Tag Archives: technology

Finally….Facebook Free

I’ve been holding off and holding off. I’ve made excuses like “I’ll miss seeing this person’s posts” or “I need it to keep up with Book Club”.  The problem with it is: it gets under your skin. You start by ‘just looking’ at specific things, but then before you know it you’re liking things and then your friends who don’t even know the person whose thing you’ve liked will see that you’ve liked it and how odd is that? It gets to a point where all you see is that someone you know has liked something from someone you don’t know. And then before you know it you find yourself throwing your hands up in the air and screaming at the screen “FFS, why do I need to see that X has liked that thing by Stranger Z?”  or words to that effect.

Anyway, today I had a message from the lovely people at Facebook to say that the Groups App is being discontinued and after a few more weeks will be no more. I have managed to keep away from the main event by using the Groups App to look at For Sale groups and Book Club. When that goes, I can see that I will just end up with my hands in the air an awful lot and saying ‘FFS’ all the time. Not Good.

So, I have taken the proverbial bull by its pointy bits and I’VE DEACTIVATED MY ACCOUNT. I’ve set up a WhatsApp group for the lovely Book Club ladies so I am still in the loop – hoping they will all be kind enough to humour me. I’ve created a new profile under my work email and a pseudonym so I can still manage the work Facebook page and I have left. I’ve left! I’ve actually bloody done it. The kind people at Facebook have told me I can come back whenever I want (when hell freezes over) and they will continue to allow me to be invited to stuff (gee, thanks) and I can still get messages – frankly, anyone who needs to contact me and doesn’t have my number should be ashamed of themselves. (I have hastily gathered together people’s numbers that I didn’t have previously, while hanging my head in shame at my neglect).

So, no more FFS’ing at a small screen while wondering why I can’t be stronger and JUST STOP LOOKING.

I’m not saying it’s wrong. It’s just wrong for me.

 

Being Brave

Last Wednesday at work I received a frantic message from A (sent during afternoon form time) saying that she had been selected to take part in a rounders match after school the following day and that she “really, really didn’t want to do it”. She went on to say that she had told the teacher that she only came to Rounders club for fun and exercise and didn’t ever intend to compete IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE!!! It is the IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE bit that she was most worried about. The teacher had replied that she felt it may do her good to take part and overcome her fear of competing. (n.b. we had had an almost identical situation over Sports Day). I agreed with the teacher, but how to tell A that without her feeling that I wasn’t supporting her?

Hmm. My issue is that A is a confident person. She has never baulked at joining a new club or talking to people she doesn’t know. The fact that she chose to go into a form without anyone from her old school shows that she is not scared to make new friends or put herself “out there”. She performs dance routines on stage with 3 other girls at the dance club’s annual show and although she gets nervous, she loves the adrenaline rush and the excitement of performing.

When it comes to sporting activities she is a wreck. She has never seen herself as sporty, despite being perfectly able. I think a lot of this stems from junior school where only the really talented athletes were given a chance to compete and she was not one of them. So, I’ve tried to encourage her to give more sports a go since starting at secondary school and she has – she tried dance club but found it too conflicting with the class that she already goes to; she attended Fitness Club for a whole term and improved her PB on the “Death Run” considerably as a result of this, earning herself a postcard from the PE Department praising her efforts; and most recently Rounders club which she has been enjoying – until now.

I replied to her message telling her not to panic, that we would talk it over when she got home and see what she wanted to do. My hope was that the hour or so that she had left at school would give her chance to think about what the teacher had said and come to the conclusion on her own that she should take part. I really want her to be more confident and hope that the teacher wouldn’t put her forward if she didn’t think her capable.

We got home after a very subdued car journey and she immediately burst into tears of panic. She had told the teacher that she wasn’t going to do it, but I could sense that she was wavering. I asked her what was holding her back and she said that she didn’t want to mess up. I offered the idea that the teacher must think her able if she has put her forward and (as always) she had an answer for that one – “she just wants everyone to have a chance to take part and it’s my turn”. Hmm. OK, but surely, if she was really bad at it, the teacher wouldn’t allow her to humiliate herself in front of others? No, probably not. What should she do? I took the wavering to be a request for encouragement so told her I thought it would be a good way to overcome her anxieties and that if she really hated it she could at least say she had tried. OK, but she’d already told the teacher. This is where I love the high-tech world we live in. In the ‘good old days’ I would have had to try and get hold of the teacher at school after hours. No chance. Or write a note for the next day. Too late. In the enlightened age that we live in, A was able to email the teacher to tell her she had changed her mind and it if was OK she would like to give it a go. Reply within an hour or so. Sorted. Teacher very proud and happy. A feeling nervous but slightly pumped that she had been brave enough to think about it.

And so the next afternoon I anxiously waited for her to finish her tournament, hoping and praying that she had (a) not fallen over and humiliated herself, (b) not fluffed every stroke of the rounders bat and humiliated herself, (c) not failed to catch the ball when needed, etc, etc. She was VERY late getting to the car with her friend, who was cadging a lift with us, but she was VERY HAPPY. She HAD fallen over – “so embarrassing but, what the heck, it doesn’t matter”, she hadn’t messed up her batting and she HAD scored a rounder. But, far more importantly, she HAD DONE IT. And she was, quite rightly, very proud of herself.

And I am proud of her. She’s a little star.

A dent (to my car and then to my pride)

A few weeks ago I had a small mishap in the car when a young man* decided he couldn’t wait for the traffic to pass before making his move and subsequently drove into the side of my car. No-one was hurt, there was minimal damage, but maximum hassle while we tried to find somewhere to pull over in the rush hour traffic on a High Street not intended for motor vehicles (probably struggled with horse-drawn carts back in the day, to be fair). The damage was enough to need a repair and today my little car was picked up and taken away to be sorted out. I was then picked up by a nice young man* who took me to the hire car office to pick up a replacement car for the interim, while mine is being fixed.

I have had hire cars/courtesy cars before when previous cars have needed servicing or repairs (through no fault of mine, I hasten to add – I have a VERY good track record with cars) and I have jumped in and driven off with no qualms or issues at all. We have changed our car fairly frequently and I have never had any issues driving the new one. I pride myself on being pretty unflappable when it comes to driving a new car. The only car I have refused to drive is K’s company car as it is quite posh and doesn’t have a manual handbrake. I don’t know why but the idea of pushing in a button and expecting it to hold the car in place just doesn’t work for me, and how to you find your biting point on your clutch on a hill. Oh no, I am not going there. Give me a good old handbrake that you can yank up into place and I am quite happy thank you.

So, imagine my abject horror when I was told that I would be driving off in a brand new C Class Mercedes. And not just any brand new C Class Mercedes – an automatic one to boot. Automatic! Bloody automatic. With no shift stick to change from Park, to Neutral, to Drive. No, just a stupid stalk on the steering wheel and yes, you guessed it, a silly little push button handbrake.

To say that I nearly bottled it and got the bus home (this is really saying something – I haven’t been in a bus in about 15 years and I was in High Town in Luton) is an understatement. I practically begged the young man* to drive me home where the bloody car could stay for the duration of the hire. He said that, sadly, he was not allowed. I asked if they could give me something else – a Corsa maybe or a Fiat Punto? Sadly not, madam, the insurance company insist we give you like for like. (I have a little tiny BMW – how is this monster “like for like?”). Faced with the reality, I am ashamed to say that I asked him to “at least reverse it out to the road for me?” In the space of ten minutes I had reduced myself to a gibbering, pathetic, should-be-ashamed-to-call-myself-a-woman woman. He seemed nervous handing over the “key” (not really a key just a thing that you push into a hole in the steering column) but not as nervous as I was trying to stop my legs from shaking enough to take it off the brake and try to pull away. Try is the right word, I had no idea how to take the stupid bloody handbrake thing off. When I had sussed it I then bunny-hopped the short distance to the junction with the main road that was bumper to bumper with traffic, much to the amusement of the group of young men* who were congregated at the corner of the road.

I somehow managed to get home (via the M1 to make life easier as I didn’t have to brake so often) and parked on the drive, where as far as I am concerned it can stay until it needs to go back. When I came in the front door my legs were like jelly and I had to have a hug from my girl to sort me out. My pride (and my confidence) has taken a serious knock and I am so cross with myself for letting something as insignificant as a car to make me feel this way. K thinks I need to drive it so that I can overcome the fear. He probably has a point but just not today, eh.

 

*young man.  – the one that drove into my car on the High Street looked about 17 years old. He had spots and a barely broken-in voice. He didn’t want to give me his details which prompted me to ask “is it your car? Is it insured in your name or your mum’s?”. I know I was being patronising but he annoyed me with his belligerent attitude.

The one that picked me up to collect the hire car was not so young but certainly only in his early 20’s and so to me – someone who is on the literal cusp of middle age, as I am 45 tomorrow – he was a young man. He was rather lovely and chatty and was full of info on applying for the Police Force – somehow we had got on to the subject that this is what T wants to do as a career. He was typical of his generation, though, as he was blatantly using his mobile phone while driving me, albeit it while sitting in traffic. Not meaning to tar all millennials with the same brush but it does seem to be a failing of that age group (whatever generation you are from) – the feeling of being invincible and beyond reproach.

The ones that were standing at the corner of the road as I bunny-hopped my way into the traffic would have been terrifying had I been walking and had I not been too distracted by the numb feeling in my legs.

I know I sound old but, frankly, I am.

Maturity, Determination and Expansion

Three completely unconnected words, but ones which have meant a lot in our house since the last blog post.

Maturity

Last week, T was on a break from school doing work experience at a local tech company. He hadn’t originally been selected to do work experience, as this is now only offered to year 10 students who are not deemed to be working at the level that they would need to be in order to do A’levels. (Quite how the school determines this after only 6 months of the 2 year GCSE course I can’t tell you but I guess they know what they are doing..) Anyway, T was not selected  – which I suppose we should be pleased about on the basis that he must be doing OK in his chosen subjects – but in actual fact we as parents and he as a student were all a bit disappointed. He is pretty sure that he won’t want to stay on at school to do A’levels. He has a keen interest in tech, as I have mentioned on my blog before, and he thinks (this is all subject to the teenager’s right to change his mind numerous times in the next 18 months and so is not set in stone) that he is more likely to go onto college and do a more specialised computing course. Regardless of his future intentions, we all thought that work experience would be of benefit to him. After some discussion we agreed that there was no harm in him approaching the Careers Officer at school to see if there was any possibility of him getting on the list. The answer was”yes” and he was given the details of how to apply. He found an IT Support company on the database and applied via the school to go there. He had the placement confirmed by school and was told to contact the Director of the company to make the necessary arrangements. I thought he might baulk at this and would, at most, fire off an email (perfectly acceptable, but the easier alternative to calling). Wrong again, mum. He called straight away and although he got the guy’s voicemail he left a message and followed it up with an email. We worked out the logistics of getting him to and fro and he started last Monday. He was a little nervous going in, but had a great first day and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the week. Among other things, he went out on site one day with one of the technicians to install laptops for a client, spending the whole day in the company of a complete stranger twice his age but he didn’t bat an eyelid, just took it all in his stride. The report back from the Director at the end of the week was brilliant. To quote a few lines “nothing was too much trouble”, “didn’t have to be shown anything more than once”, “showed maturity beyond his years”. Fab. These flashes of real maturity totally outweigh (for the time being) the bouts of nonsensical behaviour (texting me 27 times to ask for a later curfew, despite each reply being “no” being the most recent example and most frustrating, resulting in the biggest row we have ever had).

Determination

At our Secondary school the PE department requires the students to run a set course once every half tern. The students lovingly refer to this as “The Death Run”. The idea is that they endeavour to improve their time each half term and outrun their last Personal Best. A, like her mother, is no athlete and was dreading The Death Run way before even starting at the school. The first time she had to run it she “felt ill” and had to walk most of it, coming in very close to the back of the pack. She wasn’t overly bothered but the run had lived up to it’s moniker in her eyes and was firmly established as A Big Deal. She dreaded the next one and performed equally badly. Just before the end of the Christmas term she announced over dinner one Tuesday evening that she had been to Fitness Club at lunchtime. We were all pleasantly surprised and wondered if she would go more than once (she is very much her mothers daughter). She surprised us all and probably herself by sticking to it and last half term she ran The Death Run and made such an improvement in her performance that she received a postcard at home from the PE department congratulating her on her improvement and attaining a new PB. Today, she has run it again and taken another 6 seconds off her last time, earning her a place on the latest photo of PB smashers on Twitter. Her time may well be 3 minutes behind the faster runners, but as I pointed out to her this afternoon, the idea of a PB is that it is yours and yours alone and all you have to do it better your own time. She is proud of herself and rightly so. She may be her mothers daughter but she has way more determination.

Expansion

Every summer, when the weather permits it, K and I like to sit outside in the evening and drink wine on the deck and talk about what a waste of space it is. Don’t get me wrong, we love sitting outside but we only get to do it for about one month every year. And for that month every year we talk about how much better it would be if we could use that space all year round. It’s always been just talk, over a bottle or two of wine, and punctuated by lots of “if only”s and “if we had more money”s and “wouldn’t it be great if”s. Nothing has changed in our financial circumstances – we haven’t won the lottery (we wouldn’t be thinking of extensions if we had; we would be moving to the posh part of town) or had massive pay-rises (remember those?). We have just decided that this summer we won’t sit outside and talk about it; we are going to make it happen. We’ve talked to the bank, rather apprehensively. They asked a LOT of questions, and eventually said yes. We have a budget. We have an architect on board. We have an idea of what we would like to do. The architect has suggested other things that make much more sense – that is why he does this job – and we have got the beginnings of a plan (not actual plans yet as we have to make a few more decisions first). We may actually be able to spend this summer talking about something real rather than a pipe dream. There are planning hoops to jump through first and neighbours to talk to, but for once I am allowing myself to believe that this might actually happen. Watch this space.

Status update

Since Making myself unpopular (again)  was a while ago now I thought I would check in on how it is all going.

So, initially the teenager was VERY resistant. For the first few days we had a bit of moaning but he reluctantly gave in; then on the 4th day we had an all out slanging match. He didn’t understand why. WHY? I refused to be drawn on it and stood my ground. I think he believed that I would soon forget all about it like I do so many other things: diets, exercise regimes, chore lists. We repeated this pattern over the course of the next few weeks and eventually I finally ended it with an all out “I AM NOT BACKING DOWN. GET OVER IT”.

The pre-teen was less bothered. She is not quite so invested in the social media scene yet and so is less concerned about having access 24/7. I am sure her time will come soon enough. This plan of attack is for both of their benefits and it makes me feel better. I’ve spoken with a few other parents about it and annoyingly most responses I had were along the vein of that I was an idiot to let them have them in their rooms in the first place (thanks) and that it was a given in their houses that all devices live downstairs. Smug much? Only one friend had had to take the same route as me and it was nice to know I’m not the only idiot out there.

Joking aside, I found this quite annoying. I’m not actually an idiot. I’m pretty sensible and on the ball. I know I don’t really get recent technology – well not the technology as such, but the platforms that kids use and the way they use it. I mentioned in Birthday, poo, shopping and the hostess with the leastest that I found it a bit off that one of A’s friends was ‘live-streaming’ during the back at the house bit. I do find the idea that our kids are living their lives so publicly quite hard to fathom. I don’t get Snapchat and ‘streaks’ – what’s the point in messaging someone just an X or an emoji just so you can say that your ‘streak’ with that person lasts 120 days? Am I really that old that I am missing something amazing here. Is it a test of friendship? Surely not, as T will ask another friend to do his ‘streaks’ for him if (heaven forbid) he is going to be off the grid for more than 24 hours. This is not a friendship thing, it’s just a Thing. I don’t object to sharing photos, or updating statuses or, here’s an idea, chatting with a friend (albeit online), but do we have to have it in our faces ALL THE TIME?

I worry that  anything that happens in this online world (because there’s no escaping that this is their world) is seen as less real somehow, less accountable for – that you can slag someone off online and it’s not as bad as saying it to their face; that you can post an awful picture of a ‘friend’ and because you have added a crying with laughter emoji or some hearts after it then that’s OK? You didn’t do it to be unkind, it was just a joke so that’s OK? No parent could fail to be moved and horrified by the poor, poor mum who went on This Morning a matter of days after her daughter’s funeral to make other parents aware of how insidious and secretive this bullying is. Her daughter was to the world around her a popular, bright, sporty, confident young woman with no worries other than the next test or the next match. In truth she was being relentlessly hounded on social media culminating in a message asking her why she didn’t just hang herself. She did. It was only after her death that this all came to light. Her parents were completely in the dark about it because she kept it from them. She could see no way out of it. She could see no end to the constant stream of abuse and so she killed herself.The person who sent her that last message – did they mean it as a joke? Did they think that because it was sent online that it wasn’t real and wouldn’t hurt her or affect her? They have to live with this for the rest of their life – they tipped her over the edge. They were the catalyst that made her end her short, beautiful life.

These cases are few and far between, thankfully, and are so shocking. More close to home recently a large number of girls at a local secondary school have been groomed by a man online purporting to be a teenager and many of them have taken the next step and met him. Luckily none have been harmed but this is by luck more than anything else.

But the overriding message of this is that these kids’ parents DIDN’T KNOW this stuff was happening. When I was a teenager, I had to call my friends on the phone from the hallway. The only other way we had of being in touch was to write each other letters, which we did – we would pour our hearts out on paper and give it to our friend the next day at school. If someone didn’t like me I usually found out by them not hanging around with me any more, or a friend of the friend would tell me. If someone was calling me names I usually heard them, out loud in the playground. Of course, I didn’t tell my parents everything that I was worried about or everything that went on in my life, because that’s not what teenagers do and that’s just they way it is. Teenagers are making their own way in the world and learning to deal with stuff by themselves so that they are ready to leave home and go off and be adults. They have secrets and they have a right to privacy. But the difference between bullying when I was a teenager and now is the other worldliness of it. It happens in a world which we parents can’t see and have little control over.

I know the pass-codes to my kids phones. I treat them with respect and only look at their messages/social media accounts/photos etc if I am concerned about something. Luckily, I think we are still at the stage where A tells me if anything is going on with her. She had a small bust-up with a friend in the half term holidays and she wanted to know how to sort it out. She took my advice and she didn’t try and contact the friend by phone or WhatsApp. She wrote her a letter and put it through her door. The result was positive and the issue was quickly resolved. But, soon she will ask my advice less and less. She will tell me less and less. But for now all I can do is keep the channels open. I tell them my fears, I tell them about things I read and the horrific things that other parents have been through and I tell them to please keep talking to me. Please tell me when someone is hurting you. And, almost as importantly, if they know someone is being hurt please tell someone. But it all comes down to hope and the small amount of control that I still have.

So, yes the new rule is going OK. It’s still being adhered to and I’m not backing down. Not on this one.

 

Relaxation, responsibility and restrictions

We’ve had a lovely few days away. We ate lots of lovely food, walked on the beach, had afternoon tea and fish and chips (not on the same day), watched films, went to some favourite places and generally relaxed. We’ve been to Suffolk a few times over the last 5 years and we love it. We have lots of “happy” places and lots of memories so it was nice to stay somewhere new but close enough to all our favourite places. Of course, there were some moments of aggro – silly bickering, a few strops and a couple of “are you determined to ruin this holiday”s – but on the whole we got along and agreed on plans and had a lovely time and made some new memories. But the problem with relaxing (as lovely as it is at the time) is that you don’t want it to end. And I’ve got it bad this week.

We came back on Sunday early evening and after unpacking I realised that I would need to do some washing. Grr. I hate that it is me who has to be the grown up and responsible one who has to think of things like clean underpants. I’m not sure how we got into a system whereby I am the one who does all the washing, food shopping and most of the cleaning and cooking. K will cook on occasion – if I ask him to – and will put the hoover round – again if I ask him to or if his parents are coming to visit – but that’s about it. I can’t remember him ever putting a wash load on, in fact I don’t think he would know how. I suspect that it comes from the stay-at-home-mum days and the fact that I had nothing else to do other than housework and chores (oh, and look after 2 small children). And I’m also probably to blame. I’m quite organised and have a bit of a routine with chores, but sometimes it would be nice not to be the one that has to say “oh look the wash basket is full” or to notice that there are no more loo rolls. Why can’t the person who puts the last roll on the holder mention that they have done so? We have a board in our kitchen where we write stuff that needs to be bought when the weekly shop is done (by me) so it’s quite easy to work out – you use the last of something, you write it on the board. And why is it down to me to realise that A only has one pair of tights that don’t have holes in. Somehow I was supposed to know this and be able to wash said pair of tights on a daily basis so that they are clean for the next day. I don’t like this side of parental responsibility. It’s rubbish. Told you I’d got it bad.

I’ve mentioned before that I have been leaving the kids to their own devices to the main when it comes to school work and bag organising. I have an app on my phone that tells me what homework tasks they have each been set and I check in with them that they are on top of things and help where necessary. I also have a quick shufty at their books every now and then. I was a little disappointed that T had a few “reasonable effort” comments in some of his books and we’ve agreed that if he doesn’t get good feedback at parents evening this month(*)  we will restrict screen usage. I’m not too sergeant majorish about screen  use – I restrict Playstation to 40 minute sessions once or twice a week and insist on no phones at the dinner table – and both of the children keep their phones in their rooms overnight on the understanding that they won’t use them after a certain time in the evening. However, I recently decided that I was being too lax about it and a friend recommended an app that you can use to block phone usage at scheduled times or on an ad-hoc basis (as punishment for example). So I installed the app on my and the kids phones. Well. T sat in the lounge with his hood pulled over his head for 2 hours one evening in silent protest at the new regime. And this is the boy who is not a “typical teen”. He was mainly annoyed that, when the block is lifted, all of his apps are rearranged and not in their usual folders. Hmm. A little bit annoying I’m sure but at least I know that they are not on their phones at silly o’clock and I have some control. And I’m all about the control. After a few days he got over himself and seemed to have taken it on the chin. but then something happened and he needed to access something and it all kicked off again. So I suggested that the alternative would be for me to remove the app BUT phones would need to be left downstairs at bedtime, without fail. I thought I would be laughed out of court but he agreed to give it some thought and decided that he would go for the alternative as it meant he could keep his apps all neat and tidy and where they should be.

 

(*)Since the ultimatum for a good parents evening, I have had an email from T’s Business Studies teacher to say that he has made an outstanding start to the course, contributes loads in class and is producing brilliant work. Chuffed.

 

 

 

Man/child

T was fourteen a few weeks ago. He’s a young adult – i.e. not a child. I suspect that if he had broken his leg when he was ten the situation would have been a whole lot different. For a start, I would have been able to carry him. It wouldn’t have been easy, but I’m 5ft 9 so it would have been achievable. Secondly, I would have had no qualms about helping him on with his underpants. Or washing him. Or helping him to the toilet. 

But he’s not 10, he’s 14. He’s a young man. This makes the whole situation a bit more delicate. I didn’t expect to have to help my teenage son to change his pants. I thought that we had moved onto the stage of showering with the door locked and changing with the bedroom door closed and we wouldn’t go back. We’re not a “walk round the house naked” type of family; we’re not prudes (well OK, I am, we all know it) but we don’t flaunt it either.

The first few days of him being stuck, completely immobile, in bed were a steep learning curve: getting him comfortable, making sure his leg was supported properly and not causing undue pain, making sure he had his meds on time before the effect wore off, keeping his mind off of the horrendous ordeal he was going through, etc.

I have also learned a lot about my ick-tolerance threshold. (That’s not a typo, I meant ick not sick. Icky things. Things that make you go “eww”.) It seems that it is not very high. I have (I believe) a pretty good pain threshold, but on the ick scale I am not faring so well. I love him beyond belief; I changed him and cleaned his peachy little bottom when he was a baby and that was OK. But, this is a whole different level. While we are in the limbo land of waiting for the verdict from the fracture clinic and he is unable to lower himself onto the loo and support his own, broken, leg, his dad and I are having to help him. Luckily, I got the lowering job and not the leg-holding one. I get to wait outside until he needs to get back up; once the deed has been done. We have managed to work out how to change his boxer shorts without me having to cop an eyeful. He’s not bothered. I thought it was the pain he was in for the first few days that had made him not give a damn about nakedness but it seems he’s still not bothered. It’s me. So, with a towel strategically placed it’s all good. It’s pretty funny actually and we’ve had some proper ‘laugh out loud, in danger of falling over onto the bed, “mind the leg” moments’.

It’s actually been nice to be able to care for him. Properly care for him. Not just the cooking of meals, washing of clothes, checking in with him, chatting about his day to day life sort of caring. Proper caring. Washing him, getting him to clean his teeth, washing his hair (thank you Google) and changing his underwear. It’s been almost a joy. To be needed so much by him, like he hasn’t needed me since he started school really. And sitting with him to keep him company. He normally spends a fair bit of time doing his own thing in his room, or out with his friends. If he’s here in the evening he’s upstairs doing homework or wathching YouTube or whatever else he does up there. But it feels wrong to leave him alone when he has no choice. So we sit together and chat, or just sit in the same room reading or looking at Instagram or whatever. And it’s not a chore, or a pain. We’ve laughed a lot. T being T and the techy lover that he is, we’ve got a new way of communicating, via an app that works as a walkie talkie. He can press a button on his app and his voice comes out of the speaker on my phone. And vice versa. So when I am working downstairs, he can summon me as needed and I can check he’s OK without going up the stairs. It’s been the source of much amusement (and annoyance). The system records each communication and you can play them back at a later date. I will be keeping them forever.

Another difference between this happening to him at age fourteen and not age ten, is his maturity to be able to deal with this. When he was ten he would not have taken kindly to being forced to lay in bed all day. But at fourteen? Teenagers dream. Joking aside, apart from a few tears of massive frustration and (totally justified) self-pity in the first 48 hours he has been incredibly stoical about the whole confined-to-bed-for-an-entire-week situation. We’re all banking on a good outcome on Thursday at the fracture clinic and keep repeating almost mantra-like that it will all be so much better when he has a proper cast on. He’s had visits from friends and he’s been allowed the PS3 in his room (something I vowed would NEVER happen and which will come to a definite end when this is all over) and he’s got all his tech around him. He’s making the best of  a bad situation. He wouldn’t have done that at ten.

Yesterday, we all had a bit of an irritable day. K and I were both working (him from home for a short while in the morning, and me from home all day as normal – another instance where that is such a bonus) and were both aware that unlike the last 3 days T was not able to be out entire focus. It felt like Team TB (sorry Gill, I still haven’t got a better name) had started to disintegrate. But we’ve all woken up a bit brighter today (48 hours till fracture clinic!) and A has been invited to a friends house so she has something nice to do rather than helping out and occupying herself.

My man/child is making me proud and I hope that we are making this a bit easier for him to bear. Even if I am a bit rubbish with the ick stuff.