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Been there, done that and lived to tell the tales of my teen hood! Only my tales of my teen years fall on deaf ears, namely my kids, when I start anything with “when I was a teenager……”.

To my kids I’m ancient, songs I sing are sooooo outdated and who the hell is Rick Astley, is he even famous?

I am, apparently the lucky one, I don’t have to go to school I get to stay at home and do nothing all day!

However, there are some differences.  When I was a teen I had a sense of humour and often talked to my parents rather than at them.

When I was with friends we enjoyed indulging in the art of conversation through opening our mouths and making sounds, and all without the aid of mobile phones and social media.

There was no 24/7 in house taxi service.  We didn’t have the luxury of being ferried around to all places of interest whilst picking up other teens on the way.

No, we made our own way and managed it.  There was no point complaining, no one listened.

We worked and funded our days out.  And for someone who does nothing I do seem to spend a lot of time at petrol stations, filling up just to save my kids walking anywhere!

While I too thought my parents knew nothing, one thing I did know for sure was that if I was in trouble I knew better than to make matters worse by back-chatting and slamming doors.

Strangely, that doesn’t seem to cause any issues with mine.  They prefer to stand and argue the toss, believing themselves right, while I stand justifying why I am telling them off in the first place.

So, all that and more you know you have children, or in this post teenagers when….

  • You ditch Google?  and www.ask a teenager.co.uk, they know it all!
  • Their friend’s parents aren’t strict like you, they let them do everything and go wherever they want.
  • They don’t have homework.
  • “I hate my life”‘.
  • Everyone is going.
  • Every request is met with “it in a minute”
  • The Hall Floor is decorated with shoes, bags & jackets, where it drops it stays.
  • Every light in the house is on.
  • There is “never anything nice to eat”.
  • Having the cheek to step foot into their bedrooms.
  • The laundry basket is never empty.
  • There is always a mess in the kitchen.
  • Bedroom floors are for dirty clothes.
  • You are not cool,  just plain cringy.
  • They are always on their phone.
  • Have an inability to load dishwashers.
  • They are masters at eye rolling.
  • All the other parents don’t follow their kids on Instagram.
  • You get answered by a mumble.
  • Cupboards doors are all open.
  • The bathroom floor is for wet towels.
  • The bathwater is left in the bath.
  • They get instantly annoyed from the sound of your voice.
  • They shout ‘what do you want’ and ‘get the hell out’ a lot.
  • Always happy if things are going their way.
  • You know all the latest songs.
  • They love to hoard all cups, plates and cutlery in their bedrooms.
  • It was your choice to have children, deal with it.
  • The house is full of attitude.
  • Your recently purchased expensive makeup has disappeared.
  • Doors don’t get closed,  they get slammed shut.
  • Nothing is fair.
  • They ALWAYS have the last word.

Relate to any?

“Why did it have to happen to me?” Evelena asked after shopping last week, “why can’t I just talk to everyone, Ciara, Keelan and Niall don’t have to worry”, she said.

I felt incredibly sad hearing her say this.  I know it’s a long & hard battle she is fighting just to be, as she says, like everyone else.

With no definitive answer, all I can do is try and put a positive spin on it.  Telling her one day, all this will, hopefully be a distant memory of what once was.  After all, look how far she has come to date.  She nods, agrees and looks a bit brighter.

All this came from being in a queue to pay.  I suggested, as it was her money she was spending, that she pay the cashier.  She was reluctant to, but I reassured her she would be fine, after all she had paid before, she reluctantly agreed.

Waiting to pay, I assumed she was anxious about eye contact and physically paying, when all the while this wasn’t the case.  She told me, after leaving the shop, it was the waiting for the change she didn’t want to do.

panicThe reason being because she wouldn’t be able to say ‘Thank you’ thus appearing rude, and she didn’t want to come across as a rude girl.

Its moments like this, when it brings home how real her struggle is.  It’s a worry knowing she is struggling and trying so hard to jump all her hurdles, just so she can be, in her words ‘normal and say thank you’.

She certainly doesn’t lack in the want department, and while I want to believe in her confidence as she reels off how she will talk when she starts school blah blah blah, I can’t help but have the door of doubt slightly ajar.

September this year will mark an important milestone, Evelena will be starting Secondary school.

She is excited about starting and is familiar with the school, so there are no real nerves or apprehension regarding the school as a whole as her two older siblings are already there.   She is looking forward to being known, as Evelena, and NOT as the girl who doesn’t talk!’.

I arranged an informal meeting with the head of SENCO at her new school, as I felt it important to give them an insight on who Evelena is and what she has been working towards.

We talked in some length regarding the current methods in place, and how we can continue to keep up her current progress when she starts.

With Evelena now being 11, and having a good understanding of her SM, I feel she should be partly involved in making decisions and choices where intervention surrounding her SM is concerned.

I felt it important, to run through with the school, things we would prefer not to happen from the onset, such as any verbal ‘ice-breakers’ used to get to know one another when settling into their new forms.

Even without suffering any anxiety, many people do not like this kind of ‘ice breaker’ but can deal with it.  Unlike Evelena who would be sitting, anxiously waiting for the finger to point, and no doubt would have worked herself up into a height of anxiety and just clam up, or in Evelenas case not respond at all.

This is not an impression she will want to make, as it would be the first impression and one that the students would always remember.

However, I did double check this with her later at home, at first, she said she didn’t mind but when she thought about it more, she agreed it’s not something she is ready for.

Other than the ice-breakers, we agreed to ‘play it by ear’ regarding any intervention at first.  If she feels or the school feel she is not coping, is noticeably struggling or if she just tells us she is, then we will reassess our options.

She does not want to be singled out to attend classes where it will be noticed and other kids might start asking why she is being taking out, wanting to know what she is doing etc.

I pray she will have a good transitional period and make some new friends.  I feel it’s important to her that she does.  She has had lots of friends at Primary school and is a popular little girl but she has tended to stick with the same one friend and this, I feel, has held her back a bit.

Before school starts, they will be encouraged at the ‘meet your class’ day to exchange phone numbers with any other student they have warmed to, and will be encouraged to meet up in the school holidays.

I think this is a great idea and I hope Evelena is able to find a ‘new’ friend she can hook up with and get to know in the summer holidays.

My eldest daughter is staying on at 6th form and my son will be moving into Year 10.  Both have said they will be keep a watchful eye out for her to make sure she is OK, and not as we all fear, all alone.

Unbelievable as it is, there are kids who play alone and sit alone at school.

More importantly we want her to be happy. Yes, her education is important but so is her happiness, and a happy child will get on so much better than a child who is sad and unhappy, or so I believe.

Evelena is self-motivated and studious.  She hates failing, and can get really upset with it.  It becomes an even bigger problem to her if others are on hand to see her mistakes.  Of course none of whom would probably even be bothered by it, but it really upsets her.  I say time and time again to her, no one worries about her mistakes only her!  And after all  she never fails she just learns and next time try a different way.

If it was down to confidence and self-belief she would win a gold medal every time.  So, with that in mind, I hope September 2017 will be the end of one chapter and the start of a new one.

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As a newbie blogger on the block, I thought it might be a tiny bit interesting , if not useful(ish) to give an insight to who I am, or so I thought, through the eyes of my 4 kids.

I decided to re-hash it slightly, and give my kids,  this one off chance to answer, truthfully,  a set of questions, set by myself.   In turn giving my thousands of readers (I have a big family!) a chance to discover a bit about moi!

With my kids usually ‘abandoning ship’ at the mere mention of my blog,  with hollers of “that photo better not appear on any social media” and “I hope you aren’t writing about me” , I usually pull this card out of the bag when I need some time to sit and plan my next post within the Buck Stops Here House in peace.

With too many questions to text, I decided to take the unusual step of talking to them, at length.  This unwelcomed approach was met with a lot of ‘what’s,’ ‘why are you in my room”, ‘tuts’ and “not this blog stuff again”.

Not one to give up and annoyingly for my kids, I persevered and put a positive spin on it.  With a large gulp I said “think of it as a chance to answer some questions about me with real honesty and no comeback!

“What nothing at all”? asked Ciara (my eldest) “and you won’t get annoyed” “nope, not at all, say what you like I won’t mind” you can trust me, I’m your mother!

What could go wrong, after all I’ve spent the last 16 years reinforcing how much I detest lies.

With the kids newfound eagerness to particpate, I started feeling slightly less confident.

I began to realise that this might be a sort of payback for some wrong I may have done them back in 2008, or even earlier, who knows.

Please note that none of my kids were hurt whilst answering this questionnaire, I believe them to all be OK, I think, although I’m not quite sure as I’m currently not speaking to any of them.

I fired off the first question…

What’s mum’s favourite thing to do:

CJ – Moan & tell us off     (I wonder why this could be??)

Niall – Ironing    (since when?)

Lena – Annoy us   (more commonly known as parenting)

Keelan – Sleep

How do I make you laugh?

CJ – By pretending you are intelligent      (that’s no pretence!)

Niall – You don’t

Lena – You don’t make me laugh

Keelan – you don’t   (yes I do!)

If I became famous what would it be for?

CJ- Appearing on the Jeremy Kyle Show

Lena – blogging  (love her faith in me!)

Keelan – erm inventing something by accident

Niall – getting up early

What am I NOT very good at?

CJ – Turning up on time & not being able to be quiet

Lena – lots of things

Keelan – being cool   (already am cool)

Niall – my homework  (secondary school is hard, oh wait his is primary!)

What makes Mum cross?

Niall – when I don’t do my homework  (every week then!)

Lena – When we don’t listen to you  (every time I speak)

Ciara – Leaving the chair leg rest up & when I ignore my ironing on the stairs   (grrrrrrrr)

Keelan – when I mess about at school    (do you?)

(there seems to be a theme with school and my boys!

What was mum like as a young child?

Niall – really naughty   (clearly been speaking to his grandparents)

Lena – probably listened all the time and was one of those really good girls    (yep that was not me)

Ciara – Little s**t

Keelan – posh girl

What does mum do when you are not here?

Niall – normal jobs like cleaning up and probably smooching with Dad!   (at least he didnt say sitting down again!)

Lena –sits on the laptop doing her blog, Facebook and drinking coffee

Cj –  go on the laptop  (only chance I get)

KB – to be honest I don’t want to think what you do if Dads at home

Describe me in 3 words

Niall –  angry, bad driver    (been listening to his father too much!)

Lena – moody sometimes, funny, loud

Cj –  Loud, frustrating & bloated   (bloated!)

Kb – lazy, mean, strict    (again, called parenting!)

Where’s mums favourite place to go?

Niall – front room on the sofa

Lena – Spain I think

CJ – the Café   (love a bacon bap)

Kb – Grandmas

What does mum like best about dad or dad like best about mum?

Niall – you like it because dad can cook and you don’t have to do anything.  Don’t think dad likes anything about you!

Lena – I don’t know,  it could be anything

CJ – you like it because dad does what he’s told

Kb – you like dad’s passion for his work, really hard to think what Dad likes about you though!

What am I really good at?

CJ – Blackmailing me to babysit   (works everytime!)

Lena – blogging  (so love this girl)

Niall – cleaning up  (not sure when I moved of the sofa to carry this out!)

Kb – sleeping

What’s the best quality your mum has?

Lena – Bossing people about and forcing people to do things….this was interrupted by Ciara to say its blackmail (I call it delegation)

Niall – Washing up (Ciara shakes head in disbelief to this answer saying she never washes up) I question how she knows this , as when home she rarely lifts her head up from the screen of her phone!

CJ – Ability to switch off from us   (A fine quality that I have I might add!)

Kb – trying to be funny,  such a try hard  (no need to try son! au natural)

What does Mum always say to you?

Niall – Ask dad to make me a coffee

CJ – Stop thinking we single you out

Lena – always saying my name in the morning until I get up and it’s really annoying   (more annoying for me I can assure you)

Kb – have you done your homework?  (everyday at least 100 times)

And so we have it, all done.  The kids, especially Ciara said they really enjoyed answering these questions (can’t think why) and could she write out a few questions on my behalf…..! needless to say this will be the only questionnaire posted on my blog.

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Do you ever find, that sometimes, your kids don’t do things when you ask them to?

Do you ever find when you shout out ‘requesting their company’ they often don’t answer?

I know unbelievable isn’t it!!

Selected Hearing

It’s a daily struggle in our house.  However, all is not lost, I have found ways of getting around these ‘hearing issues’.  When, after several screams of “come here” fail, I have a couple of tried and tested methods that work every time.  I either:

start a conversation with their dad whereby hey presto one of them will appear interested to know what’s going on, and what it was I just said to Dad

Failing that

There are no words needed here, just a smile as I unplug the broadband and wait.  1, 2….then the chorus of screams begin and 4 kids appear out of nowhere in the front room.  It’s never a long wait, usually instantaneous and a personal favourite of mine.

Forgetfulness

Sometimes, or if I’m being honest, all the time, my kids are all prone to bouts of ‘forgetfulness’ (See ALSO HOMEWORK) and periods  of ‘temporary mess blindness’ TMP for short.

They often ‘forget’ to tidy up after themselves and are champions in where it drops it stays, leave it and move on.

From wet towels on floors to used plates & cups adorning any flat surface, and with TMP they are able to successfully navigate their way, seemingly unaffected by the mess, to another room that has been untouched by children’s mess; only kidding there is no such room.

They all make their way back, muttering to their individual pit of doom, fondly known in a world without kids, bedrooms.

Luckily for them, I am always on hand to shout at them remind and encourage them to clean/tidy up after oneself.  It’s not always well received, but I hope in time this constant shouting  encouragement to tidy up will, in time sink in,  but I am realistic in the knowledge that I am way too much of an optimist, I am a mum.

Maybe I ask too much.  After all, expecting them to bend down & pick up what they dropped, or to even clear their mess up when there is no monetary benefit to them whatsoever,  is a biggie, maybe even a bloody cheek.

But hey who am I to complain.  After all, and I quote “you chose to have children”, yes I did, not sure I opted in for the choosing to tirdy up eveyones friggin mess though! Although I am 100% sure there will be an answer to this should I have dare to voice my complaint.

As we all know (excluding children) parenting is exhausting, however it would seem over here being a kid/teen is way more exhausting.

Poor things, they have to get up so early,  go to school, do homework, do, err, em, well lots of other exhausting things, while I merely just blog all day, apparently.  My life is a breeze.

It struck me recently, when watching the new kids film ‘Sing’ (which I loved!) one of the characters, Rosita (a pig) is married and a stay-at-home mum of twenty-five children.

When a local talent contest gives her the chance to showcase her singing, she is desperate to audition but, being a mother life is hectic and her needs are second to her children’s.

However, not to be deterred and unable to share this dream with her tired husband and kids who never listen (sound familiar!) she sets about setting up a vast assortment of contraptions to take care of her housework, serve her family their meals, send her children off to school, put them to bed, and she has even has the foresight to record specific dialogue, such as using a recording to remind her husband where his keys are, and recording her byes for her family, even record a bedtime story for her kids, all in one night!  And they don’t even notice she has gone!

I thought of how many times I repeat things at home, or in my teenage son’s word ‘bloody nag’ on a daily basis.  I could easily record what I say and press play and just shove off somewhere.

Would they notice I wasn’t there? I wonder, after all,  most days are spent walking around with one eye shut, the other eye firmly placed on phone whilst arguing with siblings.

No I don’t think they would notice, well not until they wanted something.

As I started to write, I realised very quickly I say a lot!  This is just a mere snippet of some of the same ‘ole crap I  use, every day.

They are in no particular order of importance and are used in an unlimited capacity.

  1. Hurry up
  2. Just GET dressed
  3. Have you seen the time?
  4. We are going to be late
  5. Just eat it
  6. Well you’re not getting anything else
  7. Think of the poor starving children in Africa
  8. Who’s everyone?
  9. I said NO
  10. Because we can’t afford it
  11. For Christ’s sake, stop arguing
  12. Leave your brother alone
  13. I said Bed
  14. I hope you’re not still on that phone
  15. Have you got homework?
  16. Have you done your homework?
  17. Are you listening to me?
  18. Are you actually watching this?
  19. Make sure you tidy up
  20. No, I haven’t seen it anywhere

So, in closing, how many, if any of the above do you use on a daily basis?

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Growing up in the ’80s was fun.  I loved it.  The era when I was a teen.

A time when ‘Apple’ was something you ate and ‘Windows’ were mainly for staring out of, a lot, especially at school!

Getting ready to go out to the sounds of Whitney Houston, Spandau Ballet, Michael Jackson (even had his poster on my wall when he looked like he should) and Rick Astley all on vinyl, to name but a few.  It was a time when hair, mine especially, would survive any hurricane, rock hard from a can of cheap extra hold hairspray practically gone in one sitting!

Hands up who loved Grange Hill and Neighbours? the unforgettable moment when Charlene aka Kylie Minogue married Scott aka Jason Donovan etched in your mind forever, along with their wedding song sung by Angry Anderson! I can hear it now.

On the weekends, it was Swap Shop or Tiswas, unlike today’s kids, we didn’t have the endless choice of kids programmes 24/7, although I’m not complaining when the it comes to the Teletubbies or other such dribble that I have endured over the years with my kids!

It was the decade of questionable fashion, who couldn’t resist a pair of satin leggings and neon leg warmers to finish the look! We had trends in schoolbags like the Plastic Jelly Bags, totally impractical, where you had to line them with a carrier bag or everything would fall out!

Fast forward to now and unwittingly I seem to have morphed, somewhat into my parents.  I can often be heard bellowing out to the kids how they “don’t know they are born”, “I would have loved that when I was your age”, and the unforgettable one liner about the Money Tree!

I have put together an insight of what some of the 80s for me had to offer along with how it compares to my kids today.

Walking (What my kids avoid at all costs)

A large percentage of the 80s was spent walking.  We had no choice back then, anywhere we wanted to go, we walked.  We weren’t privy to the luxury of ‘Mums Taxi’ on standby waiting to ferry us all where we wanted to go, nope we walked.

Sometimes, we would jump on the bus always favouring the back seat just so we could puff our heads off (yes, we smoked…a lot, funded by saving our dinner money) on the way into town!

Homework

The luxury of tapping in a few key points and oodles of information appearing before your eyes was, unfortunately not available to us.  With scraps of paper with illegible, rushed notes from copying the homework down from the blackboard to textbooks for our information.  There was no copying and pasting or luxury of a delete button, we had to write it all up, and with an in ink-pen.

With writer’s cramp and an offering of something, our homework would be complete.  And if we didn’t finish or even start, a quick ‘Sorry but she was unable to do her homework….’note would be signed by me on behalf of my parents!

Mobile Phones

We didn’t have them.  We had payphones, which we could never afford, so spent a lot of time talking to the operator asking to reverse the charges.

House phones were usually rooted in the hall, annoyingly as there was no privacy.  We would have to wait to ring our friends until after 6pm and then it would be accompanied with shouts of “hurry up on that phone”.  Mine don’t have that worry, they can sit anywhere talking on theirs for as long as they like all paid for my us.

And being able to bypass the phone lock by tapping the black buttons under the receiver.

To be sure of our friends answering and not their parents, we would always give 3 rings first put the phone now and ring again.  We had code words such as ‘polos’ for fags, aptly called as we would eat a dozen on the way home to rid ourselves of the smell, and any fag packets and lighters found in our coat pocket were always our friends, we were just minding it for them.

Our version of texting was passing each other notes throughout lessons or writing messages in each other workbooks trying not to be seen by the teacher.

There was no way of our parents getting hold of us or tracking us on any find my i-Phone.  The only ‘being’ regularly phoning home back then was E.T.

The Top 40

We didn’t have a phone to plug our headphones into and listen to 100s of songs, we had Sony Walkman’s.  We had the pain of having to rewind and fast forward to any particular song we wanted, fist pumping when we timed it right the first time!  And when the batteries started running out, well….!

To add insult to injury we also had to endure the bloody nuisance of the ribbon coming loose from the tapes.

I used to spend hours turning the little wheel with a pen, sometimes one bit too much with the bloody thing snapping.

Video Rental Shop

Who doesn’t love a Movie night!  The difference between our movie nights back then to now is the way it’s viewed!

Watching a newly released movie in the 80s meant, renting a video from the local video shop.  Making yourself up to look older for the 15+ films, rehearsing your date of birth en route just in case, which would often be all in vain as the film would already be on loan by the time you got there.

Today it’s much simpler.  Movies are streamed onto your computer, tablet and television right from the comforts of your own home.   There is no problem with it being out on loan or having to make yourself up to look older, its just a press of a few buttons to confirm they are old enough, having worked their way around any parental control, smart kids of today!

Selfies

A selfie back then was holding a throwaway camera as far as your arm would let you, at a certain height hoping you were all in the shot.  The disappointment when having waited 2 weeks, picking up your photos from the developers, to find photos of half heads or blurry ones!

Instant ‘selfies’ were only available with a Polaroid camera, and only if you, or a mate was lucky enough to own one.

One chance was all you got to get a perfect pic, no deleting and trying again.  No, once that button was pressed that was it.

Playing Outside

We pretty much lived outside.  From morning to night, we would be out and our parents would have no way of knowing where we were or being able to contact us.

No phones with trackers to find out where we were.  Home time would usually be either when the street lamps were coming on or you were hungry.

We literally have to prise our kids out of the house nowadays, preferring to keep in touch with their friends by gaming, texting or face time, and that’s usually when in the same room as them!

Shopping

Walking, again, we would go into town where we would scour the classics, C&A, Chelsea Girl (always way out of my budget) Tammy Girl and testing out the make up in Miss Selfridge.

Today, my 2 teenage kids prefer shopping online.  All from the comfort of an armchair, with bank card at the ready…my bank card!

Back in the 80s town would be full of punks, large stereos blasting out and a crowd of people, us included, watching kids breakdancing.

Then before heading home, it would be off to the pub for a quick drink and a fag age 14!

Dirty Dancing

How I wished I was the one having the ‘time of my life’ with Patrick Swayze!

In the Here and Now

A lot has changed over the years but a lot remains the same, just jazzed up with fancier names.

The end of school disco is now a more lavish affair called a Prom costing anything upwards of £300.

Although I spent a lot of my teen years doing everything my parents didn’t want me to, such as messing around at school & smoking.

I look back on my teenage years with great fondness, a time when we laughed, a lot and worries were few and far between.

If the technology today, had been around when I was a teen, I don’t think I would have got away with half of what I did.

Not that anything I did was bad, it was just all teenage stuff!

I wonder what my kids will grow up remembering from their teen years?