as my boss is, I am just not sure how much she like me taking 3 morning off in the row.  I did tell her about taking Friday morning off before as that was a planned school trip, but today and tomorrow was not really planned. 
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Since last conversation we had about keeping common areas clean, especially when it comes to food, things have been good. I have been coming home from work to a mostly clean house (floor in the kitchen/dining was never swept, but decided to let it go). Counters were clean, table was mostly clean, no leftover food or dirty dishes anywhere except for some in the sink, which is ok.

 

Today, after taking Hannah to the doctor this morning, I stopped at home to get her a sweater before I took her to the school. I left with Hannah at 8am, Tania was left at home with just Becky. They both were finishing their breakfast when I left. Becky was all dressed, backpack packed, teeth brushed, hair brushed, etc. The only thing they had left to do this morning was to wait 45 minutes, get Becky’s boots and jacket on and leave for school.

 

So why did I come home after doctor’s appointment and find Becky’s and Hannah’s breakfast plates with breadcrumbs and kiwi leftovers on the table, and table covered in sticky stains of dripped kiwi juice.  

 

I did talk to Tania before that I don’t want anything that may invite bugs left out on the counters or table. I guess we will be talking about it again tonight. And I was really hopping that we were past this as I am getting tired of repeating myself.

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I just remembered something that happened on Tuesday.

I came home from work and girls and Tania were at the table eating dinner.  Everything was well.  When they were done, and it was time to clean up the table, Hannah told (not asked) Tania to clean her plate and told Tania that she was a 'cleaning girl'.

Well, that did not go over well with me.  Besides the lecture that Hannah got from me regarding respecting people and polite way to speak, she was made to clean up the whole table and then to pick up everything off the floor in the dining and living room.  I also made her apologize to Tania, which she eventually did, but was not happy about.  Being made to clean was not a big deal to her, but apologizing she did not like.

The funny thing is, I asked Tania later if Hannah really did apologize to her and Tania said that she did not even know why I got upset. She did not actually hear Hannah call her 'cleaning girl'.

Later, when Adam got home, Hannah got another lecture form him about the respect and proper behavior.  To be honest, i am not sure how much of it Hannah absorbed, but I figured, if we keep talking, eventually, it will sink in.l
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As everyone knows, my poor deprived children get to watch one hour of TV a day before bed, at most.  They definitely do not agree with this policy, but have realized that fighting this battle is futile for them, so they just live with this horrible discrimination.

 

Anyway, Tania, our au pair has been sick since yesterday.  Thankfully she is feeling better today and said that she will be fine watching girls.  So, in order to minimize the contact between girls and still sick Tania, I told them that after school, once they are done with their homework, they can watch TV so that they are not closely playing with Tania.  Girls are ecstatic.  Happy hugs and ‘You are the best mommy ever’ ensures.  Everyone is thrilled.

 

And now for the evil mommy plan:

Today, Adam will take girls to Becky’s school for book fair around 6pm.  So we asked Tania to give them dinner earlier, around 5-5:30 instead of the usual 6pm so that they can go to the book fair.  By the time they are done at the book fair and will pick me up from work afterwards, it will be their bed time.  They get home from school around 3:30pm; then snack and homework.  The earliest they will get to the TV will be 4:30pm.  They will be lucky to get 1 hour of TV before it’s dinner time and they have to leave.  Insert evil mommy laugh here.

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So how is this for the newest Au Pair development:

On Monday night, after everybody went to bed, I roasted a whole chicken so girls have what to eat the next day (I had beef stew prepared in the fridge for every one else, but girls don't eat it).

Tuesday morning was running late and ran out the door without giving Tania any specific instructions.  The whole chicken was in the fridge on the plate covered in foil.

 

Because I did not specifically point out the chicken, girls had pasta for dinner.  Did she not see the chicken?  Did she not think it was for girls?  I told her they can have anything in the fridge within reason (and not too many high carb things together).

I voobsche, as nice and hard working as she is, ona ne riba ne myaso.  I am starting to understand why girls are not clinging to her. 
 

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К нам вчера на обед Таня привела свою новую подругу, Мариет. Мариет -- au pair моей начальницы на работе. А в субботу Таня ночевала у моей начальницы дома (то бишь у Мариет в комнате). А сегодня утром на работе это всё обсуждалось пока митинги не начались.

Yesterday, Tania brought home her new friend, Maryet. Maryet is an au pair with my supervisor at work. On Saturday, Tania spend the night at my supervisor's house (in Maryet's room). And today, all of this was discussed at work until meetings started.
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Сегодня, моя начальница и я пошли на ланч по обсуждать всякие рабочие дела в тишине и спокойствие. 

У моей начальницы тоже есть au pair, M.  Так мы познакомили М. с Таней и девочки подружились.  Здорово.  Вчера М. рассказывала моей начальницы заливаясь смехом что моя Ханна заявила Тане: "Мы очень любили нашу прошлую au pair, но мы тебе тоже дадим шанс нам понравиться".

Как говорит мой папа качая головой: "Ой, Хэнни, Хэнни!"

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Since the begging of last week, girls have started a secret project under the code name “Piñata” which they are hiding in Tania's room.  Namely, Tania is teaching them to make a piñata out of a balloon, home made glue (flour, water, powdered chalk), and cut up supermarket flyers.  Each layer of this piñata needs a few days to dry, so now they are on level three.  Tania said that it will need many more layers, before they can pop the balloon and actually decorate this piñata. 

Yesterday, the three of them have made homemade play dough.  I came home from work and was greeted by two ecstatic girls holding precious clumps of pink, green and blue play dough.

Today, the whole table was covered in news papers and there were a ton of paint jars, brushes, and 4 more art works to be posted in this LJ soon.  But, in addition, Tania traced and cut out girls’ feet and labeled them with 'L' and 'R' and she is planning to place those cut outs around the house tomorrow to help Hannah learn her left and right. 

When it was bed time and I went into Becky's room, all of her laundry that was done today was neatly folded on her bed in sorted piles but not put away.  I asked Becky why her clothes were not put away.  Turn out that after the laundry was done, Becky refused to help Tania put away her clothes, so clothes were left on her bed.  Faced with the prospect of no place to sleep, Becky quickly put away all of her stuff with a little bit of my help. 

Today Hannah got a serious talking to from me.  Apparently, when they were doing laundry, she slammed the basement door into Tania’s face.  Hannah was faced with the prospect of not being allowed to go on her school trip to the museum if she does not start behaving herself with respect to others and was also made to apologies to Tania.  She eventually apologized to Tania while peeking from behind my back.

In the last couple week Adam and I noticed that girls have been spontaneously using ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ without as many reminders as before.   Last week, Tania told me that she has asked Becky to do something and Becky told her that she will not until Tania uses ‘please’.    All in all, things have been good, although a lot more chaotic than before.

 

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After I got some comments in my old post from like six month ago, plus have spend numerous email and phone conversations detailing my au pair saga, here is the official announcement.

We have a new au pair. The nice girl from Ukraine who came to stay with us initially turned out to be not so nice, so she is no longer living with us. We have a new au pair from Mexico, who joined our family in December. So far, so good, and I like her. Girls seem to like. And she seem to be lacking some of the most irritating features that the old girl from Ukraine had. We really hope it will work out this time.

End of announcement.

 

Russian )
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