apparently need to be planned.
A neighbour came over yesterday, grandmother of the two little girls, to thank me for the marmalade I had left for her. As she was talking she mentioned that there had been a "family meeting" to decide what to do for the next two weeks of school holidays.
There was an activity for every day it seemed. The two girls want to do things - and every one of them will involve adult supervision. Their grandparents have backed off the more physical activities - for fear the girls might hurt themselves. I can understand this, grandparents tend to feel more responsible for grandchildren than they did for their own children. "They don't belong to me so I need to be extra careful" might be labelled as a genuine anxiety syndrome.
I wonder how many other children will be in the care of anxious grandparents who will supervise, or at least be there, for every moment of the time. Certainly I am very conscious of the hordes of anxious grandparents in the shopping centre and at the library.
"I'll be so glad when they go back to school," more than one grandparent has told me.
These of course are the children who don't go to holiday programs at school.
Ms W however turned up, dumped her books and said,
"We have heaps to do as usual."
I investigated. She will manage it in a few days even if she does it very thoroughly - which she tends to do.
"And what else have you got planned?" I asked.
"Well I have to go to a film with... and ..... wants to go to the place where you can do skating and her mum said I could go... and a couple of other people have things planned."
She didn't sound enthusiastic. I waited, guessing what was coming.
"What I really want to do is a heap of gardening and I need to tidy my room and clear out the messy cupboard in the kitchen and I want to make something and may be cook some stuff and shove it in the freezer for when we have heaps of other things to do."
I know she will discuss this with her father. She has reached a point where he will leave her for a day. He knows that she can come to me or go to an elderly neighbour if she needs help. She spends all her school weeks at school in the constant company of other girls.
Although, from observation, she has a wide group of friends she sometimes just wants to be on her own and "get things done". She is content with her own company. She doesn't need the constant noise of a radio and, unless she wants to see a documentary, doesn't watch television. She still doesn't have her own social media accounts - her father offered and she declined.
All that worries me - and her father - is that other people will think she needs to be organised and entertained.
"Kids should be bored sometimes - it makes them get things done themselves," she quoted back at me. I told her that years ago and it seems she hasn't forgotten.