Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Terrible twos meets pedantic pre teens

It's been one of those Bank Holiday weekends. The ones where you long, you yearn, you would trade your most perfect pair of shoes for just a few childfree moments. On the whole I consider myself quite lucky as most of the time I enjoy my sons' company, but this long weekend, with the emphasis on long, not so much.

I think it is because we are sandwiched between two boundary pushing phases and any parent knows how much fun that is. The twins are two and just learning the best way to assert their wills. Jonah has settled on much shrieking and screaming of the word NO. Anything he doesn't want to do or have is simply prefaced by a shrill negative declaration, for example "No get dressed", "No go beddy", "No eat bishbingers", which is repeated ad infinitum until you give in to his wishes. I am sure you get the picture.

Zach is more likely to approach any situation of which he disapproves by taking an implacable, immovable stance, twinned with a death stare. So if you decide to move off from a certain location where he prefers to remain he will simply plant his little feet and fix you with a hard stare. Any and all parental whiles to get him moving fall onto very stony ground. You can try cajoling, pretending to walk off and leave him behind, screaming, shouting, begging, pleading and all will be met with a cold glare.

The only thing to do is to bodily lift him and carry him where you want to go, the downside of this is (a) he weighs a ton and (b) it is accompanied by blood curdling screams that convince anyone in the vicinity that you are abducting the poor child.

Now having mothered two two-year-olds before (albeit not at the same time) I was expecting this, but what I had not banked on was the contribution of their older brothers. To be fair to Max he is his usual clumsy daft self, but this does not detract from the fact that his affection for swinging sharp sticks close to tender eye sockets can be the cause of much distress as is his inability to follow even the simplest instructions or to carry out any task at any speed faster than an invalid snail.

Jacob however, has at the grand old age of seven decided that growing up means developing a highly (annoying) pedantic nature, to the point that after the millionth time of being corrected (or as he would point out not actually a million, more like 999,999) you could scream as loudly as a displaced Zach. Perhaps the best way to describe how all these particular elements of create a particularly toxic mix is to paint a picture of a typical exchange.

We are out for a walk. Jonah is firmly stating 'No sit the buggy', while wriggling out of his pushchair into the path of an oncoming cyclist. Zach is several yards back down the path refusing to budge, so my husband strides back to scoop him up, his protests ripping the bucolic country walk being enjoyed by those around us to shreds.

Meanwhile the older boys are engaged in some kind of battle that results in Max inadvertently injuring himself. Wailing ensues, notching up the decibel count even further. I rush over to find out what's wrong and Max announces that Jacob has hit him in the head. Jacob counters "Actually mummy I think you will find that I hit him in the ear, not the head". ARRRRGH.