Monday, 10 September 2007

Isn't this all the wrong way round?

Well in truth this au pair business is hard work.

Here we are, some days into the regime of the new au pair and I'm suffering. It's not that Elizabeth Hurley is a horrible monster, because she's not. She's not locked herself in her room and refused to come out. She's not insulted the children, spent hours on the telephone or called me a stupid English cow. And yet I'm finding Elizabeth Hurley quite difficult to live with.

So I conclude it's me that's difficult to live with. And I'm analysing just what niggles me.

1. For a start, Elizabeth Hurley takes my place at the kitchen table. Now this may seem petty. But quite a lot of home ed things hang from it. For example, at breakfast, when I've a captive audience with their mouths stuffed full of Cheerios, I get out the book on Blackbeard, or Marco Polo, or echolocation in bats, and I read it aloud. And from this small kitchen-table start I might be rewarded with pictures of bats, or Marco Polo, or Blackbeard. I'll get captions to go with the pictures, some of Blackbeard's loot made from silver paper; someone making ginger ice cream for Marco Polo; someone making paper bats to hang from the ceiling, and someone reading Pirate Pete's Adventure. But the gentle rhythm of our morning lesson routine is disrupted. And I get to sit in the visitor's chair.

2. Elizabeth Hurley eats. My goodness, she eats. She eats anything that is not made of metal, wood, plastic or fibreboard. I suspect she'd have a go at the latter if left more than an hour unattended without a snack. I am a visitor at the kitchen table and now very poor indeed.

3. Elizabeth Hurley leaves stuff all over the house. There's sports trousers on the washing line, a hairbrush and make up in the schoolroom; vitamin tablets in the kitchen, books on the tables. I clear this lot up daily. So I'm a poor visitor in my own house who cleans for the au pair.

4. Elizabeth Hurley has not touched the laundry, wiped the bathroom sink, looked in the direction of the vacuum cleaner, or attempted any tidying in the front room. She has, however, cooked three tarts, one fruit crumble, two cakes, a caramel and some blackberry ice cream. I'm a poor visitor who does the cleaning and is getting fat on a sugar and butter diet which I've paid for.

5. Elizabeth Hurley has commented, not once, not twice, but three times now about the children. And not about how cute they are either. Rather in a way which has me defending our home ed and our pathetic attempts at Plan B (proactive version) at 11 o'clock at night. I'm a poor, fat visitor who does the cleaning and is rehearsing her lines for the law courts.

6. Elizabeth Hurley has so far managed to get Dig to take her to the pub, bring her back from the pub and go shopping with her in Tesco. The latter is a feat I have never managed without a fight. So now I'm a poor, fat visitor who does the cleaning, is going to court and whose husband is being led astray with tarte au fruits courtesy of an au pair who incidentally looks like Elizabeth Hurley.

I wonder why I'm getting niggled.


Allie said...

Oh, tell her to sling her hook! I'd go loopy with 'help' like that in my house. You could spend the money on nicer things...

grit said...

well allie, as me and dig would both be scaredy cats, perhaps you should come round and do the telling!