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Household help wanted: Only kids need apply for work

Know where I can get some first-rate child labor? Good help from offspring is so hard to find these days. I blame the "cult of childhood" that promotes ideas like kids should be heard, seen and catered to.

What happened to the ideals of my parents, and their parents before them, who considered the day labor of children a fringe benefit of parenthood?

It's not that I want my children to go out and earn an extra income for the family (although the allowance relief would be welcomed) or lack pleasing memories of their youth.

I just want them to tidy their room and put away their clean clothes sometime before they turn 18.

With much prodding they follow through, but not without re-enacting a scene from the Old Testament complete with renting of garments and gnashing of teeth. Oh yes, and I often have to follow that up with a re-enactment of that part about the plagues and the wrath of the Lord.

It is no wonder that I often find myself doing most of the household chores. It takes considerably less time and effort to either ignore a mess (my personal favorite) or clean it myself, than it does to go through all the threats and incantations to motivate my children to clean up.

I know, I know ... "Bring up a child in the way that he should go ..." I'm trying! But when they go catatonic (i.e., like a deer in headlights) when I ask them to put their shoes away, it makes me lose my religion. It's as if they are searching the deep recesses of their brains to remember what shoes look like.

No doubt, when I finally fire my children some slick attorney will convince them to file a civil suit based on charges of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. After all, my children are allegedly deaf and blind.

My child in charge of taking out the trash cannot see the empty chicken noodle soup can teetering at the top of the garbage heap which rises out of the trashcan, like bubbling lava, and threatens to flow down the sides at any moment (come to think of it, he must not be able to smell either). What's worse, he cannot (will not?) hear me when I'm yelling for him to take it out before it erupts.

Likewise, my child in charge of feeding the cat suffers from the same condition. He can't see the 20 extra cats lounging on the front porch since he left the top off the cat food box ... again.

He, too, is unable to hear me when I plead with him not to feed every cat in the neighborhood and to please find homes for that litter of kittens that arrived yesterday.

Despite my fears of a pending civil suit, however, I'm putting the word out that I'm looking for some good child labor. Job responsibilities include putting away shoes and clean clothes, hanging up backpacks and coats, picking up toys, taking out trash, feeding the cat (note the singular tense), clearing plates from the table and etcetera.

The salary is set at $3 and three Yu-gi-oh cards per week. All jobs must be completed daily, in a timely manner and checked off on the chore chart.

Interested parties may respond to my e-mail address (please include resume and references).

Web posted on Thursday, March 4, 2004

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