My eldest son just turned 11. And it’s almost like his hormones were all “holy shit, we’re 11. We get to be complete douche bags now,” and his tweensanity has been on the forefront of life.
Now, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea, Boy Wonder, as I’ve so aptly named him, is a phenomenal kid; an excellent student, a loyal friend, a die-hard athlete, but he is still just a kid. And kid’s haven’t fully hatched yet into grown-up thoughts. Shit, I know some grown-ups who haven’t fully hatched into grown-up thoughts, I’m sure you do too, so, I don’t expect him to be rational with the rules around here. We have one new rule in the house that he thinks is completely stupid, and he has no problem voicing that at every turn.
Boy Wonder is a computer dude. If he had his way, he’d spend every waking moment on his computer. He’ll probably be one of those guys who figures out how to rig a catheter and blend all his meals – hey, I guess we’ll find out when he goes to college – but right now, I’m his mom.
And. That. Shit. Ain’t. Gonna. Fly.
When I realized what an issue this had become, I locked down on the computer time. Now, he gets one hour a day during the school week and two hours a day on the weekend. That’s it. Period.
And being a dictator about his computer time is a pain in the ass for me. I’ve basically leveled more work for myself, which is ridiculous, and I know that because I need extra labor like I need my muffin top, but it had to happen because I’m not gonna end up with my kid being the damn Unabomber because I let him play Minecraft for 12 hours straight.
He’s been asking for me to let up on the reins a bit and let him keep track of his computer time. As in, trusting him more on the honor system to bring his computer downstairs when his hour is up. I was all about this idea. Less oppressive bullshit for me? More responsibility for him? Should be a win/win. Not.
Yesterday I allowed it to happen. And I silently watched from the sidelines as he took his computer upstairs. And 60 minutes passed. Then 90. Then 120. I didn’t say a peep. I shut my mouth and reminded him he needed to get ready for soccer practice, and I held that shit in because that’s what you do when you have ammunition you don’t currently need. You save that shit. For the zombie appocolypse or Wendsday, as it might be.
So this afternoon, when Boy Wonder had been on his computer for approximately 45 minutes, I told him he needed to get ready for soccer. And when he dressed I asked him to bring his computer downstairs.
He pretty much lost his shit.
Over 15 minutes. Of computer time.
I could give you the whole conversation volley right here. But it’s not interesting, funny or fun, for that matter. Frankly, I wish I could get the 30 minutes of bullshit that ensued back or erase it from my mind. Because here is the thing about kids, kids are little narcissists. They think the world revolves around them because it does. At least it does if you’re a good parent. When they need something, you sooth their needs or arm them with the wisdom to soothe it themselves. Eventually, they don’t get their way, because what they want isn’t necessarily something they need, and that’s when they will fight you to the death, or at least the pain, to prove their point.
I know this because I was once this kid.
Boy Wonder leaves in 3 weeks for his first time at sleep away camp. He’ll be gone for a whole month. I’m beyond excited for him, but the preparation on my end is relatively close to what I’d imagine the 7th circle of hell to entail.
In general, I spend most moments of the day thinking about my children but in this situation I’m shopping, I’m packing, I’m labeling, I’m planning. It’s akin to planning a wedding only to have the groom leave you at the alter. My baby will be gone. Off on his first huge adventure. Without me.
After he had said all the stupid shit to me today, I threw the bag of Bed, Bath and Beyond things I’d bought for him down on the couch, calmly stating, “All I think about, every day, is how to help you have the greatest life. Ever! Yelling at me like this for 15 minutes of computer time cheapens that love. It’s not worth it.”
I’m hoping he gets it now.