T has been going out a lot in the evenings to a mate’s house, to “chill”*. It’s mainly to one mate in particular as they have a second living room downstairs where they can sit and “chill” without disturbing anyone. But they sometimes go to another friend’s house where this is not the case – they “chill” in the friends bedroom. I queried why they don’t come here, to our house. They used to come here when they were younger during school holidays but this stopped a while ago. Being the over-thinker that I am, I started to worry that it is because of us. That we are too strict/too boring/too uptight/too whatever for them to want to come round. When I asked T why they don’t come round here he muttered something about having nowhere to go other than his bedroom and there was nowhere to sit in there etc. It was one of those non-answers where you don’t really get anywhere. I replied that maybe when we get the extension done it will be easier for them and they will be able to come and “chill” here instead. He mumbled something that sounded vaguely positive.
Today is a working day for me and K is in the office. I asked A if she would like to have her friend O over for the day (she went to their house before Christmas so it’s nice to reciprocate) and I would take them to St Albans to look at the sales (using my new way of thinking about work and being Flexible) for an hour or so. Which we did. I left them to their own devices and went off to run some errands. While I was in the bank I had a text from T asking if two of his mates could come round. We have erred on the side of caution to date and not allowed friends round while we’re out. But with the “why don’t they come here” conversation fresh in my mind, I agreed. I called him when I finally emerged from the bank (why was the man behind me in the queue insistent on standing SO close to me? every time I tried to edge slightly away he edged too. And he was quite snuffly and I did NOT want him to sneeze on me) I called T and muttered a quick reminder about not being idiots and breaking anything while I was out. He said they would leave when we got back, to which I replied that they didn’t have to as the girls would be upstairs in A’s room and I would be working out of the way in the dining room, therefore they could carry on playing on the Playstation in the lounge.
We got back at lunchtime and they were still here, which made me feel stupidly gratified. Boys have really smelly trainers and the girls moaned about boy smells as soon as they walked in the house. O has a sister and no brothers so was particularly vocal about this. Keen not to scare them off with squealing and annoying female behaviour I ushered the girls off upstairs with promises of food. The boys, it transpired, had just ordered pizzas which were due to be delivered shortly. Trying to be cool and “chilled” I didn’t worry too much about where they were going to eat the pizzas (the lounge, obviously) but did wonder what K would say if he came home to a massive grease/tomato sauce/coke stain on the carpet. Let’s think positive – these are sensible, mature boys not 5 year olds (or teenagers who have bouts of being sensible and mature but with the regressed brains of 5 year olds).
The pizzas arrived and, still trying to be cool, I muttered to T about being careful not to make a mess – he had preempted me and was already fetching plates and glasses. It was all fine – well I assume it was, I haven’t ventured in there yet. He even took the empty cartons out to the recycling bin. The next I heard from them was shouts of “thanks for having me” (they really are great lads) from the open front door and then silence.
I say silence – they hadn’t been noisy, just deep voiced chat and the odd shout of laughter through the stud wall. I say silence but the girls were still here and they were far noisier upstairs than the boys had been in the next room. What is it about girls and not being able to speak slowly or in a normal voice? I don’t remember being that way, but I was probably not a stereotypical ‘girl’. I mean, I was a girl – just not a girly girl. I don’t know if girls with sisters are noisier than girls with brothers? Do brothers make them less hysterical; make them more rounded off because they don’t listen to silly voices and don’t respond to shrieking with more shrieking? Don’t get me wrong, they’re not like it all the time, they have bouts of being calm and quiet, and that’s nice. And O is the perfect friend for A as she makes her be silly and she has A LOT of fun with her.
As much as I want the kids friends to want to come to our house, to like being here and to feel welcome and at home here – I’ve always wanted to be someone they’re happy to chat to, not nervous of – I also love our house when it is just our house. I like the peace and quiet. We’re a quiet family – which I know can be misconstrued as boring or dull or too straight or uptight – but that’s who we are and we can’t change that. All I can do is try and be “chilled” and calm when they are here and know that they won’t be staying forever.
*I use the word “chill” in inverted commas as this is what I am told they do. I don’t know what it means. I assume they sit and chat and laugh about whatever 15/16 year old boys chat and laugh about. I don’t really want to know. I expect I would be bored or disturbed. Hopefully bored. It’s hard to be interested without looking like I’m giving him the third degree, to be aware of what he’s doing without policing him all the time. We’re in that halfway stage where he needs privacy and his own life but, conversely, he’s still a child that needs looking out for and guiding. Just “chill” mum.