Four Months Later

When I was tidying up pictures in my laptop, I found this picture of my first Indonesian maid, Niti and our Little Edison, taken in Christmas last year. Niti returned home four months ago. I wonder how she is doing now. I hope that she has reunited with her family and she is able to find a better job in her own country.

I still think of her once in a while. She is a very good helper, and I admit it’s our loss for not keeping her and renewing her contract. She likes to take pictures when we go out. She told me that she wants to bring these pictures home as remembrance. I feel so sorry for not being able to fulfill such a small request from her. Sigh.

Our new helper, Pin, has been with us for four months now. She is not as good as Niti – I know I shouldn’t compare. Pin is generally a slower worker and her safety awareness is not as good. Apart from these, she is okay. She is hardworking and obedient. Little Edison started to develop a liking for her after three months.

When Pin just came on-board, Little Edison rejected her totally. It was a nightmare to me. Changing a maid when our kids are 2 to 3 years old is a serious business. REALLY. These toddlers are hard to accept changes. It takes three months for our Little Edison to slowly accept Pin. I wouldn’t want to change another helper, unless really necessary.

Overall, Pin’s performance is still meeting our expectations. I’ve accepted the fact that she is slower than Niti. Thus, I will allow more time for her to finish her works. Her spoken English has improved tremendously too. It’s perhaps due to watching Dora the Explorer with Little Edison everyday. She can sing the Dora song too. It’s amazing how a cartoon show can teach English!

Recently, Little Edison allows her to shower him at night (even though I’m around). This is a good sign. I can finally take a break, relax and watch the 7pm show! That’s the way to go!

I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Hopefully, Pin will continue to work with us diligently.

 

About Our Helper

Our new helper, Pin, has been with us for two months now. So far, she has been very hardworking (although I find her a bit slow). Daddy V commented that she is not careful enough when she is doing her work. True, she accidentally broke the door stopper when she was mopping the floor. True, she dropped a bamboo pole onto the first floor carpark when she was hanging her clothes outside the kitchen. Luckily, the pole landed on the grass without hurting anyone. We gave her a very serious warning about this incident.

True, she forgot to turn off the light in the study room before she went to bed. Lastly, she hanged wet clothes that were still dripping outside the kitchen. The angry Filipina maid from the 6th floor made a complaint to the security guard. In the end, she got a scolding from Daddy V. I warned her that all the maids in this condo are very fierce – they know how to make complaints to the security guards and management office.

Well, is this bad enough? It all happened during her first month of work. By the second month, her work performance has gradually improved. When she just came onboard, she was very quiet, shy and often had her head lowered. Now, she is more outspoken and she is able to converse with us in simple English. Little Edison also picked up some Malay words from her.

She is very good in ironing and folding clothes. This is obviously a plus point for her as I really hate ironing. She is very patient in dealing with Little Edison’s tantrums as well as feeding him. I keep telling her that she must build up the rapport with Little Edison so that he will co-operate with her. Otherwise, her work will be very difficult. I can see that she is trying her best to improve in this area.

On the flip side, Little Edison doesn’t like her. He often bullies her – beats her, pushes her away and pulls her hair. He even attempts to bite her. It was really bad, I know. I warned him about his bad behaviors and I even spanked him. It was quite a surprise to me because he has never treated Niti (our ex-helper) in this manner. Daddy V pointed out that there may be something that we are not aware of, and our son is still unable to express his thoughts to us verbally. We need to monitor the helper closely now.

Pin is a Muslim. She can handle pork, but she can’t eat them. She asked our permission to allow her to do prayers in her room at night. We respect her religion and therefore, we allow her to do her prayers. However, we told her that we do not allow fasting as it will affect her work. She understands it, as this is clearly stated in her work contract.

I encourage her to write letters to her parents in Indonesia. I know nothing about her family background, but I have a feeling that she is not close to her family. She doesn’t want to write letters to them despite constant encouragement from me. She rarely talks about her family members. Our ex-helper, Niti, used to write letters to her mother every month. She would share with me updates about her family every time she received letters from them.

All in all, managing a helper is not easy at all. It’s not only about managing her work, but managing the relationships, welfare, safety and discipline of the helper. Every family member has different expectation towards her. When she is faced with conflicting instructions, how should she react? When she is unhappy with her work, who should she confront? And the list goes on.

The entry of a foreign helper into the family may complicate the family dynamics. It is, therefore, important to have a set of house rules for the helper. Conversation with the helper has to be done tactfully in order not to hurt each other’s feelings. We all learnt our lessons when we hired our first helper two years ago. With some experiences now, we hope that we can handle our second helper more effectively.

Will blog about my house rules next week. Hopefully, it can provide some guidance to new parents who have just employed foreign helpers.

One Month Update

It has been a month since our new helper, Pin, came on-board. She has been a great help for the past one month, despite constant rejection from our little master Edison.

She does the general house chores fairly well. She has a lot of patience dealing with Little Edison’s tantrums, which is obviously one of her strengths. She is willing to work hard and I can see the amount of efforts she put in her works. Cooking is a whole lot easier too, as she can help out in the food preparation and cleaning-up after the process. Overall, her work performance is still satisfactory.

One of her weakness is her poor command of English. She has difficulties understanding our instructions at times. Thus, we have to talk to her slowly to make sure she understands. In terms of speed and alertness, she is not as good as our ex-helper, Niti. Nonetheless, given time and more training, we believe she will gradually improve in these areas.

I really appreciate having a helper at home to ease my burden. I simply cannot imagine my life without them – I may have to scrub the toilet, mop the floor, do the laundries, wash the dishes and take care of Little Edison all by myself. That is why I’m always concerned about the well-being of my helper.

I’m careful to make sure that she feels alright at home and she has sufficient food to eat. I talk to her occasionally and try to understand if there are any difficulties that she is facing at work. Most importantly, I always make sure that she has enough rest and in good health.

Everything has been manageable so far. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that things will continue to work well and that we don’t suffer from any of the domestic helper dramas.

Our New Helper

I’m back at work today after taking two days off to settle the maid issues. On Tuesday, we sent Niti (our ex-helper) to the airport. After that, we drove to Bishan to pick up our new helper, Pin.

Pin is also from Java, probably from the same village as Niti. Today is her third working day with us, well, what can I say about her? Errm…

On her first day, our little master Edison rejected her. He clings on to me like a koala, simply refuse to interact with Pin. As a result, I’ve to carry this 12kg boy all the time and I nearly break my back.

Yesterday is her first orientation and on-job-training day. We prepared a set of house rules and regulations for her (with translation in Malay Language). My husband took over this brainless job of explaining all the rules and regulations to Pin.

I handled the on-job-training. I taught her on the general housekeeping, how to prepare milk for Edison, feeding him, bathing him and patting him to sleep. She has two years of working experience as a maid in Surabaya, thus it isn’t that difficult for her to learn.

The main problem is her poor English proficiency. She has difficulty conversing with us in English. I try to communicate with her in Malay instead. Overall, I think she is still okay, although she is not as fast and as smart as Niti. I do believe she will be able to pick-up the language and her job within a month.