OPINION: SCHOOL'S BACK!
Sing it with me now: "SCHOOOOLLL'S BACK FOR SUMMER!"*
Rejoice rejoice! Harder than a tour of Iraq. More stressful than working a 100-hour week. You did it. We did it. The kids are all back at school. The school holidays are finally over.
Words we would be happy never to hear again: "I'm hungry," "finished," "cartoons," *generic screaming sounds* "I'm bored", "daaaaaaddd," "muuuuummmmm".
That six weeks was tough.
Now, this is the point where I could go all mushy and say, "The house is so quiet. I already miss them."
Well, I don't miss them. I'm over the blimmin' moon. I was running out of things to do with them. There are only so many times you can go to that playground and only so many times you can watch them fight over that same swing.
My house also isn't empty. I still have a walking one-year-old causing havoc on an hourly basis. She's here now trying to reach up and touch my keyboar dfvopbnwfbnw fefgwb.
Photo: Jordan Watson
Our holidays started off the same as yours. The same way every parent feels – a bit of dread mixed with optimism. This is the year you're going to successfully manage the kids and keep them entertained. Four hours later and you're trying to tap out.
I tried and failed at numerous activities over the summer break. Fishing trips: "I'm hungry" before I've even backed into the water. Road trips: "I need a poo" four minutes into the journey. Water fights: "You can wet me but not with the water dad!" That one had me stumped. Every activity has a completely opposite to what you imagine happening, reaction.
Never try and predict when, who, why or what they will do next. Just strap ya' self in and try and smile when in public. After all, every holiday activity has the possibility, very small possibility, of going exactly to how you planned it in your head. Maybe.
It helps if you're prepared. The younger generation has that saying of getting "ripped for RnV" (getting fit for a music festival). Well, us parents should run with that mantra and try out "ripped for school holidays".
The wife and I told the kids we were going to take them to a special cave, Cathedral Cove, in Hahei. Surely they'd be pumped for that!
"Will there be dragons?" asked Alba, the four-year-old.
"Maybe," I replied. The promise of dragons is hard to whine about. Ten minutes into the 30 minute walk and the six-year-old is telling us she has a bee sting. She doesn't. She just doesn't want to walk and also looks to be going for an Oscar.
The four-year-old is acting like a sniper just wounded both calf muscles. Both girls are finalists for best actress. The 1-year-old is happy – she is in a baby front pack on Mrs Watson. No leg power required.
The promise of dragons clearly wasn't motivating the two larger sack-of -potato kids of mine. Time for dad to man up and become, SUPER DAD.
I chucked the 6-year-old up on my dad shoulders, then carefully squatted down and picked up the 4-year-old. The heavy 4-year-old. Held her like a koala on my front. I was successfully carrying 10 years of children on my 31-year-old dad frame.
I was doing it, there were no groans of leg pain from the kids, no "I need a poo", no "I'm hungry". We were just a happy hiking family with a dad loaded up like a sweaty donkey.
I was being one of those super fit dads. Holding it together for the greater good. We were on our way to the cave. A holiday hike to cherish forever. This is what it feels like to nail a holiday adventure with the kids! Look at us go!
Two minutes later and, "Owww my legs hurt."
It wasn't the kids. It was me.
Should have brought the wheelbarrow.
Until next time kids, it was fun. Dad just needs a few months to rest.
* Yes, I know I've taken liberties with Alice Cooper's School's Out for Summer
Photo: Jordan Watson
Sunday Star Times