So far, so good. It’s been an interesting first for us as my two eldest girls finished their school term a full two and a half weeks before the youngest and she was quite understandably not pleased about the whole situation. This meant the first couple of weeks of the summer holidays were tense and tricky to navigate. But now, around the time I’m normally tearing my hair out, the elder two children are relaxed and rested and the little one, reacting well to this, is also much more amenable than of late.

I’ve also leaned fom previous years and haven’t taken on much work at all, just one simple cake a week (through the LONG 9 week break!). Although the emotional input and problem solving the girls need from me is becoming increasingly complex, along with the questions (and often I don’t feel old or mature enough myself to be advising on the finer details of being a kid in the 21st Century), the day to day grind of feeding, cleaning and entertaining seems to have suddenly got much easier. OK, admittedly in a large part thanks to Steve Jobs, but today’s minor triumph comes when I suddenly realise, in a moment of super-mum-ness, that all three children can ride bikes without stabiliers. A perfect opportunity to entertain the children, walk the dog and for me to combat the effects of the wine (consumption of which is inversely proportional to the amount of time the children spend at school…).

I leave the house, having managed to attach the bike rack and load the bikes without swearing, feeling pants-on-the-outside epic. After 45 minutes, we have at least 15 new bruises between us, we’ve covered maybe half the distance I could’ve walked (let alone run) on my own – mainly due to having to stop to scratch an itchy ear, swerving to avoid an incredibly scary bumble bee, and of course complain about sore legs/eyes/ears/being able to hear their heart beating/being out of breath/being too hot/too cold; someone’s cycled through dog poo, the dog has the world’s prickliest bramble stuck in the really curly bit of his ears and smells really strongly of stagnant pond. However, I realise, we’ve laughed and laughed the whole way round and everyone is still smiling despite the bruises. Even with the faint whiff of poo (and the slightly stronger one of pond) we are all still smiling when we clamber back in the car, bikes now expertly re-loaded. I also realise that a huge part of this is down to me being calmer, less overloaded with work and therefore less stressed and making the effort to think first and shout second (and only if necessary). In life I’ve always found if you’re nice to people, they’re nice back – it’s really hard to grump at someone who’s smiling – and of course, children are people too. I’m sure, of course, that this new found zen will last for about 20 minutes and I’ll be back to my usual mad-eyed, wild-haired, shouting loony, working-mother-of-three self tomorrow.

Oh, and Mr. Kipling tweeted me 🙂