The extra-long summer vacation is over. I still fail to understand why the Punjab government wanted to extend school summer holidays for an additional 2-3 weeks. Not that I'm complaining.
So now there is the usual setting 4 alarms for the morning to ensure you get out of bed at the right time (which is at an obscenely early hour), the dragging self and others out of cosy beds, while some family members either whine (me and 5 year old HRH) or snap fangs bared at each other (that would be all three of us - HRH, hubby and myself).
The previously relaxed routines for all concerned (yes the adults were still going to work but at least that still started at a later more civilized time), are suddenly fraught with tension as the day is strictly regimented for HRH's sake.
Typical school day routine:
6:10 AM - Alarm number 1 goes off. It is switched off lethargically and a low decibel 'HRH wake up baby' is called out. It goes unheard.
6:15 AM - Alarm number 2 goes off. It is also switched off and a slightly louder 'HRH get up now please' is emitted.
6:20 AM - Alarm 3 goes off. A definitely audible 'Get up now...please!' is sounded.
6:25 AM - Alarm 4 goes off. There are definite signs of movement as a very loud and stern warning is given, all signs of politeness gone. 'GET UP! NOW!'
Then begins the chaotic hour during which teeth are brushed, faces washed and HRH's breakfast shoved down his throat while he says 'I'm sooo sleepy' every 2 minutes (this despite having slept 10+ hours at night) while the parents who only manage to get about 5-6 hours grunt randomly at any questions or queries the other makes the mistake of asking.
7:30 AM - HRH and Faisal leave for school and work respectively. Lucky hubby gets to go to work half an hour earlier due to having to drop HRH off to school by 8 AM.
7:30 - 9:00 AM - The morning tornado like effects in all rooms are sorted out while getting ready for work
9:30 AM - The advantage of going to work at this time is that you are now wide awake having spent what seems like half the day already up, while childless individuals are still blearily rubbing eyes and having shots of caffeine to wake up.
1:00 PM - Leave to pick HRH up from school. Involves battling through traffic while swearing left, right and center at the loons on the roads (all swearing for the way to and from school must take place now as no 'bad words' must be said in HRH's presence as he will then proceed to tell you off).
1:30 PM - Reach school and find parking 5 miles from the gate. Trudge back huffing and puffing and wishing you had carried a bottle of water and maybe a snack for the trek.
1:30 - 2:00 PM- HRH insists on playing on the slides/swings/anything climbable in the playground
2:00 PM - Set off on the journey back to where car is parked with HRH saying 'I am so tired. Why is the car parked so far away?' (this coming from a child who spent half an hour whizzing around the playground showing no signs of 'tiredness').
2:30 PM - Reach home with bleeding cheeks due to clenching all 'bad words'
2:35 PM - Unceremoniously dump HRH into bathtub for a shower
2:45 PM - Place HRH at the table for lunch, which can last anywhere between 1 to 2 hours depending on how long he wishes to store bites in his mouth without chewing.
Post lunch comes homework time. Another joyful time of the day when either it will completed in no time at all or may take ages if there is whining, staring off into space and further declarations of tiredness, pencil rolling off the desk numerous times and a million unrelated-to-homework questions are asked such as 'When do bats sleep?' or 'Do you like Woody better or Buzz Lightyear?' or 'Can we become extinct like the dinosaurs?'
Then follows some leisure time for HRH during which there is some TV watching, playing etc
At 6:30 PM begins the stress about HRH's dinner and bedtime.
7:00 - 8:00 PM - Dinnertime for HRH consists of more of the lunchtime same-ness. Gazing blankly with unchewed bites sticking out of cheeks which have to be poked and prodded for masticating encouragement.
8:00 - 8:30 PM - Teeth are brushed, a bedtime story is read and HRH is put to bed.
8:30 PM - Parental sighs of exhaustion are heard, as you struggle not to fall asleep with HRH.
The rest of the night is spent watching TV or a movie or socializing with friends and somehow even if you tell yourself you will go to bed early today, you still don't get to bed by 12 or 1 at night.
And thus dawns another day.
HRH isn't the only one looking forward to the winter vacations.