I am going to fire the nanny. It’s either that or one day soon coming home and finding her dressed as Lula’s very own gimp, with a playdoh mask and a stress buster stuck in her mouth.

We’ve already been through one nanny (Made). We didn’t fire her. The Balinese woman who found her for us fired her. Because she had cross-eyes. I didn’t ask her to. We actually liked cross-eyed Made but she insisted, replacing her with a non-cross eyed version – Ketut. Who we’re going to have to fire.

Today I heard strange noises emanating from downstairs – squeals and squeaks and roars. When I descended the steps, heart already sinking, I found Lula playing baby tigers. That’s fine. I applaud the imagination involved and her dedication to method acting, but what I didn’t expect to see is a fully grown woman squeaking and roaring too, whilst on all fours. I’d expect one has to normally pay a lot more than $100USD for that.

I took her aside and told her, ‘Listen, Alula will push your boundaries. You need to be firm with her. She knows not to kick, to shout or be rude. If she is you put her on the naughty step. And by the way, you really don’t need to crawl around in the dirt with her.’

Half an hour later I came downstairs again and found Ketut shadowing Alula – now no longer a baby tiger, now method acting the role of Scarlett O’Hara and Lindsay Lohan’s lovechild. She was flouncing around the living room, Ketut cow-towing in her path, picking up her strewn toys like they were burning cigarette butts, lifting her cup for her whenever she wanted a sip, wiping her butt, cooing and fawning over her like she was a deity or A-list celebrity. And of course, Alula was embracing her new-found star status like a winner on X Factor.

‘The nanny is Alula’s new pet,’ I said to John. ‘If Ketut was a cat, the RSPCA would need to be called . It must stop. We must do something.’

When Ketut leaves, I have words with her. ‘Alula Grace Alderson, you are not to treat Ketut like your own personal plaything. And also she is not there to pick up your things. Who do you think should pick up your things?’

Alula looks at me like I’m stupid or something, ‘The cleaner?’

‘No! Not the cleaner,’ I answer appalled, ‘YOU pick up your things.’ I look at the mess she’s made and think I must act now. Immediately. Before this behaviour becomes ingrained and she starts giving me her rider every morning detailing the number of cornflakes she wants in her bowl, the exact shade of pink her princess knickers must be and the angle at which her bunches must be tied.  ‘Pick up all this mess. At once.’ I demand.

Alula looks at me and thrusts out her belly, ‘I’m not your slave mummy,’ she says.

Needless to say, the nanny must be fired. Maybe I should fire myself too whilst I am at it. I’m obviously raising Rosemary’s baby.

Perhaps we need to hire an animal tamer. Then I have an idea. Let’s hire the exorcist priest instead.

Experiments at self-portraiture

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