Friday, 8 July 2016

Rite of Passage

Well, here I am again. Some years later. DD (18) DS (16 - soon to be 17).

A lot has happened in the last few years.

Both children have passed their GCSE's, DD flew them, DS, by the skin of his teeth! Both joined 6th Form, DD flourished, DS hasn't.  

Isn't it funny how it's so easy to give advice but not so easy to take it? For 14 years I have advised parents that 6th Form isn't for everyone and maybe alternative education is the way forward.  But not for my two children, oh no! They were going to study A Levels, go to University and get great jobs.
Ha! Not so quick says the hand of fate.

DS has struggled. He does not like Academia, it's not for him. He loves the social aspect of school but everything else just bores him. He needs an alternative.  And so here we are on the brink of a new era.  He has enrolled on an FE Course and will start in September. He can't wait! He is like a different person.

DD? Hmm. We have trawled what feels like hundreds of Universities looking for the most suitable places for her to study. She managed to narrow it down and chose 5.  After months of deliberation, she chose her top two. So what now? Well, she is now in the throes of her final exams and here lies the problem.
Her social life..... The boyfriend (of nearly 2 years) has gone - mutual apparently, and now she is enjoying the single life. So much so that very little work is getting done. I am leaving it to her, she is old enough to accept the consequences of her actions but again, as her mother, I know she wants to do well but the lure of nights out is too much. She would go to the opening of an envelope!  DH says we have to let her get on with it and if I mention revision she just ignore me. She does appear to be doing some work but who know.

I must say though, I do now feel as though I have to let her make her own mistakes and learn from them. Is that not how we grow?

That said, she is about to embark on one of those 'rites of passage'... A girls holiday in Magaluf! Dear God, what was I thinking agreeing to that. At least all the girls (6 of them) have like minded parents. Yeah, I know.  Once they are free from us they will ignore everything we've said!! Just stay safe girls eh?...

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Exam stress - mostly mine

You know how sometimes you say things or write it down hoping the reverse will happen, because by the sheer nature of voicing it out loud or 'putting it out there' means it won't come true? Or is it just me?

THAT time of year is looming, you know, the one where the parent gets stressed out and repeats the same mantra "revise, revise, revise"or "How much work have you done tonight?",  Or is it just me?

A friend remarked that I was relaxed about the impending AS's for DD and GCSE's for DS and I sat back and said 'well, there's no point in getting het up about it is there? I'm not going to get into the spin I did last year with DD'.(Actually didn't need to as she did so incredibly well in her GCSE's).  Well, that relaxed attitude didn't last long - one day to be truthful.  Major stress, as DS has just announced he is not on top of any of his subjects and will probably not even scrape a C.

So here I am, thinking if I pour out all my worries, come August the results will miraculously not reflect the effort (or lack of) that has gone into them!

The boy doesn't lie. I can see the stress in his face; that recognition of only one week to go and too much of a mountain to climb.  Before anyone says it - I know! It's not the end of the world but inside I'm screaming IT IS THE END OF THE WORLD. What will become of him? Will he be able to stay on in 6th Form? Does he even want to stay on in school? What does he want to do?

Fact is, in the cold light of day, yes, he does want to stay on and yes he has an idea of what he wants to do. He's even looked into what he needs to do to achieve this.  But will he revise ? Still, as my mother says he needs to learn by his own mistakes but you can't help worry for them can you? Take a step back she says.

Oh and believe me, I know that it is not the end of the world and that worse things happen. But right now, in my own little world this the most stressful thing happening.

I'm still screaming inside and am hoping that by writing down my fears the reverse will happen...

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Such is life!

So, DD and DS are now 17 and 15 respectively and so much has changed. DD now  completing first year of AS Levels after her very successful GCSE results.  We also now have a boyfriend in tow! He is a rather lovely chap.  Very easy going, and very keen on DD. (More details to follow!)

DS is in the throes of studying for his final GCSE's, however, his approach is not the same as his sisters!  His has more of a laid back approach -so laid back I wonder if any work is getting done. I'm caught between the old 'give him a push' theory and the 'let him do it himself' theory; however I am trying not to get myself as worked up as I did last year when DS was attempting some early GCSE's and DD was completing all of hers.  At one point I'm pretty sure my blood pressure soared to way above anything that could be considered normal!

Anyway just to bring you up to date. As DD is 17 she can now (and has been) learning to drive. Oh. My. Days.  What a way to raise the blood pressure! She has paid lessons but I take her out too in order to improve her road sense.  Anyway, 13 lessons later and I take her out for a quick drive before she goes to work, yes, she also has a part time job, and within the first 5 minutes she approached two junctions without caution and at the second (blind) junction she didn't even stop and therefore pulled out on a car who narrowly missed us. Queue lots of shouting by me.  She didn't even apologise.  I couldn't stop shaking for some time.  Clearly not ready to take her test, which incidentally, she has booked!

So, readers, in a nutshell, we are still having a rather, on times 'shouty' relationship and I am, still, worrying about their every move.  Such is life eh?....

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Little boy growing up

What a day yesterday. DS (a young 13 year old) wanted to go to into the City with his friend.  Now.  He has never been without me and although his friend is very trustworthy I started to worry about his ability to catch the right train find his way round the city staying together etc.  I wouldn't normally have been so touchy but it was a rugby international Saturday so the trains are heaving and the city is bouncing.  I should never have let him go in hindsight however they were going early enough and said they would return before the rugby finished (thank god for late kick offs!)

Anyway he text to say they had managed to get on a train and let it slip that they were with "some girls".  Ok I thought girls are usually a bit more mature and the more of them the better.

However it started to get dark about 4.30 so text DS to find out what time coming home. His reply was along the lines of "no idea".  Queue me starting to panic. So I rang (Yes I know I'm probably going over the top but it's a big city, he has no idea of his bearingsthe sheer volume of people in the city on International day can make anyone feel a little nervous especially if they get caught up in the crowds and lose their friends - and yes this is all in my head). 

They were in Winter Wonderland which is a fair trek from the station.  So I checked the train times to find that extra trains were being put on as usual on an International day but the trains were running 45 mins late and  were taking an hour at least to come back to our town as they were running through all the local stations due to high numbers of people returning/going into City.

It's an awful situation to be in [for me that is]; he had told me he was cold as he didn't want to ice skate and his mate and all the girls were skating for an hour and I then found out they'd only gone so his friend could meet up with one of the girls.  I'm pretty sure he was bored and I know he was hungry as even though he had money he doesn't like fast food!  I was torn between driving up to find him, or leaving him there to find his own way back and also panicking that he wouldn't make it back or get lost or I don't know what all together.  

I text him and told him the train times and that they would have to leave Winter Wonderland half an hour before the train was due in order to catch the one that should have taken the quickest route back.  

As always they managed to catch the correct train which despite my fears was completely quiet as the game had 20 mins left to play out. However they did take nearly an hour to get back. I picked them up from the station.

Now yes I am a neurotic mother and my mind is probably over active but if it hadn't been international/dark/his first time in the City alone/25 miles away then I'm sure I would have been fine.

In the cold light of day I was an embarrassment to him.  If that had been his sister she would have turned off her phone or ignored many of the texts until it was time to come back.  Poor boy. I do hope I calm down before he wants to go out again!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Seesaw

Is it really hormonal? It cannot surely be 28 days or so since the last squabble? Oh my days. 

But first. Let me tell you about DS this morning.  Back in the Summer (against my wishes I might  add) we bought a dog.  Now. I know those of you who have been in this scenario will be sitting back with a smug look on your faces at this next statement but our DS said he would get up at 6.30 every morning to walk him!  We knew he would not be able to sustain this but still he has mostly been very good at this chore.

Fast track 3 months on and DH asked him to walk the dog this evening as well as this morning because DH would be working late so needed a hand.  DS seems to think this is totally unfair. Why should he do extra when his sister isn't asked?  DH is primary dog walker and DS and DD share the walk each morning.  I escaped that one - left DS and DH to battle it out. Anyway when I then asked DS about homework boy did he kick off. Answering me back saying he will NEVER do it and so what if he fails - which as usual gets me stressed out and worrying. So I screamed at him as he was leaving for school that I had banned him from the XBox!

However I came home tonight and he was out walking the dog.  Once we had eaten our evening meal we then sat down and studied for his test on Friday! Why do kids to this to you? I've been worrying on and off all day about him and his temper. Then he goes and surprises me by doing exactly what I wanted him to do.

On the other hand DD.  Hmmmm.  One thing. That was all.  One thing. "Please do not listen to that rubbish in the lounge where I want to sit and watch the news. If you are then please use your headphones. But if I can still hear it then I want you to go upstairs."  Well. You can guess. It was still loud.  An argument ensued so I took her phone! I may as well have chopped off her arm. Boy did her attitude change. Demanded her phone back and spoke to me like I was one of her friends - well not really. Like I was one of her enemies I suppose.

So I retaliated - admittedly rather childishly perhaps - that all the clothes I'd bought her for her birthday next month were going back to the shops.  She doesn't believe me as I rarely keep to my threats. But I am determined to stick to my guns on this one. She was horrible yet the whole drama was over in 5 mins but right in the thick of it she gets right into my guts and my god I just can't stand her.

Will I ever have a stress free argument free day? It's like a seesaw in this house. One teen up and the other down and vice versa.

I'm off for a bath - on the plus side at least I'm not locking myself in there this time.....

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

This is clearly how we roll, DD and me

I worked late on Monday night but that did not stop a humdinger of a row between myself and yes, you've guessed it, my one and only daughter!

It all started when I told DD that it had been suggested to me that she trains more in her sport by a friend of ours - maybe only one extra hour just to give her the edge and to put her in a good position for next year - too complicated to go into here - just trust me that it's bloody competitive and even to stay where she is, she would benefit from this extra hour that has been offered to her.

Well, what ensued was so horrible that it has taken me 3 days to feel comfortable enough to put it into words.  She told me that she didn't want to do it and when I explained that it could only benefit her I got accused of telling her she was crap at the sport.  The hour is on a Sunday so does not conflict with anything but the group who train are also crap apparently.  I retaliated by saying lots of other doing it - not the point she says.  I can't remember all the minutiae but it involved a lot of screaming,  shouting,  physical abuse,  fingers in ears and ended up with me being given the finger by her.  I was accused of being a crap mother (I've toned it down for the purposes of this Blog).  She said she hated me and I think she was quite ready to leave except for the fact that it was so late.

This is only a snapshot of what happened. Needless to say I locked myself in the bathroom and sobbed for half an hour continuously. Dh remained out of the way downstairs with the dog and Ds kept coming out of his room and then going back in - he totally hates conflict of any sort.  I just felt so alone and helpless; the feeling that your daughter doesn't like you and doesn't appreciate anything you do is quite terrifying. I thought I was being supportive.

Fast forward to Tuesday evening.  I take DD training which went well but as we leave one of the other Mums happens to mention the extra hour training on Sunday. I take this opportunity to say to both girls how much they would benefit and really come on with the experience of training with older people etc and DD responded by saying yes they really need to be going and has made arrangements to start week after next (cancelled for this Sunday)!!!!!!

For heavens sakes! If I'd known that a chat with a friends mum would have done it I'd never have said anything on Monday night.  It could have save a lot of trouble.

So I took Dd home and in the car she was chatting all about her schoolwork and her revision for Controlled Assessments which has been on going for weeks.  I offered to run her a bath which she happily accepted and the rest of the evening was very pleasant.

It's like nothing happened - normality resumes.  I guess this really is how we roll as a family.  Turbulent with plenty of ups and downs but now I'm through that dark hour or so I do realise that my daughter is just dealing with her own issues in her own way.  Tough lesson learned by me - hold back (again)

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Domestic goddess I do not pretend to be. However there is only so much even I can take. So in light of a fellow Blogger I decided to go on strike this week. Well.  I stopped doing the washing of any clothes - which of course has backfired enormously (quite literally!).  Two huge laundry baskets are now overflowing.  I think I may have shot myself in the foot.  

So there I was at 6am loading the washing machine muttering to myself - I mean, who else would have been up? Even the bloody dog was still napping!  I did manage to show them all how to use the washing machine but I'm not sure it sunk in with any of them.  DS did manage to vacuum and DD did dust her bedroom but that was it. I'm not asking too much of them am I?

Well anyway it was a very productive day. I managed to get quite a bit done and ready by early evening as myself and DH were off out with friends locally.  I'm not quite ready to let the children stay at home alone so arranged for the in laws to pop round for a couple of hours.

DD was still out to meet the boyfriend again - although apparently he is not the "boyfriend", I can't get my head around their relationships these days what with snaking, married and in a relationship on FB, but then I'm not supposed to am I?  She came back not long after we went out so once again has done as I asked - still feel that maybe she is angling for something.

DS on the other hand is morphing into something else. Woah! Stop right there.  Both days on the weekend he has communicated via a series of grunts or when he has spoken it was to complain about everything I did e.g. It's my fault his haircut is too short (well actually it is because I asked my hairdresser to cut it so!).  But it's not MY fault his shoes are annoying him or his trousers are too short! Talk about hormonal - it's bloody wearing at the moment.

He has a Maths test this week and because he doesn't like it he is revising very little. In fact, so little I'm sure he won't get anywhere and he doesn't even seem bothered! (Really struggling with keeping back when it comes to him - he is not as academic as his sister)

Ooooh! Must say though  DS is loving reading - on his own terms admittedly which means bed time and no other time but he lies with me and reads to himself and then we chat about it afterwards before he goes off to sleep.  Very tender moments.

DD has so many tests/homework it's hard to keep track. Just found out she has a Sociology test tomorrow but she is happy she has done enough work and so, I am still backing off.  Not sure if it is working.  Let's see what happens when the results come out.

Anyway I am exhausted.  Let's watch some trash TV and return at a later date.