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Who’s really winning here?

November 7, 2013

My son and I were at odds this morning. It wasn’t a first, and it certainly won’t be the last. He’s only 9.5, after all. He’s starting to question my judgment and authority. I’ve had it easy thus far. He’s my passive and mild mannered kid.
Until now.
He’s still nice. Don’t get me wrong. He’ll still look out for a friend, and he tells his sister she’s pretty on a near daily basis. His meanness has just been turned up a notch.
We woke up with plenty of time to get dressed for school. I asked him nicely to please get out of bed. I asked five times. I made breakfast, and while he was eating, I asked him to please put his dirty clothes in the hamper and turn off the light on the way out of his room.
After breakfast, I noticed the bedroom was still aglow, and the laundry was still ascatter (not a word? Sue me.).”Boy? Can you please blah blah blah and such and such?”
He sighed that big I HATE YOU MOM sigh and told me he would.
You know what? I had to ask him again. Three times. Patience long gone. “GET YOUR LAUNDRY AND TURN OUT THE LIGHT!” I hate yelling in the morning. I reached my limit, though. “Pick up your dadgum stuff and get ready for school.”
“Okaaaaaaaaaaay.” Like, Mama, you are harassing and nagging me and ruining my life.
“Listen, Kiddo. I kindly asked you twice to do two simple things for me. Three times is my cap. Please don’t act like I’m such a pain in your tail. I don’t enjoy repeating myself, and I’m sorry you’ve gotten the impression that I do. Three times before losing patience is totally reasonable. I think I put forth a valid argument, and I’m ready to hear yours.” Heh.
“I don’t have one,” he mumbled quietly and walked back to his room. I win! I guess.
My kid isn’t a teenager yet, but he’s starting to act like one. As a matter of fact, both of mine have become more outspoken in the past few months. We take a lot of deep breaths, both hostile and to relax, and they’re always doing that “Okaaaaaaay” bit. It’s as if they know I don’t do a thing for them. I’m here to make them miserable, and miserable they will be.
I have an idea. All children should spend one day home alone without adult help. Oh, please, I’m not telling you to endanger your child. We can watch them. Set up hidden cameras. That’d be entertaining as hell. We could witness their utter confusion as they slowly figure out how much Mom and Dad do to make their lives easier.
Disclaimer: There’d be an emergency button or something. We’d watch their every move to be sure they remain out of harm’s way. I’d have it all figured out, trust me. It’s my dream. Let me Live it.
It’d be nearing the end of a week, so there wouldn’t be many choices for dinner. Their beds would remain unmade, with no school lunches packed. It’d be time to pay bills. Someone from the bank might help them write the actual checks but funds would be limited. Whatever remained would be theirs to spend. Ha.
None of this would actually happen, of course. By the time I worked out all the details, I might has well do it myself. It’d be a great teaching tool, though. Why should they be adults before they figure out I’m right? I don’t want to wait that long for them to appreciate me.
“They’re children, Jenny.” I can hear y’all now. Let them be innocent! I agree wholeheartedly. I also want to preserve my sanity. I’m entitled to that at least. I get the feeling I’ll have to wait.
And wait I will. After our spat this morning, I hugged The Boy. I told him how much I hate when we argue like that, especially right before school. He agreed and hugged back. He said, “Someday, I’ll trust you, Mama. Right now it’s my job to drive you crazy.” Touché. Sounds like he’s got the upper hand. I’d better rethink my strategy.

*Originally published in the Metro Spirit, Augusta, GA

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