Selay joined our family during a challenging and unprecedented time in June 2020 and instantly brought a bright light into our lives. With both my husband and I working from home trying to balance childcare with our 2 young girls (9 months & 3 years), our home was close to chaotic and we just tried to get through each day. I remember asking myself: When it this going to end? When can get back to normal? We were excited but anxious to welcome an Au Pair into our family as she was our first one.
Initially, we thought hosting an Au Pair would be a one-time experience but having Selay with us has been incredible. Not only does she provide a significant value to our family by taking care of our young girls, but we greatly benefit from the culture, generosity, and happiness that she brings us. She is truly an irreplaceable part of our family and it has become hard to imagine our lives without her. We are so grateful she was willing to spend her second Au Pair year with us!
Though our family still has new challenges during this pandemic, Selay has exceeded every imaginable expectation and gave us a new normal that brings us so much joy every day. She assimilated into our family seamlessly. Together, we transitioned from surviving to thriving. She helped us develop a schedule to manage our days and set expectations for our girls. She proactively took charge of meals, learning time and brought new life back to playing.
Selay exhibits a can-do attitude while openly communicating with us ensuring we are always on the same page.
One of the things we admire most about her is her creativity. I'll never forget one of the first days she was with us, I came out for a break between endless Zoom meetings and our 3-year old was so excited for me to see all the 'meatballs' her and Selay had made - they made nearly 100 balls out of playdough in every color imaginable! This has become a tradition, now every time the playdough comes out, we make meatballs.
Selay has a background in childhood psychology and experience working in a kindergarten which has benefited us immensely. She has become part of our family discussions when it comes to learning, discipline, and development of our girls. They are constantly changing at their young ages and Selay consistently offers helpful insights we would not have had otherwise. I admire her ability to be outgoing and playful but also direct when discipline is needed. It has been wonderful to watch how she's helped our 3-year old develop working through development activities like counting, recognizing letters and numbers as well as mastering puzzles and mazes.
Selay has created excitement for the entire family to want to experience the Turkish language and culture. Our 3-year regularly asks if she can visit Selay's country someday. We have had the pleasure of trying countless new dishes that we likely would never have had the opportunity to if it wasn't for Selay. We were fortunate to have a longtime, childhood friend of Selay visit with us and they cooked a traditional Turkish meal with the help of our 3-year old. Selay continually bring Turkish influences into the food she prepares our girls and we have visited Mediterranean markets to find unique ingredients. Our local Au Pair group had a talent show and Selay taught us a Turkish dance that we were able to share with the group. She has taught us some of the Turkish language and our girls have begun to understand and incorporate daily.
Selay's positive influence on our children is endless, she is a true role model and exemplifies the attitudes and behaviors of the type of person we hope they become. She is kind, respectful and handles difficult situations by staying calm and being understanding. Selay is also very open minded and eager to step outside of her comfort zone to try new things. She teaches our 3-year old the phrase "I'll try it!", day after day. At 3-years, when kids can be extremely cautious of new things, she has shared many firsts with Selay. New foods, going down water slides and even getting on a kayak far from shore, just to name a few. We have had so many special moments with Selay we've had to double our amazon photo storage subscription. We have hair-do parties, dress up, make homemade cookies, and especially like go hiking and explore outdoors. One of the most memorable was the day she arrived, on her birthday! She was so excited to meet the girls, you couldn't tell she traveled 12 hours across half the country that day. We had a birthday party and the kids couldn't stop smiling.
Selay's strongest trait is her genuine love for our children. It is apparent in every interaction she has with them. She truly cares of them as if they were her own. When she travels or goes out shopping, she always thinks of them and brings back something thoughtful. Selay is generous and selfless, always putting the needs of our family first. She continually asks how she can help, especially if the girls have a bad day and she regularly goes above and beyond to make sure our household runs smoothly.
We have peace of mind knowing they are with someone who nurtures them as much as we do.
She has given us back the flexibility to work when we need to work and time to focus on our kids 100% when work finishes because everything else is in order. Selay is the Ultimate Au Pair because of the love, generosity, and culture she brings to our family.
The Stenger Family