The girls are now well into the swing of things, school-wise. They started After-School Club this week (for the 3 days I’m in the office) and their teachers tell us they’re doing really well.
G. Oh my goodness. We went through a tricky phase with her earlier in the year and in the summer thought we had cracked it as her behaviour was markedly better. How wrong we were. She’s putting so much into school in terms of learning, making friends, etc that she’s being an absolute monster at home. The moment we pick her up she turns. One minute she’s a smiling, bright, sociable, chatty little thing and the next second, once we get home and close the front door, she turns into a screaming, hysterical monster.
A example: I picked the girls up from After School Club for the first time on Monday. Their carers told me how lovely they had been, how they had eaten all of their food and were playing nicely with the other children. I went over to R and G to say hello. G looked at me and said ‘I’m only coming home with you if you let me watch telly’. I said no because it was very late and it was almost bedtime. G kept repeating the TV request, turning up the volume each time. I ignored her. I chatted to R (who was, thankfully, much more amenable) and we made it home despite G’s mulishness.
G launched a full-on attack the moment she took her book bag off. She screamed I WANT TO WATCH TELLY, sank to her knees in the hallway and let out a scream that would have shattered crystal
if we had any. It’s tempting to go into uber militant parent at this point and frogmarch her to her bedroom for time-out. We have done this. Instead I went into the dining room, poured the girls a cup of milk each and pulled G onto my lap. I gave her a huge cuddle, stroked her hair, rocked her gently and made soothing noises until she calmed down.
She is actually, properly, stressed. She’s the lone wolf on her class (which she relishes as she gets to boss everyone around) and her efforts to befriend every single one of the 29 other children in her class are clearly wearing her out. I thought she might be telling a little fib about the number of friends she’d made but we took the girls to the school disco on Friday night and lost count of the number of children that came running up to us screeching GRAAAAAACE and hugging her. (R also has quite a few friends but doesn’t make them quite as easily as G.)
It’s hard to get a handle on what they’re up to school-wise and they aren’t exactly forthcoming with details. They’re obviously learning letters and sounds and all the other stuff that Reception class kids do. If I ask, they tell me nothing but G’s letter recognition has come on leaps and bounds and R surprised us both by writing out a whole stream of well-formed letter yesterday. The learning is obviously lodging in there somewhere.
I think we have to be patient with G, which is bloody hard at times. I’ve been warned that it may take a few weeks for her to settle down. There’s definitely a pattern though. Every time G has done something new, or gone through a developmental stage, we’ve suffered. When she was a baby it used to manifest itself as difficulty sleeping, or getting to sleep. Now she takes it out on us. She’s going to be a complete and utter joy when she’s doing exams.
I’m buying a one-way ticket to Peru.