The saving grace for us this holiday has been our seven-year-old’s love of books. His eagerness to read has rubbed off on the four-year-old, who can’t yet read but who is very happy to be read to. This has become something of a new routine for us, a way to do something calmly, once the baby is in bed. Sometimes, I’ll read the book. Sometimes, the seven-year-old will read the book. Occasionally, if it’s a book we’ve read lots of times, the four-year-old will recite as much as he can from memory as we look at the pictures together. I am always grateful for books and for that moment of calm in the evenings, even if it is only fleeting.
So, what’s next? Well, we’re heading to town to complete the obligatory back-to-school uniform shop (that I was supposed to do in week one). It will be painful. Somebody will cry. Then later, when uniforms are tried on again at home, I will cry. For not cherishing the time we had together before he started school. For failing to tick off the summer holiday bucket-list experiences I’d hoped we’d do this year.
Which brings me right back to the conflict of feelings. I love spending time with the kids (when they’re not fighting). I love the summer. However, if I’m being totally honest with myself, I’ll be glad when some routine is restored. You can have too much of a good thing. The years, they may be short but the summer holidays are long. So very long. Roll on September.
The Unmumsy Mum A-Z: An Inexpert Guide to Parenting is out now.