The Beaster Holidays

It’s been a while since I had a bit of a Facebook scroll, to tell you the truth. I deleted the app a while back in an attempt to go to bed three hours earlier and with a clearer head, but seem to have an innate desire to torture myself with other people’s selfies on self-destructive weeks like this.

Weeks like this, of course, being the first week of the Easter holidays; now personally renamed the Beaster holidays, owing to the fact that the schools break up two whole weeks before Easter Sunday, thus giving us Clergy Spouses an entire week to run out of steam before the work-widowhood that is Holy Week ensues.

And so, of course, here I am.

Scrolling.

Scrolling past post after smug post of zoos and forests and theme parks and beaches: “SO MUCH FUN in the sun today!” “I wish we could do this EVERY DAY!” “LOVE having my kids all to myself!”

Awwww….

Sweet.

Seriously. Sweet.

Sweet. Sweet. Sweet. Sweeeeeeet.

No, really… sweet.

Because, you know, I’m not one of these bloggers who wants to sell my kids on Ebay. I’m not even one who prefers them in school. I’m not even one who trawls the council website, desperately searching for holiday clubs that they’re old enough for and that I can afford. I’m not even one who battles to resist a glass of wine at 10am, or calls Husband at ten to three and begs him just to come home already because I’ve seriously had enough.

I’m not.

I’m not, I’m not, I’m not.

Or… at least I wasn’t until yesterday!

Today? Today I’m sat on the sofa with the remnants of a rapidly consumed red and a half-eaten Cadbury’s Easter Egg that I’ll have to replace (again), writing to you about my week so far, just in case you’re also despairing at everyone else’s apparent success and wondering why on Earth you’re the only one who can’t believe there’s still ten whole bloody days left and we haven’t even gotten to the chocolate bit yet. Because apparently, that is my service to you. Friend… once again.. me too!

For I too started out as I meant to go on. I had high hopes. I miss my eldest when she’s at school; I love watching them play together; I have a catalogue of fun things for us all to do, (though, let’s be frank, not one of them is a theme park or a zoo!).

This, I thought on Day 1, is going to be lovely.

And it started out that way. On Sunday we skipped Church as Husband had a couple (hundred) things to do and places to be and it seemed our presence would be more of a liability than a labour of love. And so we did Church at Home; craft, baking, music, dancing, stories, prayers, the works. We played outside, we cooked, we even cleaned. We did all of the things, all together. They were good and I was freakin’ awesome. This was going to be a good week!

Boom-Shack-Ah-Lah.

On Monday, however… they fought. Like cat and dog. At one point even little mouse got involved just for the sheer life experience. We curbed it, however, with the nearest woodland park and stayed for as many hours as I deemed necessary.

Turns out four hours wasn’t long enough.

They fought on the way home. They fought over tea. They fought at bedtime. And the whining… Oh, God, please help me!

They’re exhausted, we debriefed later; they’re not used to each other’s company, they’re fighting for attention, they’re out of routine, they need more sleep.

Still. After an entire night of teething with Tiny, Toddler and Tinker were up all the earlier the very next morning. (I mean, seriously, half past five when you have places to go and things to do is one thing. Half past five when you’re out of routine and on a budget is quite another!)

So, by eleven o’clock on Day 2, I bundled them in the car and took them to the Cathedral in the City whilst Husband had a work meeting, just for the sake of spending an hour in the car.

It worked. They slept. They chilled out. Which was just as well really, as the Cathedral Café, our proposed entertainment for the hour, had a ‘kids eat free’ offer on. They also, however, had a broken card machine and a cash only restriction. At half past twelve. On my own with three small, hungry children in the middle of a city I do not know. In all of my days touting plastic, I have never actually felt so inconvenienced by a “sorry for the inconvenience” sign… it’s an apology I took sincerely to heart! After asking directions to the nearest cash machine, I took the wrong gate, thus dragging said children around the entire parameter of said Cathedral, whilst they offered tiny gems of encouragement like: “how come everyone else knows where it is but you, Mummy?”

Eventually, after passing several wiser families with packed lunches, a couple of boarded up buildings and burnt out motorcycle, we found it! I withdrew the cash and then begrudgingly handed it over to the waitress, who informed me that, of course, only one child eats free with a single adult. So, fifteen quid later we enjoyed a noisier, less peaceful, traffic-clad hour in the car back to a meeting… in which our Vicar’s teens played with our tinies and we each had a conversation. Nice!

Today… well, today they were as unpredictable as ever. I woke up with every intention of packing a lunch and transporting everyone back to the woods as fast as our Pyjamas would carry us. However. They were happy. They wanted to play. They didn’t need entertaining, thank you very much, they were doctors and teachers and pilots and acrobats and dinosaurs and holiday reps (holiday reps?!) and I was getting in the way. Huh… I… cleaned the kitchen. I showered. They cleaned the lounge. We did some story-time. We had lunch. I let my guard down.

Bam!

They wanted bikes, they didn’t want bikes; they wanted to go to the park, they didn’t want to go to the park; but they did; but they didn’t; but one did; but one didn’t; either way I was carrying the scooters. He wanted to play this, she wanted to play that; until he wanted to play with this, in which case she definitely needed that. They were hungry, hungry, hungry, still hungry; but they wouldn’t eat this or that. Until someone else ate this or that, of course, in which case, this or that was the only thing in the house worth eating and the loss of it was a catastrophe of epic proportions. He did this, she did that, but he did this first, and she did that on purpose; his activity could only be done over here, until she was happy over there, in which case, it had to be moved over there, but only if she screamed.

I mean… I’m just not sure if there’s a Facebook status for this?

I love my kids.

I do not want to sell them on Ebay.

I haven’t yet calculated the cost of shipping one of them off to their Grandparents.

However

It’s Day 3 of the Beaster Holidays… and I wrote this instead of throwing my phone at the wall.

Dear Facebook,

That is all.

You’re welcome!

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