You know the holidays have been a bit shit when the highlight has been a trip to the dentist and by the end of week one you wish someone would send you to your room.
Actually that’s not strictly true. The dentist was a highlight only because I managed to get the whole family seen to in one go and I could tick an overdue box. We had two lots of houseguests and they were a pleasure. They were too good though, which excludes them from the highlights list. Their children were gorgeous and polite, they ate all their dinners and went to bed when told and were imaginative in their play.
When they left, my children were almost instantly fighting, asking for telly, popping out of bed and picking the salad out of their rolls. I sent them out to prove to me they could manage Proper Play on their own. They found a can of cow tail paint in the farm ute and sprayed their bikes orange. And their boots, and their hands. When I put a stop to it before the dog copped an Armani style spray tan, they ran up onto the roof and cracked a skylight in two places.
The Proper Play I was hoping for was mud pies, garden potions, bike races, wounded soldiers, picnics, beach combers smugglers… thing like that. Things that the Secret Seven or the Mitford sisters might have played. Ripping things. They have, after all, a whole farm and beach at their disposal. I felt cross and disappointed. I yelled. They screeched about it all being someone else’s fault. I yelled a bit more and considered having 4 more children to bring out the sense of adventure. Then I’d have an excuse not to give any of the little buggers attention at all.
Anyway, we tried a mini break instead. A get-away-from-it-all-appreciate-our-homestate trip to the wilds of Tasmania’s West Coast. And to celebrate the twin’s birthday. The 4 to 5 hour drive would ensure closeness and bonding, maybe even a bit of maths practice and a singalong. I was excited. I packed my wholesome enthusiasm in with the beanies and bed socks. But the 5 and a half hour drive had about 15,000 bends in it and on about bend number 478, just beside the hydro pipe at Taraleah, smallest child sicked up her breakfast orange. None of us felt like discussing the history of Hydro in Tasmania or putting our ear on the pipe to hear the water rush, as planned.
At about bend number 1000 a twin turned green, cried and said it was the worst birthday of her life, the small one whimpered that she didn’t like being “in the bushes” (wilderness)… and on went the chundering. I started to question my wisdom. In Queenstown we had a reviving run around on a gravel footy oval and a sit down on a concrete grandstand on which someone had spray painted “Cunts R Us”. I would have instagrammed it had my sense of humour not blown out the car window somewhere around Wayatinah.
On day 2 of the trip (we only went for three), smallest developed croup. She and I spent a sleepless night in and out of the bathroom for steam fixes and the next morning at the local medical centre where the man next to us in the waiting room had a heart attack.
The next day we went back home along the same bends, stopping on about every 10th to avoid the waste of more oranges. I succumbed to carsickness myself while the well children clobbered each other and squawked. Husband went rigid and unsmiling in the driver’s seat and by the time we got out of the ‘bushes’, the atmosphere in the car was so tense a massage and a valium wouldn’t have fixed it.
I’m trying to recover my enthusiasm, but to be frank, I’m struggling. It was super-wonderful to be home but my patience is stretched to it’s limits (which aren’t that extensive at the best of times) and I wonder, am I doing something wrong? None of our houseguests appear to take voice-raising measures with their lovely children. I talked to a friend today who is having a wonderfully relaxing holiday at home, glad to be spending time with her two well behaved children. In “Miffy’s 3 wishes” a book that I read to my youngest tonight, Miffy’s mother wishes that her “dear litle Miffy will always stay as sweet as she is”. I felt emotional, because I would wish that my children never stay as horrible as they’ve been and because maybe I should have called one of them Miffy.
Or maybe, thinks I – as I listen to another grizzle about boredom and wanting an i-pad – I am trying too hard. I so want imaginative children and brilliant adventure with my children with belly laughs and Brady Bunch lessons-learnt endings (an Alice would be great too), but each time I try, something goes awry – someone cheats at monopoly or breaks the ukulele strings or has lost the last few bits of the puzzle. Someone cries, someone else stomps out and I – despite my best efforts not to – end up yelling and slamming a door or two. Never mind the Angry Song, a few times these holidays I could have sung the Fucking Furious song.
Should I just make life easier for everyone, give in and let them watch the movie/play the computer game/eat the tim tams until they get sick of those and say, “Hey Mum, can we read a book/take the dog for a walk/have some carrot sticks please?” Would that ever happen? Would they still be sitting their fat tim-tam arses in front of the telly at age 18? (gosh I would have got a lot done by then).
As I reach the end of another conclusion-less post, I wonder too whether I’ll ever be able to write another informative, brain-progressive Megoracle post for your all. I mean while my children push each other onto couch corners and throw putty at one another, missiles are blowing stuff up in Israel (read this wonderful post for some thoughtful insight into that) and some fuckwit threatens to chuck out the carbon tax (or did he do that already? I wouldn’t know).
For now, because I’m overwrought and irritated and possibly a bit hormonal*. There was a supermoon this month, which is said to induce super PMS episodes, think lunatic, you will have to put up with my grumbly talk. Hey, maybe I should do an offshoot blog called Grumblemum. Actually, that supermoon thing was just a glib comment, but maybe there’s something in that; maybe it’s not them but me. Maybe I’m the horrible one.
Anway, if anyone else isn’t sunning it up in tropics or doesn’t have lovely children or is feeling like a superloon these school holidays, I’d like to hear from you.
*speaking of hormones, this Friday my short musical film, “Hormones The Musical” will be broadcast on ABC2 at 9:15, just before Ladyboys. So if you’re wild like me and stay in most Friday nights, please watch. Or you can catch it on i-view for a week or so afterward.
Tags: car travel with kids, grumblemum, Hormones the Musical, megoracle, Parenting, Queenstown Tasmania, School holidays, Strahan, supermoon, Taraleah, tasmania, traveling with kids
Very well written!! Loved reading this, I have kids of my own.. and man do they know how to test! Beautiful pictures 🙂
Hi Meg, love your holiday summary the one thing that has annoyed me the most these school holidays is that all my beautiful friends keep posting on Facebook lovely family photos of them all in the sun meanwhile back here in Tassie I am working, freezing and listening to my boys saying all their friends have gone on holidays! Susan..
Love it – glad to see that someone else doesn’t have the” perfect children” and perfect holidays doing craft, baking and holding hands whilst singing songs! I am not alone!!!
Love this. Funny, real and true.
I have four kids and boy can I relate to many parts of this.
I did laugh outloud.
Please know you are not alone, school holidays or not!
Now that all four of mine are at fulltime school this year, I often think that school gets the best version and I get the arguing with each other, complaining, running them around to activities version.
Hi Meg, keep those posts coming! I love the healthy dose of f#*¥ing reality you never fail to deliver. The good news is that eventually the kids grow into decent young adults who you wish had time to share your holidays. Enjoy the ratbag years – one day you’ll look back at them with some degree of fondness! Until then, there’s wine!!