Dear Cariño Rao, Te Amo!

Searching for the best au pair is difficult! Finding one that fits your crazy, lovable, always busy family is stressful. Having said perfect au pair actually love your kiddos better than you could ever love them is IMPOSSIBLE. For the last two years, I have nominated my au pair for Au Pair of the Year, and that is not because I didn’t think the first au pair deserves to be nominated… it was because I had NO IDEA this was even a thing! So from then on, I make it a priority to always highlight these lovelies every chance I get.

In true “MOM” fashion, here is my completely shameless plug for my amazing Au Pair, Vivian pictured below on the right! Read below the pic for my unedited gush over my sweet little girl!

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As an LCC and Host Mom, I come across a lot of au pairs. When it comes to searching for the right au pair for my family, I always feel like I am looking for a unicorn! I need someone who is engaging, driven, independent, can handle 3 kids, is good with tutoring in English and Math, someone vegetarian, someone flexible with schedules since being an LCC takes me out of the house at all hours, a strong driver, and most of all, someone who is willing to embrace our dual culture, Indian and American.

Vivian came into our lives last July and immediately kidnaped my Irish Triplets with love and language and such strong convictions of faith and family, it was hard for my children not to get wrapt into her world. But, I should start at the beginning. Vivian Martinez is 19 years old and from the sweetest little town in Colombia, Cucuta. She is the prized possession of her adoring mother and I think to myself that if she was my real daughter, I would have never let her go. I would have held her tight and kept her at arms reach. I say that because it is how I feel about her everyday.

Something about Vivian makes you smile, want to talk for hours, and it’s impossible to ever have any constructive criticism to share. She is the perfect au pair. She is professional, cares for my children as if she birthed them herself, she is a huge advocate for cultural exchange and my littles speak so much Spanish it’s crazy! They are always engaged in crafts, games, songs, activities, playing outdoors, and eating some of the most creative healthy recipes that even I couldn’t keep up! She carries out her au pair duties with an infectious laugh, amazing precision, and so much love, that we wish we could keep her forever.

One of the most difficult parts of being an au pair is going through a transition and as an LCC I try to support, love, and house these au pairs while they find the strength to take the plunge all over again with a new family. Vivian is the “transition au pair whisperer,” she goes out of her way to make these young ladies feel welcomed. She is their counselor, their confidant, their best friend, their entertainment, their sister. She has the largest bleeding heart I have ever seen and no matter who the person is, her mother, her friend, our family, or a complete stranger, she will do everything in her power to make that individual feel heard, loved, and most of all, accepted!

With 5, 4, and 3 year olds, you would expect that our house is complete chaos, but she has managed to structure the day with morning breakfasts, one kinder drop off, activities in the morning before a nutritious lunch for the girls, another pre-k drop off, and time with the littlest one. Then she’s back at it again, preparing snacks and grabbing uniforms for karate, or swimming, just in time to meet the bus and welcome both older kids with a smile and their little bikes so that they can “race” home! She is their biggest cheerleader when it comes to learning to ride without training wheels(!) and doing a judo chop on a Wednesday afternoon! She sews the little ones clothes when they are too long. She spends her free time “perfecting” kindergarten school projects. She annunciates so the kids not only learn Spanish, but have impeccable pronunciation. She finally rid my house of “Let it go!” and changed it to “Libre Soy!” She potty trained my youngest and got the middle one to stop biting her NAILS! She fills our house with the aromas of Colombia with homemade arepas, hot chocolate, and delicious desserts! She opened my kids eyes to a whole new way to define “family!” Our Christmas tree is currently covered in 100 tiny Colombian flags that she made with the kids on a Friday afternoon! She dances to Indian songs in the middle of the living room, and teaches us all how to Salsa during her free time! She is always positive, has patience when I speak terrible Spanish to her Mother over Skype, brings me lunch when she sees I haven’t eaten because I had a busy day, celebrates when I tell her my Husband and I are going to dinner even though that means she will be on duty, she’s incredibly engaging, beautiful, smart, and best of all, she is Ours!

When we matched with Vivian, I expected to get a solid driver, someone who would at least teach my kids the alphabet in Spanish, someone a little tidy, and a happy au pair who would be independent enough to keep herself occupied while her Host Mom gives importance to every other au pair and host family in a 60 mile radius and her Host Dad spends every waking minute saving lives. I never expected to find my best friend, a sister, a mother, a caretaker, a cheerleader, and supporter. Carino Rao, as we affectionately call her has not only changed our family, she’s touched the lives of so many that she has undoubtedly changed the world. We hoped that we could share our culture and life with her, but instead, she made us all Colombians at heart.

 

thanks for reading! xo, pooja

Sunday, 15 January 2017 4:26 PM

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