May the odds be ever in your favour – Surviving the School Holidays

Day 812 of the school holidays. There’s been no food in the fridge since a party of locust-like 7 year olds visited 3 days ago. All wholesome activities have ceased, instead Pop Max blares from the TV 24/7. I am a broken husk of a woman. School returns in just 253 days.

He’s found the crayons I’d hidden. My walls look like Jackson Pollock visited for the weekend and felt like getting a bit artistic while he was here. There is lego everywhere. Everywhere. I have the hollow look of The Scream and I’m looking at the last Jaffa Cake the way Gollum looks at a nice ring. It’s precious.

Surviving the School Holidays - May the odds be ever in your favour

Dear Diary, At some point very soon I have to go school shoe shopping where a thousand dead-eyed parents will also join a mile long queue to buy overly expensive shoes which will fall apart within a fortnight. 

Shoe shopping. Everyone in this queue is speaking in aggressive hissy whispers, but no one’s lips actually move. The hairs on the back of my neck prickle. This feels like the Hunger Games, but with shoes. May the odds be ever in your favour of finding shoes they will actually wear, or better still, put on every morning without you having to bellow “PUT YOUR SHOES ON, PUT YOUR SHOES ON” for anything up to 20 minutes before you give up, wrestle them to the ground and get the bloody shoes on their feet yourself.

With just 736 days until school re-opens I realise we need to buy a selection of overpriced uniform items from a school uniform shop located unusually far away from school. The shop has opening hours you can only guess at and nothing is available online. Everything you buy from the shop will be languishing forever in lost property within a week of school starting.

In desperate need of monastic style silence, I hide in the confined darkness of my wardrobe as I try to blank out the desperate cries of “can I have another snack?”, “I’m so hunGREEE” and “I’m so borrrED. You are SO BORinggg”. He will never find me here. My phone beeps loudly. My cover has been blown.

Parents are desperately Whatsapping each other for playdate swaps. The last time Tarquil came round he ripped the curtains off the wall and broke a bed by bouncing on it. I turn my phone off and go into the garden. I dig a hole several feet deep and throw my phone into it. No more playdates with Tarquil. Ever.

Tarquil is coming for tea. I have dug out the plastic toddler plates and have set up a number of no go zones within the house. Later I enter my bedroom, a no go zone and find Tarquil bouncing on my bed with a pair of worn knickers on his head. I practice my mindful breathing.

My mindful breathing does not help. No more playdates with Tarquil. Ever.

Tomorrow I will take my son to the Slug and Lettuce for lunch (as requested) where he will refuse to eat anything because the food might have slugs in. Or lettuce. School reopens in 3000 days.

Surviving the School Holidays - May the odds be ever in your favour

You know you’re a parent when…

Fifteen ways you know you’re a parent… can you think of any more?

  1. Your bed is inexplicably full of Cheerios.
  2. You go to work with sudocrem on your trousers and when people point it out you say it’s bum cream, they recoil in horror and you have to point out it’s not your bum cream. This does not dispel the horror.
  3. Hot drinks are something you enjoyed in the past, a time long, long ago.
  4. You always have a biscuit and a used tissue in your pocket for emergencies.
  5. You stop using expensive face cream and use baby lotion instead.
  6. Boy toddlers leave puddles in the bathroom, so you’re always wearing at least one damp sock that smells a bit funny.
  7. You don’t need an alarm clock anymore. At 6am someone always wanders in, throws a toy car at your head and demands a snack. Now.
  8. You eat something involving pesto at least three times a week.
  9. In the shower you sing “Wind the Bobbin Up” instead of the indie classics from your youth.
  10. Getting everyone ready and leaving the house, having brushed your hair and ensuring everyone has shoes on in under an hour is an Olympian feat.
  11. The remote control has been through the washing machine twice and you still can’t find it.
  12. You spend 42% of your time winding toilet paper back onto the roll.
  13. Your car is full of raisins and you think the hamster might be nesting in there somewhere.
  14. Approximately 10 minutes after a successful bedtime you’re so exhausted you decide to turn in for the night. It’s 8.15pm.
  15. Your idea of tidying up is kicking all the toys out of the way to form a narrow path across the room.