Half term seemed to descend upon me rather unexpectedly last week. I never recall having as many holidays when I was at school, there never seemed anywhere near enough! So, I thought, what to do with a whole week of entertaining my son? Take dog to the park every day; should fill at least an hour…hmmm definitely need to think of a little bit more to do. Watch a film that my son has been dying to see; great that was two hours sorted. But what should I plan to do with the remainder of the week? Can I squeeze some writing in? Certainly, if I can tune out of the ‘MUM!’ calls, ‘Can I have?’ questions, ‘The dog’s …’ screams and ‘What are we doing today?’ daily ten thousand times per day question. It’s strange that when I have a whole ‘free’ week I don’t mind if I can only write for an hour a day, but take the option of free-writing away and I am grumpy, frustrated and sometimes feel the urge to stamp my feet like a small child who has just been refused a lollipop.
But the plus side was that I was able to spend time with my son when he wasn’t grumpy, frustrated or stamping his feet because he’d spent all day at school/clubs/cricket training. It was lovely wandering around the park with the dog on a long lead and chatting to my boy, well it was once my son had stopped complaining about how boring it is to walk, how he wanted to play on his computer games instead, how unfair it was that I was making him come out with me. By the second day, I think he really got into the swing of it and, shock horror, actually started to enjoy accompanying me.
We also visited one of my son’s favourite wildlife parks. There’s goats to pet, deer too if they’re feeling so inclined. The little goat kids were really endearing, they were my son’s favourite, he loved it that they are still at the size to be able to squeeze out of their enclosure and come right up to you! Of course, I had to stroke them first. Just to make sure that they wouldn’t bite him or anything, that was the only reason. Yeah right, I hear my son scoff in the background. There were baby prairie dogs that were the size of Russian dwarf hamsters and walking through their enclosure, I willed my son not to accidentally step on one.
Then there was the usual reading, drawing and playing in the back garden that my son loves to do, but only if he has chosen to do one of the aforementioned activities himself. If I tell him to get off the computer games and out in the back garden, I am often met with ‘That’s waaayyyy unfair!’ or ‘I’m just gonna sit on the step and do nothing then!’ to which I find myself responding by telling him that I never had computer games like that when I was his age (there was Acorn but that really wasn’t the same), nor did I even have a TV in my bedroom let alone the four computer games consoles, video and dvd player, stereo (okay, I did have a stereo!) until I realise that I sound rather like the nagging mother that I swore I’d never be! And I’m only 29 years old, for heaven’s sake; it’s hardly like I grew up in the middle ages.
The park was particularly empty one day during that half term and the sun shone on as we frolicked (the dog, I hasten to add) through the grass and trees. Right there and then, I remembered how it felt to walk with my own parents around that same park with our dog that we’d had when I was a young girl. I just hope that my son will remember such times and decide that it really wasn’t complete hell; going for a walk with his mother.