Last weekend, given that we didn’t really do anything, was (almost) a pleasure. After the traumas of the preceding week, a quiet weekend at home to re-centre was certainly in order.
Admittedly getting him to do his homework was out of the question. To avoid his outright refusal to do it, we try not to say, “Come on, let’s do your homework”, because this is invariably met with a simple, “No”.
We have adopted a method of giving him the option to decide when he will do it: “What time are you going to do your homework? 10 o’clock, 10.30 or 11?”
In this example, his answer will be “11”. He always picks the latest time offered. But at least he has (by stealth) agreed to do it. Then at 11, we’ll settle down and an attempt at his homework will be made.
Not this weekend, though. He had other things on his mind. He was writing a book. And this time it wasn’t scrawls and indecipherable pictures in felt tip on reams of my printer paper; he wanted to write it on his computer.
So, over the course of the weekend, Knight Fight: the Padlock and the Orc Ball, (a Hobbit, Lord of the Rings mash-up) began to take shape. I helped him drop some pictures in and with some spelling and sentence construction, but in the main it was all his own work. And it’s pretty good too, although he does include a song about ponies pooing, using all the alternatives he knows for the word ‘poo’. Fortunately, he refrained from using ‘shit’.
I also spent half-an-hour searching the internet for a picture of a pony in mid-poo.
Digging the scenes
Ah, I should have pointed out that, prior to putting it down on paper, we had to act out the scenes. These weren’t pre-prepared as far as I could tell, more made up on the hoof (very apt, given that we were travelling by imaginary pony). We spent a surprisingly enjoyable couple of hours ‘trotting’ around the house carrying swords and bows and arrows and having pretend fights with invisible knights as we tried to discover the secrets of the Chamber of Móogdooń. This was interspersed with us making a camp on the kitchen floor – complete with blankets, pillows and a special padlock that meant we had an infinite supply of food – reading our books and eating crisps, before setting out on the next adventure.
The afternoon was spent watching the third part of The Hobbit (talk about milking a cash cow), before going back to his laptop and writing another chapter.
Bedtime was an unprecedented breeze.
The book writing continued on the Sunday. The quiet punctuated by him announcing at the top of his voice: “Dad, I’ve written 294 words.” I never knew the word count on Word could be so exciting.
Over the course of the weekend, he’d been very chatty, engaged in sensible conversations, accepted advice about plotlines and words to use in his book and acted upon it, and he didn’t tell me to “Shut up” once. Well, not much anyway. I don’t recall being called a “Fat loser, urine face” either.
Things changed in the afternoon, however. He started smacking me on the bottom at regular intervals, told me to “shut up”, wouldn’t do his homework despite assurances that he would do it at two o’clock and refused to have his Sunday shower.
As bedtime approached and shower time (7.10pm) came ever closer, he started to withdraw – refusing to answer questions and then running away; returning to plant a smack on a buttock. The wife’s or mine, whoever was nearest.
He then started to get a bit punchy and he clambered over the wife and started to pull her hair.
I remained surprisingly calm (there’s a first time for everything). I distracted him from inflicting pain on his mum by engaging him in a ‘mock’ fight and allowed him to let out whatever was troubling him on me.
After claiming he had won the fight he ran off and hid under the covers of the spare-room bed.
I cornered him. Not in a menacing way, it’s just that the bed is in the corner of the room.
“Is this about having a shower?” I asked.
I reiterated the reasons why we have to clean ourselves, mentioned that if we don’t we’ll be covered in germs and get sick (although he normally interjects at this stage with a “No, I won’t.”), adding: “It’s only water and it only takes a couple of minutes and then you’re all done.”
“I hate showers,” he exclaimed.
Hmmm. I needed to find a solution to this somehow. “How about we wash all over with a flannel then,” I compromised. He agreed, reluctantly. I managed to steer him into the bathroom and we got the deed done.
Personally, I think the shower would have been quicker and easier, but, hey, who am I to argue.