In August this year, we will have been living the dream in New Zealand for 8 years. I can’t quite believe it. It seems just yesterday that we made the decision to emigrate to New Zealand from the UK. 8 years. So much has happened in that time. Continue reading “Living The Dream. New Zealand.”
A Budget Weekend in Auckland with Teenagers.
If you plan to visit Auckland with the family and have never been to a planetarium, then you’re in for a treat. Stardome Planetarium and Observatory.
Tackling a weekend city break with two teenagers while on a budget, will find you needing to be resourceful. Continue reading “Ideas for A Budget Weekend in Auckland with Your Family.”
A weekend city break is pretty easy with little children. There are parks and zoos and usually, a bouncy castle hiding somewhere between the sausage sizzle and the honey stall on the Saturday street market, but taking teenagers away to the city for the weekend – especially on a budget, can be a bit hit and miss.
No parent wants to go to all the effort -not to mention the costs involved in packing the family away for the weekend, only to be faced with long faces and wails of “I’m bored” from the teenagers. Continue reading “The Basement Theatre. Auckland. The Perfect Pace to Take the Family! “
It’s not fair.
I won’t tell you what my mother used to retort with when I used to bellow this at her from the upstairs landing. All I’ll say was it involved a gentleman with no underpants who originated from Timbuktu. No PC parenting when I was a girl.
It’s not fair.
I’ve just had that unoriginal accusation hurled at me for not volunteering to be a taxi service at 9 o’clock tonight. Continue reading “It’s Not Fair.That’s Right Kid. It Ain’t.”
I can’t seem to get it right with my teenagers this week.
Whatever I suggest is wrong. The advice I give is outdated, the questions I am asking are ignored. Even my impression of the cat talking with a speech impediment didn’t get any laughs. Nothing. Just a sigh, a look, and then, slam. Continue reading “The (politically) correct questions to ask your teenager.”
It’s bad enough that I’m a middle-aged parent. The wrong side of 45. That I homeschool my kids and so therefore only get to speak to another adult when the farmer needs help shifting the cows.
It’s hard enough that I emigrated from a trendy, city chic lifestyle in the heart of Bath a decision that I have to justify to my kids every time I get the HP sauce out. An hour from the city lights by train. Yes. There were trains. Real ones. With buffet cars and everything.
I moved myself and my family to the furthest region that sits at the furthest tip of the country that sits at the furthest end of the entire world. And from there, built a house in the shadow of a volcano, up along a really long road that takes ages to get to.
All of these factors regardless that they were definitely the best decisions of my life can leave a particular woman feeling isolated. Remote. Secluded. Cut off. Not with it.
It’s a tragic feeling to be 46, and to not understand a single word of what your teenagers are going on about. That is where I found myself yesterday. My daughter laughing away with her skypey ghosty, not real world friend. “HaHaHa! You’re suuuch a noob” she hooted. Even though, ten minutes earlier she had asked if she could skip karate as her stomach was cramping and she was probably going to need surgery.
Not just feeling like a silly old bag now, but making myself look even more like one, I stopped the wiping down of the kitchen worktop, mopped my brow and questioned: “did you just say boob?”
I was given ‘the look’.
I remember when it was me that used to give those looks. When my mum asked me why I kept referring to everything as, ‘Rad!’
“Because it’s rad to say rad that’s why”. Duh.
Words like rad, ace, wicked and busted were commonplace in my vocabulary (in fact they still are, Christ Liz what a saddo) and no doubt they bugged the hell out of my Mother, but I didn’t pepper every single sodding sentence with them.
To be hip and cool and gain the trust and respect from our teenagers, maybe even become, you know, their friends (think Madonna and Lourdes, Vic and Cruz) we have to get down, hang loose, speak their lang.
Here are some wicked words or phrases that’ll take you to the party and I’m not talking the Tupperware one, my babes. So sit back, take a chill pill and read on.
- Same. Here you go. Here’s one to drive you mental. Same literally means ‘I feel the same or I understand how you feel’. Being lazy arsed teenagers though, they do not say the full sentence. Instead, they just say the last word of it. “I think I’ll go to the gym today” “Same”.”My mums being a total cow” “same”. Or, the one that totally confuses the bejeezus out of me is: teen falls over and twists their ankle. Friend, looking on, doesn’t think to ask if the poor sod needs any help. No. Just shakes their head and says “Same”. What the hell is THAT all about??
- Streaks. When I first heard my boy say this, I was impressed. I thought he’d been doing a bit of 1980s history. Looking back at the dangerous life that I led as a teenager when to see two boobies running across Twickenham was the highlight of the year. But no. ‘Streaks’. A set of snappy, crappy, snap chat thingys that you keep sending to the same person. If you want a bit of a laugh, switch off the wifi before midnight and hear your teenager wail “Noooo! I’m gonna lose my streaks now!” Ah, Shaddap streaker.
- Bro*. Friend/mate/pal . Regardless of the fact that my 16-year-old son was born and raised for the first 8 years of his life in Bath, probably the poshest city IN THE WORLD, he insists on calling everyone he meets, ‘Bro”. Being the open minded and respectful Mother that I am, I like to remind him, a lot, that he is not actually a gangster in New Jersey, rather a homeschooled British laddy living up a long road under a volcano.*After doing my research, I found that the term ‘Bro’ has been in use since the 60s. Hmmph. I was obviously hanging with the wrong dudes.
- Fam. (Short for family) Mates/ friends. Like an extension of the bro but this time referring to the plural. “I’m missing my fam”, “I’m with my Fam tonight.” Er, no, Sonny Jim. Actually, you’re not, are you? Were you with your family, those dishes would be done, you’d be practising your piano, and we’d all be in a mood. Like a real damn Fam.
- Chur. Thank you/ hello/ok/yes/nice/goodbye. Confused? Not as much as I am when every single friggin thing I ask my son, he answers with “Chur”. “Here’s your dinner.” “Chur”. “I’ll pick you up at 6.” “Chur”. Grrr. Chur off I say.
- Beef. Issue/an argument/confrontation. I sort of get this one. I think. I sometimes describe people who are muscley as being ‘beefy’, so maybe it’s similar. “She’d better watch out, I’ve got beef with her” or “he is gonna be in such beef”. Do I get it? Nah, actually I don’t. Knowing me I’d get it wrong and say pork. Doesn’t quite have the same ring, does it? “Oi, porky! I’ve got a pork wich yooz”.
- Lit. Amazing/good/cool. I’m guessing but am probably wrong, that this is an abbreviation of literally. Again, they just can’t be bovered to say the whole word. Too much effort is not cool. I’ve heard it used in “This party is lit” “Do you want to come round to my place?” “lit!”.Excuse me if I sound like a divvy but I don’t get it. Lit what?? A fire? A ciggy? English Lit? Lit, tit, fit, sh*t to that I say.
So there they are then. Learn those, and you’re on the road to a Maddy and cruisey relationship. No more will your teenagers look at you as though you are the oldest, slowest, most boring dinosaur that crossed their dirty sock studded path.
You’ll be rockin’ and rolling. You’ll be Fan dabee dozie. Trust me. I know these things. There’s no one cooler than me. Yooz are my fam now, yooz are lit. I got no beef with yooz. Chur fam.
Kind regards, Liz.
Eavesdropping on conversations is the best.
I know, I know. You think you have the perfect child, we all do. And they are; perfect I mean. It’s just that… you know that saying ‘ don’t tempt fate’? Well, it applies to all of the following points. So Parents. As desperate as you are to blurt out these statements, Don’t.
- “He is such a good sleeper”.
Granted, at the moment this is very convenient. Not for you getting up at 5 am to put the telly on. No thank you. We have a routine. We have this sleeping thing nailed. But, be warned. At 15…you can’t get them out of that same bed for love nor money. You long for a day, just one, when they’ll get up out of that stinking pit before 11 am. I’m still waiting.
2. “She eats anything. Her favourite is vegetable korma”.
That’s because she’s strapped into that chair with no way of escape. It doesn’t last. The Nigella Lawson pea risotto is a thing of the past, and will instead be replaced by the never-ending question: “does it have mushrooms in it?”
3. “He loves it when I play classical music in the car. I think he’s going to be a composer.”
If you’d rather listen to Adele than Baby Beethoven, do it. The only thing he will be composing in the car at 15 is a text. And guess what? You’re not part of it, so keep your eyes on the road . And , whatever .
4. “She’s already using her pincer grip.”
Believe me. When your girl reaches 13, and you see those thumbs whizzing over the Instagram keyboard at a hundred miles an hour, you’ll wish she’d kept those beautiful chubby fists in her mouth. Don’t encourage the use of fast fingers. Put mittens on until she’s 20 if necessary.
5. “He’s saying Dada, but I’m teaching him to say, Mama!”
Don’t. Once it starts, it never stops. Just leave it. Let Dada take the blame.
6. “She loves her big brother.”
Make the most of this one. It seems that when a pair of siblings enters into the dark void that is teenagerism, they make a secret pact. “In front of Mum and Dad, at least, we will hate each other .Especially at dinner time; just to ensure their dinner goes down in lumps.”
7. “I’m taking him to coffee mornings. He needs to socialise.”
If your idea of sitting in a big circle with a load of other knackered parents, staring and comparing little blobs, mashing, mushy banana (if you’re healthy) or digestives (if you were me) into their bibs, then go ahead. Honestly ? Go round to Grandmas, (if you don’t have one handy, there’s always the old people’s home down the road), make yourself a cup of tea, get a magazine (preferably not on good parenting), and let her hold and coo for an hour. Socialising done. And don’t worry, in 15 years he will have 1023 friends, on Facebook.
There then . That’s it for starters, but, be warned. As the years go by there arrives loads more. All the time. However, at least you’re in the ‘know’ now . You’re in the proper parents’ gang. You see, they don’t tell you these things at antenatal class, it’d seem a bit scary wouldn’t it? “Heres a free nappy, oh and by the way, anything good that happens? Just ignore it, it doesn’t last”.
So, new parent. Next time you’re stood waiting in line and someone asks how the new baby is, just say, ” naughty as hell ” that way, you’re not setting yourself up for future disappointments. Not only that, but you’ll keep the nosy old bag, the one listening to your conversation behind you, happy.