Together time

I’m resurrecting my blog and giving it a makeover! With a new look, fancy new name and shorter, snappier content, it’s practically got bells and whistles on – and I’m hoping this will inspire me to update it more than once a year.

I turn to blogging, it seems, whenever life gets a little crazy. I started this blog back in the US, as we were packing up our lives to move to the Middle East, and kept it going during our extended settling-in phase. So have things gone crazy again? Not really. The truth is it’s school holidays.

It’s during school holidays that life as I know it goes out the window. As lovely as it is to have a break from the school run, the inevitable ‘together time’ that accompanies school holidays has a down side in our household: the boys fight. A lot.

I’ve tried everything: keeping one upstairs, one downstairs; the naughty step (being renamed, I hear, the ‘thinking step’, as though they’re going to give some thought to world peace while on the step); and sending the perpetrator to Coventry (is that still a saying?) I’ve even taken the more drastic step of removing myself from the situation entirely by taking a job.

I do get where their confrontations are coming from. The two-year-old is going through a particularly pesky phase at the moment and seems to really enjoy winding his brother up. His demolition jobs on the Big Boy’s (BB) intricately laid out train sets and roadways would test the patience of a saint, let alone a five-year-old on a short fuse. BB, for his part, thinks he has first dibs on all the toys – even ones that don’t belong to him. LB retaliates by biting his brother in the butt and so the warfare continues.

Take this afternoon, for instance. The plan was that the boys would play nicely, while I caught up on some chores, revamped my blog and made a shepherd’s pie. The reality was, having refused his nap, the only thing that kept LB happy was filling the laundry basket with cars, one by one. BB then came along and maliciously upended the basket, so upstairs we went for a time out. On being let loose, BB’s behaviour was, let’s just say, demented and ended with red crosses being drawn all over the walls (depicting, in his mind, ‘ no mommies allowed’). So my afternoon was spent scrubbing red pen off the walls, while Catherine the Great, our wonderful helper, made the shepherd’s pie and the boys hogged the computer watching train crashes on Youtube.

By the time my DH came home, we were all going a bit stir crazy. DH is in training at the moment, which, as my pilot wife friends know, is another way of saying ‘out-of-the-picture’. I know training involves a stressful job-on-the-line ride in the simulator with engine failures, fires and other nightmare scenarios, but on this particular day, the focus was on water landings and he’d been watching 20-something flight attendants in wet T-shirts jumping in and out of the swimming pool. I mean, really? How hard is that?

I do have on my side the fact that the boys have separate school holidays. An odd Dubai quirk is that LB has already had 2 weeks of ‘spring break’, during which, for the sake of continuity and routine, he did the nursery’s spring camp. But this still means that during BB’s Easter holiday we have a whole afternoon and evening of togetherness to negotiate every day.

Girl mom friends tell me that girls can fight like cat and dog, too, using psychological tactics that probably have a more lasting effect than the blows my boys give each other. But being of the fairer sex myself, it still takes me by surprise every time my duelling duo turn the lounge into a wrestling ring. The answer, I know, is to plan more activities and outings, as when out and about, it’s so much easier to all remain friends – hence our trip to Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi this weekend (a hard act to follow and I fear we may have peaked a little early with that one).

Oh, and enjoy the leisurely mornings – except did I mention? Whereas I have to drag a slumbering BB out of bed on school mornings, now that we don’t have to rush, he’s leaping from his bed even earlier to make the most of the holidays.

One day they'll be best buddies

8 thoughts on “Together time

  1. Marianne! So nice to have you back in the blogg sphere again, I just love the way you write! Looking forward to more reading in the future!!


    • Thanks Pia! x Actually, I’ve been thinking about your blog as there’s a competition Barb told me about and I think you’d win! It’s for travel blogs – you have such wonderful travel stories. I’m forwarding the details now on email….have a great time on the dhow cruise and, I meant to say, thank u v. much for the Paul Young vid! oh, if we could book him for the 80s party next weekend!!!!!!! xxxx

  2. Brenda Oates says:

    I remember a little girl who scribbled in blue pen on the wallpaper in her grandparents’ house and I noticed the rubbing-out marks every time I went there!

  3. Yup. Sound rather like our household at the moment too. Keep up the good work. As a side ref – I gave up on the naughty step – mainly because I couldn’t take it to the supermarket. I now give them ‘quiet time’ – and make them sit on the floor in silence whenever they P me off – wherever we are. It actually works!

  4. Catherine says:

    Despite having two girls, this sounds all too familiar. I suspect that with boys it’s all a bit more full-on but in our household, eldest girl (now 3.5) monopolises the toys and snatches anything that the youngest (15 months) has taken a temporary shine to. We’re also experiencing daily pre-6am wake-up calls from the youngest, something we didn’t have to endure with the eldest. Ho hum. Good luck with surviving the rest of the Easter holidays with your physical and mental faculties intact! xxx

    • Thanks Catherine! We made it! And all of us still in one piece! Last day of the holidays tomorrow -and, in fact, tomorrow I get to go to work for a break! Hope those pre-dawn wake up calls become a thing of the past very soon – our little one, too, is the main culprit for those. Maybe they’re getting up so early to get to the toys first!! Love and peace to you xxx

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