My first message to Michelle was "our last names tell me you could fit right into our family as our new au pair!" At the time, I had no idea how true that statement would become. Michelle has been a loving, hard-working, enthusiastic, helpful, punctual, reliable, responsible, and caring member of our family. We are so grateful to have had her in our home caring for our four children this past year. Finding excellent childcare is essential for our two-physician family to function, and we feel like we hit the jackpot with Michelle!
Our family was new to the au pair program and excited about its potential. Michelle also came to the U.S. excited about her year as an au pair but circumstances lead her to a rematch after only 6 weeks. What drew my husband and me to Michelle in our early conversations was her sincere interest in becoming part of our family. Through our interviews, she mentioned that she was less concerned about the location or number of children to take care of (Phew! Four kids is a deal-breaker) than she was about finding the right family she could connect with for a lasting relationship. Our children adore and respect her and have been excited to learn parts of her culture as we have shared so much of our own. I often feel that toddlers can see right to your soul. I knew we were in good hands when my typically hesitant three-year-old daughter met Michelle and was shortly sitting on her lap reading a book she had brought for them.
Michelle has been genuinely interested in knowing our children and supporting them. She lovingly greets them in the morning and after school and asks about the details of their day. She helps them with homework and keeps them prepared for their school day, reads to them, does art, plays games takes them on outings, and frequently joins us to attend their sporting events and programs to be an extra person in their corner. Childcare is a rewarding but demanding job and she has taken the difficult days in stride with the fun ones. She shows up on time with a smile when she has an early morning start and didn't complain even when one of our littles got carsick and required some extra cleanup while she was working. Michelle arrived two days before our 5-year-olds birthday and she dove right into the party prep helping to blow up balloons and make decorations.
The cultural exchange of the au pair program has been a valuable experience for all of us. Our children have enjoyed learning phrases in German and our 7-year-old showed off his new skills of counting to 100 in German when we were able to FaceTime Michelle's mother at Christmas. The kids are having an easier time with pronunciation than mom and dad! Michelle has shared some of her favorite German foods and traditions. Our favorite was the Kinderpunsch (think child-friendly Gluhwein) she made for us to share over card games and puzzles by the fire at Christmas time. We have loved sharing family activities like boating, horseback riding, hiking, and competitive card games. We enjoyed celebrating her first Thanksgiving, picking our her first Christmas tree, buying her first Christmas stocking to match the family's on the mantle, and introducing her to the magic of DisneyWorld.
Michelle has been a hard-working, reliable, and loving au pair. She has been responsible and always kept our children safe while also sharing an amazing intercultural experience with them. She truly embodies the goals of the program by learning about a new country and investing in a meaningful relationship with not just her host kids but also her host parents. We would love to help her have the opportunity to come back to visit because we think she is the ultimate au pair.
The Mueller Family,