Something strange is happening to me. It's something that I have never before encountered but I'm liking it. I keep thinking that I should pinch myself to see if I'm dreaming.
I am entering the fifth week of the summer holidays and I am calm. I have not had to raise my voice much. My house is not reminiscent of the Corporation tip. I have not had to resort to locking myself in the loo with a bar of Galaxy just to get through the afternoon. Life is sweet.
The school summer holiday is a double edged sword. I love that everything stops. I don't have to race out of bed at the crack of dawn and scream my way through the morning routine. If everyone is still in their jimjams at 11 'o clock that's fine. Who cares? I can stop juggling the after school activities around each other, grabbing food where we can. Life takes on a much more sedate pace and is much the better for it.
However, it also means weeks of time yawning out in front of us waiting to be filled. The house is constantly full of children with the attendant mess. The kitchen resembles a 24 hour diner with a constant stream of snacks and meals being required despite my protestations. And the part that I find the hardest of all, I am never on my own. My life becomes subject to almost constant interruption so that everything takes twice as long to achieve.
In previous years, somewhere about now I have been reduced to telling my offspring that I can no longer stand it and that I am going to have to leave. I witter on at length about how it is not fair that I have to spend the whole holiday picking things up, sounding more like one of my errant children than a responsible adult. I scream and cry and stamp my feet and start counting down the days to the school gates reopening round about week four.
But this year it's all going well. I have to admit that I'm bored but that aside things are fine. The children are all getting along well. The big two come and go with various friends in tow, either sleeping here or not as the mood takes them. The little ones play endless and incredibly complicated games that I neither understand nor am invited to join. Every so often they fall out and I have to listen to their woes, pass judgement and then off they go again.
I will accept that it's not the most exciting holiday. I can count the number of trips out on the fingers of one hand but the children are happiest just being at home. They are not interested in going anywhere in the car, only wanting to leave the house if they can walk to our destination.
I wonder whether this is a product of their ages at the moment and so is unlikely to be repeated. Maybe next year they will have drifted apart and will need more entertaining? Who knows? All I can say is that for this year at least the summer holiday is not proving to be the ordeal that it usually is and for that I am eternally grateful. Still, there are another two weeks to go. Plenty of time for s
disaster to strike.