“My brain is wasted on this idiot,” said DS1, as I failed to grasp what he was talking about. I’m clearly not in his intellectual league anymore – if I ever was.

It’s hard living with a genius, you know – just ask the wife.

Last weekend, we went to see Grannie. Something we hadn’t done for a fair few months – the boy being somewhat reluctant to venture beyond the front door.

“It’s non-negotiable,” said the wife.

“Oohh-kaaayy,” he sighed, resigned to his fate.

“So when we are at Nana and Grandad’s,” said the wife, which brought howls of derision from the backseat of the car before she could finish her sentence.

“Nana and Grandad’s?” DS1 queried – the wife having mixed up the grandparental combinations. “Now that would be annoying.”

Putting on a mimicking voice, he continued: “Grandad will be saying ‘Come and look at this box on my computer’ and Nana will just be asking ‘What did you have for your tea?’ I would never go there!”

I couldn’t disagree.

Whatever causes his trepidation, as is more often than not, he enjoys himself once he is out of the confines of our house. He even ate chicken for lunch at Grannie’s, for goodness sake – and he, apparently, hates chicken.

“Do you want to go home yet or stay for a bit longer,” the wife asked, as time ticked on.

“Stay here,” he replied, before flouncing off to continue with the fantasy adventure he was playing out around the house.

An activity that found me, at one point walking around with a mattress protector on my head – don’t ask.

Bedding down

But it’s not all been plain sailing. DS1 remains very much on edge.

By some miracle, the wife has managed to reclaim our dining room from his den. The pay-off being that it has been relocated to his bedroom.

He has one of those beds where the bed is like a top bunk and underneath is space for a desk or whatever.

Not anymore.

This ‘space’ has now been turned into an extra room. Sheets hang down from the top deck, fully curtaining off the area. The chair bed has been moved in, his pillows and duvet relocated, and he now sleeps there, surrounded by his favourite things. It is what estate agents would call “compact and bijou”.

Still, he’s happy, secure and safe. He once told me that the very far corner of his actual bed was where he felt safest. Now, it is the confines of his bedroom den that is his sanctuary.

“It would be better if I could move the TV in here,” he said.
“That is never going to happen,” I said.
“But why, we’ve got two.”
“There’s no room, for a start!”

Despite his new place of calm, there was tension bubbling under the surface, which, like a geyser, erupts ferociously at intermittent intervals.

The setting up of the ‘new den’ was not without its teething troubles. It had to be just so, and the first night it wasn’t to his liking. But it was late and it would have to do.

“Come on, I need you to go to bed now,” I affirmed. “You’ve got school in the morning.”
“There is no school tomorrow,” he insisted. “We have two weeks at half-term.”
“You don’t. It’s always one week.”
“There’s no school tomorrow, you’re lying.”
“Believe me, I wouldn’t make you go to school and walk all the way there, only to come back again if there wasn’t school, would I?”

He was raging, but I managed to placate him enough so that he finally clambered, or rather crawled (as he is now at floor level) into bed.

As we were settling down for bedtime stories, I lost the place in his book.

“I hate you even more now,” he screamed.

Give peas a chance

For a while, he has been banging on about having toad in the hole for tea. And I finally pulled my finger out of my arse and made it.

As I served it up, I rather stupidly put some peas on his plate as well.

“You do not have vegetables with toad in the hole,” he screeched, as he fought to get the offending green items off his plate and back into the dish from whence they came. “You just have toad in the hole on its own.”

“You need to have vegetables as well,” I insisted, then trying to involve a higher authority (Google) to gain the upper hand, I added: “The recipe I was following suggested serving with two of your favourite vegetables.”

“The recipe is lying,” he carried on (and on and on). “You only have toad in the hole on its own.

Kicking off

Later, the same evening, he got out his inflatable ball and started kicking it around the newly cleared dining room. The wife was in there and asked him very politely to stop kicking the ball about because there was lots of things that could get knocked off shelves and end up being broken, and could he either do that in the lounge or his bedroom.

He continued kicking it around.

“It won’t break, I promise. It’s an inflatable ball.”
“Yes, but it can still knock things off the shelves.”
“It won’t.”

He was not to be deterred.

As I lounged (for I was in the lounge), for once on the outside looking in, I listened to what had started as a polite request spiral out of control at an alarming rate.

“I have asked you to stop kicking the ball in here and go and do it in the lounge,” persisted the wife, loudly.

He continued to kick it about.

“If you do not stop kicking it in here, I will take the ball away and burst it.”
“No, you won’t.”
“Yes, I will.”

He didn’t stop. The ball was snatched – and that’s when the real shite spun around the fan.

“Give me my ball!” he screamed.

He was in one now. Flailing arms, squealing and torrents of tears.

He tried to grab the ball, but to no avail.

Realising he couldn’t get the ball, he tried a different angle of attack, launching himself at the wife and putting his hands around her neck.

She pushed him off, screaming at him in shock.

He paused for a second to evaluate the situation and then plunged forward again, this time with his thumbs pressed firmly into her neck.

The wife spluttered and choked, before managing to throw him off and letting rip.

By this stage I had bounded up the stairs in an attempt to intervene.

He sat on the sofa, crying, while we explained (rather heatedly, it has to be said) about the consequences of strangling someone.

Later, after the storm was over and we were just dealing with a light drizzle, I talked to him about what had happened in a calmer manner.

“You’re mean to me every day,” he whinged.

I disagreed. Not every day, surely.

I explained he had the right to disagree with us if he thinks we are being unfair, but there are ways and means of doing this – preferably with a reasoned argument rather than a strangulation.

“But I didn’t strangle her,” he said. “I just shoved her in the neck.”

Kicking off…. a slight reprise

The following evening I was out, when my phone pinged.

“Little [bleeper] has started kicking the [bleeping] ball around.”

Then: “[Bleeping] [bleepity] [bleepwitting] [bleeper].

I did the honourable thing… and left her to it.

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