Holiday negotiations

Written by Amanda Coop

Ahhh, school holidays. Blissful, carefree, harmonious. Well, for the first five minutes, anyway.

With Christmas done and dusted, we head into another month-long slog of trying to keep the kids occupied without resorting to 12 hours a day of screen time or locking oneself in the pantry for a little “me time”, aka scoffing chocolate and listening to my own sweet, previously lost thoughts.

Once the glow of Christmas has worn off and any sense of routine is well and truly out the window, holiday boredom begins to set in.

It’s around this time I know plenty of parents say their kids have had enough of being with each other all day, every day and start to fight.

My children though, are the anomaly. They start their holidays arguing over … well, pretty much everything, and finish up as besties who then of course get upset when they have to part ways to head back to school.

That’s not to say they are exactly holding hands and singing Kumbaya in bestie mode. It’s just not like having to break up a wild dog pack every two minutes.

Unfortunately, due to the need to write in advance to accommodate printing deadlines, we haven’t quite reached the bestie phase yet, and are still navigating our way out of dog-pack mode.

Mr 6 has just finished Prep, his first year of full-time schooling and an entirely different pace from his previous three-day weeks at kindy, so to say he’s a little touchy would be an understatement.

To say you can’t even look in his direction without setting off a full-blown emotional meltdown is more accurate. Miss 10 is doing a little better, but emotional regulation has never been her strong point at the best of times so we’re navigating some rough seas right now.

In an effort to curb my own emotional meltdown, we are on day three and devices have already played more of a role in keeping harmony than I would like to admit.

I still have to listen to the frequent shouts of Mr 6 calling out Pokemon battle moves, but that’s better than listening to him shouting at his sister. It’s also better than catching them at the top of the stairs, ready to use the dogs’ beds to slide down and probably straight into the wall (followed by an ambulance), as we did last night.

There seems to be no middle ground for this pair. They’re either screeching at each other over trivial misdemeanors (“he’s using my favourite fork!”) or getting on like a house on fire but in doing so, getting up to mischief that hopefully won’t end with the actual house on fire.

With just another seven short weeks to go, what could possibly go wrong?

Maybe I’ll just double-check our home insurance is up to date.