2020 has been an extremely difficult year for everyone across the globe. In our family, both parents are first responders and we have three young children. Edilaine ("Dih") came into our lives at a time when we did not know how we would continue to serve our community and take care of our family. Dih was the answer to our prayers. From the time she arrived, our lives were immediately changed. When we are at work we can completely focus on our jobs knowing our children are being loved and taken care of the same way we would. When we are at home we can just enjoy spending time with the kids, since Dih ensures the school work is done, children's chores are complete, and everyone is happy and healthy.
Dih is an incredible role model and amazing woman. She will always be a part of our family and we are forever grateful to have her in our lives.
In March of 2020 our family was in-between child care providers and relying on a family friend to help take care of our three young children. My husband and I are both first responders and work long often unpredictable hours. As COVID-19 took over the United States, the demands at home and work increased. We needed help!
After interviewing several au pairs, we spoke to Edilaine ("Dih" for short) and immediately knew she was the person we were looking for. She arrived at our home in less than two weeks. Experiencing several different child care providers in a few months I expected there to be an adjustment period when Dih arrived, but the kids immediately connected with her. She brought a feeling of calm to our home we had not had in a long time and from the day she arrived she has been a true blessing to our family.
As 2020 went on, we hoped the kids would go back to school and the demands of our jobs would decrease, but that was not the case. We sat down with Dih to explain to her not only were the kids not returning to classrooms in the fall, but that she would be the primary at-home instructor. We were amazed by her reaction to the information. Without hesitation she said "Don't worry, we can do this!" and she was right.
She is an incredible teacher, everyone completes their work ahead of schedule, and all continue to excel academically. She ensures the kids are engaged on virtual school, follow lesson plans, and avoid distractions. To ward off the monotony of online school, Dih has implemented positive incentives for completing their work. She is constantly rewarding them with amazing art projects, dance parties, outdoor activities, movie nights, and fun science experiments. During parent-teacher conferences, all three of our children's teachers commented on how involved and proactive Dih has been. I have seen so many parents struggling to teach and work, unable to do either to full effect.
Because of Dih, our kids are thriving and when they go back to the classroom I'm confident they will be ahead of their peers.
Dih has such a calming presence and is completely receptive of each child's emotional, mental, and physical needs. She recognizes when one of them is struggling and makes every effort to help. Whether the task is learning to get dressed on their own, building confidence to give a virtual presentation in front of the entire class, or working through "new math", she ensures they have the skills to succeed.
Our son has a speech delay and because of COVID-19 has been unable to receive therapy this year. Dih took the initiative to find free online resources. She printed out flash cards and found applications where they could work together. He continues to improve his speech and absolutely enjoys the time he gets to spend with her one-on-one. Dih is a true partner in instilling positive behavior. She is not afraid to enforce the house rules and the kids are better behaved/mannered because of the consistency she provides. She respects them and they respect her.
Prior to Dih's arrival we knew very little about Brazil. Dih has shared so many parts of her culture with us. We've enjoyed meeting some of her family and friends, although mostly virtually because of COVID-19. Brazilian's are extremely warm, welcoming, and fun! Our family enjoys cooking together and Dih has taught us some amazing Brazilian dishes. Brigadeiro is now a staple at every birthday celebration! We even know some Portuguese.
Dih has also embraced many of our family traditions. We enjoy hiking and camping and she recently went with us on a camping trip to Lake Tahoe. We share a love of the beach and take almost daily family walks with our dog along the shoreline near our house. Christmas is our favorite time of year and Dih was just as excited to decorate, look for Christmas lights, and watch holiday movies as we were this year. Our family believes God doesn't give us more than we can handle, but he does give us help.
Dih was truly the answer to our prayers when we were going through an extremely difficult time.
She has made every day better since and will always be a member of our family.
The McKinney Family, Alameda, CA