Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Home Help

Some very dear friends of ours have an Au Pair. I wrote all about it last June.

I mentioned at the time about looking at getting a local university student in to care for the boys 2 afternoons a week. Well low and behold, we did.
As of the end of February we have had a loving young 3rd year student collect the boys from school 2 afternoons, bring them home, organise afternoon tea for them, assist them with their basic homework needs and then just generally be here until we get home at 5pm.
And the amazing thing about actually works for our family. Tuesdays before Judo are now so stress free and relaxed, everyone has eaten before Judo so no trying to serve dinner to 2 very tired boys at 7.30 at night! Chores are completed so no racing around the house getting frustrated because nothing is getting achieved. I am loving it.

We made sure they had their own car, in good condition with all the current insurance needs. We were not too fussy in whether they were studying childcare or not, we didn't need someone with that specific skill, although it was very easy to gauge whether they knew about children or not.
The person we chose is 20 yrs old and is the 2nd oldest of 5, with her younger siblings currently being 10 and 12, so got the immediate feeling she has been around younger ones for a few years and understands them.
We purchased 2 new carseats for her car, as both boys are still in seats and will in fact remain in some form of safety seat for at least another 6 years! Both seats will grow with the boys, both have backs on them at present but have the ability to grow to booster seats when they just need that little extra height to use the seatbelts in the car. So even though this was an expense we just had to carry, it was a worthwhile one. When she finishes at the end of the year, then I am sure we will employ another next year, even then when we purchase a 2nd vehicle ourselves then we will need seats in that car too.

I was very sensible and actually made a contract up between us that we all signed. She was happy with this and I feel this made us all comfortable with where we all stand etc.
I organise dinner for the nights she is here and then she just has to do a small amount of preparation work to serve it to the boys. If rice or pasta is involved then she cooks enough for us as well.

Money wise, then we are paying 60c more an hour than we were paying putting them into after school care for the hour, but the benefits so out weighs the money. The boys are more relaxed, they are at home enjoying their own surroundings, they have eaten at a sensible time of day therefore have more energy for Judo and they are getting their homework finished, which sadly did not happen last year very much at all, mainly because being at after care 4 days a week they got very tired and were not interested in homework at 6pm.

The plus side of this is that in the 3 weeks she has been here Alex's teachers are already commenting that he has come along really well with his reading etc because he is getting his sight words better and following through and this is showing in class. This was an area of concern for all at the parent teacher meeting last month we had to discuss our aims for the year. Alex is not as high in the reading levels as they would have expected and so therefore work needs to be done more around this area, so to see some improvement already is awesome.

Oh and the other thing....the boys love her!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I have a feeling that very shortly my family are going to kill my printer!
I have been finding it very stressful at present getting everyone to follow through on their chores within the house!
Now these are chores that the whole family have sat down and decided on, not just me dishing them out. The boys even sat with use agreeing on what chores went where and with whom.

As a few things have changed around here it was necessary for the chores to be on a list on the wall, a) so we could all keep track of who did what and b) so our home help knew who did what as well.

This however lead to me printing out a list of daily activities for the boys. Just the days of the week and listing whether they had before or after school care, whether it was swimming, library etc at school and also, not that they needed any reminding at all, what nights we have Judo on.

Although this then lead to me writing a list of chores for the morning in our house. If there is ever one area of the day that I hate it is the mornings. Ok so it doesn't help that I am NOT a morning person, not one little bit, however to add to this hopeless cause is the fact that neither are Alex or Steve. Ben however, springs out of bed at 6.30am (6am sometimes!) full of life and eager for the day to start which usually includes turning on the tv.
It has taken many a time to convince him to get up quietly and creep downstairs by himself, which he is happy to do. He will turn on the light in the hallway, go downstairs and then turn the light out, snuggle under a blanket on the couch and happily watch tv until others surface in the building.
Sometimes however, he will turn on his bedroom light and succeed in waking his brother up! Alex on the other hand could usually do with at least 30 minutes more sleep!
However on week mornings, we have made a new rule....everyone up by 6.30 and absolutely NO tv at all.
Everyone now has their chores lists so we know who is responsible for getting what achieved.
On Monday, first day of following the list, things ran very smoothly, there was no yelling or shouting, everyone knew who was responsible for what and things got achieved. I actually got to work in a very calm mood, and if I noticed it within myself then my colleagues must have surely noticed it too!

So even though the noticeboard in the kitchen looks like it has been taken over by laminated chore lists, if it makes the house run more smoothly and efficiently with everyone happier, then they are here to stay for a while.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Other Life

I have discovered that sadly there is a life away from the computer.
I am not entirely sure what it consists of but I think it has been my life for the last 4 weeks or so.
Life has just taken over, turned me round and plodded right on past.
I have often looked into the study at the computer with a longing in my eye, thinking of all that needs to be done and said and then promptly turned away and carried on.

I can't say that I am totally back, but hopefully if the boys (all 3) go to the caravan this weekend then I will have the house to myself and I might even treat myself to some time on the computer blogging.

Hope you are all doing well, surviving life and I hope to catch up soon