I’ve noticed that my eldest child really likes to argue with me.  There are four reasons I can think of for this.  Number 1 is bonding by argument.  I totally get it.  In my younger days, I used to flirt by starting arguments with the boys I liked.  In sixth grade, I used to argue with a guy about whether or not I was a nice person.  It was awesome, he was talking to me, not only talking, but saying I was nice.  Yep, I was arguing that I wasn’t a nice person.  In college, I took long walks with a really cute guy and the whole time I was debating all his beliefs.  I wanted to know what he really thought, not what his parents said, or his church said.  Plus, it kept him talking and interested.  It almost backfired though, as my playing devil’s advocate had him thinking I didn’t believe in the Bible and other crazy things.  Lucky for me, he stuck around and learned that I just really like to argue.  So I get it, debating is talking, and talking is relating.  Number 2 is that my son is testing to see if he can get me to back down.  He inherited my stubborn streak.  He’s also heard me say that I am the most stubborn person I know, and sees that as a challenge.  Number 3 is that he’s asserting his independence.  By opposing me at every angle he is “growing up” and “becoming his own person”.  Number 4 is to drive his mother crazy.  He knows I can’t resist an argument, and rarely will I stand by when I hear bad information being passed along.

His number one, go-to argument really does drive me to the loony bin.  It all began in the commissary parking lot.  Military commissaries normally assign letters to every other parking lane so you can remember when you parked your car.  In Alaska, to get into the Alaska spirit, pictures of native animals have replaced the letters.  You can park in the moose, bear or whale aisle.  There is one aisle in particular that I like to park in, it is strategically placed near the commissary exit.  The picture is that of a puffin, which I’m sure you know looks like a penguin with a large beak.  Ever since early childhood, I knew one fact about animal life on this planet.  Polar bears live at the North Pole, and penguins live at the South Pole, they do not live together, ever.  That fact has helped me answer many a trick question, and I have also been able to use it to show off at many a trivia contest.  Before we even moved here, I was able to tell my children that in Alaska there are polar bears, and there are, beyond a shadow of a doubt, absolutely no penguins.  Then at some point during the drive here, we found that there in fact were penguin-like birds here.  The puffin.  I did not know that, but I used that as a learning experience.  Xavier on the other hand felt lied to.  It looked like a penguin, and before that I’m not sure that he was aware of the existence of the puffin.  He now refuses to believe in puffins, stating that they are simply a variety of penguin. Now, every time I park at the commissary, or any other time the subject of puffins comes up, Xavier must say it is a penguin.  This argument is so heated, I wonder if the Hatfields and McCoys didn’t start their feud over something similar.

The amazing night of Monday Night Football, has given us another great feud.  Was that a legitimate touchdown, or a bad call?  As Xavier was rooting for the Seahawks, he is more than happy to call it a touchdown.  His main argument, in his childlike naiveté, is that the refs called it a touchdown, therefore a touchdown it must be.  I say Greg Jennings had control of the ball, at most the Seahawks tackled the Packers in the end zone, gaining a safety.  Don’t know if that would work on an interception, part of me wants to say that only the defence can score a safety.  I don’t know, my knowledge of football rules is negligible.  I could look it up easily if I wanted to, but I don’t care that much.  I do know enough, to know that if the defence intercepts the ball in the end zone, a touchdown is not scored.  And I call what happened Monday night an interception.  So now, anytime the Packers or Seahawks are brought up, my son likes to taunt me that his team scored in the last second of the game.  I cannot resist the bait, and the family feud is ignited.
Xavier has developed an interest in Fantasy Football.  He really wants to play.  While I know extremely little (although, I was the number 1 player in my league two seasons ago, before the playoffs, we won’t discuss the playoffs, just concentrate on number 1 at the end of the regular fantasy season), I have decided to teach him what I know, and let him help me with my fantasy team.  Together we picked a quarterback, and then we moved on to wide receivers.  Jennings happens to be my best wide receiver.  All work on developing a team that should beat my father’s team was shut down as we again debated the finer points of that touchdown/interception.  It didn’t help that ESPN was playing that clip in the background at the same time.  (We were at McDonald’s getting Monopoly pieces, in case you were wondering how ESPN came to be on.)

Now as a mom, I must learn to walk the tightrope between allowing good family fun of debating, and making sure that my son knows how to relate to people without picking fights.  Although, I can’t say that it has done me all that bad.  That guy I debated in college did eventually marry me.

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