Regular readers will know the difference between my two sons. At the most basic level, they can be summarised as eldest – hard work, youngest – a delight. But this holiday they have changed places.
All of a sudden, my eldest has stopped bullying his sister. He is actually playing with her and talking to her, laughing with her rather than at her. For once he is enjoying the fact that she is younger than him, rather than being horrible to her about all the things she can’t do. When he is behaving like this, the world is a better place. I am not shouting. The house is calm and quiet and we are all happy.
Inspired by Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, the two of them want to cook a meal together for the family, to help them bond. The Wimpy Kid is 12, his brother maybe 17. They are probably old enough to cook a meal together. My son is 10, my daughter is 5. I suspect they aren’t old enough to cook a meal together. But even hearing them talk about it and come up with ideas for a menu, is a really refreshing change. If they are serious about cooking the meal, they can do it with a little bit of Mummy or Daddy assistance.
My boy is also being polite and doing what he should be doing without being told – like getting on with brushing his teeth or getting dressed. He has completed a little sewing project with his Grandma – making a cuddly toy owl – and is keen to get started on another one.
His only anger so far this holiday has been a fairly short-lived incident in which he felt he was being blamed for an injury to his sister. He wasn’t – both boys were being blamed equally.
Considering my boy has such lovely friends, who can in no way be considered bad influences, I don’t know what it is about the break from school which is doing him so much good.
But where there is yin there is yang, where there is light there is shade – or some such w*nky nonsense. Where one boy starts to behave, so the other one starts to misbehave.
Kids are like dogs. They need to be let out into the fresh air to run around. And none more so than my younger son. Just seeing how far and how fast he runs during two hours of football and two hours of rugby at the weekend, shows me how much energy he has to burn off. But the Christmas holidays, more than any other holiday, makes this rather difficult. It is cold and rainy, the grass is soaking wet and muddy and it goes dark so early. We don’t stay in all the time, but they are not out anywhere near as much as they would be in the summer or Easter holidays.
Being so bright, he needs stimulation of the mind as well as the body. He drifts round the house – a bit of Lego, a bit of imaginative play, some drawing, a bit of reading. But there are two things which draw him in more than anything else – the television and electronic games. This week it’s the Wii. Sometimes it will be the DS. The computer is broken, so there’s no Moshi Monsters. I’ve made my thoughts on TV and computer games clear previously. A little bit is OK, too much is not OK. He gets lost in them and it’s impossible to get him back. When you turn it off or insist he lets his brother and sister have a turn, he throws strops. It affects his behaviour without a doubt.
At other times, he is stubborn. He refuses to do what I ask when I ask. He wants to do things which are unreasonable – like go to Hobbycraft at 7.30pm. When I refuse, as I always will – I never give in to tantrums and strops, he will dig his heels in further. He was quite willing to stay in the retail park car park all night if I refused to let him go to Hobbycraft. He will stand outside the front door with his arms folded and a look that could kill, for 20 minutes or more in an attempt to get his own way.
At the end of the day, the boys meet somewhere in the middle, united in their need to burn off energy and go crazy. The old saying about kids bouncing off the walls? That’s my kids. Except for them it is the settee. At bedtime, they suddenly burst into life. They bounce from one settee to the other. My younger son has learned to do a somersault onto the settee. They jump off the armchair. They pick each other and their sister up and nearly drop each other – or deliberately throw each other onto the settee. They throw cushions at each other and wrestle each other.
This is what caused the minor upset with my eldest – the two boys picked me up, struggled to keep hold of me and dropped me. I didn’t know where I was landing, but unfortunately my daughter was underneath me and I managed to elbow her in the eye 🙁 She cried, but the pain was short-lived and luckily she has no black eye.
When are the Christmas holidays over? And how long until summer?