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Helper and the baby

  1. #17
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    i taught a 7 year old who didn't know how to clean his own bottom because grandma made the helper do it!

  2. #18
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    Thanks to everyone for all your replies! I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have all the Geobaby Moms to bounce ideas off of.

    We hired her specifically for babycare -- because she was a bit more mature, a mother herself and had HK childcare experience. I figure I'd give her 5 months to get used to me and the baby, and then go back to work when the child was about half a year.

    She's good at housework, but it's not a big workload. We're a self-sufficient couple and one baby in a standard HK flat and are not very picky. We're not the kind of people who want our towels changed every day or our underwear ironed into squares. Before the baby, we did perfectly fine with a PT who came one afternoon a week. I DO appreciate having someone to run to the grocery or throw a load of laundry in, especially as I'm breastfeeding a 7-week-old around the clock right now. But I'm not the kind of person who NEEDS full-time household help.

    She's a terrible cook (I can't hold it against her because we were forewarned, but I had no idea how terrible till she got here) So I still cook breakfast and lunch myself, and oversee her when she makes a simple dinner every night. Seriously, if she can't get the baby stuff right, she's not much use to us.

    I harranged her enough yesterday. She seemed contrite this morning, so I'm going to give her another chance to prove herself. I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt that a more independent style of parenting is very cuturally different for her, and that it will take time for her to "get it" and that she is not being deliberately disobediant. She does seem to love the baby so much, and is very patient with her.

    On top of everything else, my in-laws just got into town! The downside is that this makes me even more busy. The upside is that both sets of grandparents are great with the baby. This morning, the helper saw the grandparents just leave the baby on the playmat for an hour. When she cried, they might bounce her on their knee, but not freak out about it. (My parents are like that, too). When she whisked the baby away to the nursery to be hushed and put to sleep, I took the baby away from her and returned her to the noisy, bustling living room. She seemed better about it, and I hope she can learn from watching and from example.

  3. #19
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    Carang -- that would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

    My helper told me that her last charge was 4 years old before she learned to operate a spoon, since the Chinese parents insisted that the helpers feed her every mouthful. She only learned because she went to school and realized she didn't know how to eat lunch!

  4. #20
    bonita is offline Registered User
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    I think for a lot of helpers, a sleeping baby = an easy to care of baby. They can get other house work done when baby is asleep.
    What I've also noticed is that local Chinese parents a lot of time MAKE the helper do everything for the children (feed, getting dressed etc.) just so that they can finish faster and without making a big mess.

  5. #21
    mummymoo is offline Registered User
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    I think what Bonita has said is true to a certain extent, sleeping baby = time to take care of household duties and to have a 'mental' break (we all need that with our own children!), however I have noticed that this type of problem only crops up when the mums and dads take over the night time care of their children. When there are consequences on the helpers to letting the children sleep all day i.e the helper is forced to do the night duty, then their is usually a miraculous change in adhering to your rules. Again, I say this from experience, when I told my helpers that they would be asked to attend to my DC at night if they didn't follow my day time schedule and she couldn't sleep at night (and as a mum you know your children and how much they've slept or haven't slept during the day), they would be taking over the night shift, the things changed pronto!
    Yes, unfortunately necessity drives behaviour....in the case of families where they will always expect a helper to be around, they have the helper do things for the children which by rights in countries where you don't have helpers, you would do your utmost to have the children learn to do for themselves (shoes on, clothes on, bathing ect) as that eases the burden on the mums and dads (and is better for the children)...but as I say, when there is no real, pressing need, people act accordingly.
    Also, Gracey, I think with your helper, she may be just acting out of habit and sometimes fear. I've had long chats with my helper and she's told me that sometimes even if the employer and grandparents says they don't want you to help or keep the baby quiet, they get irritated, and a bit aggressive when you don't, so sometimes helpers are in a really tough spot...expected to be mind readers, I think it may take some getting used to working for a family where you really do say what you mean.

  6. #22
    Portia is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonita View Post
    What I've also noticed is that local Chinese parents a lot of time MAKE the helper do everything for the children (feed, getting dressed etc.) just so that they can finish faster and without making a big mess.
    I don't think this is limited to local Chinese parents. My helper has to be reminded frequently to let the baby feed himself because she is really loathe to let him do it as he makes a big mess that she has to clean up (himself, the highchair and the floor) and it takes much longer for him to feed himself. There is probably also a cultural/background issue here in that the mess is seen as a huge waste of food which is, in her eyes, wrong because her family is quite poor and that kind of waste of food would seem to her to be like throwing money away.

    Even for my older child, my helper doesn't want him to be late for school, so again she often puts his clothes and shoes on for him, which actually does not help in the long run as he is not getting practice. I have to remind her often to let him do it himself even if it makes him a little late.

  7. #23
    rooj is offline Registered User
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    Gracey

    You know, from my previous posts, how I feel about this! I am still struggling to come to terms with te fact that our helper doesn't understand that it is NOT her job to be the parent. No matter how many times I have told her. And yes we were going to terminate her contract but we spoke to her (once again) and felt things improved until yet again things have gone downhill. We also didn't have the time to interview and go through the whole process again as we are both busy working parents. However we have now started proceedings to hire a new helper and hope that she will be with us by Christmas. Anyway, I digress.

    Under no circumstance would I allow the helper to dictate to you what should be going on with your child. Explain to her in very plain English or even pictorially if English is an issue, that she will lose her job if she doesn't follow your instructions. With regards to having picked someone more mature with children herself, I think maybe that's where you could have looked at it differently. If she has children and is from a different culture the likelihood is that she will have a different approach to yours. I would look at hiring someone younger with no children of her own and YOU be the one to train her up as you see fit. The fact that she also doesn't cook doesn't leave a lot for her to do. Perhaps if she was a bit busier she wouldn't be in such a hurry to help?

    Our helper's English is good but she only hears what she wants to hear and ignores most of what I ask her to do. It infuriates me as I am never home so I am constantly calling to make sure that she is on top of things (makes my job even harder!). I am lucky that my husband doesn't have to go to work until lunch time so she only spends half the day with my son. She told me yesterday that my son was too lazy sometimes and didn't want to walk! He is 14 months old and a very good walker but towards the end of the afternoon he gets tired so doesn't want to walk. I explained this to her to which she said "no, he's too lazy!" GRRRRRRRR! And last week she washed his plates with bleach!!! I could go on but I think you get the picture. No one is in a position to judge your parenting and what you want for your child (unless you yourself are in a mentally unstable place which I don't think is the case!) so be firm and if firm doesn't do it, dismiss her.

  8. #24
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    Thanks everyone!
    Rooj -- That's a good point. I think there are pros and cons to hiring a more mature woman who is a mom. The pro is that she is good and steady-handed at most baby stuff -- burping the baby, calming the baby, giving a bath, changing diapers, giving a bottle. We wanted a helper who would be independent enough that if -- god forbid -- something went wrong when we weren't home, she'd have the presence of mind to cab it to a hospital or get help. I think she can do that.

    We also interviewed some younger girls, but they seemed so unsteady on their feet. Some had never cared for any baby. Many couldn't answer questions like "What do you do if the baby is ill?" We got the most ridiculous answers to that one.

    The con, of course, is that an experienced woman will have more of her own opinions. We talked about her little defiance, and she explained that she was just trying to help, just wanted the best for the baby and "it made her sad to see the baby cry." I think she sees herself as an experienced mom, and me as a newbie.

    There is also a big cultural hurdle as she sees crying as some sort of major problem, and we don't. She also had VERY bossy former employers who, I think, were not very good to her and cracked down if the child was seen as being noisy or disobediant. It's going to take time for her to trust that we are not like that.

    When we talked, she said she didn't mean to say "no" to my directions, just that she had a different opinion on how much sleep a 7-week-old needs, and she was sorry.

    So I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt that she is well-intentioned, but a little misguided, and maybe not so socially apt. It's only been 6 weeks with her and the baby, so it's all new to all of us.

    Thankfully, I still have more than 3 months before I go back to work. I will see how she does from here on in. My husband is behind me on this one, and both of us have been guiding her not to jump up and run to the baby at every whimper.

    Today, she tried to play with the baby more on her playmat and left her alone a bit more, so maybe she really is making an effort.

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