Despite reaching your limits entertaining the kids day in and day out for six straight weeks (and feeling great comfort in knowing that this period is finally coming to an end), you realise that you have no idea whatsoever when school actually starts back. You know that it's sometime in early September... but that's about it.
It feels a shame to cut the six weeks short by readying ourselves now for the school term, but having left it too late in the past, and having been a teacher myself for many years, I know that being a prepared parent makes things much easier.
We said yes to breaking the rules, to late nights, to doing whatever we felt like despite the long list of errands that piled up. They might have been small acts of rebellion - going out on cool mornings without socks, walks in the rain without umbrellas, frivolous presents bought on a whim with little thought of our family budget.
Operation 'Find the shoes' commences. Mum says 'Where are your shoes?'. Kid 1 replies ' I dunno. I dunno'. Kid 2 does not respond. His face is pressed up against the flat screen TV causing snot to smear across the front of his idol, Peppa Pig.
A change in focus. A change in priorities. A change in what matters most. Something I've experienced and heard so much in the past few months. Cancer really has a way of throwing everything up in the air, with it landing in different places than thrown.
My son is in Year 6, so my diary for the next few weeks is full to bursting with open mornings, open days and open evenings for the local schools we're looking at. It's a huge decision to be making, especially if this is your first child to reach secondary age - one that could impact their life (and yours) quite significantly.
You have been full of resolutions about this new school year - homework will be done on time, clothes will be laid out the night before, you will never, ever shout before 8.00am. So guess what? You have committed all the cardinal sins of school run management by the time the first week is up. Here are the tried and tested top 5 tips to keep you up and running during term time.
Leaving my parents and the comfort of my home was the first wrench. Entering the playground felt more like walking into a battlefield. Seeing the different groups, the popular, the pretty, the sporty and then finally the geeks - where I usually ended up. The next obstacle was walking into class and praying someone would sit next to me.
Gone are the notions, in this country at least, of individuals with Trisomy 21, as it is also known, not being worthy of lovely clothes, of having to wear hard-wearing institution garments, of shameful regulation haircuts, of being 'put away and forgotten' as they were segregated from society in institutions.
I love September. It's the ultimate start afresh, get-a-new-pencil-case time of year for me; much more inviting than the stern face of January. It's more of a friendly nudge to roll up our sleeves and get on with all the things we'd promise we'd achieve, those self-set expectations and anything that's been idling on our 'to do' list for the past year or in my case, years.
Never more have the words keep calm and don't panic been more poignant. Just how did a two-year-old manage to outwit a team of ten grown ups to make a bolt for the front gate?
I have five children. Georgina ("G") is the youngest. She is 14. And she is the one causing grey hairs to sprout abundantly from my scalp, if old wives' tale about correlation between lack of follicular colour and stress is to be believed.
It's about time we reconsidered what we mean by talent: how it is defined, who gets identified as talented, and how they are developed, recognised and rewarded. Is talent the product of 10,000 hours of devoted practice, or the reward of 10,000 followers?
This week signals the end of the Christmas holidays and the return to school. I love having my children home for the holidays but I absolutely dread the return to school. For my youngest son who is on the autistic spectrum this total change in routine is very upsetting for him and you can visibly see his anxiety levels rising.
School uniforms instil a sense of discipline into the school day. They are an efficient eliminator of choice. A school uniform is a vital part of respecting one's school and the start of a more disciplined approach to learning.
As you take it all in I've no doubt that, like me, you'll wish you could run to the nearest coffee shop and hide from these parents who you just don't want to know. But here comes the next step...it's time to make friends.