With great pride, our family nominates Dijana as the Ultimate Au Pair of 2013.
We are the Croll family. My name is Josie, and Bryan is my husband. We have three young children: Courtney (4 yrs), William (2 yrs), and Evelyn (3 months). As a stay at home mom, I spend a lot of time working with Dijana. This has really allowed me to get to know her well.
I had a previous au pair who decided to leave after 4 months due to homesickness. I was 6 months pregnant and really needed a helping hand. I was about to give up on the au pair program when I found Dijana in rematch. I needed someone competent, high energy, and trustworthy. After my last experience, I wasn't sure if I could find that person, but, with Dijana, I got those qualities and a whole lot more!
When Dijana arrived, I immediately noticed that she had an abundance of energy and bonded easily with my children. Because I am at home most of the time, they tend to cling to me and not be too receptive to outsiders. This was of great concern because the baby was on her way and I couldn't be there for the two other children as much. I wanted the children to feel loved and receive the care they deserve.
In Serbia, Dijana had studied psychology, with an emphasis on child development. This is evident in the way she interacts with my children. Specifically, I remember those hot summer days when I was eight months pregnant and unable to run after my energetic children, but watching them having the time of their lives at the beach with Dijana. It put a smile on my face. But, what I found more interesting was all the other children on the beach running around following her too. My shy children were interacting with children they had just met, and I attribute this to Dijana. Several of the parents approached me and asked, 'Where did you find your au pair? She is amazing!!! Her energy is infectious. When she is around, children everywhere are playing and laughing and the person with the biggest smile is always Dijana.
I love having Dijana in our home because she is not thought of as help but part of the family. She and I have a wonderful relationship. She knows what I expect and I know what she expects. And she's always a step ahead of me. I am amazed how many times we are in the car and I say I forgot something only to find out she remembered it. Furthermore, she is consistently concerned about my children's safety. She is always trying to teach my children and make each day a learning experience. She has integrity and confidence and is an incredible role model for Courtney and William.
The greatest gift she has given me is to allow me the time to enjoy my new baby. She has such a healthy rapport with my children that they feel secure when they are with her, and I have confidence in her. When times get tough, as they often do with three kids, she and I make each other laugh before one of us starts to cry. We find the humor in poop explosions and spit-ups on clean new clothes.
In addition, we have learned a lot about Dijana's country and her unique culture. We find Dijana's values very similar to ours. We have enjoyed learning Serbian. My daughter and son claim they speak Serbian because they know several Serbian songs. Dijana has prepared Serbian food for them several times.
One of my happiest moments, while recovering from my C-section, was when Dijana and Courtney reminded me that Courtney's special day at preschool was the next day. Courtney asked if she could bring in Dijana to teach the children about Serbian culture and the children's song that she had learned. Dijana and Courtney made a traditional Serbian orange cake and sang U Svetu postoji jedno carstvo to the class. Although I couldn't be there, Courtney's preschool teacher said it was a huge success. Courtney was so proud singing Dijana's song. It made me feel wonderful to know that I could rely on Dijana to step in when I wasn't able to.
Six months have passed and Dijana has extended her stay with us for another year. I am thankful for that every day. Dijana deserves the honor of Ultimate Au Pair. She exemplifies the role, and I am asking you to vote for her. She is exceptional and truly a poster child for the Au Pair program.