Thursday, July 8, 2010


Exhibit A – See that photo to your right?  That’s how Sam sees me.  A multicoloured,  big nosed, stick wielding crazy lady who has petrified red hair and clearly likes her Champagne.  The resemblance is uncanny.


This version of me was made at vacation care today.  The kids have been there all week with the highlight being a day at Currumbin Sanctuary and the lowlight, well, I’m guessing it was the day they made the kites that don’t fly.  It’s a necessary evil but to be quite honest, to me, it looks kind of cool. They have a cinema area, pool table, fooz ball, massive playground and on most days, awesome activities to partake in.   Yet my kids loathe it.   Especially Maddie.   Oh except for the day they had the chocolate fountain and fairy floss machine. She was pretty keen to get there that day.


I swear to god though, school holidays seem to come around quicker than a Ben Cousins drug scandal.  I notice it particularly more now that I have to pay school fees every term.  No sooner have I paid one bill, it feels like the next one lands in my inbox.  I mean, jebus, we are over half way through the freaking year!  Excuse me why I have a total Nanna moment here and ask “Where the hell has the year gone?”

As I said above, my kids have to be palmed off to Vacation Care with Phil and I both at work  and  even though our bosses are awesome, I think we would be pushing the friendship if we asked for a combined 14 weeks off per year.    So it’s what we do.


The problem is that, we as parents, feel almost obligated to make sure our children are entertained at all times.  Not only that, we take it as personal affront if our children tell us they’re bored.   We throw Wii’s and DS’s at them and in some instances, iphones.  Oh yeah, we pull out the big guns. (Note:  my children do not have iphones.  In fact they will not be getting a mobile phone  until they can pay their own bills*).   And even though I pull out the old chestnut “Well if you’re so bored, I’ll get out  all those games and toys you own and give them to someone who wants them”, I still have this insipid urge to want to make them, well, unbored.  Yes, that’s right,  I just made a word.


I read recently this is basically a problem of my generation.  Certainly wasn’t  a problem of my mothers.  For 6 solid weeks every Christmas, bar Christmas Day, we had to entertain ourselves.  That meant lots of running around the streets, swimming unsupervised, turning into lobsters due to lack of sunscreen, trading Star Wars cards at the local shop and talking to imaginary friends under the mango tree.  Idyllic really, now I think about it.


Sadly we can’t just shove the kids out the gate in the morning  with the blind faith they will return on sundown anymore.  I mean what if someone takes them? What if they get hit by a car?  Imagine the headlines: Mother just left them to their own devices FOR AN ENTIRE DAY!
What did she think was going to happen? 


Actually I did take the first week of these holiday off to spend with the kids.  Turns out the older they get, the harder it is to agree on what makes a top day out.  To Sam,  a great day entails going to JB Hi-Fi, going to the Sushi Train and returning straight home to have a Myth Busters marathon – alone.   Maddie however would prefer to see a movie, at a movie theatre, preferably about pasty vampires whilst simultaneously taking a stab at breaking the Guinness World Record for M & M consumption in a two hour period.   Jack, well Jack is like a wild animal.  As long as he gets to run around and dominate someone weaker, he’s pretty happy. 


So it was a case of each of them getting a little bit of what they wanted.  Sam his Mythbusters, Maddie her Eclipse and Jack, world sibling domination.  Win Win.

Please read these two hilarious blogs about School Holidays at Sharpest Pencil and Mummy Mayhem.   They inspired me to write about about this topic today.  But before you do, maybe tell me about your fondest or even your worst school holiday memory.

*I reserve the right to change my mind and cave into peer pressure when she starts High School


Suzie said...

I was lucky, my Mum was a teacher so she had most holidays off. I don't recall many outings where she took us and entertained us. I seemed to spend a lot of time entertaining myself...before the days of computers, mobile phones and the internet. Don't ask me what I did but I'm prepared to suggest I didn't do any homework.

I am also so glad my kids are past that; I do admit to being very keen for uni to start again so I don't have to share the TV during the day.

life in a pink fibro said...

Loved this. I was thinking today that I'm really failing school holiday 101 because I don't have 1000 activities planned. That said, both boys are really tired so I'd always thought that a quiet week wouldn't hurt. But you're right, we're geared into thinking we have to keep them entertained. And I have to say that my two have entertained themselves pretty damn well this week.

Next week we have all manner of visitors descending so it will be chaos. And they'll be all ready to go back to school - tired. Sigh.

Dovic said...

Oh man, so relevent today. I got called by work this morning with a request for something I thought was tomorrow. Then computer crashed. And it's raining outside.

Need I say more?

Won't be their fave school holiday memory.

I don't even remember school holidays - and I think coz it's much because of what you've written. No-one to entertain meant that we just carried on doing what we always did, no special treats.

Except for camping maybe. That was fun :)

melbourne mumma said...

Oh for the days of pure childhood freedom - roaming the 'burbs till the street lights flickered on...just riding your bike, anywhere, everywhere..remember I often didn't wear shoes (and this was also before bike helmets were mandatory). Tree climbing, daisy-chain making, swimming ALL day practicing handstands on the bottom of the pool..lying in the grass watching the clouds just roll past...we did have it good. Great blog post x

Smudgeblurr said...

Hey Bern,
I remember Mum always said if she got through the first weekend of the school holidays without going to the hospital with a broken bone then all would be good! I remember riding with a friend to Pony Club which was 2 hours ride away and telling mum I would meet her there! We used to race the trains and all sorts of crazy stuff!

I worked at OSHC last Sept and the older kids spent most of the day playing with their DS's except the day we got a bungy jumping castle thingy - they loved that!


Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

"I swear to god though, school holidays seem to come around quicker than a Ben Cousins drug scandal." <- That's gold right there.

I loved making tents over the clothes line with blankets, beside the above ground pool and using beach towels as sleeping bags - the edges were pegged together. After a swim, we'd lie on the red pavement (the same one I stacked on with my roller skates) and warm ourselves up in the sun. Which was bloody hot - because it was Perth, and sometimes in summer it can get to over 40 degrees ya'll!!!

Great, funny post, and thanks for the linky love.

May the peace of schooling and being back to work reach you soon.


KJ said...

I think with kids it's a case of "the grass is always greener..."

I'm a SAHM but Miss 7 complains that we never DO anything, although I consider round the clock access to craft supplies and the outdoors as SOMETHING! So, for a treat these holidays (and it's a double treat: for her and my sanity) I booked her into Vacation Care for 2 days. She loved it, had a ball and was put out that I would not drop her off at opening time (7.45am) and pick her up at closing (5.45pm).

My mum worked and we were left to our own devices most school holidays. Yep, left at home ALONE! And, yes, I thought the kids with hovering parents were far better off than me. The grass is always greener!

Yvette Vignando said...

Love the idea of making the kids "unbored" ! I find the hardest part is keeping all the different ages satisfied in the hols. Friends over (if I'm home) seems the best for me! But I think you have a very good and ponderable question there - do we as adults put too much time into trying to keep our kids occupied and "unbored"? (and I don't mean when they are in care)I think the answer is yes - somehow we've become less tolerant of them telling us they are bored and feel obliged to "fix it". When I used to tell Mum I was bored, she made a few suggestions and then left me to unbore myself - somehow I always did. I try to do this with my kids too but I admit the temptation to offer a DVD is sometimes too great ...When I do leave them to unbore themselves, they seem to end up doing something creaative - so thanks Bern, you've reminded me that it's worth leaving them to unbore themselves.

Maxabella said...

I so don't believe in entertaining the troops all day - what am I Kylie Minogue? Mine have been mostly left to do as they please since they were about 3 (months, but don't tell DOCS). I've never heard "I'm bored" unless Nonna takes them to Vigil Mass. They are young yet, so no doubt one day I will be embarrassed that I wrote this comment.

Marita said...

I remember spend a lot of my school holidays bored, bored, bored. We lived in Helensvale before Movieworld, Wet N Wild and all that were built. No public transport to town back then. I seem to recall some kind of dinosaur theme park that tried to get started around where sovereign islands is now.

I went to a private school in Ashmore so had no friends locally :ugh:

That factor alone has made it a priority for me that our girls go to school near where we live. We have lots of play dates during the school holidays. I'm also planning for some kind of holiday camp thing during summer as the last summer holidays were a nightmare of bored children.

Zoey @ Good Goog said...

I have a very clear memory of my mother telling me everytime I said I was bored, that boredom was a failure to participate.

Draft Queen said...

I'm in the states so we've been on vacation for a month. Clearly taking off 9 weeks this summer was totally out of the question so off to day camp went the kiddies! They claim to hate it, but giggle and barely say good bye when I drop them off. The thing that busts me is the COST of Vacation camp. Oy.

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