So what news? Well, unsurprisingly as Saturday was the first full day the three of us had had at home together for about a month, DS1 decided to spend it yelling about anything he could think of. I was not prepared this time - I think I thought he'd got it all out of his system already, foolish woman that I am, so it took a bit of adjusting, but I did my best to rise to the parenting challenge under extreme provocation.
His opening yell of the day was pretty epic by all accounts, and I'm sure our small town's high street appreciated it at 8.30 in the morning. You see, it was the last day of the free Lego, so despite the fact that it meant getting up early on a Saturday and dragging a coughing and sneezing DS2 with us, I valiantly got them both in the car and headed down to WHSmith. (I will keep trying to do nice things for him and I probably really should stop as it never ends well.) I parked where we could see the shop about 20 yards away, and asked DS1 if he was alright to stay in the car with DS2, as didn't want to get him out in the cold again when I would only be a couple of minutes. DS1 said that was fine. Went into the shop, they hadn't got the free toys out yet so had to get them from upstairs, which took an extra couple of minutes, so total time in the shop 4 minutes tops. As I opened the door of the shop to leave I heard "I NEED SOMEONE TO LOOK AFTER ME!!!!" being screamed full blast from my car, echoing down the high street towards me, for the delight and delectation of passers by. He must have scared the life out of the man at the cash machine just next to the car - who had a look on his face as if to say 'Who? Me?' - at this stage I don't think DS1 was particularly fussy.
The reaction from passers by to me as I ran back to the car was quite understanding - "Is he yours?" asked a woman as I sped past, I mumbled something about only going into the shop to get Lego for him and only being 2 minutes, and she smiled and carried on her way. Despite, the general air of friendliness from those experiencing this onslaught of attention seeking at such an early hour, I was still mortified. My best thoughts were just the embarrassment and what a terrible parent everyone would think I was, and my worst were abject fear of the 'what if's': What if DS1's yelling had alerted the attention someone dodgy to two kids in the car by themselves? What if someone had decided that no kid would scream like that if there wasn't some major family problem and reported us to social services? After years of harassment over DS1 from my ex, I'm somewhat paranoid about my kids being taken away from me, so this was not the way I wanted to start my Saturday morning. And to add to the embarrassment and fear, I was also livid that I'd got up early, uprooted DS2 from his beloved vehicles, made a supreme effort just to do something pleasant for DS1 and this was his response. Nice to get a full range of difficult emotions in to the system early on in the weekend don't you think?!
That set the rhythm for the rest of the day, our timetable was this:
- Step 1: DS1 does something hurtful/selfish/inappropriate etc.
- Step 2: DS1 is told off for said thing and sent to his room to think about it
- Step 3: DS1 has a good yell about how horrible I am for sending him to his room and not letting him behave in an obnoxious manner that makes everyone else's day hell
- Step 4: DS1 eventually says sorry and we talk about different strategies for dealing with how he feels instead of taking it out on other people
- Step 5: We put in place things to help get his feelings out - pens and paper for drawing cross pictures, pillows for punching etc. etc. that DS1 thinks will be a good way of dealing with how he feels and agrees to use.
- Step 6: Wait 10 minutes
- Step 7: DS1 completely forgets Steps 4 and 5 and repeats from Step 1 again.
In upcoming news:
- Practicing hard for my first open mic night with my guitar in a couple of weeks - still not quite got the ends of my fingers hardened enough for it not to hurt, but I will persevere
- Parents evening on Thursday - practicing the 'criticism sandwich': " I am so pleased that DS1 is doing X and X, I'm a bit concerned about Y and Y, but Z and Z are great" - currently struggling to find an X and Z, but I'm sure I'll come up with something - he likes school dinners - does that count?
- Another weekend another book festival - going alone to this one, I will be away for at least 10 hours, the longest DS2 has been away from me - hope he and Gran cope - knowing DS2 I expect he won't be in the slightest bit bothered!