Saturday, 27 September 2008

White van man

This weekend we are mostly driving a rented Transit. Trannies are a favourite mode of transport because you look down on people, they come off the traffic lights faster than a Porsche and they're big enough that people move out of the way. No, actually they are do sit up higher than a Chelsea Tractor, so you get to see things that you'd normally miss (there's a great view into London along the Thames when you go over the bridge), they're surprisingly comfortable and come with a fine sounding stereo...on the way to Brighton we played the new King of Leons album which went down exceptionally well. The only downsides are having to be careful when manouvering round tight corners...the previous driver and caused a random indentation along both sides where he had forgotten the can was twice the length of his usual car...and also having to do without a rearview mirror - blind spots in the wing mirrors mean it's easy to cut someone up no matter how attentive you're being.

We're shifting furniture around - one of the flats needs furniture for the new we've taken the beds and dining table out of the garage which will be mixed with a wardrobe currently residing by the seaside and the final touch will be some drawers from Ikea. The boy, initially a reluctant helper, soon became much enthused when chemsitry homework became somewhat tedious. We should have packed the van to the dulcet tones of Bernard Cribbins singing Right Said Fred which would have amused the passing neighbours who gave us curious glances, not quite daring to ask if we were moving. We'll leave them in suspense for a day or so.

So far only one his enthusiasm, the boy decided to show me he could make the van bounce up and down by jumping on the rear step. This caused a piece of the bed that was propped up on the side to topple over, smashing an indicator lamp on the Vespa. I saw tears...but how could I possibly be annoyed...after all he was doing what children do best - making something fun out something quite dreary. Have you ever noticed children never walk down a street...they run,they skip, they go round in much better than putting one foot in front of the other in a monotonous routine. Heart in the right place, head somewhat distant was how I describe it. I'm so glad he hasn't yet grown into grown up ways.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Do as I say

"If you can't be responsible to look after these things, then you will have to go without" I thundered having discovered the boy's bank card in the garage, and when it then took him half an hour to find the Oyster Card that lets him travel on buses gratis. of course, no bank card meant no pocket money, which meant no tuckshop treats at school this week. He was less than impressed...after all he had known exactly where the bank card was, he just didn't see that there was a problem keeping it on the shelf in the garage. The Oyster Card had, he said, been put in a drawer for safe keeping so was never lost. He's always been good at putting things away safely - as a two year old, he kindly took my house keys and put them in a compartment of a little plastic tricycle for safe keeping one morning. I searched high and low, but it was only when I thought to (gently) ask him if he knew where they were that he instantly trotted off to the sitting room and pulled them out for me.

By comparison, last night I took my Vespa Scooter into Soho and parked it up so I could go along to a glamorous media luvvy event. When I returned a couple of hours later, there in the lock of the top box were the keys for all to see and anyone to take.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Love is a many splendored thing

Yesterday, evidently, it was exactly a year ago that the boy 'asked out' the girlfriend. I'm not really sure what going out with someone means these days at the age of thirteen. It certainly doesn't mean the back row of the cinema every Saturday, as I think you can count the number of times they've been out on one hand. It may mean a fumble behind the bike shed...but I hope not and in my naivity, I think not. It does for certain mean hundreds of texts at all hours of the day and into the night. So the adage that you can only understand a relationship if you are part of it, and then it's not guaranteed, is true for sure.

I can't say that I think dating at thirteen is a good thing...after all he's got a lifetime of trying to figure out the opposite sex. But in the smoky haze of romance, I think a childhood sweetheart is a great thing...even if at some stage a heart will be broken.

The boy definitely needs a female in his life...four and a half years ago he lost his mother, four years ago he effectively lost touch with his sister and eighteen months ago when we moved to the Forest he stopped seeing so much of doting Irish Nanny. He still sees the nanny when he can fit her into his busy schedule...and she is wise to the thoughts of teenage boys, not to press him too much, inspite of the fact that she I am sure misses him almost as much as her own son who died of Aids a decade or so ago.

I can't say too much about the sister as it breaks my heart that she moved to live with her father and has never once made the effort to keep in touch with her little brother. In the early months of the separation I tried my hardest (perhaps too hard) to keep them was so, so touching to see them together (when the boy's mother and I separated, I never really got to see them both)...but her indifference encouraged I strongly suspect by her father, has meant that a day or so ago he threw away the comment that he didn't really have a sister.

On the romance stakes I am a poor teacher (aren't all parents?). In the last few years he's seen a few girlfriends of mine..that is the semi-permanent ones that have lasted a year or more. But as I've not been truly, madly, deeply in love, they have all eventually been added to the list of ones that got away. Usually when they do go, I'm in deep trouble with the boy as another potential mother-figure has been lost, but I do sit down with him and explain...the last one was terrific but wanted children and that is not on my agenda. So on the long list of things that I am not competent to guide him on, girls and romance is right up there with trigonomics...

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Me, me , me

Monday 8.30 a.m. at school: "Hey, how was your weekend?" "Brilliant party Saturday night eh? Loved the music, great cake an' all...shame it finished at 10.00. Good to chill with the lads all Saturday afternoon too....I know I said I'd only be an hour, but hey ho. In the morning I knocked around a football, spent time on MSN. It was cool. Sunday was a bit of a bummer Dad was really grumpy. Don't know why. We were planning to go to the Boat Show, but when I got home from the party I said I had too much homework. He said something about waiting around for me all Saturday and now he'd have a wasted Sunday too. Don't know what he was talking about."

Monday 9.00 in the office "Hi, how was your weekend?" "Complete rubbish" "How come, thought you were going to the boat show?" "Sore point, I spent Saturday doing the housework and ironing, giving the boy a lift to his friend's party, and even washing the car to give us the day free on Sunday. The boy, arsed around Friday pm and all Saturday and then announced that he was too busy with homework on Sunday to go to the boatshow. That left me bereft of things to do other than more tidying up. I was not happy. He never thinks of anyone but himself, and expects me just to run around after him...he never considers me at all." "He's thirteen, what do you expect?" "Let's talk about the clients".