Keep your distance, I’ve got Endoftermitis

Endoftermitis [End-of-term-aye-tis] A rapid decline in the energy and enthusiasm required to make it to the end of term. Specific to parents, it is an acute form of the more universal Ineedagoddamnbreakulosis [I-need-a-god-damn-break-ul-o-sis], which in turn entails a rapid decline in the energy and enthusiasm required to make it through the working week when you haven’t had a holiday in sodding ages.

Symptoms include: fatigue, short-term memory loss, confusion, mood swings, forced cheer, increased alcohol and chocolate consumption, constipation due to not having time to go for a shit. Knock-on symptoms: frustration from failure to commit to pre-holiday diet and convert muffin-top to six-pack in time for the beach.

Endoftermitis is pretty much unavoidable unless your daily attire consists of a flappy red cape with matching pants and boots. It tends to be most prevalent in July, when the amount of information a school sends its pupils’ parents suddenly soars like a package holiday’s price tag.

Being under info-siege can be overwhelming for even the most organised person. Basically, throughout the month of July, if your child is going to school with no more than a lunch box and water bottle in their bag, then clearly something is very wrong. They should be carrying at least one of the following:

• home-made Viking ship

• permission slip for outing

• money to spend at Year 6 business enterprise sale

• costume for Viking/Tudor/Victorian Day

• costume for end of term concert/play

• a green/red/yellow/blue T-shirt for sports day

• their own clothes for non-uniform day

• model made out of fruit for the model made out of fruit competition

• second-hand toys for the school fair

• order form for school photos

• sponsorship form for latest sporting fundraiser

• raffle ticket stubs

• form acknowledging school report

• bottle of booze for school fair tombola (You might want to carry this last one for them, although if, due to Endoftermitis you’re tempted to neck it en route, then pass quickly back to child.)

The more children you have, the more the list multiplies. And there I was, many years ago, thinking that the world population explosion was the strongest argument against having kids. Now I know better.

It may only be for a few weeks, but the knock-on effects of Endoftermitis brought on by info-siege can be sprawling and profound. While you’re juggling normal life (which gets busy anyway in July because that’s when everyone wants to take advantage of the great British weather to get married/celebrate their birthday/organise a reunion or whatever) if you take on just one extra task, it can send you over the edge.

For example, I agreed to feed my neighbour’s hamsters while they were away on holiday. Fearing I was likely to forget this chore, I pinned up a giant sign on the inside of my front door to remind me – a sign so large, fluorescent, loud and foreboding (DO NOT FORGET TO FEED RONNIE AND REGGIE OR THEY WILL DIE!!!!) that nobody could possibly fail to notice it. Apart from me. Of course, there is a plus side to having put Ronnie and Reggie on a crash diet: I won’t be asked to feed anyone’s pets ever again, thus shortening all future July To Do lists. Kerpow!

If you’ve experienced any of the following recently, then it’s likely you’ve got Endoftermitis:

• turning up at school to collect your child having forgotten they’re going to Alfie’s house for tea.

• not turning up at school to collect your child in the belief that they’re going to Alfie’s house for tea, only to get a phonecall from an unimpressed teacher who is waiting impatiently for you to come and pick up your child and Alfie, who’s coming to your house for tea. It’s on the calendar. No it’s not, but it should be.

• telling the above anecdote to the same person twice in one day. And a third time a week later.

• telling the above anecdote to Alfie’s mum, forgetting it was her child who you left stranded at school with yours.

• experiencing sudden dizziness brought on by talking to your child’s teacher, whose voice seems to be hitting you from all directions in an empty classroom. This is not Endoftermitis Vertigolis, but the fact that Mrs O’Keefe (who has far worse Endoftermitis than you) still has her induction loop microphone on.

• waving to someone you don’t know.

• blanking someone you do know.

• trying to sit through an extra-long special assembly while your bowels are trying to tell you something: it’s now or never for that poo window.