Well, whaddya know? I’ve lived to tell the tale and more importantly so have the Screecher Creatures. We have survived the first week of the summer holidays. This break from school for eight weeks concept may not be such a bad idea after all! Straight off there are a couple of lovely benefits, side effects if you will. For example, all the usual shouting, roaring and rushing of a morning to (deep breath) get up/dressed or we’ll be late, eat breakfast, stop fighting, brush teeth, wipe bums, stop fighting, make a lunch, change a nappy, get shoes, pack a school bag, stop fighting, find car keys, get coats, gather up kids, shoo them out the door, lock house, put baby in car seat, forget something and go back into house, do up car seat straps, stop fighting, I mean it! Start the car, go to bus stop, fling school going child onto bus, get back into car and drive home. That hour of utter mayhem and stress has been traded in for leisurely boiled egg breakfasts with bagels. This morning I even shared a second one of banana, yogurt and rice cakes at 9.30am with Screecher Creature No. 4. Breakfast! A forgotten luxury for me. Another treat and something that is also more or less guaranteed because the school pick-ups have ceased for the next 7 weeks is a run at lunchtime. What bliss! The old running was getting harder and harder to do of late due to rainy evenings, (big fat excuse!) Mister Husband taking a couple of 7pm meetings and plain old burn out after clocking up anything from a 13 to 15 hour day by the time 8pm rolled round. I don’t have two energy cells left to rub together so the lunch time run is perfect. I think the Screecher Creatures are enjoying this more relaxed take on things too. Screecher Creature No. 4, who is on the brink of his 15th month, is starting to sleep the night. From previous experience on this, I knew this day would arrive before his 18th birthday but because some nights I could be up with two others as well, one of them starting to behave is most welcomed. Now if only Screecher Creature No. 1’s hay fever and as a result, chesty cough in the midnight hour would cease, all would be just dandy. And of course, it wouldn’t be a normal week if Screecher Creature No. 2 went without a laceration of some sort. In his defence, he is just as boisterous and energetic as his brothers but if someone is going to come a cropper induced from hyper activity, it will be him. If you want the proverbial needle in a haystack to be found, he’s yer man. Only thing is, it would end up in his rear end or something. Anyway, true to unfortunate form, he fell over at the weekend and lifted the tiniest piece of skin on the heel of his hand. It’s not only monkeys that protect their young from prying eyes. This chap is very protective of his ailments and shields them from those who might try to cure them. Two days later there was a lovely hard yellow lump full of infection on his hand. Nothing the tip of a needle wouldn’t or couldn’t release but you may as well be coming at him with a red hot poker so I had to employ Sneaky Tactics. Our first aid kit contains more plasters and cotton wool than anything else but I always make sure there is a bottle of witch hazel and Tea Tree Oil within. The oil must be the kind you can apply directly onto the skin otherwise you are faffing about with carrier oils and the like. A little drop of either fluid onto a tiny piece of cotton wool and plastered to the injury in question, works wonders in a matter of hours. Yes, there was the tip of a needle some time later but there was also a jumping Mexican bean of a child which naturally enough caused the delicate operation to be a tad sorer than it should have been, but the infection was released as were howls of outrage and disgust at my trickery. It is a very very good thing indeed that (a) Iarla is a man in the making and not a woman and (b) the human race as a result will never depend on him for its survival. And in an effort to survive these unpredictable summer days, we have decided to go on holidays a little earlier than usual. We learnt a lot from last year’s holiday and there will be no cramped hotel rooms for us next month. We have found a home away from home. Literally. We are going to Home and Away!!!!! Except it’s really Courtown but you should see it. It really does look like that stretch of beach on Home and Away, the one they all walk along when they’re done with their surfing. And it’s at the end of our rented house!!!! Happy days. I have been assured by the lady on the phone there is nothing in the house the boys can wreck. This neither relaxes nor reassures me. See, she doesn’t know our boys but she could also be telling the truth. There is nothing in the house. All we want I suppose is somewhere to rest our weary heads at the end of the day and a place to sit ourselves down to have a bite to eat. I’m already stashing bottles of wine to take with us! I am so much looking forward to this holiday, one my sister in law, her husband and their two kids will be sharing with us, that I committed the mortal holiday sin and told the boys. Every day it’s “how many sleeps left now, Mammy?” Screecher Creature No. 3 will celebrate his third birthday when we are on our holidays and because there has been much talk of the bouncy castle I promised him, he also thinks this castle will be waiting for him on his “beachside” holiday. All I have to do now is sort out a dodgy tooth for Screecher Creature No. 1 before we go, get the clutch on the car looked at, load up a couple of boxes of non-perishable foodstuffs and pack enough clothes in order to be prepared for every weather eventuality. Ya know what? I can’t wait!