It was an interesting day with Middle Kid to say the least. Perhaps – an instructive day, might be more accurate. Middle Kid is 17, and has had to do a fair bit of soul searching of late. This boy who is certainly the extravert of the family has deliberately isolated himself for some weeks, trying to figure out his next steps. He had an appointment for a haircut at 9.15 made by me, but requested by him and the two of us started the day together in relative silence, as he hadn’t slept well and I tend to be in my head for the first hour or so of waking. I helped translate between he and the hairdresser (even though I had privately decided I wouldn’t do this) because I had the rare outsiders’ perspective for a minute of how two people can think they’re on the same track but are actually running in opposite directions…I like this hairdresser, and I don’t want to be fired as a customer.
But somehow after the successful haircut, we spent the entire day together – Big Bro was at work, Dad was OS and little sister was hibernating in her room. And the entire day consisted of me being bossed, reprimanded, and interrogated; the complaining was absolutely incessant with a funny story thrown in from time to time – usually involving digestive systems or a Youtube video. The day’s topics ran roughly as follows:
- The internet is too slow because we live in the country.
- His brother should help more around the house.
- When is his brother going to move out?
- The internet is slow because of his brother.
- Also it’s his sister’s fault.
- Why is there never anything to eat in the house?
- Could I make him curried eggs?
- He doesn’t feel he should have to eat the healthy food that we have in the pantry.
- He doesn’t want or need to learn how to cook.
- Modern technology means there is perfectly good food that doesn’t need to be cooked.
- Highly processed food is great – otherwise it wouldn’t be on the shelves.
- We need to respect his wishes and maintain a steady supply of highly processed, tasty food just for him.
- Why do I have to cook with spices?
- Could I please make him curried eggs?
- No, he doesn’t want to know how I make them, he just likes it when I do it because I do it perfectly.
- How will he ever get his P’s if his brother is always driving the car to work?
- His dad said he’d take him driving but he always forgets.
- Why do we never remember stuff?
- He shouldn’t have to remind us.
- Why do I have to put vegetables in everything?
- He doesn’t want to have to eat vegetables.
- Except for ice berg lettuce, potato, snowpeas and broccoli.
- He will only eat asparagus if I make my asparagus mornay.
- No, he doesn’t want to know how I make my asparagus mornay, he just likes it when I do it because I do it perfectly.
- Why don’t I sit down and relax more, it’s the weekend!
- Watch this mum!
- Mum, watch this!
- Put your phone down and watch! (What he wants me to watch is on his phone – I’m trying to return an email on mine).
- Why does the internet have to be so slow?!
- The internet is slow because of the stupid government, we don’t live in a city, his brother is home from work.
- I do too much.
- I worry too much.
- Why can’t I just boil and peel a few eggs for him everyday?
- He can’t peel boiled eggs himself because it weirds him out.
- There is no good food in this house!
At one point, he had badgered me about my cooking one too many times and I snapped at him and his reply was…‘Chill mum, it’s just some friendly banter..’ !
I’ll be honest, at the end of the day I was exhausted. He asked me if I wanted to watch Good Will Hunting with him and I replied honestly, that I’d be up and down as I’d seen it many times and most recently only weeks before. He said that he’d prefer to watch it in his room if I wasn’t going to give the movie my 100% attention, and I could see in my mind’s eye how that would go. I told him I still needed to change my bed linen, fold some washing and change the cat litter and he said that was ridiculous, too distracting and wondered when I would have time to make dessert.
He went to his room to watch his movie, I changed the linen, and folded the washing (watching Orange is the New Black) and then made chocolate rice pudding. I told him when it was ready and he said Nah – he didn’t really feel like it, he’d had a banana and a bowl of cereal. I took a very deep breath and started to count to ten – not for the first time that day and then he said “And Mum thanks for today, it was really good hanging out with you, just the two of us.”
One day he will move away from me (maybe) and I miss him already. Also, he drives me crackers.
Know what I mean?