Thank God it's Friday

5th September 2003 at 01:00
Monday I should attack some school work, but decide not to. On the first day of a holiday I refuse point blank to do anything with a purpose, unless one can be found for watching Fern and Philip on the telly. Eventually I give in and decide to pretend to be a parent and at least cook a meal.

Neither of my two children will eat it.

Tuesday The sun rises bright and early. I don't. I still try to be a perfect parent. I make breakfast, put out toys in the garden and even tidy the shed. I cook a wholesome meal. Neither child will eat it.

Wednesday I went out today, all the way to the supermarket. Dodging pupils and their parents, I notice things have been moved since last time I was here. I cook a meal for the children. Guess their response.

Thursday My mum visits for the day and my wife takes to her bed with a mystery illness - she stores these things up for the holidays. Mum and I load the kids into the car and go to Southampton shopping for a birthday present for my elder daughter. We pass a fruitless hour in the toy department, spend pound;1.60 on parking and I buy winter gloves for the girls. I know it's August, but the next time I have a chance to go shopping, it will be too late in the season. I won't even tell you about meal time.

Friday My wife is still ill. Mum goes home.I am home alone with a terrible two and a bored five-year-old. They very nearly eat breakfast. Filled with enthusiasm, I decide to head for the supermarket and the weekend shop.

After more than an hour (they've moved things again), I notice the other haggard dads with their children. Why are two children more work than 32? I write this before meal time.

Peter Roberts is an acting deputy primary head - and parent - in Winchester, Hampshire

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