Builders and Grumpy Bums

We’ve had an interesting and varied couple of days – both in mood and activities!

Yesterday we did a bit of baking…

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And building!

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The sausages are now a dab hand at Ikea shelving now.  We’ve put 3 bookcases together now and we could still do with more.  D was even tempted away from Jake and the Neverland Pirates to have a go with a screwdriver.  I’ve noticed how skilled they both are at matching up parts to their diagrams and figuring out what the instructions mean.  All they need is bigger and stronger hands so they can handle a screwdriver more easily and I could probably leave them to it!

Yesterday we had our builder friend, P, doing a few jobs around the house.  One of the tasks we need him to do is to rearrange our climbing frame so that M can get maximum use out of it again.  She stood on it for the first time in months last week and looked ridiculously oversized on it.  So I asked M to draw a picture of how exactly she wanted the climbing frame to look and P patiently examined and asked her respectful questions about it.

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M adores P and she then followed him around, helping him with his jobs and he very patiently let her help.  P was telling me how much he loves his job and it certainly shows because he doesn’t stop until something is 100% accurate.  M was so intrigued by his perfectionism she was asking me why he likes things to be perfect so I reflected the question back to her, asking her why she likes things to be perfect.  I think she loved that she’d found another perfectionist other than me and her!

There was an interesting moment when P fitted our new dishwasher and put the door on, which turned out to be 10mm too high.  P had spent so long trying to get it right that he put his head in his hands and pretended to cry.  Then he had a chuckle and started all over again.  I could tell by the look on M’s face that she was amazed by his reaction – what a good role model :).

We also went out to Wimbledon to buy some sandals and I got the girls to walk all the way there with the promise of doing some ‘eyebombing’ on the way.  We only had a few eyes left over from some previous crafts so we could only do a few faces but it was great fun!

Today, M was quite down in the dumps: we went out into the garden to do some skating but the ground wasn’t right, so we tried in the road and apparently that wasn’t right either!

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Then I chivvied her into a game of Downfall on a table in the garden: when I play games with M I don’t have to do the ‘lose on purpose to be kind’ thing because she genuinely beats me 95% of the time.  So it took me by surprise when I beat her, and then she sank back into gloom.  I had been busy playing a pirate game with D in the garden and I tried to get M to join in but she tried to take over which made D cry so M sank into gloom AGAIN!

I left her to cogitate in the lounge while I got on with some lunch.  In the meantime, D began weeding and after a cuddle, M wanted to join in.  We had a think about where she’d like her carrots and flowers to be and she set to work.  We spent hours in the garden today: I was thinking what a privilege it is to have the freedom to go out when we want and stay in when we want!

It seemed a shame to stop and go out for swimming lessons but knowing how much D loves them I insisted on going but was met with point blank refusal by M.  She considers her swimming lessons to be a complete waste of time and short of manhandling her out of the house and into the car I had to agree that she didn’t have to do them (also, I can see her point!).

So we got to David Lloyd and the girls did a page in their workbooks.  Both were doing subtractions.  M started off well and was beaming with delight because she had grasped a concept that had led to angry outbursts previously.  She was working out how to do a sum when part of it is missing.  She did the first few ok but then went back to angry tears when she stumbled over a sum.  Argh!  By this point I felt all my sympathy had run dry and after she had said that it was the worst day ever, I tartly put it to her that her moods were her responsibility and she didn’t have to feel that way.  No response.  I hate threatening ‘if you don’t do this then I’ll do this’ but there was no way I was swimming with a grumpy bum so I threatened and she cheered up after a few minutes.  Tsk.

I seem to be talking about M’s anger quite a lot in my posts but it does seem to cast a shadow over my day.  Particularly when I feel I am bending over backwards to please.  I can’t seem to get through to her when she’s in a mood, which leaves me feeling quite powerless to help.

To lighten these shadows, P mentioned to the girls that it was Mothers’ Day soon and they both ran off to ‘secretly’ draw a picture for me.  M in particular is being very sneaky about it indeed!  It makes me glow inside to think the first thing they think to give me is a piece of their artwork – I couldn’t ask for anything more!

Little things:

D was remembering in vivid detail the film ‘The Canterville Ghost’ and was sweetly explaining to me that the ghost had been alive so long that he just wanted to die so the girl helped him go into the welm [realm] of darkness, which was so windy her family could hardly pull her out again.  Firstly, her sweet little innocent voice talking about death and the ‘welm of darkness’ was almost too cute to bear; and secondly, she only watched it once 6 months ago so she has an impressive memory!

On the way to Wimbledon yesterday, we passed a tiny little girl in a school uniform with her mum.  The girl was literally growling she was so angry.  When we passed by, M said ‘she was aggressive!’.  Firstly, a hilariously big word for one so young; and secondly, it made me so GLAD we are not at that level of anger anymore!  Maybe M’s anger will continue to gradually decrease as time goes by.  I hope so!

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4 thoughts on “Builders and Grumpy Bums

  1. I love the eye bombing too! On M’s anger, are you seeing anyone about it? I don’t know what resources there are available but something like CBT for kids might help her to find ways to manage it. And you’re right, her moods are her responsibility and it wasn’t a threat over the swimming, simply a consequence: if you’re horrible, people won’t want to be round you! Good on M for having enough control to cheer up in that situation 🙂

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    1. Hi May, thanks for your comment. I’ve been pondering all sorts over the last few weeks as to whether there is something serious underlying her anger but I’ve now decided to continue unschooling and see if that combined with some gradual maturing will help her to feel more able to cope with what life throws at her.

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      1. That’s a reasonable approach – she’s still young, plenty of time to develop and learn 🙂 And because you know her so well, you’ll recognise any triggers or improvements which might get missed in school.

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