It was only six weeks, but it seemed like an eternity. School holidays are finally over and so is the need to constantly ponder the question "What the hell are we going to do with the kids tomorrow?"
My wife and I both work four days a week, which means there is an overlap of three days where neither of us can fulfil our parental responsibilities during office hours. Therefore the options are to either beg our friends and neighbours to look after them, or pay a professional.
We did a combination of both, which at least keeps it interesting for the kids - they never know where they are going to go!
There were lots of conversations along the lines of "Sam can have them both until three o'clock next Tuesday, so can you go in to work early and get away by 2.30?"
It's like doing a four-handed juggling act with only three hands.
But thanks to some good friends and an excellent holiday care service at North Coast Gymnastics, we managed.
Equally challenging is what to do with them when you're not working. The big wet this summer added an additional challenge, as the usual options of going to the pool or the swimming hole didn't look so appealing. (There are only so many times you can play Snap with the fairy cards before cabin fever really sets in.)
I'm setting my kids up for a career reviewing movies. They have seen just about every new release that was aimed at kids at the cinemas this summer, and a good selection of DVDs as well.
In an attempt to get out of the house one day we even rediscovered the simple pleasures of tenpin bowling. I had so much fun I might even go back in another 10 years time.
One of the interesting things about looking after kids is that it is often easier with more. When I've got just my two girls to look after they inevitably fight, and because of the five-year age difference, it's hard to find things that will interest both of them. If you add one friend into the equation it's worse. But if you can get two or more friends to come over, they develop a tribe mentality and somehow order prevails from the chaos.
The school bell's rung and it's all over for now - they both give The Muppets four stars.
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