I am writing this in August 2017 and we have had the worst weather in a long long time and therefore we’ve been pretty much confined to barracks for most of the holiday. I have bitched and moaned before about how much the weather can affect the equilibrium of the household during holiday time but I must admit it has got easier. Big kid has finally learned to do things by himself and doesn’t need constant reassurance and attention to remain civil - we’re down to about 30 compliments an hour now to stop any meltdowns. This is great progress. Small kid is also less of a liability - she seems to have toned down her death wish and is now able to roam the house relatively unscathed. She has taken to trying to spin kick her brother into oblivion, but I consider this progress. Nevertheless, although things have gotten considerably better it is still an unutterable ball-ache having to keep kids entertained in bad weather - I can’t wait until they’re adults and they can just sit next to me watching telly/looking at our phones until our brains rot. Until those halcyon days however, here are a few strategies for coping with the stress of keeping children good in bad weather.
1) My kids seem to think the answer to a rainy day is to go with the theme and do something that gets you very wet. Therefore the last three weeks have included billions upon billions of requests to go swimming. I have opened my eyes in the morning to the breathy whisper of ‘Can we go swimming today?’ and closed them at night only to hear ‘Mooooooom, can we go swimming tomorrow?’ I am utterly sick of hearing the ’s’ word. I am coping with this by gnawing a chunk out of small kid’s pool noodle every time I hear those words. It is oddly satisfying.
2) When you can’t go out, it’s okay - just create your very own wonderland using your imagination and a couple of pipe cleaners. Ha ha ha ha ha. Sodding crafts. I loathe the state of our kitchen table at present - everything is covered in glitter and I swear to god I found googly eyes on my wine bottle the other night. The last thing I need during this holiday is a sense that even my wine is judging me. I must admit I did try for an ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’ approach but they both ended up crying because my crafts were better than theirs. Are we really sure we can’t beat ‘em? Now I have rooted out an old birthday table cloth and they can craft away merrily on that and when they are done I tie the four corners together and presto! Craft-be-gone! OK, some of their ‘art’ may be a little smudged but honestly, who can tell?
3) Board games - I remember enjoying playing these as a child. Can someone please tell my children these activities are meant to be fun? The combination of big kid’s pedantry and burning sense of justice plus small kid’s apparent possession by a chaos demon means that any game more complex than Twister degenerates into screaming fits and fisticuffs in under five minutes. My solution is gambling. We use chips and the person with teh most at the end of the game wins. The game itself is simply 'higher or lower'. So simple Bruce Forsythe could make a gameshow out of it. Such a minuscule level of skill is required it's accessible to both big and small. The idea of actually getting a physical object when you win a hand has helped our little chaos demon to focus and the fact that bluffing (or cheating) is built into the game seems to calm big kid’s hypersensitive morality. If this weather continues much longer and their skills continue improving, our next holiday may be Vegas.
4) Poo, bum, wee wee. As my mental health goes into decline so, it would seem, does the quality of vocabulary in this house. Big kid has started delightfully changing the words of all his favourite songs to words as rude as he dare use. I must admit ‘Shape of Poo’ by Ed Wee-ran did make me smirk a little but sadly most of the puns are not of this calibre. My approach to this has been a bit like a 1930s dad giving his kid and entire packet of cigarettes to smoke. To combat the use of bad language in the house I have introduced the kids to proper hip hop. With swears and everything. I have added a disclaimer that there are certain words some people are allowed to use and other people aren’t and my two are definitely in the ‘do not use’ category’ but hearing actual grown ups drop the F bomb has blown big kid’s tiny mind and made his milksop efforts pale into insignificance. Also I prefer Childish Gambino over Ed Sheeran any day.
Well that’s it really. Other than a daily ritual animal sacrifice begging the gods to let the sun shine down upon us once again I’m mainly winging it with a combination of tea, good friends and the always forgiving wine bottle - even if it is looking at me a bit weird.