Twelve weeks of school summer holidays are just too much. We’ve all gone a bit mad at McLeod towers. We’re still a one car family (but we are making progress on that one) so moving around remains a problem. Ollie has been locked up in a darkened office, photoshopping real estate images so the most meaningful conversation he has every day is with himself as he shouts at the computer when it grinds to a halt. For the last two weeks Gidg has boycotted summer school (even though she loved going, she’s inexplicably decided not to go anymore) which has created a whole heap of childcare issues. We’re lucky enough to have some excellent friends who have been able to take her out with their kids for the day and we’ve been swapping babysitting favours like poker chips. And I am struggling: I’m so out of whack, I don’t even know which day of the week it is anymore.
I don’t really understand how three months of school holidays can be benefitting the Spanish economy either. Summer time is the busiest time of year for so many of us, we all have to work our bits and bobs off to put some money away for the winter, our kids have an enforced summer break, and they need to be cared for whilst we work, so why can’t I put childcare fees against my income? That just doesn’t seem far. My gestor shakes her head at me every time I try to submit a receipt.
When I was a kid six weeks were enough. We did what the ‘Why Don’t You?’ gang told us to do and turned off the TV and did something more interesting instead: I lived down the road from an enormous park and my brothers and I would go there every day, carrying peculiar sandwiches which we would eat whilst hiding in our ‘camp’, a strange hollow bush. The six week break was manageable because my grandma lived with us, and whilst my parents went to work as usual, she looked after us. The last week of the summer holidays seemed so far away, and then when it arrived we mourned for our summer, and crammed in last minute adventures into the final days. Shopping for that year’s school uniform was always a bit grim but choosing my new pencil case used to sweeten the pill. But even kids get bored of playing all day it seems, and the time is ripe for a bit of discipline and routine. I am even looking forward to the chaotic morning school run.
So we went to Carrefour last week and whilst the sun was beating down outside, bought winter tights, in six different colours, and bright red raincoat. Ready for the autumn, and (thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!) school.
(first published 7.9.10)