I loathe all school holidays but the Summer ones have a special place on my hate list (just above the ice-cream man and below anti-vaxxers. I am writing this at 10pm from the top step of my stairs, tummy rumbling as my 3 are all awake and insistant that they are not tired. They ran the length and breadth of the streets all day, sweating profusely as neighbours commented “they’ll sleep tonight”. It may have something to do with the amount of ice-cream and sugary drinks they consumed, it may be the brightness or the sticky heat but they are not tired. If it were winter I would have had 2 glorious hours of kid-free time under my belt by now; I feel like moving to Sweden for 24 hour darkness.
“ Mam there’s a monster” “Mam I need more water” “Mam…. mam… mam”.
- Sun-cream; I am a paranoid wreck when it comes to protecting the kids… which factor? I think 50 but my husband who grew up in Turkey never seeing a bottle of sun-cream argues with me that they need vitamin D. I opt for 30 and apply it as his eyes bore into my back. How often should I reapply? In the meantime I have forgotten myself and fried my neck and arms sufficiently farmerish. I always seem to apply the factor when I feel the burn as if it has reversing effects. I don’t remember my parents using cream on us and plenty of scaldings happened on Wexford holidays. The only time I can remember seeing this magical potion was when we went on our first foreign holiday to Majorca when I was 12. It was such a novelty to go on holidays in the 80s that your extended family would turn up at the airport to watch your plane land and greet you as if it were an episode of Coming Home For Christmas. The quality of your holiday was judged by the colour you had gotten and if you were still white or pink you would hang your head in shame as those sliding doors in arrivals opened.
- The Outdoors: You are branded the shittiest parent ever if your kids don’t partake in some outdoorsy fun or at least a Summer Camp. My CV list of hobbies are as follows; cinema, reading and art; I also throw in walking so I don’t look like a slob but it’s only because they can’t prove I don’t walk or catch me out with probing questions on what team I walk for etc. Letting them out to play on the road is torturous. They beat each other, whinge and scream which is nothing unusual, only now they have my neighbours as an audience. Today I used 5 plasters for scraped knees due to miscellaneous falls; Rian ran into a bush of nettles and I asked a 10 year old kid what I should do? He rubbed his leg with a dock leaf and then applied aloe vera gel from a plant in his garden… I was thinking Zirtek and sudocrem but mini Bear Grylls sorted it. At one point I deluded myself into thinking I could relax on my porch (broken bit of a step) and watch them with a mocha and my phone. Koray put a cigarette butt he found in the garden in my fresh mocha and anytime I glanced at my phone they yelled “put the phone away Mam and watch me do this sick trick on my bike”. Then comes time for getting them in and I’m like a fishwife screaming their names. Eventually I’ll put one in a rugby hold and get him in the house and begin the chase for number 2 when I notice number 1 has escaped and the merry dance continues for an hour before I unleash PMS Aisling to the stunned shock of the crowd. Why do we all feel the need to take the kids to a zillion fun places over the holidays? I am agog at the tagging that goes on on facebook and have thought to do some fake tagging just to keep up… like Aisling and kids at the museum, the theatre, the fucking Guggenheim. When I was a kid we went to the pub and got a bottle of red lemonade and a packet of crisps between us and if it was sunny it was a beer garden. Bring those days back… I’m starting a petition on change.org.
- The Paddling Pool: The bane of my life. A sniff of hot weather and they’re stripped to their nip and in the freezing, disgusting water. They don’t like it clean, they half fill it with muck, possibly a progressive skin treatment; I may bottle it and make my fortune. They also like to run in and out of the house with their mucky feet, slipping and half breaking their neck and the sound barrier.
- The fact that Rian still wakes at 6am regardless of what time he goes to bed, hence I don’t even have the compensation of a lie-in.
- The Flies: that is all.
- The Late Evenings: Every night for months I will be asked “why am I going to bed when it’s bright?” “Why can I hear my friends out?” BECAUSE IT’S BLOODY SUMMER, GET INTO BED!!! I have blackout blinds and curtains but to no avail…I’m thinking of painting the windows black or removing them altogether.
- BBQs: My husband is in caveman heaven as he cooks meat and drinks beer; meanwhile, in the kitchen I am chopping salads, microwaving potatoes, cleaning kids bums, getting drinks, cutlery etc ready.
- The Sweating: I am bad enough at the moment with my imagined peri-menopause but the Summer has me in a perpetual lather and not in a glowy, movie way. My hair is stuck to me and my face is puce… I can’t even put makeup on as it slides off, I’m a hot mess. The kids are just as bad and my laundry load has tripled with sweaty sheets, paddling-pool remnants and sun-cream staining.
- Ireland: We are so excited by the prospect of good weather that everything comes to a standstill: Tesco gets sold out of Bundys; everyone seems to be carrying a 6 pack (beer definitely not the other kind) and decorum goes out the window. Women love to wear a vest top in the summer, pity they can’t have a decent bra to go with it; it’s like Jeremy Kyle, why do all the women wear dirty grey bras under their vests? Men think they’re built like Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid Love when they are really like Mr. Bean… my eyes, keep your tops on, I can’t bear it. Then there’s all the talk of the weather continuing? ending?
- Damn sunniness showing up the filth of my house and particularly my windows. The bins stink and attract flies which I spend half my day swatting with a flip-flop or spraying till we have to evacuate the house due to fumes.
- Self-maintenance: All that pruning, painting, filing, dyeing, waxing, buffing, moisturising, calorie-counting… makes me want to put on Pjs and eat Wispas.
I’m a Winter person, I like artificial heat and lighting. I like my kids in bed at 7.30, too cold to get out of their quilts. I love flannel sheets and winter boots. I enjoy Christmas and dark evenings and wine at 5pm cos it’s night, right? My kids want to go out? Sorry it’s lashing, snowing, hailstoning I say smugly… now get back in front of that Xbox and play Minecraft.