SO THE summer holidays are upon us.

Already mums have divided into two camps. Those who claim to enjoy every precious second and those posting “where’s the gin?” Facebook gags at 9am in the morning.

I’m up and down. One minute it’s fish and chips by the rock pools, with marshmallows before bed and the next I’m ranting at them for mixing the sun cream and my prize-winning roses to make “perfume soup”.

But that is child’s play compared to the behaviour of travellers, which caused the café in Wild Park to close.

Pregnant Lisa Macmillan said: “I have had boys swearing at me and four-year-olds swearing at me. There was human faeces outside the café. They had managed to unscrew all of the bolts and take the butterflies that go on the shutters.”

A parent traveller defended the children: “Now maybe there are 100 travelling kids living here in the caravans – there would be a big income loss if we were not here. The children come and they are not harming anyone but straight away it is as if they are animals. Now maybe there are a few kids out of order but when the parents are there we correct them.”

“When” being the operative word.

It’s hard to get the balance between being a “helicopter” parent and a “See no evil, hear no evil” (because the kids have been left to it) parent.

But there must be one.

It’s the same fine line between children being naughty and children being children. Do the traveller children know their behaviour is wrong. Do any children, for that matter?

My children seemed genuinely shocked when the tattoos they had been energetically drawing on one another, in my hidden permanent markers, didn’t bring the admiration and joy they predicted.

They thought they would get praise, maybe even a lolly.

They did not notice the black hand prints down the hall or the trail of wet loo roll (how I found them) they’d used to “rub out the wrong bits”.

Yes, my fault for having tattoos, and pens in the house – and children. My fault for daring to go and have a shower.

I could defend their actions, like the travellers defended their destruction by claiming there would be a big income loss without them.

People find excuses for everything these days, rather than take responsibility.

Some say we should have been grateful for the 30 tonnes of litter left on the beach by day trippers because it was good for our economy.

Come again? Actually, don’t. You are not welcome, lazy tykes. I’ve been known to chase a parking receipt across a main road in rush-hour. I practically invented that stupid Pokémon game, just to avoid being a litter bug.

My dad told me something once that changed my life.

He sat me down and told me “Never make a journey empty handed”. Had the bone idle beach invaders known this wee gem, maybe they would have taken their waste back home with them, or at least found a bin.

Apparently there are not enough of them and they are hard to spot, say the same people who spend hours and cover miles to find those ridiculous Pokémon.

A lifeboat was launched from Hastings this week after concerns about the safety of three teenage girls, only to discover they were not drowning but chasing the imaginary creatures.

I think they should have been forced to pick up all the beach litter as punishment for wasting the time of the emergency services.

They obviously have nothing better to do.

The Argus: Child Genius. Picture: Channel 4Child Genius. Picture: Channel 4

ON THE other end of the spectrum are the five under-13s competing to win Channel 4’s Child Genius competition.

Forget making potions in the back garden, these kids took part in gruelling memory, arithmetic and spelling tests in order to compete in the show.

The favourite’s mother has taken time off work to set her daughter three hours of homework a night in preparation for the final, while another contestant’s dad suggested his son not take time out of revising to eat.

Brother and sister Georgia and Stephen from Birmingham are desperate to beat each other for the bragging rights.

My children get competitive over who can eat jelly the quickest and get to the toilet first in the morning. I thought keeping them entertained all summer was going to be hard.

Imagine trying to entertain a 10-year-old who can spell words like synaposematism and is passionate about quantum physics?

I don’t suppose a trip to the park followed by an ice cream and a round of “poo head” would be plenitudinous (yes I did just look up a long word). Just goes to show, there is always someone worse off than you, eh?