Monday, May 24, 2010

Another Important Relationship in Sammi's Life

There is certainly no love lacking between Sammi and her home aide, N. While we had been uncertain about her in the beginning due to several factors, not the least of which was a pretty big language barrier, it is obvious that having her with us has made a tremendous impact on Samantha, and Samantha a tremendous impact on her.

In her native country, N. was an educator. Her approach to Samantha goes well beyond babysitting, and she takes every opportunity (or at least those moments when Sammi is not trying her best to walk all over her) to teach her things. So many times I’ve walked into the living room to see them reading books or practicing with flashcards, and Steve has found them out taking walks or working on ascending the climber at the school playground behind our house. She truly sees Sammi’s potential, often commenting on how smart she is and how quickly she picks things up. One day, recently, N. was practically bursting at the seams to tell me about something my princess did when they were playing together in her room. Samantha likes to lay her color stacking cups out on the floor, then hide a little ball under one of them. She tells you to close your eyes, then she moves the cups around and makes you find the ball. It’s obvious and simple, and she thinks you’re having to work very hard to deduce where it might be lurking. Well, on this particular day, Sammi told N. to hide her eyes, then moved the ball from under its current cup to a different cup, then told N. to open her eyes again. N. was almost in tears with happiness when she recounted this, noting the cognitive breakthrough that allowed Sammi to understand deception (of course, I haven’t been able to get Sammi to repeat that particular game since…). I knew then just how much N. cares and how much she’s invested in my little girl.

It goes both ways. When N. isn’t around, Sammi mentions her often, particularly when calling either Steve or myself by her name. She does this slyly, knowing full-well what she’s doing and the reaction she’ll get (it’s the same as when she calls Daddy “Mommy” or Mommy “Daddy,” just to be silly). She expects N. to be there when she wakes up from her after-school naps, since that’s the usual routine, and when she’s not…well, let’s just say that she’s not very happy about it. Last Sunday, after waking from her nap, still shut in her room (oh yes, we've got a child-proof doorknob on her side!), she ran to her door and loudly yelled for N. over and over. I came to the door to tell her it was me, and that N. would be there the next day. When I opened the door, she yelled, “No!” and slammed it shut, then asked for N. again. And she was quite serious. Breaking the ice and warming her up again involved the two of us, on opposite sides of the door, lying on the floor peeking at the other’s eye through the crack under the door. She giggled and let me come in then.

We feel quite lucky to have this relationship that works. I’m a little bit worried because I think N. is going to be going back to school to get her certification here in the US this fall, and we may lose her and have to go through this process of finding the right person again. But I’ll be thankful for the time that we do have, and thankful for this other special person in Samantha’s life.


RobMonroe said...

So grateful that Sammi has someone like that in her life. Grateful that you have someone like that who you can trust and know wholeheartedly that she has the best interests of your family in mind. Such a blessing, even with language barriers and all.

stephanie said...

She sounds like a true gem! You're very lucky to have her!

my family said...

what a precious smile

Cathy said... must feel so wonderful to have a caregiver who so obviously CARES!!!

Renee said...

I am so glad that Samantha has such a caring aide who is so invested in her. Such a blessing for all of you.

Lacey said...

How great for her. Its so hard though when we might lose people we love. When we lost our nursing, my other boys cried, they love Jax nurse!

Michelle said...

what a wonderful post about a beautiful relationship!