I recently mentioned on twitter how stroppy Daniel has been and my darling friend Caz very helpfully pointed out that it is an actual thing, this being stroppy at seven or the Stroppy Sevens. Or as a New Zealand website tactfully puts it, the ‘sensitive sevens’. I may or may not have rolled my eyes.
I can go on and on and on about how badly behaved our darling, affectionate, old soul, gentle son is at the moment. I could tell you about the sulking and the ‘NO!’ and being ignored and kicking (!!) and shoving (!!) his sisters. The crossing of arms and slumping of shoulders. The point blank refusal to do basic things like brush his teeth or take his plate to the kitchen. The throwing of books (!!!!) and telling us how he doesn’t love us anymore.
The constant, constant demand for physical touch and affection, to the point of literally hanging on Etienne or myself at every conceivable opportunity. I feel terrible writing this, but I am generally a very touchy-feely, affectionate person and I find it exhausting. Exhausting. Especially multiplied by 3. A friend and I went to a market on Saturday and all 3 my children were physically attached to me (or my poor friend) for the entire time we were there. We were a wall of limpets, wading through the market.
But I don’t want to scare you, especially if you are currently trying to survive the Terrible Twos or the Fucking Fours. Yes, I said Fucking. If you’ve ever had a four year old you’ll understand.
We are choosing to deal with it by being firm and consistent.
By firm and consistent I mean we threaten to punish/take away iPad privileges far too much and we drink (a lot of) wine. Etienne handles it better than I do, he makes light of the lip dragging on the floor and play-fights when Daniel punches him or point blank refuses to do his homework. He tickles and tries to drag Daniel out of his slump. Me, on the other hand, I linger on the edge of rage. It feels like I’m sending him a message that I don’t love him and I feel like a complete bitch all of the time, but I refuse to pander day in and day out to bad behaviour.
I realised how much this is upsetting me when I dreamt this the other night:
I dreamt I was in town (as in Cape Town CBD) with the kids and we were waiting for a procession to come by, we were sitting on the curb, right in that bend in the road where Adderley turns into Wale. Daniel was really angry with me and stalked off. He got into a taxi and all I saw was the back of his head as the taxi sped off. And then Etienne was cross because I let Daniel get in the taxi. I literally woke up gasping for breath, realising that it was just a horrible dream. That feeling of my child being gone, ai. No words.
So, we shall rally on and survive the Stroppy Sevens, but it’s not for the fainthearted. And he is only turning 7 on Friday. Pass the wine.
It of course has crossed my mind that we will have a double whammy in 2 years when the girls turn 7.
Girl Moms, how bad is it with girls? Please don’t say BAD. I don’t think I can handle it.