My Son Has Been Kidnapped and Replaced With Some Kind of Alien.

by Lori Dwyer on May 2, 2013 · 10 comments

My son has been kidnapped and replaced with some kind of highly energised, relentlessly obnoxious alien being.

Which may sound overly dramatic, but on some days- like today- certainly feels true.

It came to my direct attention after a few weeks of school. My sweet little man had picked up some seriously annoying speech and habits. Mild mannered swearing. (Poo. What is it with the word ‘poo’?) Playground games. (“Chop!!” I yell after he slams his shoe down on his sisters bare foot. “What?” He is thoroughly confused. “That’s how you play Footsies!”). And just a general rough and tumble, testosterone-fueled harshness in his demeanor that’s never been there before.

“Maybe he’s just settling in”, I told myself. “Perhaps he is just tired.”

The school holidays- marked by ten long days of solid noise and almost continual confrontation- seemed to solidify this slightly obnoxious boy-ism as just another part of his evolving, kaleidoscope personality.

I know it’s probably natural, just a ‘boy thing’. Something that I wouldn’t even be aware of, I think, if his dad was still around. For the last two years, the Chop has had very few rough and tumble male influences in his life. That’s okay- it evidently hasn’t hurt him. It’s just that the emergence of this side of his personality has taken me by surprise, happening all at once rather than through the slow osmosis of continual exposure.


Curbing his behaviour, deciding and managing appropriate punishments… that’s become more difficult. How many times can I send him to this room, before it reaches a point where it simply begets more stress, more pent up energy resulting in more frustrated outbursts? (The answer to that would be, roughly, a few hundred before we move onto iPad and TV restrictions. Which work just as well.)

One day during the seemingly endless school holidays, my son was in complete bored five year old mode- tearing around the house, jumping on couches, harassing his sister with nonsensical rules to complicated make-believe games, and generally being, in the politest terminology I can think of, completely feral. There was no physical violence, no losing control, no real danger of hurting himself… nothing that required refraction beyond a verbal reprimand (“Stop… being… annoying!” was met with maniacal laughter and a HotWheels car zooming past my feet); and I was not, for reason of my own mental health and sanity, restricting TV privileges on a day like today.


So I, half-jokingly, instructed him to come outside and presented him with a rake, which I used to mark out a four foot long, two foot wide stretch of browned and fallen leaves in our backyard. “Rake these,” I told him. I expected him to thoroughly object, and I certainly wouldn’t have pushed it… the idea of forcing a five year old to rake leaves as punishment seems a little bit… Edwardian, maybe?

But he didn’t object. He took to his task, finished, and then resumed playing with the Bump. That frenzied edge of energy had been burnt off. Total win. It’s become the ultimate technique for those days when his energy is just too big for the house.

And thank the gods, school is back in session as of now. Next holidays, I’m planning to be significantly more prepared.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Mel G May 6, 2013 at 11:55 pm

“energy too big for the house” is SUCH a perfect description! Good luck next holidays xx


Miss Pink May 3, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Love, this is just one of those joys of kids. The next annoying step if you will. I was working on something these last few weeks that will be up on my blog next week in relation to this. Kinda. And it has taken me forever to get to this point where I am glimpsing a light at the end of the “fuck this school thing and other people’s kids annoying habits becoming MY kids fucking habit!” tunnel.


Di May 3, 2013 at 9:43 am

Hi Lori every child has his/her currency, its just a matter of finding it! Good Luck


wishihada May 3, 2013 at 7:49 am

Have you got a trampoline? Ours has saved my sanity!! Worth every penny. That, and not taking things away as a punishment (which just adds to the angst), but working towards a very clear reward ..


Kylie May 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm

You have hit the nail on the head.
Real, purposeful work.
Sweeping, raking, digging holes for plants, hanging out clothes ( I once ran a string line next to the clothes line – my children’s jobs were to hang out smalls – a job I hated – they loved it), washing windows, digging weeds etc. You do have to be present though – working alongside them. It’s amazing how calming it is for them, and they will often move on to a productive game once they have tired of it.


Anonymous May 2, 2013 at 11:55 am

I have such a child! My tip for you…a squeegee, some water in a bucket and let him go at the windows. My active feral one LOVES doing that! Keeps him occupied and gives me time to breath!


Fiona May 2, 2013 at 11:57 am

aargh! Sorry, didn’t mean to be anon. I hate it when people comment without their name!
So I am Fiona – I don’t know you but enjoy your blog. It’s real! So thank you for writing.


andrea g May 2, 2013 at 11:47 am

my 5 year old tears around like a crazed lunatic most places we go. sigh. stay strong mama!


K May 2, 2013 at 11:34 am

Well done for surviving the school holidays! It can be such a long two weeks, particularly when, as you say, they’ve picked up all this new ‘stuff’ from school.

We got through the first week of school holidays, and then my 6-year-old daughter begged me to send her to vacation care (quite possibly because I made her help me scrub the walls/clean the car etc), so I did.

But yes, the first week, on the days when her sisters were home from daycare, it was total chaos.


Whoa, Molly! May 2, 2013 at 8:58 am

Child Labour is the best form of kid-wrangling!

No, but really, when I used to complain to my mum about having to wash up every night, she’d say: “But that’s why I had you. Because I hate dishes.”

I love my mum.


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