These last few weeks before the summer holidays however are a complete and utter spectacle of my ineptitude in the parenting stakes

IT HAS begun. No, not the final battle to determine who will once and for all ascend to The Iron Throne. Moreover, I am speaking of the commencement of The Decay.

You see, after your children return to school post mid-term, it is just one steady decline into the territory of “really?” As in, “do you really need a new pencil? Will the splinter inducing, half-inch stub not see you out until the holidays? Really?”

Those heinous lunch bags have started to emit noxious fumes which lodge in the back of your throat and challenge your gag reflex daily. The Decay has begun and it is not exclusive in just staking its claim to the aforementioned bags. Nope, my attitude has also begun to fall foul and turn a bit sour.

It starts with the ignoring of the notes. The first day of school, fully loaded pencil cases with individually-labelled implements for penning their memoirs are dutifully tucked into backpacks. You will lose hours painstakingly applying their sticky-backed names to each item. They will lose them. They will lose every, last, one of them. All that will remain is that half-inch stub of nothingness. But you are committed to the cause and will want that diminutive tool to push on through until June. Until one evening and the child pipes up: “There’s a note in my journal. I need more glue.”

A few seconds later and not missing a beat, the child pipes up again.

“Did you hear me Mum? About the glue?”

Now, here’s the thing; that kid is no ‘Cut and Paster’. The idea of most forms of ‘Make and Do’ induces a cold sweat. This has been the case since day one. Therefore, the only logical explanation for the necessary replenishment yet again of supplies of glue is the following; he must be eating it.

“Can you just not lick it and stick it to the page? Or use Sellotape or something?”

“The note says: ‘Glue’. Only glue.”

It is almost as if my lax attitude is in direct revolt against possibly one of the most demanding periods of the school calendar. I fare far better with ‘Back to School’ requirements as the years have progressed. Mainly, because I have a list to follow. These last few weeks before the summer holidays however are a complete and utter spectacle of my ineptitude in the parenting stakes.

There is a frenzied urgency to complete everything – workbooks, school tours, plays, sports days, etc. One child is currently growing things in several pots on the kitchen windowsill. There is a competition to see who can grow the tallest something or other. Nothing has pushed through the soil in the past weeks. Friends, I cannot recall if I even placed the seeds in the pot to begin with.

The complaints start rolling in thick and fast. They moan about having the same lunch every day. At this juncture they should be lucky that they don’t open the petri-dish that passes for a lunchbox and find a potato. Uncooked. With a peeler in the compartment which housed the fruit salad at the beginning of the year.

Each morning, you drop them at the top of the drive a little bit later. The eldest has now become the speaking clock and feels the need to advise you that: “We’re just three minutes and 42 seconds late this morning.”

This of course earns him the accolade of the ‘Least Favourite Child’ before the other one swoops in to retrieve the honour by announcing: “Child X got our teacher a huuuuuge bunch of flowers last year and a huuuuuuge bunch of chocolates. YOU only gave a small candle.”

Look, if I had a sizeable budget in relation to finances and time, I would present my kids teachers with a brand-new car at the end of the year for having to endure my offspring for extended periods of time on a daily basis. But without fail, the weeks speed by and I will inevitably end up scouring the nearest location for the aforementioned candle and try to tart up same with some notions wrapping.

Finally, to add insult to injury, you have to endure the endless whining of “I’m tired of school”.

Say it with me….

“Really? You’re tired of school? YOU’RE TIRED?”

So, it goes that we all try to out-shout, out-whine and out-exhaust each other for the remainder of term. That three minute and 42 second late arrival creeps to four, then five until they practically end up arriving just in time for lunch. When they can enjoy their delicacy of a raw spud which they can peel themselves.

“Muuuuuuum?! I still need that glue…”


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