That’s the problem!
Son (almost 16 years) has been fighting with My Englishman all weekend. They’re like two lions skirmishing for the leadership of the pride. Grrrrrr! Son isn’t going to win. I know that, My Englishman knows that, I suspect son knows that. It’s all about the blasted PS3 that I bought (mea culpa) for the Christmas before last.
Why oh why did I buy the %*^(* thing?
In my defence it seemed like a great idea at the time. It promoted family bonding as we all got together to battle it out on Guitar Hero (if you play guitar irl don’t try Guitar Hero it’s bloody frustrating!), and Little Big Planet. It was a great tool for whiling about the cold dark first Christmas together.
Now of course, Son is on the final countdown towards his GCSE’s. He has 41 school days till his exams. He has coursework that he’s missed the submission deadline for!
BY EIGHT MONTHS!
Not suprisingly we have (the parental ‘we’) become extremely anxious. As we tell him, repeatedly, every day – FOR HIM!
We have tried everything. Cajoling, bribery, hard-line deprivation…. the parental guidance magic box of tricks is almost empty. We have instigated the very last resort.
We have child-locked the PS3.
We are that mean!
The intention is that we will allow him to get back into it once the coursework is completed and study is done, but there is that glimmer of tempation to just leave it permanently locked out.
All weekend son has spent hassling us.
‘If I just finish one piece of coursework. One good piece of coursework could you please turn the PS3 on?’
‘No! I’m working, your Mum’s working. We don’t get rewarded for our work. Sometimes I sit at my desk for 9 hours and I don’t get a break’
‘You can’t expect me to sit at my desk for 9 hours!’ Horrified look. This kid has not studied the gulags obviously.
‘Mum, he expects me to sit for 9 hours without a break’
‘When do I get a break? What’s my reward for doing the coursework?’
That’s when it all goes just a little bit pear shaped.
My Englishman who’s new to this, starts to mutter about sending children down chimneys and selling match sticks. I start feeling like ‘the worst mother in the world- depriving her child of food, water and PS3!’ (Which of course is the button he was searching for!) Son turns puce and thundery.
‘Look Son, where’s the list of coursework and the deadlines?’
Son reaches into his bag and pulls out five squares of scrunched up paper with spider droppings on them. My careful engineer Englishman looks horrified. I avert my eyes.
The horror the horror! Don’t make me look!
One piece of science coursework is about the Big Bang theory. Proving it!!!!! We try to explain that this is not really GCSE level. Even Stephen Hawkings didn’t submit it for his coursework (he didn’t did he?). To no avail. For quite some time long lean son stretches out pathetically across our bed and explains how he did all the work and then lost the book/paper/piece of scrunched up notepaper that had the reference citations on it. He needed to either find that bit of paper or solve the Big Bang theory. Either or!
My Englishman and I patiently listened. We tried not to look at each other. My Englishman (he who actually understands nuclear physics!) carefully suggested that we need to reframe the work. I – the English literature graduate. I know nothing. Like Schultz! – suggested we do a timeline of different theorems.
Do you see the problem?
It took five minutes after he’d left the room, huffing and puffing, for me to realise ‘we’ didn’t haven’t to do anything! We’ve done our GCSEs and equivalent. Dammit we’ve done years and years of University courses and essays. (Yes, ok I did leave all my essays to the last second…but we’re talking about son….)
So please, Mr Headmaster, make it stop! I’m counting down the days till the war ends. Until the exams are over. Until the happy joyous sounds of mayhem and murder ring through our little home again.Until son’s face is shining with that sense of accomplishment that only comes from doing a good day’s work, passing his exams and annihilating the baddies.
I’m counting down until the peace is restored and Modern Warfare Call of Duty 2 begins.
Me, ever the pacifist.