Monday, 21 July 2008

There may be Trouble ahead...

You can almost smell the panic in the air.

Outside schools and nurseries all over western Europe (or all over Kensington and Chelsea, at least), mummies and carers gather with a look of desperation on their faces. Details of summer schools are exchanged and noted down in Smythson diaries and on Blackberries. Enquiries about who's nanny is looking for filler work whilst their employers head off for sunnier climes are bandied around. (This is last ditch talk, of course; we all know that most families moneyed enough to employ a nanny and who have a second home in sunnier climes are actually doing the sensible thing, and taking the Help with them...) And playdates with families with gardens - or access to garden squares - are being set up with indecent haste.

You guessed it.

The Summer Holidays are upon us.

Are you ready? I'm not sure I am.

I have booked playdates - a number of them. The Boys are signed up for a couple of days of Summer School at the nursery. And Boy #1 is due to attend a week of morning sessions at a drama class, with the theme of Pirates and Mermaids. I'm not sure if this is wise, given his tendencies to overdramatise, but needs must.

Ahoy, me hearties! Is that a beached whale I see before me? No, it's a mummy doing her impression of one, following a summer of having children at home with no child-care and thus no time to go to the gym, who has had only biscuits for company and consolation...

Thankfully, The Grannies have both been marshalled, and are each standing ready for their 3 - 4 days 'quality time' with the Boys. I hope they know what they are letting themselves in for. By the time we deliver our little cherubs, Boy #1 will have been immersed in a week of life on the ocean seas so no doubt will be sleeping in an eye patch, and Boy #2 is getting more independant every day.

It's amazing to me that 2 year-olds make it to their 3rd birthday really, given all the scrapes mine gets himself into. Any day now I'm expecting to walk into the living room to find he's scaled the bookshelves in search of some electronic device to use as a phone. If today is anything to go by, he'll be sitting up there next to the untouched Penguin Classics (the legacy of a university education, and abandoned to splendid isolation ever since), with the Sky remote control pinned to his ear, saying "Uh huh, yes. Yes. Mmmmm. Tractor. Riiiight. Train - water. On track."

This afternoon in the nursery playground, my back was only turned for an instant when he proceeded to try and climb into the front of one the other mum's Bakfiets (think; Dutch invention of a bicycle with a box on the front for the kids to ride in - or check out this link if you think you've never heard of such a crazy thing and that I couldn't possibly mean what you think I do).

On it's own, this would have been fine, but he was using the spokes of the wheel as steps, and since he's not the lightest of little princes, visions of recieving invoices for £1000's to repair the damage flashed across my mind. I dragged him away, kicking and screaming, to the garden square, thinking that at least here he would be contained. Where he then proceeded to make his way over to one of the gardeners bags, open it, and as I turned round to catch him in the act, was about to sink his little gnashers into one of their very tasty looking sandwiches.

And the holidays don't officially start until tomorrow.

I'm feeling a bit twitchy about the Boy's granny stays, to be honest. On a recent visit to MiL's house, half the soft furnishings in the conservatory turned out to be works in progress and full of pins, whilst yesterday evening my mother 'fessed up to having had to remove a tick from my father's leg last week. Not from their garden, obviously. Oh no. From a neighbour's.

Well, that makes me feel so much better...

And then, to make me feel even more relaxed with this news, Mum went on to list the diseases that ticks can carry. Lyme's Disease. Encyphalitis. Meningitis. And so on. My laughter at that stage became more than a little hysterical, and noticing this, she hurried to repair the damage by assuring me that during their stay the Boys would not be allowed outside without long trousers and wellington boots. A 2 and a 4 year old, outside, in long trousers and boots, in the summer?

Whatever it takes.

Now, where are those carrot, apple and chocolate muffins I made for the Boys' last day of term? Some quality control checks are needed, I think.


  1. My son broke up on Friday and am totally feeling the holiday stress already. He's got a mixture of grandma, holiday club at school, friends and me and my diary just can't cope with the stress! He just matter-of-factly says "what have I got on today then mummy" like he's some kind of businessman with an important social calendar lined up!
    By the way, there is an award for you over at my place . . .

  2. Potty - my full sympathies.

    I have just had one of the worst days that i have EVER had with my four year old, and it's only officially day 4 of the hols.

    I'm making good progress through the gin bottle.

    BM x

  3. ...pass the gin bottle please...there's also an award for you at mine as well..(Looks as though someone may have beaten me to it though!) Good luck with the hols...

  4. Summer? You get summer? Long trousers and wellingtons would be perfectly suitable, fashionable attire round here. And perhaps we don't live in Western Europe (Scotland, actually) but we're already into week 4 of the holidays. Yep, not Day 4 - Week 4. I was just wailing this morning that the holidays are racing away from us before I've really caught up.

  5. I sense much desperation here and in the comments. Can motherhood be this unpleasant and stress inducing? When did children start lording it over their parents and start to demand to be entertained every minute of the day. Surely we weren't raised that way? It is as if they are little overlords whose every wish is your command. Aren't you all very browbeat or are you all exaggerating?

  6. Quality control checks! I love it. Lately I've been referring to babies poo as "so what have you produced darling?". Work terminology is entertaining when used with children.

  7. Wow. And I thought work was stressful!

    Can you persuade the boys that long trews and wellies can be fashioned into pirate-appropriate outfits for the summer?

    Good luck and roll out the gin.

  8. We're on week 5 of our summer hols and still all alive. It's never as bad as I expect; in fact without the school run to do, I'm positively relaxed comapared to normal. Hope it goes as well for you :-)

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  10. Irene, I love the school holidays. No routine for a while. It's wonderful. But I suspect it gets easier as the children get older and don't want your undivided attention 24 hours a day.

  11. You boy#2 sounds exacltly like my little boy who was 2 in June, into, onto and upto everything and anything ensuring the maximum stress levels for his mother. He often attacks his soon to be 4 year old sister as well. Thanks be for the sun and a garden, where would I be without them. Hopig for a mix of Grandma and gomothers myself as three on my own, all day, every day = gibbering wreck by September.
    Good luck with surviving the summer.

  12. Hi Tara, how exciting, see you soon! (Ihave just spent a fun afternoon with two cross and tired boys. And the holidays only started today. It's got to get better...)

    BM, maybe we should team up so they can be cross together? Or would that just make things worse...?

    HT, another award, wow! Will be over asap. BTW - more of a vodka chick than a gin one - so do you have any slimline tonic to go with that?

    GPM, I knew that some places had started already, but week 4? And you're still sane? You are a marvel.

    Hi Irene, of course we are all exaggerating - a little. And no, I certainly wasn't raised this way. But whilst I moan, I wouldn't change how we're raising the boys. 'Seen and not heard' is not how I want things to be in this house. Even though I do occassionally reach for the earplugs!

    SB, it's one way to keep your hand in, definitely!

    Mud, I hadn't thought of that, but why not? A couple of skull and crossbones attached to the side of the wellies, and we're sorted!

    Oslo, hello and thanks for stopping by! And you're right of course, being freed from the nursery run will be no bad thing. Must remember to breathe deeply. Calm, calm, calm.

    Mel, thanks for the visit, and good luck to you too for making it to September. And lucky you, to have a garden. We might have a garden square, but direct access to grass is such a blessing. Oh well, one day!

  13. Wow! I didn't do any of those things on our summer holidays. I can remember just playing ball against the house - playing ball in the empty field across the street - playing ball on the street....

  14. this is the moment for me to say that i can't wait until the summer holidays are over and the children are safely back at school. ;-D

  15. We are watching as the summer is speeding by. I only have four and a half weeks before I go back for inservice week and I barely feel like I have accomplished anything. I am ready to go buy a referee shirt. It gets easier as they get older.

  16. I can sympathise - even though mine are at a nursery which doesn't close for the summer. I am with my boys all day Mondays and Fridays and by the time it gets to Tuesday mornings, I am exhausted and actually looking forward to work. Hot weather and no garden in London, plus two lively little boys = hard work. At the moment it's two parks a day, with a rest in between!

  17. So Aims - I guess you were pretty good at soccer / baseball / football etc then?

    Ped, is the referee shirt for school or home? I'm assuming it's the latter, but...

    VG, I hear what you're saying! I find frozen smoothies help to calm the troops - though not with keeping the laundry to a minimum...


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