Have you seen these breeks with holes, slits cut right up and down the leg? It looks as if they have been in a thresher. Trendy in the extreme just now. But not for menopausal women. If I wore a pair of these each hole would be pushed to bursting as croissants of undulating flesh pressed to escape the confine of the trouser so why am I on about them???My niece who went to stay with her Granny recently who did the dutiful parental grandparental thing of putting on the ebola suit on complete with face made before unbidden, emptying her case of dirty clothes and washing them. When Jenny got up 2 and half days later from a win night her granny was rather proud to announced
“Your trousers, the ones with the God awful holes in them – don’t worry they’re not ruined I’ve fixed them for you?
Sewn up the holes.
Long pause, illustrated by tears rolling down cheeks, face going a dangerous deep red and hair alarmingly standing on end and it’s was length. But she rallied not wanting to upset her well meaning Gran.
“You’re welcome dear. Now what would you like for tea?”
He packed his case 6 hours before he left. He was leaving at 4am so it was just before he fell into a slump.
After he had put in 3 vests, 2 pairs of shorts and some aftershave ( vital obviously) I stuffed in half a loo roll, some dried apricots, white kit kats, and a medical supply box that would impress Dr Quinn Medicine Woman.
Wipes, bits, stuff for allergies, rehydrators, paracetamol, plasters, mosquito spray.
I recall his first trip away when he was 7 he came back with his toilet bag unopened. Perfect clean folded facecloth, pristine unused soap, toothbrush missing. All clothes folded, and clean – he hadn’t changed his clothes at all.
Yup he left for Zante on Thursday. What I didn’t realise was they were leaving from Glasgow at 6am so had to get there for 4. Herding cats is an over used expression but 16 x 17 & 18 year old boys going off to Zante for the 1st time free of guidance, nagging, money and bossing of parents is a real cat herding exercise. No shit.
Taking a deep breath and determined to give him his space. I have resisted texting. In return every 2 days I get a two work text from Zante boy.
I am happy. This proves many things.
He realises I am a neurotic old bat
He is coherent enough to text
He has the foresight to charge his mobile
He notices he is not here.
The brief communications have been as follows.
Day 1. Arrived safe.
Day 2 NOTHING
Day 3 Apartment dodgy
Day 4 Nothing
Day 5 Need decent food.
Of course I have tried cajoling him. What are you eating? How hot is it? And just before I press send I think. Woah. Stop. Being the stalking woman it is not a good look. So I have refrained.
As I sat tucked up on the couch getting over the 2 week stay of our pals from Australia I flicked through the TV idly. And what did I find?
3 minutes in in I recalled the strict instructions from those who know
‘DO NOT under any cicrcumstances watch the Inbetweeners Movie.’
More insomnia – if you wonder if you can actually have more insomnia and less sleep. I am (zombie like) living proof you can.
The joys of parenthood.
Oh and take it from me. If you are a parent. Do not watch the Inbetweeners Movie. Ever.
This time next week the boy who has turned into a teenwolf and teeters on manhood is off to Zante. Yes the island that has featured on Sex, Sea and Suspicious Parents in which platoons of teenagers maraude the nightclubs and bars speed drinking, fighting and lying in pools of suspicious substances after thrusting their tongues down available throats. I feel sick.
It’s a right of passage I am told.
Yes. I understand.
I understand but it makes no odds. The lump of concrete in my belly is intact. So I have a few choices to make.
Drink for 7 days thus displaying the ‘if you cant beat them join them’ ethos?
Find a crooked Dr and arrange an intravenous tranquiliser for the week?
Check myself into a chanting retreat to be calmed in a Zen like fashion?
No. None of the above. I will have to display the mature adult persona. Being helpful, concerned yet happy to let him go to the land of the lamping, flashing and guzzling. AAAARRRGGHH. I may have to practice this technique as at the moment barricading the door so he cant get out of his room is still rather appealing.
Genuinely it’s not his lot I am worried about it’s the lunatic heavily tattooed, drunken casual spoiling for a fight and taking a dislike to a bunch of Scottish lads. Just for the hell of it.
So angry yesterday I was fit to be tied, Teenwolf had a group of pals round to the communal gardens – again – on the promise he would tidy everything up. So when walking the dogs in the morning I came upon an enclave in the garden which as my pal Fiona said when she clocked it ‘God it looks like Guns N Roses have been in here ‘. Stomping off back to the house I marched into the lair of the wolf.
‘Get up right now and clear the garden up’. Silence and no movement. So I upped the decibel level to high screech with accompanying door thump. A vague stirring. So I whipped the duvet off – a classic move which never fails to get a reaction – ‘What?’ came the bleary eyed response.
‘Get your backside down to the garden right now and clear up that stour’. (stour being Scots for a bloody mess/shambles)
10 minutes later he was spotted in hoodie sloping over the garden clutching a bin liner, a bucket and a reluctant friend.
So not the most auspicious start to the day. Against the odds, things were about to get worse.
Later I was doing a voice over in my studio. After recording I turned on the speakers to listen back before sending off the mp3. Nothing. I fiddled about and pressed play again. Nada except a tiny high pitched whine. ‘LOUIS!!!!!!!!!!’ I screamed as I tanked down the stairs at speed.
‘Answer this honestly and quickly. Have you been farting about with my studio speakers?’
Eyes bulging’ Em whaat?’
‘Well not exactly farting about. But I took them downstairs to yesterday to see how good they were’.
‘W H A T? ? Well you have blown them’.
‘I can’t have’
‘You bloody well have’.
‘Calm down I’ll sort them out’. and with that he strolled (strolled no sense or urgency or panic which put my anger level up a few notches) up to the studio, plugged them in and got no reaction at all.
‘Well they were working’.
‘Well they are not now!’ The walls were vibrating at this point with the velocity of shouting. Downside – high blood pressure. Upside – the only broadcaster that doesnt need a transmitter? So I went mad. I did. I was furious.
The smirk was not quite so prolific after he was informed his pocket money would be witheld until new speakers were paid for.
Within an hour we were calm, the air was cleared and we were laughing. I’m still having his pocket money though.
All jocularity about the teenwolf and his laundry habits are over.
This morning, on discovering a massive pile of rubbish and clothes in his room I took a deep breath and retreated to the kitchen to regain my composure. When he came swashbuckling in sleepy faced I asked.
‘So any clothes made it into your laundry basket?’
A rhetorical question.
‘No’ – doesn’t give a toss.
‘Why not?’ ill disguised fury escaping by means of hisses from the gaps between my teeth
‘Just not quite there with it yet.’ He toyed with his toast.
Eyeballs out on stalks I fought the urge to grab him and stare into his sleepy teenwolf face and screech ‘WHAT !!!!!!!!!?????????’
So I clanged things down in the kitchen, stomped about, and behaved like….well like a teenager I suppose.
Of course he didn’t notice.
I drove him to school (because I am of course a complete sap) then half way down the road to the school he criticised my driving.
Braver men have died for less.
I put the brakes on.
‘What? ‘ seemed to give a toss now.
‘NO?’ Volume liable to shatter windscreen
‘No.’ too cool for his own good if you ask me
‘OK, ‘ I said sounding rather more Basil Fawlty than I would have liked ‘ I am turning left at these lights. You can get out here or I can drive you home and you can walk all the way from there’.
‘Why are you going left?’
I could feel my temples throbbing and all past imaginings of being a cool Zen type mother were long gone.
He flung the door open and got out. The door slammed. We didn’t exchange even a glance.
Well that was a shit start to the day. Though I have worked out where I will be when he comes home.
I wonder how long it will take him to notice. I could be some time.
What do you give a teenage boy to whip him into a frenzy?
Beer that cannot be detected on the breath by the sharp nosed parent?
A one on one with the cheerleaders of the national rugby team?
X Ray eyes?
An ability to study whilst listening to their Ipod, texting their friends and Facebooking – oh no of course, according to teenwolf they can do that.
A pizza the size of a sports stadium?
Some ‘`how to get the ladyeeeez to`LOVE you’ tips from Jayzee?
Yes to one or all of the above.
One thing that will not however get them into a frenzy, is the package I took home today.
As you can see it looks rather intriguing. It was as teenwolf undid the tags on the side and as it burst into it’s upright glory .it resembled one of those cloth tunnels he had as a 3 year old from IKEA which he spent many hours climbing through.
‘God Mum it’s not a tunnel is it?
‘You’re joking! ‘
‘Oh…well ‘, he muttered as he looked in a bemused fashion into the very belly of the cloth beast as it stood on it’s end.
‘Well what is it?’
‘Ok sit down,’ he sat down ‘this is an alien concept, an implement which will stun and confuse you’.
A nervous tick emerged as he watched me suspiciously.
‘It is a …’
Pause for effect
For once I had his full attention
‘A receptacle into which you put your dirty laundry.’
‘Oh’ instant and extreme disinterest is now displayed.
‘Anything that is dirty that does not go in here, will not be washed.’
He gave me that ‘och Mum I know how much you love me this is bound to a temporary arrangement’ grin.
I gave him the evil eye.
‘ I mean it.’
So off he went to do his homework. AKA Sit in front of the computer, facebooking his pals, strumming the guitar, texting, listening to his Ipod – oh but only after spreading his school books on the kitchen table so when I walk in he can quick as a flash sit in front of them and look studious. I shall post an update in 24 hours…what do you think the odds are of anything being in it?
Please examine the artists (if you can call me that!) impression of the process below. – I am the one with the big bottom on the left. Double click on it to make it bigger – but beware it is Teenwolf’s lair. Welcome to my world.
Went out yesterday 9.30 am Teenwolf was still in bed. Can you please take the dogs out when you get up it’s pouring and they won’t go out now.
Grumph came from under the duvet. After a full day out I came back. No teenwolf and a very rotund hairy dog uncommonly happy to see me.
Wanting out? I asked her laying down the bags I was carrying.
By way of an answer the dog cannoned downstairs to the door like an exocet missile. I opened the door and she flew through it just getting to the pavement in time to stand for about 7 minutes letting it all go. Desperate doesn’t go half way to describe the poor thing.
On teenwolfs return I asked ‘ did you take the dogs out’
Last minute lottery stuff as usual. On the eve of school going back.
Digging out the school breeks – they have holes in them. Where did these holes come from? Dunno.
What do you mean dunno? it looks like someone cut holes in them with scissors.
OK whilst we are at it where are your school shoes?
Find them then. They are produced scruffy, scuffed but polishable on the top side and then I flipped them over and realised there are hole in the soles. HOLES! Holy breeks and holy shoes. Holy shit I shout we are going out to get you sorted.
So breeks on board we hit the shoe shops. We end up in Top Man. TOP MAN! I used to be made to wear Clark Startrites and then horrific lace up horors until I left scohol. Yeh but that was the olden days came the mumbled reply.
So he has slip ons. Very Jason King. Black slip ons. And new black hole-free trousers there is just one thing missing – well two if you count the absence of a sane mother – I haven’t actually seen his face for about 2 months. Hair.
So I drop him at the Barber. He comes home later. Let’s see your hair then. I command. We meet in the hall and yes he has had his hair cut. The one on the left hand side. So after a rather heated discussion during which I was informed I was lame, unfair and 112 he’s going back tomorrow for every other hair on his head to be cut to match it.
Teenwolf has just come in, given me the ‘ Oh God are you still here?’ look before sloping upstairs. 3 minutes later he appeared in the kitchen. ‘Um hungry’ he mumbled before emptying a cupboard of all edible things and I am pretty sure some packaging too. As he guzzled I took my life in my hands and asked ‘so what was going today at school then?’ with my rather too practised, calm, don’t want a fight, I’m not really the vile harridan you think I am, Doris Day expression on my face. ‘Nuthin’ he said showcasing an accent that is neither Scots, English, Irish, Welsh, Canadian but more chimp than anything. ‘Oh guitar’ he said looking vaguely animated for a micro-second ”m learnin’ Paranoid’ he added clearly hoping to flummux the ancient crone that is his mother.
‘Oh Sabbath’ I said casually and despite his practised air of indifference his sprouting eyebrows shot up ‘YOU know it?’ ‘Yeh’ I said grabbing the ukelele that lives in the kitchen and giving him an off the cuff rendition. Disgusted isn’t strong enough for his expression as he lowered his brows before he ran off, upstairs, plugged in his electric plank and started spanking it. I am pretty sure he hates me you know. Or am I just Paranoid?
Yesterday afternoon we ended up at a party with a cast of dozens from a 6 month old baby to a 79 year old but the most prevalent group were the teenwolves patrolling the premises, hands jammed into pockets, perusing the scene picking off the sausage rolls and cans of Irn Bru and surrepticiously eyeing up the lager.
The highlight of any mixed gathering of ages is observing the crushing inhibition of the teenagers versus the total lack of inhibition of the elderly. I often think you could rule the world if you had the lack of inhibition of a 79 year old whilst line-free young and with it all ahead of you.
Anyway I digress. One of the teenwolves in evidence was wearing a pair of jeans, which had more holes than jeans, the crotch of which was actually toying with trailing along the ground. As he leaned louchely yet desperately self-consciously against a wall, slugging a can and feeling like the dogs bahookey my Mum went up, smiled at him and asked.
Are they meant to be like that?
Yes these are the best jeans I’ve ever owned he said as if that justified the threadbare mass that barely clung to his form. Oh she said turning to me, they look like yours. Eh? A brief glance down at my own legs which were covered in more lycra than denim, thigh squishing, bum holding inners and dark dark blue for maximum slimming effect made me think for a moment yup she’s finally lost it but then another look at the teenagers jeans brought it all back.
When a teenwolf myself I had a pair of leg coverings made of denim, to call them jeans would be an insult to all jeans everywhere.
They were made up a myriad of patches that my pal Johnny MacFarlane had made and after much pestering had leant to me for a family holiday to The Cotwolds. I was keeping them for a special occasion so as we checked into a Stately Home that was also running as a B&B my parents had no idea that having weighed up the surroundings of opulence and grandeur I decided tonight was the night to debut the fabulous denim look. Arranging to meet in the downstairs bar at 7pm gave me just about long enough to squish my body into said jeans before sauntering downstairs and into the bar. On entering I made two instantaneous observations 1 Surprisingly Jimmy Hill the pointy chinned sports commentator was standing with a crowd around him holding court at the bar and more urgently
2. my Dad’s face had turned from a normal ruddy Scottish hue to a deep rumbling red. ‘You are not wearing those to eat dinner’ – he pointed at my jeans. Yes I am. No you are not. Yes I am . No You are not. OK I said I don’t want dinner anyway and out I stomped in high dudgeon back to my room. God I was hungry. As time went on I expected the Peace Keeper that was my mum to come up and say ‘OK Alison if you ditch the breeks you can come back down and eat’ but she didn’t.
So I ran a bath and boiled myself to distract from the hunger and fury and unjust world in which I found myself and as I lay there listening to my battery operated radio the shocking news that Elvis Presley had died was announced.
August 16th 1977. I was 15. Teenwolf is 15. It brought it back, that moment, that era, that age, like an anvil to the head. Trousers, hormones, making a stand, unjust parents, them in control, me in purgatory, my pals being great,them being the worst parents ever. And here I am. Roles reversed. The words ‘you are not wearing those to visit your Grandma’ has come out of my mouth on more than one occasion and his reaction of ‘well I’m not coming’ has too.
So as it turns out ‘I’m just a teenage dirtbag baby’ could have been penned by me, a now 40 something woman in her bedroom in the 70’s as the universal recognition of the circle of hormones – never mind life – is inescapable.
Will this turn me into a more maleable understanding cool parent? I’d like to say yeh but I suspect I already know the answer will be to quote another family favourite ‘over my dead body’ followed by the teenager of whatever era muttering under their breath ‘if you insist’.
To all mothers everywhere. This is not a comedy sketch a documentary.