Monday, 8 August 2016

Big Kids Say the Funniest Things

In an attempt to drag my 13 year old away from You Tube, Hubby offered him the chance to earn a bit of extra pocket money sweeping the yard at work and giving the outside area a general tidy up one morning,this would not only get him away from a screen but would also solve the problem of child care for a couple of hours at least. As I tried to get him to wake up at 8AM, 3 hours before he had been getting up most mornings, I could see persuading him out of bed was not going to be easy. A mug of tea and regular 5 minute count downs were doing the trick but as I walked away from his room I heard him say, with feeling, "Why does money make you do things you don't want to?!"
I did laugh to myself but it is very true.
I was reminded of an incident a few months ago when number 2 son, aged 16, had had a few friends round and had been allowed a couple of beers. On hearing him throwing up in the toilet before he went to bed I raced upstairs to check on him. This was the first time beer had made him ill and funnily enough he swore it would be the last. (As if!) "Alcohol should not be legal!" he cried, again I smiled, even whilst rubbing his back, knowing that he may think that quite a few times before learning his limits, if ever.
As little ones they were forever saying funny things and my mum was always saying we should write them down as it wouldn't happen forever. We never did. But it seems that even as teenagers, they continue to amuse, even though they don't always mean to. EJ

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

I Can't Believe You're Not Bored!!

Well school holidays are here again already and I'm sure I speak for everyone who isn't a student or a teacher, when I say these things come round alarmingly quickly.
I've mentioned in previous posts that I used to enjoy the holidays when my boys were little but now that I have a 20, 17 and 13 year old I think I hate the holidays.
Numbers 1 & 2 are obviously old enough to do their own thing and this year are away on either holidays, work experience placements and Duke of Edinburgh expeditions for most of the summer. When they are home I find I am increasingly irritated by their need for food at ridiculous times and their inability to sleep when I need to, namely at night and not in the mornings.
The fact that they are not here however has highlighted how difficult it is to keep a 13 year old amused, not to mention how much we all miss them too.He is apparently too old and too cool to go anywhere with me and organised activities and clubs are a complete no no once you're past 11. The poor boy can't win though, as I'm either worried that he is out too long with his friends or equally worried and irritated if he stays in watching You Tube all day.
For the first time ever I have attempted to work in the mornings, leaving him to lay in and attempting to be back at around lunch time to supervise whatever activities he has up his sleeve, give lifts, hand out money etc but it seems he is more than happy to still be sitting in his PJs watching rubbish (in my opinion), TV.
I end up nagging him relentlessly, I can hear myself but I can't stop and I know that when school starts again in September I'll hate myself for it. But for now I'm pressing school trousers, checking PE kits and buying books off of recommended reading lists in preparation for business as usual in a few weeks time. Sad but true..EJ

Friday, 22 July 2016

Plastic Bags

I am a huge fan of on line supermarket shopping, anything that means I avoid fighting my way up and down those aisles has my vote but what is going on with the plastic bags?!
Obviously when you go to a store you are able to take your own bags (if you remember), and if not, you can buy some. I have a cupboard full of "Bags For Life" but I think that cutting back on plastic bags is a good thing.
With your on line shop however, there is not and I doubt will ever be, the ability to give your own bags to the driver to take to the store to pack for you, hence, the need to deliver in plastic bags.
Now, up until very recently my shopping was packed very efficiently in said bags and the driver always asked if I had the bags from the last shop to take back to recycle, perfect. Now I have the choice when I place my order to not have the shopping in bags at all or pay a 40p flat charge regardless of how many bags I use. I realise that I should opt for no bags for the sake of my children's children's children, but in the interests of time, I choose the bag option and if this had remained as it used to be I think all bases, time and planet saving were covered. However, I now get copious amounts of bags delivered, one, this time, containing just stamps!!! Whoever does the packing is no longer worried about the planet and the driver has to be asked to take the used bags back with him, so recycling is clearly no longer the flavour of the day.
I'll keep giving them back, though I'm not sure the drivers are best pleased...not as pleased as the people making the bags thats for sure.  Sorry Sainsburys, but I think this was a step backwards. EJ

Friday, 15 July 2016

What's for Dinner?

I have been asked this question at breakfast before now or at the latest as a hungry boy gets in from school or college. Hubby used to try and ask but I banned him, I think because it reminded me of a pleasant but socially challenged bloke that I worked with when I first left school. He would phone his mum ten minutes before he left work every evening and ask this very question.....ugh!
The thing is, that now I have a pescetarian, with a pescetarian girlfriend and a son not eating red meat, also with a pescetarian girlfriend, the answer to this question is a difficult one.
Number 3 pointed out last week that he, in fact, still likes red meat and misses the old days ( 2015), when he got Toad in the Hole, Spag Bol, with mince, not Quorn or a roast dinner. Oh the guilt.
Hubby had been pointing this out since February to be fair but I had tried to convince him and myself that avoiding red meat was healthy. Anyway, Tuesday saw sausage and mash back on the table but only 3 of us to eat it.
This got me thinking about the many things we stress over when our children are little, only to find them obsolete once they've grown. I prided myself on family meal times, all at the table, all eating the same food, none of this cooking 5 different dinners in my house... oh the irony! The same goes for bed time, the bath, story, sleep routine a well oiled machine for many years, only to be overtaken by teenagers who stay up longer than us. The meticulous teeth cleaning, forgotten at every sleepover. No sweets before meals, ignored as soon as they are able to go out without you. The list is probably endless. We can only hope that some of it got through and some of it did them good. Just wish I could of told that young mum of three little boys not to stress too much. I doubt she'd have listened, much like this older mum of three young men who should probably just cook what she wants for dinner.  EJ

Friday, 8 July 2016

Prom Season

I haven't officially got a prom this year. Number 2 had his Year 11 prom last year with Number 1 and the nieces a couple of years before that. I have friends who have had a Prom this month though and am sorry to say that the painful experience shows no signs of going away,so Number 3 will undoubtedly have one in a couple of years from now.
Before I'd actually lived through one I must admit to having been a bit envious that we didn't have them when I left school, my prom equivalent was a couple of bottles of cider in a friend's back garden, listening to Dire Straites, but hey, we thought it was fun.
However, having lived through them I'm quite glad we didn't have them and have to say that it is another one of those times when as a mum of boys I get off very lightly and very, very cheaply.
Both my boys went with hubby to chose a suit and were back home in what felt like minutes, kitted out with suits, shirts, ties and shoes....done. There was a haircut strategically booked the week before and that was it. The girls on the other hand seem to be having a practise "wedding", in fact, their weddings probably won't take as much planning. Dress, shoes, bag, make up, nails, hair, tan and so on and so forth. It costs a fortune and puts the girls and their families under such a lot of pressure. Then there is the business of how to get there and who with....it really is a social minefield.
I got the job of hosting the pre- prom gathering and taking my son and 5 of his friends to the event. This would have been a breeze had 2 of the friends not been girls. The pressure I felt to get these girls and their dresses to the Prom on time and in one piece was immense. I actually had night mares that the car door wouldn't open....Why would a car door not open?! Anyway, I got them there. But what really adds insult to injury is that they care almost as much, if not more, about the "After Prom Party", and need a second outfit for this. Then there's the dilemma about who goes where and who doesn't have an invite, the upset about which lingers on long into the A levels.....my God. Give me cider and Dire Straites any day of the week. EJ

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Mother Of The Driver

I am now the proud and oh so very concerned, owner of two drivers!
When Number 1 passed his test (3rd time lucky), it was clear that he was not that interested in driving and as the pass coincided with him going off to uni, we happily put off getting him a car until he was home for the summer.
Number 2 has been a very different kettle of fish, passing first time and making sure he was on the insurance 10 minutes later, to be honest, we haven't seen much of  him since.
They are supposed to be sharing a car as we don't feel it's worth taxing and insuring two of them but with Number 1 home for the summer , things are getting a little bit tricky. Number 1 is keen to stake his claim on the car, which in fairness, was bought for him but Number 2 is keen to be out and about on an almost 24 hour basis, offering lifts to his non driving friends and frantically cleaning and generally loving the car to bits.
I now miss the days when they couldn't get to places without me and find myself listening for sirens for up to thirty minutes after they leave. I hadn't realised how many good things I could find to say about public transport until trying to persuade my precious offspring not to taake the car.
Somewhat vindicated, Number 1 had a prang this week, no one was hurt and it really wasn't his fault, the driver pulled out on him and held her hands up immediately, ironically it was a learner driver whose instructor forgot she had dual control! Little does she know, she's done me a favour, as he now can't drive to London this weekend! Oh dear, he'll have to take the train! What a shame. Anyone else recognise this dilemma?  EJ

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Answer Your Phone!!

So, your 13 year old son goes out with his friends, plays football, chats, buys some lunch and is told that he has to be home by 5pm. At 5.15 you text him to ask where he is, no answer. You text again, no answer. You call and phone goes straight to voicemail. You know, that phone, that is permanently attached to the end of his arm!! The one he stares at for every unoccupied waking hour!!
 Getting increasingly worried, you text one of the friend's parents, to check if their son is home. He is. At 5.40 you get in the car and drive the route you think he will take home, you find him and he tells you his phone is out of charge! Apparently, no one knew the time, he was on his way home but it "wasn't his fault" that he couldn't let you know.
What would you do?
I explained that in the interest of safety he needs to be home on time and if he knew his phone was out of charge he should of made sure he got home sooner. He is, however, convinced that it couldn't be helped and he had no way of knowing the time.
I have taken the phone from him for the remainder of the evening as a "consequence" and have said that I will charge it and give it back tomorrow. I feel totally justified but he is very unhappy and clearly feels I am being unjust and unfair. You'd think I'd cut his arm off!
Further proof that mobile phones are a double edged sword. As a parent it's great, if and when, your kids answer straight away or are able to get you when they need you. The opposite is true, however, when this sort of thing occurs and panic sets in quicker than it would in the pre mobile years. (Remember them?!)
When you then take into account how much our children rely on their phones for their social lives the mobile phone becomes a poison chalice. What do you think? EJ