Saturday, 25 June 2011

Finger Trouble

One of the things about being a parent (which nobody tells you when you sign up for it, incidentally) is that you should also have a teaching degree to go along with your new status and to equip you for the years to come.  No, I'm not talking about teaching your child to walk/play nicely/read/wipe their own bottoms (although sometimes, I'm far from convinced that mine have managed to master any of those tasks...).  What I'm referring to is the seemingly endless job of inculcating life skills and general responsibility for one's own actions (and acceptance of the consequences)  into our progeny.  Sometimes, I find this utterly exhausting - actually, scrap that - I constantly find it exhausting and very often I am hugely tempted to just take the easy way out and overlook transgressions/stop nagging and do it myself etc etc and sometimes I do.  BUT... there are also times when my patience runs out and I become utterly immovable in my refusal to comply with the whingeing, begging, pleading and downright snarkiness that only someone with all the energy of youth can muster.

Last weekend neatly illustrates one of those times and, reader, I lay myself bare before you (not literally, you will be delighted to know because that would be "eewwwww, like gross, mum") but I am not ashamed to show myself in a thoroughly bad light.

Having a full time job is a really, really bad idea if you have no P.A. to go with it and, funnily enough, I don't.  I have the Shah and regular readers will now be snorting into their tea at the mental image of the Shah poised with pen and pad, brow furrowed in concentration and the tip of his tongue protruding from the side of his mouth, helpfully awaiting instructions as to how he can serve my every requirement.  Consequently, last Sunday, I came to the realisation that our teenage son was about to turn 19 and I had done not a damn thing about it.  No greater betrayal is there than a parent forgetting your birthday, so I was anxious to treat him properly, buy him suitable gifts and lavish him with (unwanted) attention.  Let's face it, the requirements of your average teenager are simple:-

  1. to be given a large and constant supply of money 
  2. to be left the fuck alone by their mum and dad


So far so unremarkable.  However...(and mothers of teenage girls will weep with solidarity at this point) IT IS APPROACHING PROM WEEKEND.  I have already written about 16year olds and the phenomenon that is a Prom here but going through it oneself is a whole new experience.

So - the teenage daughter and I venture into the nearest large town and spend the day shopping not only for her brother's birthday (she allotted approximately
 5 minutes to that part of the day) but also for Prom accoutrements - shoes, jewellery and so on.  First stop was the Superdry store.  (For the uninitiated, this is a teenage clothing emporium, dark and cave-like and populated by etiolated youths with over-long fringes and cricked necks caused by constantly flicking said fringes out of their dull, lifeless eyes).  NB I am primarily out to shop for the boy's birthday.  TD has inveigled herself onto the trip in the guise of my fashion consultant.  Unfortunately, her ability to pick clothes up and inspect them is severely limited by the need to be constantly texting - sorry, BBMing - on her Blackberry.  This has become the soundtrack to my life and if there is no incessant clicking going on near me, I think there is something wrong.  Like when your children were playing and it all went quiet and you just knew that one of them had dared the other to drink water out of the lavatory, or worse, the potty.  The phrase "wee-wee tea" haunts me still.

But back to the point.  I pick up a t-shirt at the front of the shop and hold it up for inspection.  We instantly agree on it!  The sun comes out!  Birds sing!  We venture further into the abyss and find a denim shirt that is also deemed suitable.  Huzzah! We queue up and pay and I try not to squeak when hearing the total price which is roughly equivalent to the GDP of Namibia.  We leave.  this is great - it's all going really well - we could be home by lunchtime.

Now make a whooshing noise and imagine yourself fast-forwarded by oh, approximately four footsore hours.  We are still in town.  We have bought nothing other than lunch and this only after Mademoiselle has inspected three eateries and rejected them all for not meeting her strict Vegetarian principles. *sigh*.

My get up and go has got up and gone long, long ago.  I just want to GO HOME.  But we have not yet found the right earrings and I know deep in my heart that, until we do, we will not be allowed to get within a hundred yards of the car and the road homewards.  So I think positive!  I engage fully in the earring choosing and we whittle it down to three possible pairs.  I think that any of the three would look absolutely fine and say so.  No,  this is not good enough.  She wants to know which are my favourites.  So I point out the pair I like marginally more than the others.  "I don't like those!" she says.  That's fine - no problem - in fact, it's a good thing - it means we only have two to choose from so it makes it easier to decide I say (still positive!).  then comes the killer line.

"So, which should I get?" she says

Oh no!  You don't get me like that.  I have been a parent for far too many years to be caught out that way.  Don't forget that I also work in a school, so I deal with teenage girls on a daily basis.  I am well-versed in their wiles.  I am not going to be responsible for the final decision - that would be far too easy.  It would mean that, on Prom night, when you have a crisis of confidence about your looks, it will all be "BECAUSE OF THE SHITTY EARRINGS THAT YOU MADE ME BUY!!!"  No siree.  No way José.

She pouts.  She whines.  She badgers.  She cajoles.  She shrieks.  I stand firm.  She snarls.  Eventually, I lose patience and hiss at her that I will wait outside the shop whilst she pays.  I stomp away.  Outside, I text the Shah.  This is what I wrote:-

I hit send and look away for an instant, distracted by a toddler chasing a pigeon.  I glance back at my phone.  In a heart-stopping moment, I realise that I have just sent my text to a member of the Senior Management Team at work.

At 4o'clock on a sunny Sunday afternoon, the good burghers of Kingston going about their shopping are unexpectedly treated to a red-faced woman standing outside Accessorize glaring at her mobile phone and shouting FUUUUUUUCCCKKKK!

PS.  Guess which earrings she eventually bought?  Yup - my faves - the ones she didn't like.


  1. In answer to your question as to whether I've lost my mind - do I really have to answer that! LOL

    Aaah the joys of shopping. I try to avoid it as much as I can but with big one soon to depart to Malawi it's been a constant source of irritation, I mean delight!

    Today it was over bloody trainers - lost the plot when after I'd paid for them she said she didn't know if they fit! If she comes back with mishapen hooves it will no doubt be my fault but at 16 I quite possible assume that she is capable of knowing if something fits on her foot or not!

  2. Lol at you and your mind Taz! Prom night is now over - was a roaring success and, better still, I didn't have to have the expected drunken hordes staying at Crap Cottage - they all went to someone else's house. I'm off to collect them shortly and will no doubt have to re-live the whole night over and over and over again *sigh*

  3. I hear you sista!! thank sweet baby jesus that we all get out of the 'shopping' experience with our full head of hair and our teeth not ground down to stumps.....I took my 20 yr old daughter shopping for shoes this week...forgetting that she had oh my......but at least she apologised for 'being a bitch' on the way home....there is light at the end of the tunnel!

  4. Hi Libby - it's kind of discouraging to think that they can still be so volatile at the age of 20, but at least you got an apology!

  5. This is the face of my future ....gah! And I'm lucky to get out of bed with all my hair on let alone have a full time job as well. Props to you. My nine year old has much better taste than me, I'm always the one pointing to pink, shiny stuff inviting the curled lip from MissT.

  6. Hi Jody - all I can say is that I really hope you get away lightly....come back to me in about 5 years time and I will be happy to hold your hand through the process!

  7. I count my lucky stars that The Boy Wonder has a similar 'Ninja' style of shopping to me.

    If he's in any kind of shop other than a toyshop, he wants to be out in under a minute. That suits me just fine.

  8. Ok Andy - I don;t wish to be too personal here but have you completed your family? Maybe if there is another Andette, it may turn out to be a girl and, if this does happen, don't come crying to me...:)

  9. Yep - my 11 year old is already showing similar tendencies when we go shopping and it usually ends up with much gnashing of teeth and muttering of 'never again' - and that's just from her!!

  10. Hi Diney - thanks for stopping by the blog! All I can say is OMG - she's only 11? - you have years and years of torture ahead of you! Sorry - not much comfort, I know!


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