While Van has many admirable traits, one thing that's often bothered you about him is when mules and rocks stop by to get hints on how to be really stubborn. That tendency lead to many sore bottoms for Van. Over the years, you learned to look for the signs of him 'stubborning up', and you'd point out to him when he was about to get himself into trouble. It didn't always work, but he became better at spotting the signs for himself, and things improved a lot....
Until he reached his teens.
Van was practicing late this evening. When you remind him he needs to get his chores and homework done, and that they're really supposed to be done by 8pm (which it nearly is), his response is "I know, Dad. I'll do it."
The tone of voice is not one you appreciate, but you blow it off, and head off to get his little brothers to bed.
It's just after 9pm, the littles are tucked into bed, or headed that way soon (depending upon how little), and you go to check on Van again. He is in his room this time, as opposed to downstairs at the piano, but he's sitting at his keyboard with the headphones on.
It takes you to get his attention, but he stops, giving you an exasperated look, making sure you know what a hassle you are, and then takes off his head phones.
"Chores and homework done?" you ask.
"I said I'd do them."
"I know you're working on a new song, Van, but I don't want to have to give you chore strikes, and I think it'll take more than 15 or 20 minutes to do your homework, so why don't you get started now?"
"I'll start when I'm finished with this!"
Is he finished with that?