Long-time readers of this blog, may recall an entry many moons ago (Blog #20 – ‘Fighting Like Cats and Blogs’), in which I discussed how parents of multiple children will always have a favourite.
If you have stuck with me long enough to remember that entry, particularly through the dark days of the top ten music and film countdowns (look, I enjoyed them), then I salute you. In fact, I can do better than that, I love you.
In contrast, if you are a relative newcomer to the blog – welcome! – or have forgotten the entry I am referring to (I can hardly criticise you for this, when I can barely remember writing it myself), then perhaps you would like to take the time to read/re-read it, so you know what I’m going on about?
Go on, the rest of us can wait, I’ll even give you a handy link:
(Hey, listen, while they’re away, what do we think about their new hair/glasses/boyfriend/girlfriend (delete as applicable)? I know, right? Puhleeease. What on earth were they thinking?! I swear, if I had…. Shit, they’re back….)
Hey you! We were just discussing how much we like your new hair/glasses/boyfriend/girlfriend (delete as applicable).
Anyway, to summarise that previous entry: parents of multiple children will always have a favourite. The preferred child will naturally alter from day to day, as the behaviour of their various offspring fluctuates, but at any given moment, if pushed, they will be able to name which of their children they like the best.
Judge me all you want, but you know deep down it’s true. In fact, over the last two-and-a-bit years since we were ‘blessed’ with Isaac, I don’t mind admitting that my favourite child has often been someone else’s. I just couldn’t bring myself to select one of our two.
But, if I had to restrict my choice to one of our own boys over the past two years, more often than not it would have been Ollie. Don’t get me wrong, I love Isaac to bits – he’s adorable, loving and hilarious at times – but it’s hard to select him as my favourite, when he is the primary cause of my sleep-deprivation, stress, and the fact that my gentleman’s potatoes are frequently black and blue.
“If you talk to me again, I will take this ice cream cone, and I will hurt you…”
So, although I don’t want to place either of my children on an internet auction site at this very moment in time, if push had come to shove over the past two years, I’d have been dragging Isaac down to the Post Office, wrapped in brown paper (with air holes, I’m not a complete monster) to check how much the delivery charge would be.
That was, until the last few weeks. If Isaac is indeed a nocturnal demon from the fiery pits of hell (I don’t care what that Priest said when he came round), then some of his evil power has passed to Ollie of late. I don’t know what has happened, or what we have done wrong to deserve it, but as soon as Isaac’s behaviour has mellowed slightly, Ollie has taken it upon himself to act like an utter dick, and it has taken us completely by surprise.
You see, the baby books (and other parents) will often warn you about new born children, and how much hard work they are, so that by the time you actually get to the screaming and shitting stage, you are at least partially prepared for it, and it doesn’t come as such a shock. Then, once she’s given birth, you have a baby to deal with (joke).
Later, once you have finally acclimatised to the lack of sleep, the depleted bank balance, and the utter horror of finding a brown stain on your clothes at work (‘please God, let this be chocolate’), you begin to hear about the ‘Terrible Twos’.
I initially assumed this phrase referred to the side-effects of weaning your child onto solid food, but as Ollie’s second birthday loomed, it dawned on me that I had got it all wrong. The ‘two’ was in fact referring to the child’s age, rather than their nappy consistency. I must have looked a right idiot, when referring to the ‘Terrible Twos’ that I had suffered, after a particularly spicy Madras the night before.
New parents might be forgiven for thinking that, once your child turns three, the problems simply melt away, and so long as you have put sufficient time, effort and expense into growing and nurturing your wretched offspring, the fruits of your labours will suddenly become clear, as they blossom into a wonderfully happy three-year-old.
Next, comes the ‘Thoroughly Crappy Threes’ (yes, I know the widely-recognised term is now ‘Threenager’, but that phrase makes me shudder with disgust, so I refuse to adopt it – or interact with anyone who does – in the same way I won’t ever use the phrases ‘Chillax’, ‘Brangelina’ or ‘Brexit’).
Regardless of what you want to call it, that final year before the sheer bliss of your child sodding off to school, is just as demanding as those preceding it, if not more so. They still cry and stink and ruin your house, but now they’re more intelligent and manipulative. A dangerous combination.
But then, as far as I can see, that’s it. I don’t know of anyone who has come up with a witty name for bad behaviour from the age of four upwards. There is certainly, to my knowledge, no technical term to explain what the fuck has happened to Ollie since he turned six and, more accurately, since he started Year 2 at school.
It’s like he has regressed to being a baby, yet developed into a stroppy teenager, all at the same time. Maybe I’ll copyright the phrase ‘Stroppy Sixes’, before anyone else beats me to it (bugger, just checked on Google, and someone has already coined the term ‘Stroppy Sevens’, so I might need to think of something else. ‘Splenetic Sixes’ maybe? Thank you, online Thesaurus).
I am well aware that kids can get grumpy, stroppy, bolshy and thoroughly unpleasant when the teenage years – and especially puberty – hits them, but if Ollie is starting seven years early, I’m not sure I can handle it. I’m all for him being advanced for his age, but unless the flip side is that he will move out and get a job when he turns 11, then I’m heading for a breakdown of some description.
In recent weeks, we have been repeatedly told that we have ruined his day/year/life, shortly before he stamps his feet and storms off to his bedroom (that’ll be the room full of toys and nice things, of course), and this is often in response to the most minor of indiscretions on our part – such as asking him to put his shoes on for school, or suggesting that perhaps five bowls of cereal is sufficient for one sitting.
So, whilst I still love both of my boys unconditionally, if I had been forced to give up one of them over the past few weeks, it would have been Ollie on his way to Sandbach market, to see if I could perhaps exchange him for something more useful – such as a new stereo, a PS4, or some magic beans.
He’s on very thin ice.
This week’s entry – which I finished yesterday – was intended to be a tongue-in-cheek illustration of how, deep down, parents will have a favourite child at any given time. No one in their right mind would actually trade a child (well, except for Madonna and Angelina Jolie perhaps)… until now.
Last night, Isaac again ended up in our bed, sandwiched between us, with the sole intention of using me as a punch-bag. He woke us shortly after midnight, then again at 4am, 5am, and 6am, until I finally gave up and dragged his sorry arse downstairs for breakfast.
Ollie is therefore my favourite again, and Isaac is officially up for sale.
I’m not even joking. I was going to offer him to the highest bidder, but after last night, I might just stick him on Freecycle.
If I don’t get any takers in the next week or so, I’m tempted to simply release him back into the wild.
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