School started again today – and I wouldn’t be being entirely honest if I didn’t admit to feeling more than a little pleased.
Okay, after whooping with relief, I’m now grinning from ear-to-ear and lying poleaxed on the sofa, feet up, magazine in one hand, TV remote in the other and the iPad back in my possession (I’m sure I’m not the only mum who multi-tasks while relaxing).
Don’t get me wrong – I (mostly) loved our countless outings to the beach, the park and the mall over the Christmas holidays; we had several successful playdates where the children didn’t injure or maim each other; and as well as spending time with my beloved cheeky cherubs, I finally caught up with mum friends I hadn’t seen in ages.
I feel a lot more relaxed than I did before the holidays – and not particularly thrilled about getting back to crack-of-dawn starts (why do schools in Dubai have to begin at 7.45am?), packed lunches, homework and the cat-walk that is the Dubai school drop-off.
But, what I won’t miss is the need to keep your little ones entertained every day, for fourteen hours a day – with new ideas and venues required each day and no afternoon at Grannies to break up the holiday.
If you’re not a parent, I may need to explain:
It starts early, shortly after sunrise and while your tightly shut eyes are still flitting from side-to-side in dreamy REM sleep.
They come bounding in, full of the joys of the morning, and in unison chorus, “Mumm-eeee, what are we doing today?”
If you ignore them (say, you bury your head in your pillow), they simply try again… on a loop:
“Mumm-eeee, WHERE are we going today?”
They know you’ll have to think of somewhere to take them out to, because if you don’t, you’ll be the first to throw crockery at the wall.
There may then be a period of play (or perhaps TV) punctuated by sibling spats, but by 11am, the antsiness has started to build.
“Mumm-eee, I’m bored,” you’ll hear, followed by: “I SAID, I’m bored!”
“I’m SUPER bored!” the other one chips in, not to be outdone.
And, believe me, this isn’t music to your ears. So you trigger ‘the plan for the day’. You run round the house, packing beach bags, filling water bottles, wrapping snacks, looking for lost items. You give them a quick lunch so you don’t arrive somewhere with whiny, hungry children. You even get them to go to the toilet, find the swimming goggles and run a brush over your own hair.
“Right, let’s go,” you pant. “Shoes on.”
Only to be met with cries of:
“Awwww, muuum! It’s my favourite programme… why can’t we just stay home today?”
Cue: a further 10 minutes spent cajoling them out of the house.
As I said, it’s been lovely, but I’m revelling in the mummy break today!