On Saturday mornings, the boys' house and the girls' house are transformed. Mattresses are carried onto the roof to be aired, the floors are swept and mopped, walls are washed, all the couvre plat (basket-like things that cover the plates and keep the flies off) get scrubbed, bathrooms are cleaned, and all the kids wash their own underpants. The nannies write up a schedule for the weekend so that about half the kids have chores on a given week. Some of them are designated to help in the kitchen preparing food, others to carry water for the boys' showers, others to wash the pots and pans after meals. It puts my Saturday cleaning in Boston to shame!
My favorite part of chores is "cleaning out the nest". If you are squemish and don't like bugs, do not read the rest of this post. The tables in the girls' dining room are made of a metal frame with a large piece of wood placed over them. The metal legs are hollow and small coachroaches nest inside those legs. Every week, 2 of the girls take the table clothes and the wood off each table and then lift the frames and slam them onto the ground. The jolt makes the roaches fall out of the legs. As they scurry for cover, the girls squash them with their sandaled feet. It looks like some sort of wild dance. *BANG, jump, squash, squelch, leap, crunch, run, squash, repeat* I join in whenever I can.