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Once upon a time, not so long ago(ish) I was a teenager.  It was a time where I rolled my eyes….a lot and responded to all parental requests with a grunt and howls of how unfair life was.  Why couldn’t my brother do something for a change!!!

Worse still, was the feeling of despair when I would leave a note asking for money to find it had either:

  1. been ignored.
  2. replaced with a written request of household chores to be completed.

The sight of (b) would results in shouts of “for fucks sake” and “talk about taking the piss” yet, I knew no amount of shouting to the walls and swearing would magic me any money or get me out of my chores.

I wouldn’t be going anywhere until I completed my chores or roped my friend into helping!

The wrath of my Irish parents was not something I willingly took on, unless I had company and was feeling somewhat stupidly brave!

And then – seemingly overnight – I became my a mother.  No chore lists,  just verbal requests and text message reminders.

Comparing the two eras, the single biggest difference is I actually completed my chores and all before my parents got home.

Over in the Everyones Buck Stops Here house my kids when asked, always promise to undertake any task given. Usually responding with a resounding & convincing  ‘OK Mum’, ‘yeah will do’ and so on.

Yet none are more exasperated than me, when I get home, apparently early, to find NO tasks complete with unconvincing cries of ‘I was just about to do it’.

With plenty of unwritten rules that we abide by, there are seemingly a fair few that slip through the net along with certain house rules & just plain etiquette.

BLESS OUR HOUSE AND ALL WITHIN BUT PLEASE REMEMBER THE FOLLOWING:

  • If it falls pick it up.
  • Rather than step over it, pick it up ie. Ironing on stairs.
  • Pick up all discarded wet towels.

Please note you will ONLY be excluded from the above if your hands are broken.

  • A bored person is a boring person.
  • No means NO, along with ‘I will think about it’, ‘maybe’, ‘could do’ asking Dad will not result in a Yes (he will have already been instructed by me).
  • No one has ever died from loading or unloading the dishwasher.  If you need guidance the very experienced housemaid will be only too happy to assist.
  • Leaving plates or cups in soak is NOT washing up.
  • Do NOT boil the kettle without first checking it actually has water in it.
  • Unless you have tasted it, you do NOT know what it tastes like.
  • NO arguing before Mum has had her coffee.
  • There is a reason why Chocolate is hiding in the cupboard – DO NOT touch.
  • This is not McDonalds no one is on duty 24/7 to suit your dietary requirements.
  • When you take the last biscuit out of the packet or the last drink out of the box please put empty wrapper/box in the bin.  Leaving empty packaging gives the wrong impression.  The sudden realisation it is empty upon such craving is soul destroying.
  • If you don’t eat that CRAP for dinner! That’s your choice.  Don’t complain later you are hungry.
  • Scrub all empty plates of leftover food and ketchup and bowls of all cereal before it sets rock hard thus adding to an already ‘at breaking point’ workload of mine.
  • Bins are provided in varying spaces in this house, please use them for all rubbish.  The surrounding floor space/chairs/tables are not the ‘Bin’.
  • If I take the time to iron please take the time to hang it up.  Throwing it back in the laundry basket to avoid such action will not be tolerated.
  • Telling me to check with ‘your friend’ for confirmation of facts is never going to be proof of validity.
  • Just because you said you’ve done it, will not stop me from checking.
  • If you ask for my help and I start to give it, please give me the grace of listening for more than 10 seconds before declaring you know it all.
  • I don’t care you are ‘not the only one’ that does it, you are the only one I am speaking to.
  • If you can turn a light on you can turn it off.
  • Shut the door after you open it.
  • When you borrow something PUT it back.
  • You are neither Hansel or Gretel, and I know when you are home.  I do not need a trail of discarded clothes to find you.  PICK THEM UP.
  • Explaining you didn’t know I had text you or was calling you is a lie –  ignorance will not be tolerated.  Remember who pays these bills!
  • I am your mum so yes, I will turn everything into a life lesson.
  • Do not question my sanity I have 4 kids I know where my sanity is, it left for another planet years ago.
  • Do not wait for me to sit down before you decide you are actually hungry.
  • In the car on the way to school is NOT the time to announce you have homework.
  • I don’t know where your charger/school bag/blazer/homework sheet is either – look for these things yourself for a change.
  • Bedtime is bedtime.  This is not a time to suddenly feel thirsty/hungry or in the mood to debate about the unfairness of it all.  My decision is final.
  • It’s not ‘what’ it’s ‘Pardon!’
  • Stop complaining  there is no food in the house whilst staring at a freezer/fridge/cupboard full of food.

FINALLY……stop assuming that as your mother I have an automatic kinship with:

  1. Mind Reading.
  2. Teenage Mumble and Abbreviated text speak.
  3. Maths Homework.
  4. The kitchen sink.

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School mornings are about waking up and swearing that tonight the kids really will go to bed before stupid o’clock and that you will not sit up watching Nashville and checking FB until 1.30am.

It’s about repeatedly shouting ‘get dressed’.  It’s about breaking up arguments over ‘who is sitting in the wrong chair’ but above all, school mornings are about the school run.  For the record: I am not a fan, in fact if someone come along and offered me the choice of either:

  1. the school run or
  2. swimming with sharks

My pen would be happily circling B.  My reason? Name me a shark whose bite is worse than that of a teenage kid who hates school!

When I plumped for taking my two teenagers over my two younger ones to school.  I was, in my mind, picking the easier option.  I figured not having to get out of the car, was a win win situation, enabling me to wear my fluffy PJ bottoms without justification, face free of make-up and hair scraped up any ‘ole way.   Plus:

  1. It doesn’t matter if it rains I don’t have to get out.
  2. I can avoid the boredom of Parental cliques & fair-weather mothers.
  3. I don’t have to drive around in circles, getting dizzy just to find a parking space not more than 5 feet from the school gates.

THE ACTUAL SCHOOL RUN

Since the beginning of time Ciara has always strived to be first, so it’s no surprise when it comes to first out gets the front seat she nails it every time.  It’s been going on so long , the others have just admitted defeat.  Besides if you look closely enough the seat bears the ingrained  outline of her arse cheeks.

With her usual entourage aka dad & siblings otherwise engaged, she comes out  into the fresh air juggling bag, phone and coffee.  Gliding over to the passenger side she begins nodding her head up & down towards the door handle, which, in layman terms, simply means – open the door and let me in.

Duly abiding, I lean across stretching my arm further then it’s really designed for, practically dislocating it in the process as I manage to fling it open  with the tips of my fingers.

Getting in, her eyes narrow looking at me ‘what the hell are you wearing?’ she asks handing me her coffee to hold ‘and what is going on with your hair?’.

Throwing her coffee at her – ok so I don’t – but believe me it crosses my mind.  ‘I ignore her asking ‘Where’s Keelan’? ‘where do you think!’  she answers tersely.

Instantly regretting asking, I jump out leaving the echoes of ‘how I could be parenting better’ behind as I go to hunt him down.

‘Will you hurry up’ – I yell as I open the door to see a lost soul in school uniform wandering around.

‘I can’t find my phone’ he says scratching his head looking no-where in particular.  It’s at this moment I know that:

  1. There will be no leaving until said phone is found
  2. I am now heading this search party
  3. It will be my fault if he can’t find it

‘Have you looked in your pockets?’ I ask ‘No, because I haven’t put it in there’ he says, throwing his eyes skyward.  ‘OK, but just check’ I suggest.

One minute later and panic over.  The finder of things was correct, it was in his blazer pocket.  Strange though, as he swears he doesn’t remember putting it there!  Oddly enough I believe him.

‘Right come on then, move them legs’.  Dragging his feet, he reluctantly follows.

“I hate school, why do we have to go?‘ he argues as he climbs in the car.  Conditioned to the back seat he shuts the door.  With repeated digs to my back and arse through the seat, he finally positions his clodhoppers and we can go.

And then it starts: “Have you SEEN the time, now we are late leaving because of you’ she barks, she can’t help herself, it’s as natural as breathing to her.

‘Mum, he hasn’t got his seatbelt on’-

‘Put it on’ I shout –

‘For god’s sake does she have to tell you everything?’

The school run arguments are off to a flying start and I’m only in 2nd gear!

Changing the radio station temporarily diffuses the situation, ‘what the hell is that?  the chorus of protests ring out.  Hurriedly flicking through the channels and back again Ciara finds a suitable station to listen to, one that I always find unsuitable.

Not feeling it, my first instinct is to turn it over, but knowing that this it’s not worth the bother I merely enquire as to “What sort of bloody song is that, and the lyrics…wtf?’

‘Mum, we know you don’t like this song you tell us everyday! but we like this music’ she says sharply.

“fair point, but I beg to differ on your use of the word music, I believe what we are listening to is talk-your-way-through-a-song-with-shit-rhyming-lyrics – ‘how much do they get for this shite?’ I wonder out loud.

‘You’re always moaning,’ she complains before busying herself again with hair flicking and selfies.

‘How many streaks you got now Ciara?’ a mumble from the back sounds out.

‘More than you have I would think’ she says cutting any hope of conversation stone dead.

‘God what’s with you, must be your period? He replies, laughing.

Shaking my head typical bloody male, I want to shout always thinking it must be period time.  I keep quiet not wanting to make an already bad situation worse.

Unbelievably, she ignores him turning to me instead ‘Why don’t you go in that lane, its quicker’ she says, ‘I’m fine in this lane thank you’, I reply as I wonder why I am actually in the lane of slow moving traffic.  Not one to admit defeat I simply remind her I can make my own decisions.   She is having none of it.  According to her, my 5 most common driving habits are:

a) I randomly grip the steering wheel for no apparent reason.

b) I hit kerbs, a lot so would be better suited to a bumper car.

c) I like to pull out in front of other moving vehicles.

d) I spend a lot of time in the wrong lane.

e) I complain about a lot of other drivers with occasional hand gestures.

Reminding her she doesn’t actually drive yet usually puts paid to any further discussions.

Without warning, a shout from the back sounds out  “Crap, I think I have PE today? breaks this morning’s driving lesson.  Craning my neck upwards, I send him the dagger stare via the rear-view mirror whilst shouting:

‘For f@’ks sakes, clearly that means you DO have PE today!’.

‘Can you bring it in for me?  he asks ‘Nope I can’t’ I say firmly, my lips tightly pursed.

‘Great thanks a lot mum, now I will get into trouble and it’s all your fault!’  he yells.

‘Of course, it’s my fault,  I will make sure to have my psychic powers back up and running for tomorrow’ I screech.

‘Mum, please’ he shouts ‘you have to, otherwise I will be forced to wear someone else’s skanky, dirty kit, from lost property!’ –

‘I wouldn’t worry too much son, you might be lucky and find one of your 3 kits that went AWOL in there! –

“Fine, I’ll text Dad then” he says defiantly.

Soaking up the sudden onset of silence, I hit a lane of slow moving traffic.  Cursing, I inch forward maintaining bumper to bumper position with the car in front, there is no way anyone is getting in front of me.

Crawling up the road it becomes obvious that half term is over as the ‘Men at work’ signs are up.  Inching closer there are no visible signs of any workmen working, but they are definitely there, I can see them all standing on the side-lines in their ‘cooey we are here’ jackets, looking happy enough chatting and drinking tea.

If that isn’t bad enough I can see in the distance someone approaching the pedestrian crossing ‘god no’ I plead, don’t press the button. Fighting back the urge to shout out the window, I just sit and snarl at the sheer gall of them pressing the button.

Gripping the wheel (she’s right!) like I’m at the start of Mario Kart Races. I bring my eyes back from boring into that person’s head to the lights.  Shouting at the lights to hurry up and turn green, I wait.

Finally it twinkles green and with pedal to the metal we manage to get through before anyone else decides they want to cross the road!

Bringing the car to a stop in the drop off zone, its goodbyes and see ya’laters as Starsky and Hutch jump out into a fog of teenage kids.

With a few hours off from parental dictating, I drive off, Chris Country playing, vocal chords dancing, home to, in the words of my kids, sit on my arse and do nothing all day while an unseen entity cleans up, washes, irons, shops, and preps dinner.

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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.