What a lovely half term holiday we’ve had. I am happy, happy, happy that we have a bonus day today as the kids’ school has an Inset day. We have a pancake breakfast planned (so who knows why I’m still up writing this at 2.30 am!) and as I listen to the lashing rain I’m feeling warm, sheltered and cosy and pleased that I shall stay that way when school-run time rolls around.
So this half term we have:
- Been appreciated and spoiled rotten by my much-loved ex-colleagues who threw a surprise party for me at a local restaurant. I nearly missed the party as I didn’t quite line-up my babysitting. It all worked out beautifully though. I rolled home at 3.30 am and had my first hangover in years for most of the next day.
- Made cemetery cakes. Macabre but perfect sponge, a lot of butter cream icing, with biscuit gravestones and jelly snakes to top it all off . My middle daughter dressed as Wednesday Adams for Halloween and my eldest as a Dalek. Best costumes ever and made me laugh each time they wore them.
- Saw my lovely cousin and her three children. Now that we have accrued six children between us we have seen less of each other than we like to, so spending the day together was a real treat.
- Daughter number one went to the shop all by herself to buy a few groceries and was so proud of herself for venturing into the world without us. The girls are beginning to do chores around the house now too. They lay and clear the table for meals, keep their room organised and tidy on the whole, daughter number one dries up and they are beginning to help with meal preparation a little. Daughter number two also received her first pay for her first paid employment having very conscientiously and dutifully fed and watched over friend’s cat whilst she was away.
- We had a family day out with just the two eldest girls to Lego Land. This was thanks to my lovely cousin for giving us some tickets that they couldn’t use and to my lovely mum, who despite being under the weather, looked after the baby for the day. The highlight was going on the Pirate Falls water ride, after dark, and roaring with fear as we neared the water slide, and then with hysterical laughter as the wave of cold water crashed down and soaked us. I had never seen the point of heated seats in a car until the damp journey home in very damp trousers!
- My husband and I have had the chance to read to the girls a lot. They are both avid readers and read independently and happily, but love it when we read them chapter books bit by bit. My husband is reading Harry Potter One to daughter number two, and Harry Potter Three to our eldest daughter. I’m reading them Noel Streatfield’s Ballet Shoes and am delighted that they love it as much as I did when I was little. We all squealed with delight when we looked on IMDB and saw that it had been made into a film. We look forward to watching that when we complete the book, as they will each watch the Harry Potter films as they finish those books.
- The baby is learning to count, in her own inimitable fashion: one, two, three, two, one, six, ten. She looks in the mirror or at photographs of herself and says “Me!” She has a very posh little accent and makes us smile when she pronounces her new words so carefully. In less celebratory news, she is very into hitting other babies, or bellowing at them at very close quarters. Other mothers are sure to give me disapproving looks as we traverse this phase and I am constantly vigilant in the company of the poor unsuspecting babies.
- I can now see again. I had a haircut.
- We’ve had pyjama days, birthday parties; Halloween party in the park, pumpkin carving and trick or treating; time alone with each big girl whilst the other was at a friend’s house, and just the very nicest time together.
- There have of course also been rows and arguments between them. They save particular tones of voice just for when they speak to each other, and the tones are designed to enrage and frustrate. All very normal, but irritating nonetheless.
This time a year ago, the half term holiday made me feel guilty, frustrated and useless. With a six month old baby I wasn’t able to get out and about as much as I wanted to, not because the baby wasn’t portable, but because I was in that tired phase that comes just before you wean. The baby was waking more at night as milk was almost but not quite not-enough, and her appetite was building whilst her satisfaction was reducing, showing that weaning time was near. I found that getting ready to go out was a huge task and so I would put it off until it was too late to go out and then be cross that we hadn’t been anywhere. I felt that the big girls just didn’t get to do enough.
A year on and we’re in a very different place. Having three children has brought its own brand of chaos. I’m slowly taming the chaos into submission with organisation and a few systems and routines and I’m feeling much more on top of things than I was.
Money is tighter this year but we have had a full and enjoyable break from school. We’ve had fun activities and time out and about interspersed with fun activities and time to just be and to be at home. The money situation is tricky but is also marking my move away from being an employee to the exciting if slightly scary world of seriously beginning the work involved in making my living from running my own business.
So here’s to the next half term of school and it all that it holds for us :0)