>Our au pair?

>Another parent recently told me that she punishes her kids not by taking things away (tv, computer), but by adding something in: Chores. This may work for her, and many other parents.. but not in this house. Mr. Bennett bounds out of bed at 6 each morning, dresses, spends a good 30 minutes banging around in his bathroom doing his hair (wetting it in the sink, and combing in whatever product he can get his hands on ) and then plods loudly down the stairs to get the girls out of their beds, dress them, and give them breakfast. He often spends the early morning weekend hours preparing “treats” for us in the kitchen, or noisily (detect a theme?) laying out what he likes to call the Breakfast Buffet. (This always involves cut-up fruit and an inordinate amount of toothpicks.)

So, more chores would hardly seem like punishment, I said to the parent. Wow, she said, It must be like having an au pair.

I replied that Bennett only really does the chores he deems worthy, and if he can’t be bothered, he tells us to bugger off. So, it is like having an au pair — a French one.

Still, now that there are five little ones in the house, I’ll take all the help I can get.

[Consequently, a lot of people have been asking me whether 5 is any different than 4. I’m not really sure how to answer it. While it’s more of the same, it’s different. And this time I have an especially ornery toddler in tow — for some reason Fi seems to have gotten a head start on being an impossible two year old, something which didn’t strike the other kids until they were closer to three. She constantly tells me to put the baby down and carry her, and insists of being fed like a baby, carried like a baby, you get the drift. So, I am getting something of an ass-kicking here. Still, somewhere underneath all the chaos, I’m managing to have fun. It could be the sleep deprivation kicking in, and making me think I’m having fun when I’m really now.. but I’ll never know.]

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