Six weeks ago I wrote this. At that time I was dealing with two over tired children who needed a holiday from the rigours of school. It appears they now need a holiday from each other. And from me. And I certainly could do with a brief respite away from them, preferably in a padded cell with a case of wine.
It all started out well. We went to Turkey. They spent a week in a kids club playing with other kids. Bliss for all concerned. Then they spent a week on a boat with us. This had good moments, but keeping two young boys trapped on a boat for several hours a day, who simply want to play Uno but can't quite grasp the concept of the wind and its potential to make cards fly into the Mediterranean sea, can become challenging and patience testing quite fast.
After a brief visit back home to wash the suncream out of our clothes we spent a few days on the Isle of Wight, where they had other children to play with. And while there were the usual moments of four small boys all wanting to hit each other with one sword, mostly things were ok.
Then. We. Returned. Home. And we discovered that all of their friends were away. They came to the realisation that they had the following options for company*:
a) each other
b) their mother
I'm not sure who found this more distressing - them or me.
Here are some of the good things that have come out of the holidays:
- We have actually played with almost all of their toys, even those ones at the bottom of the toy cupboard that haven't seen the light of day for years and should probably have been given away to charity a while ago. In the last year or so, I've found myself scratching my head and wondering why we bother with toys in the age of Nintendo DS and Wii because kids seem so disinterested in playing with anything that doesn't have a screen. But this summer, toys came back in fashion (largely so that their DSs could recharge).
- Son 2 finally learnt to ride his bike without stabilisers. Admittedly he still can't turn or start by himself and you run the very real risk of losing a limb if you stand within 100 yards of where he's riding, but after hours of back breaking hobbled running behind him, he has achieved the magical art of balance.
- We have re-discovered the joys of Enid Blyton-esque picnics. You know, plain cheese or ham sandwiches (possibly mine with a bit of picallily), boiled eggs that you dab in salt, home made cake or buns and apples picked from the garden. Completely opposite to M&S Simply Food style picnics of mini scotch eggs and smoked salmon on granary style sandwiches, and not necessarily something I'd want to eat daily, but they certainly are flavoured with nostalgia.
- I've had the chance to be a domestic goddess. Our apple trees are groaning under the weight of a summer glut of fruit. And despite leaving a box of apples outside our front gate with a sign saying: please help yourself, we still have too many apples. So I have made spiced apple chutney and apple and blackberry jam (which has the consistency of tar - so if anyone has a pot hole in their local road which the council hasn't attended to do let me know as I have just the stuff for it). I've baked apple and walnut cake. And banana and walnut muffins. And lemon drizzle cake. And many other things that require eggs, butter, sugar and flour. All of which was fuelled quite simply by the need to stop playing Old Maid or Uno.
If we stayed at home, they were bored and fought with each other. If we went somewhere, they were tired and over excited and fought with each other. If you bought them something, it wasn't quite right or they wanted more. If you didn't buy them something, I was branded mean and evil and probably the worst mother in the world. They seem to have forgotten how to do anything for themselves and every sentence they utter starts with the word 'Mummyyyyy'. This prefaces a whine because they're hungry or a bid for sympathy because their brother hit them over the head with a light sabre or a demand for yet another snack or, my personal favourite, the age old phrase 'I'm bored.'
So it is with much joy that they shall be returning to school on Wednesday. Of course we'll then start the all too familiar ground hog day of trying to get them dressed, teeth brushed, book bags packed etc but at least I'll get a good six hours of rocking quietly in a corner before they return home again.