Still, it gave me some good ideas. And this morning, I implemented some circus-style parenting. 'Come!' I invited Teddy. 'Climb this stool and begin to sort the Cutlery of Fun! You can place these forks in a drawer and before your very eyes, the drawer will be full and the cutlery holder will be empty!'
'Behold, ' I said to Ivy. 'I have prepared for you the Washing Of Excitement! If you empty this basket and place the laundry into piles corresponding to members of the household, you will get a Star on your Chart Of Rewards! And more! You may spend a full ten minutes in the Fancy Baskets of Bunnings Aisle 4 pretending to fly to Dinosaur Land!'
My friends, it worked. I did have to expend a certain amount of energy jollying along and ring-mastering while I did the washing up, but the laundry was sorted, the cutlery was put away, and to be sadly honest, they had perhaps a better time than they did at the actual, hunnerd-dollar circus.
Finally, the game they chose to play in the washing baskets was called Let's Pretend To Sleep.
I may have found my Holy Grail.