Tag Archives: school

Kicked The Basket, Stayed Calm …

don't take me homeI worked the whole bank holiday.

I didn’t mind too much; I’d had to stay at home during the height of the sudden heatwave and had ploughed my way through numerous box-sets on telly, fanning myself with one of The Teenager’s discarded school files.

I was hot, bored and bothered. MS heat intolerance is miserable.

Friday was The Teenager’s last official day at school. Ever. I unpinned his timetable from the notice board in the kitchen with a deep, sad sigh. I woke him up for school for the last time, waved him off to his last ever school assembly, with his last ever lunch money in his pocket. He popped back briefly a couple of hours later and I daubed his face with camouflage make-up, hung dog tags around his neck and waved him off again.

He was taking part in the Sixth Form Leaver’s tradition – a pub crawl around the local area, ending up in the city centre. This year’s theme was ‘military’ (last year’s was ‘American Football’). There’s a long road between pubs outside my house and every year I see the endless line of kids walking past, chanting loudly. Perhaps with Manchester in mind, watching the procession of students walk past dressed in various forms of khaki, singing ‘Don’t Take Me Home‘ made me cry.

That was 2pm. I heard him come back home at 3am, rise again at 5am and leave to get the train/bus/tram to Manchester to watch one of his favourite bands at Old Trafford. Plus, he’d remembered to lock the door and let the cat out. Impressive.

Anyway, on my way to work this morning I stopped off at a local shop to pick up some lunch. I was wandering around the aisles, debating microwave lasagna vs. chicken pieces when, wham, I went flying. Foot drop? Nope. Someone had left an empty basket in the aisle, one of those wire ones, so not readily visible. I picked myself up, a little bruised and embarrassed. I heard laughter. I turned round and the woman at the counter was looking at me and … laughing.

Not asking if I was ok, not coming over to help. She stayed behind the counter. Laughing. I kicked the basket. It knocked into a display of sun-cream (Are You Protected?) which wobbled a bit and a few bottles fell off. I kicked them too, the irony of sun cream too much to bear.

I picked up some chicken pieces and went to the counter. She was still laughing. I asked if she was serious. She said, ‘You wha’?’, raised an eyebrow, finished checking her phone and rang through my items with a studious boredom that was actually pretty impressive.

I got to my car. Took several deep breaths. I should have gone back. I could have kicked myself along with the sun-cream.

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The Sixth Form Disco …

discoThe Teenager went back to school on Tuesday, his last year at High School.

From a tiny child in a funny uniform to a very tall person armed with attitude, the school years have flown by.

I reminded him of his ‘graduation’ ceremony from nursery, aged four, complete with gown, cap and scroll. He claims not to remember and didn’t want to see the photographs. Shame really.

Anyway, we’ve bought the folders, the pens, the whiteboard, the paper.

On his first day back, I eagerly awaited an update;

‘Here, have a cookie, how’d it go?’

The Teenager rolls his eyes and swiftly examines the empty packet, plucked from the bin, and reprimands me for the amount of carbs in one single biscuit.

‘Right, have a protein shake and a banana? How’d it go?’


‘Sounds good, yeah?’

‘S’aright, s’pose. What’s for dinner?’

‘A carb-free delight. How’d it go?’

‘Mum. It was fine. S’good.’

His thumbs flew over his phone as he was speaking to me, intermittently snorting and laughing.

‘Er? Hello?’

‘Mum. I’m all growed up. S’cool. Yeah?’

‘Ok. I’ll just have one of these cookies. Maybe two.’

The week progressed and he ran down my printer ink, depleted my finances and then let me know there was a sixth form party.

‘Right. Party. At someone’s house?’ (fingers crossed)

‘Nah. Town.’

‘Ah. Right.’

‘Mum. Muuuuuum. Everyone’s going. And that girl.’

‘Huh? What girl?’

Fast forward to the evening in question. He produced shoes from nowhere (very smart, very nice), had a haircut, used up my expensive hair serum, pre-loaded himself with fragrance and sat jiggling his feet in the living room, waiting for his lift.

‘Sixth from disco, eh?’

‘Mum. Disco? It’s in a club.’


‘How’s my hair?’

‘Fab. Can I have my serum back? Ta.’

‘Erm, can we talk about girls? Like, women?’

‘Mum. I’m a cougar magnet, chill.’

I choked on my Diet Coke.


‘Joke! It’s fine. Can I have some money?’

After he left, I cast my mind back to my first ever night out in town when I was in sixth form. The ghastly little black dress, the tights, the shoes. The hair! God, the hair.

I reckon he’ll have an easier time. He’s good-looking, tall and has a fabulous mother behind him, lol. I hope he finds that girl/woman he has his eye on. And he will invite her round for coffee so I can interrogate her as to her intentions towards my son.

Joking …

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The One About The Teenager and A Tense Stand-Off

examsExam Season.

Two words guaranteed to strike fear into any parent, never mind the students.

It was all going so well, at the beginning. My printer was working overtime as The Teenager printed off reams of study notes then carefully highlighted relevant paragraphs in day-glo orange and yellow.

He drew up a study schedule, factoring in breaks and even ten minute ‘Talk To Mum and Ask Her To Make Toast’ slots. Bless him. Loo breaks were twenty minutes but I didn’t take it personally.

Inwardly, I was congratulating myself. After the drama of his exams last year (shudder), he seemed to have turned his life and attitude around. I would boast, ‘oh, my son, he’s doing awfully well, you know. Studies every night for four hours.’ I felt like a Good Mum.

So I wasn’t worried when he trotted off to his first exam, clutching his bottle of water and new pens. I went to work and waited for the inevitable text – ‘Easy. Banter. Lolz. Are there any bananas in?????’

Instead, I got: ‘I need to speak to you URGENTLY. I’m leaving school.’

‘Ok dear, see you at home. We’ll have a chat when I get home.’



The Teenager was in meltdown. His exam panicked him. He panicked. And decided to leave school, permanently.

When I got back The Teenager was pacing round the cottage, which at 6’3″ took him three steps one way and two the other. He seemed frustrated.

A very long story short, there followed 48 hours of tense negotiations and stand-offs, including two trips to school to talk to his head of year. I was drained, he was exhausted. We broke for Noodle Box deliveries then resumed discussions, round and round and back again.

I downloaded college applications, Burger King applications and apprenticeship applications and looked up the French Foreign Legion (my patience at this point, wearing thin). We reached an agreement. He would drop one subject, get through the rest of the exams and wait for the results in August.

His last exam was on Monday. Today is Thursday and I’m still recovering. We had a chat last night and The Teenager said, ‘I don’t know what I was so worried about, that was easy. And now I get to catch up on my X-Box, and play footie with my friends all summer. Nice.’

I didn’t have the energy to reply. Instead, I cut myself a jumbo slice of lemon drizzle cake that my friend had baked for me to cheer me up, switched on the telly and collapsed onto the sofa. Nice.

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Teenage Tantrums…

Raising a teenagerOur little house is in a state of uproar.

To begin with, I trusted The Teenager to go to the hairdresser on his own.

He’s fond of the woman who cuts his hair and he’s partial to the lollipops (meant for the little kids, not six foot 14 year old’s), so I thought I’d leave him to it.

Off he went. Within half an hour, a photo pinged to my phone. A selfie of The Teenager, pretty much bald. And I paid a tenner for the privilege.

Then Parent’s Evening. Or rather, lack of it. After last year’s disaster (a complete and utter bun-fight), I asked him to kindly request that his teachers email me their reports. MS heat intolerance and unsteadiness on my feet make it nigh on impossible to queue-hop and use my elbows effectively.

I waited. And waited. ‘Oi, you’re teachers haven’t emailed me yet.’

‘Oh, computer servers must be down (rolls eyes) you know what it’s like.’


I waited some more.

‘Oh, there’s a terrible bug going round. Like, no one’s in school. Hoooooonestly.’


I called the school. ‘Oh yes, you are the mother of The Teenager?’

‘Um, yes.’



‘Yes. We have a few, well, issues.’

I explained what I thought I had organised. ‘Hah! (foolish parent). Anyway, an email was sent out to all the teachers, asking them to get in touch with their thoughts about my son.

Let’s just say it wasn’t pleasant. When he got home from school that day, I brandished a wad of printed off emails at him and demanded answers.

‘All the teachers hate me. S’not my fault.’

‘Why has one teacher said ‘he appreciates the difficulties with regards The Teenager attending after school training?’ You live a couple of hundred metres from the school. What’re you saying??’

(furtive, shifty look) ‘Dunno.’

Anyway, to cut a fraught story short, I reminded him that I did not spend an entire Sunday putting together a flat-pack desk from Ikea, just for him to put his telly on it. And the lovely little lamp I got him. Or the executive chair.

‘And why are you answering your teachers back?’

‘Dunno. They said I wouldn’t get any qualifications so I asked to see theirs.’

I was a girly swot in school. I have no idea where he gets this attitude from. What annoys me is that he can do it if he puts his mind to it. We had The Discussion. About how he was throwing away his future.

‘I’m not! Alan Sugar started off selling stuff from the back of his car.’. Give me strength.

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Blazing Rows…

prefectOur tranquil little cottage has become a battleground, with neither me nor The Teenager willing to give way. There have been tears, sulks and door slamming and I’ve apologised to the neighbours who rolled their eyes and said, ‘Teenagers, eh?’ in sympathetic tones.

He’s even attempted a hunger strike but lasted only until I stocked the fridge with his favourite Müller yoghurts and waved a pizza under his nose.

The cause of all this conflict? His school is adopting a new uniform policy as of September. From the age of four, The Teenager has gone to school in some variation of a polo top and school jumper. Now his high school want to have a smarter uniform so the kids no longer look like over-grown infants and I’m all for it. We got the final uniform list a couple of days ago and he remains distinctly unimpressed.

‘Oh, lovely, you have to wear a blazer!’

‘Yeah, with, like, gold piping. I’m not a girl. I’m not wearing it. They can’t make me. It’s like, rank.’

‘But they wear them in Waterloo Road. Very smart.’

‘Yeah, whatever. Still not wearing it. It’s against my yooman rights’

‘Well, look, you get a nice tie as well! Very grown up. Why’s it a clip on one though? What’s wrong with a proper one?’

‘Like, duh, it’s so we don’t strangle each other. Elf ‘n’ safety, innit?’

And so we go round in circles. He’s trying to organise a boycott for September, but few of his friends are brave/daft enough to join him. The uniform is due to land in the shops within the next couple of weeks and he’s coming with me whether he likes it or not. This may involve an after-school swoop, where I thrust a packet of crisps into his hand, bundle him into the car and lock the doors from the inside.

I have tried to reason with him, but as soon as I started a conversation with the words, ‘when I was your age….’ he huffed and puffed, stomped upstairs and blasted his music out (Oasis, full volume, same two songs in an endless loop).

I will win this argument but the next battle will be trying to take his photograph in his brand new shiny uniform on the first day of Year 10, minus the rude gestures. And there was me thinking the toddler years were the worst.

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