I see it is over a month since I last posted on the blog: forgive me, but somehow the summer holidays always overwhelm me. It is a long, long time to entertain children and to keep them from being glued to small screens. Or big ones.
However, term has resumed. I have a child starting GCSEs. This makes me feel very old (though not as old as I’ll feel in two years time when my youngest starts hers!) The work-life balance resumes a routine, which may not be a perfect balance but at least I know when the spaces are.
Writing has, sadly, taken a backseat too. I have almost finished editing Draft 2 – which may be Draft 22: I don’t really keep count, but I know my next job is to print it all out, again, and go through it, again, and try to make it better. ‘Making it better’ seems to be all I have done for the last two years, and that is slightly driving me mad. I don’t want to publish unless it is the best it can be, yet there is a point – has to be a point – at which I say, “Enough is enough!” That point is coming ever closer!
I will write more, and more regularly, as term goes on, but meanwhile let me go back to filling my days with writing rather than routine.
Life has been so ordinary this week – no national awards offered, no holidays taken, no evenings to myself (which is part of why this week’s blog is next week… or perhaps more accurately last week’s blog is this week?)
Yet a rather terrifying moment hit me mid-week: I am into my final half term of primary education.
Obviously, not my primary education: I finished that a few more years ago than I care to admit. I cannot claim to be a child prodigy!
No, this final half term I am experiencing vicariously through my daughter. From September my baby (!) will be in secondary education, and I will have an extra half hour each afternoon before I can expect her home. Also, I’ll have to get her out of the door half an hour earlier which, judging by this morning’s tardiness, is going to be no mean feat.
I feel quite differently about her progression than about my son’s two years ago. With him, the process was completely new, which meant a huge learning curve, though I had no great worries about him settling in when September came. The secondary school has a day in July when all the Year 6 children go for a day to orientate themselves a little. This brought one of my most heart-wrenching memories, as I watched my little boy (yeah, 11 years old) trudge off in the mizzly rain for the day. Despite it being the children’s chance to learn the route and time their journey, all his friends were taken in the car by their parents. Bad mother?
For my daughter, the transition is no longer new, but I have many more worries about her settling in. Having said that, I’m ready for her to go, having spent much of the last two years getting everything in place. There will be a final Sports Day (hooray! I’ve always hated these!), a final prom (we’ve already got the dress – it was our most important shopping trip of the half term holidays, at least as far as my daughter was concerned) and a leavers’ assembly. At this point, I know I shall blub as my baby and her friends leave her excellent primary school. But that’s a mother’s prerogative, right?
Six weeks and counting. How does time fly so fast? It seems only yesterday that I carried her as a baby to Zambia, to live in a strange country where I feared I might not find bottled milk to feed her. Now she is fighting to grow taller than me. How times change.
The day started as normal, waking the children around 7.30am with not a care in the world.
(Well, a few cares, but the central heating appeared to be working so at least I was warm and not caring.)
Back in my room I was slowly getting my brain in gear, and hoping that I’d have time to put a wash on before going to work. Then, whilst I was thinking how annoying it is that I can hear all the water coming down the pipes from my children’s bathroom past ours, I realised that actually the water wasn’t coming down the pipe any more. No, it was coming in through the light fitting.
A mad rush upstairs to halt my son’s shower (shame!) and stop the water flow. Given most of his shower was all over the floor I think I can guess what happened: the question now is how to prevent a recurrence.
This didn’t put me in a great mood. Curse the builders, yet again…
I shouted at my daughter, telling her that she’d have to get a move on because I wasn’t going to have time to help her with getting ready for school. Thankfully this worked, because the next problem was just a few minutes away.
It involved homework.
“Did Dad replace the ink in the printer?”
Well, no – of course he didn’t. He got home from work at 10.30pm and then did a couple more hours work and then fell asleep. Printer untouched.
And it was a packed lunch day… and I then discovered that we had no bread either.
And now there were only about 5 minutes until my son had to leave for school. Cue more anger, frustration, and a lot of turning the air blue.
I worked out changing the printer ink. [Helpful tip: press a lot of buttons. Hold them down for 2-3 seconds and see if ink drive thingy moves. Then notice instructions are ‘printed’ on the plastic. Mobile phone has a nifty torch thing, which proves invaluable if you actually want to read grey plastic print when under the stairs.]
Then I hooked up the laptop to the printer and it wouldn’t communicate at all. In fact, it had a healthy printer queue of items to be printed in the last month.
So I then unhooked it and put the homework document onto a pen-drive… only my husband’s aged computer didn’t recognise the format of the document from the (comparatively) new laptop.
At this point I was just about finished for the day (it was only 8.40am). I had to drive my son to school – which I loathe doing – and it was touch and go whether he arrived before the bell. I remembered just after I’d dropped him that Ofsted were visiting… Bet the school loves parents like me!
I dashed home with barely enough time to put the dog out before going to (paid) work. When I arrived I was asked how my father was doing. My father? Oh, yes, last week he had an angiogram and that was my concern. This week, it’s flooding and food and forgotten homework.
I love routine. It is so much quieter and predictable.
Though would I then have anything to blog about?