Half term is at an end and I am still standing, though the same cannot be said for DS who remains dependant upon his crutches. His lack of mobility has meant more teens coming to us as he can’t get to them and because he is so fed up, I have turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to the noise and mess which invariably accompanies small groups of large teenage boys and greets me upon my return from work each evening. This is compounded by the array of ‘ soaking’ ( ie. left to stand with a splash of water in the bottom ) baking tins, bowls and utensils used by DD as she provides her brother and his pals with a steady stream of home baked cakes and chocolate brownies. Baking is her new thing and despite the resulting chaos in the kitchen, one I am keen to encourage, being a useful practical skill unlike visiting nightclubs which she has also been doing rather a lot of this week. Thursday night she went to Motion with her usual posse of similarly clad half naked teenage girls prompting me to yet again repeat the parental cliché ‘ You’re not going out in THAT are you? ‘ as she rolled her eyes and removed money from my wallet in one smooth and practised motion before calling me a few hours later to come and get her as ‘ I’m not really feeling it tonight ‘.
I turn out in my pyjamas so I can head straight back to bed on my return, which I do, safe in the knowledge that DD is now tucked up in bed, DS has managed to make it to a sleepover at his friend’s house and the day is finally done. Leaving the house for work the next morning I almost trip over the shopping trolley lying on it’s side by the bin – ‘ bloody students ‘ I think to myself. It is not until Friday night when I am chatting to J and J’s mums over a takeaway curry that I discover the trolley was left by J when DD let him and another of DS friends in for a nocturnal plate of fairy cakes as they drunkenly wended their way home, none of which I knew anything about because I was asleep. I inform DD the next day that The Bakery closes once I am in bed and that cake is not the only thing on a teenage boy’s mind when he comes a callin’ at 2am. She rolls her eyes and delivers a blisteringly nonchalant ‘ …Whatever..’ while deftly removing two pounds from my wallet because ‘ We’ve run out of icing sugar ‘.
DS has invented a new word – ‘ crutching’ to describe getting around on the crutches he has been issued with following a nasty injury sustained during last weekend’s rugby tournament. X-rays examined by a rather young looking doctor ( well, young to me but these days many people in positions of responsibility are ) after a long, typically purgatorial wait in A and E revealed no bones were broken and analysis by the Bristol physio later in the week diagnosed a tear of the muscle in his hip, very painful and resulting in a 6 week break from his beloved game. He is handling the situation well so far but this may be due in part to the high doses of pain killers he is taking plus the fact that he is not alone in his temporarily disabled state. Right now he is in the lounge with 4 of his mates, 2 of whom are also on crutches ( more rugby injuries ) and as half term has just begun and bedtimes this week therefore flexible, I am issuing stern warning about not drinking whilst on medication as beers have magically appeared to fuel the evenings get together.
DD is with them and noise levels are high, though I suspect she is not detailing them with her latest thoughts on Careers For Girls we discussed earlier this week following a discussion with her friend R during a clearly less than absorbing Physics lesson. ‘ Just get pregnant with a fit person’s baby, no matter how old they are, then they’ll have no excuse not to see you ‘. ‘ Who are you thinking of? ‘ I enquire calmly as I am hoping she is winding me up and am not about to oblige by entertaining her with a feminist rant about pregnancy no longer being an acceptable career choice for girls. ‘ Bradley Cooper, Channing Tatum, Aron Johnson, Alex Pettifer, Zac Effron or Daniel Radcliffe. What do you think?’ ‘ Well…’ I wrack my brains for a response….’ They all seem like nice young men but let’s wait until you’ve got your GCSE’s and A Levels out of the way before deciding which celebrity should impregnate you. Speaking of which, have you done your homework? ‘. DD frowns at me but heads upstairs without protest to her books and I am left shaking my head and asking the dog, not for the first time, ‘ What is she like? ‘
My birthday this week and after a small teatime celebration at home with a few family and friends I head off to Zizzi’z with the teens. They often eat with their dad at the Clifton branch of this popular restaurant chain and are greeted with enthusiasm by the staff who quickly find us a table despite the place being very busy – there’s a two for one offer on at the moment, something I have rather irritatingly failed to take advantage of by not bringing along the requisite online code. DD is off to Stratford to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the school on Friday night and the conversation turns to Shakespeare. I remind them that ‘ I did A Midsummer…’ ‘ Yeah, you did it for O’Level, we know and you did The Crucible for A level ‘. DD is irritated when I inadvertently repeat myself but I point out that given my advancing years she had better get used to it. DS did Macbeth for GCSE and after inhaling his pizza ( he eats incredibly fast but with little noise or obvious motion ) comments ‘ Macbeth is stupid ‘. ‘ Why? ‘ I ask. He shrugs ‘ It just wouldn’t happen… ‘ Before I can launch into a stalwart defence of the great man’s fictions DD jumps in. ‘ I liked his wife, his wife’s really good ‘ …‘ But it’s all her fault, she’s the one who makes Macbeth kill Banquo which starts the whole situation ‘ responds DS and they’re off, rowing happily about the interfering habits of Lady Macbeth while I look around at the other diners, hoping they are listening in to our unusually highfalutin dinner chat, resisting the urge to point at my pretty pair and say‘ Look, they’re talking about Shakespeare, see how civilised we are! ‘ By the time dinner has finished they have returned to more prosaic topics, ie. the merits of Made In Chelsea ( she’s a fan ) versus Jersey Shore ( his reality show of choice ) and what time she requires picking up on Friday night ( midnight ). ‘ Have you had a nice birthday? ‘ asks DD as we step outside into the drizzling rain. ‘ Yes, very, it’s not so bad being 42…’ DD snorts in disbelief but as I always say – It’s my birthday and I’ll lie if I want to.
I am blaming the unfeasibly hot October weather for my general inertia today. Apart from doing several loads of washing (because only a fool or a woman with an empty laundry basket would ignore such perfect drying conditions) I have mostly been sitting in the sun or lying lightly panting on the sofa watching my current guilty TV pleasure – Judge Judy – ‘ The people are real, the cases are real, the rulings are final…’ Having attended parties the past 2 evenings DD has also been resting most of the day, including a session sunbathing on the flat roof outside her bedroom window while DS has spent the day at his girlfriend’s house, mostly in or beside their outdoor pool. He returns exhausted from the day’s efforts, incapable of even basic speech and attempts to make polite conversation are met with barely audible, monosyllabic replies. His friend K who lives down the road, 17 this Friday just gone and getting closer to six foot every day, arrives dressed in a monkey onesey, a kind of giant animal babygro which is a favourite mode of home attire for many of the teens. It is still hot and I cannot believe that K isn’t overheating inside his simian suit. “ Nah, it’s fine, I’m really comfortable in it…’ ‘ Nice beard ‘, I say. K is shaping his latest facial hair into a rather fetching, narrow strip running across his jawline . He strokes it carefully in an Austin Powers kind of a way – ‘ Thank you, I’m working on it ‘.
Some time later and we are all watching the X-Factor, shouting at the telly as the judges yet again make some bad decisions ( ie. ones we don’t agree with ) about who to put through and who to send home. ‘ Noooooooooo! ‘ shouts DD, as Louis Walsh sends home Terry the scaffolder, tearfully shattering his middle aged dreams. ‘ He can’t send Terry home, I love Terry! ‘ protests DD. “ He’s crap ‘, says DS bluntly, ‘ No one’s gonna buy his records ‘. ‘ I would ‘ says DD, staunch in her defence of the luckless Terry as he joins a long list of X factor rejects we have loved and lost and quickly forgotten. When I say goodnight to DS later I ask him what his grey and pink animal onesey is – DD’s is a cow – ‘ It’s an elephant isn’t it? ‘. ‘ No, it’s a rabbit. Can you leave me alone please, I’m very tired ‘. So I head for bed, letting teenage sleeping bunnies lie.