As we near the end of the lengthy school holidays, I give a little cheer.
Having three children with special needs at home... 24 hours a day... for 6-8 weeks would test the patience of the most saintly saint.
Don't get me wrong, I love my children dearly and I wouldn't change them for the world, but all of my children have sleeping difficulties, so it really is a 24 hour day!
So, the first four weeks go by with happy children who march behind you crumbling their biscuit while you vacuum, help you do the washing by adding the black sock to the white wash and of course, help you clean your sparkling window, with their baby wipe (with added lotion).
Yes, you know what I'm talking about.
So, to entertain your little monsters, there's nothing better than a trip to an overpriced, packed full, hot and stinky soft play area. However, I long to be the parent who can wander in there, with my magazine or thrilling novel and a coffee, and switch off to the screaming, snot dribbling surroundings, while my little angels climb and jump and wave every so often.
I'm the mother who has to hush my children to the doorway to check that it's not too full or noisy (first born), that it doesn't smell too plasticky (second born) and that there is good security on the entrance/exit doors (third born). If just one of these categories falls beneath my childrens' tolerable standards, it's a no go and the other two will be hauled back to the car- one child under each arm.
A lovely trip to the farm may be an option...after all, all children like animals...right? Wrong.
Getting second born through the entrance gate past the 'stinky' pigs is the first challenge. Discussing the fact that the nettles on the grass will not get through tough leather boots is the next challenge for my first born and I spend the rest of the visit wearing down the mesh on the floor of the play park running after our third born who, when returned to the slide, simply makes his escape bid again, and again... and again.
I see fresh faced, well slept, made up yummy mummys' everywhere I go, with their beautifully turned out, chocolate free, carrot stick munching angels, diligently holding mummy's hand, their white ruffles blinding me in the sun, and the dress-panted, shiny shoed boys not touching their perfectly gelled hair. While I hide the mini bag of buttons in my anorak... yes, with the added component of a tomato ketchup smear from a favourite fast food restaurant, my hair clipped back and fighting to keep first born rascal from exiting his moving pushchair, Houdini style.
So, after all of that, I raise my hands in the air and I thank goodness that soon, the teachers will return to school and take our crumb crumbling, energy exhausting, chocolate munching youngsters into the classroom and give us our peace, quiet and routines back!