“Today is a sad day [DS1], it’s the day we are leaving the EU,” said the wife.

“Today is a sad day because it’s the last day of the transfer window – get your priorities right woman!” came the boy’s riposte.

Sometimes, you have to love him.

Then you walk into the lounge, see the rubbish tip that it has become and change your mind.

No change is as good as a rest

Meanwhile, the trial that is homework – or independent learning, if you will – rumbles on.

“So, what happened to you doing your homework by Friday?” I asked DS1 last Sunday morning.

“I never agreed to that,” he lied.

“Oh, I think you did.” 

“No.”

“Well let’s do it now, then,” I suggested.

“It’s not happening.”

“But, why not get it done now, rather than wait until six o’clock. That way you don’t have to stress about it for the rest of the day.” 

I felt like a broken record.

“[Six o’clock] is the only option.”

“It’s not – you could do it now.”

“It’s not my fault it’s the only option.”

“I know your head is telling you that, but you have the power to change that.”

“Zip it.”

“But…”

“You don’t get it.”

Well, I do… sort of. But, then again: no, not really.

He stormed off, slamming his bedroom door. After a few minutes, he returned and snuggled into me, evidently wanting some sort of resolution.

“Do you want to do your homework now?” I asked.

He nodded. “But, it’s not my choice,” he replied, clearly upset that he couldn’t change the rule. 

“It is,” I tried to reassure him, unhelpfully.

“I’m not allowed to.”

“Is that because you think something bad will happen if you change the rule?”

He nodded.

“I don’t think anything bad will happen,” I assured him. “Why don’t we do it now, and if something bad does happen I’m here to help you and then we’ll know and we can go back to the original time. But you may find nothing bad happens and then you can go ‘Oh, that was OK’ and you don’t have to wait until late on Sunday night to do it.”

“It’s not my fault, it’s the only option,” he reiterated.

The rule was not for turning.

Six o’clock duly arrived. He sat down and did his homework, in one sitting without any problems or arguments.

If I think back to the ‘fights’ we usually have every weekend (and during the week) trying to get him to start and complete his independent learning, maybe we should just leave things as they are. 

The relative ease with which his homework gets done now (even if it is last-minute) is eminently more preferable. Best just to let him find his equilibrium and do it on his own terms, when he feels most comfortable.

Anything for a stress-free life – should save on red wine as well.

Changing one’s tune

While homework may be a bugbear – is it that important? The Sendco at his prospective secondary school doesn’t think so, so why should I? However, it always seems to be the little things that annoy you – or maybe it’s just me?

On the way home from school, DS1 was showing signs of being in a bit of a two and eight. He was looking for some sensory input, kicking fences as we walked along. 

“Don’t kick people’s fences,” I urged, rather irritably.

I knew why he was doing it, but where do you draw the line on behaviour? Is it really doing any harm or is it just extremely irritating?

He then complained that he was getting wet because it was raining and raged at me because I hadn’t picked him up in the car – before proceeding to jump in every puddle going. 

I snapped.

“Don’t jump in puddles,” I asserted rather too firmly. “Your shoes will get soaked and then they’ll still be wet tomorrow morning,” I added, somewhat irrationally.

“They won’t.”

“They will,” I screamed, for no real reason, other than it made me feel better(ish).

I held a heated debate with myself: “Why? He’s not doing any harm. He needs to calm himself, and this is how he is choosing to do it. So what if it’s annoying, it’s not harming me.”

But once you’ve made the point and drawn the line in the sand, there’s no turning back. Logic goes out of the window.

I took some deep breaths and quietly seethed for the rest of the walk and paddle splash home.

Once home, I tried to decipher what the cause may be. Then decided it was just because I was a grumpy sod. As for him: had he had a difficult day? Or was it because it was the school disco tonight and he was a tad apprehensive? 

Apparently he wasn’t, when I asked. He so was.

“Time to get changed for the disco,” I informed DS1 at the time it was time to get changed for the disco. 

“Get my clothes,” he demanded.

“No, you can go up to your room and get them,” I suggested, probably too exasperatedly. “I don’t know what you want to wear.”

“Well, how am I supposed to know,” he screeched. “You do it.”

“Well, if you don’t, who does?” I reasoned, loudly. 

I paused and took a different tack: “Look, if you don’t want to go to the disco, it’s no problem.”

“I am going,” he screamed.

“Get dressed then,” I retaliated – the brief moment of ceasefire soon broken.

The merry-go-round continued for a while, before we reached a compromise. We would both go to his room and I would help him choose. Reluctantly he trudged up the stairs.

As he writhed on his bed, I randomly pointed to items of clothing hanging in his wardrobe (or strewn across the floor) until he’d chosen his outfit. 

Job done, he got changed. His mood (and mine) lightened and we headed off to the discotheque in good spirits.

Not least because I now had an hour and a half off. “Wife! To the pub… it’s date hour.”

1 comment

  • Sherry

    I hear you Phil!!!! Just wait till DS1 gets older, say 16 or 17, and then proceeds to tell you that if he ever has kids, there’s NO WAY he’s letting them get away with [insert anything you like here], it’ll never happen like that when he’s got kids of his own! SIGH.

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