It’s funny how from January of each new year the countdown to summer unwittingly begins. Summer is a relief from the daily grind. No more school runs. No more rushing out the door at 7ish each morning. No more after school activities. No more homework (a big ‘phew’ from me on this one!).
But yet, 2 weeks into the summer and many seem to be complaining about how difficult they find it to entertain their housebound kids during the hottest months of the Dubai year.
This got me thinking. I too look forward to a mix up of the annual academic daily grind. By June I am so done with school pick ups. To minimise exposure to the searing heat (and hence minimise the so ‘not now’ sweaty glow), one needs to get a decent parking spot with minimal walking to and from the school gates. To ahieve this one needs to arrive a good 20-25 minutes before the bell tolls. Sitting in an idling car for that length of time, even with AC, is not comfortable. Then there comes the walk to collect the children and re-trace those steps to the car, laden down with school bags, cumbersome and monumentally sized artwork, as well as other school parahenalia they pick up from their friends. It feels more like an ultimate desert endurance test than a school run…….for which I did not sign up.
So yes….I am glad to see the back of those days for 10 weeks.
I enrol the kids in one of the many and varied summer camps available over the school break. DH drops them off before 9am and I collect them at 3. School hours are 8am – 2pm. Result!
In summer I find myself on ‘go slow’ mode, but in a good way. I find myself in less of a dash, less harried. Ahhh…this was what working life was like before munchkins. I do not need to make like a F1 driver down Al Khail road in the morning. I don’t reach the office before 9. I saunter in, all relaxed and chilled, ready to start my 4 hours. I leave between 1-2pm. This still leaves me enough time to pop to the grocery store and stock up on fresh supplies rather than having to rely on the weekly weekend grocery shop which usually wilts by Tuesday evening. I am not rushed or stressed. I collect the worn out and stinky feet kids (the one downside to sports camp!). Despite their overheated, overtired meltdowns, I remain calm ( a far cry from the school pick up days which see me chase my frizzy tail in a sweaty blur!).
The drive home is 15 minutes…as opposed to the 20 from school.
When we reach, I plonk them in front of the TV (the benefits of no homework); goodness knows they are too tired for anything more challenging. I jump on my treadmill, something I would not have the time to do during the school year. Ferrying the kids to and from after school activities each day, combined with the homework schedule, leaves little room for burning those extra calories. Indeed, during the academic year the only exercise I manage to squeeze in is taking extra deep breaths when I am stuck in traffic or when I am counting to 10 (breathing correctly apparently burns more calories and probably equates to a yoga move!)!
By dinnertime I am feeling calm, strangely rested and virtuous!
Even dinnertime activity is mixed up over the summer break. I have more time to try out new dishes rather than have my helper robotically rustle up the same old reliables each week. If the kids don’t like the new recipes, I have time to revert to the old favourites. I think DH enjoys this summer change very much. Turns out there is only so much spaghetti bolognese a grown man can tolerate!
If I didn’t fear that my children would forget how to read or add, in a way, I wish we could have more summer holidays…….