So the holidays here are long – the School Summer holidays, that is. I didn’t know that little gem before we came, and it wouldn’t have altered things at all. I’ve been very lucky that Mrs Dim found a job that didn’t need her to start until mid-August, because things would have been very rough if I’d been handling this all by myself.
I don’t want you to think I can’t manage – after all, Eldest Weasel is eleven, and I’ve been the one at home since she was born. I’ve done plenty of Summer Holidays. I’ve even done four with three weasels at once. Maybe it’s the heat, maybe it’s the extra month, but whatever it is, I’m having real trouble this time.
We took ’em swimming today. It’s a good sized pool and it wasn’t as full as it could have been, but it was still people soup, and heavily chlorinated too. The weasels had a fine time, and I had plenty of opportunities to smile, but the end result still was me with scratchy eyes, feeling like I was all done in. Then we get home and there’s so much to be done, with the dog so excited she’s peed on the carpet, and the local kids wanting to play, and the stuff to unpack, food to get ready…and it’s still hot enough to cook food on the pavement. What I really want to do right now, is get the wifi fixed on the laptop (again) and take a really big crate of beer down to the Fortress of Solitude and shut myself in until September.
I’ve had this conversation a few times, about whether or not you should like children. Some people seem to think that it’s not optional: Children are, by definition, lovely. I would have to disagree, and for the most irritating and un-likable reason. They’re childish. Now that makes me sound so stuffy and dull that I’ll probably have to erase this whole damn thing instead of publishing it, but it’s the truth. Take this afternoon. Local kid comes round to play. Dog has peed on the floor. I grab a cloth to clean up. “What are you doing?” asks kid. “Cleaning up the dog pee” I answer. “Did the dog pee?” asks the kid. “Yes” I answer, now with less grace and even less patience. “Where?” asks the kid. At which point I do not scream “What the f**k does it matter to you? You’re not going to have to clean the bloody stuff up, you’re just going to stand there and ask goddam stupid f*****g questions until my head explodes!”. I do not scream that, because he’s just a kid, and this is what kids do. I probably did it myself, and about a billion other things that were even more annoying. But my point is not whether I was as annoying as I find kids to be: The point is that have to deal with these kids and look after my own every day of these holidays, and I would dearly love to reach September with my sanity intact.
Mrs Dim keeps telling me to calm down. She says she agrees the kids can be annoying, but I have to keep a lid on my annoyance and not over-react. She says she’s aware that sometimes she yells too, but this is not the same in any way. I would say to that that caring for kids is a cyclical thing that does not run in daily cycles of up/down/caring/irritated. It’s a longer cycle than that, where you can take pretty much anything for a long stretch, and then suddenly it feels like your fuse is permanently short, and the slightest thing can tip you over the edge. Since it’s a cycle, this too will pass, but it doesn’t make any difference how calm you tell yourself to be, how much you just want to chill and let the kids enjoy their holidays. Tonight the pair of us got back from the swimming trip and threw together a pretty cool scratch tea of Dim Sum, potato chips, carrot sticks, cucumber, hummus and pasta. For dessert there was fruit. About all you’d want to eat when the heat is so bad. But they didn’t want it, couldn’t eat it, they were too full to finish, didn’t want any fruit. But a friend has come round and now they’re stuffing their faces with sweets.
I guess I’m just tired and overheated, but there’s no let up in the weather until we’re into next week, and because of the heat they’re not sleeping, so neither are we. I’m sick of saying the same things over and over, sick of getting angry just to be met with incomprehension. Mrs Dim has been brilliant, giving me the odd day here and there to be by myself and get some work done, but ultimately I wonder if that just makes it worse…?