Dad’s Life: Parent or UN peacekeeper?

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BECAUSE of the extra public holidays, the boys’ Easter break just dragged on and on.

We started with a long weekend in Luxembourg and finished with a short weekend in Glasgow, so the boys could not complain of having nothing to do.

They still did, of course, as we were working for most of the fortnight in between, so couldn’t programme an entertainment schedule for them. God forbid they should find themselves something to do without our help!

I travelled to Luxembourg without my wife, who had to work.

Having both Gabriel, 15, and Isaac, 13, to myself for a few days was good fun, but hard going. I felt like a cross between a children’s entertainer and a UN peacekeeper.

However, we found plenty to do on the ferry crossing, on the long drive down to Luxembourg, during our stay there and in Amsterdam on our return journey.

I learned just how creative my lads can be in finding something to disagree about, and how stubborn both of them can be in backing down from a ridiculous position mid-argument.

Full marks for both of them for use of language, however.

We went to Glasgow to visit friends on the weekend of the Royal Wedding. I wasn’t that keen to watch the ceremony and all the accompanying pomp and circumstance, so wasn’t too worried about spending the weekend in a city which seemed proud to boast that it wasn’t hosting a single wedding-themed street party.

My better half still managed to find a mothers’ and daughters’ TV wedding party to attend, and both boys expressed an unexpected desire to watch some of the service, so it wasn’t exactly Wills and Kate-free.

I’d assumed both boys would be entirely disinterested, but was wrong.

Gabriel in particular wanted to watch the service. “It’s an important event and I might not see another one during my lifetime,” he said.

Isaac just wanted to watch the Spitfire flypast and the cartwheeling Abbey verger – and so did I. (If you haven’t seen him, look him up on YouTube – an absolute joy).

REVISION was also a theme of the Easter holidays.

Gabriel’s GCSEs start later this month, and Isaac had a big physics test when he returned to school on Tuesday.

Not that either seemed to spend too much time with their books.

Gabriel occasionally disappeared into the dining room for a couple of hours while Isaac decided the best strategy would be wait until 9pm on Monday to start revising physics.

“I’ll be able to remember it all,” he claimed, saying it was a waste of time revising any earlier.

My wife despairs.

I take a more pragmatic attitude. We’ve told them the importance of passing exams and doing well at school. It’s up to them to translate that into action, and they’re both old enough to work out their own schedules.

After all, we can’t take their exams for them – thankfully.