Now read this …

July 14, 2009

Something very odd is happening. It is Day Two of the summer holidays, a moment when, for many years past, I have been an exhausted wreck already doodling ‘3rd September’ on the telephone pad and looking yearningly at the Back To School pencil case displays in the supermarkets.

But today, here I am in front of the computer, with my little dears upstairs. Reading! OMG!! Yes, I know, it’s tempting to assume they have been sucked up into an alien spaceship overnight, where they are rapidly putting the would-be new rulers of our planet off the idea of invasion far more effectively than any nuclear deterrent ever could, leaving two little dopplegangers pretending to turn the pages chez moi. But no, I checked them thoroughly for signs of strange flourescent glow when I saw them briefly at breakfast hours ago, and both looked pretty normal. They both felt like doing a bit of reading, they said.

Of course, this is wonderful, and gives me a tremendous glow of parently pride. There they are, the darlings, expanding their minds, widening their horizons and vocabulary simultaneously, and all I had to do was to drag them through Jolly Phonics, the Oxford Reading Tree, the interminable Rainbow Fairies series, by way of Horrid Henry, Harry Potter and Twilight, to get to this peaceful spot. It just couldn’t be better.

Except for one pretty crucial matter. You see, if they’re off entertaining themselves, where does that leave me? Er, utterly denuded of my usual excuse for accomplishing so little, that’s where.

Usually, you see, it goes like this. My new novel? Obviously I can’t correct the first draft of the opening chapters (which have gone horribly wrong and need major surgery) as I am Too Busy With The Children. Washing? It’ll just have to pile up until it reaches the ceiling. Returning phone calls? Organising barbecues? Please! With two children on my hands all day long, how can I possibly get any of this stuff done? Well? Well???

Well, actually, all too easily, if they stay in their rooms reading tidily. I could have zipped through the draft this morning, I could have made those calls, I could have organised 50 barbecues before 11 o’clock. So, what have I done instead?

Er, well, I’ve been reading too, if you must know. Zoe Heller’s The Believers, actually. Fantastic book. You should definitely read it. If you get the chance, that is…..

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  • Laura - Are We Nearly There Yet Mummy? July 14, 2009 at 7:38 am

    I kept meaning to leave a comment and then I got sucked in by that Jackson Pollock doddler which I could sit and do all day long …

    Where was I? Reading. Yes, my 5 year old has recently been taking herself off for quiet drawing time recently. Just drawing for an hour.

    Unfortunately that leaves me with the 3 year old who wants me to build his fourth Duplo zo of the day.

  • Half Mum Half Biscuit July 14, 2009 at 11:15 am

    I'm feeling similar, being temporarily childless – there is no small body to hide behind! Come back Dylan and save me from having to sort out my own life! (Or actually me too, finish my novel…)

  • Suburbia July 14, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    We still have a week and a half left before the hols. Mine are in the garden at the moment throwing water bombs at each other, it's great when they are self entertaining isn't it?!
    (As you can see I'm busy doing the ironing, not)

  • Red July 14, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    As a mum of five I can totally relate – anything but scrubbing the floors!!