Because Connor has a lot of trouble with self-regulation, it's the rule in our house that we keep a decent sleep schedule. To help with this, I've instituted a rule where the kids are allowed to play computer un-interrupted until 9:30 AM. For the most part, Connor's been up and dressed so that he can play every day.
However, some days he gets it into his head that he needs quite a bit more screen time than the 6 or 8 hours I allow daily. Yesterday was one such day.
I became suspicious when he asked me if he could have his iPad so that he could meditate with Muse. It wasn't the request that was suspicious, more the "And when I'm done, I will bring my iPad right back to you and not bring it to my room," with the angelically-fluttering eyelashes, accompanying the request.
I said "Mm hmm," and filed the suspicious behavior away for later.
Fast forward to that evening. Mark and I are trying to watch a half hour show, which of course entails about 17 interruptions. One such interruption is Connor announcing, at 8pm, that he is tired and he is going to get to sleep.
In the interest of getting to watch the rest of the show, I say "Okay, sure, night!"
The show ends, and I ask Mark to go get the iPad from Connor's room. Definitely not allowed.
Mark opens the door to find Connor in a suspiciously frantic posture. From under the covers, Connor immediately begins shrieking that his iPad is out on his computer desk and that he doesn't have it. Mark is still skeptical, however, and discovers Connor hiding an emergency back-up iPad that he must have pilfered when he retrieved his own iPad for Muse-ing.
Connor screams over and over again that he wasn't on HIS iPad, so he should clearly not be in any trouble.
At this stage, engaging with him or coming down like a truck on him (which is definitely my first inclination, for what amounts to lying and cheating) has proven to be counter-effective, so I just say in a resigned manner, "Good night, Connor," over and over again.
Connor is sitting on the floor blubbering that he doesn't know why he does such things, and that he needs help reforming. All of this is completely beyond his control, and he doesn't know why he's so stupid.
Connor eventually goes to his room crying and shrieking, and works himself into a panic attack. Then it passes, and he comes out and announces in a normal voice that he's been getting up very early lately, and has had to force himself back to sleep at 4:30 am. He believes that his body is now just used to not needing as much sleep!
I said "That's great. Must be nice not to need sleep. But I would like you to give me your alarm clock, since you're now naturally getting up so early." He totally is NOT, by the way. I am up at that hour and he is not. And if he forces himself up TOO early, he ends up passing out during the day, which again gets him into a bad sleep schedule.
He is not happy with this. Not only am I taking away his means of getting hours on the computer in the early morning, but also the light he reads by when all device-related staying-up-late schemes fail.
One of his tricks when he's not getting his way is to make sure no one else is happy either, and in this case it takes the form of him demanding that we shout the time into him periodically so that he knows what time it is, and that we buy him a digital wall clock since we're not willing to do THAT.
My eyes are rolling out of my head at the problems we've caused for ourselves with this unreasonable parenting, and I wave him off, and start getting ready for bed.
Then I hear the tell-tale pop of a can of soda opening, yet another forbidden fruit! I again send in Mark-the-Enforcer to take it from him.
This produces another fit of screaming and crying. This time his reasoning was that back when he had the iPad, he needed the caffeine so that he could stay up all night. And when Dad took away the iPad, he left the soda temptingly in its hiding place, and of course, Connor cannot control himself in the face of temptation.
Mark struggles to not kill Connor, which I sympathize with, because I spend all day every day biting my tongue with him. ;)
But in the end, I guess Connor felt really bad, because after Mark took the soda away, he came out himself with yet another, unopened soda, which was to be used for further staying-up-late purposes.
Somehow this kid can plan ahead when it comes to the things he wants ;)
It's a shame he wants nothing of real life. ARGH! =)
It turns out Chase's experimentation with cooking Spaghetti-O's in-can ruined the microwave after all. We got a new one, and Chase was reading the instructions out loud as Connor was fooling around with it. I was only half-listening to them.
Chase got to a part of the instructions and seemed excited. Connor asked him to read the section again, and then the two of them marveled at how far technology has come. What an amazing feature! Brilliant!
Of course, I wanted to hear the feature that so amazed the children. Chase read it to me. And then I had to ask him to read it again, because I am shocked that my children can still surprise me after all these years with their odd-selves.
This microwave allows you to program multiple stages of cooking, so you could heat at 50% for 5 minutes, then go full power for 2 minutes if you like.
However, that is not the feature of amazingness. What the kids marveled over was that if you started to program in cooking stages and then got distracted, after 6 minutes, the microwave AUTO CLEARS the partial program so that the next person coming to use the microwave is not confused.
Literal quotes from Connor upon hearing this: "How long was it again? Six minutes! OK, Six minutes. Good to know"
"WOW, Really? It automatically cancels? Because that's clever - probably if you go away for that long you forgot about it! Mom, it automatically cancels any cooking program after 6 minutes if you don't use it!"
Connor was out shopping with me, and we came to a display of kitchen knives. He says "Hmmm. Mom, which of these knives do you think looks most like a murder knife?"
I pointed out a large, pointy meat-slicer. He said "OH. I thought it would be a smaller one, because if you're creeping up to murder someone, you don't want to be obviously carrying a huge knife." I told him he needed to be more specific about how sneaky the murder had to be, next time.
Then we come to another knife display, and he asks the same context-less question! Some people never learn.
In other news, I discovered that when my kids ask questions such as these, I spend more energy trying to pick the best murder-knife than wondering if I should be worried about such a question.
Then he told me that the (saintly) woman in the middle school clinic was chatting about Cinco de Mayo and wondered aloud what Mexican dish she might prepare for the special day. Connor thought that was funny, because there can only be one answer to that question - Del Taco! Of course. I'm sure she appreciated the idea.
While there are a lot of bright people in this house, we could all use a healthy dose of common sense.
I will highlight Chase's lapses today.
First - he is used to his brother heating up his Spaghetti-O's for him. I told him it was about time for him to learn to do it, himself. He asked how long to heat them and I told him a minute, stir, then another minute.
Well, try as he might, he could not take the lid off the can of Spaghetti-O's. So he just decided to cook it in the microwave in the sealed can. When it came time to stir, though, he had to ask us what he should do, so fortunately it wasn't cooking long enough to explode everything. It's worse than the time Jason first tried making ramen in the microwave!
Second - he has a field trip at school, and I need to pick him up at the (close-by) school on that day, an hour after his bus usually arrives, because they'll be taking a long day for the trip. His bus usually arrives around 2:30, and he walks in the door between 2:32 and 2:34, depending on how fancy his walk is that day.
I wasn't sure what day the field trip was, and he was worried that I would fail to pick him up. I said "Well, it doesn't matter. Let's just say if you don't walk in at 2:30, I'll pick you up at school at 3:30."
He thought this was a fine idea, but then came back to me after having thought some more on the matter, because he realized he's not ACTUALLY in the HOUSE at 2:30 on the dot, so perhaps I should wait until 2:45 before making the decision to go get him.
I told him that should not be a problem. If he walks in the house at 2:35, and he notices me leaving to pick him up at 3:20, it would be his job to tell me that in spite of evidence to the contrary, he did not go field-tripping that day. It took him a minute to see the silliness of my new plan.
Chase: HEY! Connor hit my leg! Connor: I did not. I hit your knee. (I am thinking "Good rejoinder, Connor") Chase: NO, you hit between my knee and my foot. (I revise my thinking to "Okay, Connor is not dumb. Uses Chase's pedanticism to deflect the discussion from the more serious violence to the less serious discussion of accuracy of statements) Connor: I hit you like THIS (demonstrates) Chase: Oh my god, you just barely touched my knee that time, it was not like that at all. (Once again, falls for Connor's trolling, as he virtually begs Connor to hit him again)
I feel like I am being punk'd. Maybe they deserve more credit than I give them.
We have an Amazon Echo, and we love it. We mainly use our Echo for setting timers, alarms, checking weather and news, and adding things to our shopping list.
So the kids' bizarre LARPing game of the day is as follows:
Chase is acting as a voice-driven interface based upon the Amazon Echo. However, all commands must be issued in rap form. Connor's goal is to change the default alarm sound through options. He wants the default alarm sound to be:
WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY? Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! (with the Ring . . . part repeating ad infinitum)
He's being thwarted by two things. First, his raps are at times not up to par, which means Chase must produce an error message (not in rap, though.) Second, Chase argues that only one sound file may make up the default alarm sound, so there's no way to have what Connor wants without either repeating "WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY" every now and then, or leaving it out.
Connor ran into my office, saying he needed my help coming up with a name for his plague in this game where you try to invent a plague that destroys humanity. (Because, of course!)
He said I need a funny name for a plague that makes a sentence!"
I said "wat," and he tried to explain that it's funny if you have a plague name that makes a sentence.
I tried to work out his aim with a few questions, and finally he gave up and said "Someone named their plague 'a huge erection,' and so when the plague broke it out says 'A huge erection breaks out in India,' or when it starts to spread it says 'a huge erection is growing!' HAHAHAH!"
I went -.- and informed him that while I am an astonishingly skilled humorist, I do not specialize in humor that appeals solely to boys in the 12-14 year-old range.
He laughed at my silliness (because surely this joke appeals to the masses) and said "Hah! You're funny, mom!"
To which I replied, of course, "Your MOM is funny."
We were all in the car and Connor was running his mouth as usual. However, he was (for whatever reason) speaking of himself in third person. He was carrying on with it quite a while, stumbling with slip-ups.
Mark says to him "Connor . . . talking in third person . . . "
and I thought that Mark was going to advise him that this is a comically stereotypical jerk-behavior, because that is certainly what I was about to do.
Instead, he said "talking in third person gets surprisingly complicated, doesn't it?" with commiseration.
I think I literally face-palmed, imagining the long parenting row to hoe I have ahead of me =)