Friday, 30 October 2009


first published at FFF's 15/10/09

I have just arrived home from work and whilst waiting for the kettle to boil I log on to blogger....I check my blog, then check out our Mad Manic Mama's blog and read Expat's Mum's post and then my mind starts a commentary and I have to type it out or lose please go read her post first then you'll get the gist of mine....
Ahhh, secretly l think they are still ours... that is my big girl and my tall boy. My man child, was (is still) sitting in my brand new (mine) armchair with his feet up on the brand new (mine) pooffe, sorry not very pc, my new er foot chair....and he's not budging....he smiled though, as I walked in the house, and that smile is so wide, so light up the room bright and just pure gold. I get the kettle on and walk over to him, 'Hello, how was your day?' I ask, he grunts... and l lean over him... I do not detect any deep sighing or tutting, I guess he is breathing gently in resignation. He is mine, on my chair, my captive... I lean in. I Breathe so deeply and smell him. Drink him in, my baby boy, l could weep. The essence of the baby l carried, is still there, I shoved a big fat red lipsticked smackarooo on the back of his neck and rubbed the lippy right off... that smell,that touch can sustain me for a week... though I admit not much more, but by then l can sneak another or a hug. And Boy can he hug.
Upstairs, my big girl,18 at Christmas, is lying in bed, feeling sooo tired and a bit head cold-y. And perhaps just a tad sad I reckon, as she failed her test two days ago. I leaned in, I don't care If I catch anything. l'm sure the bloody swine is still alive and well, in this boot fair of a room, a floor full of worn clothing, dirty crockery, unfinished coursework and odd shoes... I ignore the overwhelming urge to moan, fret and complain about it AGAIN. Instead I take advantage of her prostrate state and again I Breathe deeply and my mood and mindset is totally erased... It's no matter we've hardly passed two civil words to each other in a baby girl is feeling unwell...and I love her. She can cuddle for England, swear for France and a few days ago when I told her I loved her and she responded in kind, I was surprised and said, 'Yeah but REALLY? Do you? I would never guess.' she laughed out loud and said 'Of course' It's mandatory I HAVE to, it's my job!' How the tables turn, I said it when she was six and right back at me!
Such are the innate feelings of love between mother and her child! Life without it once you've experienced it. I couldn't imagine otherwise. How do some women, men cope without them in their lives. I know we moan about our teens, hence the MMM blog. But. When we say we would walk through fire for them, it isn't a throw away remark. I wonder how old they'll be before they realise it...

Thursday, 29 October 2009

In which I am a bad mother...

I have spent roughly two hours cleaning Tall Girls stinky pre-teen (thirteen next week!) bedroom this morning, I have cleaned, dusted, tidied, organised and hoovered. It looks and smells much sweeter now.

I cajoled her into the shower sometime later, and feeling that my work was done, came downstairs for a welcome cup of tea. Oh the joy of having a messy teenager!

After pottering around downstairs for a while I decided to go and have another look at my mornings work, sometimes it is satisfying to survey the scene. However there were already clothes on the floor together with her towel and PJ's. Should I get her back upstairs to put it all away? I didn't have the strength.

As I picked up her towel I noticed her mobile phone was underneath. I looked at it a moment. Just one little look?

Now I have to explain, and think I may have done before, that when I was about her age I kept a diary, a very personal one, full of teen angst and boyfriends, until my step father took it and read it. It led to endless arguments and accusations, everything was held against me. I never kept a diary again, until now. So, knowing how it feels to be violated like that, I have always vowed never to do such a thing. But as I saw her phone I hesitated. Just one little look?

Sometimes I leave my phone lying around, though mostly it is close by. I rarely delete texts, unless my phone is full. Most of them are from the same sender, my other life. Some of them say...

Just one little look? I couldn't help myself. I picked up her phone, selected messages, then 'In box' and scrolled down. Jack. Jack. Jack.... All from the same sender. I select one to read.
"Be on line in 10. Ly" I caught my breath, smiled and put down her phone. It felt so familiar. It is so strange. She is a dark horse. I am still smiling inside.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Que sera sera...

Bubbles Pictures, Images and Photos

Well, there was lovely Auntie Gwennie waxing lyrical just the other day about her daughter's Uni plans and the dreaded Pan's Labyrinth that is the UCAS form...

And her thoughts and feelings echoed wholeheartedly with mine. Because, you see, in spite of the myriad of hassles and grizzlings doled out by Himself lately, deadlines iz deadlines, and we have to jump through the same hoops as all the other Teen Terrorists at this time of year if we want to secure a place; Gap Year or no Gap Year... And no, there won't be a Gap Year, for we fear he just won't ever return to the Ivory Towers, and there are very few jobs available for school-leavers in this current climate.

So, I've drafted his Personal Statement while he was passing his Driving Licence (Third Time Lucky! That's another story for another day). I considered his best qualities and I tried to set them out in a way that would enchant the University of His Choice. You know, the one his girlfriend is already at?!

And we've recently sat down together and explored the written words, and I've asked him to consider his own voice, and what it is he wants to get over about his desire to be a Geographer. A Geographer and Environmentalist...

And somewhere, lost in the distant mists of time, when I once hugged the warm trunks of trees to me, feeling their energies and their great age and wisdom, a vibing energy flows back to me and I hum, 'Que sera sera, Whatever will be will be, The future's not ours to see, Que sera sera...'

And the seasons of our lives flow on... and our little acorns continue to grow and amaze us.

trees Pictures, Images and Photos

Thursday, 22 October 2009

University Challenge

Life has been a teeny tiny bit tense chez auntiegwen recently. This has been entirely down to the phenomenon that is Ucas or Feckin Ucas as it's known in our house.

If this is a complete unknown, you can either read on through your fingers having a glimpse of what's yet to come, being brave or you can escape with a mere click of a button and continue to live in mummy denial land with your hands over your ears singing la la la, sure who could blame you? I love it in mummy denial land.

My eldest beautiful daughter is in her last year at school, no, I have no idea of how that could have happened either, one minute she was toddling around and now she is being expected to chose what to do and where to do it. That child can't even choose soup.

The dreaded Ucas form is essentially a common application form in which you pays your money and takes your choice. You choose 1 degree and 5 places in which to do it, write a personal statement explaining why you are the very person they have been waiting for all these years to come along and storm academia.

If your child knows what they want to do and where to do it, it's a breeze, fill it in, write the personal statement that shows they have some notion of what the degree is and how they would be not too bad at it, pay your £19, job done.

It wasn't like that for us. We had tears, cross shouty voices and anxious fingers pressing wrong buttons necessitating soothing voices, much love and cups of tea.

My daughter doesn't really want to to to uni, she doesn't want to get a job, she wants to go back to primary school and strangely that's not an option. She doesn't want to leave home, she wants to live with us and stay at school. She doesn't want to grow up. I know I have allowed her to remain as functional as a 4 year old, mea culpa. I know I like my children being babies, my name is auntiegwen and I am an over controlling mummy.

I know my daughter and I know she's not ready for real life yet but I also truly know that if stays with me for another 1, 2 or even 3 years, she'll still not be ready because she will not learn to be independent until she leaves me. I love the fact that she loves us and she feels so incredibly happy as I couldn't wait to leave home at 18 and my arse was just a blur as it went through my parents front door.

She tentatively suggested a gap year and when I'd stopped laughing I asked "from what?" if anyone gets a year out it's me, I've got something to have a gap from, I've been working for decades. She did also suggest that we went with her both on the gap year and to uni but that's just being silly.

If I don't shove this chick out the nest, she'll never go to uni, she'll get a job and she'll live with me forever and much as I love her, she needs to go and grow up a bit (okay, a lot) The thought of not seeing her and kissing her and laughing with her on a daily basis makes me ache but I know she has to go.

So after much deliberation, tears, tantrums and soul searching she has applied to university and she is leaving home. Her choice of degree, drum roll please...

Primary Education (QTS) BA (Hons)

So back to the place she was so happy in and she will be truly amazing, and I am so proud of her.

And I will miss her in a way I can't describe as she is (as all my children are) my heart, mo chridhe.

Monday, 19 October 2009


You could take them away on holiday or take them to an adventure playground or a museum or a gallery or any of the usual things that parents should do with children whilst on half term holiday.

I, on the other hand am not going to be doing any of the above for a number of different reasons. Firstly, I'm quite sure there has been some mistake - they have only just gone back to school after an interminably long summer holiday. Secondly, for about the 85th half term in a row I don't have all three of my children on holiday at the same time. I have three weeks of them off at different times and by the time they go back it will be nearly time for one of them to start their Christmas holiday and thirdly, I am still going to be working.

The two children who are now on holiday will stay in bed until midday. Then they will mooch about in their pyjamas watching "Neighbours" and playing Fifa '10 until three, then they'll get dressed and be really indignant that I've asked them to do something and say they haven't got time they simply have to go out and then go out. My third will be at school. When the older two see him all they will say for the entire week is "have you got school tomorrow? Oh. What a shame. We haven't" and "what are you doing tomorrow? Oh, sorry I forgot. You've got school" and so on.

Can't wait.

So. Here is my list of things to do with my children this half-term:-

Make them tidy up their rooms.
Sort all clothes
Take unwanted clothes to charity shop
Do food shopping
Do washing
Clean car.
Sort garden
Clean house
Organise the last 10 years of photographs
Cook evening meal

The list is endless - and shall no doubt remain so.

I suppose I'd better try and think of something fun to do with them. Do you think if I suggest we do all of the above to music they might consider it to be fun?

No. I didn't think so.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

They May Be Big but They Still Need You

So my man-child hit 14 on Monday. It's great that he's now 14 as it's a little bit less embarrassing than having to tell people he's 13 when he's almost 6'2" and visibly a big kid.
I took him for his annual doc check up. (You have to do that here as they need the medical records on file at school.) He was a bit nervous about stepping on the scale, even though he's been working out quite a lot and is visibly trimmer than he was 6 months ago. It didn't help that the nurse laughingly (although gently) confirmed with me that he was here for his 14th year check up. Her son, she told us, is 14 next month and doesn't even come up to his shoulder. My man-child laughed the shrugging, semi-mature laugh he does when people tell him that sort of stuff, but I always wonder how he feels about it all.
Anyway, he got on the scales, and let's just say he was over a stone (14 pounds +) heavier than he/we thought he was. "Mom" he shrieked. What on earth did he think I could have done in that moment? Hell, if I could do anything about weight I'd be working on myself wouldn't I? But no, it was "Mom". (Reminding me that he is but 14 and not the 18 that he looks). I probably didn't help by looking at the number and saying "Bloody hell", but we had discussed the fact that muscle weighs more than fat beforehand, and he is looking very trim these days.
Our pediatrician (who has a teenage son) was fabulous; showed him the growth chart, showing that his height and weight were in perfect alignment (off the charts). She made him feel even better by showing him that he's probably going to be 6'5" and will more than likely gain a bit more weight.
But he's still my baby boy. (Well, not the youngest baby boy but one of them anyway!).

Expat Mum

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

How 2 B a betta parent

Hop on over to PowderRoomGrafitti for hilarious tips on parenting teens.

Expat Mum

Monday, 5 October 2009

What next?

baby Pictures, Images and Photos

Love is such a light and femur thing... We hold it to our bosom, kissing its forehead, smelling its perfume, and finally at the end of the evening, we tuck it into the cot there, wrapping the warm woollen blankie around its soft form, whispering hope into its gentle, slumbering breaths...

We whisper to our love sweet nothings, we covet love's beauty and its light and warmth... We scent its milk-scented swathes, as it encircles us securely in love and light and longing.

And in the Teenage Years, we find that love can shatter, not unlike a slender teardrop of glass - Fragile, beautiful and short-lived...

And so we tiptoe around love's crib, careful not to tread on the razor-sharp glass slivers of pain and torment that hurt and wound our paper-thin, parent-skin.

Yours in love and sadness,

Fhina-Fee x

rosemary's baby (1968) - roman polanski; steve frankfurt poster art Pictures, Images and Photos

Friday, 2 October 2009

Deja Vu all Over Again

The Queenager is in her Junior year at High School. That's equivalent to Lower 6th in England. Typically, this is the hardest year as not only are all their grades through high school important for college admissions, they usually start taking their national exams (ACT ot SAT) at some time during this year. (The great thing about American high school is that by the time they leave, they actually have their academic results AND know where they are going to college. Talk about peace of mind.)

Queenie has determined that this WILL be the toughest year, not only of her life to date, but ever. In the history of academia. Despite my undergrad and Masters degrees, and the fact that as an accountant, her dad has to take exams and courses just to keep up his credentials, no one else has ever had it this tough.

Every day after school she comes in sighing loudly, asks where I am and sets about harranguing me. I have to listen for five minutes as she tells me, in stupifying detail, every homework assignment for that night. Then, as the evening wears on, she makes periodic appearances to update me on what she still has to do.

I know I'm supposed to be a supportive parent, and I wouldn't want to go back to that kind of academic pressure for anything, but PUH-LEEZE. I've been there, done that, got the sodding certificates.

And the worst thing is, she's the first of three! There's probably a lot more where this came from.


Expat Mum