Having a child who has just started school is a bit like having a crappy old car making a strange noise and no money to fix it. You just keep on going, foot to the floor, hoping you’ll arrive at your destination (half term ahoy!) without completely falling apart first.
The slow start which was a logistical pain in the arse has long been over and my oldest has now been at school all day every day for three weeks.
Three weeks might not sound like a very long time, but when you’re four, or indeed when you are the parent of a four year old having to bear the brunt of overtired outbursts, it does seem rather longer.
NOW I finally understand why parents of young children actually look forward to the half term holidays.
It’s not because they’re jetting off into the sunset (although this would make me happy).
It is not – as I long suspected – because they enjoy shattering the peace of the parents of under 5s, making everywhere horribly busy or they just like to watch their children taking over the soft play.
It probably isn’t even because they desperately want to see more of their children (controversial) and use up their limited annual leave to play snack slave to their ungrateful offspring for a week.
It may be partially because a week off of the school run feels like a dream, but primarily I imagine it’s because school is physically and mentally exhausting for young children, and the kids need a break before they spontaneously combust in a fiery rage-filled ball of complex emotions and overworked brains.
This is the precipice on which we’re currently balancing.
Not that you’d probably know it if you saw her at school, of course.
I am sure she’s a delight; to be fair to her she is most of the time.
She loves to play, she is friendly, but she also likes to listen and learn. She comes home telling me about the new things she did that day, the sounds she now knows. Only when pushed, you understand. She doesn’t offer up any information for free, unless it’s telling me who got told off that day.
I get the distinct impression that she pours all of her energy into being very good at school.
But at home, we’re on very unstable ground. The slightest provocation – and when you have a younger brother, provocation is always at hand – can be catastrophic; loud, teary and red-puffy-faced.
So yes, for the very first time I am actually looking forward to the half term holidays.
One week to go – let’s hope we arrive safely.
(Oh, and we got our very first nit letter today, so that was lovely).