2020 Ultimate Au Pair: Joanna from Sweden

2020 Ultimate Au Pair: Joanna from Sweden

Miss Joanna, our au pair from Sweden, has had a transformative effect on our family of four - two working parents, six-year-old Robert and four-year-old Caroline. She has proven that an au pair who is diligent, self-confident and grounded can make a pivotal impact, not only on individual family members, but also on the synergy of the entire family team.Because of Miss Joanna, the family that was once too busy has now reprioritized to be the family that takes daily intentional time to be a family.Even on busy weekdays, her balance of joy, calm, and responsibility allows us the opportunity to honor shared meaningful time together.We now prepare and enjoy home-cooked evening meals with technology-free conversations followed by games that bring us great joy and a deeper sense of family, purpose and gratitude. Miss Joanna adds excitement and creativity by making one-of-a-kind STEM projects such as candy pumpkin catapults, turkey traps, Polar Express mazes, and fidget spinners.

She always includes the children to encourage new experiences, whether letting them stand safely on a chair to stir scrambled eggs at breakfast, snuggling close as they learn to read challenging words, or teaching them about her Swedish traditions.

Additionally, she sets boundaries as needed to encourage self-respect and respect for others. Miss Joanna's attention to detail ensures not only for timely completion of school assignments and household tasks, but also for orderly maneuvering through a very busy schedule, with every event marked by her calm composure no matter what. With Miss Joanna's influence, our kids are flourishing with the positive engagement and care she gives them on a daily basis.Robert and Caroline's academic and behavioral reports have all been positive, and they are advancing in their respective sports for their young ages; again, thanks to Miss Joanna. Blending with the diverse personalities of our family is easy for Miss Joanna.She can give a quick-witted reply to her frequently-teasing host dad and a thorough report to her detail-oriented host mom.She is ever patient and encouraging of Robert, who is inquisitive and always ready--with her help--to tackle complex mechanical creations.Miss Joanna is always available and prepared for free-spirited Caroline - playing make-believe or supporting hair, make-up, and wardrobe changes.And she actively engages both children in learning and play while addressing the spontaneous daily needs that arise.

Thank you, Miss Joanna, we are so proud and grateful to have you as our Ultimate Au Pair.

When Miss Joanna arrived to our home, she brought special Swedish gifts for each family member. One of the gifts was a book entitled Swedish Traditions.We have enjoyed reading about and listening to her stories of her Swedish culture and trying new recipes.Our family makes sure to plan ahead so that we don't miss an opportunity to celebrate her Swedish traditions.When planning for birthday parties, Miss Joanna has been especially generous in sharing fun Swedish party ideas such as fishing for gifts, the question game, and pinning the tail on the pig.Additionally, trips to IKEA have never been so much fun!While waiting in the school drop off on December 13th with Robert and Caroline, Miss Joanna explained Lucia Day. She was exuberant when Caroline arrived home with the crown of candles on her head! Lucia Day was included in the international Christmas traditions series being taught and celebrated at school.We loved seeing Joanna and the children's joy over the Swedish connection made at school that day.Miss Joanna also introduced her tradition of celebrating Christmas on December 24th. During FaceTime with Miss Joanna's family on Christmas Eve, the image of her vibrant, cheerful mother in the foreground and her more stoic father and brother in the background evoked tears and homesickness in Joanna for the family she loved and missed terribly at Christmas. And it evoked our empathy for her as everyone greeted one another across continents. When suddenly, her turn to speak, our four-year-old daughter surprised everyone by greeting the Swedish family with her loud, enthusiastic, and unabashed rendition of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Everyone smiled irrepressibly out loud, even the stoic Swedes.And most importantly, the incongruity of the experience evoked fondness and tenderness as Joanna beamed down at the child she had come to love.

For it was clear that Joanna was now among her new family she also loved.

Miss Joanna sets an example with her thoughtfulness, kindness, generosity, and love. For example, putting our four-year-old's warmth ahead of her own comfort, she offered her jacket to our daughter who became too cold during a winter evening stroll at the beach. Miss Joanna's wrapped Christmas presents to the family were more beautiful than anyone else's. Her hand-made toys are full of life and originality.When we interviewed Miss Joanna, she listed her strengths as showing respect to everyone she meets, being an easy person to be with, and being able to apologize.She is this and so much more: a safe driver, healthy role-model, punctual arriver, respectful family member who communicates and plans in advance, a delightful host to our visiting family and friends, and one who thinks things through before she acts to ensure she doesn't make a mistake.She thanks us for each and every day before she says goodnight.It's no surprise that her passion, organizational skills, and leadership led to her becoming a great example of the au pair program.Thank you, Miss Joanna, we are so proud and grateful to have you as our Ultimate Au Pair.

The Paxton Family

Mooresville, NC

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