The first week everyone was tired after a year of school, and we lounged in the garden, the pool, played Carcassonne, read books and comics, had playdates, sleepovers and made a quick visit to the Zoo before our yearly membership ran out.
Then we went on holiday. A week in France, a week in Friesland. After that daddy went off to London for work while I spent a week in Holland with family and then another week in Friesland where the kids learned to sail and I could write. It was lovely in sunny Europe, in the hottest summer since the one I was born in, we saw old friends, family, and all too soon we had to board a plane to fly home.
When we got home we had four more weeks to go.
The first week we were tired. Visiting ‘home’ countries are not holidays for expats, they are an endless stream of social events where you try to squeeze everyone in, and at the end you have gained at least five kilograms and tell yourself: next year we’ll just go climb Mount Everest, that will be much more relaxing.
We rested. We hung about in pyjamas, uncombed, unbrushed. We read a lot of comics again, lounged in our pool, slept off the jetlag. The week after, which is now, they became bored and restless. They miss school, their friends that are mostly still traveling, and are in dire need for some routine. I am itching to get back to work, but the stolen moments in between tearing apart fighting kids are not really long enough to do some proper writing, more than a quick blog, so instead I take the kids out most days. Wear them out, so they won’t have enough energy left to hurt each other all the time.
Why do my kids fight so much? Linde has perfected her karate kick and Jasmijn is still nursing the scrapes from Tijm’s friendly tackles – on tarmac. If only they fought in silence I would leave them at it, but all of this is accompanied by ear-piercing shrieks from the girls and bone crunching growls from Tijm. (And their father still asks me why I don’t wear my hearing aid around the house…)
To tire them out I dragged them to the summit of Bukit Timah, Singapore highest hill, but since that is only 163 meters high, that did not take up more than a few hours. We went to the museum to cool off, cycled in East Coast Park. That one day I had to be out for work Indah took them to the Botanic Gardens on scooters.
Whenever I hope for a quiet few minutes I give in, in to iPads, Donald Duck comics and hagelslag sandwiches, things that I vowed to be strict about this summer. Because sometimes I just need a little peace. A little break. Sometimes I need to actually get something done, an email sent, a deadline made. Working from home is a very different scenario with three noise making machines present all day, still I have a novel and a charity book to promote, articles to write, events to organise. With barely enough brainspace to write a simple blog, let alone anything literary.
It has been eerily quiet the last half hour that I was writing this. Should I enjoy my peace or go check whether they finally did kill each other this time?
Two more weeks to go.
Two more weeks to go.