Why I Love The School Holidays

Here I am, with only one day left before Big Girl and Little Girl go back to school after the Christmas holidays. And I am one morose motherfucker. (sneaky Jay and Silent Bob reference there)

I swear I spend most of the time they are in school counting down the days to the holidays. This may make me sound a touch more pathetic than I really am.

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Actually, no.

I am that pathetic.

I just find school makes the days relentlessly bloody boring. Every day is the same, and it’s all a big rush to make sure everything gets done before bedtime.

I am not a fan of rushing. So the last two weeks have been heaven. No obligations (except for the obvious family commitments), no clock-watching, no nuffin.

Here are my favourite (and most trivial) reasons why I love the school holidays:

1. No Early Mornings

My way of ceremonially marking the start of the holidays is to turn off the alarm. And it gives me great pleasure.

I’m sure some people bounce out of bed, bright-eyed and ready to start the day. If this is you, then well done!

But it is not me. I am a dedicated night owl. I have tried my hardest, but I just can’t get to sleep early. So when the alarm goes off I drag myself out of bed with bleary eyes and the kind of headache that tells the story of a thousand sleepless nights. It’s safe to say that I start the day… reluctantly.

The kids aren’t much better. Big Girl in particular is frequently found still rabbiting on to herself when she should have gone to sleep hours before. And the knock on effect is that she categorically does not want to get up in the morning. And she is grumpy and quick to anger into the bargain. Little Girl wasn’t so bad until recently, but she is now following enthusiastically in her sister’s footsteps.

This is a lot smilier than the reality.

This is a lot smilier than the reality.

It sucks.

In the last fortnight, though, we have got into a much better routine. The kids have been getting up at around 9, which has been pretty sweet. A leisurely breakfast has followed, which is infinitely preferable to them shovelling food down their throats without even tasting it on a school day.

Big Girl has been spending the evenings reading in her room, something which is reserved for the weekends in school time. As a literary freak, I am a big fan of this, and I hate that she doesn’t normally have time to do it. And if we’ve wanted to watch a movie together, or if they’ve fancied a bit of playtime after dinner, it’s no problem.

The best bit is that I haven’t had to lie in bed, worrying because I can’t fall asleep and angsting that I’m going to sleep through the alarm. Happy days!

If you have the kind of children who wake up at the crack of dawn no matter what…

Sorry.

2. Pyjama Days

In my opinion, getting dressed is highly overrated. Lounging around in comfy pyjamas is infinitely preferable. No stiff trouser waistbands and no fiddly buttons, perfect!

I may have got a touch carried away with this one, over the Christmas holidays. I noticed, when sorting out the washing, that most of it was pyjamas. Whoops!

It’s been sweet, though.

3. No Uniform-Ironing or Packed Lunch-Making

Now, I may be cheating slightly with this one. Because I don’t actually do either of these jobs. Soon after Squeak was born, I abdicated responsibility for both. I had a sleeping, feeding baby on my knee all evening, so it was entirely reasonable.

But Squeak is now a year old, and she goes to bed at 9pm, at the latest. I could do them now, if I wanted to. I just haven’t quite got around to it. Because they are shitty, boring jobs.

I used to do them though, so it still counts, right?

Yeah, no.

Yeah, no.

It’s a bit daft really, to hate doing this so much. After all, it takes twenty minutes, tops. But I don’t care, it sucks. The lunch isn’t so bad. Apart from the trial of arranging the items so they don’t shake into mush as Big Girl gallops into school, it’s straightfoward.

The problem is, I suck at ironing. My only achievement is to manage to put more creases into a garment than it had before. And the more I try, the worse it gets. I thought that I would get better with practice, but that theory has long been disproved. It is very frustrating that, despite my efforts, the kids still go into school looking like scruffy urchins.

I guess it’s a good thing that Mark does it, really.

That’s not even the main reason why I hate doing it so much.

You see, my optimal activity level in the evening is approximate zero. Nothing. Nada. I have been running round, needs-meeting, damage-controlling and food-preparing. When the evening comes, the only thing I want to do is vegetate. And I resent anything that tries to interrupt that.

4. Time To Play

One of the things that pisses me off the most in school time is the lack of time we have to do anything. The three hours after school are a chaotic rush of homework, dinner, showers and stories. The kids might be able to grab fifteen minutes with their toys before they eat at best.

I hate this. I think kids desperately need time to destress after school. Little Girl spends most of her morning playing and learning without really realising it. But Big Girl does a lot of desk-sitting and writing, and she needs to jump and run around, and have a giggle.DSC_9433

So that’s what we’ve mostly been doing. Sure, we did a few activities, too. We baked some Christmas biscuits and made paper snowflakes (I’d forgotten how fun that was). We also played a few board games.

Just as an aside, I completely underestimated how much more painful Twister would be as an adult. It was like extreme yoga.

Anyway, apart from this, the kids have spent a lot of time just being together. Dressing up and creating imaginary worlds, speeding round the living room on their new scooters and drawing pictures have been at the top of the menu.

It’s been nice to see them with big smiles on their faces, just enjoying each others’ company.

For the purposes of this entry, I’m not going to mention the tugs of war when both want the same toy. Or the moaning and bickering. And definitely not the infrequent physical violence.

It was freaking blissful, okay?

5. No Dragging Squeak On The School Run

I have to admit, I often feel a bit sorry for Squeak. As much as I try and give her attention and quality time, she often has to fit in with what everyone else is doing.

If she could talk, she’d probably tell you it’s crappy being the smallest.

And she’s probably be right.

As you all know because I bang on about it all the bloody time, I have to do three school runs a day. That means Squeak is woken from naps, rushed through lunch and carted up to school and back against her will all day.

I bet you can imagine how impressed she is with that.

This much.

This much.

It’s been nice to work to her schedule a bit during these holidays.

She’s gone to bed when she’s tired and woken when she was done. The fact that this is not usually when she’s had enough sleep is, of course, totally irrelevant.

She’s had plenty of time to eat. Ignore the fact that she spends most of that time throwing the food on the floor, please.

She’s had plenty of time for playing and cuddling. As long as you forget about the eye-poking and the face-slapping and the excessive drooling, this is also a beautiful thing.

All in all, it’s been good for her, even if not for me.

6. No Rain

Local friends, you have to admit the weather has been epically crap this Christmas. It’s been windy, rainy and damn near freezing.

Now in school time, I just have to ignore it. And I seriously hate getting wet.

But in the holidays, it’s cool. If we looked out of the window and it looked miserable outside, we just decided to stay at home. We went out and got some fresh air too, but I don’t think a bit of downtime at home does kids any harm at all.

And I get to stay dry. Which is a win.

7. The Kids Are Happy

All of these things have led to children who are well-rested and relaxed. Our house was about as tantrum-filled as it can get because the girls were exhausted and filled with excitement for Christmas. But a few weeks of fun and laughter (and junk food) have done them the world of good. And I’ve had at least 60% more cuddles, too.

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Bring on Monday. Hurrah.

How long is it til half term again?

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