Today I can truly say that I have kept myself, my own children and some other people's children entertained. After suffering from the overly high expectations of my children in previous holidays and constant pestering to do this and that and generally hand over all of my hard earned cash, I have made a plan. This is more of a survival guide for me, really as pester power is my downfall. I have still not built up enough stamina to deflect the constant requests for time, money and attention my children pile upon me until I snap and the "no" button is pressed. It is not uncommon for me to loose my temper in these moments and then feel so awfully guilty that I over compensate with niceness and fall into the trap of giving in to the pester.
Not this year though, I am determined to enjoy these holidays with my little ones whilst they still want to spend any time with me at all. I am being organised. We have a schedule and I am relying on my Charlie with his delight in sticking to and developing rules about rules to be the enforcer.
Monday - making day
Tuesday - health and fitness day
Wednesday - reading and learning
Thursday - home day
Friday - day trip
Charlie had the idea for a lemonade stand and Josie did a whole business plan involving calculations, profit margins and outlay costs. She researched the recipe on line, looked up prices of ingredients and checked which day would have the best weather. Together we decided on a family of friends that we wanted to recruit as our team, based on the fact that there was a friend for each of us, plus an extra little one to share. We had a board meeting this morning in the garden and then had a fabulously relaxed day in the sun, putting the whole plan into action. Josie and her partner went to the supermarket for the first time by themselves and my mummy friend shopped at the same time for lunch just in case. Following a bit of a shaky start with the smaller members of the team, who got glued to the TV, there was a ban on anything that needed to be plugged in and switched on, all credit to the older two who really knuckled down to the work.
Homemade lemonade is quite a simple recipe, equal amounts of lemon juice to sugar, dilute to taste / maximise profit, add plenty of ice cubes if you remembered to make some (we had one tray and could have done with more). After a small amount of persuasion, my mummy friend agreed to relinquish control of the kitchen to the children and allow them to discover for themselves just how much hard work it is squeezing lemons and which methods work best. They soon chose the "get the mums to do it" option and we ended up with about 1/2 pint of lemon juice. The oldest boy in our team thought for some time about how much sugar we should use and finally decided to measure 1/2 pint of sugar in the measure jug. Sugar isn't usually measured in pints and half pints but it did work quite well.
With the lemonade made and the promotional posters made, the children set about discovering the best way to market their product. They did their market research and sat out the front and the back of the house respectively to decide on the best spot.
Out the back was a clear winner and the selling begun. Daddy was there first customer but they did sell to everyone and everybody. They did very well and broke even and then went into profit. The profit was shared between the four older ones (sorry little one). I had invested £5.15 in the business which I did get back but decided that each member of the team deserved a bonus for hard work and award £1 to the older two and 50p to the younger two. This inequality was much to the smaller ones disgust but they did spend time watching TV and shooting each other with water pistols whilst the older children worked and I do apologise to my mummy friend if this argument was still going on at bed time as it was in my house. And even better was when some other friends arrived and we had a whole sales team out the back.
Josie's best friend Emily was a welcome addition to our team and Michelle, a welcome mummy to the support section. It was a brilliant day but if I had to choose three of my favourite moments they would be:
- A vicar on a bike buying a cup of lemonade
- Charlie using his wages to buy a cup of lemonade
- And the banner that was made by my friend's little one