Maid Issues

Conversation with My Neighbour

At the playground yesterday morning, I met my neighbour who is staying on the tenth floor. She is a very nice lady. Her daughter, Wen is one year younger than Little Edison and they enjoy playing together at the playground.

While the two kiddos are playing, we sat down and had a good chat. It’s been a few months since we last met. She used to be in the same situation like me – we’re both working and we send our children and helpers to our mother-in-law’s place every morning. Both our helpers are from Indonesia too.

However, her situation has changed three months ago. Her Indonesian helper has left. Her diabetic father-in-law has been very sick and her mother-in-law couldn’t help to take care of her daughter anymore.

So, she employed a Filipina helper to take care of her daughter at her own place. In other words, she is leaving her daughter is the care of the helper while she and her husband go to work in the morning. There is no one else at home during the day, except the helper.

Thankfully, her Filipina helper is able to take care of her daughter independently. She is also able to do housekeeping, washing and ironing while her girl is napping. She can even cook lunch for her girl. She will turn on the TV for the girl while she cooks in the kitchen. In the evening, she will prepare the food for dinner. When my neighbour reaches home at 6pm, she will take over her daughter while her helper cooks the dinner. How wonderful!

Anyway, I do find that girls are generally gentler and a little tamer than the boys – making them easier to take care of. [Correct me, if I’m wrong.] I doubt Little Edison will sit in the hall and watch TV on his own when the helper is cooking. Most likely, he will mess up the kitchen cabinet and our helper will run amok. I’m serious.

To say that he is an energizer bunny is probably an understatement. He is an energizer bunny with minimal energy consumption. Considering the fact that he eats so little everyday, I really wonder where his energy comes from. He eats at most ten mouthfuls at each meal and he will run away with the excuse that he is full.

Each day after school, the helper is struggling to keep him entertained. She can’t even leave him unattended for one minute. Otherwise, he will start doing dangerous stunts like jumping on the bed, cutting his own hair etc. At night, we struggle to burn off his excess energy so that he can sleep.

Definitely, he takes after Daddy V in this hyper-active department. V can survive with minimal sleep but I can’t. And I don’t think I was that active when I was young. Perhaps, it’s time to check with my mum.

At this juncture, I’m still not brave enough to leave Little Edison alone with my helper at home. It’s not about the lack of trust, but I don’t think she can handle on her own. If accident happens, she may not know how to handle it i.e. lacks of basic first aid knowledge, use of medication, safety awareness etc.

Whenever my parents-in-law are away, I’ll apply leave to stay at home with Little Edison. I may be over-protective, but again, some accidents are irreversible. As much as I can, I will prevent it.

Just to quote one simple example of safety awareness. The helper is carrying Little Edison while I’m making payment at the cashier counter in the supermarket. A man standing behind me was coughing. For my first helper, Niti, she will immediately walk away with Little Edison to avoid catching the germs (without being told). For my second helper, Pin, she will continue to stand at the same location and wait for me to complete my payment.

You see the difference? Niti has a good safety awareness, but not Pin. It takes time to train her in this area. A lot of things are common sense to us, but to our helper, we just have to explain to her so that she understands our concerns.

I’m glad that my neighbour has found a trust-worthy helper to take care of her little girl. And I’m even more grateful to my parents-in-law who are willing to help me to take care of Little Edison when we’re at work.

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