Having been away at sea for 6 weeks, I fully expected to have to put up with some behavioural 'issues' from my children upon my return. And there have been tantrums and testing, but no worse than before. Until Now.
I fear that my four year old son has been abducted by aliens from the planet of LittleShitville, they've fed him their potions and returned him to me. I am at a loss as to what to do with him. He cares about one thing and one thing only: Sweets.
This should be ammunition in my armoury to be used as a bribe or a threat or a trail to get him to pee in the toilet rather than in his pants. But neither threats nor bribes work. Nor indeed does kindness, praise, shouting, putting him in his room, putting him on the step, involving him in activities or tiring him out with very long walks.
He is determined to destroy the house and partake in violent fights with his brother ALL THE TIME. He screams and shouts as though he is being murdered for no reason in particular. He is rude. Disobedient. Stubborn. He talks back. Lies. And is so utterly determined to be right that he will swear the colour red is acutally blue just to be contrary.
Take this morning as a case in point. I was trying to fold about 8 loads worth of laundry, iron about 6 of them, make lunchboxes, make breakfast, get myself showered and dressed and the boys in the clothes. Running rapidly out of time, I resorted to (admittedly a bad idea) the incentive of one jelly worm if son2 could put his clothes on. All of a sudden he went from not being able to dress himself, to being fully clothed in nano-seconds.
Having had his worm, I went upstair to get dressed while saying over my shoulder that a sweet in the morning was not going to become a regular occurence (he is on very strict rations because if there's one thing he doesn't need it's more e-numbers and sugar.)
Moments laters (as I'm fully lathered up in the shower) son1 rushes upstairs to let me know that son2, has managed to push a chair up to the VERY high sweetie cupboard and has helped himself to chocolate coins. I washed off fast, scurried downstairs with my trousers around my ankles and my hair dripping down my back to find the small boy surrounded by gold coin wrappers and his mouth full of something.
"Open your mouth," I said. "mhmm," he said shaking his head, cheeks bulging. "OPEN IT!" I say. Relucantly he opens to reveal a liquid in his mouth, not the chocolate I expected to see. "What is it?" I ask. He says nothing, just stands with his mouth open with a pool of liquid lolling in front of his tongue. I take my finger, dip it into his mouth and taste it (yes, I actually did that. THAT is what it means to be a mother). Syrup. Maple syrup.
I open the fridge. The lid is off the new bottle and a good amount has been necked directly from it. One jelly worm. God knows how many chocolate coins and a good slug of syrup. Breakfast of champions.
That little incident resulted in a week long sweetie ban. And that much sugar for breakfast might have explained the rest of the day's behaviour, but sadly, today is not an isolated incident.
He then spent the day with his childminder, who has always said that he is an angel child. Until Now. Today she informed me that she had had to severely reprimand him for utterly rude behaviour. Apparently, after she had taken him on a lovely day trip on a train (despite her being terrified of trains), buying him lunch and a toy, and taking him to feed ducks, when she asked whether he'd had a nice time, he yelled, "NO!" And then continued to be rude saying how rubbish everything had been.
He then came home and instead of colouring (which older brother and I were trying to do given the rainy weather) he proceeded to colour in himself and the furniture. Whatever I suggested for dinner was pronounced disgusting. So I ignored him and made a stir fry with noodles which I know ordinarily is an acceptable meal.
Until Now. Today it was REVOLTING. And DISGUSTING. And HIDEOUS. He then shoved his bowl away, stomped off with arms folded yelling: "I'm not eating that. Make me something else!" and proceeded to turn on the TV.
At which point he was told in no uncertain terms to turn the TV off, sit at the table, be polite, eat nicely and follow house rules or he could find a new house to live in. Probably not the best thing to tell a small child, but right about now I'm ready to give him away to the people who look after Tracey Beaker and co. He could certainly give Tracey a run for her money.
He then ate his meal by picking up each individual noodle and wrapping it around his head or his hand or spreading it across the table and nibbling at it - purposefully looking for a reaction - so that after 1 hour he'd had approximately one and a half noodles. Several severe warnings later about how he will have his food taken away and how he'll go to bed hungry and won't be getting pudding, he pushed his luck one time too many and indeed lost his meal.
So now I have a child who I am putting to bed hungry and who has been threatened with household expulsion. I'm not happy. He seems utterly unfazed.
Are all four year old boys like this? Someone tell me this is a testoterone surge. Because he's been my easy child. Until Now.