When Reina turned 3 and started kindergarten full time (her idea, not ours), we couldn’t really justify having an ayi anymore. Frankly, I’d rather clean house myself rather than have someone hovering about all day. And so, for the past two years, I’ve been king of my castle (when home alone) and the maid of our flat. Pity me not for I have blissfully enjoyed my daytime solitude, especially since I work from a home office that looks like it has never been organized and would terrify even the most stalwart of housekeepers (let my piling system be!).
As much as I enjoyed reclaiming my privacy, I have heard from parents with twins that the arrival of twins will change my life – everything about my life. Consequently, when we first learned we were expecting twins, the first thing we said was, “We’re going to need an ayi – a truly great ayi.” But how to find said saint; one who can cook, do light cleaning, and is not scared off by the thought of double baby trouble? We looked at dozens of posts about “great,” “amazing,” and “the best” ayis available on Beijing Mamas, Beijing Café, and on beijingkids’ very own classifieds, but each time we called one of the perspective “wonderful” ayis, the first question out of their mouth was, “How much are you going to pay me?” That didn’t really inspire confidence in the person’s capacity to do the job, though it did highlight the motivating factor in their career choice.
Fortunately, this summer, a friend and her brood of five kids (and husband) had to relocate to another country and she inquired if we might be interested in interviewing her ayi for the job, especially since two of her children had been born while the ayi was under her employment. Clearly this ayi was unfazed by big families, and so a discussion was had about expectations (hers and ours), long term plans, and finally the subject of income was broached. In the end, we decided together that she was a good fit for us and we a good fit for her – she declined a better offer with another family so that she could work for a family with babies. She was more concerned with the work environment than simply the size of her paycheck. And she truly is a wonderful person who is as eager as we are to meet and care for the twins once they arrive. Knowing she is here to lend a hand makes the thought of dealing with two newborns much easier. Now if I can just keep her from looking into my office and getting scared away, then I know everything will be alright.
Photo by Flickr user needopic.