Congratulations to Valentina G. of Italy
Nominated by the Bertoli Family in Massachusetts!
"Before having an au pair, I was nervous about the idea of having another person come live with us. Valentina’s warmth and participation as a member of our family has convinced me that having an au pair is the best balance between having a babysitter and having family care for our children.
When Valentina arrived, my daughter was dead set on making her life miserable. A strong-willed child who is not a fan of transition, she screamed “No Valentina!” at the top of her lungs for the first two months. To make matters worse, we had asked Valentina to only speak Italian so that our kids would pick it up quickly- unfortunately, they were not yet speaking Italian back to her. Valentina took this hiccup in stride with grace and maturity. She was not turned off but rather used her creativity and loving personality to win them over- doing endless art and baking projects, thinking up magical creative games like playing with flashlights and pretend “tents” in their room, and taking them on nature walks. Valentina let the kids snuggle in her bed and get close to her, going the extra mile. She dug right in and in those two months, established a relationship with my daughter that rivals mine in the best way possible. Valentina is now the recipient of my daughter’s rare displays of affection.
My son, on the other hand, took to Valentina more easily but has had a rockier road. Unfortunately, he needed to have major surgery during Valentina’s time with us, causing us to rely even more on Valentina for care at home (since he was out of school). She cleared her schedule for the month of my son’s surgery and even arranged her vacation home to Italy around this planned event. She came to the hospital to visit and decorated the house with colorful signs and goodies for his return. She has been attentive to his condition, contacting me with any concerns, and made me so relieved that we have had her as part of our family during this stressful time.
Valentina knows when to be a best buddy- taking the kids out to a restaurant for a special treat or on a special outing- and when to discipline, calmly and firmly. She always asks me how I would like things done, whether it comes to the house or the kids. There are things she asks me that I have never even considered, like if I would like help when I am home with the kids, if it would be a disturbance for her to use the hair dryer, if she can pack me lunch for me to take to work. She tells me the “real deal,” reporting daily to me via text if they behaved, ate, etc. She sends photos almost daily- a working mother’s dream. I feel as though I really have a handle on what is going on in the house."
"Valentina has settled right into life in the U.S. She is a champion shopper and extrovert; she has perfected her English by speaking to anyone who will engage her. She has also explored New England, always on the lookout for sporting events, local festivals, and hot new restaurants. One glance at her calendar shows a schedule jam-packed with friends, events, and weekends away to new places. She is the one member of her au pair circle who reliably attends meetings and will go so far as to skip a weekend with her boyfriend to be home for a meeting.
I am thrilled that Valentina extended her au pair experience for a second year with us and I am already starting to dread the idea of her leaving. She will be a lifelong friend and family member and she has completely sold me on the au pair program. However, our next au pair has some big shoes to fill!"