Sunday, 7 September 2014

Twas the night before school starts

And everything was stirring after six and a half weeks of late bedtimes and lax discipline.

I don't know about you, but this summer holiday seems to have been notable mostly for its length. Day after day of my children knocking about expecting to be fed and entertained has certainly taken its toll. There has been much shortness of temper and exasperation during this last week of the holiday. I think we are all ready for school to start again, not least because if I don't get a stretch of more than two minutes without hearing the wailing cry of "Mummmmeeeee", ring out around the house I will not be held responsible for my actions.

The problem, as I see it, is that families are creatures of routine. We can just about hold it together when steered from minute to minute by sheaves of letters from school telling us that Thursday is cello, Tuesday piano, Monday is football and Wednesday is swimming. When I am given simple steps to follow all is well, but when this is thrown to the four winds and it is me who is solely responsible for my children, chaos ensues.

This summer's shenanigans has been compounded by our house move, which has meant that my limited child entertainment skills have been further hampered by living out of cardboard boxes. Every toy or game the children wanted for the first half of the summer holiday was packed away in a box, and for the second half was strewn across the house as part of Operation Unpack.

My boys, I am sure, think I suffer from OCD when it comes to tidiness. I, on the other hand, justify the decibels reached when screaming at them to keep things tidy as the only thing that keeps us from being recruited for the next series of Hoarders: Buried Alive. So you can imagine how much fun it was chez FDMTG when the entire contents of our house was spread haphazardly across the floor of all the wrong rooms as builders picked their way indelicately about dropping dust and nails in their wake.

I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to having a boy free house that I can just tidy, without some helpful little soul deciding to undo my good work by setting up an elaborate game involving random pieces from a board game, some beads, several lego pieces and a toy giraffe, only to become enraged should anyone shift any of these vital items by a millimetre.

I do love my children (a mantra I have had to repeat under my breath with increasing regularity during this summer holiday) I suspect that after so many weeks in their close company, absence will make my heart grow much fonder.

I just want to pass the day without having to endlessly provide food and diplomatic services. It has amazed me how one meal segues seamlessly into the next when you are catering for small boys. It appears as if the moment the last mouthful of toast and cereal has been chewed, there are demands for sandwiches for lunch and the moment those crumbs have been scattered all over my pristine breakfast bar it's tea time - again.

Equally, while my boys love each other (a fact that I have had to remind them of on numerous occasions recently), what they love even more is to fight with one another and the only authority who can rule on any disagreement is the all powerful Mummmeeeee. As if I had any control over the actions of these small bundles of irrational impulses otherwise known as my sons.

So, while they deputy head of the twins' new school bemoaned how fast the summer holiday had flown by, I nodded sympathetically while grimly thinking not nearly fast enough!

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