The arrival of any school holiday is a big gear change in fostering.
During term time Monday mornings are a welcome breather and a chance to catch up the jobs in a quiet house.
When the schools break up you're chasing your tail for a few weeks.
On the last day of term fostered children can be disarmingly like children the world over, they get out of bed with a spring in their step, and say over breakfast they are going to miss certain friends. They sometimes even say they are going to miss a teacher or two.
The following morning they love to turn over and go back to sleep, wallowing in the abscence of obligations. They spend the rest of the first day in a bit of a dream.
They keep looking at the clock and going "Let's see...quarter past eleven...we'd be doing...Maths!'
They are a joy to have at home, but you're in your combat fatigues, you know you're on a war footing because, at about half past two on day one they appear in your kitchen and say:
It happens every time, yet it catches me out every time. Last summer holiday it was a delegation of three who appeared like a picket line intent on stopping me getting any work done.
I said "Well I've got to go to the supermarket, who'd like to come?"
Q: "Have you sorted out your Lego?"
Q: "I could put the badminton net up in the garden"
A: "Really BORING!"
And so on. It's like a natural reaction to any high; they go up and have to come down.
Some families go away on summer holiday the morning after the schools break up, I never understood that plan, what is there to look forward to? I get the plan now, but it's too late; we aim to go away around the middle of the summer holiday so it breaks up the six weeks.
While I'm thinking about it, what do we think about the Schools boss saying he wants courts to up the fine on parents who take their children out of school to go on holiday? Sir Michael Wilshaw earns something knocking on £200,000 a year (his salary isn't public, but the last Ofsted chief did) so the cost of a family of five going to Lanzarote for a week wouldn't even make him blink when he ran his finger past it on his bank statement, but for the average family it's the eyewatering standout payment of the year.
And if people like Wilshaw want to waft around radio and TV studios guffing about responsibility to children's education they should remember that schools lock children out for same number of days every year, so there ain't that much a child can't do without in 5 days teaching is there boys and girls?
Don't know about every school but the ones round here, every summer the teachers have 6 weeks off, then on the first day of the first week they shut the school to children for the day so they can...what? Pin up new pictures in the classroom? Re-arrange the desks? Have a meeting to agree that two and two is still four, so let's get ready for another year just like last year?
As you can tell it makes my blood boil.
On a slightly different tack; this week we aquired a dog. I say 'acquired', what happened was this; a relative was working abroad when he stumbled on a market stall selling pups. He worked out they were being sold for food, along with the chickens and pigeons. He bought one to save it from the pot.
Now he's home, but his work has taken him elsewhere and the dog can't go along.
Lovely sweet pooch. I call him "Number 57 Wiv Noodles" which is my slight joke.
So the first thing we do is take the dog along to the vet for his psychiatric profiling. This is a fostering must, at least I think it is, it's definitely a must for Blue Sky.
So you take your dog in and the vet decides if he's sane. Sane and safe. He passed alright, in spite of having a troubled childhood he's got his act together. Bit of a metaphor for fostering is Number 57.
Suppose the Chief of Schools had to pass a savvy test, with one question:
Question One: "Why is it a civil offence with a fine for parents to take their children on holiday for 5 school days per year but you're cool to shut the children out of school for 5 school days per year?"
Am able, now we have a dog, to reply to "I'm bored!" with "The dog needs a walk"
Which usually triggers sudden interest in Lego.