So, we have taken a small football out with us on our walks now – practising passing it to each other, keeping it going between us. This has been an added bit of ‘entertainment’, but today nothing is right...
‘You kicked it in there, you get it out...’, my husband is telling our son. That’s the rule you see, whoever kicks it in a hedge, puddle or field has to go and get it.
‘Fine, it’s always pick on me...’, our son huffs, and jumps in the ditch to retrieve the ball. Fair play, it’s a deep ditch.
Pushing past unforgiving hazel and spindly brambles that ensnare his t-shirt and joggers, he looks around to no avail for the ball.
‘There, over there...’, shouts his dad. Tying to be helpful, I am sure...
Our son throws his arms up in the air. He looks up from the ditch, eyes seeking out his father.
‘It’s no good shouting out random words’, explains our disgruntled son.
‘Where is ‘there’? It’s the same when you play on the Xbox with me’.
Our son, I feel, is warming to his subject now...
‘You are never any good at giving directions in the games, or listening to them. I say left and you stand still or go a totally different way...you never listen to me’.
Oh dear, it’s all coming out now...
Thankfully, possibly, he locates the ball and eventually heaves himself out of the ditch with the help of his long suffering father. Then I see how muddy his feet are. I say feet and not shoes as I now can’t tell what he is wearing on his feet...it just looks like mud squares.
‘What did you put on your feet?’, I ask, as my heart desperately thrashes around for a buoyancy aid to stop it sinking.
At this point I still have hope that he made a common-sense decision – he had two choices as I see it, old and scruffy trainers or his newer and half decent trainers. Basically superstore value ones versus branded bloody expensive ones.
‘Well my Nike Air of course...’, he responds so matter-of-factly, as if it was obvious, as if there hadn’t been a choice at all..
My heart abandons the futile search and sinks heavily ... just as my hope doggy paddles away from the sinking wreck.
‘Why?’, I ask despairingly. It feels as if my patience has also jumped ship, it’s in the water and doing a mighty backstroke, watching my futile attempts to cope without it as it leaves me in the lurch...
‘What do you mean ‘why?’ Why did I put something on my feet to come out for a walk? Oh well, let’s see...’, our son bites back.
Sarcasm. Both father and son suffer from it. It has its place I’m sure, but best used sparingly I feel, and, my advice is, and always has been, more often than not, DON’T USE IT WITH ME.
‘No’. I interrupt him. And to be fair even he clocks the change in temperature on such a warm, sunny day. Suddenly there is a feeling of frost, if not ice, in the air, hanging from my words...
‘Why your ‘good’ trainers. It’s a walk during social sodding isolation, no-one is going to see you...’.
We are glaring at each other, each feeling exasperated with the other.
‘Really?’, he counters.
‘It seems the whole village ‘sees’ me every time I trek along on a ‘socially ‘sodding’ isolating’ walk...’.
So said, he stomps off to his dad to moan about what a bad (or mad) mother I am. I can’t quite make out what he is saying as there seems to be a band playing in my ears. And so the good ship, ‘Calm Parenting’, slips under the waves...