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Wednesday, 5 August 2015

How To Survive The Summer Holidays Without Committing Murder

And so it begins

6 weeks of constant bickering, ALL of August without the respite of an undisturbed coffee. Yes, it's that time of year again. Parents set your analyst on danger money its summer holiday time...
The School Sports Days have been and gone, the end of term excitement has died down and now you have settled into a kind of half life. Endless days of pointless arguments and the urge to open the bottle of wine earlier and earlier (it's only 8am but surely its OK to have just one glass) Minecraft causes arguments as elder brother decides his younger sibling just doesn't have what it takes to dispatch Creepers in a way befitting of a gaming God. Dammit it man, you just don't seem to understand that a skeleton will kill you and there is absolutely no way we are going to play on creative mode just because you don't have the spine to survive the "real world". Real world? its a flipping computer game, made entirely of two sided blocks in an unrealistic landscape! After constant warnings that "any more arguments and demented parrot squawking will cause immediate revoking of Minecraft privileges" you decide to throw the kids out of the house to play outside. This is folly, as when they get bored with attempting to mow down innocent pedestrians with their scooters they will either get run over by a car (presumably trying to see what happens when it hits 88 M.P.H) or worse still revert to the "biting the crap out of each other" trope.

THIS is how you kill a Creeper
Now at the hair pulling out stage, and no, looking at the calender wont help as you are only at week 2, you give up any illusion that you are going to achieve anything meaningful today. It's now about survival, getting through to end of the day without causing bloodied body parts to redecorate your living room in the style of a slaughter house. Lets see whats on television, no NO NO don't do it! I'll tell you what you will discover. Nothing is on aside from smug and gurning children's television presenters who smile in that oh so patronising way. They are too young to have their own children and, and they are safe in CBBC world, a studio which is a closed set, with no interaction with real children. If you endure more than a few seconds of this mind destroying vision, your brain will melt and you will doom yourself to endlessly singing the RastaMouse theme music. Considering placing the children in front of said drivel is an option but unless you Velcro them to the floor (worth serious consideration) they will restart World War 3 and you will have to initiate the "go to your rooms, one minute for every year of your irritating life" sanctions.


Please Not Now
As the weather is currently sunny, going outside is an option but somewhere walkable. Every parent knows that all children reserve their most hellish behaviour for when you are driving. That moment when actually turning round and giving an ear roasting could be hazardous to your health and your insurance premium (I learnt this the hard way last year, as due to said action mine doubled this year) Park it is then, but you are but one adult and your children want to do different things. Eldest son, thinks he is Messi so football is top of  his list whilst Youngest wants to throw sand at himself and befriend some other kid called Archibald. Archibald's parent is having a similar challenge and somehow on the way back from the park your family will have grown by one. This isn't kidnapping its seizing of an opportunity. Any dreams of a brief respite from the "holiday" (oh how that word seems hollow now) will be destroyed as the British weather conspires against your sanity and turns blue skies into a downpour of Apocalyptic proportions. You squelch back to the house with two very wet and even more volatile children and ITS ONLY LUNCHTIME!

Its not all bad though because they cant argue whilst they stuff their mouths with ham sandwiches, can they? Ha, I snort in your direction. They can multitask and food will not stop the erosion of your synapses or the assault on your very sanity. Feeding vast quantities of sweets is an option but this is only a short term solution. The sudden flood of E numbered substance (Haribo I shake my fist at you) will render your  charges incapable of understanding even the most basic of instructions and they will bounce off the walls like Tigger on steroids for the rest of the day. Desperation has now taken over whilst your desire to survive has flounced off to its bedroom in defeat. If you can just hold on to bedtime then, maybe, you will endure this, this annual decent into a Dante like, kid infused, Inferno. Ignore the arguments, work on the basis that if blood isn't flowing they can sort it out themselves. Great idea, but we parents have our limits as well. Whilst I totally agree with the concept of choosing your battles, constant challenge and sleep deprivation will take its toll. I took my two children to the cinema yesterday. I paid a small fortune, at the level to seriously make a dent in the Grecian debt, so that they could watch the latest Pixar hit and I could get a little sleep. I didn't mean to fall asleep, my body just decided that enough was enough and disconnected my power supply. Parents operate in a twilight world fuelled by caffeine to stave off the constant tiredness at levels that it would be illegal to maintain in a paid job.


Tigger on Steroids
Here is where we get to the bit where I offer helpful and insightful solutions to the challenges parents face every day. All the above is a daily summer holiday occurrence, 6 weeks of the above is enough to send even the most organised of parents into a dizzying spiral of alcohol fuelled depression. The thing is, I don't have any helpful or insightful solutions. Of course, its not all bad, there are moments of pure Fathering joy when my children light up my world and infuse me with a zest of life. Parenting is the hardest and most underpaid job in the world, it is exhausting and all consuming and I find that most of the time I blunder from one crisis to the next. Every year, I begin the 6 week Summer Holiday slog and wonder how to get through it, "one day at a time" seems to work and rip all of your calenders from the wall. Investing in time with your children does reap its own rewards and when the last thing you feel like doing is going to the park for a kick around, doing so can develop a closeness that you cannot fake. My parents have told me to make the most of the time I have with my children while they are still at home. Whilst I long for the day when they begin their own world adventure, I think there is truth in this advice. I am under siege right now but my children don't see that, they see a glorious long summer full of excitement and adventure. They want to create memories that will last them a lifetime and who am I do rob them of that. Still, 4 weeks 4 days and 16 hours to go..... enjoy!



Adendum-----

I have been informed by my Youngest that, apparently, he can "deal with Creepers" as he has just killed one. That told me then!

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