Wednesday, 4 November 2009


The Disney channel has been banned. Finally I have put my foot down. I may have shot myself in the self same foot as it is half term after all and what could be easier than sitting down with a couple of glossies whilst the youngest children veg out in front of all singing, all dancing, wisecrackin’ American adolescents? But really, when one is attempting a stern voice and the telling off of a seven year old, the last thing one wants in return is attitude.
My eldest children who were not brought up on Sky TV and its myriad kid’s programmes thus had the grace to look abashed or even shamefaced when receiving the sharp end of my tongue; the seven year old on the other hand has different ideas. In her world, every clever riposte is met with canned laughter when the adult in question replies, with a look of false fury, “Don’t you get cute with me young lady”. Cue even more canned laughter. Thus it came as a bit of shock to my daughter when, instead of magic laughter from an invisible audience filling the house when she cocked her head to one side, placed her hands on her hips and said, with perfect American accent, “I can’t hear you”, she was told in no uncertain terms that, no-one speaks to their mother like that and that she had better clean her ears out and could on reflection, think twice about reaching for the remote controls all week long and, whilst we come to think about it, hadn’t she in fact better go upstairs and tidy her room?
One down, three to go. The eldest, now a 6’6’, strapping 17 year old, decided, whilst we were being wined and dined by friends last weekend, to have a few ‘lads’ around. Now, Hubby and I know all the lads very well indeed, since they were knee high to Dumbledore in fact and all are perfectly decent young men with high aspirations, lots of GCSEs and more importantly, lovely mummies and daddies. What I forgot of course is that they are still boys on the cusp of manhood and ergo, after a couple of tins of contraband Carlsberg, are as giggly and as drunk as a couple of girls on a cider flavour iced lolly. What I also forgot though is that unless eaten by the freezer full, cider lollies do not make you sick, whereas Carlsberg, even whilst professing to probably be the best beer in the world, probably if not drunk responsibly, will make you very sick. On our return our son and thank God, most of his friends, were stone cold sober, but the odd boy had not been well at all and our 14 year old daughter had been a trooper in administering to the needs and wants of a couple of them by getting out the bleach, putting a wash on and generally being vigilant.
To be severe and have to use well worn rhetoric such as we are ‘very disappointed’ especially when ‘we trusted you’ was not the best way to greet a 17th birthday and the opening of presents was delayed the following day until his father and I felt that he had been punished enough and was penitent.
So, two children in the dog house. The third, our 14 year old daughter, who had done such a sterling job in looking after the afflicted had only just returned from a school trip to Italy, where text after text she effused about the wonders of the beauty of Tuscany. Everything was ‘sublime’, ‘fabulous’, ‘exquisite’, ‘awe-inspiring’. She was ‘in seventh heaven’ and having the time of her life. The family she stayed with were ‘fantastic’, she loved the food, the company, the whole experience. As parents we couldn’t have asked for more and when I picked her up from the coach she was full of beans; thereafter, apart from her stint as nurse and scullery maid, she has remained in her room. Nothing has induced her to get out and about and where half term has seen the youngest two and I being creative, well since the TV is off, the PVA glue, sequins and beads has had to come out and, then when the mess has got too much for me, we’ve jumped in the car and been on a couple of outings. The 14 year old though has resolutely stayed put. She couldn’t even bring herself to join us for a few hours at Antony House making very organic broomsticks and orange witches’ hats.
She just raised her eyebrows to the heavens when we came home laden with all things witchy and spooky. Sharp words have been exchanged; mine being of the ‘lazy little madam’ type, hers in response, whilst true to form and thus erudite, I’ve still considered cheeky so, chores have been issued, to be completed forthwith.
This leaves the fourth child. Hubby and I went to parents evening just before half term where we were told that, after initial major concerns regarding the Red-Head’s ability to learn to read, her confidence was growing and there was renewed hope that all would be well and she would eventually get the hang of things. I have grave doubts.
At a cafe yesterday, her newly trimmed hair shone and bobbed and, as it often does, much to the intense annoyance of elder sibling, drew gasps of admiration from many customers.
“You’ve got lovely red hair. Do you take after anyone in your family?” asked one old bird.
My daughter looked quizzically for a moment, pondering this question, and then answered.
“Well actually it’s orange and yes, I take after my goldfish”.
If she’s finding high frequency words a challenge, Hubby and I fear there’s no hope for her when it comes to science; genetics in particular.

1 comment:

DL said...

We can relate to all of the above - except for the orange hair. When it comes to the unfortunate mix of teenagers and alcohol, we're past masters. Surprisingly, not with our 17-y-o son and his friends - they're all astonishingly sensible. The problem has actually arisen with his younger sister, formerly known on a blog near here as "Sensible"(!). She seems to have got in with crew who all share the belief that there's no such thing as a good night out without a smuggled bottle of vodka and a good chunder.