Operation Christmas School Holidays: Commander-in-chief – me; soldiers under my command – 3
Day 1: injuries sustained – one bruised chin (from scaling the kitchen table during dinner), one minor knock to head during a skirmish (friendly fire incident (between brothers)). Morale – high; obedience – minimal. Some issues with chain of command.
Yes, it is that time of year again – my favourite – the school holidays with the added stress of Christmas thrown in too. So I have decided to adopt a different approach this year and treat the entire holidays as a military campaign. No doubt there will be victories and defeats along the way but I am determined to instil respect for authority and behaviour fitting of those representing their family on the world stage.
I wouldn’t say the first day has been an unqualified success. My first hurdle has been a degree of overfamiliarity amongst the ranks – notably, I have been addressed by one soldier as “mate” throughout the day which is not a form of address that I feel befits my status and as “idiot” by another soldier when I suggested that he might like to entertain himself rather than play Fifa 12 on the X-box.
A second issue that has arisen has been the inability of any of the soldiers to sit anywhere near the table when eating or in fact sit at all. Indeed it has become patently obvious why a “mess” (in military speak) is named thus when you look at my kitchen floor post eating. I am definitely going to have to crack down on this over the coming few weeks and will need to form a strategy for coping at mealtimes (i.e. me coping with their disregard for the food I’ve cooked, table I’ve laid, floor I’ve cleaned etc).
Perhaps the issue which has raised the most dissent amongst the ranks today has been my (some might say ambitious) decision to spend a day without any TV or electronic devices. In retrospect I am not convinced this was a strategically sound decision for the first day of the holidays and I suspect that the person who suffered the most was in fact, me. After a rather trying start to the day, I can report that the troops rallied and even attempted a group activity by mid-afternoon (decorating Christmas tree shaped ginger biscuits). Astonishingly, this activity was completed with minimum destruction to the kitchen and without a single skirmish.
So here we are towards the end of the day. One soldier has been granted leave to attend a local pantomime; one soldier is watching a division 2 football match from circa 1976 (why? I have no idea) and the youngest soldier is “learning” Spanish from Dora the Explorer. I do have to report that the TV has now been switched back on – I do believe it is important for personnel to have down-time before re-entering the fray.
What about me? Well, I need down-time too – leading is so exhausting – and I am going to reward myself with a glass of wine. Mission accomplished – Day 1 completed, all troops present and correct. As for Day 2, we’ll be joined by Field Marshal Husband who shares command – sort of – at weekends. Progress report to follow.