This spring has been really weird. Not just because of the snow. With everyone having Easter holidays at different times it feels as if the whole world has been away for the entire month. Emails go unanswered for weeks, phone messages are not responded to…It feels as if it will never get back to normal. I’m only one week into my children’s Easter holidays and already I’m longing for them to be back at school. Not because I don’t love being with them. It’s just hard to juggle all the job stuff around the holidays and, as usual, I feel constant guilt about not having more time to spend with them and do nice things.
We have divided up the holiday between me, my partner and my mum. There are no holiday clubs of more than two hours near where I live. There’s no way you can work normally without proper childcare. Who is supposed to look after the children? I can’t keep asking my mum. She has a life of her own and is away quite a bit. There is one registered childminder in our area. Even in term-time things aren’t great. There are no after school clubs and the nursery only does a full or a half day. I finish work three days a week at 2.30pm to pick up the two girls who are at school. Why should I have to pay a full day when toddler daughter is only doing one and a half hours more in the nursery than if she were doing a half day? Plus on part-time wages I can’t afford a full day. The only answer is to move to the continent where childcare seems a bit more progressive.
My guilt about the holiday has been worsened this time round because hippy daughter has to write a diary for literacy, with comments on how she feels about what she has done. All she wants to do is watch tv, look at the McFly website and listen to music. Practically all of this involves staring at a screen which I know is a heinous crime nowadays. Not only am I feeling guilty that she wants to do it and having to cajole her out of it, but now it is going to go down on paper in perpetuity for everyone to know what a terrible parent I am. She is only eight and every day I feel the ever-tightening pull of teenagedom. She is totally besotted with McFly and is now a member of their VIP club [I have vetted the site as much as possible after the internet scare stuff in the papers. This is her first foray into the internet world and I have already had a chat about not straying from the sites she knows. However, I am not at all certain that McFly.com does not have some hidden area which I should be worried about. I will have to spend more hours that I don’t have testing it out].
She goes into her bedroom and sits listening to loud music and reading horrible history books and asking questions about serial killers. I thought those books were okay as they were educational. I kind of forgot about the not so nice bits of history. The other night she came downstairs and caught the end of a condom advert. I tried to talk about something else, but sure enough she piped up with ‘what’s a condom?’. I said something about it being a health thing and changed the subject, but I think this is not going to last for long.
She seems to have turned 14 at her birthday rather than 8, but there are still glimpses of childhood there. She still sings songs about bums and poos and laughs uproariously. She still wants to be cuddled up. But she doesn’t like being kissed in public any more [at least by me]. She doesn’t want to do dance classes with the bonkers one. She is more knowledgeable about all technical things than me [this is not hard, I admit]. So much of my time is still taken up with the crazy gang of bonkers and toddler daughters, it is almost impossible to find time to be with her and just chat. Someone always gatecrashes [usually toddler daughter with a High School the Musical jigsaw in tow].
Yesterday me, bonkers daughter and the toddler tried to raid the hippy one’s room while she was listening to high octane McFly. We were trying to steal her tap shoes, which she never uses now but which the bonkers one covets. Unfortunately, we were rumbled. Hippy daughter was not at her most pacifist. We retired to do some magic tricks which involved the bonkers one trying to disappear a locket. She rubbed it on her leg and then dropped it onto the blanket she was sitting on. It disappeared under her leg and she couldn’t find it. She was so excited. She turned to me with huge eyes and said ‘Mummy, maybe I really am magic.’ I didn’t have the heart to point to the locket lodged under her knee.
It was a locket with a picture of hippy daughter in it. Apparently the bonkers one looks at it every day at school play time to remember hippy daughter when she was little and a bit less gothic. I was moved to tears by this revelation. Hippy daughter was not. She is a hard person to please. We have always speculated that bonkers daughter would be the person to fear in her teenage years. Now I am not so sure. If she’s this moody at eight, it’s not boding well for 15.