Saturday, April 18, 2009

Simply happy holidays

It’s school holiday time here, for both me and the kids. Action Man is still going to work.

I enjoy the school holidays. For two weeks, I can plan out my days without the possibility of a phone call to necessitate a rapid change of plans. Luxury!

For our family, holidays are a blessed chance to stop rushing about, and do things we normally don’t do, free from the demands of school, work, homework and after school activities. We do all sorts of things at home. We cook, paint, go to the beach, read, do jigsaw puzzles, scrapbook, ride our bikes and play board games. This holiday, the kids have learned to knit.

Having said that, I also make sure the kids get “nothing” time, that is, time when there is nothing on the agenda. A true rarity. I get on with something that wouldn’t interest them, and leave them to it. The games that evolve during their “nothing” are something to behold.

As the kids have grown older (they are now 9 and 11), I’ve introduced holiday chores. These holidays, they have learned to iron the tea towels, handkerchiefs and pillow cases. They’ll help me clean the outside windows at some stage during the next week. This is a job that takes me about 5 hours by myself, but takes about 2 hours when they help. They clean out their rooms, and sort out any junk and outgrown clothes (a lot of those, sigh) that needs to recycled or given away. They wash and vacuum my car (the only time it gets a wash).

Yesterday, I gave the kids the task of picking up the monkey nuts dropping from a palm tree onto a path near our house. There were a LOT of monkey nuts. My thoughts were that they needed to appreciate that not every job is interesting and varied, and that many jobs are long and tedious. And whether a job is interesting or not, you need to give it the best of your attention.

So they both went out with a big bucket, and a couple of dustpans. My son went and got a shovel as well. And slowly but surely, they picked up the monkey nuts. Miss 9 lost the plot half way, and came into me crying “there are so many nuts! It’s really hard!” But I gently “encouraged” her to go back and finish the job. She wasn’t impressed, but that’s the way it is sometimes in the real world isn’t it? Sometimes you are asked to do things that don’t impress you, but they deserve the best you can give it anyway.

But above all, we try to have fun together on our holidays. Today has been another magic autumn day, so we headed to the beach for a swim and a play. What could be better?

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