Pencil Death Match

Edward Bulwer-Lytton once said “The Pen is Mightier than the Sword”. I wonder if the same applies to pencils?? Ok, I know that he was implying that more can be accomplished by using your thoughts than your physical strength but who knew that a writing tool could also be used as a catalyst for a tweenage brawl?

It all started on a gloomy Sunday afternoon, an uncommon and foretelling environment living in Southern California. Audra and I had just gotten home from helping out at the garage sale fundraiser her 5th grade class hosted. We were both over stimulated, tired, and cold. Genevieve had that look in her eye as she sat on the couch, a slightly menacing smile on her face. I know this look well, it’s the illogical tween mind, the one that is looking for an invitation to release The Crazy! She got off the couch and walked passed me mumbling something about not being notified that we would be gone in morning, blah, blah, blah… I didn’t bite, she got the picture that I didn’t want admission on to the crazy train.

I finally rested on the couch to just unload for a few minutes when Genevieve appears in the threshold uttering the words that in the next few minutes I would learn to hate “I need a pencil”. I made it clear that I didn’t have one but I was confident she could find one, probably even in her backpack. Again, I hear “I need a pencil”.

She then walked into Audra’s room, “Audra, give me a pencil, I know you have some”. This statement is true, I just purchased 36 pencils because she had a crisis about pencils last week. Audra firmly told Genevieve that she would not be sharing. So for the next 10 minutes, the girls continued to argue back and forth as I slightly resigned to the arguing, letting it go, they have to figure out to solve their own conflicts, right??

Enter Genevieve, “Audra won’t share her pencils, make her share her pencils”.

“No, I will not make her, she has those for school and you have proved irresponsible with other people’s property”.

More anger crossed her face, standing in Audra’s doorway, now screaming “I need a pencil”.

I ask Toby if he can locate a pencil, maybe check her backpack, at this point I was convinced that there was going to be someone getting punched soon. To my surprise, Audra hadn’t decked Genevieve yet, that’s progress. Toby comes back 45 seconds later.

I holler for Genevieve to come see me, adding that it was in her best interest to get there fast. I hand her four perfectly sharpened pencils that Toby had given me and said this “These were laying on your bedroom floor, out in the open”. She looked at me with no remorse, no guilt, and no thanks. I told her to apologize to Audra which of course fell on deaf ears.

I get siblings argue and I understand that it can be constant but when does logic set in? The tween mind is like that of one with a mental illness? Not that I make excuses for this conduct but there are times where arguing logic to my 12 year old is like trying to use a stationary bike to get you across town; it is useless, it gets you no where, and you look stupid.

I am glad to report that no one died in the Pencil Death Match after all, art WAS created, and life on the big blue planet continues.

Taking it one day at a time and buying more pencils.

-Mom under siege

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