I do not like receiving emails telling me off because someone else hasn’t done their homework. Son No 1 knocks on the door. He has a key but instead of unlocking it he tends to turn the key the wrong way so has given up. I look through the peephole. His guilty distorted face looms at the front door.
“You told me you had done it!” I bemoan as I open the door.
“Sorry,” is all he says. True, we have already had a long circular conversation via text message where he eventually admitted he didn’t do the homework because it was boring, as opposed to to all the other ludicrous excuses he started with. But I feel it’s important now, in person, to give him as hard and terrifying a stare as I can muster.
That prompts him to say, “I have medical procrastination.” From the tone in his voice, I think he’s even vaguely serious about it.
“Really? A medical condition? Well then,” I retort, “there is nothing to be done about it, I guess!”
But I don’t want to be emailed by the very scary, strict maths teacher who undoubtedly thinks I’m a flake who can’t be trusted to be stern enough with my over confident, cheeky 11 year old (who thinks he’s 27 at the very least). And what does she know anyway? She doesn’t have to live with him. Nor argue with the stubborn, argumentative little shit on a daily basis!
And whose idea was it for him to go to debating club anyway? Medical procrastination, indeed.
Later at supper he says, “Mum, if we had to receive a classification from the British Film Classification Board they’d be very confused about where to place us….”
What is he going on about now, I wonder?
“Violence; a U in this house (good – glad he sees that), sexual content; definitely a U (hilarious!)” he smirks, “but language… well they’d be wanting to slap a 15 at least, or even an 18 on us…I don’t think you’re meant to refer to us as little shits.” He feigns mock tears and horror…”Childline!?!” he cries.
“Just finish your homework, you little shit…
Or don’t. And go to detention over and over again.” You’d think that might cure him of his ailment. But no.
I do understand. I was 11 myself once. And even now, I am a couple of months behind with my own studies and although doing my best to catch up, there have been any number of genuine things getting in the way. You don’t find me resorting to medical procrastination as an excuse. I’d like to, of course. And then drink some medical wine to console myself. Really good wine, because I’m too old for nasty cheap wine, which, anyway, can’t possibly be medical because instead of helping it gives me a headache.
Last night I received an email from my tutor. I had asked if my homework was too rambling and unstructured. He kindly replied that I was a modernist writer rather than a classical one. I scoured his email to work out whether ‘modernist’ is in fact a euphemism for really awful. “Modernism is good” he says… “But…” oh, there is always a but! Apparently the overall thing to be is rigorous.
Oh, god! I imagine the maths teacher would agree. I need to be more rigorous with Son No 1 too. “Do your bloody homework, you little shit!!” I think about yelling. He’s asleep at the time though so I hold off until morning. One can be too rigorous, surely!
The two of us are working it out. What’s acceptable, what’s required, what we can get away with. It’s an ongoing process.
Happy rigorous Sunday all. I’m off to plan a social thing with plenty of medical wine involved. It won’t cure the procrastination. But it’s reasonably decent so it will taste nice.
Images (c)Sarah-Jane Field 2016