Ho! Ho! Ho! I’m sure I speak for school mums everywhere when I refer to the last fortnight of term as utter madness. It’s only now that it’s over that I finally get a moment to stop and think, ‘What the heck was all that?’
Because really, rather than winding down for the holidays, doesn’t it feel like being in a spin dryer that’s starts turning faster and faster, as though it’s about to take off? And then when it stops, the drum is still spinning pretty fast even when the lid is released? Feeling rinsed out doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Lest I forget what these last couple of weeks involve, here’s my Christmad rundown:
Decorating: Bring out the silver foil for a gladiator costume, with shield and hat. Cover aforementioned items with foil. Hide remaining Sellotape for the gifts you haven’t had time to wrap yet. Or buy. (Helpful hint: there’s always a run on Sellotape in Dubai in the weeks before Christmas. Basically, if you haven’t stockpiled it and are caught short, you’ll be gluing your gift wrap.)
Handicrafts: Cajole children to write thoughtful messages for their teachers on handprints that will be made into a tree. Make a 25km round trip to get to Decoration Day conveniently timed at 11am. Attempt to stop your child spilling the glitter everywhere as you work on cut-out Santas and Christmas tree cards. Return to office with your skirt decorated.
Shopping: Procure a shop-full of gifts and cards for all the people who make everything tick and keep you sane (bus driver, bus nanny, teaching support staff). Stuff money in envelopes. Run round at the last minute looking for a PLAIN red or green top for the Christmas concert and place in labelled bag. Try to feel full of the joys of the season.
Food preparation: Conjure up a dish that gladiators would eat (birds? cheese? Settle for grapes, green). Provide food for ‘super snack’ for 10 children (cheese cubes). Cookies, end-of-year-party food, the usual 20 lunchboxes required for a fortnight.
Party clothes: Send child in festive PE kit (“fancy it up with some tinsel and a Santa hat”), and help him/her pick out a toy to take in for party treat day. Nothing expensive or noisy. Clone yourself so you can be in three places at once, or face having to fess up to your other child that you can’t get him to his class pyjama party.
Pantomime: Organise/make costume for Victorian Day on the beach. Volunteer as parent helper (think: sandcastles, Punch & Judy, hoops and ropes). Run 500 steps in sand, repositioning hoops.
And all this on top of the day job – which, oh did I mention, involves producing a 150-page yearbook during the busiest work period of the year.
When it’s all done – Breathe! Now you can start getting ready for Christmas!