Husband is currently on the other side of the country for work-related stuff. Last night he had dinner at the home of a colleague who went out of his way to apologise for his 3 and 5 year olds. He explained that they can be really naughty and sometimes jump on the furniture. This is not the first, second or even third time that John has had to stop himself from telling said friends/colleagues that they don't know they're living.
I describe our 5 as "feisty". Some who have met them, or witnessed their behaviour, might go so far as to call them "feral". While we discussed this on the phone this morning I said that we have to accept that the gene pool was never going to provide us with calm, quiet, peaceable children. If I ask one of them to do something, it's as though they see it as a challenge or a dare. For example I might say "stop jumping on the sofa" the response to which might be the child in question eye-balling me as they jump on it again. Do they like to be told off? Nagged? Shouted at? I don't know. Life could be so much quieter. If I say "No" to some request in the shop, we generally don't get tantrums but there may well be strong requests for me to explain "Why not?" to which I often eventually resort to "Because I said so" or even just "Because" when all my other answers are rejected.
I occasionally look after a lovely friend's kids before school and she always asks if they have behaved. They rarely speak and are beautifully mannered, I am sure that the same can not be said when she returns the favour with Joseph and Meg who are capable of beautiful manners and being cooperative for others, but never quiet or calm. Ever since they were tiny we have had to tell them all not to talk to strangers, not in response, but just to leave strangers alone! This was seen yesterday in Aldi when Robert grilled a poor lady about the contents of her shopping basket, demanding to know if she had a dog "because you have dog treats". They have, none of them, ever been backwards about coming forwards!
I have to look on the positive side and say that while we may have to put up with a very noisy, sometimes challenging house, our kids will reply when addressed by grown ups and can hold a sensible conversation when necessary. They have strong opinions, can express themselves articulately and do not feel in the slightest bit swayed by what others in their classes or friendship groups think. They are mostly confident and are learning to deal with issues of temper and the urge to 'discuss' things at top volume...
Having said that, it would be so lovely to ask children to do something and have them just do it the first time without questions, debate or threats!