The summer heat is causing it to all go a bit pear shaped in the Brit Household. I have a routine that I like and enjoy which is as English as it gets which goes something like this.
12-5pm: (once I have picked them up from nursery) various activities with the boys, outside as much as possible preferably running them into the ground. Luke isn't really doing naps any more so it is 5 hours of fun fun fun.
5pm - I start thinking about dinner. The TV can go on from this point, but in reality comes on when I have had enough and everyone is starting to kill each other. This can be as late as 6.30 but usually is around 5.30pm. I use the respite to cook dinner when I can concentrate on what I'm doing and not having to worry about stirring a cheese sauce whilst simultaneously refereeing the latest fight and acting as activity coordinator and retrieving toys thrown too high for them to reach.
6.30pm - bath, pyjamas, teeth, one last (calming) DVD, stories and bed. If I'm on my game it'll all be over by 7.30, sometimes stretching out as far as 8pm.
8pm - And relax: a glass of wine, The Archers (we are one hour ahead of UK time) and time to sit on the porch watching the rest of Bosnian society heading into town.
The Bosnians are true Europeans though. Their children nap in the afternoon up until the age of about 6 but don't go to bed until 10pm or later. For a long time I haven't able to understand this. But the latest bout of hot weather (it's been up to 40C here again) has shown me why this attitude makes a LOT of sense.
No one is outside between 12 and 4. No one. Absolutely not a soul. Sometimes it is just me, the boys and the dog. Wilting. So hot and sweaty and miserable. Even with SPF 50, sun suits, hats and the full British hot weather look, it is miserable. I have come to understand that just because there is blue sky outside doesn't mean that outside is the place to be. Obviously this goes against every English bone in my body. It still feels wrong to be inside when the weather outside looks so enticing.
But I have come to understand that it is best that the kids get their outdoors fix after 5pm. The temperature is so much more pleasant. Everyone else is out there too, so there are others to play with.
With this understanding has come a realisation that we will have to change our routine, for the summertime at least. Now, I'm pushing them to have a nap during the afternoon. Sit quietly. Maybe even put the DVD on (arrghgh, this seems so wrong, against my not before 5pm rule). Then, when the heat of the day has subsided we head on out for the outdoors fun at what should really be outdoors time.
This means bedtime has gone totally to pot. The other night they were still rocking at 10pm, and even being pretty good with it. I've had my moments of stressing about it. I certainly miss my evenings. But the whole of the rest of the day is so much less stressful and so much more fun that I'm finding I don't need them quite so much.
In many ways I'm looking forward to the arrival of autumn, cooler weather and a re-installment of my old routines, but in the meantime it is a case of when in Tuzla...
Emily Vest writes the Brits In Bosnia blog detailing life as an expat in Bosnia with 2 small boys now aged 2 1/2 and 4.
Photo Credit: Nomad Tales