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DIARY OF A DEMENTED HOME WORKER: Cheers to the (long) summer holidays

June 27th, 2021 6:25 PM

A mixed bag of a week that saw a graduation, a lecture from the WHO and the line-up of Love Island announced.

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DIARY OF A DEMENTED HOME WORKER  Week 68, school’s out, which means my stress levels have gone up, but at least there’s a new series of Love Island on the way.

• HANDS up who is feeling terrified? Mildly apprehensive then? Ok, how about vaguely unsettled? Or even just a little churning in the tummy? Yup. School’s out. For the summer. That’s nine weeks and to be completely honest I’m dreading it. I know it sounds really selfish but I’m not ready to welcome the five-year-old back into my home office. We left on bad terms last time round and I don’t think I can ever be convinced to write her a reference. There was no respect for personal space, unpredictable behaviour, serious time keeping issues, and constant demands to look at ‘NewTube.’ I do have a wonderful childminder lined up (I haven’t told her that the intense Ninjago phase we were in last summer has intensified, but hopefully that won’t be an issue, as long as she throws herself into the role playing), but just out of curiousity, where’s Leo at in getting people back into the office again? 

• The five-year-old officially graduated from playschool in what was a really heart warming, (and Covid compliant) ceremony the other day. Considering her hearing with me is completely selective and she usually only responds to key words/threats like (‘treat,’ ‘TV’ and ‘that’s it, I’m calling Dad’) I’m in total awe of the incredible staff who got herself and 24 others to sing, sit, dance and smile on cue. It was also gas to see the other mums (myself included) out of our regular duds – the leggings and hoodies. And if I say so myself we all scrubbed up very well. Instead of dress down Fridays, we should consider dress up Fridays. Could be something in that. Anyway, yet again the masks were a godsend (and the shades) because my lip started to wobble and I couldn’t help but shed a little tear at their cuteness (my own being the cutest of course!), while hoping for the best for them all whatever lies ahead. I sound like a real Mother Mo Chroí, but you know what I mean. 

• We went out for lunch afterwards. I had phoned the day before to reserve a table and had asked for one outside if possible. The girl very politely reminded me how all tables are outside right now what with that minor inconvenience known as the global pandemic that I might have heard of. That’s an indication of where my brain is at these days.

• All signs are pointing to the fact that a break of some description might be needed so I’m really furious with myself for not having booked a thing. I know there’s still time but the choice is pretty poor at this stage. The five-year-old is full sure we’re going to Center Parcs. We were meant to go last summer but we ended up cancelling. To be honest any place with a pool and slide combination and she’s in heaven, even if it’s my idea of torture. We went to a campsite in Spain a few years back and 98% of my waking hours were spent standing at the end of a slide waiting to catch her as she came hurtling down at the speed of light. Considering at any given time there were around 26 other adults of various nationalities doing the same thing, and elbowing each other for space to save their child from cannonballing into the pool, it wasn’t the most relaxing time in my life. Once I didn’t quite manage to catch her (a fellow from Offaly got in my way – could tell by his jersey), and she’s never let me forget. And then when I wasn’t catching her, I had to constantly look at her. You know how it goes: ‘Look at me! Did you see me? No, I think you missed it, I’ll do it again … look now … look again.’ Most of the time I wasn’t even sure what I was supposed to be looking at it but my standard reply was: ‘well done, that’s great! Where did dad say he was going again?’

• So there’s been a lot of hoo-ha over the World Health Organisation’s suggestion that there should be a ‘prevention of drinking among pregnant women and women of childbearing age.’ Now, the WHO has clarified they are not recommending an all-out ban on alcohol in women of child-bearing age, which is great considering they say that’s anything from 18-50 (50? Child bearing?), and that they only want to raise awareness of the serious consequences that can result from drinking alcohol while pregnant. I might be naive but I’d like to think most people are up to speed on this and we don’t really need heavy hitters like the WHO getting all heavy on us. Personally, as an older mother (the correct term is ‘geriatric’ which I think is just plain mean, I’d have preferred ‘mature’), I was literally too scared to take even a sip, or a sniff of alcohol when I was pregnant. Besides, I found people are generally really nice to pregnant women, I was strongly encouraged to take lots of naps and I was pretty much able to make the nine months all about me, so my desire to take the edge off with a drink was much reduced. Then on the other side, I know some people pack champagne in their hospital bag, and pop the cork as soon as they pop the baby. I was literally too terrified to even consider a drink for around six months (what if I dropped the baby? What if I somehow fell asleep and didn’t wake up for a week? What if…?). I smugly thought I’d never drink again. Then the terror subsided and well, we are where we are. The WHO did suggest an international day or week of awareness on the harmful use of alcohol, or a ‘World No Alcohol day/week’. I’d have no problem with, say, a Monday in January, but anything else I think is just too controlling. Besides, with a global pandemic (which means we still have to dine outdoors, don’t forget!) you’d think they’d have other stuff to be getting on with.  

• Like how about issuing a health warning banning children from moving while carrying their Lego creations? Here’s how it always goes around here: glorious silence as child works on Lego creation, glorious chance for adult to do their work, strong feelings of happiness that everything will be fine after all, announcement from child that they’re en route to show you their Lego, frantic dash by parent from desk to stop them, huge crash which suggests Lego creation has fallen and smashed into tiny pieces, wailing to confirm this, declarations that life will never be the same again, and so on and so forth.  That’s the kind of thing that would drive you to drink. 

•Finally, the new series of Love Island starts on June 28th. I’ve never watched a single episode, but I think I’ve killed enough brain cells this past year to give it a go. Who’s with me?

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