School's out! Well actually it was out almost a month ago, but the point is I'm writing about it now and not after the next school year has begun. Which, if you consider my track record, was not entirely an impossibility. The thing is, what with all the recent bai woes and the daily school run, life had become pretty darn hectic. Nikki's mother toddler group which we started when she was about fifteen months old had progressed from an hour, thrice a week, to one and a half hours, all five days a week and the timing had also shifted from a leisurely 11.30am to 10.00am, which is a whole lot more demanding when you live a good half hour away and have a toddler who likes to ponder on the various intricacies life throws up while chomping away at the morning meal for a couple of hours each day.
Most mornings thus saw me scrabbling though the two hours I had at hand after Nikki woke up to get self and child ready for school at breakneck speed, get aforementioned breakfast down Nikki's gullet at a pace that would put the most steadfast snail to shame, and cram some toast down my own throat before whizzing off to school. Needless to mention, Nikki would choose exactly half past nine, designated we-need-to-leave-NOW time, to bless her diaper, necessitating operation clean up and ensuring that we reached school just in the nick of time. Since the program we'd signed up for was a mother-toddler one, the one and a half hours we spent there everyday demanded equal participation from both me and Nikki and much vigorous moving-to-the-music and building sandcastles later we'd go back home to bath, lunch and nap time for Nikki and about two hours of downtime for Mommy. Except that the two hours downtime tended to bear an uncanny similarity to weekends; Sunday evening strikes before you've properly begun to savour the beginning of Friday night, and before I could park myself on the couch to vegetate or open that latest book, Nikki would be up, bright and chirpy and raring to go to the park. Some days there would be play dates or birthday parties to go to, and all in all, my post baby life was beginning to get almost as demanding as my pre-baby corporate one. Except, of course, that this time round I have a boss who is wayyyy more demanding!
I was quite looking forward to the onset of the summer holidays therefore; glorious, lazy days filled with endless hours of doing nothing and I was quite unprepared for the summer camp frenzy that routinely strikes most mums this time of the year. I got my first taste of it on the last day at school where a bunch of mums were earnestly exchanging notes about different summer camps and poring over brochures of the same. They were aghast when I told them I wasn't planning to enroll Nikki in one, with reactions ranging from 'you're compromising on developing a strong educational base for your daughter' to the more pragmatic 'you'll go nuts with her in the house all day', but I resisted the impulse to go check out the summer camps in the neighborhood. Not that I have anything against summer camps, I don't know enough about what goes on in them to really have a strong opinion for or against them, but I'm home this summer with Nikki and I don't see her losing out on anything by just enjoying the holidays at home, the way I used to when I was a kid. Besides she's just two years old and there's enough time for summer camps later, even though the average age for summer camp where I lives seems be to thirteen months, so going by that her educational base seems to be compromised quite a bit already!
We've had fun so far too, Nikki and I. Apart from a few weekend trips we haven't really gone anywhere so most days are spent in and around home. We spend the mornings either in the 'big' swimming pool or in Nikki's smaller baby pool at home, with her toy ducks, fishes and her paddling dog Pogo for company. If Nikki's not in the mood to be a water baby, we bring out the paints and shaving foam and play dough and muck around in the balcony creating various works of art. The only person who doesn't seem too happy about us honing our artistic skills is the maid who gets to clean the balcony when she comes around every afternoon. No surprise then, that she's recently announced a ten day trip for some 'sudden' wedding in the family. No problem, coz cleaning-up is Nikki's new found passion! Give her a sponge and a bucket and she can keep herself occupied for hours. We'd gone out for lunch recently to a bistro which had a little fountain in the seating area and it took all my persuasive efforts to keep Nikki from ripping off her tee and mopping the tables with the fountain water!
Evenings usually see us headed out to a nearby park or the zoo or a play date with some of Nikki's school friends and before you know it another glorious summer day is over and another one has begun.
All too soon summer will end and it'll be time for Nikki to go to school on her own, as she 'graduates' from the mother toddler program to playgroup. Time for me to let go a little. And so, this summer I just want to enjoy every little bit with my baby while she's still a baby. Enjoy the feeling of waking up in the morning with nowhere to go and nothing to do, soak in the early morning sun in the balcony while Nikki makes me a cup of tea in her kitchen set, go for an impromptu picnic to the neighborhood park when the mood strikes with banana chips and nutella sandwiches, luxuriate in long afternoon naps and spend hours in the mellow evening sun studying the interesting shapes clouds make. Here's to summer holidays then! How're you spending yours?