Habesha Mary Poppins

We hired a nanny this week. We don’t actually need a nanny right now, but it looks like I might go back to work sooner than expected, so I decided it would be ideal to hire someone now and have time to train her and get to know her. If my job situation doesn’t work out, I think I’d be able to find a part-time job here, so we’d still need child care for Willa for a few hours each day.

I met Askarlich through a friend of a friend who was about to leave the country to go back to the UK. She heard that I hadn’t hired anyone yet, and suggested that I interview her because she was just such an amazing nanny. I liked her immediately and offered her the job on the spot. It didn’t hurt that she is currently studying English in the evenings. That was back in November, but we agreed that she would start after Christmas (when the British family was leaving). Since then, I’ve been nervous about the whole thing. Even though the cost of hiring household help is ridiculously low, it seemed so over-the-top. I even thought about finding her another job. But when I heard back from Washington last week and they said they want me to start as soon as possible, I was glad to have a nanny on board.

She’s only worked for us for a couple of days, but I have to say, it’s a relief to have some help with the kids. I resisted hiring someone because I am home all day and didn’t want yet another person in the house. But there are unexpected benefits of having someone else around. I can spend some quality time with Charlotte for the first time in over a year. I finally had time to write up contracts for all our household staff, and get a translator to go over them. Perhaps I will even start working out again (if my old trainer Adriana is reading this: I meant, I work out ALL THE TIME!).

Askarlich clearly adores children and they love her right back. Whenever she is around , it’s hard not to be in a good mood. Her gorgeous singing voice and sunny disposition make us all smile. Despite her tiny build, she can toss Charlotte up in the air. She runs and dances around and keeps the girls giggling. She has a quirky sense of style, and sort of looks like Rosie Perez. Her shoes and purse always match her outfit and there are usually some sequins and other embellishments involved. She’s fabulous; our Habesha (Ethiopian) Mary Poppins.


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