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.