And so, all too soon, half term is over. Somewhat reluctantly, my two are returning to school but propelled by the joy of telling their friends about the highlight of their week, that trip to Harry Potter Studios.
It was a week of that was special because we didn’t actually do anything much or fancy. It was a week of special ordinariness. Sometimes, I think that’s the way kids like it best.
Knowing how full on school is for them already, especially my eldest, I deliberately organised only a few things for the week, hanging most of our week on a skeleton of not much, with the odd lovely thing added on for colour and fun.
They’re at that lovely age where they’re able to entertain themselves to a certain degree (without too much arguing), and also at the age where they desperately need time to just be, follow no agenda, be under no obligation to be somewhere or do something. I’m very aware that its going to be like that for the rest of their school years, as schooling gets more pressured not less. My son is only in infants, and yet he needs this (those of you reading outside the UK might wonder why….)
It might seem strange but I see it as the best gift I can give them – to them to free up their week, whilst also peppering it with a few fun things to do and see to save us all getting bored with our 4 walls or each other.
So we went, of course to Harry Potter Studios, as I wrote about last week, thanks to Warner Bros for giving me the opportunity to review it. And I have to say, its a good move to do something exciting and inspirational at the beginning of the week to fire their imagination for the rest of it. That tour led to
me us making a model of Hogwarts – something we never do during term time.
But they also just mucked about, dressed up as Egyptians in towels, a turquoise sari, and my African jewellery; had a ‘sleepover’ in each other’s rooms, and read Beast Quest or Ballet Shoes for half a morning….bliss! I also took them grocery shopping to our local massive supermarket, thinking, somewhat naively that it’d be good for them to remind them how boring these jobs are, to learn about budgeting and all that (I normally do an online shop). But after a huge to do about a toy that The Boy wanted to spend his pocket money on that I deemed too expensive and too similar to one he already has (oh joy) I learnt that its not always the best thing to do…..and yet it kind of was, as after a couple of hours of uncharacteristic bolshyness and stroppiness, he learnt a valuable lesson about disappointment and not getting what we always want. “I’m glad you didn’t let me get that Monster Truck” he piped up the next day “as otherwise I might become S.P.O.I.L.T.“!!! (We don’t use that word, so not sure where he got it from). Michelle Twin Mum’s post on Giving kids what they need, not what they want was rather timely….:-)
The only organised activity was a day football camp for the Boy, and a sleep over for the Girl, and a visit with friends to see the only country house open at this time of year and that has a delightful display of snowdrops. We meandered through a whole 200 species (hard to believe there’s 25 species let alone 200), explored the sunken garden, and watched them do roly-poly’s down onto the croquet lawn, getting muddy and wet.
We revelled in the foreign sunshine; the warm light and dry air after the wettest winter in memory acting like a jailor’s key on us. It wasn’t all bliss – my friend’s boys are a lot rougher than mine and so there was a lot of hitting and jousting that he wasn’t expecting, but that’s partly what comes of not having brothers I suppose.
The unexpected good weather did play a huge part in making this one of the best half terms we’ve had in February – one I hardly normally relish. What is this country like? After the worst flooding and a huuuge storm on the Friday night the weather played ball beautifully for us in half term….The weather is so unpredictable, no wonder we’re obsessed by it! The age they’re at played a huge part too – 7 & 9 is a lovely age. And I definitely learnt that peppering the week with meet ups with friends and activities is as essential as the breathing space, as tempers and patience with the age/gender difference did start to show by the end of the week…:-)
So, as Chris from Thinly Spread wrote about her half term, it was a week of enjoying the simple things, each other, and learning what makes for a special, ordinary half term. How was yours?