You know how you go along and think everything's okay, and then you get a setback, and it's normal kid stuff, exacerbated by the difficult child stuff, and it could be something small but you just can't handle it any more? OMG, my difficult child made me so upset last night. (Okay, to be politically correct, I allowed him to make me so upset. ) husband and I got home from our "date night" around 9:45 and difficult child was not only still awake, but still dressed, lights on, playing with-the dogs on his bed, and bouncing a tennis ball all over his room. (He has a wooden floor so you can imagine the rebound.) His easy child sister, who was supposed to be babysitting, had fed him, and at least had him upstairs in his rm. He will do anything to avoid going to bed, and that incl. being manipulative. (I know, you're just shocked, LOL!) I had just told him to brush his teeth, and he retorts with-a nasty, "I already DID!" I walk away to avoid engaging him. I came back a cpl min later and he approached me, shirtless, arms outstretched, for a hug. (See, that's the weird part ... he snips and snipes and snarls, but then doesn't understand why no one wants to play with-him or hug him.) I give him a perfunctory hug, and exclaim, "OMG, you smell! I thought you took a shower!" (Diplomacy is not one of my redeeming qualities. ) "I DID!" Then he pauses, knowing he has an opening (clever boy, he knew he could postpone bedtime), and says, "Should I take another one right now?" He reeked so terribly that I had to say yes (I mean, I cannot begin to tell you how bad it is lately ... he's definitely into puberty). I insisted he put down the tennis ball, which by that time was driving me batty (every parent here with-an ADHD kid whose medications wear off at 9 p.m. will identify with-that, LOL! ) So, I hear the shower running and I check on him, since I hear the tennis ball going inside the shower. He slides open the shower door and steps out, ball in hand, wearing his swim trunks!!!! "TAKE THEM OFF and START OVER!" I yell. "And give me that ball!" Why, why, why, does such a simple task have to be so hard? So, he finally gets back in (at that point, husband comes in, alarmed that not only is difficult child still awake, but showering!) and helps out. Once again, difficult child steps out of the shower, and this time, reaches for his swim trunks, which are now soaking wet. (Did he think he was going to wear wet swim trunks to bed? Where is his brain??? Never mind. A rhetorical question, at best.) I said, "NO. They're wet, plus there's a poopy mark inside and they need to be washed." "No there isn't." No look, not a glance, just a "No." That's when I really lost it. I know you're supposed to calmly explain blah blah blah, or even walk away, but his utter opposition and insistence, with-no data, just infuritated me. I said, "Oh, you know that, with-o even looking? Here--look." And I put the swim trunks right up to his nose. "I want to hear you say 'No, there's not,' now that it's in your face." "Well, I didn't look." (Ta-da!!!!) "So don't insist on things when you don't know." This is sososososoosoSO typical of his attitude. And yes, I am going to sit down with-him, calmly, and explain, once again (lessee, is this the 10,492,765 time?) cause and effect and defiance and a know-it-all attitude, somehow using words and examples he can understand. At some point, he's got to "get it." It's one of my goals b4 I'm 95 and in a nursing home.