On Friday after lunch, my Miss-almost-six finished up her first year of primary school; a mixed blessing. It’s been a big year for us, starting school, settling in and becoming part of a completely new community. I don’t love that the year went so fast it seemed to merely evaporate; my girl doesn’t want to be a big Grade One-r and cried when her Grade 6 buddies graduated.
Back home, by evening the first cries of “Muummy IIII’mmmm BOOOOOORRREED!!” rang out. It was all I could do to not hyperventilate, because while the Summer holidays are a welcome breath of fresh air for most, for me they can feel absolutely suffocating. (So much so, I’ve had to withdraw the last few days. I couldn’t really engage in real life, blog or do the social media thing- *gasp*).
I don’t know how you get your kids to amuse themselves because I seem to spend all my time in the act of keeping disaster at bay. My son and technology/gaming are the equivalent of patient and life-support. We argue and it seems I can’t separate them even for a short time without ‘life-threatening’ drama. Here’s a loose re-enactment of the last time I attempted to enforce a tech break:
The rest of our time involves them bickering, me making unacceptable activity suggestions- such as to step away from the television for more imaginative play, or to play board (bored) games, dress ups or do outdoor stuff. Overwhelming response: whining, returning to TV. After spending more time setting up activities and cleaning up after them than my two even come close to spending engaged in them, I’m so over it all that out of sheer exasperation I lock myself in the study or bedroom for a moment’s peace, in disbelief at more weeks of this.
Here it comes, my GenX parents’ lament: WHEN I WAS A KID, we practically LIVED in the backyard. We spent the school almost exclusively in a self-sufficient fashion. While there were always notable special occasions, such as a trip to Luna Park or such, only a small proportion of holidays were spent at paid, or field trip experiences. We had playdates. Visiting neighbour kids, pets, trees to climb, a Hills hoist, a Hills swing set, hoops, skipping ropes, big bouncy balls, sticks, spiders, bubbles, board games, bikes, chalk, marbles, sandpit and diggers, swap cards, Lego, makeshift ramps for toy cars and motorbikes, gigantic activity and puzzle books. One thing we also had (which we sadly don’t have any more in Victoria at least), are the garden sprinkler and slip’n’slides. RIP.
Yesterday, the first glimmers of hope came into view. Miss-almost-six was happy to play in a baby blow up pool with her Barbies. We set up a pretend slide and she hopped in and role played a whole pool party hosted by a mermaid Barbie. Sat under a tree with our visiting bunny friend nearby, the entire scene warmed my heart.
Today, she is MasterChef-ing. It is a scene to make a heart burst. I was employed to help set up the galley kitchen in our hallway. Baby Kylie looks on, as Miss-almost-6 works through the three course menu we carefully chose together. I found a toy mixer at the op shop and surprised her with it to a squeal of delight. Dad is currently interviewing her for posterity as she proudly works away. And when my play-doh raspberry cheesecake is ready, it will taste beyond sweet.