Photo credits

The Embalse de Riano in northern Spain. The picture was taken by .... me!

Thursday, December 13

The Balrog

It was the standard teenage daughter morning screaming session.

She was late for school and needed to go on Facebook to arrange a meeting point with her friend to walk to school. Her phone is broken, so she needed the laptop. Now! Brother dutifully opens a new tab and opens Facebook for her, but the internet is slow in ou house and she starts shouting at him for being slow. In another room I her his voice rising in protest. There is a long history of shouting over computer rights between these two, and I am fed up. He is on it far too long with the volume too loud. She is intolerant of the slightest noise, and also expects it to be handed over instantaneously on demand. It has got to the stage where the slightest little thing blows up as they both interpret it in the light of the history and overreact. A bit like loyalists and republicans in Northern Ireland. So when I hear this going, I being part of the history too also over react and storm in to confiscate the computer. The daughter (15) is between me and the computer so I hold her by the waist, lift her and move her out of the way to the side. [This is not a good idea – don’t do this unless it is to prevent an act of violence. Even in a discipline situation it impinges unacceptably on a teenager’s dignity] I slam the laptop shut and take it upstairs, reminding them that it is actually MY laptop, and that they should be using THEIR laptop which is in the basement. (PS I have now confiscated both laptops for the rest of the day)

Much teenage girl screaming ensues, comprising primarily of allegations that I don’t know what I have just done (she thinks I pick on her) and that I am going to make her late for school.

Boy looks on placidly.

Girl storms off to basement, slamming the glass kitchen door on the way. Glass breaks – fortunately held in place by the film we stuck on for this very reason when we were fostering. My other son, whose bedroom is in the basement, must have been woken up from his home-from-university lie-in by now.

Other daughter walks in “What’s going on?” “They’re fighting over the computer again”. Muffled sound of raging teenager screaming from basement “We are NOT arguing”. She storms up again. At top volume she lists my alleged sins, topped by “AND you’ve woken James” (not his real name).

So there we have it.
I have woken the Balrog!
My heart trembles!

(Just in case you are not familiar with The Balrog, it is from JRR Tolkiens Lord of The Rings trilogy.  It lives in the 'basement' of the mountain, and if you wake it you are in big trouble)

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