Solange, the first local nanny to work for us, made one month with us a few days ago. She surprised me and erased all my biases against local nannies and for that, I am thankful.
Her one month anniversary also came with what many may view as something small but an actually big milestone to me. It seems finally Kwezi has let go of the nanny who ambushed us with her sudden departure and embraced change. Sarah and Kwezi had a very good relationship, which I think was based on the fact that they could both communicate in English. Sarah did not speak Kinyarwanda and Kwezi’s Kinyarwanda was until recently almost non-existent.
After Sarah left, Kwezi went into withdrawal mode. I did not understand it because in the past, she had proven to me that children move on very fast. She has moved on from a nanny in record time but she is turning five in a couple of months so her emotions are not those of a baby anymore. She gets attached and like any other person, she needs time to process when there is some sort of separation.
Anyway, when Solange took on her duties, I could see that there was an issue. Kwezi did not seem to be interested in her at all. She seemed to want to lash out whenever the nanny said anything. It even became more complicated during shower hour. Kwezi completely refused to be washed. I was very frustrated.
While chemistry between the nanny and the child is important when it comes to determining who can live with us, I was not ready to over once again. We had suffered with the absence of a nanny and unless she failed in her other duties, I was willing to let time heal whatever loss Kwezi was healing from.
All these matters were helped by the fact that Solange was more patient with whatever she was going through. Every time I raised my voice and sometimes my hand to lash out, she politely asked me to give the child time.
Recently, things turned around. Not only has Kwezi turned around, she is going as far as preferring to sleep with Solange than being in my bed. She cannot sit with me for 10 minutes without announcing that she wants to be with Solange.
Showering is a very enjoyable experience for her again. She is obedient and goes through her routines without screaming or complaining. Kwezi is healed. Solange and I are relieved. I can now comfortably say that we have “arrived”.