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  • Writer's pictureRobyn


It’s 11 o’clock on Monday morning and half term is already looking like an endurance feat. Normally half term is a breath - hopefully a deep inhale; a chance to kick back but a chance for some adventures too.

This year, I’m not really up for it. I signed off teaching on Friday afternoon with a relief. But also with a pile of marking and (the it seemed perfectly sensible at the time) promise to teach a few A-level poetry classes on poets I’ve never taught before. The first lessons for this is period one after the break, so I kinda have to do the work now.

But it’s not really the break from work or teaching that’s the issue - yes, I am going to appreciate a week off trying to coax answers out of Year Ten or trying to gauge whether any of the Year Seven have the slightest clue how to recognise a Latin infinitive from over the interwebs - I just have no idea what to do with the children. One or two lazy, undirected days at home is one thing. A whole week? Nope. I’ve already tidied pens up from around the kitchen four times this morning and I’m not going to do that ad infinitum all week.

Let’s go out! To the woods, to the fields, to the meadows and hills. Yes, some of this. But all week in the rain that is currently pissing down outside the window?

Everything seems to require just a bit more effort than I want to give it. I confess I am feeling a bit sorry for myself - it doesn’t help that the darling Miss Cleo woke up three times last night - but the twin parenting resources of patience and enthusiasm are now low enough that you can see the bottom of the bucket.

I guess I need to pull myself up by my non existent bootstraps and organise some baking and craft and a scavenger hunt around the sodden garden (please spring come with sunnier skies and some bring the tulip and alliums into flower) I need to find some good humour and probably a measure of appreciation that its half term and I’m not actually at work too.

Maybe my measure of humour would be better if there was any leadership from on high as to exactly what needs to be achieved before we can send the children back to school - and maybe open soft play again? Perhaps even, dare I say it - play with other children.

Its almost five o’clock and dinner is in the oven. I pulled up my bootstraps - kinda. It helps that new boots arrived in the post. The rain stopped and we made it to the playground for an hour after lunch. Enough kids has beat us there to have already dried the slide with their trousers. The staff at Cleo’s nursery saw us as we went past and all waved out of the window.

We baked - carrot cake muffins - Pop’s choice, and now with the dinner in the oven all three children have piled out of the door to charge around the garden. It is five o’clock and it is light and not raining. Pop is running round on the grass in his socks, but they’re outside. It’ll probably all end in screams in about 30 seconds, but for the moment I can see all three children through the window and a glimpse of what is looks like when the weather gets better and they can be outside so much more.

Oh shit, all three are on the trampoline. Gotta dash.

Dinner descended into chaos. To be alliterative, there were tons of tears at the table. Just in case I forgot for a moment the massive emotion toll lockdown is exerting on those who are the youngest and the least equipped to be able to deal with it.

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