Monday, March 29, 2010

no friend

CofU had arranged to meet a friend in the school grounds on Saturday at 2.00. Fair enough. J and I went with hime to the school to also meet the friend and find out where they were going and what the intended to do. The friend never showed up. J and I were intending to go to some shops about 15 mins away and we insisted that CofU come with us, D wasn't going to be home all afternoon and might have already left. After waiting 20 minutes, we left, CofU protesting all the way, loudly. Then he started niggling a J. J lost it. After some shouting we marched down to the shops in silence. J first, then me, CofU trailing.

How to insult people and make enemies

Yes it is possible to annoy someone within moments of meeting them, if you make fun of their name, interrupt them when they are speaking with an inane question or comment, or tell them that their home country's economy is very bad. All done by CofU, and more that once.

Late arrival

Where is he! CofU usually gets home from his after-school programme 5.30-5.40 and now it' s 6.15! Do I go out looking for him, do I call the homestay co-ordinator, or the police? No, CofU turns up at 6.20, breezes in surprised that I've been concerned about his whereabouts. He says he's been to a friend's house (but they didn't go inside), he doesn't know where, just up a mountain! I gave him a piece of my mind. Spelled our my expectations, he is much too young to be roaming the streets.


CofU even annoys when he is asleep. First he is reluctant to have a shower and go to bed. Once in bed he tosses and turns in the night The tucked in sheets become untucked and end in a sort of nest at the end of the bed, the cover jammed between the bed and the wall. He hits the wall in the night, sufficiently hard to be heard in the next room. He also snores, because he is overweight and sleeps on his back. The other night his snoring woke J who was understandably grumpy (J tries to get to sleep before CofU so he wont hear the snoring), I went into the room and rolled him onto his side, he half woke but at least stopped snoring. CofU is good at getting up in the morning, though he does tend to drift around when we are rushing to get ready for work and school.

sustained tantrum

On Sunday the sea scouts had a raft race, followed by prize-giving. When we arrived CofU and I saw that his friend was in the water, fully clothed. The friend's homesay mother ahd given him permission to go in, as she had towels and change of clothes for him. Thinking to forstall trouble, I forbade CofU from going swimming. The prize-giving was out-doors near the beach and many of the speakers were inaudible. The ceremony went on for 3/4 of an hour so I wasn't surprised that CofU had drifted away from it. I would have done the same but htought that it would be rude. Having found my family I then found CofU chest deep in the sea! He claimed that his friend had splashed him! Once out I told him that he was walking home, and so was I. We had walked a 200 metres before it dawned on him that he was going to be walking 2 km uphill in wet clothes. Such a tantrum! So unfair! Unbearable! He shouted, he stamped his feet, he threw himself to the ground, he lurched out onto the road. D and J had gone to get the car (they agreed that a wet and salty person was not an acceptable passenger) J found us, making very slow progress up the road and CofU changed his wet shirt for a dry one. J and D went home and got a plastic coat to use to protect the car seat and came back to pick CofU and me up. I was torn between leaving him to his own devices and keeping him safe. Horrible afternoon, nearly an hour of rage and protest. Scary to see bad toddler behaviour in someone slightly larger than me.

disgusting vs delicious

CofU sees the world in black and white. Food is either delicious or disgusting. He asks me as I cook if it is delicious, I don't like to brag, but why would I cook something that isn't. He loathes onion, fair enough D and J don't like it either (try to make a savery dish without "first saute an onion.") He also doesn't like beans or carrots or lettuce. He is not shy about telling me over and over, but will eat them. It was funny to see him eating raw carrot holding his nose, I had to sniff my carrot to try and detect any smell at all. He loves lasagne and meat dishes generally. Often he makes himself a bowl of noodles either before dinner or imediately after. He slurps. He likes my meusli, which is a pity as he eats a full cup of it for breakfast each morning and we keep running out of it, but as it is often the only fruit he has during the day... As a 'joke' the CofU asks if various things are delicious and goes to eat them, such as paper, vegetable scraps or dishwasher powder. We have made to rule that lemonade is only drunk at dinnertime, otherwise 3 litres disappears before Wednesday. Speaking of disappearing, 1/2 a batch of afghans have gone.

Monday, March 22, 2010


CofU loves the game Monopoly, he would play it every day, for hours if any one else would play it with him. It makes for a happy and pleasent time, but I've got other things to do, so has J and D just never plays the game. Just as well our family policy is to only play the game for one hour, then cash up. We all know that playing for hours until a player is utterly bankrupt is misery for that person. Playing for a limited time takes most of the stress out of the game, yet still keeping the challenge. I've shown CofU how to do a Suduku, he understands but doen't really like it because it is a solitary activity. J and I will teach him how to play "last card".

Annoying habits

CofU has a range of annoying behaviours. Some are just boyish lack of consideration such as not making his bed and leaving his shoes in doorways.
One that I found particularly irritating was peeing on the toilet seat. I have trained D and J to lift the seat before they urinate, they are very good about this. After sitting on a damp seat (urgh!) I told CofU to lift the seat before using the toilet, showed him what I meant and followed it up with a sign "Make me happy, lift the seat before you pee" He found this funny, but it seems to have worked.
He picks at everything, looks at everything, fiddles with everything within reach...


The most intrusive, rude, surprising boy ever! Maybe not, but well beyond normal behaviour. On Saturday morning D and I were lying in bed, listening to the radio (glad that's all that we were doing!) when CofU opened the door, burst in, came right over to D's side of the bed and threw back the covers! D was just wearing satin boxer shorts, his customary summer pyjamas. CofU grunted, pulled the covers back and left the room. I laughed with shock, D was baffled and cross. no explanation given then or later for this behaviour. We have resorted to putting a wedge under our bedroom door.

Why he is with us

The "Centre of the Universe" AKA CofU has started at NX, it is the beginning of the term. He came with a large suitcase of his clothes and stuff plus school uniform including very large shoes. On Thursday he came with us to pick J up from scouts. There we discovered that he had been staying with another family for two weeks previously. The father of the other family couldn't stand him any more, the other, likable student threatened to leave them if CofU stayed and the rest of the family were only to glad to see that back of him. The father suggested that the CofU was an example of why you should never shake a baby! We got on really well with this other family and hope to see more of them, when the Cof U has left us at the end of this term.

Initial impressions

Our new homestay student has arrived and settled in to J's room. He is a largish boy, between 10 and 11, quite handsome. His english isn't fantastic, but certainly better than our korean!
I won't mention his name, if his mother ever read this she would be moritified. We call him the "Centre of the Universe", ironically, because he behaves as if this is true. He demands attention and is forthright in his dislikes.

Surprise homestay

Early February
We had just got back from our holiday in Christchurch (lovely time) and were rung by Jason who organizes homestay students from another country who are studying at NX He asked us to take on a student and after talking with my son and husband I agreed. We had had students before and they have varied between OK and charming. Our hestiation was over that fact J. was no longer at NX. The boy arrived the next day.