Oh my word, C is hard work at the moment. Having never been in possession of an 8 year old boy before, I don't know if it's common to the species, but he appears to have morphed into a todder/teenager hybrid over the last few months, which has been a little challenging. I, obviously, have handled this in a calm, soothing manner. There have, of course, been no tantrums on my part.
Sometimes it can be hard to pull us both back from the bickering brink. Luckily for C and I, there are always books. I remember back when they were little, I would always feel so very grateful for story time, because even if we'd had a really long, hard day, stories were always happy, always snuggly, always positive. Both older children still have a story, but often it's MrM who gets this privilege at the moment, as I put the baby to bed. I might have to wrestle it back once they've finished with Narnia
I have tried a new tack over the last couple of days with C - engage him in conversation about books whilst we're both happy. We've talked about old favourites, new obsessions (he's currently working through Harry Potter) and the book I'm currently reading for work (Donalynn Miller's Reading in the Wild. Funnily enough, as I was reading a section this evening, whilst feeding the baby, I happened upon a passage about reading forging and strengthening relationships. This spoke so clearly to me tonight. I think, during a testing time, it's so tempting to focus on what has gone wrong, without giving time to what goes right. Reading gives both C and I a feeling of serenity, and a non-controversial subject to talk about when other topics seem contentious.