I suppose one is always hormonal, and that's a good thing, but extra hormonal, let's say. Also, I have a giant zit at the edge of my eye socket, of all places, which is a dead giveaway. Better than the tip of my nose, I suppose, as my glasses frames hide it a little. The two-inch-thick layer of concealer also hides it a little, but only a little.
I mailed KeAnne's cookies this morning, so now I'm just frittering away the rest of my time before I have to get Mabel from school. It's the first time for a while I've had nothing to do (housework, shmousework, I'm sure you'll agree), so I'm just doing nothing.
Maybe another cup of tea.
So, anyway. At the moment we are experimenting in giving the six-year-old more autonomy. I think that's what we're doing, while also, of course, providing firm boundaries and limits for him to continue to test with all his might and main. Our two main areas of battle lately have been i) homework and ii) bedtime.
So, as promised, yesterday I told him about his homework twice and left it at that. He didn't do it. This morning he got up and did it. It was not quite painless, as he was still finding it hard to focus, and breakfast time isn't the best time to work, but on the other hand he sat down and did it. Then he read for 20 minutes with me before he got dressed. Reading in the morning is definitely easier for him than reading at night, but, again, it cuts into the time when preparation for school should be happening, leaving us without any extra room for manoever.
On the plus side, yesterday afternoon was delightfully stress-free for all of us, and I enjoyed it much more that way. He probably did too.
Bedtime has been a bear lately. Last week B had extra choir rehearsals and then three concerts, so I did a lot of solo bedtimes, and they weren't good. They were pretty horrible, really, with an extra half hour of both children ignoring me, and then 40 minutes of insane manic yelling and running around (them), and a lot of shouting (me), and some locking myself in the bathroom before I did something I'd regret, and finally things would calm down, and Dash would have to use the toilet, and I'd take the opportunity to put Mabel to sleep, and once she was out of the picture he'd get to bed. Eventually.
The thing is that the lure of stories just hasn't been so lure-y of late. Telling him that "At 8pm I'm not reading any more, so you have to be ready before then," doesn't work. He still demands the stories, and by then it's 8:30 and you're so worn down that you think he'll probably leap out of bed and wake his sister and run rampage all over again, so you read them anyway. Not good for any of us. Not enforcing limits. Not setting boundaries. Not enjoying it.
Two nights ago, when B was back for our regular routine and I was trying to get Mabel to sleep while listening to their usual back-and-forth over "Do you WANT stories?" a thought occurred to me. Why not just read the stories first, and let Dash put himself to bed after that? It's all the waiting round through his interminable nighttime routine that infuriates the waiting adult; if we take that out of the equation, the pressure is off.
So for the past couple of nights B has read stories first, and then Dash has pottered around getting himself ready for bed and putting himself into it at his own daydreamy pace, without infuriating anyone because nobody was waiting for him any more. And because nobody's waiting and badgering him to do it, he just does it. He likes the independence, and it's not as if he needs us to supervise at this stage anyway.
It's such a simple change, but it seems to go against everything we expected: surely every child wants to get into bed and be read stories and be kissed goodnight and tucked in. It has probably been staring me in the face for ages, but it took this long to percolate through. I think it was only because I was once again an observer, listening to the same old futile arguments, that I could think clearly enough to come up with an improvement.
We'll see how it goes, anyway.