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Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Back to School

I've taken a couple of days off at the end of the school holidays to celebrate everyone's survival... No, not really, obv; mainly to conduct the annual school uniform audit ("Surely Eden can't really be fitting into these age 3 polo shirts anymore?" ..."And this dress is more St Trinian's in length than I deem entirely acceptable...." ..."But that's my FAVOURITE, Mum! OOOOOH PULLEEEEEEASE DON'T THROW IT AWAAAAY!!"), put everything through the wash, enter the local Clarks Back To School Scrum (a 20 minute wait to be served even with TWENTY ONE shop assistants on the floor; it's terrifying, I tell you), write names in everything (thank God for indelible fabric markers; think I'd develop a tick like the sergeant in Inspector Clueso if I had to sew them all in like my Mum used to!) and generally regain control of everything in time for the start of the new term. I kinda love the Back to School Season; there's a great sense of fresh hope, a new start, etc. And the first day back it's so cute, seeing all the kids rock up scrubbed clean, hair brushed, shoes shined, uniforms looking all smart. It doesn't last long but it's a good feeling. When I go back to work next week I think I'm going to try to treat it like a new term at school; see if I can inject everything I do with a new passion and enthusiasm. I can't promise to have polished my shoes though.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Water Babies

I've been near-obsessive about booking the kids into multiple Summer Activities to keep them busy while I return to the office for a few weeks and try not to spend too much time worrying about Paul's sanity. With all three kids at home full-time for four weeks without any help, this is a genuine concern. The theory is that keeping everyone busy distracts attention away from my absence (guilty, moi?), tires the kids out and gives Paul the comforting sensation of a routine in the absence of the usual one. This week, everyone has been up and out of the house before 8am each morning in order for Eden and Nath to attend a week long swimming course. By the end of the week, Nathan is a veritable water baby, but his limited attention span means that he is still too busy blowing bubbles to remember to kick his legs, or too busy grinning and waving at the spectators to remember to keep his head in the water. However, as usual, he gets away with this by being, well, stupidly cute. Eden, now nearly seven, has a near-hysterical outburst on the first day when she swallows too much water, but by Friday I am delighted to see her ducking down under the water and swimming along as if she were a fish in a previous life. At the same time, Cbeebies is strictly off limits for the week whilst wall-to-wall Olympics coverage takes precedence. Over supper on Friday evening Eden wonders aloud, "How am I going to decide now between being an international explorer, Rose in Dr Who or an Olympic swimmer when I grow up?"
"Hmmm. It's a tough one, that", I agree.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Brie belly

You may have noticed I've been a little quiet. It was remiss of me not to leave notice on the blog that we were taking a cheeky extended break from the hustle of every day life to dawdle about in the Dordogne for a bit. It's only taken a week and a half back in the country for my synapses to start firing again. Honest. At least, a colleague assured me yesterday, "Well, you sound like you know what you're talking about." Which was kind of her. So that'll have to do.
Apart from the rain and the ghost town of an office (the literati have all deserted for their holidays in Tuscany so what's the point of coming in?) it's not *so* bad being back. It has been particularly tough though, adjusting back to non-holiday fare. There's nothing like pain au chocolat, baguette, butter, jam and brie and two milky coffees for breakfast each day to get you feeling wonderfully lazy and set you up nicely for the baguette with lashings of brie and camembert (with frites on the side) and a glass of wine for lunch. Indeed, there are still half a dozen pain au chocolats and several hundred pounds of brie adorning my waist line, because, of course, 'exercise' on holiday with three children under six largely consists of flopping about in the river a bit and vicariously enjoying the fun they are having running around in lots of lots of extra space whilst you read extremely small snippets of a novel over and over again due to the fact that you are repeatedly being interrupted to buy icecreams. Sigh.
Brie Belly notwithstanding, what I am also wondering is whether there is such a thing as Brie Brain? The sensation is of oozy cheese filling the space between one's ears as opposed to grey matter, and it is commonly brought about by extended, lazy holidays in France. Symptoms include gazing into space dreaming of splashing in the river in the sunshine, a glazed look in the eye when anyone asks you about next year's budget and the inability to complete a sentence. Hope it goes away soon. My boss is back from his holidays shortly.