My nine-year-old son is the center of my universe. This is the story of his childhood as it unfolds. Please read the first post, "Why I started this blog," to know more.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Munchkin is Miserable

If Munchkin is miserable, that's a problem for me.

My dear husband (DH) went back to work a little while ago after spending 13 months at home writing a novel. And when he comes back, he grabs a bite and heads straight for the computer. (One of these days I need to post about the fact that I'm an Orkut/GTalk widow!) Now, although the little fellow is busy playing with his friends until it's almost dinner time, he's taken to announcing that he wants to have dinner at my mum's place. Which we found weird at first but the little rascal is quite attached to her. And given his Coats condition, we don't want him to bawl for no reason. So he's been packing up his dinner and heading down, sometimes making quite a fuss about coming back upstairs to sleep.

Worse, his class teacher at school is not coming back this year. A few months back, she had a severe back problem and has had spinal surgery. Poppet's class got several substitutes until the new teacher settled in. He doesn't seem to like her very much. So he's been moaning in the mornings saying he doesn't want to go to school.

But this morning, he was positively miserable. Virtually in tears. Last night, he got a major scolding and spanking from his father for making a huge fuss about going to sleep and how many stories he could get before bed-time. Earlier in the evening, he had cried his eyes out saying he wanted pizza for dinner because we hadn't ordered in for a long time. (This is true, it's been a few months, I think. And his father took up his cause. So the two of them had pizza.) At any rate, the little fellow was quite petrified at the end of it all and I had a tough time calming him down. Then I told him a story and made sure he smiled before he went to sleep.

Now, I've scolded him plenty of times before when he wouldn't sleep on time. Past 11 pm is much too late for a four-year-old and yet, he would simply not sleep before then. His sleeping pattern has caused huge fights between my husband and I. None of it is Munchkin's fault, his father self-confessedly needs food on time, peace and quiet, and 8 hours or more of sleep and goes ballistic if there's any noise in the house when he is in his "I-need---" mode.

Anyway, this morning he got ready after the usual whining but when I was putting him into the van, his eyes were brimming over. I promised him we'd take pictures tonight - he loves the new camera - and that seemed to cheer him up a bit. Nevertheless, he stuck his arm out of the window of the van as it was driving away and yowled: "Bye, Mamma!"

I have a feeling he's feeling neglected. I've never pampered him much. But the thing is, he senses that things have changed around the house now that his dad has returned to full time work. And 13 months is a long time in the life of a six-year-old. For my part, I've made sure I have no chores to do once I'm home except laying the table and heating the food. It was a conscious decision to be able to free up time so I could do whatever he wanted me to do. But I think he misses the stuff he and his father did together. It wasn't all that much, but still, he's just a kid.

I hope to remedy the situation as soon as I can. I did raise the issue - in a roundabout kind of way - with DH, but he put it down to the changes in school. Before she left, his original teacher - whom Munchkin had quite a soft spot for - had told me that he felt unchallenged in class, bored even because he seems to know so much more than the other children. So one solution is to move him to a better school. Tomorrow, we'll know the results of an entrance test he took last Saturday. He didn't know several of the spellings they asked for but did everything else fine, including the addition and coloring. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. There is one other very good school but seats are subject to vacancies - so we'll know about that only in March or even later.

Also, this other school is quite expensive. Since I am sure that I will quit my job at the drop of a hat should my son want me at home, DH may have to support us all for a while. I reminded him of this - important, because what he really wants to do is sit at home and write novels and make a living from that. He says he'll aim for a better position somewhere in a couple of years. I can live with that. At least he's open to the idea.

In the meantime, I need Poppet to be a happy little boy again. His sixth birthday is just around the corner and he deserves to be really, really happy after the tough year he's had.

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