Talking back

My little baby, my beautiful and most reasonable boy recently started talking back. That’s okay, I thought at first, reminding myself that I have a lot of respect for argumentativeness. It is the sign of a healthy critical mind. However the discussions which I have been confronted with recently have so utterly lacked logic or intelligence as to leave me bemused and at a loss for counterarguments. My brain just does not function well in that setting. I feel a little bit like Alice when she first sat at the tea table.

Unfortunately, I have never been terrific at suffering fools. Although my child isn’t one,  recently he has acted like it. His arguments against our most commonsense instructions or requests make no sense. At all.

I am a true believer in the democratic principle. As a child, I was unable to accept a rule until I understood its reason. I have therefore always made a special effort to discuss our house rules with my child. We even have a chart that we made together and signed. He knows and understand why he must help set the table or go to bed at a fixed time. Yet recently even those simple acts have become as many reasons to wage war against us.

I haven’t heard as much huffing in all his years as I have heard in the last two months. With so much resistance based on so little rationality, I have started to ponder whether Vladimir Putin isn’t right after all: authoritarism may be a much superior form of government. Thus I hear myself declare, as a last resort but with a huge sense of relief: “You’re eight, we’re your parents, when we say so, it goes so and we don’t even have to justify ourselves to you.”

I look at the argumentative monster standing upset in the middle of our living room (just before he storms off to his bedroom and slams the door) and wonder where my boy went. Could the teenage years have started a lot early? How can he be so adamant and yet make so little sense? Is there something wrong with his frontal lobe?

I’m sure (or rather I hope to Life, cross my fingers and touch wood) that it is just a phase. It will pass, I tell myself over and over, as if the very repetition will make it come true. Just like teething, constipation, the ‘no’ year, the lack of coordination, the other ‘no’ year, the obsession with sticks, with robots, the costumes collection… One day our sweet child will be back to his normal self and we’ll enjoy his company once more, until a new phase starts.

What a ride.



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