Writing from an airport in Madrid - very swish, a computer in the bedroom - en route for Marrakesh tomorrow. We just had a nice few days staying with a sister of my ex husband who lives in Spain, someone I have stayed friendly with and visit fairly often. J was in his element, playing with his cousins and their friends, outside in the street. More village life! But no difficult child here - J is just one of the crowd, playing happily and uncriticised among the other children. His mood seemed generally happier, better, as if he really needs and wants to be living like this, surrounded by noise, happy commotion, late nights, freedom - the Moroccan way of life for kids. He was SO sweet this morning, helping my ex sister in law, unasked, to tidy up the house. And he did a really good job too, sweeping up our bedroom floor, making the bed. He was sad to go, of course, wanted to stay. Finding the way to the hotel was uber stressful - found the basic neighbourhood in Madrid and then spent an hour or more driving round, hopelessly lost, with no Spanish and few people who speak English or French... I was all frazzled up at the end of it and stressy with J, even though he was being basically so good, trying to help, making such funny and sweet (at any other time) suggestions. And then I really lost it when he wouldnt cooperate going to bed, refusing to brush his teeth, clenching them, spitting out the toothpaste, etc. I shouted at him and was quite nasty... He said afterwards "I dont like you when youre cross, Mummy. I only like you when youŕe happy. Be happy, dont be stressed!" And J honestly is so adorable much of the time, so sweet and bright and funny and I feel like a real heel and a wretch when I just cant deal with his difficultness which I still dont really "understand"... I just cant (cant find the apostrophe!) get it into my head sometimes that he cant help being difficult - I react like he is doing it on purpose. I feel I have a low threshold for stress which isnt a good recipe with a difficult child... And Im scared about veering into abusiveness sometimes when he is just so damned awkward for no apparent reason. Does this ring bells with anyone???