Tag Archives: exams

Don’t Need No Edukashun

ChrisIt’s all over.

The tears, the angst, the arguments.

Day-glo highlighter pens were flung across the room, doors were slammed and the fridge was stripped bare on a daily basis, until even the rubbery carrots and three-day-opened tub of houmous was wolfed down.

Yup, The Teenager’s exam season is finally over and it couldn’t come soon enough.

I tried my best to be understanding and supportive. I made endless rounds of toast and was sympathetic when he regularly drained my printer of ink as yet another past paper trundled through and was stapled, completed and torn up before he stomped upstairs, scattering the pieces.

I gently engaged him in conversation only to be rebuffed with, ‘gah, you wouldn’t understand, you’re like, old yeah? and didn’t even have computers Back Then. Or the internet. Or mobiles. Or Facebook. Or Snapchat. I mean, really, what did you, like,  do all day?’

I regularly received text updates after his exams, ranging from ‘smashed it, ohhhhh yessss!!!!!!!!’ to ‘leavin school, not doin A levels’. Or, ‘Dominos? Pleeeeeeaaaaaasssssseeeee?’

He came home after a rather hard maths exam and told me he had decided to go into gainful employment after his exams rather than continuing his education. I reasonably told him I’d take him to Burger King on his results day to sign him up. Along with all the University graduates who can’t find a job. ‘But I love Burger King. I can tell them that in the interview?’

Anyway, there’s not much we can do until his results come through on 20th August. In a cruel twist of fate, that’s the day before his 16th birthday.

The Prom Suit Saga filled much of our time, mostly mine. Due to his stature, we sourced the Gentlemen’s Outfitters that kits out the Welsh rugby team. Only problem was, it was embedded deep in the valleys, so deep that even my sat-nav queried me at one point with, ‘turn around when possible, you numpty, you, there’s nothing here.’

On The Prom Evening, suited and booted, he rushed downstairs. ‘PROBLEM’, he yelled, ‘there’s stupid, idiot lines in my trousers, where’s the iron?’ He was frantic and with only five minutes to go before he was to be picked up for the prom, so was I.


‘Lines? Lines? Look‘.

He pointed and flapped at the beautifully pressed-in creases in his dinner suit trousers.

‘That’s what they’re supposed to look like’.


‘Yes, my little cherub. It’s a prom suit, a dinner suit, now let me get a photo of you’.


*strop, thump, meh*

He left, his tie skew-whiff (‘s’right’), photo taken for posterity (‘muuuuuuuuuum, really?’) and I slumped on the sofa.

We got there. In the end.

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Never Go To An All-You-Can-Eat When You’re Starving

all you can eatI took The Teenager out for a meal today to celebrate some recent exam success.

They don’t do GCSEs like they used to (in my day, we just had one huge exam in each subject; nowadays they seem to do them in dribs and drabs, tsk), so I imagine we’ll be having quite a few of these meals over the coming months.

Anyway, it could have been bread and water for him earlier this week after I got his report card from school. Two weeks late.

I was only made aware of this by default after speaking with another parent and when confronted, The Teenager fake-smacked his forehead and said, ‘oh yeah, knew I’d forgotten something, must be, like, all that studying filling up my brain, like, totally.’

To cut a long story short, when he’s good, he’s pretty impressive but when he can’t be bothered, he’s awful. A snippet from two of his subjects – ‘… it appears that he has deemed this subject entirely irrelevant to his educational needs’ and ‘his mock exam was disappointing because he answered the wrong question.’

Anyway, lunch. A warehouse-type all-you-can eat soulless place, with tables crammed so close to each other I was able to read the Twitter timeline of the diner next to me as he scrolled through his phone, ignoring his friend and stuffing his face with noodles.

I was starving. So was The Teenager, but that’s nothing new. So we grabbed our plates and checked out what was on offer. The usual suspects (vague impressions of Thai, Chinese and Indian food with some salad thrown in) and we piled our plates high. Lovely.

Unfortunately, being British I felt a bit awkward going up a second time, and a third. As I passed the gaggle of waitresses, I felt compelled to say something stupid like, ‘oh, haven’t eaten in days‘  (one glance at me would confirm this is simply untrue) or ‘thyroid, eh?’. Why? I cringed as the plates piled high on our table, but I was determined to get my money’s worth.

We eventually moved like locusts towards the desserts section. Mini cheesecake? Yes please. Mini chocolate roulade? Don’t mind if I do. The Teenager made impressive inroads into the ice-cream bar.

Finally, we staggered to the door and as we headed back to the car, The Teenager said, ‘Aw, thanks mum, what’s for dinner?

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Concealing The Unavoidable

StumblingI was ‘Getting The Teenager Ready For School’ the other day.

No mean feat.

Blazer? Grunt. Tie? Grunt. Lunch money? S’not enough, my mates get, like a tenner. AND they’re allowed to buy donuts.

Anyway, in the middle of this, just as I was adjusting the straps on his empty school bag yet again, I tripped over a rug, one of many in my house.

The Teenager looked horrified. I righted myself and attempted a casual laugh. ‘Oh, d’uh, pesky rug, who put that there?’.

‘Why do you always do that? Why can’t you be normal, like other parents? I hate it.’

I tried to reassure him that I hadn’t yet had my requisite three cups of coffee and was simply tired. And yes, part of MS is stumbling and tripping.

‘Yeah, and your point is? You’re always tired. You always stumble’.

‘Am not’.

‘Are so’.

‘Am not’.

I realised that perhaps this line of reasoning wasn’t particularly mature, so I bustled around him and waved him off with a cheery, ‘have a great day at school!’, while he made shoo-ing gestures to urge me back indoors, lest any of his friends see me.

The Teenager has coped admirably since MS came into his life when he was 11 and in the middle of transitioning to high school. Not the best time for it, but MS could never be deemed a polite intruder. He’s witnessed too much, no matter how hard I try to conceal things from him. At his age, kids just want everything to be normal. They don’t want their parents to be different.

Some may ask what on earth I’m doing; why not let him see MS in all it’s glory? It’ll make him a better person. More compassionate, more caring. Fair point, but not for us. As a divorced single parent, I am his mainstay and he deserves a childhood.

I hide a lot from him, as do many other parents with issues, be it lack of money, anxiety, job insecurities, relationship stress. We want the best for our children and as such I drip-feed information to him as and when I think it is necessary. I don’t keep him in the dark, but I am selective.

He really doesn’t need to know all the ins and outs, especially my fears and worries. Why would he? Why put that extra burden on him, especially at his age when he is going through vital exams? My son is not my confidant, he is my child. And if the utmost aim of parents is to protect our children, then I will do that as long as I possibly can.

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