Close Shaves and school holidays - the Beginning...

>> Monday, 21 June 2010

We're three days into the Boys' summer holidays. I can see any Brits reading this throwing up their hands in horror. Summer holidays? ALREADY? Oh yes, dear reader, al-bloody-ready. The summer holidays at their school in Moscow last a little longer than those I was used to back in Blighty - like, from now until the end of August.

(Cue suitable pause for you to pick yourself up off the floor, open the bottle of sauvignon blanc and pass me a brim-filled glass...)

Actually, believe it or not, it could be worse. The Russian schools have been shut for two weeks already, and will remain so until the 1st September. No wonder vodka is so popular in this country...

Anyway, in those 3 days (because yes, I am counting Saturday and Sunday as days since it suits my purposes for this post), a couple of notable things have happened...

Our house has become Rampage Central for a number of kids in our compound. It seems that playing in our home - by far the smallest on the block, and probably the least well-equipped with electronic entertainment systems - is the new black. This had led me to the following discoveries:

1. We are running out biscuits.
2. We are running out of juice.
3. I am not in the least shy of being a school-marm type with children who are not blood relatives.
4. Seven and eight year old boys are perfectly capable, when being informed that 'in this house we have a 20 minute rule when you're playing with Boy #1's nintendo DS, and your 20 minutes are up' of picking it up, walking out of the door, and saying 'I'll just take it home with me, then...' (Needless to say, Elvis did not leave the building - hence the discovery of my school-marm potential).

What else have I discovered? That a trip to the car wash offers great entertainment opportunities for 6 and 4 year old boys. The key of course is to remain inside it for the maximum experience as the team there cover your car with soap and - crucially - to explain to your younger son not to open the door as they do so...

Oh, and that Boy #2 likes to wander. God help me. The 15 minutes spent fruitlessly combing the compound for him yesterday afternoon are not the favourite moments of my life to date. Of course, he turned up at home having somehow evaded all the searchers hunting for him (some of my lovely neighbours jumped on their bikes and helped us look), toddling straight up to bed and falling asleep. God knows how he managed that; I have images of him crawling commando-like through the undergrowth, maintaining radio silence and ignoring Husband's and my calls until he reached his objective. I know this is not what happened, obviously. He was on his scooter, for starters and it's not an off-road model, and there were no traces of camo-stick on his face when I found him...

Joking apart, this was not a funny experience. It will join a list of other not-funny close-shaves I've had with my sons, most of them still too jagged around the edges in my memory to want to see written down. As is this one, almost, so I'm going to stop writing now, push the thoughts of the unguarded building site at one end of our compound from my mind, and go upstairs to gaze on my beautiful boys and give thanks.


Glummy Mummy 21 June 2010 at 20:32  

Okay, I have now recovered from fainting after reading the first couple of sentences. All I have to say is: you poor woman. x

Anne-Margaret 21 June 2010 at 20:33  

Brits are so funny about summer breaks. My British Beau was so surprised when I told him that here in the states kids get nearly 3 months off in summer, almost all of June, July, AND August. But if you're not accustomed to it, I imagine it would be slightly terrifying to stare down the barrel of that amount of time sans scholastic endeavors administered by trained professionals. Good luck!

London City Mum 21 June 2010 at 21:48  


Actually, I did consider putting one in OH as he is the worst when it comes to doing magical disappearing acts. Especially in supermarkets: here one moment, vanished into thin air the next.

It's a boy thing.


Expat mum 21 June 2010 at 22:22  

Now you'll understand why American kids spend a lot of the summer in camps. My kids have June 7th till September 9th off. Aarrgghh!
This week I'm doing the zoo, the Field Museum, the Science and Industry Museum and the beach. Forgot to book the little guy with something to do so I gues I'm chief entertainer.

nappy valley girl 22 June 2010 at 00:29  

We're 3 days in as well. Luckily summer camp starts in two weeks! As for being the neighbourhood hangout spot, our garden seems to be excitement central now that we have a trampoline, and we regularly play host to hoards of neighbouring kids. Still, at least it means I know where the kids are - whereas before they were always in the neighbours' gardens, and I had many scary moments like yours....

Beta Dad 22 June 2010 at 00:50  

When I lived in Moscow, there was a summer camp at the American dacha. Funny, now that I think of it, that's the only time I ever went to camp. I think we (and my parents) would have gone insane without it.

Mwa 22 June 2010 at 12:31  

Well, thank god you found him. Freakish thought he went to BED though. Who would have imagined that?

We get two full months of holidays over here, starting next week, so I'll be sympathising with you a lot. The American option is just too horrible for words.

TheMadHouse 22 June 2010 at 15:56  

My boys are only getting 5 weeks this year, I am going to miss them!!

Nora 22 June 2010 at 18:54  

I used to have to go looking for my baby sister. I was 7 years older than her and was supposed to know all the possible places she could have gone to when she was 4 years old. I usually found her too, but I used to be very worried about not being able to find her. It was always a big relief when I did and rode her home on my bicycle. My mother was never grateful enough.

Potty Mummy 26 June 2010 at 16:45  

GM, love it, more sympathy, please!

AM - Actually I'm not as freaked out as I probably should be, although after the first week (and being confined to metaphorical barracks because of the heat), I'm beginning to get a little antsy...

LCM, you're right, it is. Where DID my order for a girl end up, I wonder?

EPM, I had big plans to get the boys into 'culchur' here, but see my comment to A-M - the heat got the better of us...

NVG, trampoline, hmmm. Note to self...

BD, they still have it, although now at the Anglo American school rather than at the dacha. Sadly though only from 5, so we decided not to go for it as that would have meant having a very cross and bored Boy #2 on her own...

Jayne, thanks.

Mwa, it could be - I'll let you know.

MH, only 5 weeks? Now that's the other extreme.

Nora - mothers seldom are, I find!

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