I’m the honest sort so I’m just going to put it out there.
I am rubbish at half term, really rubbish. I spend ages looking forward to having both babies at home at the same time but once the reality is upon us I suck and end up feeling like the biggest Mummy failure ever.
Part of the cause is my lack of driving skills (I’m not rubbish at it, I’ve just never learnt. I’m probably amazing at it) this means that any ‘big’ activity, say a trip to the zoo or a museum, starts with a bus ride. Seth doesn’t like being in his buggy, Seth won’t sit still outside of his buggy so a bus ride is virtually impossible.
The more ‘simple’ trip, to the park for example, is also far from simple. Seth is almost two (but looks almost three) he’s fearless, destructive and strong (trying to get him into his buggy can be like wrestling a small crocodile) he is also a runner. I can’t take my eye off him for a moment. Aoife is five and fantastically independent (mostly) but still needs a little help. So whilst Aoife is repeatedly falling off the swings or getting stuck up a slide I’m trying to shout reassuring things while retrieving Seth from a puddle/the path of a swing or apologising to other children or parents who think he should be behaving much better for a three year old! In the meantime, Aoife has stopped having fun as there’s no one to push the roundabout or watch her go down the slide.
We inevitably end up spending the majority of half term at home. We have fruit picnics and make tents in the living room. If Seth has a nap, Aoife and I use that time to play a game or do something crafty while he’s not around to destroy it all. Seth has a little draw on the floor in crayon (surprisingly hard to clean off laminate) or a climb on the windowsill or a sit on the table (placed in front of the TV to stop him playing with it) to push the TV over.
All the while Aoife is talking. Since she’s been able to talk she hasn’t actually stopped. Chatty isn’t even a big enough word to express how much she talks. There’s always a tale to tell or a commentary to run. I try to listen to all of it, I really try so hard, but sometimes my ears get exhausted. I’ve trained my ears to pick out the important words ‘wee’, ‘sick’, ‘blood’ (not ‘help’, that’s fraudulently used too often in this house). I resort to generic responses
“yes princess”, “oh noooooo”, “really?”, “that’s fab”
But sometimes I’ll use the wrong one and I feel the wrath
“Mummy, you’re not listening to me. Mummies must always listen to their children!”
I take myself to the kitchen for a two minute time out, Aoife comes through to the downstairs loo informing me that she’ll let me know when I can come and wipe her bum…
OH THE FRICKIN’ JOYS
I go back into the living room to find Seth stood in a Christ like pose ready to free fall backwards from the windowsill, I launch myself across the room stepping on something and rescue him.
I CAN’T BREATHE AND IT’S STILL NOT BEDTIME.
As a result half term ends up feeling like a two fold failure. Aoife will go back to school and hear about all the wonderful things her friends did while she was bored at home and I feel terrible for being mentally exhausted by it all because I know this time is precious and short.
It’s not that I don’t want to be with my children.
It’s not that they don’t do a thousand things a day that make my heart sing.
It’s not that I don’t look at them and feel a rush of love that never lessens.
It’s just that I’m tired and I need a half term. Hell, not even a week. A day will do so I can sit in silence and stare, slack jawed at the wall.
I had chosen this week to reduce my wine intake to help the old Slimming World journey but today I’m thinking screw that, I’d rather be fat and drinking wine.
Besides, it’s National Wine Drinking day, I’ll do it for my country!