The Nanny with the Chicken Pox

October was already half way over and I was starting to count down the days to our first long vacation at the beginning of November.  I simply had to make in through two more full weeks of classes.  At the end of the day on Monday, October 18, my nanny came up to me a few minutes before she left and said, “I’m not sure how to tell you this….”

At first, I braced myself for something horrific, such as quitting the job.  However, she began by telling me that she had been running a fever all day long.  She said she had been going back and forth between having the chills and feeling overheated.

“My daughter, Evelyn, came down with the chicken pox last week.  So, I’m wondering whether or not, I might have it, too,” she said. “However, I don’t have any pox break out on my skin yet.”

She began to cry saying that she didn’t want to stay away from work and was afraid that I was going to cut her pay or fire her. 

After I assured her that neither one of those things would happen, I suggested she stay home for a day to see if she really had the chicken pox and to go see a doctor.  The following day was a rush in trying to get someone from the school to help watch the boys and Isabella Greer (who also is cared for by my nanny during school hours).  It was also the day I had scheduled for my nanny to make Luke’s home-made soup which would last him for two weeks.  So, I had to make his soup and clean the house and make sure that the baby sitters knew what to do for the kid’s normal routine.

At the end of the day, my nanny called to tell me she had started breaking out into spots in the night prior and she most definitely had the chicken pox.  I told her to rest and not worry too much about us.  Then I tried to grapple with the fact that I would be without a nanny for the following eight days.  After a second day of searching for someone to babysit the kids for the next week, I finally found someone who was willing to help me out from 9:30 to 3:30pm for the rest of the time that my nanny would be out. 

During this whole process, I was so grateful that I was exposed to chicken pox as a pre-schooler and already had immunity to it.  My boys had been received the chicken pox vaccination at part of their 12 month shots.  I was told that this vaccine is good between four to five years.  So, I didn’t have to worry about having to deal with chicken pox in my home. 

The busy days continued as I had to continue taking care of the household task and making all the food for my boys.  There was no point training a babysitter for these tasks if she was only going to be caring for them for five days.   Stephen helped me with mopping the floors on occasion. 

It was with great joy that we received Sonia back in our home last Thursday.  As usual, God had provided for our needs in a time of crisis.  We were also able to pay our temporary babysitter for a week of work without having to pull it out of the pay check of our nanny.

Changing Caregivers AGAIN

Ever since early April of this year, our boys have had to adjust to a new person to care for them.  The lady who had been taking care of them since we moved to Ecuador, Marina Hernandez, had to quit working for health reasons.  However, we were excited when Jenny Pilataxi was able to begin working for us immediately after Marina left. 

Jenny was considerably younger and full of energy.  She always came to work smiling and with a positive attitude toward anything I asked her to do.  Her positivity helped to make the change easier on my boys as I had to continue teaching for the rest of the school year.  When the summer break began, we told Jenny to take some vacation time while we traveled in the U.S. 

When we returned, I was able to get to know Jenny a little better since I wasn’t teaching classes.  Jenny’s husband runs his own mechanic shop.  She has two daughters in their twenties, one daughter who is nineteen and a son who is nine.  Her nineteen year old just started attending a local university last year and still lives at home.  Her oldest daughter is married and recently found out that she is pregnant.

That was when the trouble began.  Her oldest daughter also is the secretary/book keeper for her husband’s mechanic shop.  In Ecuador, the labor is cheap so they make most of their money off of the parts they replace on cars.  This requires a lot of purchases and paperwork and negotiating with the bank. 

A few weeks into her pregnancy, Jenny’s daughter went to see her doctor with concerns about bleeding.  Her doctor ordered her to go on immediate bed rest for the following three weeks.  This left Jenny’s husband without a secretary/book keeper.  The situation was tough, because he couldn’t hire outside help that was both willing to work temporarily (so the daughter could continue working for him after her maternity leave) and willing to accept the lower salary that he gave his daughter. 

He began putting pressure on Jenny to quit her job with us so that she could work for him full time.  Jenny told me the situation and said that she was trying to reason with him.  But after a week of arguments and stony silence on his end, she told me that she had no choice but to quit.  However, she also told me that she had a niece who had been recently left unemployed and needed a job. 

That is when Sonia Yanchapaxi enters the scene.  She has been working for us since August 9 and says that my sons are the boys she never had.  She has two teenage daughters.  One is going into eighth grade and the other is going to be a senior.  Although we were very sad to have to say good-bye to another caregiver that the boys were finally getting used to, the past three weeks have not been as hard as I thought they would have been.  Sonia enjoys playing with the boys and has been very helpful during the times that I have to work on preparations for the new school year and working on my Ph.D.  We are hoping that Sonia can continue to work for us for the rest of the time that we live in Ecuador.

Sonia encourages Luke to come down the slide.

From Marina Hernandez to Jenny Pilataxi

Marina accepts a good-bye present on her last day at work.

At the end of March, our little family went through a painful change.  The lady who we had hired to help me take care of the boys, Marina Hernandez, discovered that she had two completely blocked arteries in her heart.  Her doctor told her that she needed to stop working and get more rest in order to prevent a heart attack.  He told her that is she kept working, she most likely would suffer a heart attack soon. He felt it was time for her to retire since she is almost 60 years old.

The news hit me hard, because I realized how much my boys had gotten attached to their “nana” (the name they had given Marina).  I also was sad at the thought of not seeing Marina again.

That meant I had to look for someone new to help me with my boys and with the house work.  Within a week, God made it possible for the maid of another missionary family to start working for us.  Jenny Pilataxi has three children.  Two are fully grown, but her youngest is only nine years old.  She has also worked for missionary families her entire career as a nanny.

Although it has been an adjustment to have someone new working for us, we are excited about having her help.  She is actively trying to help me teach my boys more Spanish words and she said that she will help me potty train Jared when he shows us that he is ready for it. (He hasn’t quite gotten there yet.)

We are excited to have a Christian working for us who is both trustworthy and full of energy and excitement about caring for my children.