If you follow me on instagram you might have seen me say recently that Amy has been testing our patience somewhat. I had fully expected she would be a bit of a pain last term – that starting full time school would leave her tired and grumpy, that perhaps she would pick up different behaviours from other children at school and test those out – I expected it. I remember Ben and Chloe being really hard work in that first term of Reception. It didn’t happen. She practically sailed through her first term of full time school full of smiles and excitement – I put it down to her being the best part of a year older than Ben and Chloe when they had started school but no, she had just lulled me into a false sense of security.
In recent weeks my happy, smiley, polite little girl has started throwing tantrums and generally being a bit of a madam. She’s interrupting us when we’re speaking, having hissy fits when she doesn’t get her own way, making horrible fake crying noises and not listening to instructions or answering back. My Dad has always said that the high levels of cute and intelligence she has are a dangerous combination and he’s not wrong!
I had planned to speak to Amy’s teacher this week to check if they’d seen a deterioration in her behaviour at school but as it was she got there first. Her teacher called me over to ask how Amy has been at home as she’s not herself at school – she’s become clingy, wanting cuddles and attention when she should be working, she’s been falling over more and is generally not her usual self. Her teacher had wondered if perhaps she was tired or coming down with something initially but when it carried over into the next week she began to worry that perhaps something had changed at home to unsettle Amy. I explained that we had noticed a change in her too but that we were getting tantrums and strops rather than a need for cuddles and reassurance – but it would seem the two things are linked. There seems to be a general thread of attention seeking and I can’t for the life of me work out why.
Combined with this general deterioration in her behaviour, she’s also testing out her ability to tell fibs – from the simple “Yes I have brushed my teeth” (when I know perfectly well she hasn’t) or “It wasn’t me” to try and avoid getting into trouble or much bigger fibs about where a toy has come (she had taken it from childcare and tried to claim she’d been given it as a prize at school . . . ) she’s going through that horrible phase of barefaced lies – even when I know it can’t possibly true and have told her as much, she still carries on with the lie. This is something I’m especially keen to deal with, I can’t stand lies and have always told both my own children and those I teach, that they will get into a lot less trouble if they tell the truth straight away. I don’t really remember this phase with Ben and Chloe, though I’m sure we must have gone through it as I think it’s a fairly typical developmental stage. Whilst it’s frustrating (or actually rather more infuriating at times), I need to keep remembering that it is just a phase and she will grow out of it. In the meantime we have to keep teaching her that she will always get caught out and that there will be consequences. She needs to know that honesty is always the right choice, that whilst she might still get into trouble it will always be less if she’s told the truth and that, as my Dad always taught me, we can only fix things if we know about them.
So this is us right now, battling and arguing, having boundaries pushed and patience tested – but as they saying goes, “this too shall pass” – hopefully sooner rather than later!