Summer Time Madness
Now that the summer holidays have finally drawn to a close, we thought it would be a good idea to share our experiences and also how we have prepared for the next academic year. We are sure that many of you would agree that the summer flies by and that there is a constant pressure to continuously be doing fun and exciting things with your children every single day. The pressure isn’t only on to do those things, but to also share them and state what an absolutely fantastic time you have had. Just ignore the stress, cost and effort! We have definitely been guilty of this at times. No one wants to take a photo of two children arguing over who has the most space in the car. Undoubtedly, the happy memories outweigh the meltdowns.
We started the summer holidays with Niece and Nephew spending 4 days in Christchurch with Jade’s parents. This is an annual tradition now and we are forever grateful for those few days break. Particularly when we were not having a summer holiday ourselves this year. There is only one word to describe how this years trip begin… catastrophically. Five minutes into their journey they got a burst tyre. They had to wait for two whole hours before the recovery team arrived; baring in mind that they were only 10 minutes away from home! Once they finally arrived in Christchurch, the bad luck continued with Niece getting stuck in the bathroom due to a broken lock! It’s safe to say that Jade’s parents were glad once the day was over. Despite the bad start, Niece and Nephew had the most amazing time. This was the first year that they were able to swim confidently in the sea and we really don’t think there is anywhere they love more than the beach.
We don’t get much time off in the summer as we like to spread it out throughout the year. We are so lucky to have parents that are either retired or work from home. We dread to think how expensive it would be to put both Niece and Nephew into holiday clubs. We honestly don’t know how some parents do it. However, we are also jealous that we don’t get to spend the whole summer with them. Luckily for us, they really look forward to spending time at their Grandparents or Jade’s parents, particularly as their big sister is often there with them too. We are also fortunate to have our own friends and their Mummy’s friends who would jump at the chance to look after them. Jade actually devises a colour coded calendar so we can organise and remember what Niece and Nephew are doing every day! It’s easy to see how so many families that become Special Guardians have had to change their careers or give up work completely (please see the blog post about our petition!)
This summer we were also lucky enough to be gifted tickets to Coombe Weekender and take Niece and Nephew to their first ever festival. We had looked into the massive festivals such as Bestival and Latitude but decided that they may be too overwhelming for our first festival experience. We have never taken Niece and Nephew camping before so coupling that with a festival may have sent us over the edge. They had the best time and it was definitely a perfect introduction to what a festival is. To be honest, all they really wanted to do was buy sweets and go on the fair rides!
Our final trip of the summer was a staycation to London and Essex. Two of our closest friends live in London and the kids absolutely love going to visit them. They would happily just ride up and down the tube all weekend long. This time around, we extended our London trip to include Essex too (one of our friends is originally from there). We did so much during the trip including a slime workshop, Hamleys, Horrible Histories Live, the Science Museum, Marsh Farm and Adventure Island. The highlight for us though really is seeing our Niece and Nephew build such amazing relationships with our friends. Niece and Nephew love them so much and want nothing to do with us whilst we are with them! We will also continuously appreciate how much our friends want to be in Niece and Nephew’s lives and really would go above and beyond for them.
And then before we knew it, it was time to head back to school. This year, Niece and Nephew were both going to be in the juniors (gulp!) and starting years 3 and 4. We can’t believe that Niece and Nephew are in their fourth school year since coming to live with us. You’d think that by now we would have got to grips with school uniforms, homework and school events. But no. We are still clueless. We must admit that we have done nothing in terms of “homework” over the summer (although we don’t think Niece and Nephew were actually set anything… fingers crossed!), which we feel a bit bad about. But sometimes it’s not hard to feel resentful towards homework. By the time we get home, have dinner and do homework, it’s time for Niece and Nephew to start going to bed! This year we do want to try and have a more structure approach to homework and definitely be far more organised (if anyone has any tips on how to do this effectively then please let us know!) It can be difficult to manage school life and work life but we are so lucky to have family members that support us with before and after school care when needed.
School life has always been a little bit of a challenge for us. We were thrown into the deep end three years ago and don’t really feel like we have learnt anymore about how to cope with school. Having a new school teacher every year is something we have found difficult. We feel like Niece and Nephew (and us too!) just begin to build a relationship with their teacher and then they move on. We then have to explain our situation allllll over again. No, they don’t call us Mummy and Daddy. Yes, a nurture group would be helpful. No, we will not be making a packed lunch. It can sometimes be rather overwhelming. But luckily for us, Niece and Nephew absolutely love going to school. They actually missed it during the summer.
The summer holidays and back to school can feel like a constant cycle. It really is true when people say you just don’t know where the years go. Three more years and Niece will be off to secondary school! We just really hope that everything we have done for them makes them look back with happiness at the memories they have created.