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     Congratulations to Catherine K – Our 2015 Au Pair of the Year!

Catherine Certificate                                Catherine K


Catherine came to Au Pair International from South Africa with a wealth of knowledge in the childcare field and an eagerness to experience life in the United States. Her host family nominated her for the Au Pair of the Year contest because she is “magical” with their twin boys and has become an integral part of their family. Catherine’s host mother writes that Catherine is truly an amazing, gifted woman, not only with her children but with everyone she touches. She never shows how hard her job is. In fact, she makes raising twins look easy. Her patience has no boundaries. She is very gracious; she never lets anything upset her. She treats everyone with the utmost respect. She is humble. She goes above and beyond to help out. She is friendly and warm, and very likeable. She rolls with the punches and is flexible to change. Everyone who knows her has said how lucky we are to have her with us. As a first-time mother, Catherine has also taught me a lot about parenting. None of the countless books or videos I watched about parenting could have taught me what Catherine has, just by example.

Catherine’s Nomination Essay and Collage!

In July of 2011, very pregnant with twin boys and in the hospital for complications (and no au pair match in sight despite dozens of interviews), I happened upon Catherine’s profile. I immediately contacted her and we set up our first Skype date, in my hospital gown (and feeling very unattractive, looking like a beach ball and feeling very tired), we chatted for about twenty minutes. I couldn’t wait to hang up and call my husband to him know I’d found our au pair!

Since our boys D and R were one month old, Catherine has been an integral part of the family and an amazing caregiver for our now 15-month old’s. Dealing with two babies at the same time is difficult and – especially as they have started crawling and moving around – often a juggling act. But Catherine always knows exactly what to do and is “magical” with them. When the boys are moving in two different directions, she gathers them up and makes a fun game for them, when one cries for attention, she knows how to comfort him (but only enough so he can learn), when one is cranky, she can make him giggle uncontrollably in seconds, when they started teething, she knew the exact remedy to soothe them. She has a lot of fun dressing them out for their daily outings to the park, the library or a walk. She is also very creative, constantly coming up with new activities and games to keep the boys engaged and interested in their surroundings.

As to her personality traits, Catherine never shows how hard her job is. In fact, she makes caring for twins look easy. Her patience has no boundaries. She is very gracious; she never lets anything upset her. She treats everyone with the utmost respect. She is humble. She goes above and beyond to help out. She is friendly and warm, and very likeable. She rolls with the punches and is flexible to change. Everyone who knows her has said how lucky we are to have her with us.

When Rafi was just a few months old, he was diagnosed with a neurological disorder (which thankfully turned out to be a false diagnosis). The physical therapist told us to do exercises with him numerous times a day. Catherine tirelessly led Rafi through an exercise routine every day, making it pleasurable for him. Within months, his physical condition was that of a normal baby his age. I know that Catherine had a lot to do with making him stronger and healthier. (Catherine later told m that she had told he mother about Rafi’s diagnosis and her mother had started a prayer circle for him back in South Africa. I have never been so touched in my life, just thinking about her kindness brings tears to my eyes.)

As a first-time mother, Catherine has also taught me a lot about parenting. I didn’t know what was “normal” for children of this age, but she brings a wealth of experience for this age group and has taught me a lot about the different stages the boys have gone through, why they are going through it, and what to do. None of the countless books or videos I watched about parenting could have taught me what Catherine has, just by example. (We are trying to teach the boys how to hold their own bottles now – not an easy feat! – but they are finally learning because of Catherine’s patience and perseverance.)

I have completely trusted Catherine with the boys from the start. I thought I’d be the type of nervous mother who constantly checked in, but during the brief times I’ve been away (other than missing the boys terrible!) I’ve known that the boys are in the best hands.

Catherine is truly an amazing, gifted woman, not only with my children but with everyone she touches (she is not surprisingly the most popular member of my household with my young niece and nephew). I know she will succeed in everything she does.

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