I've been so wan. More like "wa," because I'm too wan to say wan. In fact, more like sitting in a chair not saying wa either.
Part of it, I think, was trying to read The Flame Alphabet, which had a premise I could really identify with: the sound of children's voices becomes toxic for adults. But the book itself was so grey and heavy and nauseating and confusing, I didn't even get halfway through it. (Lionel Shriver's review is pretty much exactly the way I felt about it.)
Furthermore, in the book there are many conversations with the contemptuous, argumentative early-teens daughter of the household, and let's just say I can FULLY identify with that but don't feel like seeking out more exposure to it. I'm leaning heavily these days on Empty Nest Feather's post Desk Cleaning, which is only partly about desk-cleaning and has given me a new private nickname for Rob ("Mr. Eye-Rolling Contempt"). I'm also leaning on her post The Last of the Teens, which gives me some hope that I won't be this miserable for the next fifteen years.
This morning William was apparently doing the verbal equivalent of "I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you," and Rob suddenly EXPLODED with rage. The reaction was understandable but not allowed, and I told him so, and told him he needed to take a break from his computer turn. Then, because I sympathized with his position, I lectured William at length within earshot of Rob, discussing pointedly how much I sympathized with Rob.
Rob sulked ostentatiously for twenty minutes or so. As I helped get another child ready for school, he asked why William was allowed to "just get away with it." I explained what should already have been clear, which is that William ALSO got punished: William's punishment was the lecture, while Rob's was a break from the computer---and also that although William's behavior was indeed obnoxious, it wasn't against the rules in the same way "screaming out in rage" was. I reiterated my empathy, and also reiterated that he could not react that way even if it felt justified. He claimed justification = appropriate. I remained calm (and to my tremendous credit, did NOT later use this as an opportunity to ask if in that case it was appropriate for me to smack him in the mouth), and said that part of my job was to civilize him: that he could not yell out like that in school or in his future workplace, and so he needed to learn not to do it.
He claimed that at school it would never happen, because teachers "have the time" to make sure it doesn't; they don't have to "choose their battles," they can deal with ALL of them. What a nice little dig, putting in references to recent calm responses I've made to his snotty interrogations, and using verbal air-quotes. That's when I became no longer calm. I had been deliberately and repeatedly sympathetic/empathetic; I had doled out a very light and understanding punishment; I had calmly explained the ideas behind the rules. And now Mr. IRRITATING McASININE was saying that it was MY FAULT that he had yelled. And this AFTER he has REPEATEDLY told me that the teachers are NOT consistent and DO choose their battles and DON'T always enforce the rules for everyone, with me offering REPEATED sympathy, discussion, and soothing explanations that defended the teachers without failing to legitimize his precious adolescent FEELINGS!
It is very, very unpleasant, after deliberately avoiding choosing a spouse who would force me to live my life with this kind of crap, to end up living with it anyway.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...