Saturday morning. Relaxing in the tub, reading the last twenty pages of a novel.
"Yeah? I'm in the tub!"
"Are you willing to be really cool today?"
"What do you need?" (Note: I already know what he needs. He had me stop at the office supply store on the way home Friday to pick up a tri-fold.)
"Just some coloring." (Note: I admit that I was the one, when he started World Geography this year, who offered to color all of his maps for him. One of the perks of having a high schooler with fair-to-middling artistic skills; I get to play with crayons sometimes.)
"Okay." Add more hot water, settle in to finish the book.
A few minutes later.... "Mom? Mom!"
"I'm IN THE TUB."
"Well, I have the scissors and glue and everything ready for you." Hmm. Not a map, then.
"I'm going to finish my book first."
"Okay, but I have two posters due, I really want you to get to work on them."
Two? Two posters, on one weekend? Poor child must be in agony. So smart, so bad at drawing straight lines. Turns out he nearly got his butt sent to detention for muttering, "Oh, great, a poster project," when he got the assignment. His World Geo teacher was not amused. (Did you notice how he ramped up my sympathy for him there, by telling me about the near-miss disciplinary action? Like I said, smart.)
Sigh. Finish book. Release stopper. "Coming!"
Two hours later, I have neatly cut out his typed factoids (he can't cut straight, either. And yes, I do suspect learned helplessness.) I've got glue-stick all over my hands from pasting the factoids to construction paper backgrounds, then pasting those to the posterboard and the tri-fold. I know a little more than I did about Deciduous Forest Biomes and Energy Legislation In The United States. ("Mom, what's cap-and-trade?" "I can't explain it, go look on Wikipedia." "Okay.")
I've been declared amazing and earned the rate 15-year-old spontaneous, "Wow, Mom, I love you!" Everything's coming up roses.
And then he wants me to write "Deciduous Forest Biome" across the top of the poster. But I'm listening to a podcast and can't be bothered to think about how to spell, and I leave off the first "u." (Admit it, it's a stupid word to spell, right?) I squeeze it in, but now it looks "STUPID!" plus, apparently I wrote everything too small anyway. I've RUINED EVERYTHING.
I suggest he chill a little and just print it out and paste it to the poster, whatever size he wants.
More freakout. He suggests I print it out, since I'm the one who RUINED EVERYTHING to start with.
I suggest that it will only take him a moment, his brother will pause his game (two feet away, doesn't even have to leave the room) to give him the computer right now, and as far as I'm concerned, I've written it, so my job is done. Especially since, duh, why would I reward his behavior at this moment?
He suggests that I'm being unfair.
I suggest that he rethink his tone and attitude and consider what I've done for him already today.
He suggests that I am just being mean.
I suggest that he might not get that ride to his friend's house later.
Fortunately whatever beast overtoook him goes into hiding right about then, and he manages to - amazing! - take the one and a half minutes required to type "Deciduous Forest Biome" in big colorful letters, and even cuts it out and pastes it on to the poster himself.
I draw a lovely pyramid at the base of the poster for more factoids. He's impressed with my straight lines. I go back to the Energy Legislation tri-fold. I earn another "Wow, that looks amazing, thanks!" and he earns the ride to the friend's house.
Kids. Fun, am I right?