Saturday

Saturday started at 5am, as usual.

Husband took the early shift, also as usual. He seems to need less sleep than I do, and is also blessed with one of those brains that will switch off on demand, meaning he drops off within minutes of getting in to bed.

This particular morning we’d agreed the night before that Husband would definitely get up if it was any early one, as I’d been up early quite a lot of the week and was feeling tired to the point of not quite feeling safe to drive. Needless to say, I had then proceeded to wake up at half past four, half past six, and finally at quarter to eight – this time by the absolute racket that was coming from downstairs. Quite apart from the noise Tickle was making, Husband is normally very calm and softly-spoken, so the fact I could even hear his voice from upstairs was an indicator that something wasn’t right. The fact that his voice was saying “Tickle you are not allowed to head butt me” was an even bigger clue.

Thanks to Facebook messenger, I sent Husband a quick text to say I was awake, and minutes later heard the telltale thumping on the stairs.

You really don’t need a blow-by-blow account of the next four hours so I shall summarise it thus:

- Tickle didn’t want to talk about his difficult feelings. Instead he tipped over my bin, pulled out my sock drawer, threw a pair of my trousers, and pulled a full bag of clothes that we hadn’t got around to putting away from last weekend out of my room and threw it down the stairs
- Tickle wanted to go to soft play, and was very cross that I wasn’t going to take him. He decided to demonstrate his feelings by throwing duplo blocks at me, down the stairs, and in to the bathroom.
- I decided that I didn’t enjoy having things thrown at me, so told Tickle I was going to shut his bedroom door until he’d finished throwing, to keep myself safe. There was lots of screaming, crying, wall-banging, and quite a lot more throwing.
- Tickle opens his bedroom door, and says “There. I’ve finished throwing. Now can we go to soft play?” I said no, obviously. He explained that he appreciated my point of view, but thought it only fair to let me know that if I continued to persist with this viewpoint he would have no choice but to throw some more things. (I'm paraphrasing a little.) I said OK. He threw some more things.
- Eventually his bedroom was pretty much completely trashed. His four favourite slide/tunnels were in bits. We had lots of discussions about whether he was ready to tidy up yet, whether we were going to soft play, that sort of thing.

Four and a half hours after tantrum start, he was calm, and his room was tidy. We had lunch.

I’d sent Husband out for a run at some point - running off emotions works well for him and he
managed to clear out 10k of them that morning. Outwardly, I was still calm, but my inner peace had been somewhat tested during the escapade, and much as I wanted to give Husband an afternoon off I did ask if he felt up to coming out for a walk with Tickle and me. We’re trying to get better at self-care, and have realised that when we haven’t got much left in the tank we’re better off muddling through together, than one person going until they’re empty and then tag teaming the other one, who won’t have had a chance to recover properly anyway.

So that plan was all fine, until I popped to the loo and Tickle hit the cat. Etta was OK, but Husband had his ‘I really can’t deal with you today’ voice on, so before either of us quite knew what was going on I had whisked downstairs, bundled Tickle in to his coat and had him strapped in to his car seat, with a “I-will-take-him-no-it’s-fine-you’re-not-fine-but-I’m-going-back-to-bed-the-minute-I-get-home” thrown over my shoulder.

Tickle and I walked for over two hours. I went through the whole spectrum of emotions during that time; from quietly seething, to snapping at him, to sending passive-aggressive texts to Husband (poor man), to nearly crying when T said out of the blue that he missed his birth mum. I had hoped to put my newly made ‘list of people I can call when I need a chat’ to good use whilst on the walk, but it’s hard to sustain a conversation when you have to keep punctuating it with “Leave the poo alone” so I didn’t bother.

We calmed down. We tired ourselves out. He hit me a couple of times to see whether I’d hit him back, and seemed pretty surprised when I didn’t. He tried to eat a stick. We drank hot chocolate, and drove home the long way so we could go over our favourite big bridge.

He’d started shouting again pretty much the minute we got in the door.

You know the one thing that really gets me? I was relieved, and grateful, that Fairy had chosen to spend the weekend at her dad’s house. I feel awful for being glad she is away. I miss her. But I am glad she didn’t have to go through that, yesterday, and I am glad that Husband and I had one less person to worry about.

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