Happy holidays, happy holidays……

It’s day one of the incredibly long American school holidays – two and a half months people – and I’m feeling strong and ready but with that uneasy feeling you get living in California – lovely weather but there could be an earthquake at any moment which completely turns your life upside down.

Some days I really envy working parents who just send their kids off to a six week sport camp far away and continue on as if nothing has changed. But the part-time working mother doesn’t have that kind of budget and my kids are so darn opinionated these days, I think they would cause a mutiny if marched off to camp and probably take others with them. I can smell the threat of lawsuits now.

So to maintain my sanity as a reluctant, backed into a corner, camp mother, I keep meaning to sit down and write a bunch of rules for the holidays like:

Mum will not be making sandwiches in the holidays. Do it yourself.

If children want more pocket money, they must do more chores. Mum would rather not have to think of all the extra chores. Can’t someone else think for a change?

Computer games will be allowed on a one day on one day off basis. The day off is not to be spent researching how to play the aforementioned computer games.

For time spent doing computer games, the equivalent must be spent doing some kind of (ideally energetic) physical activity. This does not mean just a stroll around the block. If the activity is too short I will change the locks on the front door. I mean it.

Children are to go through their favorite cook book and choose a meal to cook once a week. Ingredient requests are to be in with me by Friday morning.

Reading time will start every day at 3 o’clock unless you are out doing some kind of activity. Let’s try and finish that book that’s been on the go since March.

Remember, in the words of author Kelly Corrigan – “Stuff happens when you leave the house.”

In the meantime, I have booked the kids into some activities – a Nike Sports tennis camp held at UC Berkeley which I thought would be a fun way to get to know Cal better. I think it’s good to have a different tennis coach every now and then.

This has not gone down particularly well.
“But I want to play with my friends.”
“You might find some of your friends are playing at Nike tennis.”
Groan. Swearword. ” No! They’re not. Why are you so horrible Mum? Why don’t you want me to be happy?”

Two weeks of archery are scheduled in July which they absolutely loved last year. I do have an ulterior motive. I hope they will be running these camps one day, or being paid team leaders at least. Meanwhile the camps are costing me an arm and a leg. I really hope they still like archery camp this year. Because I could go to New York and stay in a nice hotel for a weekend for the price of these camps where they learn to make their own bows – so useful for urban Californian kids. Now there’s an idea. New York for the weekend. Next year, I swear, things are going to be different.