At what point do you give up on something?
How many times do you go through the same thing over and over again, trying different approaches and getting the same result?
Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Should I stop? Should I give up?
Before you get worried, I’m not talking about writing. That is something I do whether or not I like what I’m writing. It’s a part of who I am, a part of my soul… to paraphrase Skull boy from Ruby Gloom, to be a writer I must come from a long line of writers…
Nope, this little bout of introspection has been set off by my kids. Allow me to share the incident and maybe you’ll understand a little more.
At precisely 8.30am I was awoken from a dream of bouncing on candyfloss (don’t ask me, I don’t understand that one either.) by my son banging on the bedroom door, opening it and yelling “Can I make us some breakfast?”
I replied in the affirmative in a particularly groggy and confused tone, and he slammed the door.
Outside the door I heard my daughter ask what I’d said, and my son replied angrily. “She said yes. Don’t you listen?” after which he stormed off downstairs.
I lay there listening.
From the kitchen came my son’s voice ordering his sister around, telling her off for playing with Gizmo.
All went silent and I drifted back to sleep.
At this point, let me add that while I had been woken up abruptly, I wasn’t in a bad mood… yet.
An hour later (yes, I sleep in on a Sunday; don’t look at me like that!) I was woken up again.
The dulcet tones of my daughter screamed through the wall. “But I didn’t do anything!”
My son replied (still in the same angry tone) “I’ve told you before, you don’t steal my duvet. Go get your own blanket.”
“But I don’t want to miss this, can you get it for me, you’re only playing a game.” she replied, a little quieter than before.
“No. My Room, my rules. You don’t like it, you can get out.” He shouted.
I was fully awake by now and decided to intervene before the police were called on us for murder. I was fuming and decidedly irritated as I entered my son’s bedroom.
“What is going on in here? Don’t bother answering, I heard every word.”
The children stared at me, blessedly mute. I beckoned to my daughter.
“You, in your own room, now.”
“But I can’t watch normal TV in my room!” she wailed.
“Too bad. Move.”
My daughter stormed past me into her room, threw herself on her bed and began to have sob, half talk to herself under the duvet. All I heard was:
“It wasn’t me, why do I always get told off for what he does?”
I shut her door.
I turned to my son, who had gone back to playing his game on the NDS.
“Turn the TV off.”
He did as he was told without even looking up from his NDS.
“Look at me.”
He tipped his head back so it was on the railing around his cabin bed and turned to look at me.
“It’s Sunday. I’ve been woken up twice by you and your sister arguing at the top of your voice and slamming doors. How many times have I told you not to do that first thing in the morning? Why do you keep on doing this to me?”
He looked back at his game. “’Cos I’m stupid.”
“You aren’t stupid, you’re not thinking!”
He slapped his forehead without looking at me.
“See, I’m stupid.” He mumbled.
My son is twelve. He’s not supposed to turn into a teenager until next year, why is he doing this to me! I shut his door and decided to get up.
I’ve repeated this particular scene (different days, same times, different causes) so many times before…so, how many times do I have to repeat this?
Am I going insane?
Or is this just part of motherhood?
So should I just give up on trying to knock sense into his skull?