These are my first school holidays.
I have been cautiously optimistic that a bit of one-on-one time with our strong-willed five-year-old daughter might help with some difficulties we've been having lately.
On some of the days, her brother will be in daycare, so I've been looking forward to some girl time. Nervously.
Here's how our first week turned out:
Failed attempt to stay in bed on a rainy Tauranga day. Surely the perks of the holidays are that no one has to be anywhere by any time and we can all just stay in bed and sneak some cartoons?
But after our boy jumps in for a cuddle, he keeps saying he is hungry. Guilt gets me after five minutes. It's 6.30am.
I sort breakfast and as I sit down with my coffee, there is a smash in the kitchen followed by a little voice: "Sowwy Mumma".
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He has smashed a mug on the kitchen tiles and, standing amid the chalky shards that have scattered so much further than seems possible, started picking up the sharp remains with his wee hands.
I sort the final pieces with the vacuum cleaner and look up to discover he's used the hallway carpet as a canvas and my mascara as his paintbrush.
I glance at the clock. 8.26am. Exhale.
By midday, I've taken the kids to the library, the Art Gallery and the rare treat (for them, anyway) of McDonald's.
We are back home and I realise I've used all the exciting things there are to offer on the first half of the first day of holidays. Rookie!
Dropping our boy at daycare, I'm looking forward to a day with my girl.
We decide to go to the movies – her first time. Somehow, I spend $40 even though the tickets were only $20.
After Sherlock Gnomes, my girl wants to go to the Warehouse for the slippers I've been promising her since she outgrew hers.
This is the turning point in our day. She starts whining after I refuse to buy her a mermaid.
After a bit of a battle, she makes a rare move and backs down.
"It's okay," she says. "I don't need to get it, because I can get it when I go to 'Kmark'."
"It's Kmart, with a T," I attempt to correct her.
Apparently, I am wrong: "It's KMARK!"
"Kmart-t-t. With a T."
"Well, I am going to call it Kmark because it sounds better." I wish I was five.
After our special day, she becomes quite angry that we are not going to Kmark.
By now, I need a nap but I take her home via the supermarket because I need food for dinner.
She drags her feet as she "helps" push the trolley with me, adding her weight to the load each time.
By the time we reach the checkout I'm a bit snappy because I've just put up with an hour of complaints. My strength and self-control are dwindling.
She wants to go to Kmark. I have no other ideas so we go. We buy some paint-your-own ornaments for Friday when her brother is with us. This is great for her fine motor development as well as teaching her that if she whines enough, she gets what she wants.
We wake up after a glorious half-hour sleep-in. After a cruisy breakfast, the kids take off and play together. For ages. They run around the house giggling and happy.
I don't even know how to deal with this, so I get dressed - in peace!
Later that night while I'm making dinner and they're in the shower I hear screaming.
Anticipating the usual squabbling, I rush in.
She has taught him how to draw the letter "I" on the shower glass and he was squealing with excitement. Both of them look proud as punch.
I don't really know what to do with this information because it doesn't help any of you feel better about your own kids, does it? Sorry.
My school holiday week one synopsis: Not as bad as I was expecting. Yet.