Each time my big boys come back from seeing their dad there is tension, in fact that’s something of an understatement – there is shouty, grumpy, tearful out-of-sortsy tension.
It’s not that anyone does anything wrong or that there is any animosity. In fact it all goes fairly well, as far as these things go.
But the boys, particularly the nine year old, needs considerable decompression before normal service is restored. My friend Fionaoutdoors calls it transitionitis
This time he and I were snappish in the extreme. He was answering back and I was telling him off – ill temper taken as an art form. If there was an olympic mother and son event we would be where the smart money would go.
Add to that a single-minded and contrary toddler with ambitions far above his station and things were getting noisy.
Finally in an attempt to break the funk and, even, get him to talk to me about, we set to tidying his room. The bedroom of a nine-year-old boy is a mysterious and scary place. The casual violence of a shoebox armoury – spud fun, water pistol, catapult and light sabre – cuddled up beside playdoh sculptures and furry things with eyes.
Then under the stuff were books, Top Gear and Blue Peter annuals with Pokemon classification tables and some from earlier. We were book-shelf archeologists.
“I loved this. You used to read it all the time,” he exclaimed clutching a dog-eared copy of Hairy Mclary from Donaldson’s Dairy. “I’m going to read it to C…..”
And before I knew it he was wedged into an armchair with his little brother and a book.