Monday, June 8, 2009

The person I need is Nanny McPhee

Before I went back to work, I spent weeks looking for childcare. I posted a job listing on and interviewed some great nannies who had twin experience. I quickly learned that I could not afford a nanny.

Nannies around here go for $14-$16 and hour for twins. With my work schedule, that would end up costing me about $600 per week for 40 hours. Forty hours of nanny time doesn't even allow for travel time to and from work. I did not look into daycare because I felt the kids were too young to be placed in with other kids. I wanted them to have one on one with a caregiver during their infancy. Most day cares will accept toddlers at 18 months and if I wanted to place infants in day care, it would cost me an arm, a leg and a spleen.

We thought about Rod staying home to be a manny but with this economy, we did not want to be down to one income in case something happened to my job. Besides, I may come home one day and find the boys dressed like ninjas and velcro'd to the wall.

I was contacted by an au pair agency coordinator through Sittercity. I researched the company and decided that having an au pair at this time would work for us. we would get 45 hours of childcare for a weekly stipend of less than $180. Au pairs come on a visa and are required to fulfill 6 credit hours of education.

It has been a long process of selecting a candidate, getting the paperwork done and preparing for her arrival. Tang is our new au pair and we spent the weekend with her getting acclimated to a new environment. The language barrier is greater and tougher than I imagined. She understand written English very well but her verbal English communication needs great improvement.

When I picked Tang up from the airport and was trying to speak to her, I suddenly had a sinking feeling that I made the wrong choice in au pair. Should I have gone with a European au pair who had better English? I am putting my children's health and happiness in the hands of a complete stranger. Add to that she is away from her home country and does not speak clear English.

Tang works at a child development facility in Thailand and so she has a lot of experience caring for children from 6 months to 2 years. The twins will be 4 months in a couple of weeks so their 6 month mark is not that far off. I figured she could handle two babies at a time. I mean she typically cares for a room full of children, what's with two sweet little babies that she cannot handle?

Oh, but we're talking about Powell babies. They may be good looking but they are trouble waiting to happen. It must have been a full moon Sunday because these babies were so fussy. They would not take their naps, they were constantly hungry and they spit up even more than usual. Great first impression boys!

By the time 8 o'clock came around, Tang was running to her room needing a nap. I feared I made a terrible mistake. Rod does not have the same concerns and feels Tang can handle it. This situation is so new for the both of us and I know there will be an adjustment period.

I am working from home today so that I can be near in case Tang needed assistance. Half the day is over and she has been doing pretty well. There were only a few occasions where I stepped in because I wanted to comfort the babies while Tang was making their bottle. It is so hard for me to step back and let her handle it. When I hear my babies cry, I want to immediately comfort them. But I can't be here all the time so I have to let her handle it.

Tang is a great girl and I know she will do well and treat the boys with TLC. I sure hope her English improves before the boys start talking because it will be hard not to laugh when they tell me in a Thai accent that they want flied lice.


letti said...

Hey, this would be an opportunity for them to learn Thai! I'm 1/16 Thai but know nothing beyond Sawadee Kap! LOL. It makes me feel thankful that I am not working for now ( will have to later though, for family finances' sake ), and that I can have this time to dedicate to Jaxon and not to have to worry about baby care. At least things are looking up with your siamese au pair. With her experience, I'm sure it'll be an awesome arrangement :)