Busy Kids by cartoonist Maeve O’Keeffe

Cartoons from www.frazzledmammy.com, illustrator, Cork,

School’s out – how do we keep the kids busy?

School’s out!   Have you similar memories or funny stories to share? Post to my blog or email frazzledmammy@outlook.com 

The school holidays are here.  Each summer I face the same challenge.  Home with three kids for two entire months – how will I keep them occupied, entertained or better still, busy?…  Teenage daughter will hang out with her friends.  The boys, though, are getting old for some of the summer camps and still too young to send off to work (damn!).

“When I was young there were no summer camps,” I chide my sons, trying to prod some gratitude for the opportunities they get.  However, there was plenty of work, but unpaid!  My mother inevitably had home decor and maintenance projects lined up like painting walls, gates, hanging wallpaper, weeding or picking blackcurrants….  It wasn’t all hard graft.  Or did I sneak away to quietly read, leaving my older siblings to grapple with wallpaper paste?

I met a lady who also reminisced about her childhood school holidays.  “On our farm it was all work!  We couldn’t poke our noses outside the door in case Dad would catch us and give us jobs.  I remember one hot summer we were ‘thinning’ the beet crop.  No sun protection (it didn’t cross our minds.) My arms and legs were raw red from the heat – so much for cancer risk and sunscreen!”

Maybe the kids will be working long enough and should enjoy their childhood?  I remembered a discussion on the radio about ‘Things to do before you are 11 ¾.’  The interviewee talked about activities like climbing trees and building a den.  “Great,” I thought, “This might do instead of summer camp.  Challenge the boys to tick off all tasks!”

I’d looked up the internet and found this list.  The first 10 seemed reasonable:

1. Climb a tree – our scraggy branches have been well clambered.

2. Roll down a really big hill – they ran, not rolled.

3. Camp out in the wild – not happening unless we turf them out some night with a borrowed tent.

4. Build a den – does hammering a makeshift tree house count, with Daddy-O doing all the work?

5. Skim a stone – well bounced, actually

6. Run around in the rain – washing machine wear and tear can vouch for this.

7. Fly a kite – yes

8. Catch a fish with a net – no

9. Eat an apple straight from a tree – surprisingly, no.  Must raid Nan’s apple tree

10. Play conkers – Ouch, yes.

They’ve done other things on the list like pick blackberries, play in the snow and swim in the sea but some they won’t, such as bring up a butterfly, find a geocache (huh?) or make a daisy chain?  (no way!)

Although Junior might tackle some of these tasks (skim stones, catch fish), his teenage bigger brother is cynically past caring.  But if they dare moan about being bored, I’ve a list of painting jobs to keep them busy!

Maeve O’Keeffe, the Frazzled Mammy!   ©Maeve O’Keeffe 2014

Maeve O’Keeffe is a Cartoonist, Illustrator and Journalist in Cork, Ireland 

Contact  e-mail   frazzledmammy@outlook.com or tweet @frazzled_mammy