....... say nothing at all.
That's what my mother taught me.
I've tried to stick to it. Sometimes I forget - the She-Ex is a prime reason why I forget sometimes, and oh my word have I struggled with that since I found something in her email folder to me. (Yes, my email sorts into folders when something comes in. No, I don't check all of them all the time. Yes, I should.) That's for another day though.
We've had T-Boy here for 3 weeks.
We took him back yesterday, and it wasn't until I woke up this morning that I realised just how much stress he was putting on me, on us. It sounds so mean, so nasty to say something like that about a child who isn't 10 for another month, but he was.
In the last 3 weeks, he has been snuggly, he has been polite, he has been quiet, he has been a good boy.
In the last 3 weeks he has screamed, shouted, refused to eat, refused to go out, refused to come in, refused to go to the park, refused to have a bath, refused to have a shower, refused, refused, refused. The AC ended up wanting to hit him because he was being so rude to me. (He didn't, btw) He has turned down food that he has previously eaten and enjoyed. He has played up in front of my parents, in front of my brother and his family, in town - he had an actual tantrum in town. A proper shouting at me, kicking things, crying tantrum. We get them every day, but always at home, and almost always as a reaction to something I have said or done, but this was a proper tantrum in town. Needless to say he didn't get his own way and we had a horrible rest of the day until J came home, when suddenly T-Boy was all sweetness and light.
To be completely fair to J, he always, always backs me up. These days. He didn't used to, and that was ok, because he was hardly seeing his own child (stupid selfish ex-wives again!) and he wanted that child to have a nice time whilst he was with us, and J was tired after a long, long day at a work he didn't enjoy, and didn't want to have to come home to a battlefield. This time, he has backed me up and it has made a major difference. It will continue to make a huge difference. T-Boy is horrible to me because I am firm with him, unlike his mother, and I am thinking about the bigger picture - what kind of adult will he be if he doesn't stand on his own two feet now? Things he has done for the first time with me include drying up, running his own bath, and having a job to do every day. These things aren't his fault, it's his upbringing, specifically, his mother!
When T-Boy is lovely, he is loveable, and likeable, and fun to be around. When he is feeling unhappy, and attentionseeking, and determined to be the one in charge, he is still loveable, but he is not likeable. I explained this to him - I love you, but right now I don't like the things you are doing - and sometimes he understood, and sometimes he didn't. So we ended up with a sticker chart. At nearly 10. It mostly worked, although I had to fix it to make sure he needed to eat dinner at Grandma's to get the last sticker and so get the prize. AC has one as well, and is loving it. He hasn't had a sticker chart since he was 3.
But AC and I now get a few days together, and then he goes off with his Dad for 5 days, and then we get a few more days together, and then he goes off with his Dad for 5 days and we go back to school. The lions share of the holidays has gone.
Today we plan on not doing a fat lot.
Tomorrow we might go to concert in town and do lunch somewhere.
And tomorrow I shall tell you of the Good News that we had this week. I'm leaving it out of this post, because this post is almost just moaning, and I'll put the good stuff separate.