Sunday, January 3, 2016


Parenting - ahhhhhh! Count the lasting contentment, the warm rewards, the simple, satisfying challenges. The gratitude.

Having researched and angsted long and hard over what to get my two late teen, early-twenties, computer raised and crazed boys for Christmas, I ended up buying a few books. I know. But I can't help myself.

One was tantalisingly titled Humans are Underrated (as close as I could get to 'Parents are Underrated') for the older boy who has long since decided that his computer is a much more understanding and competent parent than his two actual parents put together.

For the younger one who likes horror and end-of-the-world scenarios I got a haunted house story called Slade House, with a cool hidden reveal cover, surely enough to entice the young and curious to learn and please their parents?

Fast forward ten days and neither book has been read beyond the first pages that were dipped into during Christmas Day family present giving when there was nothing better to do, as the computers were safely whirring away upstairs, a whole floor away.

So last night I decided to gently broach the subject with the younger boy and suggested, when he confessed he hadn't read any more of his book since the 25th, that he read a few pages every day, assuring him that the more you read of a book the more it hooks you in, that the pay off is rarely disappointing.

'I know. I've read books before', he said with his characteristic sarcasm, to which I replied: 'Yes, but not that many books' (he's probably read less than 10 non-picture, non-school-assigned books in his 17 years, and that includes on the Kindle that we bought him two Christmases back.

'You don't have to be so patronising' was his next, somewhat fair but still frustrating answer, as it contained the infinitely more patronising: 'Mum, shut up, you don't know what you're talking about' tone that a mother knows means he is not remotely inclined to listen to her now or ever again.

'I'm not being patronising, I'm being parentising,' was my uncharacteristically quick-witted response that surprised me as much as him, I think, and brought a slight smile to his face, though it was hard to see in the thick gloom of a room without any light other than that coming from the screen on his desk that pulsed like the heart of the place if not the planet.

When all the people and books are long turned to ash, that hard red-black-white heart will be the only life, along with the cockroaches, left. I should think they'll get on famously.      

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