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Half term is a chance to catch your breath before the coming onslaught of Christmas preparations and work overload.
Half term seems to be a bit of a movable feast this year. Many of my friends have already done it, but for us it’s not happening until next week. This is great news for me because normally autumn half term falls in the middle of a big work spike, but this year it is one week later and I will be in post-work overload nirvana [at least for a week before the whole pre-Christmas thing gets out of hand] and will be able to dedicate myself to swimming, Super Mario-ing and visiting Korean supermarkets galore.
I have asked people what they want to do and mostly have got grunts in return. I asked about Halloween and no-one seems interested. Only son said he thinks he is “too mature” for Halloween this year, thank you very much. I reminded him that his mother did Halloween in full zombie mummy outfit last year. “It’s basically free sweets for wearing a sheet,” I said, feeling slightly guilty that I was not doing my best to promote healthy eating. Only son doesn’t care. He is already focused on Christmas. He has written a list. It is not just any old list, either. It is colour-coded and intricate features drawings of the top five items. He has researched them all extensively and found good quality second hand versions on eBay. He knows the way to his mother’s heart. A lot of them feature Super Mario. I never thought I would hit the generation gap, but I feel computer games is a generation chasm that I cannot bridge. My mind just doesn’t think that way. It is fairly good at making connections between ideas and stuff, but coordinating thumbs to animated figures clearly relates to a part of my brain that is in a dusty cupboard somewhere far away.
At least there’s always swimming. The only problem is that only son keeps wanting to go to something called Inflatable Fun, which is not swimming at all, but throwing yourself along a slippery inflatable race course and sliding down into the water at the end. It was fun-ish the first time and maybe the second [mainly because I beat only son], but I could barely walk afterwards and it’s a little bit boring going round and round and round. What’s more, no-one else in the family ever volunteers to go, even when bribed. Instead they sit and watch BTS videos on a loop.
Adults do not get a look-in to the tv in our house until the news at 10. My partner keeps watching it in the hope that things are going to get better. It’s been a long wait. Recently we’ve also been watching Motherland, one episode a week even though they put the whole lot on the iplayer. All this binge watching stuff does not seem to be aimed at parents. I can never follow anything with multiple episodes. Just give me something where everything happens in the space of an hour and I’m fine. There are so many series I’ve seen the first episode of and no more. There are bits of Motherland that are very funny and things, like the endless search for wifi when on any kind of trip with kids, which resonate. But the truth is often much funnier than fiction and the kids – who seem to be just appendages in Motherland – are an endless source of mirth, even when they are forcing you to walk around the whole of London retracing the footsteps of BTS.