Before kids Bank Holidays were cherished and savoured. The weather was guaranteed to let the side down but I’ve never been the green-fingered type. Besides, most beer gardens have patio heaters these days and that was the only logical destination after the mother of all lie-ins.
In 2011 I had a rude awakening. By May 1st Emily was hovering on the edge of the 4-month sleep regression and had a cold. The result? No lie-in for me. No sleep at all in fact. And certainly no beer garden, unless I fancied nursing a snotty, over-tired crosspatch with one hand, whilst downing a limp, mineral water with the other.
Babies don’t respect Public Holidays. For us parents it’s just more of the same. Except now we’re made to feel even guiltier for wanting five minutes peace because the TV is vomiting all this practical nonsense at you. Things you should be doing, like painting fences, constructing sandpits and building the bloody ark.
As a result, I don’t like Bank Holidays anymore. It’s means The DIY Argument. It means an extra day off school, more activities to plan, more homework to navigate because one extra day equals an extra two weeks in some teachers’ minds.
Until today. By fluke or design (more fluke), we may just have cracked the perfect family Bank Holiday!
It starts with a lie-in, as all good things do. At 7am this morning the children’s doors creak open, but instead of jumping into our bed they hole up in Emily’s room and stage a Barbie Fashion Show. For One Whole Hour.
At 8am two little faces appear asking for breakfast. Both agree on pancakes in record time. No 20-minute dither as usual, picking apart the merits of bagels/cornflakes/porridge/toast like some beady-eyed, toy-cuddling Masterchef Maestro.
At 10am, feeling brave and a little unnerved, we venture into Bath. The Tooth Fairy came to visit Emily last night and she wants to spend her pocket money on a new book. Holding our breath (our children have a tendency to miffle) we hang back and wait for the fireworks; the ‘I can’t find anything I like’ and ‘Jess’ is bigger than mine’ ones. Nothing. Two books are chosen in an orderly manner and placed on the counter with a smile. Best of all, no displays are harmed in their choosing…
Dazed, we suggest Pizza Express for lunch. Jess sits on her bottom for 90% of the time, whilst Emily sits quietly next to me doing her colouring. No one throws their food on the floor and no one screams when daddy pinches one of their dough balls. What sort of devilry is this….? We pay the bill quickly and leave.
The rest of the afternoon is spent exploring the fields behind our house. The rain comes but no one cries and asks to go home. No one gets a welly trapped in the mud. No one falls off their bike.
All-in-all it’s been a pretty perfect Bank Holiday! We didn’t paint the fence and I still haven’t bought the sandpit but our sense of achievement, or rather parenting achievement, is sky high. And it continues… As I write, two little girls are tucked up in their beds.
What’s the betting they’re saving it all up for nighttime……….?