It doesn't seem five minutes since my Facebook newsfeed was flooded with images of fresh shiny kids standing next to the front door in their slightly-too-big-and-the-cleanest-it's-ever-going-to-be uniform and a grin that, dependent on age, ranged from "Check out my new shoes, they flash" to "If you post this on Facebook I'm literally never going to forgive you". That was way back in September when us Mums and Dads would pack the school bags the night before, reply to any school memo super quick, knew all the important dates in the school calendar and arrived at school in plenty of time for both drop off AND pick up. Now it's July it's more a case of rub the shoes with a baby wipe to get rid of yesterdays / last weeks mud, have a quick look in the bag to check for the latest thing we have to pay £1 for whilst throwing out the remains of a half eaten carrot (yes, genuine fact from last week) and just about manage to chuck them through the classroom door before the bell goes. How things change. Because now it's time for the school holidays. All six weeks, 42 days, 1008 hours of them. Time for fun, sun, quality family time and some good old hashtag "making memories".
Now, my almost six year old could not be happier about this. As a kid the six week holidays are awesome. I remember spending much of my earlier ones with my Dad who worked from home and used to let me get away with quite a lot while Mum was at work. Things you could never fathom doing these days, like letting a ten year old go out on her bike all day with a pound note in her pocket and not giving a hoot what she was up to. (Spoiler - I'd cycle around aimlessly for hours with a quick stop off at the pub, where I would treat my bad self to a bitter lemon and a packet of cheese and onion. Very understanding landlords in those days.) Then a few years on in the grumpy early teen years I would spend much of the holidays in my bedroom listening to the Radio 1 roadshow, wondering if I would ever be cool enough to go to something like that. And listening to Simon Bates' "Our Tune" and loving the fact that Gary and Rita really did get together in the end. I digress........
In later teen years it became far more fun. Going up to the shopping mall and walking around all day, sometimes with money to spend, usually not. The outfit planning that went into those days was insane but usually involved a jumper from the Sweater Shop or one of those Global Hypercolour tees that I unfortunately couldn't wear after the age of 14 due to two parts of said T shirt glowing a bit more than the rest of it.
Just like the way our parents bang on about the summer of 1976, our summers did always seemed sunny and seemed to go on forever. I don't remember any mad panics to find fabulous things to do or feeling the need to fill the days with anything in particular. Or anything costing a fortune. So with this in mind I intend on filling my son's summer holidays with the following -
· Several pyjama days. These consist of waking up, staying in pyjamas, watching cartoons, maybe a spot of colouring, more cartoons and eating popcorn.
· Playing games. We like to go retro with these, no FIFA in this house just yet, we're still on Snakes and Ladders and even that gets pretty competitive. If Mummy is feeling particularly willing we might try Twister, where I give up almost immediately due to being a) old, b) knackered and c) not very flexible and try and persuade the dog to play instead. (Not easy when it's a small Schnauzer and she can't do back left paw yellow, right front green...)
· Visiting the seaside. Unfortunately what with living ridiculously far from the seaside, this normally entails a cheery packing of the cool bag and much excitement before realising three hours in to the journey that it's a bloody long way and why did we choose this for a day trip again?
· Mini golf. In our house this isn't solely reserved for holidays. As often as possible is the preferred choice and again, the competition gets a little fierce. It's getting to the point where I have to try really hard to beat the small child who, when he gets hold of a golf club, turns into Rory McIlroy.
· Ice cream. Because summer. Ahhh come on, I don't need to explain this one do I??
· Baking. Not the kind where you and the child are dressed in beautiful Mummy and me aprons and produce Instagram worthy muffins with hashtags such as #funwithmummy #bakingsuperstar and #futurechef. Nooooo, because we ALL know these things Do Not Happen. I'm talking about the kind of baking on a rainy day where it starts off well but as soon as you've asked them to lay the cake cases on the tray and given them a chance to stir any mix that is actually left in the bowl they've completely lost interest and you're left doing it. Then, when Daddy arrives home they take credit for the whole lot. Great.
So yes, my summer diary is planned doing all of these. It's a shame the classic TV show "Why Don't You" doesn't exist anymore so I could get some more ideas but I reckon baking crap cakes whilst dressed in our PJ's is going to be pretty perfect. Here's to the summer!