yesterday. I looked out the window to see if help was needed. No. Stay out of that one.
Youngest Granddaughter of the Neighbours was the problem. She is the one who has been away from school because of problems associated with not eating properly. Over the past few weeks she has had a great deal of adult attention.
I don't doubt that she is also frightened because she doesn't really understand what is happening to her. Yes, adults have tried to explain. She doesn't want to listen to the explanations. She just wants everything to go on as it always has.
I think there are some other issues too. She was away from school for a fortnight and the school did not give her any work to do so now she has to catch up with the others - more effort. It may be that someone somewhere, perhaps even the child herself, has said something and she is now being teased and won't admit it. There are all sorts of possible scenarios.
It doesn't help.
Yesterday the two girls were left with their grandparents while their parents went off to do something - a not infrequent occurrence. They generally like being there. There is always plenty to do. Youngest apparently had one really severe tantrum which involved some physical violence on her part and left her grandmother shaken by the severity of it. Calm was eventually restored.
The parents eventually returned and Youngest had another tantrum. This was the tantrum I could see. She was refusing to get in the car. Her father was trying to get her in, holding her but not hugging her. With all the strength of a furious and frightened six year old she was resisting and screaming. I think everyone in the district, not just the street, must have heard her.
It was no normal tantrum, not the sort of "over in a few minutes" tantrum or the tantrum of a two or three or four year old who hasn't been able to get their way. Youngest was hysterical. It took twenty minutes to calm her down and get her into the car and, presumably, not be a distraction for Mum-who-was-driving-today.
They came back yet again later in the afternoon. There was no repeat tantrum but Youngest was sulky and apparently muttered a barely audible apology before rushing off with her sister. When they had gone again our neighbour crossed the road and spoke to me. She looked exhausted - as well she might. They don't know how to handle the situation within the bounds of modern parenting guidelines - in which they believe. I know there aren't any easy answers and that all the problems are going to take months of work to undo several years of bad habits which have been allowed to develop. Neighbour knows this too.
"Now they have gone, " she told me, "I am going to get myself something I haven't had for six months or more. I am going to get myself a gin and tonic. I am going to sit there and sip it very slowly and read my book."
I wonder whether she finished the drink or whether she fell asleep.