Friday, 13 April 2012


The 'she-revision' was of the Geographical type yesterday and the lesson learnt was that consequences have both advantages and disadvantages - one undoubted disadvantage being the time spent this morning trimming a new piece of lined paper to insert and glue carefully into the homework notebook, so that the disadvantages of migration from a LEDC to a MEDC could be included.

Littlest learnt a whole different set of consequences today -

There are obvious advantages to having a clutch of older siblings - someone big to take your side when one or other parent is being bossy; shoulders to ride on when your little legs are tired; someone else to take out the rubbish bags, empty the dishwasher, clear the table, walk the dog; someone with fashion sense to parade in front of your impressionable girl friends; someone to fix your bike, to teach you the cello, to sneak chocolate out of the larder with, to sing and play piano with, to cuddle up to in bed, to watch films with and to read you bed-time stories; and someone to pick you up and give you a squeeze, when you fall over, or just feel 'all jingly-jangly' and don't know why.

There is one big disadvantage, however - the problem of being Littlest, of trying so hard to keep up, so hard to do everything that everyone else is doing, and failing in spectacular fashion, when your head and little frame implode, swamped by a tide of tiredness that makes you cry until you can't remember why you are crying, and then cry again because you simply need to sleep. This disadvantage collided with Littlest while out shopping this afternoon. She was inconsolable. Until we got home, and Four-legged-friend, understanding nothing about inconsolable girls, wagged his tail at her and slid to the floor for a tummy rub.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Thank you. Again! Woop-dee-doop!

Realise this is extremely sad, but little things excite me

>3000 reads in less than a year!!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who have read. I hope I have made you smile (when I haven't been posting a rant).

Next hurdle - or several: submit (as in story to agent); continue to write; 6000 reads next year?

When I'm not writing here, I'm probably on Jottify - join me there (Herbie Cax - newish fiction titled 'My name is Luca') - or in the garden, or WTD, or clearing up after the felonious kleptosquaters, or feeding children, or ... procrastinating.

'Til the next posting ...

When early is not too early

Less bright eyed and bushy tailed - more bleary eyed (until I find my glasses) and pillow-sculpted haired. Are there any advantages to getting up at first bark ... at 0635hrs!?

I get to see the frost

and the garden bathed in that pure, crisp, Spring light just after sunrise

and the squirrels displaying their trapeze and acrobatic skills

and Four-legged-friend prancing about on the frozen grass ensuring that no paw stays in contact with the cold for too long.

I also get the house and a first cup of coffee all to myself.

I can put the dishwasher on and still run it within the overnight-saving hours..

I reaffirm Four-legged-friend's pavlovian recognition of Mum as most-important-being, one-who-releases-him-from-cage, provider-of-food-and-drink, and recipient-of-first-drool-of-the-day. And thereby ensure that he will unerringly rise and wait by the front door when I am on my way home, even before I have arrived in the car - which is difficult to comprehend, but ever so endearing.

Disadvantages to getting up so early - apart from the cold, and the utter exhaustion that sets in mid-afternoon, that can only be relieved by caffeine and chocolate - none really!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Because he (my teen son) said I should write a blog about this

Childrearing, or parenting - what are the most difficult times?

Judging by the number of new baby books; books for helping your insomniac mini-monster to sleep; food bibles for babies; volumes and volumes devoted to managing toddler tantrums, faddy feeding, the tricky sharing of child-care when parents life apart, learning to say no, coping with teething, nursery, the dilemma of whether mum should work and if she does whether the separation will damage the child for life, whether to vaccinate or not, and tomes on the first day at school and education in general - it is the early years that worry parents the most.

I would, however, like to put in a plea for mid to late teen parenting being pretty difficult, too. When son was born, we received a card that said something along the lines of " When he wakes you for the umpteenth time in the middle of the night ... just think, when he's sixteen you'll be grateful simply to know where he is!" How true! But the most significant change is the one that concerns control - when your child is an infant, as the parent you are absolute boss - it is you who will be judged when your child runs screaming through the shop; you who chooses when he eats, what he eats and what he drinks with his food; you who, because you are in charge of the diary and the phone, decides who he plays with; you who organises his leisure time; buys his clothes; selects which school he goes to and puts him to bed at bedtime. NONE of this applies any more when he is a teenager and woe betide any parent who tries to buy their teen clothes - they will reside untouched and unloved in the bag you brought them home from the shop in and when you remember to ask why he hasn't worn them, you will be told it's because he's grown out of them - well of course he has - they have been on his wardrobe floor for months. No, the teen years are definitely a time for letting go, standing back and keeping your distance - teens have to be allowed to make mistakes; to fall in love; and to have their hearts broken; to learn about trust, and booze, and having a good time, and what to do when that good time turns sour. But  ... but ... but ... it is so hard to get the balance right. All around there are parents at the same stage, some spectacularly getting it wrong, some sailing through completely unruffled - and you struggle to be the unruffled one.

This stage should come with some sort of health warning - 'Working mums- just when you thought life was getting easier - you will find yourself on-call at home as guru on all matters academic, vehicular, emotional, social, dietary, alcoholic, spot related and university applicational - so work on your flexibility and make yourself available.'

So, what are the desirable attributes of a parent of teens - the ones that I haven't found in any book: to be unruffled, but supportive; silent, when it's best to be; encouraging, in the gentlest way (encourage too enthusiastically and they veer off in the opposite direction); quietly proud; and loving.

Always, gloriously and embarrassingly loving.

Monday, 2 April 2012

He-revision, she-revision, needs parental supervision

Easter holidays - what an oxymoron. Yes to Easter, but absolutely NO! to holiday. At least, not in a household containing teenagers. Note - that containment is fairly elastic at times. Times when they need to   break-out - using the get-out-of-jail-(fairly, bar the petrol)-free card to visit girlfriend and girlfriend's kind parents who provide copious quantities of food for starving teenager, previously nourished only by a diet of German and Music revision.

Having one stressed teenager is bad enough. Stir in a second teenager, opposite sex, opposite hormones, opposite views on most things, also revising for public exams; Littlest being driven by pocket money bribery to play the piano for at least 10 minutes every day; parents who have to work to pay the bills; the odd bit of major surgery; Four-legged-friend with a thorn in his foot; a house that refuses to clean and tidy itself; weeds that think the neglected garden belongs to them; ditto an explosion of spring bunnies and the holiday part of Easter Holidays begins to look like a rather sick joke.

Until Jamie Oliver saves the day. Chocolate and raspberry brownies - heavenly scent wafting peace throughout the house. Smiles.

Note to self - make more tomorrow. Or truthfully, persuade daughter to make more tomorrow. And the next day. And the next ...