I just had the most ridiculous argument with my 14-year old son. I had just put my daughter to bed and came downstairs to sign onto my computer. I use a laptop, but it sits on my black, faux-marbletop desk in the family room (adjacent to the kitchen). Not long ago, we got a third computer which sits on a small desk to my right. The box-part of the computer (yes, that’s the technical term), sits on the floor between our desks.
My desk chair, a hideous garage-sale find with royal blue upholstery and wheels (one which falls off at the most timid touch), had been wheeled to the other side of the kids’ desk. The wheel had fallen off.
I replaced the wheel and shoved the chair back to my desk.
Then I noticed that the computer on the floor had been pulled out from its resting spot. I said, “Hey, why is this computer sticking out?” The boys all claimed ignorance. I shoved it back, scraping my fingertips in the process.
I sat on my blue chair, pushed the button on my laptop and . . . . “HEY! WHERE IS MY MOUSE?!” I have a wireless mouse, which until this very night has never tiptoed off my desk, never wandered into the kitchen, never swan-dived onto the floor. One son said, “How would we know? We didn’t do it!”
Then my other 14-year old came in, knelt on the floor, laid on his stomach and reached far under my desk to retrieve the mouse. He claimed to have no idea how it might have migrated to the floor, under my desk.
I am relentless, a Pit Bull who just cannot unlock its jaws. I had to know what happened to my mouse. How did it fall down and under my desk? I called all three boys to me and demanded to know.
My son took this as a great insult. He informed me that I needed to learn to look around, to figure out problems on my own. “Do you think perhaps you could solve your own problems?” he said to me in that exact sarcastic tone I use with him. I didn’t know whether to laugh or to slap him, so I stood to my full height (which is an inch or two shorter than his full height) and said, “I HAVE BEEN SOLVING MY OWN PROBLEMS FOR FORTY-TWO YEARS!” and he said, “Why do you always blame us?” and I said, “I am not blaming you. I am ASKING QUESTIONS because ASKING QUESTIONS IS A GOOD WAY TO FIND INFORMATION!” (I learned that from Sesame Street, I kid you not.)
He accused me of yelling and I said, “I AM NOT YELLING!” and we went in circles, dosey-doeing our way until I was positively dizzy. I never, ever did find out how my faithful mouse of several years found itself stranded under the darkness of my desk. At last, I waved my bony finger at my son and said, “This conversation is over. We will no longer discuss it. I mean it. Go. Go now.” He left, but I could tell that he wanted to give me some more helpful tips to improve my parenting skills.
What he should do is write a parenting book now while he still knows everything.