Well, we've done it. After much deliberation, my husband and I decided to let Lu, our Chinese babysitter, go. As I've written before, I was not without my conflicts about the situation. Lu clearly loved Vivi and for many months, they shared a wonderful, fun relationship. I put my own inability to communicate with Lu aside because Vivi really seemed happy when they were together.
Like her father, Vivi has a remarkable ability and confidence with words. She was an early talker and it was not a surprise to us when Vivi's language surpassed Lu's several months ago. It didn't seem to be a problem though until May when Vivi started to say, "Mama, I no want Lu coming to our house." She would fuss on Wednesday mornings and not want me to leave. Plus, I could see that Lu had no idea what Vivi was saying. Unlike me, who could use props and gesticulate until Lu understood, Vivi couldn't do that as effectively.
Still, I struggled with the power I had as a parent to sever my child's relationships. It seemed cruel to cut Lu out just because her English stinks (trigger Peace Corps flashback and trying to get by on my crappy Russian...) but it also seemed cruel to put Vivi through some kind of cross-cultural experiment that clearly had faltered months ago.
In the end, I am happy and relieved that we made the decision we did. Lu will be with us until the end of August which seemed fair to everyone involved. We'll struggle along for a couple of more weeks, Lu can have some time to say good-bye to Vivi, and we can all start the fall anew. Heck, we might even have a little goodbye celebration. Haw flakes, anyone?