When my husband was a teenager, lying around the house, the family pet at his side, he used to tell his parents he was ‘teaching the cat how to relax’. Today I was teaching my daughter how to relax. It’s the first day of the September school holidays, at the end of a busy term, and my two kids are definitely in need of a break. I ordered them to play separately this morning* as they were simply done with playing nicely with other children (including each other). Mr Nearly-Eight occupied himself well, doing some art, but independent play was beyond Ms Five, she ended up sobbing that she was ‘so bored’ and ‘everything was boring’, and I could tell she didn’t have the energy to occupy herself but needed to simply chill out. The easy option of course was to turn the tv on and let her veg out all morning, but I didn’t want to set that precedent for the rest of the school holidays. Besides I’d already a planned a movie date with my chick later in the day. So I gathered her up for a cuddle and some sympathy, and was able to coax her to share a book with DH. We had a look through a marketing catalogue/activity book sent home from school together and then she was happy to attempt some of the colouring in competitions.
We did go and watch Kubo and the Two Strings while DH and Mr Nearly-Eight had some father-son time together. The kids were still unable to play together without screams, but Ms Five was happy to play with her mum and I put on hold activities and projects that required Me Time and we played spies and sorted through her pencils and pens together.
Not a bad day after all and a lesson in putting aside my To-Do List on occasion in favour of cuddles and quality time and some emotional nourishment.
* I keep in mind my mother telling me that us kids would fight like cats and dogs the first week of the school holidays and then settle down and play together, so I didn’t even try to get them to get along today.