It has long been well established that Monkey Boy is a smart arse little shit.
His vocab is extensive, his comprehension impressive and his problem solving skills are quite advanced. Not surprisingly, his abilty to manipulate is comparitive.
Or should I say, his attempts to manipulate?
After many years he has finally concluded that saying “sorry” does not actually teach him anything, nor is it the best way to get out of isolation and join in the pizza and movie night we’re having. He’s learn that just saying “sorry” in order to get what he wants does not work when the behaviour continues.
Last week, he tried a new tact, informing me that being sent to his bedroom was not, in fact a punishment. At the time, I was just most pleased and grateful to have him away from me that I was quite ok with this arrangement.
Obviously, he wasn’t. He clearly hadn’t actually been telling the truth regarding the fun- ness of his bedroom related seclusion and was most miffed at my not actualy falling for it.
Thus, as we embarked on a fun walk up the street in search of suitable family-type DVDs that didn’t make me want to stab myself in the eye and plug my ears with cat food, and Monkey Boy was unable to control the urge to make it more “fun” by employing every means possible to annoy his brother, and subsequently piss me off and make me want to push him under the next car that drove by, I was forced to utilise the “you can spend the night in your room” threat.
Never one to immediately take responsibilty and appropriate action, he chose the option of denial, buying him time to work out how to manipulate the “buy my room is a reward” route.
He gave it a good go for the remainder of the walk. What he didn’t figure was the extremenes of my aversion to behaviour that pissed me off. Nor the fact that I can manipulate back just as good as I get.
Apparently, it’s genetic?
“So, Mum. You know that my room is fun. So sending me there isn’t a punishment. You’re actually rewarding me for my bad behaviour.”
Nice, try, yet again, buddy. “Well, aren’t you lucky, then.”
You can actually hear his brain ticking, as he comes back with, “Well, then you’re spoiling me. Because when I do something you don’t like, you send me where it’s fun and rewarding. So you’re actually spoiling me!”
Sigh. “Well, that as may be. But you still won’t be in the same room as me, so I’m sure I’ll manage.”
“But,” he comes back with. “That’s not very good parenting, spoiling your kids. So anyway, I get to have fun in my room, and you’re just spoiling me and you’re not a very good mum.”
Oh, goody. We’re now onto emotional blackmail and attempting to guilt me out of it.
“Well, then we’re both getting what we want aren’t we?” my brain scrambles. “It’s win-win for everyone, you get to spend time in your room, having fun, and I get to spend time watching a DVD of my choice, and eating popcorn and chocolate with out sharing with you and not putting up with your behaviour and having fun! And you can play trains or whatever the hell you like. And, I can be a really evil bad mum and take everything out of your room before I put my DVD on, that I’m getting just for me that you can’t watch and see how much fun you can have in a boring old room!” I reply. Calmly.
He’s not to be beaten, and tries just one more. “Oh, well, fine then. But I was going to get the DVD for you, and pay for it with my money. Which I’m not going to do if you send me to my room. That’s your choice.”
By which stage my brain is hurting as I’m not up for such a heated debate requiring so much thought. I much prefer the ‘discussions’ with the seven year old which go “Put your shoes away, please”, to which he replies “No” or “I can’t find them” (despite the fact he is actually standing on them at the time) or goes off and does something else, so is asked agian with more force, then he cries and then you say “go to your room” which is futile as he’s already running in that direction and screaming “I hate you” and he slams the door behind him and I sit down with a MUG /glass of wine, depending on the time of day, in peace. Much, much more preferable than the thinkgy, brain-hurty discussions.
I’m left with no other option. Am forced to draw whatever reserves I have from the depths of my brain and tackle this head on in a desperate bid to stop it right now!
So I reply, “I know you are but what am I?! You’re still not watching a DVD! So …. ner!”
Yeah, that did it. He’s shut up now.
And I select my DVD, we walk home and he is ever so polite and helpful. I must remember that argument for next time.