Give me strength…Posted by Shelley Antscherl
…to cope with School Holidays
It’s that time of year again and I’ve been hunting for my box of horse sedatives. Anything to numb the stress, tedium and mental exhaustion of being surrounded by squabbling children all day, every day.
Is it just my children I wonder, who are equipped with an inexhaustible capacity for requests, demands, daft questions and flashes of inter-sibling violence, or are they all like that? As this is my first and last litter of children, and my only stab at motherhood, I have no idea if mine are any worse than other people’s.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my children more than anything. But nine weeks of school vacation is enough to test the most dedicated earth mother, and it was only after we began breeding, that I discovered that I most definitely do not fall into this category.
Rather naively, I just assumed that a mother’s love would also somehow magically spawn the capacity to enjoy the constant company of one’s own children for weeks and weeks and weeks on end…
To give you an example of how feeble-minded I have become in two short weeks of school holiday, last week I found myself inexplicably sucked into one of those ridiculous discussions that only children can have.
We have a little friend of nearly three who we were due to meet at the park, and on the way there, No. 2 (who’s seven) wanted to know, “can Everett run faster than a chihuahua?”
Now I should have used some kind of diversionary tactic to avoid getting involved in this kind of dopey conversation, but stupidly I replied, that it was unlikely that Everett (even though he is bigger), could outrun a speedy little chihuahua.
What felt like an eternity later – and after all four passengers in the back of the car had vigorously put in their two cents worth – I was declared resoundingly wrong by a majority of four to one, and it was only at this point that I came to my senses and swiftly changed the subject to something a little less contentious. Like what to have for dinner that evening.
God, what I crave more than anything at the moment is to be locked up in a quiet and peaceful padded cell, all by myself, but instead (just to spice things up a bit) we’re moving house again in two weeks… Although this time thankfully, just up the road.
This will be our 7th house in five years (and three countries) so I’m quite good at moving these days (as everyone keeps complimenting me), but it’s still a huge logistical pain in the ass trying to pack boxes with at least 2 out of 4 of my four-strong sabotage squad under foot and trying to ‘help’ me.
Not only that, but because I’m so good at the whole process, my husband has decided he will only be taking three days off work; the day before the move, the day of the move, and the day after. And in that time, he is of the opinion that we can start, and finish packing up the whole house (he hasn’t noticed the Packing Fairy who’s been quietly emptying cupboards and drawers, and cleaning everything for the last two weeks).
Now I don’t want to sound like I’m ungrateful for his assistance or anything, but is it me???
But it could always be worse, and we could still be living in the boondocks of North Holland as we were almost a year ago. Yes, our first anniversary of moving to Canada is looming large and I cannot believe we’ve been here for that long. Despite all my whinging, it’s been the best year I can remember in a very long time, and even 12 months on, it still often feels like we’re on holiday.
With some lovely new friends and some ancient English friends living close by, and with so much to do summer or winter, there’s little to get homesick about, even as the Motherland is about to host the 2012 Olympics, which is splashed across the British media constantly at the moment. Fingers crossed that Dave, Nick, Boris et al will have sorted out the security debacle, London traffic congestion, Heathrow delays, tube strikes and the British weather in time for the opening ceremony!
But my favourite Olympic story to emerge so far, was the article about a streaker (a beloved, and not unusual British pastime that generally results from too much sun – and alcohol – at English sporting events) who disrupted the 53rd leg of the Olympic torch relay in Henley-on-Thames last week: