Tuesday, 25 May 2010

And My Daughter Makes It Three

Three what you are asking?

Three teenagers under one roof. They were just babies and toddlers yesterday.


As of this morning I am now the terrified proud mother of three teenagers. Two boys and one girl. I think I am in for some trouble.

That is if this teenage girl is anything at all like her mother. Early signs have been showing that she can put her grey haired mother to shame. Can I feel sorry for myself yet? Is this the same little girl who had a horrible case of separation anxiety? One that lasted ummmm... about 13 years? Nursery teachers with 30 years experience had to call in a psychologist to figure out how to deal with her.

Is this the same little girl who was petrified of dogs? The same girl who finally after many years can be in the same room as them.

Is this the little girl who so didn't want to stick out that she dressed in a way that made sure she stuck out like a sore thumb? Is this the same little girl who was petrified of clowns? Oh my mistake, is still deathly afraid of clowns.

Is this the little girl who used to ham it up in front of the cameras? The same little girl who I now have more pictures of with her hand in front of her face or the back of the her head then I do of her smile?

Is this the little girl with beautiful long thick brownish blonde hair that her mother sees loose only about once a year (if I am lucky)? The hair she now wears all day and all night in a ponytail.

Is this the little girl who didn't want a training bra and then refused to take it off even at nighttime?

Is this the little girl who used to panic at a little spot of dirt or wetness on her clothing, a panic that promted umpteen clothing changes a day? The same girl who now I have to fight to get any of her clothing into the wash.

Is this the girl who was so tomboyish that she never had any female friends? The same girl who now at times blushes if you bring up the right boy's name.

Is this the same girl who was never interested in any girly talk? The girl who insisted she needed to start removing her leg hair a few months ago?

The girl who wanted an epilady desperately and who desperately wanted clean shaven legs. The same girl who then had to be held down by her father while her mother tortured helped her with the epilady. Gosh that scene sooo should have been videotaped. Don't know whether we would have won the best or the worst parent of the year award for that.
Little girls grow up way too fast. Where the heck have the past 13 years gone? It was only 27 a few years ago that I was thirteen and torturing my own mother. Time flies. Next thing I know she will be walking down the aisle or having kids of her own. But for today on her thirteenth birthday, she is just a teenager.
Happy 13th birthday angel. (That's the backwards way of saying devil child in our house, so angel has been her name since she was a tiny little one.)

How bad can it be to have another teenager in the house? After all in three more months, one of my teens won't be one anymore. (Oh gosh that made me cry. I am old!)
Tell me I will make it. (That is if my daughter doesn't find this post before she is a mother herself, because she may kill me. Oh well, mothers' prerogative to shame their young. No?)

Sunday, 23 May 2010


Give me the rollercoaster ride, bungy jump or icy ski slope any day. Never before have I experienced such extreme fear. I have just been on a ride more terrifying than other any death defying journey of my life. My heart was literally in my mouth, my palms were sweating, even my feet were sweating so much that when I finally got out I kept slipping off my flip flops..

Being a passenger in my newly qualified 17 year old boy racer's car is right up there with any other heart in the mouth rides I have ever done and I nearly had a heart attack. I tried SO hard to be cool and not be my mother who sits in the passenger seat with me even now, pinned to the back of the seat with a fear of god look on her face and her foot constantly pressing on an imaginary brake, emitting sharp intakes of breath every 10 seconds until I want to drive on the pavement just to annoy her.

It is not natural for me to relax when the product of my own loins has taken my life into his hands. It is a constant source of amazement to me that my children are capable of doing anything on their own, without me. Least of all when I briefly considered whether he should show me due respect by turning the thumping, vibrating, sweary lyric'd music down and by not jolting the car until I felt car sick and by not speeding up at inappropriate moments. I kept having to duck down in order to avoid the disapproving looks of other drivers and pedestrians because the music was so unbearably loud. At one point when we stopped next to some people having a civilized meal by the side of the road I had to apologise by telling them it was my son that was driving and that I had been kidnapped - but I don't think they could hear me.

Needless to say, I am officially turning into my mother. I tried to turn the music down twice, I audibly gasped twice and I commented on the fact that he hadn't looked or used his indicator several times until he told me to "shut up" and even worse was that my daughter kept pointing out that in her opinion he was a much better driver than me.

Thursday, 20 May 2010


My gorgeous 17 year old is off on study leave as from today.....which means, that bar a few exams here and there he is about to embark on the longest summer holiday ever. It's not fair.

He's been revising quite hard. I think. Although quite honestly it is hard to tell. He completely bogged up his mocks. Something happens in between him waking up late, eating, sleeping on the sofa, being a little bit loud and hyper (mainly as a result of recuperating from a shoulder operation and not being able to do any sport), going out with friends - I think it might be some revision; he goes quiet anyway and stares at incomprehensible bits of paper. But I can't be sure. There is no point in asking him because he either mumbles something unintelligible or shouts "OF COURSE I'M WORKING STOP HASSLING ME. ANYWAY, WHAT'S THE POINT OF IT ALL - WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?? WHY BOTHER?? I MEAN LOADS OF PEOPLE GET REALLY GOOD JOBS WHO GOT REALLY SHIT RESULTS LIKE, UM, ....YOU FOR EXAMPLE".

My job just seems to be to feed and water him and...well, thats it actually. Nothing else. Conversation doesn't really work. He came down wearing a new T-shirt the other day saying 'ALL MY EX'S ARE MARRIED" and although I tried to engage him in a discussion about what it meant, he claimed not to understand it himself. Frankly, I think it would look better on me.

He won "Manager's Player of The Year" at his football presentation night on Sunday evening. I was so proud. He's been playing in the same team for 10 years now and 7 out of the original 9 players are still together. One of the players has played over 250 games for the team. It's just lovely - they are such a close bunch of boys. They are all huge now. Secretly I was also proud of the fact that I got a special mention for helping them with their stretching and the manager awarded me "best backside award", although if he was comparing my arse to those teenage boys then I didn't have much competition - not quite so hairy at least, I imagine.

Yesterday though, I had one of those "AAAAGH" moments with him. My daughter suddenly shouted for me to come up to her room. "Look outside my window" she said. "There's a used condom on the roof" and sure enough she was right ("how does SHE know what a used condom looks like" I was thinking to myself). It's a flat roof that you can jump down on to and I therefore assumed that a couple had climbed out of her window during one of his infamous parties.

I had a friend in the garden wondering what we were doing peering out of the window. So I pointed to the offending article and mouthed the words "USED CONDOM" several times, but she couldn't understand what I was saying. After several attempts my daughter shouted at the top of her voice for all the neighbours to hear: "SHE SAYS WE'VE GOT A USED CONDOM ON OUR ROOF"

So I then instructed my son to climb out and get it amongst lots of "THAT IS COMPLETELY REVOLTING. WHO ON EARTH WAS THAT? I CAN'T BELIEVE IT BLA BLA BLA" and all he said was "mum, I have no idea who it was but it's a really good idea, I'm going to try it".

Of course my friend later pointed out that I was being ridiculous. Who in their right mind would creep into an uninhabited girly bedroom with a lovely squishy girly bed and climb out the window to have sex. Clearly they just chucked the incriminating evidence out of the window.

I can't tell my daughter that though as she would be horrified.

Sometimes I really don't like being a parent.

NO MORE PARTIES is the answer I think.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Exam Technique

Son aged 16 is on the cusp of glory, or ignominy.

Either or!

His GCSE exams in a week or so have become the focal point for our entire household. Last weekend we spent the entire weekend ensuring that Son had a working torch. His Stepfather a Senior Design Electronics Engineer beavered away all weekend making sure that his chip was programmed, whilst Son sat in the school ITC lab doing the same.

I played taxi driver and chief worrier.

Finally Son came home on Sunday with a torch that works, or is close enough for government work! Hubby relaxed, secure in the knowledge that he too could pass GCSE Electronics, should he want to give it a go! I was just relieved that the household returned to an assemblance of normality.

As normal as it can be given the circumstances.

What with the studying, and swotting, and studiously avoiding revising!

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink - or devour textbooks! I've been applying moral support, sticks and carrots, and a little hard won knowledge on how to be an exam success. I've dished out helpful advice on diet, and getting enough sleep and how to be focussed.

Harder than training a horse, or a puppy I reckon! But he's a very smart kid and like smart kids around the world just takes for granted that he'll have the knowledge to hand when he needs it. He hasn't yet learnt that in the stressful environment of exams, that easy knowledge can play truant.

I'm toeing that fine line between being too pushy and not involved enough, I think. So, I was more than a little horrified to hear the following discussion between Son and his teacher, about exam technique!

'But you did well on the last test didn't you?' Teacher enquires whilst I look on.

'I haven't got the results back yet.. yeah... um' Son is an A student it should be ok.

'But that was a couple of weeks ago?'

Yeah, but Sir hasn't marked them yet. I did all the paper and everything, but..'

'But?' Teach and I ask together.

'I forgot to put my name on the paper, so it's in Sir's in-tray with the other un-named ones'.

Bam, so there goes success out the window!

Guess who's going to be going over and over exam technique for the next week, with my talented Son? Any other fellow Mum or Dad sufferers? 

Vegemitevix writes about her adventures parenting two teens and a tweenie as an expat Kiwi Mum now living in her second marriage in a rural Hampshire hamlet.

Flickr: phi1317

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

My Son Is Like Me & It's a Reflection I Like

Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus) birds on Morro Strand State Beach during a golden sunset.  Also characteristic of Montana de Oro area to the south.

We have been having a tough month in my household. Some of it medical concerns, some more minor things. The other day we had a tragedy, when my sister in law's parents were in a car accident and her mother was killed.

My 19 year old son who was in the army at the time was given a car and a driver by his commanding officer. He wanted my son to be able to be at the funeral and support his cousins who lost their grandmother and his aunt who lost her mother. He also didn't want my son to have to drive back after the funeral on his own.

Jewish funerals are generally on the same day and here in Israel they are even tougher to attend because there is no casket, just the body wrapped in a shroud.

At the funeral my eldest son took charge of his 18 year old cousin and stood by him with his arm wrapped around him for the whole funeral. He was comforting and strong and watching him bought tears to my eyes.

My mother in law also came to the funeral, even though her husband had just been released that day from the hospital. As an ER nurse I had helped with my father in law while he was hospitalized and when I heard about the accident I right away went to the hospital to help my sister in law and her family.

My mother in law made a comment to me after the funeral about how my eldest son was just like his mother, taking charge and helping out whenever is needed. It was only a day later as I was making dinner that the comment registered.

I was finally able to accept a compliment about myself because the behavior that my mother in law said my son had inherited from me, is one that had made me so proud of him. I had watched him watch over and support his cousin during the funeral and his strength made me strong. If I was allowing myself that pride about my son for a trait that is similar to one of mine, then I needed to learn to accept the compliment.

So I did. I thought about how proud I am that helping others and being there for them in their time of need is something that my son has ingrained into his behavior. In that way my son is like me and by default this time I accepted the compliment to me as well, because my son has made me so proud.

Sometimes it takes your teen's reflection to see the good things in yourself.

Have you ever only noticed the good things in yourself when you see it in your kids?

Susie @ NewDayNewLesson

Long Billed Curlew
© Mike Baird| Flickr Creative Commons

Monday, 3 May 2010

Musings on Life with Teenagers...

I've been dealing with some stuff of late.

Waves that threaten to rock the boat of family life. I've been in the grip of the squid-like tentacles of anxious parenting...

This is my Grizz's last year in school. He's finding it difficult to stick to his plans. Note, his plans, not ours... We're not that kind of pushy parents.

We try to be supportive as best we can, but he is eighteen and no longer a child.

My man-child.

And we know that life is tough and that sometimes you feel that you can't go on.

But sometimes going on is all that we can do.

The equilibrium tips. The seas roughen and then calm once more.

How do we explain that this too will pass... When he won't listen to us... How do we explain that even if he fails, it isn't the end. That we'll be there for him, no matter what?

There are always options in life, don't you find?!

Grizz found on Friday that he could no longer play the drums. He's been quite the performer since he was eleven... And performance anxiety gripped him during an exam day...

It got hold of us too, my husband and I, for the day, the week, this month in fact.

And we waited, outside the church hall where his performance was being recorded. Performances were running late - We could hear a variety of instruments being struck, beaten and blown as we sat in the car on a warm spring day, to wait patiently for him, at the door to whence we had delivered him... Hoping that he would go in, and go on...

We even checked the back door once he had stepped inside... Just to make sure he wouldn't scarper.

Finally, we could take little more of the anxiety of waiting in the car, listening for false notes, and we took ourselves off for a run in the countryside...

We returned to town over half an hour later, to traffic delays and police running through the streets. In high-vis jackets, towards the church hall. The roof of my mouth went instantly dry.

My husband asked me to get out of the car, to walk in the direction of the two sirens we had heard... I wondered, of course, had he left the hall and thoughtlessly run into the path of a car?
He had been so desperate when we left him... He had joked about ending his life.

Nope, he was still inside the hall. I could hear him playing, faltering, far from his usual excellent, straining through the open stained glass windows.

But someone's son had been hit a glancing blow by a car. And there he sat, propped up, holding his leg, lying against the church wall opposite... Surrounded by coppers with notebooks and sticky pencils... Witnesses clamoured.

More police cars arrived. Traffic was diverted. We waited for Grizz, hovering in the flower garden beside the church, trying not to gawp at the unfolding drama. The young lad wasn't seriously injured, thankfully, but he was taken off in the ambulance for treatment...

And so, our lives moved on and we waited once more, spared, reprieved from that torment at least...

Free to fight Teen Terrorism another day...

ArT bY ANn-JuliE AubReY onCE AgAin... GlorIOuS...