Thursday, 31 January 2008


By now I am sure all of you would have guessed that my maid has arrived.

Actually the Mrs and I, along with Isaac went to pick her on 13th of this month. I can still recall very well how nervous we were. The Mrs was already feeling uneasy the night before when she learned that our maid was in town and ready for our pick up.

As for me, I guess I'm a little slow with my emotions because I only felt the weird feeling sinking in while driving to the maid agency over at Bukit Timah. I was asking myself if we had made a mistake. Do we really need a maid? Can we not drop Baby off with some babysitter in our neighbourhood and then pick him up in the evening after work? What if the whole experience turns out to be a nightmare?

A quick check with the Mrs confirmed that it does make more sense to have a maid then to drop Isaac with a babysitter since the cost is probably about the same. But by having a maid, I do not have to do any housework anymore!! Woo Hoo!! Granted the trade off will be our freedom.

Even when we were at the agency it was rather awkward and it kind of reminded me of a bad date! One that had a number of the deafening silence moments. (The author, namely me would like to clarify that I am merely referring to the bad dates that all of us had watched in movies. I am strictly NOT speaking from personal experiences). Now that we got that clarified, back to the agency.

So we were there making final payments and completing the paperwork while she just stood there about two feet behind us. Just standing! The Mrs and I did not exactly grew up with butlers and maids waiting on us so naturally we're not used to such ceremony and we said to her "At Ease!!" No, of course not. We just smiled and asked her to sit.

Once we're done we headed home and we tried to make small talk. Introducing Isaac to her as well as preparing her to face Ah No (a 32kg dog). I guess it was a little better once we're away from the agency because what's worse than being on a bad date is to be on one with many pairs of eyes watching your every move. (Again from movies!)

Fast forward to today, Vera (her name is actually Verawati but she prefers for us to call her Vera instead of Wati), our maid is pretty much settled in and helping to take care of Dino and the housework. We're still handling Isaac very much on our own.

There are of course things that she did that we do not agree with but I understand that she needs a few more weeks to really understand how this household works. An example will be she likes to wash clothes and I have seriously never seen the bottom of my laundry basket for the longest time until now. Nothing wrong there except that she is using the washing machine on almost every alternate day and each time the load is less than half full. At this rate my water and electricity bills will be enough for me to employ another maid.

Having said that I have found clothes that I had forgotten I owned. At the same time I am finding it increasing hard to find things without asking her. I am still looking for my Prada belt and she is not going to be of much help since she does not know what it looked like.

She has very good initiative and she will look for her own work in the house. I am rather pleased with that since I do not have to crack my head to dedicate work and set up a timetable. The problem here is that things that we say "Do not touch! Let's wait and do it another day" she will work on it after a day or two without our consent. The latest incident was actually with our storeroom. We needed time and energy to figure out what to do with the items in there so we said let's put it on hold but after 2 days, every single item is out in my living room. Unfortunately I wasn't home so the Mrs had to work on it on her own while tending to Baby's feedings too.

The last thing that we're not too pleased about is her usage of the pacifier on Isaac. We are trying to use it only during emergency but she likes to stick it to Isaac whenever he is cranky and she is carrying him. We have demonstrated to her many times that Isaac does not need the pacifier to be coaxed back to sleep. All we had to do is hold him and walk or move about for a while. In any case it is not ideal to use the pacifier to coax him to sleep because once he falls asleep and drops the pacifier he will wake up cranky again and the cycle goes on.

Do not get me wrong, I am not saying she is a bad maid because she really isn't. She has initiative, understands English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Hokkien (guess we got more than we bargained for huh?! We cannot comment on her work in her presence unless we want her to know or we take up Japanese or French) and she can care for Isaac pretty well. She also claimed she can cook since she cooked for all 6 members of her pervious employer on a daily basis. We have yet to try it out.

We are just a little anxious that the Mrs is going back to work soon hence we have little time left to iron out the nitty gritty things that we want her to do or learn.

At the end of the day I have to say that overall this has not been a nightmare but certainly there are rooms for improvement.


Anonymous said...

I seldom let my maid handle the baby. Basically she only helps my MIL with the household chores and the baby stuff like preparing his bath, washing BB's clothes and clearing his diapers etc. My MIL is the one caring for the baby in the day time. It is not that we think she will hurt the baby but we just want to play safe. After all, she is new to the family. We just got her in Oct 07. Although I have observed that she enjoys playing with my baby and likes him alot, we feel that we do not understand her well enough to entrust her with our kid. We also do not like the idea of her carrying him since we have heard so much about maids dropping the babies accidentally. :P

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi reishi,

We had the intention to let our maid handle Isaac, in fact that was the only reason why we engaged a maid, so we sent her to TMC for their training program for maids.

Over there they will learn how to handle babies. They were taught how to bath and feed baby as well as how to sterilise the bottles and pumps etc.

Our arrangement is to have my mum supervisor her whenever she feeds and baths Isaac.

Actually I have never heard of maids dropping babies, only the unfortunate incident of the maid knocking the toddler's head against the toilet bowl.

In fact we even discussed this piece of news with her. We told her that the important thing is for her to own up whenever she makes any mistakes. I highlighted to her that should the maid informed someone of the incident then the toddler would most probably have been saved.

She understands and agrees to it so let's see.