We’re All Going on a Summer Holiday: Day One

Saturday, 7 March 2009

The Dreaded School-less Olympic Period Commences

I’ve just made home-made playdough. Blue, pink and green.

I know, I know. Desperation levels already. And it’s only Day One of nine very loooong weeks of summer holidays. We were going to check out the water scene at one of Beijing’s parks today, but this strange summer day has put paid to that. Now we are stuck inside with previous plans sullied and spoiled, and four walls and rained-upon windows to stare at.

I was really enthused about these holidays three months ago. “I can do it,” I thought to myself heartily, partly up for the challenge but mostly just hoping to play tricks on my own mind. I planned so many activities of varying degrees and involvement (with everything from the inside of my kitchen utensil drawer to swathes of school friends also stuck here for the summer) that I was actually getting really excited about how much fun it was going to be. Golly, I’d even convinced myself that it would be a breeze.

Oh foolish woman. This last paragraph has been the longest I’ve managed to sit down since 7am. It’s now 10am and this is what has happened in our house so far:

06:00 My five-year-old son Riley crawls onto my bed (husband currently overseas).

06:01 Riley sent back to his bed.

06:27 Riley returns for a repeat performance.

06:28 Mother follows through again.

07:03 Scooter wheels begin scuttling across faux floorboards in living room.

07:04 Mother yells at wheels.

07:05 Scooter riders scoot into bed room. Mother groans.

07:09 Breakfast posse, led by undeterred seven-year-old Ella, hauls chairs across kitchen tiles to reach cereal boxes perched on top of kitchen cupboard. Mother cringes and awaits the sound of broken crockery and finally decides that getting up beats sweeping up broken shards of china.

07:10 Sprinkle of cereal into bowls as mother enters kitchen and rescues extremely heavy bottle of OJ from Riley’s slippery hands.

07:18 Ella begs to use [broken] sewing machine to make clothes for her stuffed toys, Riley begs to go on www.youtube.com. (Repeat these exact same requests every six minutes until end of this blog.)

07:19 Riley surfs 80s rockband songs on youtube. Ella begins a sudden burst of chores when she realizes last week’s pocket money has been cut due to low work production levels of previous week.

07:28 Both children want snacks. I cut up fruit.

08:10 Scooter riding.

08:22 Kids Trivial Pursuit with Ella.

08:43 Mouse Trap boardgame with Riley.

09:01 Colouring in.

09:10 Looney Tunes classics on TV.

09:17 Ella has a turn on the computer – http://www.hasbro.com/littlestpetshop/.

09:28 Kids play schools.

09:34 Kids play with wooden toys.

09:39 Mother makes playdough and ruins another pot.

09:48 Kids play with playdough.

09:57 Kids start camping in living room.

10:00 Mother calls another mother to inquire about sleepover for daughters, then starts this blog.

I don’t want to stop typing right now. I don’t want to go out and look at the loungeroom. Even if toys were tossed from wall to wall and dripping from the ceiling, it would not unhinge the joy I am feeling from the silence right now, interspersed with happy chatting and the kids telling each other what to say next during their camping game. I don’t want to go out there because I don’t want to break the spell, though I am gagging to check on the playdough cowpats which will be hardening into paperweights as we speak…

Total silence now. For at least two mins… hmmm. The sound of a kitchen cupboard door. Should I spoil their fun? I can guarantee both kids will have chipmunk cheeks stuffed with Oreo bars… Should I ruin it for them? More silence. I wait. I wait.

Slowly I creep out… through the loungeroom, into the kitchen where I can hear plastic bags rustling… little monkeys… what are they up to???

They are stuffing their blue, green and pink playdough into plastic bags to keep them from drying out. Darling hearts.

Maybe things won’t be so bad after all…

Check back with me tomorrow.

First published on the City Weekend Beijing website.

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