The Frightful Fours • Angel and Demon
It can't just be me, it can't just be us, whose sweet(ish) little boy walked into school in September and disappeared.
The boy who was grateful, wide eyed and thankful appears to use up all his positive energy between the hours of 9am and 3pm.
There is a glimmer of a good boy when I pick him up from school, as he runs beaming into my arms like an angel with wings, exclaiming "Mama, Mama!" This is a vast improvement from the first school term, where pick up time was a huge disappointment and I was greeted with "Oh no, I wanted Dada to pick me up" and a miserable face.
But as soon as we hit the large metal gates which lead you to a footpath through the village, towards the row upon row of school run cars all jostling for the closest spot to the top of the path, the demon returns.
Pushing his little brother out of the way so he can be the leader, dramatic tears for not being first to touch the car door, or first to be belted into their car seat. As I collapse in a heap, with my hair invariably windswept across my face and stuck to my lip gloss, the only scrap of make up I've remembered at 2.45pm to try and mask the exhaustion, all I hear is a barrage of "I want a snack, where's my snack?"
And then he sets the other one off.
Whatever I have in my handbag is obviously no good, it's not the right snack or the corner has slightly got crumbled at the bottom of my bag and now it's the end of his world.
By the time we've completed the 6 minute journey home, all thoughts of stopping at the supermarket to stock up the cupboards have exasperated, as has my mood. So another Tesco Express run will be on the cards early evening tonight.
It makes you sound like a dreadful mother to experience a feeling of not enjoying your children's company.
I know there is a good boy in there somewhere because we see him every now and again, and it's those moments that keep you going.
Appreciation and gratitude are feeling impossible to teach at the moment.
Of course we know they are unsettled, we all are. We are living and working in a muddle. Not being able to find a house to buy has affected every single member of this family, including the dogs, who woof through the night to be let out of the pink bathroom where they are meant to sleep. Dogs with interior decor taste - they don't seem to like the pink artex either. Of course I spend too much time on my blog and posting photos to social media. Much more fun to post a picture of glitter play rather than actually play. I am not a fool, I can see where changes need to be made.
It's been a month of working around the clock and it's hard to explain that working benefits them in the long run. The trips out, the new Star Wars pants, the parties and holidays.
At parent's evening he received a glowing report, a paternal boy who is kind and thoughtful, popular and funny. I was so proud.
Everyday we start a fresh. Put the previous days squabbles behind us and try again.
Because I know deep down all he wants is to please us, to be praised for his good behaviour. I know he loves his baby brother really, even when he's dragging him kicking and screaming around the hallway by his jumper collar or when they are slapping each other so affectionately, vying for what is perceived as the "best seat" on the sofa, in front of the tv.
And when I feel on the point of tears, I am going to play this video.
But tell me it's not just me, not just us who seem to have bypassed the terrible twos and hit the frightful fours, rising fives head on?!