Firstborn is on the cusp of turning four and with this milestone in sight, has suddenly morphed into a cross between Vicky Pollard and Lou (American viewers, click here.)
Trying to get Firstborn up in the morning is like raising the Titanic. Getting her into the bath prompts fits of hysteria, and getting her out of the bath prompts fits of hysteria. Breakfast is a battleground sparked by the porridge vs Cheerios quandary (the favoured dish changes on a daily basis and often halfway through eating). Every request, from asking her to pick up the toys covering every inch of floor to putting her pyjamas on, is met with "yes but, no but".
Today's excuse for not putting her pens away was; "But Mummy I can't help you. If I help you I will die." "Die?" "Yes, Mummy, it's true. I will die and you will cry and cry for a thousand years."
I mean, good Lord, what exactly are they teaching her at nursery school? Winding Your Parents Up (Advanced diploma)? BA(Hons) Brat Studies? A Foundation Course in How To Be Obstreperous?
But the real annoyance is that she behaves beautifully in public. Her teachers are full of praise, launching into elaborate descriptions of how Firstborn helps them tidy the nursery all the time, how she is the smaller children's champion, how she is sweet, kind, has beautiful manners and works hard at learning her letters. Old ladies grow misty eyed at the sight of her innocent face and shy smile. Little do they know...
In contrast, the Small(er) One is now in full-blown monster mode in public and an angel at home.
It's enough to make me want to reach for the cooking sherry. And that truly smacks of desperation.