We’ve all been very relieved about the good news on the cancer front. Of course. I got big hugs from both the teenagers which nearly made me cry, as it only then sank home what it all really meant.
Later that evening one of the boys suddenly turned to me and said “So does that mean you’re going to start doing our laundry again?”
I’ve been on strike since a particularly bad week somewhere near the start of the chemo when the washing mountain grew and grew and my idle offspring waited for me to deal with it. It was half term, I believe, so it wasn’t as though they were pressed with other duties.
Anyhow I’ve enjoyed being on strike and see no reason to regress. In fact, I regard it as my duty as a mother to stay on strike. Their future wives will surely thank me.
Now, do you reckon I could get them to clean the loo?
Legend has it that teenagers have no affinity with soap. This is of course a complete fantasy, as any parent knows that modern teenagers must have at least one shower a day, preferably more, each involving a clean towel from the airing cupboard. So I wonder is the acronym SOAP an ironic nod by the East Lothian Outdoor Education team to this proclivity for cleanliness? Or does it have more to do with that early morning whiff that must have hit all of them at some time when they’ve unzipped a tent stuffed with teenagers on a Duke of Edinburgh trip, to try and goad them into action?
Anyhow the Secondary Outdoor Adventure Programme run by the Outdoor Ed team is taking a group of ten Sixth Years from the county High Schools into the Scottish Highlands for a series of weekends over the course of this year. Maybe it was the attraction of building snowholes Continue reading →
Just 18, he passed his test in July and already, of course, he’s a far better driver than his mum. Never mind that the car is buried under a 3 ft blanket of snow and hasn’t moved since the weekend. Don’t worry that all the roads are single track and covered in slush, with cars abandonned all over the place, and as soon as the plough goes through and clears the path new snow fills it in again. So what if the AA has had 18,000 breakdown call outs and that the temperature is predicted to drop to record lows tonight? Even the buses are struggling to reach the village.
Tara, at Sticky Fingers, sets a photograph challenge each week. I’ve been meaning to take part for months but, well, you may have noticed that I haven’t blogged for months. So, to celebrate putting metaphorical pen to metaphorical paper, I’ve hunted through Windows Explorer to find something for this week’s theme: Show me the funny.
May I present two or maybe three photos which encapsulate for me Living with Teenagers.
I spotted this sculpture at Tate Modern earlier this year. It sums up for me exactly how I feel when I come home from a week’s fieldwork. Laundry basket overflowing, bedroom floors invisible beneath the mound of wet towels, on duty as Domestic Goddess (if only) the moment I step through the door…
And then there is the challenge of making teenage boys Go Out For A Walk… You can feel the happiness and excitement in this picture.
And finally, do teenage boys read? Or only when they have to?
I know that, as a responsible citizen with a fully paid up TV licence, I should have been watching the Prime Ministerial debates during the election campaign. And I did, I really did, listen to part of each of them on the kitchen radio following the Guineapig family’s various Thursday evening jumping around activities in disparate parts of East Lothian. But I only listened to part of them because on Thursday evening at 9.30pm Outnumbered came on the box. The series is now finished, sadly. Political debate v Outnumbered? Scripts v improvisation? Adults arguing like children or children arguing like adults? No competition.
Anyhow, one of the best episodes of the election campaign was the one where the family discovers that Ben’s a whizz at chess. It suits him because spear wielding knights can charge through the opposing army and lay waste in all directions while alien pawns come hurtling in from outer space. As part of the discovery process there were dicussions about the relative merits of letting your child win as opposed to playing to win yourself. Of course, when Ben trounced them all they all protested that they’d just let him win. No, they didn’t fool the viewers. It set me wondering, though, at what point I stopped playing GP2’s Scrabble hand as well as my own and started playing for my own survival. I’m just about hanging on to my winning record, but only just. And when did I start finding the crossword has been done by one of the children before I get there?
“Midnight? Midnight? It’s Christmas Eve for goodness sake.” It was just as well it wasn’t me on the phone to the AA as it was at this point I suffered a sense of humour blackout. “There are a lot of people having a far worse Christmas than this” I kept muttering to myself.
“Very sorry sir, but there are some people who’ve already been waiting almost 8 hours.”
“We’ve already been waiting 8 hours. You want us to wait another 8?”
I buy more coffee and some peanuts, the only gluten-free food available. Despite the fact that we’ve been almost the only customers all day, the lady in the cafe still doesn’t acknowledge us. Meanwhile GPD phones our best hope of rescue, but they’re already in Blackpool for Christmas. Or Bolton or somewhere starting with a B off the M6. We knew it was a long shot.
We debate trying to get the car back onto the motorway, to bump ourselves back up the priority list. Unfortunately, though, we figure that might result in a priority ride to A&E so abandon that plan.
This morning, at 9am, I found myself online with my finger hovering over the Buy This Instant button as T in the Park tickets came on sale. Apparently I agreed to buy GP1 a ticket in return for his fantastic exam results this year. That must have been during one of my more maternal “Let’s be positive and look on the bright side” moments, as my understanding of fantastic exam results doesn’t entirely coincide with my son’s. In fact, I don’t think our opinions even approximately match. Still, not being one to go back on my word, even if I can’t quite remember the conversation, I did the deed and bought the ticket.
So I’m now the proud owner of a ticket for the 2010 T in the Park. It’s my ticket. Mine. Not his. If he wants it, there will be conditions attached. And if he doesn’t get respectable marks in his prelims in February, I will be offering the ticket to the highest bidder. Or any bidder. Perhaps I’ll give it away. I’m sure there are some very deserving cousins who’d appreciate it. Who knows, I could even go myself.
If I were my son, I wouldn’t be calling my bluff. You have been warned, GP1.
Please form an orderly queue now. You can camp overnight if you want to be first in line. And no pushing at the back!
Things were easy when the boys were small. Birthday parties maybe involved booking the swimming pool or local bouncy castle for an hour or so, a few sandwiches and crispie cakes, grapes for the health conscious and a party bag or two. We went through taking a few friends to the pictures and then it all went quiet for a while before we got to paintballing.
So, this year… “Mu-um?” “Yes?” (note the nervous upward inflexion).
“Can we have a few friends in? And will you go out for the evening? Maybe you could stay out overnight?”
“How many friends? Who? And there’s no way we’re staying out overnight.”
“It hasn’t stopped raining for two days! I haven’t been able to get any washing out” GP1 said.
Head snaps round. Eyes swivel left. Is that my son talking? The one who had six wet towels on his bedroom floor the last time I arrived home from fieldwork? Well, I have to confess it was those six towels that did it, particularly when combined with the five more I found on his brother’s floor and the distinct absence of clean, dry, sweet smelling towels in the airing cupboard. But I’ve already told you about those. What I maybe didn’t tell you was that I threw a wobbly and when shortly after I left for yet another two weeks work, there were rules. Continue reading →
Neglect. As in My blog has fallen into a state of neglect. I haven’t written anything. It has accumulated spam comments (now deleted, I hope). There are real comments, including some from Reluctant Memsahib, one of my favourite reads, and I haven’t responded. I’ve been busy. I’ve been away. I have lots of excuses. I don’t really like excuses, though. My sister has taken me to task. “Why doesn’t your blog work? It won’t load” she asked. I think it’s sulking.
It’s not that there’s a shortage of material. The holiday, for instance, is begging to be told. Stories about the fading American lady in Fiji Continue reading →