Earlier today I wanted to talk to my son and partner at the same time.
Nothing irritates me more than constant, redundant repetition. The topic that needed addressing involved both of their schedules over the next week, and since I sat on the couch with a sick child and feeling a little off myself, I thought I’d save myself the trouble of repeating myself.
My throat was sore. That’s how the younger child ended up sick a couple of weeks ago.
I heard the husband at the back of the house puttering around. I called him over and said: “Can you unplug the kid for a minute, I want to talk to both of you.”
He wanted to know what about. I told him it was to plan the week’s driving to and from all the scheduled stuff. “All day I’ve been getting emails with changes”, I said. “There’s a school ski trip to deal with as well. Let’s all talk together face to face.”
He grumbled a bit and walked away.
I waited for a while, and nothing happened. Did he go to the basement? Is he getting the kid off the game? Is he coming back? Where are they?
I should have gotten up myself and herded them. I should have done a lot of things. But I didn’t. I had the girl child wrapped around me and I wasn’t feeling well. I already asked them to come see me earlier.
So I did what any contemporary mom of tweens does when the family refuses face-to-face contact.
I texted my son.
When he ignored me, I called him.
“WHAT?” I heard the boy yell into the phone. “I’m in the middle of a game!”
I’ll just pause here for a second for effect. You got kids? And video games?
He’s been plugged into this game for the bulk of the day, so I didn’t feel a lot of empathy at that particular moment.
“I want to talk to both of you together, get your dad and come up here”, I spoke into the phone and hung up on him.
THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is how parenting transpires in 2018, even while everyone is inside the home.
Finally they both came up. I asked my husband to check the posted practice schedule on the inside of the kids’ hall closet and told my son to sit beside me.
Immediately, he laid into me about the interruption of his game.
And I admit I felt irritation starting to take hold. Irritation at his attitude for completely ignoring my intent to plan the next few days of school, activities and work. And playoff hockey. HIS hockey. All day I was the one interrupted with all the emails coming in about new schedules or changed schedules.
“It’s your hockey and school activities I wanted to settle”, I shot back.
I sent them away without talking to them. I got angry, and didn’t feel like justifying my right to try and organize the very unusual schedule next week with two, but especially one, ungrateful participants.
I realize it wasn’t very mature behaviour on my part. But they should know me by now. I plan stuff. I organize stuff so everyone can get to A and B and C on time, fed, and in one piece. But, without pre-planning, things are bound to fall through the cracks.
This possibility preoccupies exactly nobody inside this family but me.
There is however a slight hint of sunshine in all this chaos. Since we have not discussed how the next morning’s pre-school hockey practice will be handled between us adults, I will simply assume that either he’s not going, or it’s being handled by the other parent.
This means I don’t have to get up extra early to deal with it. Correction: I will not deal with their last minute panic about who will do the driving or pickup.
End of rant.
Edited to add: Hours later, before the boys left for baseball practice, I pulled my boy child beside me at my work desk. We had a much more pleasant chat. It occurs to me that we are both so much alike, although he refuses to see it that way. The main reason he was so short-tempered was because we have a rule in this house about video games (none during school days) and he knew as of tomorrow, he won’t be gaming for several days. No wonder he tried to get as much time as as he possibly could. (Today was a holiday here in Toronto, no school.) But we talked, and although he tried, again, to negotiate more game time, he knew it was futile. In the end, the decision not to go to early morning practice tomorrow was made by all parties involved, face-to-face, not via text. Perhaps there is still hope for us. 🙂