Oh Half Term,
Bane of my life at the best of times
But even more so
Scourge of Parents everywhere.
(At least let’s be honest and call you by your true reveal,
“A nice holiday for teachers”.)
How much do I loathe thee?
Let me count the ways:
1. You are 2 weeks long. This is wholly unacceptable. If I wanted to spend 17 days in a row with my children, I would be homeschooling them and spending the school-fees money I save on shoes and anti-depressants.
2. The clocks have gone back (as if the holidays weren’t long enough as it is). What was once the best day of the year has, with parenthood, become the most dreaded. Remember the joy of waking up on the last Sunday in October, and realising it was only 9am? Then snuggling back under your duvet until 11 (or 12, or whatever time you goddamn pleased)? Now it’s a case of stuffing carbs into the kids until 9pm the night before, in the hope – inevitably vain – that they’ll sleep until at least 6.30am. Although, really, what’s the point because the Baby will be awake at 5.30am anyway, so everyone might as well join the early-morning party. And so the minutes tick by and the day looms long and large in front of you – until it suddenly plunges into darkness at 4pm, and your plans to leave the house at some point collapse around you, and you stare into the cabin-fevered abyss for 3 more long hours... (AND every clock in the house now tells a different time, so even if I did get around to leaving the house, I’d be late for everything. As usual.)
3. Seasons of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness, My Arse. There is nothing mellow about the onset of winter. Everyone in the house has the South London Cough, the Boy has what can only be described as cat-sick flowing from his ear, and I’ve been in bed for the past 2 days with some sort of yucky tummy bug (by “in bed” I mean of course that I fall into bed for a few minutes, before some emergency – hair tangled in a fan, a crayon stuck up a nose, a poo that just WON’T COME OUT – drags me out again).
4. You are 2 weeks long, II. And so I find self scraping the bottom of the time-killing barrel for time-killing activities. Recent highlights – all of which were individual pursuits, embarked upon with sincerity and anticipation - have included:
- Going to inspect the blown-down tree in the park. (Confirmed it was blown down, then came home.)
- Walking the neighbourhood to see how many houses have Halloween decorations (only one – this is England after all.)
- Conker collecting. (Is there anything less exciting? Ah, yes there is:)
- Walking the kids blind-folded to the shops (hilarious to begin with, torturous thereafter. Especially when they refused to take off the blindfolds in the shop, and looked insane.)
- Collecting all the pennies in the house. (24. “I’m RICH!” the Boy exclaimed.)
- Treasure hunt (tin foil pieces + overgrown back garden + high winds and rain)
- Indoor hopscotch (masking tape + wooden floor; who knew 5 and 3 year olds could be so violently competitive?)
- Table drawing (markers + cheap Ikea wipe-down table. NOT ON THE FLOOR.)
- Puppet show (dolls + back of sofa. It was ten minutes before I realised they weren’t being quiet out of awe and joy, they’d simply walked off.)
Oh half term.
Get thee to a nunnery
Or anywhere else,