School holidays

While most of my friends and family in the US and UK have been sending their children off for a new school year, here in Australia, it has been the spring school holiday. That means one more term until the long Christmas/summer break (I know, I can’t get used to Christmas being in summer either).

I love school holidays: the extra hour of sleep in the morning, no school lunches to prepare, freedom from homework and spelling lists and home readers (no, I don’t personally do these things, but I do have to supervise them, which is even less fun), and greater flexibility on bedtimes.

But most of all, I just enjoy spending time with the girls. No pressure, nowhere we have to be and nothing we have to do – just hanging out together. At the risk of sounding like a boastful mother, they are two fantastic little girls, and there is nothing better than spending time with them – especially when they’re together. The only thing better than enjoying their company is to watch them enjoying each other’s company. Watching Miss Z tickle Vegemite by rubbing her face on her tummy has to be the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.

Our first week, Miss Z was still under the care of Hospital in the Home, so we weren’t able to get out and about much. So, over the weekend Vegemite and I went shopping for a bunch of arts and crafts supplies and spent the week making stuff like decorated t-shirts, dream catchers and beaded name plates for the girls’ bedroom doors. We also managed to visit Hummingbird House, present them with the money raised by Vegemite’s class, and get a tour of the construction site that will soon become Queensland’s first children’s hospice. It was a productive week.

The second week, I knew Vegemite would be getting bored hanging out with her mum and little sister, so I made sure she had a few activities planned. She had an early morning swim clinic every day, attended a drama workshop where she participated in making a music video, and did two days of art classes with one of her best friends. And this was fun, too, because I love to hear about all the things she’s done and the people she’s met.

The school holiday was also an opportunity for me to make up for lost time. I haven’t been able to spend a lot of time with Vegemite lately because Miss Z has been in the hospital so much, so it was good to give her my attention – while I tried very hard not to spoil her…

It also gave me an opportunity to repay some of the many, many favours that the mothers of some of Vegemite’s friends have done for me over the past few months. We would not be able to survive without the kindness of a few people who have stepped in when a Z emergency has arisen. They have no idea how invaluable their help is in these situations. Knowing that there is someone to collect Vegemite from school, cheer for her at a sports carnival, or feed her breakfast and take her to school, is a huge weight off our shoulders. And it is so much more fun for Vegemite than before and after school care…

Holidays – especially when Miss Z is healthy – are a great time to repay a few debts by taking their kids off their hands. And it is a good opportunity for Vegemite’s friends to see Miss Z at home – where she is happiest – because I really want Vegemite’s friends to feel comfortable around Miss Z. So, we organised playdates (and even a sleepover) during the two weeks.

It didn’t always work as well as I’d like it to, of course. I had a car-full of kids to take to art class when the sat-nav sent me in the wrong direction and Miss Z started vomiting in the backseat. Vegemite, who I’d seated next to Miss Z for precisely that reason, managed to nobly catch everything in a sick bag like it was no big deal. And I somehow managed to navigate the car to the right place, unload all the children (including Miss Z) and shepherd them all up a flight of stairs (no disabled access in sight) before the class started. Plus, I made up for the rocky trip to class by buying everyone an ice cream when I picked them up (added benefit – I got one, too).

Even with the occasional mishap, the school holiday was just what we all needed. School re-started with a bang today, making me long for those peaceful two weeks as I tried to mop the vomit out of Miss Z’s hair whilst repeating “Vegemite, brush your teeth. I mean it, we need to leave in TWO MINUTES” like a mantra.

How many weeks until the next school holiday?

So very far from being ready to leave in 2 minutes...

So very far from being ready to leave in 2 minutes…

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