Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Dawdling and tantrums as end of year fatigue sets in

Nearly a year ago now. Wow.
The last week of term. The end of the school year. It's flown and it's dragged. But boy, are the children ready for it!

It started a week or two ago. Missy Woo's reading started going awry. It was like she had a complete block with words I know she knows. She would either sound them out, or guess them. We're not talking difficult words, we're talking short words, even as short as "on" or "for". I kept writing things in her reading record until we all got frustrated and wrote a long diatribe asking for tips as it was becoming a source of tension. Of course, the next book she had she was fine at reading. A few days later, the headteacher took her class and told me the class teacher would listen to her read the next day. She was perfect. Then it dawned on me that she might be tired. So I got her reading as early as possible after school and she's been much better. And I remember what she was like in her first term. She has slowed down. She sat on my knee the other night and I swear that she would have fallen asleep given the chance. It's end of year fatigue. She has it in spades.

Missy Woo is however a doddle to handle when tired compared to Monkey. He melts down at the slightest thing. He veers wildly between behaving like an angel and acting like the devil. Saturday is a case in point. The weather was awful and we had no activities so we stayed in. They were good until I asked them to tidy their rooms and Monkey got quite angry with me over it. We ironed that little kink out but the rot had set in. If he didn't like what I said, he argued or he threw things but was punished. He played nicely for a while in his room with some toys, then Missy Woo joined him and things started going downhill. There were lots of bangs and crashes until I decided to call a halt to it as I was sure they would break something. Monkey went mad. I asked him to put things away and he started throwing things at me. He tried to kick me, hit me - just about everything you could think of. I tried to stay calm and issue suitable reprimands but it just got too much. I had no choice but to send him to bed. I made him put his pyjamas on and got him into bed. I came downstairs and felt awful with him wailing in his room then realised I should have been cooking tea as dealing with him had taken 20 minutes.

Monkey tried to come downstairs once or twice whilst I was cooking but he got sent back. Once I'd done the preparation and tea was in the oven, I called him down. He was still very upset but I made him tell me what he'd done wrong, then say sorry and give both Missy Woo and I a hug. Then I let him stay downstairs if he did quiet activities. From then on, he was a different child for the rest of the day. I felt bad at reversing my decision to let him back downstairs but I felt it was the best thing to do. And sometimes, the parenting manuals don't cover this sort of situation. He knew that, although I'd gone back on the punishment, that he'd be back in bed straight away if he put a foot wrong. Since, he's been much better - we've had screamy screechy moments and a few acts of petulance, but that's it. Last year, he was much worse - I had tantrum after violent tantrum to deal with for what felt like weeks; regularly dragging him out of shops, and sitting him in the car.

So, one quiet dawdler and a stroppy fighter. Not a great mix, but it's only 4 days now. Let's hope we navigate the rest of the week without major incident. Then we can all have a break from having to be somewhere at set times every day, and maybe, just maybe, they'll sleep in! I can dream, right?

To be fair to both of them, they have both worked hard at school this year - their reports were both really, really good. We went to their Celebration Evening to see their school work and they are both extremely proud of what they have achieved during the year and rightly so. I couldn't ask for them to love school more, love learning more and want to work hard. Monkey even told me he was looking forward to year 2  "because you get to do hard things in year 2 and I like that". Bless. I'm extremely proud of them too. They're both little stars.

They've worked hard and they've earned their break. (So have I!) And right now, they need it.

Here's to some fun summer holidays.

Do your children have end-of-year fatigue? Do you have to don your tin hat or deal with a slowcoach? Tell me how it affects them in the comments below. 
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