My little Liam turns 4 years old this week… and aaah just look at his cheeky grin and his beautiful bright eyes!
If I were to compare all three of my kids at the age of 4, Liam is by far the brightest, most eloquent, and most academically advanced. His teacher told me that he has the learning capability and focus of a 5 year old. He can read simple sentences, he can spell basic words using his knowledge of phonics, can count to 50 unassisted, and can do basic addition and subtraction. Yep, he’s a smart kid.
But what I’m more proud of… is that Liam loves to learn things. Academic things. He likes to talk about maths and spelling questions for fun.
He’s also very confident. He knows what he likes, and he prefers things to be a certain way. He’s particular and a bit precious.
When Liam is by himself – with just me or my husband – he is a wonderful little boy.
He is so warm, polite, sweet, considerate, and funny (really funny!). He’s fun to talk to and actually listens to what you are trying to teach him and he asks really good questions. He’s gorgeously affectionate (more so than his other brothers) and dishes out the sweetest comments and cuddles ever.
He is a *joy* to hang around with. Even my own mum and dad can’t contain their delight when he and I go to visit them, they are completely enamoured by him. His personality just seems to brighten up the room, and everyone’s lives :)
However, on the other hand…
When he is with his brothers…. Liam is really naughty.
He constantly seeks attention, he always ALWAYS teases and provokes his brothers, he’s really loud and shouty, he wants to be where the action is, he wants to be the centre of attention, he has very little regard for their things (or anyone’s things!), he smashes stuff up, he draws on furniture (and walls, carpet, bed sheets!), he terrorises everyone in the house :(
Every afternoon (after school from 3 – 5pm) if Liam is roaming around the house – bored, with nothing to do – my house turns into a war zone. Everyone ends up in tears, including me. No matter how hard I try to organise the afternoon, it always ends up as a disaster.
For example, one time I tried to get my oldest boy (who is very responsible and nurturing) and Liam to put together afternoon tea as a sort of teaching/learning activity… this gave my middle boy an opportunity to start his homework on the dining table. All they had to do was get some fruit, veges and simple biscuits on 3 plates with 3 cups of water.
I left the room for 5 minutes and in that time, Liam had slammed the cupboard door on his older brother’s fingers (on purpose, because he “didn’t like the way he was humming and wouldn’t shut up”) and then he got a cup of water for his other brother and poured it all over his homework and lap because he didn’t say thank you properly. The older boys were screaming with pain and anger. So I put Liam in his room, he screams at me and calls me a stupid idiot and he trashes his room, bangs on the door and and throws things at the glass window – shouting “I’m going to break this window and glass is going to go everywhere and it’s going to be all your fault MUM!”
And this is only 15 minutes after I pick the kids up from school and return home!! Can you imagine this happening EVERY. SINGLE. DAY?!?! The kids turns into a monster whenever he’s with his brothers – it’s crazy!
Let’s just say that – for a few weeks – I cried a lot.
HOW have I been managing it? Immediately after school, I have to stick Liam in front of the tv, or get him to play in his room by himself. He loves his tv shows, especially Playschool. And he loves playing by himself, especially when inspired by an old set of toys that I have hidden away and brought out on rotation. Or if he’s given an activity that he hasn’t done in a while. Basically, Liam is confined in a small, quiet space for 1 hour – for his own safety!
This has been happening for a few months now and it works for us. Phew.
I believe this bad behaviour is simply related to “being a 3 year old boy” and the surges of testosterone that young boys experience at different points in their lives. I recall my middle boy was also very naughty, tantrumy and very prone to throwing objects at doors…. and look at him now, he’s a a lovely and mild-mannered 8 year old boy. There is hope beyond BEING 3!
I’m sure of it!
And so here’s to a wonderful new year of BEING 4, my gorgeous little Liam!