It is a pleasure to nominate Nicholas for the Au Pair of the year. Nick comes from South Africa, he is our first male au pair (a result of our boys declaring firmly “no more girls!”) and we are extremely grateful for the relentless energy he gives to our children every day and for the positive influence he has on our busy household.
It would be very difficult for us to survive without an au pair. Russian immigrant parents with two full time careers with long workdays without a lot of family nearby, we have been hosting for over 4 years and each of our au pairs has contributed immensely to our lives and have made it possible for us to succeed in our careers and to be better parents. The saying, “Raising the kid is like a walk in a park. Jurassic Park,” was probably written about our kids.
We have three children: two sons, 8 and 10 years old, and a 5 years old daughter. Their interests range from Greek mythology and quantum physics to volleyball, coloring, and dancing and you never know what challenge they will throw at you next. They are also very opinionated and strong-willed (to put it lightly). So when we were looking for our next au pair, we were focused on finding someone who can not only help with the daily chores, taking kids to and from school and to the extracurricular activities, but who also can provide the leadership, guidance, and support, helping us to shape our kids into responsible and successful human beings. It was clear from our first conversation over Skype that Nick is right for us and we matched within 4 days.
Nick arrived from sunny South Africa to the snow-covered New Jersey on a cold Sunday in March and, at the kids’ request, was welcomed with the special Russian crepes with his name. His first task was to build a snowman. He cheerfully braved the snow and has not stopped running since.
In the ten months he has been in the U.S., our kids have tested his limits many times. From challenging hectic mornings to the arguments on the playgrounds, from refusing to do homework or practice piano, he has seen and conquered it all. His patience has no limits. Many times on the road trips we relied on him to keep the kids entertained, as he can discuss quantum physics, Minecraft and Pokemon cards for hours (sometimes simultaneously) and be actively engaged with each kid. Our kids’ friends also love spending time with him, playing volleyball or other sports.
Nick’s interest in and dedication to our kids’ development are genuine and the kids sense it, sometimes going over the top, such as making him carry our daughter around the playground like an airplane, play sports or swim in the pool for hours or insisting that he plays his guitar, so they can sing and dance. They have learned a lot about his country and our oldest has chosen South Africa for his school country project (I am not sure if Nick’s willing assistance with the project had anything to do with it). The kids are already planning to visit and explore South Africa with him when they grow up.
Our lives have become 100% better, easier, more organized and active since Nick’s arrival. He is more familiar with the nearby playgrounds than me and has arranged for countless playdates for our children. Nick has joined us on numerous expeditions to explore everything the USA has to offer, from the Newport mansions to the local skiing trips to the Renaissance Fair where he embraced the spirit and agreed to dress the part.
Nick has brought plenty of positive energy, enthusiasm and creativity to our house, showed true commitment to our kids and exemplifies what the program is all about. We are fortunate to host Nick C. and I do not envy our next au pair (Nick D. from South Africa), he has big shoes to fill.