Saturday, 08 May 2021

It's not half term already, is it?!

I CAN’T believe it! We’ve only just had Christmas and already the kids are going to be off school again. Seems like it was only yesterday that the long summer hols were upon us and now, all of a sudden… I mean, what is the world coming to?

The only reason I twigged that a holiday was imminent was when Primary Times magazine fell out of The Sunshiney Seven-Year-Old’s school bag.

“Lots of half term ideas” its cover shouted at me. Bit previous, I thought to myself, completely incapable of spotting a killer clue when I see one.

Don’t get me wrong, I had some vague idea that the dreaded HT would descend upon us one day. I just didn’t expect it to arrive quite so soon.

What about the first three chapters of my new novel? Finessing my first non-fiction proposal? Catching up with the ladies on Loose Women? Forget about it.

It’s a universally acknowledged truth that nothing ever gets done when the kids are around, so how on earth are we going to get through it without turning fully feral? God only knows.

Not to worry, no biggie, I told myself in an attempt to calm down — it’s only one week and, hey, I know, instead of whingeing about all the stuff I won’t get done, I hereby solemnly swear that as the head of this family, I will make sure we use this time creatively and constructively. And whine about all the stuff we will have done.

So instead of wondering whether we’ll ever manage to get out of our PJs by 2pm, we’ll stick to our usual 6.15am rise and shine time, getting dressed immediately upon completion of 20 push-ups. And I will put up the sofa bed before breakfast.

Instead of a stroll down to W H Smith for a browse constituting a Big Day Out, we’ll visit at least one English Heritage site per day — God knows, we haven’t done anything vaguely English or heritage-y since we were forced to join up at Pendennis Castle in Cornwall last summer.

Instead of moaning at the kids because they’re on their tablets/mobile phones/laptops all the time and not playing an edifying game of chess or even snap! with me, I will turn off my own laptop, modelling perfect behaviour, and resist the temptation to look up stupid, random things like does Nadia Sawalha like her curly hair and what is Norman Price’s mum’s name in Fireman Sam?

And instead of taking us all to Maccy D’s for a special, slap-up, sit down Happy Meal on Valentine’s Day, I’ll make it a real occasion, digging out the candelabras and long, maroon candles for a special, slap-up, sit-down Happy Meal at home, hitting the Drive-Thru half an hour earlier than usual.

WE kick off our new regime in fine style this morning with an impromptu spelling bee over breakfast.

“Mummy!” The Sunshiney Seven-Year-Old rounds on me as I clear away his half-eaten bowl of mush. “How do you spell exhausted? I think it’s e-g-g-s-o-r-s-t-i-d?”

I smile, shake my head in a saintly, not patronising way and spell it correctly.

He Googles it on my (still-open) laptop.

“You’re right!” he squeals, obviously amazed.

“Of course I am,” I reply deadpan, even though on the inside, I’m punching the air with joy.

“But how did you know?”

“Because I’m quite good at spelling — and I’m a mum, so I know about being exhausted. Think of me saying. ‘I’m ex-hau-sted’ and letting out a ginormous sigh as I flop into bed after yet another knackering day at the coalface of Single Mumming.”

“Letting out a ginormous something,” mutters The Eleventeen-Year-Old.

“Yeah,” laughs the boy.

“Don’t you start,” I lunge at both kids and tickle them.

Seconds later, though, I recoil, holding my nose.

“Argh! You stink!” My daughter points at her brother’s bottom and we run into the front room.

“It wasn’t me,” Sunshiney eventually manages to splutter through his giggles, following us. “It was Cookie!”

“As if!” Eleventeeny and I chorus as we all jump on Cooks, snoozing on my (still-out) sofa bed — where we stay, in our PJs, all day.

But that’s another story…

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