Weekend in focus: the end of half term

In Weekend in focus I review the weekend and look at our therapeutic parenting successes and failures, with the aim of learning something each time.

On Saturday things got going slowly. We started with our usual routine of the girls coming in to our room for a cuddle at 7.30, then taking themselves downstairs to watch CBeebies while we have a lie-in. This usually means half an hour or so of peace before they start screeching or injuring each other. Then breakfast, which has to come before they get dressed as it is rarely a mess-free business…

Getting dressed was different from the usual jeans and T-shirts, though, because Charlotte was off to a ‘pirates and princesses’ birthday party. I confess that in my eagerness to dissuade her from aspiring to own any Frozen merchandise (I am proud to say there is none in the house except a colouring book, which was a present), I gently nudged her towards going as a pirate. I expected her to reject the suggestion outright, because she loves princesses. But no. She was up for being a pirate and my heart sang (quietly). So off she went in pirate attire and had a marvellous time with all her friends (most of whom were Annas and Elsas, yawn).

Once Charlotte was safely installed at the party, Pete the wonderhusband returned for Joanna, and took her out for lunch and grocery shopping so I could squeeze in a couple of hours’ work. Two hours of blissful quiet later, they all bounded in to the house, the Lego came out, and the bickering over who was using ‘the best wheels’ started.

At 3.00 we went for ‘the family walk’, which is a circular amble of just over two miles that we do quite often: across a field, along a track, down a hill, up a hill, and ending up at a small park just over the road from our house. We all enjoy the wildlife, the views, the fresh air and the family time. On this occasion, the track featured The Biggest Puddles The Girls Had Ever Seen, swifty follwed by another highlight: a highland cow having a wee, which they pretended to find disgusting while continuing to stare and giggle.

The Family Walk

The Family Walk

A brief visit to the park, and we returned home to more Legoing, dinner for the girls, and bedtime, which featured the usual wailing about which teddy was where, the requests for hot-water bottles, the separation anxiety, the procrastination… and as usual, I had a pang of guilt about saying no to many of the requests. The wailing always stops as soon as I return downstairs and they fall asleep very quickly, so I don’t think they are desperately distressed.

Dinner with Pete and an evening with my book followed. I basked in the quiet, and as he carried on working until 10ish, I took myself off to bed with my Kindle at 9.00. My aim was to finish three books this weekend. I’d managed the first one (Commit) on Friday night, and zoomed through The Fringe Hours on Saturday. I still have a couple of chapters to go in Why Can’t My Child Behave? which I’m hoping to finish tonight before starting on The Well-Fed WriterEdit, which looks fun.

On Sunday morning, I went for my now-regular swim, and was pleased and amused with today’s wristband. They change patterns every day, but it was nicely serendipitous that on a day I’d blogged about exercise and endorphins and stress-relief, I should get this particular jaunty delight.

Exercise makes you happy

Exercise makes you happy

I returned home to find Pete tearing his hair out and Joanna having a sulk. She’d been lying about something daft and he had called her out on it. She got over it with the help of a bit of distraction.

We got ready for church. We went to church. Church passed without incident, Pete and Charlotte fetched the Starbucks requirements, and we came home for lunch.

Calm was restored, the Lego came out again, there was the usual jabbering and bickering, the stropping off to bedrooms, the returning, the repeating… and then we sugested they listen to their iPods while we read our books, which worked beautifully. They both sat as close to me as was physically possible, but it was quiet and that was good enough for me.

Dinner and bedtime were about as calm as they get in our house, with just the usual attempts at toothbrushing avoidance. No anxiety from anyone about the transition back to school, because we love school and routine in this house. Hot water bottles, teddies and blankets distributed to everyone’s satisfaction, I returned downstairs, read some more of my book, had dinner, and sorted out the girls’ bags for the return to school. It was at this point that I realised I hadn’t yet washed Charlotte’s PE T-shirt, so a quick white wash and a bit of ironing later, I was able to crash out on the sofa again. Phew. We survived half term!



  • mainly sticking to normal weekend routines (CBeebies, church, swimming, etc.)
  • the partying pirate
  • doing the family walk
  • iPods


  • the house really needs cleaning and hoovering becuase we missed Saturday’s family house-cleaning hour
  • motherly guilt (just a tiny bit) about not giving in to bedtime procrastination attempts

Next time:

  • we’ll try adding in some more one-to-one time (I keep saying this – we find it really hard to get this balance right)

Do you have any half-term tips to share? Are you glad to be getting back into term-time routines? Or are things better for your family during the holidays? I’d love to hear your comments.


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