Since I'm not exactly known for dishing out overwhelming amounts of sympathy, I decided to surprise him with a big dose of compassion by handing him an Advil while telling him that if he really started feeling crappy half-way through the school day that he could call me. And who knows, I might even scrape myself off of the couch and go pick him up.
He responded to this by grunting at me and then limped for the bus. Right after he left Charlie came down the stairs, taking the steps one at a time because his knee was feeling a little stiff after playing tennis all weekend. I asked him if he was going to survive or if we were going to have to amputate and he informed me that it wasn't just his knee, but that his whole body was sore. I guess playing four 2-hour tennis matches in one weekend will whip a boy into shape after all. I said hmmmm that's neat, handed him an Advil and gave him his bagel.
By the time both boys were home from school at the end of the day, I noticed that all traces of limping had disappeared. Miraculous joint healing had occurred without the assistance of ice packs, Ace wraps or orthopedic intervention. But I was still a little concerned about Zach's "illness."
Around 9:00, I suggested to him that he should maybe go to bed since he was fighting a sore throat and, as expected, mentioning something so absurd as going to bed early brought on an instant recovery and a crabby kid. "I'm not sick and I don't have a sore throat! What are you talking about? I never said anything about my throat! I said my ankle hurt."
Usually I'm pretty good about translating his teenage rants and less-than-desirable tone of voice into something that doesn't make me want to smack him, but on that particular night I wasn't really in the mood to be treated like shit on a shoe. After pointing out the fact that yes, he did in fact tell me that morning that he had a sore throat, because why else would I ask him how he's feeling. And hey by the way I am not a complete moron that just makes things up. And I'm pretty sure that this is the last time ever that I attempt to be sympathetic and concerned. And listen jerk, stop talking to me like that because I AM YOUR MOM!
After he realized that he was out of line and apologized I suggested that in the future, before he says something to me, he should consider saying whatever it is he's about to say to himself first, in his head. Because the problem is that since he doesn't even realize when he sounds like a creep, he doesn't believe me when I accuse him of snapping at me.
If this doesn't work and he continues to sound like an asshole when he talks to me, maybe I'll just do to him what I do to Zoe when she throws a tantrum: I'll video tape him so he can see and hear it for himself, and then I'll put him on the naughty step. Or maybe I'll just give him an Advil.