Firstly apologies, the title has probably led you to expect a far more exciting post than this. I’m not talking about that kind of bang. But no other word will do. No other word describes that Friday after-work feeling of sitting in a pub or bar with your friends and your first drink, and getting that lovely first hit of the weekend. Bang! Week’s over, fun’s here.
Now I have two little people, I no longer get that after-work feeling. Mostly because I haven’t, er, got a proper job, but also because Friday nights now mean something very different. The tea needs to be made, the 7-levels-of-dramatic-tension that getting changed from school clothes into ordinary clothes entails, dealt with. The balance of giving the little people just the right amount of food so they haven’t totally lost it by tea-time, but are still hungry enough to eat it. Clock watching for daddy, trying not to lose it myself when he’s 15 minutes late. Telling myself that a raspberry and peach tea delivers like a 5pm vodka and tonic. In other words, Friday nights are exactly the same as every other night.
I’m not greedy, I don’t want the bang every week. Just something to mark the end of every half-term, perhaps. In this house half-term has double significance; Andrew is a teacher and my eldest, Bear, has just started school. We live according to the school calendar. Which is actually quite nice, it gives shape to the year, and allows for lots of lovely holiday time (I say ‘lovely’ now; it is 8am on the first Saturday).
And not everything about the lack of bang is terrible. Pre-children I would not be up this early on a Saturday morning, grateful because the youngest made it to 7am instead of his weekday 6.50am. I am not hungover. As I write this Bear comes running in, ‘Muuuuum, come quick, Raffy’s got a giant snot.’ Bear’s not exaggerating, it has reached Raff’s chin. But other than that he’s looking very fetching in his Babygro, wellies and hula hoop. Raff’s secretly playing with Bear’s Lego as Bear watches telly (rejoice, rejoice, rejoice; we’ve nearly got Raff to watch telly too! He did an entire Sarah & Duck only two nights ago). We’ve got some pop-up cinnamon bun things, you should see them, they really do pop out of the packet. This is a Saturday morning far nicer than the ones I had pre-children.
And last night things did get a little crazy. We ordered Thai takeaway with extra chilli on everything. Come to think of it that was quite a bang. There was even talk of a second bottle of Peroni. We watched The Fall, quickly followed by two episodes of People Just Do Nothing to erase The Fall from our minds. It was PAST ELEVEN by the time we went to bed.
And yet, I still fell like I’ve not quite nailed that Friday night/end of term thing. I still feel like there’s some secret thing I’m not doing that everyone else knows about. I’m not talking about sloping off to the pub, but things we can do with our children to mark the passing of time, celebrate another half-term-all-got-through-in-one-piece.
Please tell me, what you do to mark the end of term? Send up balloons? Light bonfires on top of hills? Order pizza?
I thought this post would end there. But no, a couple of hours later Andrew received a phone call, one of the school pigs had escaped. Of the three and a half hours he spent looking for it, the boys and I spent two hours with him, doing the same. The estate is vast, with lots of lovely hidey woodland, and the added excitement of a major A-road running alongside it. So we took the pig hunt pretty seriously. Eventually one of the other teachers found it and all was well. And as I look back now on our morning I realise a few things. We stopped to talk to a friend walking her dog. A complete stranger took my number and offered to let me know if she caught sight of our tearaway porker. Bear and I noticed that the colour of the leaves of a nearby tree were the exact same colour as his apple, a stunning pink-lady red; I’d never even stopped to look at that tree before. We posted a card to my mum, a friend sent a funny photograph of the runaway pig, the dog had a brilliant walk, we collected eggs from the hens which we’ll use for pancakes tomorrow. So although there’s been no Friday night bang, there’s been plenty of gentle Saturday morning enjoyment. And perhaps that’s the key to managing this; to shift one’s expectations from a Friday night to a Saturday morning vibe.
But seriously, I still want to know what you’re doing that I’m not.