I seem to have lost the Cheetah Keeper. Not as in lost, lost but lost as in my cuddly, smiley, biddable, slightly cheeky, polite and funny boy is missing. In his place I have a stroppy, flailing, spitting, plotting, nastily mischievious and over dramatic child. It’s beginning to try my patience.
With man to man marking he’s a lovely child. His concentration and focus when doing an activity of his own choice is phenomenal (I know plenty of grown-ups who’d struggle for that amount of time without a tea/loo break). When engaged in his school reading book or writing something he’s sparky and enthusiastic.
And then we’ll find something he doesn’t like or want to do. Or something he really wants to do but either his sister is in the way (allegedly in most cases) or he’s not allowed. Then the arms and fists start flying, or he’ll spit or, joy of joys, there’ll be what we call the ‘protest wee’ which will be anywhere except the toilet. This morning, as I was in the toilet (shock horror!) I caught him just about to ‘go’ in the washing machine. The apology is instant – the look of mischief is there. Boys, apparently, will be boys, but really…?
We’ve now discovered his hiding place (“I’ve lost my cake mummy, can I have another one..?”) where snaffled food is consumed ‘in private’ (until I get there and remove said contraband) and precious things are hidden. This week it’s extended to his sister’s insole for her shoes – because “he was tricking us”. He had to apologise to her (the lack of the insole meant her shoes had rubbed) – she took it remarkably well.
He’s driving me quietly mad. But then I think on. The imaginary friends are extremely active at the moment. 28 new baby Cheetahs accompanied us to Great Ormond Street Hospital on Friday, 20 meerkats went to school on Monday and all the Cheetahs came with us when he had his hair cut yesterday. The mention of any of the imaginary menagerie will generally diffuse a situation.
He’s also had a bit of a cough, his excema’s flared and he’s got what are either heat or non-specific viral spots on his chest. He’s not slept that well because of the heat and this half term’s been a week longer than usual. They’re ‘off timetable’ at school and therefore the routine is different, his friends in the classroom are all tired too and they’re beginning to think about moving on from their cocoon in Reception into the bigger world of Year 1. Maybe he’s just got a particularly nasty bout of endoftermitits.
So Half Term will be a chance to break the pattern – nauseating amounts of positive praise, earning goodies and getting away from the behaviour patterns that are producing the friction points. Hopefully I’ll get him back again – because when he’s his usual happy self, he’s pretty damn cute.