Day 1 of the holiday challenge: the results


December 17, 2013 by talkaboutyork


I thought I would report back after each day to see how we have fared in the Holiday Challenge. Today was my day.

The boys had time this morning to watch screens while I motivated myself to get out of bed. Then we headed off for Rievaulx Abbey for our walk. Child 1 was not happy when he realised that I was actually serious about this. I pointed out that he would have his choice of activity for his day, which helped get him out of the house but he refused to wear sensible shoes because apparently walking shoes are the devil’s footwear. I tried to point out that it is winter and cold and the ground would be wet and muddy, but he knew best. As you do when you are nine.

So off we went.

It was a glorious morning. Bright sunshine, blue skies, crisp and cold. As Rievaulx Abbey is closed during the week over the winter months, we had the area to ourselves, which was lovely. We embarked on a beautiful 2 mile long circular walk, with a bubbling stream keeping us company most of the way.



While I waxed lyrical about how gorgeous a morning it was and what stunning views of the Abbey we had, child 2 was more interested in finding what he believed was the Whomping Willow from Harry Potter, as seen below.


Child 1 mainly moaned that his feet were cold. Go figure.

Just when I thought it was all going horribly wrong, we found a beautiful bridge and could play pooh sticks, which seemed to save the walk from turning into an utter disaster. Sadly, there were no geocaches for us to find.


We then made our way to the lovely market town of Helmsley for the world’s biggest hot chocolates and scones. Evidence below. I spent £13.20 of my budget on this small feast.


Feeling suitably sick, we went home and I let the kids chill out in the playroom. I’d like to believe that they were playing with toys but I am a realist and am fairly certain they were spawning creepers in Minecraft.

But soon it was time for baking. We opted for edible Christmas tree decorations. When you have two children baking with you, it becomes a bit of a United Nations peacekeeping mission trying to ensure that each child gets the same number of turns to spoon stuff out or measure things. But we got there in the end. Actually that was the easy part. Getting them to roll out the dough and cut shapes turned into a full contact sport, with the kitchen looking like it had been flour bombed by the end of it.


But we ended up with these, which won’t make it onto the tree. The children will eat them. They may have learned something while baking. But probably not. I don’t really care. They applied themselves and learned to put ingredients back where they came from and they didn’t murder each other with the rolling pin. So small victories. 


And now we are about to watch a movie or play a game. They are trying to decide, which is turning into an argument. Apparently family bonding time results in fights. Who knew?  I feel utterly exhausted by it, not least because child 2 has had a ‘yelling’ day. Nigel Latta, author of Mothers Raising Sons mentions that boys like to yell, often for no apparent reason. Today my child decided to demonstrate this. All day.

I am not sure I’d rate today a success. I got to walk in a lovely place. And I managed to get the boys to do some baking. But it was a spiky, argumentative kind of day which may end in me having a glass of wine. I am hoping that tomorrow is better. Here are the scores on the doors and post match analysis:

Me: 6/10 – because it didn’t feel happy despite us doing what could have been fun.

Child 1: a surprising 7/10. According to him the baking was really fun, ruined by his brother and him arguing. The walk was ‘ok’.

Child 2: an unsurprising 2/10 because apparently the walk was rubbish as his brother was moaning and the baking was rubbish because they were arguing and the rest of the time they were fighting and getting hurt and playing on screens. His words, not mine.

So a not very successful 15/30. I’ll try not to take it personally and see how their planned days fare in comparison.  I will report back.

(PS – I could so easily have written this as though it was a Disney movie of perfect family bliss but I just want other families out there to know that even with the best intentions, parenting rarely goes according to plan).


3 thoughts on “Day 1 of the holiday challenge: the results

  1. Potty Mummy says:

    Great idea, and I love the scoring system – may have to adapt it for use with my 2(and, possibly, husband…)

  2. Debberoo says:

    Well I think it was a fabulous day, beautifully planned with a nice balance of indoors and outdoors, treats (hot choc and scones) AND festive baking! Madam, I take my hat off to you! I can well imagine how exhausted you were by the end of the day playing referee and especially as you got such a grinchy score from Child 2 (everyone’s a critic). However, I predict that he secretly enjoyed it more than he let on and that one day when time has done its job of erasing from memory the sibling arguments and cold feet, you’ll hear the words “remember that fab time with the ginormous hot chocolate and the ornaments?”. You did good, you did good.

    Can’t wait for Day 2, I really love this idea of each planning a day. Oh and so nice to hear “scores on the doors and post match analysis” no one says it over here.

    p.s Double good for you for keeping it “reals” with your reporting.

  3. Well let’s see if they do any better.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: