I have mentioned (I say mention, it may be more accurate to say moaned) about my son’s reluctance to divulge what he does at school. I am not sure the term reluctance does sufficient justice to his ability to be utterly tight-lipped; at the point at which he realises I am fishing for information he metamorphoses from a five year old who can talk about how long you might survive if you fell into a chasm with 182 lunch boxes, into a monosyllabic moron, much like I imagine his future sixteen year old self will be. It is now a regular game that we play on the walk home from school: I ask what he did, and he says he’s forgotten. I ask what his favourite bit of the day was, and he says lunch. I ask him what else he enjoyed, and he says playing. Well, it passes the time as we trudge up the hill.
And I think that E is now just starting to realise that there is some truth in the old adage that information is power. Last week, as I watched him playing with his brother, I told him: ‘if you are thinking of poking your brother with that light sabre, I would think again.”
He looked at me, slightly incredulous that I seemed to have read his mind. “How did you know that I was thinking that?” he asked.
“Because mummys know everything,” I replied. I like to big up my role as omniscient being of immense power. I’m saving up for a cape to complete the look. I would wear my pants over my trousers, but no one wants the gusset of a middle aged woman to be on public display.
There is a pause as E stares at me.
“So if you know everything then what did I do at school today?” he asks with a smug grin.
I stared back at him, feeling the foundations of the parent / son relationship shift almost imperceptibly under my feet. Just twelve months ago, I was his mummy who knew everything. And he also knew that I had a failsafe back up, called the iPad, where I could seemingly magically summon up the answers to anything else, from how you make glass to why there is a hole in a bagel. And it was my iPad, and I was doing the typing, so by default, I still knew everything.
But now, he not only knows information that I don’t, he feels the power of withholding it. And as I thought about it, this moment seemed to represent quite a step in our relationship. One where I didn’t know everything about my son. One, where I hand over just a slither of power. One, where even the bloody iPad won’t help.
I pondered this for a while longer as I looked at him return to his play. And what I was left with was the fact that no one likes being bested by their five year old offspring, so I gave him a good old poke with the other light sabre and may have accidentally stuck my tongue out at him. Well, I never claimed to be a mature omniscient being. So pass me those pants, will you, because gusset or no gusset, I am going to have to crack on with the whole Omniscient Being plan. I fear my days are numbered.