Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Rocket and I have long observed that I'm more ready in general for change than she is. I've sometimes described myself as a chameleon, able to blend in and adapt to new environments. In ways, I thrive on change. I like the challenge of novelty, figuring out the pathways. I hold firm to my notion of cultivated naivety, whereby I'm willing to attempt the impossible, because I refuse to accept conventional notions. I feign naivety where it suits me to ignore arguments that it can't be done.

And yet, in ways, I'm slow to change. I like to spend a good long time considering options, rendering a decision based on considered judgment. M threw a wrench into that a couple weeks ago, when she announced all on a sudden, that the mother of a friend of hers had invited her to move in with them, to take care of her twin 6-year olds part-time (about 25 hours a week). She offered to pay her the going rate of an au pair (despite the fact that M will be here on a student visa, and thus legally restricted from working). We had earlier discussed a work around, had she stayed with us, as planned.

I had called the IRS and ascertained that there was nothing preventing us from supporting her (gifting to her a weekly allowance). It's a gray area for sure. She couldn't be an employee of ours, but there's no law preventing her from watching the boys of her own accord. In any case, we hadn't worked out details. She had asked if we would sponsor her as a student, and expressed a willingness to continue helping to watch the boys, saying she'd mostly take night classes. We even offered to buy a car for her exclusive use, so long as she paid the insurance. (We figured taking her off our insurance would save us about $200/month, so buying a $4000-5000 car would be about the same after a couple years, or should we sell it for half the purchase price a year later). Everything was open to discussion.

Until that is, she decided hastily to scrap it all. I suppose the appeal of working for and living with a truly wealthy family (which they are) was too much for her to pass on. The upshot is, we're getting ourselves a new au pair, who arrives on Saturday. She's on in-country transition, because her current host family had an opportunity to place their daughter in their first-choice daycare center earlier than planned, and didn't feel willing to pass on the opportunity. She's able to continue with a new family until December, and open to the prospect of extending after that, ideally until May, which is really perfect timing for us, since that's about the time Rocket would either return to work after taking 3 months off following the baby's birth, or when we might pack up and head to other parts.

This was unexpected, but I suppose it may all work out for the best. No gray areas to worry about, and perhaps the novelty will be good for all parties involved, hopefully most especially for the boys.

1 comment:

Lilian said...

What sudden changes! I hope everything is going well in that area, since I don't know if you've posted about it after this. (I've skimmed most recent posts, but didn't have much time to read carefully when I was in Brazil).