Oh thank goodness. I didn’t think we’d get through it. I honestly thought that I might not make it this year. If someone were to utter the words “what are we doing today?” to me one more time not only was I going to cry, there was a very real possibility of me turning to drink at seven o’clock in the morning. The words “what are we doing next?” after having got back from a day out of activity were pushing me so far towards the edge, that there was a real possibility that I could have tried to drown myself in the bird bath, if we owned a bird bath. And from the sounds of it from the Summer lots of other people were having, not one parent I know would have blamed me for it. In fact, some of them may have already beaten me to it.
One friend went on holiday for two weeks and all of her family caught a sickness bug. Not at the same time, which would have been pretty awful. But in succession. So just as one person was recovering, another one started to become ill. And just for good measure, my friend caught it twice. What a lovely break that must have been for her. Another missed her flight because her son, usually a robust young man, became so poorly so quickly that she had to take him to hospital (he’s absolutely fine now btw). Another friend, supposed to be enjoying a lovely and rare lunch out with her husband at a nice restaurant was so stressed by the pre-school build (see Abacus blog) that she didn’t eat most of it. I also presume that her husband had some difficulty in changing the subject of conversation as well.
I seem to have had a Summer of my children constantly bickering with each other and not paying the slightest bit of attention to me. I spoke to them, they looked me in the face, they turned without answering and then they walked away. I asked them to set the table to eat the meal I had prepared – they ignored me. When they eventually set the table, I requested that they sit at the table to eat, it fell on deaf ears. And when presented with the meal, at least one of them declared it to be utterly inedible, even if it was they who had asked for it in the first place. It seems that a lot can happen with the taste buds of a five year old in the space of an hour. I asked them to get ready for bed. My request was treated as advisory only. Twenty minutes later, when I started shouting, everyone would cry and tell me how mean I am and query why I had not asked before I started shouting.
Some people had a good time: my son’s godparents visited France, and from what I could tell, made a very good fist of testing most of the wine and cheese available. My daughter’s godmother had a game of football on the beach and managed to do a most impressive face plant into a puddle of wet sand. Naturally her family rushed over immediately to make sure she was unhurt. My sister had a lovely week in Sicily.
I am not alone in finding the task of trying to keep three children occupied for seven days a week for seven weeks every Summer holiday a daunting task. I usually have a challenging schedule planned – holiday, days out, a few days away with my best friend and her child walking everyone’s legs off, holiday club, bracing strolls – you name it. This year was no exception as in addition to a punishing regime, I was also involved with helping to build a pre-school. Not me physically building anything you understand – dear lord, no – I think the building control officer would have been most upset about that. But helping where I could, usually with a dustpan and brush and appearing with the odd baked item. You can see that it added to my timetable. And the timetables of the other trustees I work with. It seems to have been a Summer to struggle through for lots of people, for the mostpart in a first world problem kind of way.
But now…..oh, hahaha! Now they are clean; they are pressed; they have shoes that not only fit them, but for the next five minutes will be scuff-free. All of their tops and socks are currently brilliant white. At the moment everything is in the right bag and everything has a name label on it. And until October, for six hours a day, they are out from under my feet and under those of a paid professional. Someone who actually chose to have a constant headache from the noise for a living. Well, as much as I admire that, after the last seven weeks, I am happy to admire it from a safe distance. In my case that distance being about two miles. School – they’re all yours.
Photograph courtesy of Pixabay