May 142006

We had an Ayi (babysitter/house cleaning lady) who was 33 years old and looked like a massage parler lady; super straight red hair, low rider jeans, and pointy high heal. Every neighbor and friend said she looked too young to be an Ayi. On the other hand, Chinese people told me to find a young one, so I could train her. In addition to that, none Suzhounese is better (means work harder). Our massage parler looking Ayi is from Sichuan and she is a minority [not a Han-Chinese]. I thought she seemed fit into the Chinese good Ayi categories.

She was nice and took care of Akiva very well. I liked her a lot, except she was flaky. Three times month she called me on that day and told me not able to come to work; this which affected Akiva and my schedule. I thought I should let her go. Instead we had a discussion (mostly Jesse led conversation. He cannot stand my Chinese and the way I deliver the point). She promised us to be better. Next morning I got a text message on my cell phone from the Ayi. She said her father [in small minority village in Sichuan, 1000 miles west of here] is sick and she has to go home. Find another Ayi.

I went to an Ayi introduction company. They had a good candidate on the list. I went to see her. She has Ayi experience. Until recently she took care of two years old Taiwainese girl but her family went back to Taiwan. She seemed OK, except she doesn’t look at my eyes when she talks to me. Plus she had buck teeth. I wonder because she is ashamed of her buck teeth so she doesn’t look at me. I also wonder how I feel to see her with buck teeth every day. And I wonder if Akiva will fall in love with buck teeth girl because of his early babysitter memory. Anyway when I told Jesse, he immediately said we don’t want her. Not because her teeth, but her basic communication manner.

Friday, we had another Ayi came to our house for interview. When I saw her on doorbell/monither screen, she looked like a traditional working class grandma. I kind of hesatate to open the door. As soon as she came in, she held Akiva and gave him a lot of kisses. Akiva tried to escape, but she held him up and spun him around with a lot of kisses. She was out going and loud. She said she is 50 years old (Chinese people said Ayi over 50 years old is no no because physically too old to take care of baby and mentally too old to alter their householding habits ). Anyway she was different, so we decided to ask her come for trial on Monday.

On Monday, we wanted Akiva to get used to her, so we went out together. I told her Akiva has a lot of energy and if he doesn’t do enough physical activities day time he has hard time to go to sleep at night. I asked her to let Akiva walk by his self. She couldn’t put him down on the ground. She told me he is so cute and has so little feet. I asked her again but she held him and she started running away from me. I asked her many time, but every time she put him down and immediately picked him up with a lot of kisses.

She also wanted to give him whatever food he pointed by his finger. I told her not to give him snacks and juices because he cannot eat lunch later. However she managed to give him a whole box of biscuits behind of my back.

I reported Jesse and had him to advise her to not to baby Akiva too much. Next day, the Ayi told Jesse she cannot work for mother who doesn’t pay attention where her son walks to and doesn’t care her son falls down. She cannot believe mother who let her son starve. She believes baby should be spoiled and she doesn’t want to change her babysitting technique. Am I an evil mother to her? Oh well. Seeking a good Ayi continued.

 Posted by at 5:27 pm

  4 Responses to “Traditional Grandma vs. New mom”

  1. You are not an evil mom by any means!!! You have the authority to decide how you should feed you kid. That old granny was straight-tripping, she cannot tell you how to be a better mom, Haga i know you are a good mom and love your little Akiva very much. If i could i would be an Ayi for Akiva, but Im in Mexico, little too far, maybe you should come and visit some time yeah!!??
    Miss you all!

  2. Hi, Haga, this’s the first time leave my comment on your blog. I’m a young man who works at Suzhou nearly one year.

    I followed lucia’s opinion. Aditionally, your last Ayi is a traditonal Chinese, her takes care of child as a standard tranditional Chinese way.

    Good luck for seeking a Haga-style Ayi for Akiva 🙂

  3. OK.
    This is Jesse

    Cool that you read the blog. The blog is a communication tool to family and friends back in the US. But it is becoming a method to make new friends. My office is in the SIP on JingjiHu road, the Starbucks building. Hope we meet up some time.

    We miss you alot. I hope you are doing good in Mexico. BTW, you might want to go back to US soon if you can…you already spend a lot of time there and I think there are going to be new options for getting Green Cards in the near future. But anyway, you stay where ever your heart tells you to stay or go (no need to say that, because that is what you do anyway). You would be a great Ayi for Akiva. AND Akiva’s soon to come little brother.

    That’s right. Its a boy. And so far healthy too.

    And she knows she is not a bad mom. We didn’t take what she said to heart at all…we laughed about it. Maybe Haga was a little angry…sort of like “Wow…that Aiyi certainly has some cajones tell me I’m a bad mom! Who the F____ does she think she is?!” (she was not actually at the meeting with the aiyi;Akiva and Haga were visiting friends) Anyway mainly this was interesting to see the culture difference. And truth is, I was happy the aiyi said that, because this way it was easy for me to decide to fire her. And I appreciate that she was straight forward about her feelings rather than holding onto her job and make this more difficult. Because she was straight-forward, I could hire her again to take care of Akiva when he is sleeping at night, or to take care of the new one…until the new one turns 4 months and needs to start playing and crawling and eating a little solids. The traditional aiyi is great when the baby is too young to do anything. Not our style over-all though.

    Miss you too,

  4. Hi Jesse,
    I’m a interloper to your yard:_)

    Starbucks building? I know it!

    My office – Sernet(Suzhou) is in Xinghai Street, it’s very near with yours.

    Hope we meet some time, but first, happy your Guangzhou trip, and Haga for her family trip in Japan. (I know these from your lastest post :_)

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