Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Teen emergency.... kinda.

Yesterday morning, Queenager dashes out. "I have to be at school early". Door clashes.

"Byeeeee", we yell, without doing the usual equipment check at the door. "Take your phone" I call, as she's half way up the street. Right, well, never mind.

Five minutes later the phone rings and we can see that it's her. "Somebody get that" I yell, as I help Little Guy brush his teeth. Despite living in an American house, there's no phone in the downstairs loo. The Ball & Chain manages to dive for the kitchen phone before it bounces into e-mail.

"What? What do you need? You're breaking up? Call back on a school phone."

She calls back twice more on her cell phone, perhaps hoping for miraculous improvement by ATT&T. It hasn't happend in twenty years, so why it would suddently improve cell phone reception in under five minutes is beyond me.

Given that she's attenpted to call home twice now, it appears to be a national emergency so we stand guard at various phones. Then my brain wave:

"Text her", I say. "She can always send and receive texts". Isn't that the way teens communicate these days anyway?

"WHAT DO U ND?" texts the B&C.

Some huge emergency. Her response????

"Why R U still in the House?"


Saturday, 23 January 2010

ABC... (update)

My daughter has been in a grotty mood since she started 6th form,
I get the teen angst,
I get that boys are pathetic,
I get the l'm not hungry and the l need chocolate NOW feelings,
I get the must have this, I MUST have that now demands,
I get the sleeping in until the evening news
and the latest design of wardrobe that was the carpet
I get that you have had enough, want a break and so want to take a gap year,
I get that you want to change your mind as it is very real now and you have the offers you want from several uni's,
I even get the swearing not to lightly under your breath.

I don't get the tantrums,
I don't get the crying,
I don't get the shrieking,
I don't get the quick weight loss, (even after swine flu)
I don't get that you need AAB at one uni' and BBB at another and ABC at another, in any subject but all for the same majors Law & politics WTF?
I don't get you have stay out until everything is closed at 4am (anything I had to do l could do by 11pm (but don't tell Moannie or JP)
I don't get the mixing of drinks, whisky, Guinness, light beer and that blue stuff!
I don't get how you can go out with £6 and come home sloshed with £1 left(was l stupid)
I don't get why you want out of here one moment and then you don't want out of here the next, is it the nature of things, l thought l got it.....

... is it something to do with the fact we feed, water, house, advance you money, clean your bathroom, sometimes even remove plates, drinks and mouldy food from your room, give you lifts, support you at school, advance you more money and care about you a hell of a lot!

(btw this is me taking a back seat and leaving you be!)

Ps.BEWARE- Teen girl was sent home from school today, nursey thinks she has chronic fatgue syndrome, post swine flu. Made appt for her next Monday as she will only see lady doc.Thinking about it, it all fits..weight loss, sleeping lots daytime too, eating odd things at odd times, overwhelmed by everything, hating everything. So NOT JUST being a teen then...will let you know how it pans out. I just feel l should be behind her and make sure she gets through these crucial 4 months unscathed and hopefully rewarded.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Don't worry - I'm out looking for the plot!

I don't know what's happened to my parenting blogging Mojo, mes bloggy loves...

I seem to flit like a gaddy butterfly, from subject to subject, from write to wrong.

I keep thinking of things to scribble about. My grand-mother. My late father. Something funny someone's said. And my routine is all to pot basically...

My son is studying for his last exams in school. He leaves school at the end of summer. We will celebrate with a holiday. Rome. Paris. Scarborough. He will take one of his five offers of a place at University, Goddess Wiki willing! We will pack his stuff. By which I mean mine and our stuff! We will pack him off with books and love, oodles of money and food, and love.

I flit between longing for time to myself. Moments not fraught with arguments and strewn with strife. I shan't miss our Battles of Wit. I shan't miss the hurtful things he can say to me... That spring from no-where and from no-one I know...

I shall miss his sparkle, his humour, his quick-wit and wild abandon. His eyes half-shut in sleep, cornflakes caked hard in sweet and sour milk on china bowls. I shall covet the stolen bear-hugs, when he forgets to be rock-hard and becomes my little pumpkin once more...

I shall revert to type. I don't really remember who I am. Nor who I was at any time in the past, when I wasn't his mum.

I shall be me.

I won't miss his laundry, mind.

But I suspect I'll still see it on weekend visits!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

The New Phone

On Saturday I had 2 mornings, as if getting out of bed just once isn't bad enough!!! I'm not great in the morning.
I was awake at 3am to take my SO to the airport and then returned home to bed, being woken the second time by a Small Sprog with and a roaring dinosaur! He often brings his Nintendo into bed in the morning. Getting up the second time in one day wasn't any easier than the first.
This morning the children and I are all in my room again, on various electronic devices. I can't think where they get that from!
Small Sprog is creating a virtual creature to do battle with, I am here, obviously, on my laptop and Tall Girl is playing truly awful music on her new phone, which apparently is the best thing in the world........
Yesterday we went to Tesco to get her a new phone. Before we get there she tells me how she likes a particular phone that all her friends have, but that it seems to break easily. So when we get to the 'phone dept', she points to the said phone and says that is the one she wants.
'You must be joking' I say as she throws a pout my way 'You said it is hopeless, and just look at the price!'
The pout gets more pronounced. If she had been two years old she'd be lying on the floor kicking and screaming!
'Have a look at the others, there must be another one that you like?'
Obviously there wasn't, not one! Why on earth didn't I delegate this job to her father?
I tried to point out that she has just had a birthday and Christmas and a laptop in September and the fact that her existing phone has just decided to die, didn't mean she could have a top of the range phone, just for nothing. End of lecture! The pout continued.
'Well, you'll just have to make do with your old one until it completely gives up' I say determinedly, beginning to walk away.
I noticed a moment of panic in her eyes. I had found her weak spot!
To cut a long story short, we found a medium priced phone that she deemed acceptable. By the time we arrived back to the car she was beaming with excitement! She tore open the box, loaded her Sim and memory card and before we were out of the car park, she was oohing and ahhhing about all its various attributes. It was 'The Best Phone In The World'. Damn I thought, I could have got away with an even cheaper version!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Totally aware of what's going on.

At my son's school (a 14-19 college) they allow the students to arrange with the individual teacher suitable appointments for parents night. Yes, we'll all raise our middle aged eyebrows at the wisdom of that idea.

So, I asked my son who I'm going to see and at what time.

And his reply...

"Oh, I didn't bother I thought you could just speak to them in the staffroom or something"

And my response...

"I haven't taught there since July"

I do actually live with my son.

Love from your

auntiegwen xxx

Thursday, 7 January 2010

The Best of Intentions

I don't know, I just thought the new school year would kick off with a little more, hmmm, organization/organisation. I'd had two weeks of sitting around with not enough to do while everyone else was out on the slopes. The "reminders" and "to-do" lists had used up all the memory on my phone. I have significantly reduced my Pinot Grigio intake, mainly due to histamine reactions to the merest whiff, so my mind is razor sharp. (OK, poetic license/licence there.)

I made all kids go to bed at a reasonable time on Sunday night, the backpacks were ready at the door, the PE clothes washed and ready, cell phones, keys and other paraphernalia located. Oh yeah....2010 is bringing some changes, I thought.

Now, I admit that we were an hour behind on Monday morning, having spent two weeks on Mountain Time instead of Central Time, so waking up was going to be a challenge. The Ball & Chain usually gets up five minutes before me and makes so much noise that there's no way I could ever fall back to sleep, but since he's on a quote unquote "conference", I was in charge. Managed to wake the man-child a whole ten minutes before he had set his alarm - not a happy camper, to put it mildly.

"Oh for god's sake it's only ten minutes" I said. He displayed a surprisingly dry wit for a just-woken teen when he punched back with "Oh yeah, 'cause you wouldn't mind at all". I sloped off, stage right.

The Queenager said she was awake when I popped my head in, but she could have been sleep-talking. The Little Guy - was nowhere to be seen. At 6, he's perfecty capable of getting his own breakfast, as long as I don't mind wiping up the half gallon of milk that doesn't make it into the cereal bowl, so I wasn't worried. I'm not thrilled about him getting up earlier than 7am though. Why? Because he can't tell the time yet (eek) so neither of us have any idea how long he has been up. Has he been watching TV for two minutes or two hours? How much sleep did he actually get?

Anyhoo, after much questioning, the teenagers were allowed to leave for school. (Phone? Keys? PE stuff? Homework?) "Mom", they wailed as one, with maximum lack of patience, and much eye-rolling.

And yes, it happened.

Two minutes before leaving with Little Guy, came the first phone call. It was so predictable that even LG said "Oh that must be one of them."

Me: "Yes", stretching out the word for maximum effect.
Queenager: "Oh thank god you're still there." (Playing to an audience of at least six high schoolers, I deduced.)
Me: "Well...."
Queenager: "I forgot my math homework. Can you bring it please."
Me: "What, - the stuff you were panicking about last week and have been working on ALL weekend?"
Queenager: "OK, OK. Pleeeeze can you bring it? Thanks. Love ya."

Thirty seconds before leaving, there it goes again.

Me: "What now?"
Man-child: "Whuh?"
Me: "Oh it's you. What's the matter?"
M-C: "Hey. Mom? (Pause) I forgot my key. You will be in at 3.30pm won't you?"
Me: "What if I'm not?" (Like I go anywhere.)
M-C: "Mom". Again with the hour-long word.
Me: "Yes, I suppose so". (Implying huge sacrifice on my part.)
M-C: "Cool. (Pause) See ya".

Oh well. What's that song? Tomorrow, tomorrow......

Expat MOM



Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Ten Ways I Know the Teenagers are MIA

The teenagers and their little prodigy (aged 9) have disappeared Down Under to torment the Father for a month. We can tell they’re Missing In Action. Here’s how:

1/ Water – We have water. We have HOT water, on demand! This little terrace in North Hampshire has become our latest spa. Now if I could only figure out how to get manly, muscled attendants to preside over my la salle de bain.

2/I threw out a bottle of milk, because it was past its use by! I know. I can’t remember ever doing that before. Typically the Son (15) skulls the milk with cornflakes to build up his strength for another demanding day building levels on Little Big Planet. Dark Princess (13 going on 30) is determined to nip osteoporosis in the bud so she downs the rest of the carton before anyone wakes. We are perpetually short of milk, so much so I’ve considered raising a cow in the back yard.

3/ The TV has not magically turned itself onto Cartoon Network overnight.

4/I have loo roll, dishwashing and washing machine tablets, and enough butter left to freeze and carve into a sculpture!

5/At midnight last night I could hear something creaking in Son’s room.

6/I can dash to the loo in the middle of the night without having to grab my ever-so-sexy black velour dressing gown, and no one yells ‘Muuuuuum’. (‘This embarrassingly stretch-marked body gave birth to you child!’)

7/ I can play Tainted Love without being reminded how old I am by the teens knowing all the words (it’s on Guitar Hero as a retro hit)

8/I have bandwidth. It’s not being sucked away by Limewire or online battles of Age of Empires.

9/I feel the need to engage my Englishman in petty argument. I’m just not getting enough verbal sparring.

10/I can locate all of my clothes. They are not stuffed under Dark Princess’ bed in a smelly heap. Pairs of shoes are still in my wardrobe not missing last seen at school/dance/drama. I have hair ties for the gym, and I haven’t had to look at a nit comb in a fortnight!!

I have two more weeks of this strange regime and then they will return. I’ll probably be missing them by then.

Vegemitevix xxx

Friday, 1 January 2010

Incedious Unwanted Guest

And I have kicked him out.

We have busy house with lots of people and lots of space.

We have one TV, no cable, no Tivo (I actually don't even know what that it, exactly), and pretty ancient guidelines/rules about watching only on the weekend.

Over the last year or so, the TV has been making a more and more invasive presence in our home. Borrowing movies from the library has become an almost weekly expectation. Teenagers like all kinds of crazy television. Saturday morning Yu-gi-oh turning into Saturday afternoon bad 70s movies, turning into baseball games, and now football games. I haven't liked the refocusing, but I have let guidelines be bent.

Until this weekend....when a disrespectful unload from a teenage mouth that had just spent hours in front of the television led me to walk to the box, unplug it, and remove it from the living room. I didn't have to or plan to offer an explanation.

You might be wondering what television has to do with a disrespectful mouth. Well, it's all attachment. Television disconnects from relationships and when our kids are disconnected from the loving people around them, they forget how to behave. Sounds simple...and in many ways it really is simple.

The kids were facing a Sunday through Wednesday holiday from school and were seems they have completely forgotten how to make themselves happy without the plug in box.

"What do you expect us to do while you are at work all day?"

"You mean, after you finish your chores?"

"Uh, um, yeah...?"

"It's not my job to entertain you, my dear. I am sure that you can figure it out."

When I returned home on Monday afternoon, the house was quiet. I couldn't hear a peep. Only the dogs greeted me at the door.

Good golly, they ran away to a house with cable!

Actually, I found them. Quietly doing a variety of creative activities in their rooms!

I love when it is so clear that we, as parents, do the difficult, but right thing!

Yours in Chaos,