We’ve been living with a teenager for almost seven months now and I have to say “so far, so good”. Of course, there is more eye-rolling (or eye-raising in this case – apparently not everyone can roll them right up and round) than there used to be; we have encountered slightly more what-were-you-thinking? behaviour; there is more muttering and more – I don’t like to call it arguing – but well, arguing. However, in direct comparison to other people’s stories of the overnight transformation of their offspring into grunting, hairy, cave-person-like beings we seem to have had a slower start. More time is spent in the bathroom; more time is spent in his bedroom; more time is spent out of the house. In fact, perhaps that is why we seem to not be too troubled – he’s never here!
To stop myself from getting all complacent and believing that the teen years will be a breeze, I have to remind myself that we will soon have to contend with the teenager-in -waiting. Now, this one can definitely do the eye-roll thing. Oh yes. I suspect that there are vlogs available to show how this can be done to the best of one’s ability. Let’s face it, YouTube is now the go-to place for anything you need to learn. Even T’s orthodontist just this morning advised me to look up T.A.D on YouTube to watch the screw procedure (to put my mind at rest about A’s impending appointment). Why anyone would agree to having this filmed and then broadcast for anyone to see is beyond me. Although, there was a fairly amusing one titled “TAD romance” – a spoof of the Lady GaGa song Bad Romance. But, I digress.
This weekend we have been clearing the kids bedrooms in preparation for the decorating marathon that is due to commence on Wednesday. A’s room is very small (as she likes to inform us at regular intervals accompanied by the plaintive cries of “why can’t you just get the loft converted?”) and the current set-up is not going to work when she starts secondary school and has homework to do and even more stuff to accommodate. So, we have taken down the mid-sleeper bed (too childish); the Paddington Bear poster; the flower wall-light; the Sylvanian Families have gone to live in the loft for a while and the too-young-for-me bags have gone to the charity shop. She’s basically left with a room resembling a squat. Fine for a few nights, which is hopefully all it will be before the grand unveiling of the new room. A has requested that she not be privy to the ongoing project but that she just gets to see it in all it’s glory when it’s completed. So she’s going to G&G’s for a sleepover. I am seeing myself in a Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen or Nick Knowles type-role and hope that she cries at the beauty of it. It will certainly be a much more grown up, teen room and I hope that we haven’t set the ball in motion too early. Who knows, she might go to sleep in her new room and emerge a fully-fledged teen two years too early.
The signs are already there. I have been home alone today. Not unusual, if it wasn’t the half term holidays. I’m used to T being out all day, apart from food breaks, but in the last few months A has been “playing out” after school with her new friend quite a bit and her phone is in much more frequent use, with WhatsApp group messages between the Fab Four (I wonder if any of them knows where the name originates?) and Instagram pictures to upload. Today, she went to her friend’s house and texted me to say they were popping round to the craft place to see if they could do some pottery painting. She returned at the stipulated time for lunch closely followed by her brother and then an hour later they were both gone again. Yet another sign of the way things will be in the months and years to come. I am less and less involved in their lives and have to stop myself from clinging on to the small glimpses of the little children that they used to be. For example, A still likes me to read with her now and again before bedtime (although we are graduating to much more grown up material and bedtime seems ridiculously late); T still does the hug thing and we still have our Smallville sessions (thank god there are at least another 4 seasons for us to get through); and they are still enough under my control (mwah ha ha) for me to be able to force them to go for walks with me (if I promise a hot chocolate and/or bacon sandwich at the end of it). All is not yet lost.