Whenever I read the "Good Weekend" and "Your Time Starts Here" ( a quick zip of say, 20q's to people who have made it into the public eye ), I always cringe at the 'your earliest memory' question.
A: "I was 3yrs old and I distinctly remember....'
A: "I was 4, and I recall.."
Because I do not want my son to recall "I was 4, and my mother hated me"
( just to be clear, I do not hate him !! )
We didn't have the terrible 2's OR the terrible 3's .. but all of a sudden we've got this burst of testesterone and IRRATIONALITY. Ok, yeah, so he's 4, but I am flummoxed to how to snap him out of one of these .. rages .. no, no rages ... I don't know .. and the thing is, because he's my son, and there is a LOT of me in him, I can see things .. like the fact he realises he's drawing a crowd of shocked bystanders .. and it's embarrassing him .. yet .. he .. seems .. unable .. to .. stop .. even .. though .. you can see .. he really .. really wants to.. and you know that if you can do it.. he's going to crumple into a heap of defeated tears.
I can't take the boys to the park anymore, because he doesn't react well to going home. He might hiss at me ( like a cat ), or dry-spit, run off, and if I catch him, he might kick or punch me. The last time I took him, he ruined a perfectly *lovely* day just like this, on the side of a busy road. I had one hand on the pram, and the other wrapped in a death-like grip around his forearm, probably causing bruising. I knew if I let go, he would twang blindly like an elastic band right into the busy park carpark, or perhaps onto the road, with no care for consequences.
Although we did go on Wednesday - I was meeting the Mother's Group - safety in numbers. I knew we'd be safe if we left at the same time as everyone else. It's kind of restrictive, but I can't stay inside for the rest of my life can I ? Or deprive him of all outings ? Or me, for that matter ?
Today we had a lovely day, and this afternoon had to go to a major Shopping Centre, something we do rarely because (a) I have no need for major shopping centres, and (b) I have no car.
So we go with Daddy, and only with a reason in mind. Today I had to buy Kris Kringles for my draw with the MG kids. Toys R Us = fine. Product I wanted not there, so K-Mart = fine. Again with no stock, so we started to walk to Myer, and that's when we came across a mini-playground ( f*ck I hate shopping centres with all these things ). So we let him have a play. Best'n'Less is there, so I check out cheap kid's gear ( nothing again ) and he plays for what, 20mins? 30? A good time, *enough* time. Daddy gives him the wrap-up, which is duly ignored. Again, ignored. A threat, ignored, so the boy is physically retrieved.
And, while other Dads watch on *horrified* ( glad it wasn't them ? wondering when we were going to start beating him ? I don't know ), the 4yr old BITES his father HARD on the hand, slaps him in the head repeatedly ( Dad has no hands as is holding him up ), and tries to scratch his eyes out. He just can't CALM DOWN ( he's like this in play too lately - just OTT, which results in toys been thrown around, maniacal giggling, and dangerous situations ) I count down, I threaten, I say Santa is watching, and in the end, I hold his hands down. AB asks me to check his eye for damage. Once, right after the youngest was born, when these fits began, he broke AB's spectacles by wrenching them off his head and smashing them down on the ground.
Obviously, we now leave the centre. No-one talks to the bad boy, who screams and just.won't.stop.whining all the way home. He can't seem to see the good behaviour=reward thing, and the bad behaviour=punishment. We put him in his room for a while and he falls asleep. Ok, so he was tired ( it's 7pm at this stage ), and it's easy to love him when he's asleep .. but behaviour like this just makes me see red.
So this doesn't correlate with the boy of my photos ?
Look, you're not alone .. we get praised in any restaurant, he's a darling at Mother's Group, the Kinder swan over him, he's polite with strangers and responds very well to their praise and beaming smiles. People love him. Even my Mother, who has seen this behaviour firsthand, was totally flumoxed by it the first time, and simply can't understand it on subsequent displays. It does.not.make.sense .. and he knows the more he grandstands, the more embarrassed he becomes, and the more people look at him funny, and the harder it gets to back down. He *knows* that if he just drops the act, if he calms down, takes a deep breath, that all is good again.
Oh - and he's started drawing on walls. He blames other kids - I had to smirk at the latest covert art though ( under his table in the playroom ) because it was signed artwork - no denying that one ( although he tried ). I just can't keep up with all the reckless behaviour, the mess, the lack of care for toys ( he's spoilt, but relatives just won't hear of not giving him things - i've tried ). And ok, we like him to have nice things too, because *we* like nice things, and when you've got the good boy in mind, it's easy to spoil him.
On top of all this though, he is a very lovely boy who loves his little brother so much, and who is smart and funny and wise and sweet and caring. He goes to bed at 8.30pm with no fuss and stays there. He's easy to please, and is a happy boy.
But when he goes off .. well, you've never seen anything like it.
And I struggle to keep my cool.