It is Monday evening. The kids start in new school on Wednesday; the Boy in Big Class, the Girl in a new nursery class. I’m meant to sewing name-tags onto their uniforms, but I’d rather eat my hands off, so I’m drinking wine instead. Apparently this sort of thing (the sewing – not the wine-drinking) is just the tip of the iceberg of hell that is parenting primary-school children. From here on in it’s 8 years (shit actually it’s waaaay more – 12, fuckit) of sewing, retrieving, sandwich-making, driving, mud-removing, spelling, adding/subtracting, out-of-bed-dragging, hair-brushing, time-tabling, name-remembering... OHGODWHYDIDNOONEWARNME5YEARSAGO??
Anyway. 2 more days to go until that level of responsibility falls on me / shame falls on the children (I feel SO sorry for them, imagine having me as your mother: 10 minutes (hahahaha, if only) late to everything, noone’s hair ever brushed, fees always paid late, the cheaper version of everything bought (“sure it’s just as good, cover up that missing button will you”), projects never done, home-made flapjacks / popsicles as close to sweets as they’ll ever get) so PLENTY of time to get everything done. I’m still recovering from the journey home, which wasn’t as bad as it was loooooooooooooong. Noone should have to listen to 2 feral beasts bicker and squabble for 12 hours straight. And I still can’t find the Baby’s missing projectile vomit. How can half a litre of vomit just disappear? It’s like the Marie Celeste of puke. One minute it was there, hurtling itself full of surprise from her mouth, the next... puff! ... gone. Only the vessel remained (looking rather astonished). I bet as soon as I move all the half-eaten flapjacks from the passengers’ footwells I’ll find it.
The remainder of the holidays passed fairly lazily; alot of dvd watching (the town’s XtraVision shop was closing down, E1 for a dvd! Never mind that they were scratched beyond repair, THEY COST ONE EURO), rock-pool-fishing, and nudity. (How do you explain to a child that it’s ok to get naked on a beach/ in the beach car-park / on the long walk from the beach to the car-park, but not so ok in a playground? Or a cafe? Or a ferry? Or a supermarket? Or any one of the other 57 places the Boy insisted on getting his kit off, because “I just like to be nudie, ok?”) My own personal highlights included:
Story-time with the Girl
(The Girl and Boy insisted on sharing a bedroom on holidays (all the better for 24-hour squabbling). The Girl likes to lie in bed and chatter for hours; the Boy is more of a bloke: You. Go. To. Bed. To. Sleep. Full. Stop. [In years to come he will be ringing me solely to impart factual information.] I overheard the following the other night. It’s more amusing if you imagine the Girl’s squeaky mouse-voice:)
Girl: Would you like a ‘tory Fweddie?
Boy: I’m. TRYING. To. Sleep.
Girl: Just one teeny weeny ‘tory?
Boy: OK then. JUST ONE.
Girl: What would you like it to be about?
Boy: Ummmm... (Looks around – I imagine – and sees what I’ve taken to leaving out beside his bed to try to mitigate against early-morning antsiness) A banana!
Girl: Once upon a time there was a banana. The End.
Boy: WHAT??? That’s not a story!
Girl: It is! It’s a teeny weeny ‘tory. Night Night.
The Day the Pets Died:
(The Boy wants a pet more than anything else ever. I have promised him a dog - when he’s MUCH older and I’m nearly dead. In the meantime he brings home wriggly live things as much as he can. He was ECSTATIC about the prawns (shrimp? What’s the difference? ) he found in a rockpool one day. They almost made up for Crabby, who he’d rescued off the road, brought home, left outside and then... disappeared. I didn’t like to point out the nearby seagull looking replete. )
Boy: Mum, pleeeeeeeeeeease can they sleep in my room?
Me: Ha! Not a chance. Leave them outside.
Boy: But THE BIRD will get them... (I just said I didn’t like to point out the greedy gull – not that I didn’t actually point it out)
Me: They won’t. Prawny and his family are safe in their big glass jar. Birds can’t get them. PUT THEM OUTSIDE.
The next morning. Late morning. Late, hot, sunny, morning.
Boy: MUM! Come and see Prawny! He’s asleep! And he’s turned pink!
To cheer him up I very considerately didn’t serve prawns for dinner. (This is where the effortless flow into what I did serve should occur, but I haven’t done ANYTHING of any note in the kitchen recently [other than sew and drink] – unless anyone wants a great recipe for fish fingers?)
Post-script: It is 2 days later. I’ve DONE it. The Boy has started school. There were no tears, and I managed to get them there on time, which is pretty impressive (especially considering, for the first time all summer, I had to wake them all up. At 730 am. For an 8.10 departure.) Alas, I was 10 minutes late collecting the Girl, AND I forgot her smock and her change of clothes. I also “forgot” the Boy’s trainers (in as much as I didn’t get around to buying them), ditto his blazer and hat. And, as he told me as soon as I appeared at the school gates, his water bottle (“You FORGOT my WATER BOTTLE. I was the ONLY ONE who DIDN’T have a drink ALL DAY.”)
But minor things all; they seem happy, and, most importantly, completely knackered.