A weekend with hormonal kids
Four kids can be quite testing, especially with one teen and two ‘tweens’, all three being hormonal kids. Add a good dose of tiredness and all of a sudden you have an explosive mix.
To say that my four showed friction this weekend is an understatement. The eldest returned home from being at Adventure Island all day, and having had a late night at a sleepover the previous evening. That same evening, my middle daughter was still wide awake at midnight, despite my best efforts to get her to sleep.
I knew that we’d be in for a long weekend when the shouting matches began early on Saturday morning. After going round to visit my mum, who did the standard grandparent thing of giving the kids as much sugar as humanly possible (I swear she must have shares in Tate and Lyle), we decided to go to a park to burn off some energy. Naturally, one of the kids didn’t want to go to the local park, instead preferring one closer to town. The other three stood their ground and there ended up being an almighty row between them, mainly the two eldest. I felt like I was in a verbal warzone, with insults being thrown left and right, and mouths being engaged before brains.
I got accused of taking sides, and in the end chose to bundle all four of them in the car and head home, but not before having given my 13 year old a smack on the arm for kicking her sister as hard as she could. With the two eldest either crying or close to tears, we had a fraught ten minute journey home where my eldest chose to tell me what a bad parent I was. Got to love hormones, huh?
We got back to the flat and I asked the three youngest to get out of the car and stand by the front door. With the car doors shut I sat talking to my eldest to try and resolve things. I hate arguments at the best of times, but when they are borne of tiredness and frustration (and I include myself in that), it’s even worse. We talked as adults and got things out in the open. I then left her in the car as I went to speak to her sister to try and iron things out there. Ten minutes later, and a few cuddles too, we seemed to be back on fairly even ground.
It wasn’t the end of the arguments for the weekend though, but fortunately they never quite reached that pitch again. I’m not sure my neighbours appreciated the thirty minutes of shouting that took place at 9am while everyone argued (unsuccessfully) where they should all go today. Eventually I put my foot down and declared that neither side would be allowed to choose and instead I would decided where we’d head. The decision wasn’t met with fanatical support, but by now I was in full on “Angry Dad” mode and wasn’t for turning.
The weekend ended with a thirty minute trip to a different park, where the kids played together as though they’d never had a cross word between them.
This coming week I have the kids for a full week. Since splitting with my ex wife, this is the agreement we’ve had in place, and though I look forward to spending more time with them, it shows how long I’ve lived apart from them. Trying to get them into a routine that fits with my day is hard, and even trying to keep the same routine that they have at their mums is difficult just given they are in different surroundings. My flat is also much smaller than their home, so they will be spending a lot of time on top of one another, with little room to escape.
The days with them will be broken up by school visits, which suits me in a lot of ways, and I’ve no doubt there will be an evening or two that we have stuff to do outside of the flat. I still worry how it will go though, but then I also know that this is an annual concern which never really materialises into anything bad.
Early nights and extra sleep are on the menu for all five of us. Now if you’ll wish me luck and pass me that shield please…