Monday, 3 February 2014

I need a holiday after my holiday: nothing new here.

Us, looking as serene and relaxed as we ever get.  Note Mike's holiday beard.  Impressive yes? 
School holidays, overall, are fabulous.

Except when they're not. Because then they stretch on endlessly, leaving you feeling like a glorified maid and taxi driver for a bunch of ingrates.

At the beginning you have visions of long lazy mornings with kids happily playing about the house in their pyjamas, you quickly realise not having a plan just means everyone gets ratty, fights and keeps asking for screen time and food.

Except they've eaten all the food and used up all their screen time (even their extended holiday screen time).

So you take them to the shops to buy food.  And all they do is ask for you to buy them things.  If you're in a supermarket, it's lollies, chips and DVDs.  In Target or Big W it's toys.  And heaven forbid if you go past Smiggle, Rebel Sport or Build an effing Bear.

It even happened in Bunnings. WTF?  Did you know they sell rabbit hutches?

I would love, just once, to enter a retail establishment with any or all of my offspring and have no-one ask me to buy them anything.

Snowball.  Hell.  Yup.  

And so much for being glad you don't have to make lunches.  Because you still have to make food for them.  They still have to EAT.  Issy likes to eat something small approximately every 30 minutes which drives me insane.  Sarah likes to eat avocado on toast about 4 times a day using up half an avocado every time (at $3.50 per avocado this is unsustainable).  Josh refuses to eat when anyone else is eating only to become suddenly ravenous just as I've finished cleaning avocado off the walls.

The crap we take just for a 1.5 hour surfing lesson.  Worse than packing three lunches. 
I also struggle with the old chestnut of when is the best time to get to the beach.  If you get up early and rush off to the beach before it gets too hot, you're just stressing everyone out by rushing them out the door like you do in the school year.  But if you hang about until the morning's half gone and mosey off to the beach at the hottest part of the day, you risk burning your children to a crisp. As a fan of the non rush method, I coated them, I lathered them, I zinced them, I hatted them and yet each of them got burnt at least once.
Busy washing off their sunscreen.
And finally, activities.  Sure, you can book them into activities.  But can you somehow arrange for each child to go to an activity they enjoy, with a friend who is also available and keen to attend, on the same day, for roughly the same amount of time.  Can you also arrange a car pool that doesn't find you in the car all day, because you've promised to drop 5 boys to cricket at some ridiculous location in the morning, only to have to hot foot it out to collect the girls from horse camp at Terrey Hills by 3pm, leaving you only a brief window to yourself, during which you have to go and buy more avocado and tiny things for Issy to eat tiny portions of.

You can see that after six weeks, it's not so fun.  Kudos to those who still found it fun after 6 weeks.  I salute you.

But I won't leave you on a downer.  It's not all bad.  There have been times when I've come downstairs to the rumpus (which is still their bedroom), to find them all piled on one bed like puppies, reading books together.  I think I cried with joy that time.

There have been lots of fun times in the pool both with and without mates, and the surfing lessons were a huge hit.  Our time in Brisbane with our families was wonderful, and we were able to relax and enjoy each other's company in a way I suppose families with older kids do, less doing of things for the kids, more doing of things together.

On that note, remind me to blog about Seaworld.  Now that was an experience.

And the long car trips.  Well, I have two words.  The first is devices.  As many as you can charge, fill with games and movies and put in that car.  The second is earphones.  You can take your I Spy, you can take your philosophical discussions, you can take your alphabet game and spotto and if that's how you want to spend your 12 hour drive up the coast, knock yourself out.  Not me.

Zombies.  No limits on screen time.  12 hours.  Note Xmas present dangling over Sarah's head.  That car was chockas. 

I think a lot of how much you enjoy school holidays relates to expectations.  Mine were fairly low this year, and they were exceeded very, very pleasantly.