I’m going to York on Thursday, working there on Friday, and on Friday night Pete and Bernard will be driving up to join me for a weekend of waxwork-avoidance and perhaps some boating with the TDs.
It’s the last full week of the summer term, and there’s a lot on. Your childhood memories may tell you that this is a week of winding down, chilling on the school field at playtime, taking all your artwork off the walls and home to a perpetually admiring mother, getting a fiver off your grandad for a good report, &c. Actual parents will know that this is a time of trying to be at school concerts and sports days, emptying a year’s worth of crap out of the bottom of the schoolbag, being required to admire indistinct blobs of paint on faded sugar paper, and crossing your fingers before opening the report.
Bernard is excited to be finding out which class he will be in next year, and spending the week in that class with his new teacher. He is hoping to be with his group of friends, and thoroughly ready for the new academic challenges. I doing a lot of work in these last few days, so that I can do less (and earn less) during the holidays. For Pete, nothing much changes, except that he has more leisure in the bathroom on mornings when we don’t have to go to school.
So, the York thing. Being away for a night means I have to do lots of advance planning to ensure the continued smooth running of the family. A playdate after school for Thursday, a pizza in the freezer for Pete, packing for myself and Bernard, and a LIST. The LIST will have subsections; namely: Thursday (whom to collect him from and where, don’t forget it’s bathnight); Friday morning (Bernard needs violin, music stand and music; doesn’t need packed lunch as he’ll have a school dinner; remind him he has a violin lesson as well as the concert; collect him at 3.30; bring snacks for the car journey; don’t – oh my goodness DON’T – forget the audiobooks); and so on.
If I didn’t write a LIST, what is the worst thing that could happen? Pete’s not going to forget to pick him up; if he accidentally makes him a packed lunch that’s not the end of the world; if he forgets the violin C will be disappointed but I’ll have texted about it anyway so that won’t happen. Oh my GOD there are too many semi-colons in this post. I quit.
Lists make everything better. I’m finding list making (and ticking off) very comforting in these last few weeks of pre-baby life.
Yeah. The worst that could happen is that THERE WOULD BE NO LIST.
Whenever we have these sorts of situations in our house, H fusses, I grunt indistinctly, the roof doesn’t cave in and first-born-and-heir generally gets to be where he should be, fed, watered and clothed. Bernard is only a little younger and, I’m sure, is just as capable as Tom of reminding his father what he should be doing (providing items normally banned by mother) and ensuring he gets to playdates in good time.
Is the bath night for Pete or Bernard?
Pete doesn’t need one until Friday.
And what about a bath?
Oh, he needs that every night.