Tag Archives: children interrupting

Lifus Interruptus

22 Aug

Theon trudged through the snow . . .

The door to my bedroom flew open. Theon stopped trudging through the snow. I closed the book on my finger, holding my place.

“Mom, what do we have to eat?” my son asked.

“The same things we had the last time you asked. Go look,” I answered.

“Meh,” he said, shutting the door.

Theon trudged through the snow . . .

“Mommy, can I watch TV in your room?” my daughter asked, opening the door then climbing into my bed.

Theon again stopped trudging. I closed the book on my finger.

“Where is your daddy,” I asked, it being 9:00 p.m., a half hour past her bedtime, and it being her daddy’s job to put her to bed.

“He’s downstairs, playing cards on his computer.”

“Husband,” I shouted. My daughter ran from the room, forgetting to close the door.

Theon trudged through the snow . . .

“I checked,” my son said, having returned from his foray in the kitchen, “we don’t have anything to eat.”

Theon stopped trudging through the snow again as I closed my eyes and willed my son away. I decided to ignore him. My son, not Theon. Theon started trudging again. My son didn’t leave.

“I’m bored,” he said.

“Theon trudged through the snow,” I said.

“Can we watch TV together?”

“Theon trudged through the snow,” I said, louder.

“We haven’t had mother-son bonding time in so long,” he pleaded.

“THEON TRUDGED THROUGH THE SNOW!” I shouted. He persisted. My son, not Theon. Theon was losing the battle for my attention.

“Pweeze, Mommy?” begged my bearded, 15-year-old son, puppy-dog eyes looking up at me, as he had flopped down on the bed beside me.

Theon stopped trudging as I set the book down to watch TV with my son.

While my son may have insisted that we hadn’t had mother-son bonding time “in so long,” the same scene plays out every night.

I no longer live a life. I live lifus interruptus.

When I lived alone, I never really thought about interruptions. Oh, the cat would have a hairball here and there and I’d occasionally get an unwelcome phone call. But the advent of the answering machine and, subsequently caller ID, freed me from unwanted distractions—except the hairballs, of course.

My husband was the first to bring interruptions to my attention, as in I would make them and he would resent them. I didn’t think of my comments on his monologues, I mean, contributions to discussion as interruptions, but lively responses to his thought-provoking speech. He thought of them as interruptions. I tried to stop inserting lively responses. Eventually, I was able to allow him to completely finish expressing a thought, holding my lively responses in abeyance. Unfortunately, by the time he had completed his thought, I had forgotten my lively response, leaving me responseless. This led him to believe that I was uninterested in his thought. In fact, at some point in his thought, I had a thought of my own that connected to his. So that I could remember my own thought, I stopped listening to his and began repeating my own in my head, over and over again. At that point, I figured out that I had figured out how to interrupt him without interrupting him.

My children will interrupt anything, at any time.

Making a dinner that my son has been grumbling for for hours? He’ll interrupt three or four times to ask when the dinner will be ready. I remind him that it will be ready much more quickly if he’ll stop interrupting me to ask when it will be ready.

Talking on the phone? My daughter will interrupt to provide further proof that she will grow up to become a molecular biologist as she points out a wound smaller than the point of a pin. My son has learned that phone calls are only to be interrupted if he is bleeding or on fire.

Locked doors don’t deter my children; they have discovered that knitting needles are effective in unlocking our locks. I discovered their discovery while taking a bath.

There are levels of interruption, as well. Recently, I realized everyone in the house was occupied. I snuck up to my office to write. I wrote 23 words. Only 23 words before my daughter interrupted me. I don’t even recall why, because immediately, my son interrupted her interruption to tell me he was bored or hungry. I don’t remember which.

I have grown so accustomed to being interrupted that I have developed the habit of leaving off the last word of sentences. I refuse to believe that this is a memory issue caused by my age. No, I have gotten used to not being able to finish a sentence, so I never finish sentences any more. It may be that I won’t even be able to speak at all soon. Last night, I opened my mouth to speak just as my son said, “What are we having for dinner?”

I have even begun interrupting myself. In writing this post, I have found it absolutely essential to take a bath, Google how to clean sticky dirt from a stair rail, attempt to clean a stair rail, start dinner, make a cup of tea, read some of a novel, and put away my daughter’s clean laundry. It normally takes me two hours to write a 1,000-word post. So far, I’m at 3 ½ hours. Not a good trend.

The worst of the interrupting avalanche is in my bedroom. It’s not what you think. I haven’t been able to sleep through the night since my kids started sleeping through the night. In addition to getting up to use the bathroom, I am now awakened by the need to either remove the covers or replace the covers. Every night, usually three or four times, I am treated to the sensation of my internal temperature regulation mechanism (ITRM) being nudged up a few notches. Covers off. Soon after, the ITRM gets nudged back . . .too far down. Covers on. Repeat. Of course, I still need to replace covers due to spousal cover removal. It’s covers off, covers on all night, every night.

On top of it all, I’ve developed insomnia. I look at this as a blessing though. At 2 a.m., I’m unlikely to be interrupted, no matter what I’m doing. Finally, Theon can trudge through the snow to wherever he was going.

© Copyright 2011 by Janice Lindegard, except Theon trudged through the snow Copyright George R. R. Martin

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