That said, we began our Year of Vigilance with only three weeks left in the quarter, so we knew there was little chance of saving his neck. We can only improve. Nothing but good times ahead!
Two and I were sitting together at the kitchen table while he
"No!" he yelled back.
Two threw down his pencil and stared at me.
"That! That total dismissive tone drives me crazy! When I have kids, they're not going to talk to me that way, or I'm just going to hit them!"
Bwaaahahaha!! Oh, how my side hurt from my internal laughter!
With just the hint of a grin, I said, "So Dad should beat you for your bad grades? Would violence sufficiently motivate you?"
"No, Mom, because I'm too old now. When I have my kids, I'm going to start early, and make sure they know the rules."
"Okay, now that you know the new rules for school, how about I just take away your phone and your computer? Would that work?"
"No, it would just make me angry, and then I wouldn't work anyway."
"Huh. How about you concentrate on not failing your classes, and I'll worry about your brothers."
"Yeah, okay. But you let them get away with so much."
This from the "Screw you, Mom!" guy. Did I hit him when he yelled that at me? No, because he's a sixteen year-old boy, and I knew he was going through a difficult time. Did I tell him we had to stop being mean to each other? Yes. Did I remind Four of the same thing? Yes. Will this be the last time either one of them is disrespectful to me? No. Have I ever hit them? Yes. Did it change anything? Nope.
I can't wait for Two to have a baby. Well, certainly I can wait another ten years. No need to rush things for the sake of the argument. (Remember where you put the condoms, Two!) More to the point, I can't wait for Two to have a teenager. All the righteous conviction he feels right now, the clarity of his beliefs--all that gets muddied in the trenches of parenthood, until it's just a fight for survival.
I'm going to remind Two of this conversation every time he slacks off, or doesn't immediately do what I ask. He's given me the perfect ammunition.
Outwit, outplay, outlast.