Following a sleepover at his friend Joanne’s house, DS1 became somewhat fractious the next day.

But, before I get into that, here’s a couple of highlights from the preceding day’s events.

To the suggestion that he slept in the loft room, he replied quite vociferously (hence the capital letters): “I’M NOT SLEEPING IN THE LOFT. SERIOUSLY, DON’T BE RIDICULOUS!”

He did.

Once the two of them had ‘settled’ down for the night, a voluble command (again, this requires capital letters for realistic recreation) was overheard:


He’s a fine one to talk.

After being awoken at 5.20am by the marauding twosome – who had left a trail of destruction throughout the house – a somewhat beleaguered Joanne’s mum, for some reason, lost her sense of humour when they demanded a full English for breakfast.

“So close to telling them to [censored] RIGHT OFF,” she messaged.

He wouldn’t let it lie

When he returned to our house, he was a bit tired to say the least. He desperately wanted to curl up on the sofa, but couldn’t keep still – rolling around on the floor one minute, snuggling into me, sucking his fingers the next, in between clumsily tripping over things or banging into the door or a wall, then lying on the floor in supposed agony.

As we watched Horrible Histories (yet again), in an up moment, he asked: “Dad, once this episode has finished can we go and play football?”

Against my better judgment, I replied: “Of course.”

Happy, he snuggled down next to me on the sofa and promptly fell asleep.

Everything was going nicely… until I sneezed, waking the boy from his slumber.

He was a tad grumpy. I think he gets that from his mother.

“Did you have a good sleep?” I asked.
“I HAVEN”T BEEN ASLEEP!” he denied.

He then flew into a rage – alternating between rolling around on the floor, staring out of the window, crying and berating me.

“You are such a liar,” he accused.
“What have I lied about?” I wondered.
“Lies, lies, loads and loads,” he cried, by now hiding behind a door.
“I never lie to you,” I lied.
“You are such a damn idiot.”
“What am I supposed to have lied about?” I enquired again.
“It’s all your fault.” He was now crying real tears from both eyes.
“What is?”
“You promised.”
“What did I promise? … Oh, is this about playing football? Because it’s a bit difficult to play football when you are asleep.”
“Well, we can play now,” I suggested, with some trepidation. Given his state of mind and acute tiredness this was only going to end one way – over-controlling game play and a meltdown.

I indicated as such – that he was a bit tired, not that it would end in tears.


He was. And he clearly wasn’t in the right frame of mind to play. Still, maybe he just needed to run it off.

I grabbed his boots and we made it to the door to the garden before he flopped onto a convenient sofa. He looked spent.

“Do you not want to play football now?”
“No, I’ve got a headache.”

I wasn’t surprised. We retreated back to the lounge and resumed the curled-up-on-the-sofa position.

It’s not you, it’s me

There have been a couple of other similar incidents recently, which all points to an underlying issue – but what, who knows?

As I got ready to depart for London to see the Chels, he rose up in defiance.

“You cannot go out two nights in a row and that’s final.”

Ordinarily I wouldn’t, but unfortunately I’d had a meeting scheduled at his school for the previous evening that I couldn’t get out of.

I explained the situation.

“I don’t blinking care.”
“But Mum’s here, and it’s good for you two to have some time together.”
“I don’t care about her.”
“That’s not very nice.”
He was raging, blocking my exit. Once again tears were streaming. “You can’t go.”
“I’m sorry, but I am. It’s unfortunate that it’s two nights in a row but on this occasion it can’t be helped.”

I felt terrible. Torn between having a life and giving him 100 percent of my attention. But that’s not healthy for either of us. Yes, I accept that separation is hard for him and, on this occasion, I was being selfish – but, as I always assure him, “I’m coming back”.

With the help of the wife, I managed to get through the front door, leaving who knows what behind me.

Ping. My phone soon let me know.

The wife: “At top volume: ‘IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT HIM! IT’S ALL ABOUT ME!’”

Never a truer word.

She continued: “I said to him: ‘You may not like it, but it’s a home game and Dad always goes to home games. There’s nothing new here so get over it.’ He just looked at me and said: ‘It’s a cup game Mum, season tickets don’t count.’

“When I said: ‘Yes, it is isn’t it’, we both stared at each other, smirked and then got the giggles in response to me being temporarily lost for words. And he’s fine now (well not screaming).”

Kicking off

Ten minutes of standing in the playground after the end of school, I can see him still in the classroom, chatting.

His teacher acknowledges me and goes back in to shoo him and his friends on their way.

He comes out of school with a face on and greets me with a sharp kick to the shin, drawing blood.

“What was that for?”
“She had no right.”

Ah, he was incandescent with rage at his teacher for telling him to leave the classroom, which means I get it in the neck – or the shin, in this instance.

“She has – that’s her classroom. School finished 10 minutes ago, and she still has to work after you’ve gone home, you know.”
“She has no right – it’s not her classroom. It’s Miss Pritchard’s.”

Factually correct – he had been in the other Year 5 classroom, not his own – but I’m not sure that’s the point.

Radio ga-ga

The following exchange is from a couple of weeks or so ago now, but it fits with this ongoing pattern.

As it was a Friday and he had been well behaved and, dare I say it, a credit to his parents at a ten-pin bowling party, I allowed him to stay up and watch the Arsenal-Man United FA Cup game on the tellybox.

Halfway through the second half he succumbed to sleep and, game over, I carried – well, more like roughly manhandled – him (he is too big to carry now) up to bed, half dropped him onto the floor and rolled him onto his mattress. For once I was glad he resides on the floor under his bunk-like bed, rather than actually in the bed, a five-rung ladder away.

At precisely 1.16am, the door to our bedroom opened and there was a thump on the floor and an audible harrumph. I tried to ignore it.

The thumping and harrumphing continued.

“What is it?”

A strained, unintelligible cry emitted from his mouth.

Now, as you can imagine I’m not at my patient best at this time of the morning. I thundered downstairs.

“What’s the matter?” I asked, perhaps a little too aggressively.
“Errruuuugggrrrraaa.” Or something like that.
“Please tell me what is wrong?” I tried, more calmly.
“I have.”
“Please tell me what is wrong in English?” I said, a little less calmly.

I was not amused. I half-carried, half dragged him back to bed.

He was getting increasingly agitated. I was becoming more and more frustrated – and the situation quickly got out of control.

An equally irate wife appeared. She is not at her best at that time of the morning either.

“Do you want the iPad?” the wife could have asked him, although it came out as “He wants the iPad you blithering idiot,” directed at me. I may have changed a couple of words here.

It then degenerated into an ugly slanging match between two irritable parents, with a bemused child looking at us with incredulity.

I should explain: DS1 has taken to falling asleep to 606, the football phone-in programme. And, because he had fallen asleep before this was set up that night, the iPad was not in situ.

I got him sorted (under duress) and eventually we both settled down. Peace was restored.

The next day, I thought it best to talk about what had happened and how we could deal with it better should the same situation reoccur. He was totally oblivious to everything – having no clue what I was talking about.

You couldn’t make it up. It was a classic British sitcom at it’s best – although, at the time, it felt like a living hell.

Listening toast

“What would you like for breakfast?”
“I dunno, what is there?”
“There’s toast…”
“That will do,” he interrupted.

Three minutes later, I returned with requested food item.

He stared at it. “What’s that? I’m not eating that.”
“It’s the toast you asked for.”
He picked up the plate and dumped it out of his jurisdiction. “I didn’t ask for that.”
“You did. I wouldn’t have given it to you if you hadn’t.”

I snatched the offending plate and stomped back to the kitchen, muttering obscenities.

Slightly calmer, I returned to the dining room.

“So, don’t you want anything for breakfast?”
“OK. What. Do. You. Want?”
“I dunno, what is there?”
“Toast or cereal.”


I went back to the kitchen, grabbed the toast I’d prepared earlier and placed it in front of him. “There’s your toast.”

Without breaking eye contact with the TV screen, he started munching.

Getting his shoes and coat on was also a joy.

“Shoes on. Coat on. Turn that off.”
A token gesture to putting his shoes on followed.
“How many times do I have to tell you? Shoes! Come on we are already late!”
“You never told me.”

What? Are you for real?

On the way to school I said to him: “You haven’t listened to anything I’ve said this morning have you?”
He smirked. “No.”

Oh, how we laughed… eventually.


  • Clive

    Phew! There must be good bits in between tho’?

    • Phil Clisby

      One or two, for sure 🙂


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