Monday, 30 March 2009

All Change!

Olly came home from his school trip on Friday - I was so pleased to see him, I almost blubbed. He appeared to have grown 3 ft and unless I was very much mistaken his voice had broken. No, I was mistaken - he had a really bad cold and had lost his voice.

He was really dazed when he got off the bus and kept looking at me. (That's the Autistic thing, they stare until they can absorb their new surroundings).

The poor lad was knackered. He told me later that on the first night there had been a problem with the room temperature and that he could see his breath when he spoke. Just how bloody cold was it? I asked him what he was wearing at the time and he said the bottoms of a pair of pyjama's.

'Did you not put on a T-shirt?
'Why not?'
'I wasn't that cold'.

No wonder he's got a nasty cold. Unfortunately Olly cannot tell when he is too hot or when he is too cold.

'Did you put any other type of clothing on?'
'What did you put on?'
'A hat'
'What in bed?
'Well, that's good, but no T-shirt or jumper?'
'No. You cant put a T-shirt or jumper on in bed, that is for the day'.
'You can when it is cold'.
'No. That is for the day'.

'I really missed you Olly'.
'I didn't miss you.'

How charmingly honest he is.

Olly has had a tough two days trying to settle back into the routine of home and threw a bit of fit yesterday which ended up with him legging out the house and down the road. Luckily I heard the front door crash, so I ran outside and caught up with him. He was very upset and crying. I asked him if I could hug him and he nodded. (I once made the mistake of cuddling him without asking and it ended up in a dreadful tussle).

He said the food was 'crap' and that he didn't want to see another slice of pizza for two years and that he really wanted to get back to school. (He loves to learn - he's like a little sponge).

You do wonder whether you are doing the right thing or not by sending a child with certain needs on a school trip, there are so many things that have to be attended to; portion control (he doesn't know when he is full and will eat until the cows the come home if you let him, medication, social interaction, behavioural problems, loud noises, a new environment etc etc - and that is just one child. When you have 60 or so of them...Anyway his teacher said that she was really impressed with him and there were no altercations of any kind, basically a glowing report, which is always nice to hear.

On a different note it should have been all change for my students. The French one was going home to be replaced by a Swiss one. However the French one lost her ID and they wouldn't let her on the plane. Her teachers and other students all went back home and left her at the airport! I got a very strange call Sunday morning from Gatwick Airport, telling me they had my student there. I couldn't make out if it was the new one or the old one. Anyway, after a lot of confusing chit-chat, It was the French one. She was very distressed - I told her to come straight back here and we will sort things out. She turned up in a flood of tears, poor love. During all this kerfuffle, French crying and Olly storming off, the Swiss one turned up! Luckily French and Swiss made fast friends. I called the police and reported the missing ID, both students went down to the police station to make a report and this morning French has gone to the Embassy and hopefully they can get her home. French's father was furious with the teachers for going without her and I don't blame him, but a least she came back here and her parents knew where she was.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Playing with Fire

Having a child early in life is like Playing with Fire. You don't really know what you're handling. Before you know it you're back at the school gates, when you only left a couple of years ago. Helping the kid with homework is not a problem although your sick to death of it and you have to sit down and do it all again. Then, when the troubled teens arrive, you yourself are only just thirty, so you can relate to that with a 'go on whack that kid back', type of attitude. The sex education is easy because you're both sitting there giggling about it.

You're not really a parent because you don't have the life experience, you're not a sibling because that age gap is a bit too wide and you're not a mate because you're his mum. You're neither fish, flesh, fowl nor good red-herring - you're something in between.

So hence this hideous dilemma, which I don't think I handled at all well because I didn't have the life experience. It is the Mother of all Nightmares - well certainly my biggest fear that become a reality.

At the end of June last year, my son (22) brought home this huge strapping girl of 19, who was really eager to meet us all. I really couldn't be bothered to meet yet another girlfriend especially as they had only been going out for 2 weeks. You know what relationships are like at that age, a new person every month. Anyway, this girl (I shall call her Rhino) was quite insistent that she wanted to meet me, (Lord knows why), so she showed up - all ten tonnes of her, make-up slapped on, hair styled etc. Obviously made an effort. Liam's girlfriends never know how to take me because of the age gap as explained earlier, so she was peering at me with great interest as they usually do. I wasn't really impressed with her, we had nothing in common and she irritated me. She was bossy, over confident to the point of brazen and appeared to be lacking a brain of some kind.

The next week she wanted to meet my mum, so Rhino and Liam drove all the way to Somewhere in Kent and met her. (I was quite cross with both of them about this, for badgering my old mum, what's the bloody rush?). Alarm bells have already started ringing in my head. Then Liam rang a few days later and said Rhino wanted to meet my sister. Yeah? Well Jaye lives in the Netherlands so unless she wants to go there, there is no chance. End of that.

A few days later another phone call saying that Rhino wants to meet my Dad. (What the frig is up with this bird?!) I told firmly Liam 'No way!'. (I am very protective of my Dad, because he needs 24 hour care and he probably wouldn't know who they were anyway). Over the next few days, via phone calls through Liam, she kept insisting. I finally lost my temper and told Liam that if she went anywhere near my Dad I would slap a restraining order on her. The badgering stopped.

A week later another phone call. This time Rhino has offered to take my kids out. Err, no. I don't even know you. Do you know how to deal with an Autistic child? Do you know what Autism is? Do you know what a child is?

What is with this bird, is she some kind of stalker? Sod. off. Grrrr!

A couple of weeks later I had this misfortune to meet her again. She slouched into my house, this time with no make-up, hair a mess and dirty clothes. She looked slovenly. I didn't think it was possible for a 19 year old to look so unattractive.

Now, I usually greet Liam's new girlfriends with a warm welcome including my line, 'If you get yourself pregnant, I'll have your guts for garters!'. It generally wipes that 'Are you really his mum?' look straight off their face. Most of the time I never see them again and that suits me fine, but if they visit again they know where I'm coming from and the air is clear.

So, I give her the line. She gives me a quizzical look. I said 'I'm not joking, he is not ruining his life and neither are you'. Now we know where we stand. But alarm bells are tolling in my head like Tinnitus.

This was a the end of July. Had not seen hide nor hair of Rhino (Mmm, something was brewing) and it was a pleasant August until the beginning of September.

One evening, I legged it down to my college to enrol for my last year of study. Oddly enough I had left my phone at home. Enrolled in college, bused it home. Everything fine. After dinner my Hubby ushers me into our bedroom, where my phone is pipping like mad. Eight missed calls from Liam and Hubby.

Me: What's going on?
Hubby: Sit down.
Me (getting alarmed): What is it? Is it Dad?
Hubby: No its not your Dad.
Me:(fear had strangled my voice) Is it Liam? What's happened?
Hubby: Liam and Rhino came round this evening....

Then I knew

Me: (screaming) She's f***ing pregnant isn't she? Isn't she?
Hubby: (starts to cry) Yes.

All the years of educating him about contraceptives, vetting the slappers from the genuinely nice girls, buying him condoms - wasted! Years of nagging; don't have a kid too young, enjoy your life, travel, get a good job, have a lovely wedding, enjoy your wife's company then have a family....gone. I tried so hard to prevent this happening, my worst nightmare had come true. No way was I ready for this, I'm still learning how to be a parent not a bloody grandparent. For f***ks sake I've just turned 40 not so**ing 60! I'll probably end up in The Sun as another dreadful statistic: 'Lone Teen Mum Becomes Gran Due To Bad Parenting' etc.

I took it rather badly.

I let out a roar from that came from the depths of my soul. For two minutes I roared and howled like some banshee and swore my head off.

Hubby had told them to leave because he knew I would've beaten them both senseless. Instead I hurled a can of coke across my kitchen denting my new cabinets, punched and kicked two holes in the bathroom door and went outside and screamed into the night air at whatever gods were listening to me. I have never felt such anger in all my life, even when Liam's father buggered off with my best friend. Never, ever have I felt so angry at the flipping injustice of life. How much more crap am I going to have to put up with? A father who is in a dreadful state and in a 'limbo life' , an Autistic child, a Hubby who is not home most of the time, and now I've got to help look after another baby? Are you trying to kill me off? I screamed at whatever Gods occupy the heavens and told them 'You flipping owe ME! I've done my time, I've done my penance, YOU owe ME!'

I was very distressed.

I called an emergency family meeting consisting of my Mother, me and Liam (Rhino not invited).
This is how the conversation went:

Me: How did this happen? Why were you not using something?
Liam: She was on the Patch
Me: Yeah, right. Are they still using that line? Used to be called the 'Pill' didn't it Mum?

An age old excuse and well rehearsed line

Me: What are you going to do?
Liam: We're going to have it.
Me: (Getting shirty) Are you a complete idiot? Where are you going to live? Whose going to look after it and don't look at me I've got enough on my plate. Is Rhino gonna work or sit on her arse all day?
Liam: Her mum will look after it while we work.
Mother: I thought her mum worked?
Liam: Yeah she does, but she will give it up.

What a load of crap

Mother: What does her mother think of all this?
Liam: She thinks we're a bit young but its happened now so we have to except it.

Another well rehearsed line - do they think I was born yesterday?

Me:(Shrieking) Like f**k! Is she a total f***ing idiot as well?
Mother: For heaven's sake calm down, you'll give yourself a turn!
Me: (spitting blood now) I will not calm down! What is the matter with everyone! You intend to bring a child into this world without a home, without a stable environment and you hardly even know this bloody woman. Have you got rocks in your head?

My mother gave me one her looks which seemed to imply that we had been in this situation before. I ignored it.

Mother: How far gone is she?
Liam: About ten weeks
Me (Still shrieking): Ten frigging weeks! You haven't even known her ten weeks!
Mother: Is it yours?
Liam: (looked very disturbed by this question) Of course it's mine!

I got out the calender and checked back the dates

Me: The only way it could be yours is if she is a slapper and slept with you on the first night.

Mother: It's like that Boris Becker story - a quick bang in the closet....a moment of pleasure for life time of misery.

How does she think of such things let alone say them. Liam and I stifled giggles.

For the next two weeks my subconscious tortured me day and night; my True Feelings verses Morally Right. The Morally Right thing to do was to stand by your son and Rhino and support their decision. However, my true feelings were that I wanted no part in this and that I didn't want to acknowledge it as my grandchild, if indeed it was and no way on earth did I want to be related to Rhino! The thought filled me with absolute horror.

This situation was out of my control. This person was making life-changing decisions for me without my consent - why should they be allowed to do this? Why am I expected to help out and support this stupid decision, when I didn't want this to happen and have done my best to prevent it? Because it is a family obligation? Because that is what parents do? Well bugger that. I have enough family obligations to fulfill to my Father, Hubby, Kids, Jaye, and Mother not some Rhino who decides to get herself knocked up after a month or two!

One of the gods in the heavens must have heard my yelling that night and for that I shall be eternally grateful, because after these two torturous weeks Rhino miscarried (if indeed she was pregnant in the first place and if indeed it was Liam's). As my Hubby said afterwards, 'How convenient, most of us don't get off that lightly'.

What this situation did do was to give me an insight into why Liam's own father left me. (Just for the record we were together 2 years). For the first time in 23 years I saw his view and I now understand why he left (he was only 18). But I don't hate him anymore and I don't blame him either, I've let go.

I don't think I handled this situation very well, all my friends kids are a lot younger and I really didn't have anyone to talk to about it. But whether it was fate that is wasn't meant to happen or that she was lying through her god-awful Rhino teeth remains to be seen. It will probably come out in the end. However the fact remains, without life experience you are Playing with Fire, then you get burned. Then burned again. It's still flipping burning! Pass me an extinguisher will you?


Monday, 23 March 2009

Men to boys

OMG it's so quiet around here! Olly has gone on a school trip for five days. There is no incessant questioning, no fighting with his sister, no getting up at 1am to change his bed clothes, no telling him to eat with his special knife and fork instead of his fingers! No helping him get dressed in the morning...Is this normal? I think even Amber is slightly bored. What am I to do?

I'll tell you what I did. I had a fight with the washing machine. The damn thing wouldn't give me back the clean clothes. They had got all mangled and ended up in a big knot. When I finally managed to wedge them out, I hung them on the line and was mortified to discover some 'Grandad Pants' hidden amongst the linen. Then I remembered my Hubby telling me he had bought some new underwear. God, was this it? (He is ten years older than me and heading straight to the big five 'O' this year), but that's no excuse. Where are his Tanga's? What the frig are these? At least I know his not having it off with someone else - no woman in her right mind would have an affair with someone who owns these monstrous things! I confronted him with them and dangled them right in his face asking, 'Do you think these are sexy?' 'Do you think you're gonna get any Tiffin with wearing these?'

I told him, if the Tanga's did not return then the only solution would be to buy some Grandma knickers to keep the Grandad Pants company. I think they are in the bin now.

I finally saw my lovely No1 son Liam on Mother's Day. There has been a bit of change in him since he moved in with the Rhino, her mother and her two sisters. He was sitting on the sofa with Amber and said 'Amber shall I plait your hair for you?' Amber was delighted. I just looked at him. Liam then said 'Are you looking after your hair, it needs a bit of conditioning'.

I could not control my tongue any longer.

Me: Are you turning into a poof? (I know its not politically correct, but I just love that word!)
Liam: What?
Me: What's with you and the hair?
Liam: It just feels a little rough.
Me: I think you need to spend more time with some men love, you're living with too many women.
Liam: Yeah, I know.
Me: You want to sort that out, or your be coming round here with a flower in your hair before you know it.

He then took the kids outside and played football with them, smashing up my garden fence and kicking the ball against the window. (That's more like it!)

He only stayed four hours before Rhino turned up to pick him up. It felt like some sort of visitation rights. You know, four hours every three months.....still at least he came and thank God she went.

So now this house if full of women too; me, Amber, the student and Hubby. (No, Hubby is a man, he's just a feminine one). It smells sweeter and is a lot quieter, so quiet in fact it is like a bloody morgue. Oh, how I miss my noisy, smelly boys.........

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Swimming and Knickers

My French student managed to talk my ears off the other evening, despite her claiming that she cannot speak English very well. In fact we talked so much my tongue hurt. I was completely knackered the next day, but had to attend an 8.30am meeting at the school. (Olly is going on a school trip on Monday for a week, so I had to meet with the teacher and the SENCO to make sure that plans were in place if things don't go well).

When I came home I happened to notice the length of hair on my legs! I was flabbergasted. It must have been two inches long. The evening before I had taken a swimming class with nothing but men in it and all they do is look at your legs and feet. I was mortified. I shall now be known as the hairy swimming coach. Grabbing some cream I spread it on one leg...then I ran out! I had to use some rusty old razor that I found in the bathroom on the other leg - almost cut myself to ribbons. I have decided to wear jeans for the next week. Must also check to see if my tetanus jab is up to date.

The kids had were entered into the Brighton and Hove Swimming Gala, representing their school, so I legged it down there, met my friend Bea and got a good seat. Unfortunately this good seat was next to a very bad and very loud young woman who had a gob on her the size of Dartford Tunnel. I have nothing against yelling and cheering, which I do frequently....but not directly in somebody's ear. I had to stuff toilet paper in my ears and then eventually move. She buggered off in the end, but my ears are still ringing now.

(Some random woman came up to me and told me I was showing my knickers off over my jeans and I might want to pull my top down to cover them up! I had an overwhelming urge to 'moon' her. I do not blatantly show off my knickers unless I get paid for it. How motifiying!)

The outcome was quite good for my kids, Amber got a bronze medal and Olly got two bronze medals and the team overall did really well. Poor Bea's daughter's team did not do well at all. In fact in a 6 swimmer relay, they had only entered 5 swimmers and they came last in every race because the kids could barely swim a length. Bea's daughter was really shouting at the other swimmers and Bea was laughing. I took notice of this because if Olly yells or shouts at anyone I get really edgy and tense because I don't know what is going to happen or if he will lash out at someone. But because Bea laughed, her daughter saw this and just looked exasperated and shrugged her shoulders.

It was quite good fun, until Bea found out she had got blocked in the car park. Bea is from South London and is quite blunt and forthright, but has a very comical side. However, she wasn't laughing at this point, she was down right furious. I had found Amber, but lost Olly and some Dad had got chatting to me and asked for a lift home with his son, as he only lives around the corner. Olly finally turned up after we had waited 30 Min's. We all trooped to the car park only to find Bea still there, still blocked in. The air in her car had turned blue she was swearing so much!

Got caught in traffic on the way back, but managed to drop off the Dad and his kid. Drove around to the Theatre school and dropped the kids off. Picked up Olly after Drama and went home. Put the kettle on and made a cup of tea. The phone rang. 'Can you come and pick up Amber, she's not feeling very well?'

Gulped down some burning hot tea - my poor tongue - and shot out again and picked her up. On arriving back home again, I realised Olly had to play in an orchestral night at the school. Hurriedly got him ready - he wasn't pleased at all and complained a lot - well, actually he swore an awful lot. Dropped him at the school. Came home, made dinner for the student and myself. (Kids had already eaten). Shot out again and picked up Olly - he had had a lovely time. I managed to have a sneak look through a curtain and it looked wonderful. (I had forgotten to buy a ticket).

Things I have learned today:

Take care of tongue. Keep a watchful eye on legs so as not to be able to plait hair. Never use a rusty razor. Remember to buy tickets to kids events. Remember to buy ear-plugs. Do not stand too close to tunnels for fear of being swallowed up by them and do not listen to strange women at swimming pools who are obsessed with your knickers.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

God of Carnage - Must see play

I actually managed to get a night off yesterday evening, Hubby babysat while I slapped on a bit of war paint, dressed up and bused it down to the Theatre Royal in Brighton. God of Carnage starred Richard E Grant, Serena Evans, Roger Allam and Lia Williams. It was really good. It is about two couples that get together because one of their children has whacked the other couple's child with a stick. It is hilarious. It opened last night to almost a full house. Mr Grant was superb as always and his wonderful clear voice echoed throughout the Theatre. (He's a bit of a looker with a well buff bod! I had to avert my eyes at one point, while he undid his trousers to tuck his shirt in - I was afraid of falling madly in love forever and ever!).

As the play unravels so does the life of each couple with very interesting results and a few shocks that make the audience gasp! It was quite refreshing to hear the odd 'fuck' now and again, because most people swear in everyday life anyway.

As I am a bit mutton (Mutton Jeff - deaf), sometimes its a strain to hear actors in the Theatre, but only Lia was a bit quiet sometimes.

If you fancy a night out - go see it. It's in Brighton until Sunday 22nd (I think), then it moves on somewhere else. Keep an eye out for it. Frankly, its worth the money and to get a glimpse of good old Richard with the buff bod - its dreamy....


I saw this article and just had to convey some extra information, which I haven't heard over in this country.

I was out in America in February and was shocked by the amount of repossessions happening over there. In fact there was a programme on the TV about it which was really interesting.

Their economic recession started to hit in the latter part of 2007 and if we follow the US (which we do in most economic things), then they are about a year in front of us. Normal working and middle class people who have lost their jobs and subsequently their houses, are now living in was is termed as 'Tent Cities'. These are growing communities that are inhabited by people who have nowhere else to live. These Cities have started up in Tampa, Sacramento and two other places (I cant remember their names). The programme interviewed some of these people, and at first, if you judged them on how they looked, they looked like 'down and outs'. However, once the interview progressed and you listened to these people speaking, you at once realised that they did not have a substance abuse problems or anything like that, they were educated people who had lost their jobs, homes, cars and had in fact lost everything. They had to live in these 'make-shift' houses because there was nowhere else for them to live. (The programme did not go into the monetary detail of each family, so I couldn't make out if they had over-extended themselves financially or not, but if they did surely it is the banks fault for letting them borrow so much money).

They interviewed several families. One poor devil was a widower with five kids who had lost his job and home. Another couple had grown up children, but had both lost their jobs and then their homes and cars and could not bring themselves to even tell their grown-up children where they lived because they were so ashamed. Another woman was so determined not to loose her house, she started renting out rooms, so as she could keep it. This solution seemed to be good as it helped out another family at the same time - but she did have a big house!

What worries me most, is that this is (supposedly) the richest country in the world and these people are eating out of dustbins and living in tents. Why are we not aware of this? Is this propaganda? Has it been on TV or in the news and I've missed it? I've asked other people here, but they have not heard about what is going on over there.

So what happens to our little country in the meantime? In a year's time are there going to be people ending up in 'Tent Cities' and eating out of dustbins too? I love my country very much, although It appears to be run by blatantly incompetent fools most of the time, who love to keep us all dependent, docile, and ignorant. I also love America very much, indeed it has been a second home to me during my life, and it upsets me to see such a wonderful country in such a dire circumstance. I think Barrack Obama will be a good president (and it's so nice to see a young, good-looking president for a change), but to be frank, he has got his work cut out for him. And Mr Brown, what are you going to do to stop us from sinking into this hole? I await your answer sir, but I shan't hold my breath.

OK, that my two pennies worth!


Thursday, 12 March 2009

Fairy Cakes and other such bits

Olly went off on a school trip to London this morning, so we all had to be up at the crack (of dawn). He was really excited and anxious to get to school very early.....I hope they can cope with him - he seemed a bit 'all over the place' today. Still, I suppose they'll call me if i'm needed.

Meanwhile, I've had a bugger of a day. Cleaning, hoovering and more bloody cleaning. We must be so messy - but when every one's here nobody notices. The student's room was starting to hum, so I had to give that a going over.

Mid domestic hell, I remembered I had to make fairy cakes for tomorrow's red nose day. Luckily I'd bought a packet of fairy cake mix. I didn't even know they made things like that. Hubby told me. (If truth be known he is more woman than me). It doesn't smell very nice either (the mix not Hubby). Anyway, it's quick, easy and it might add a few 'brownie' points for me at the school.

Mid-mixing, I reminisced about the times we used to make proper cakes, pre-marriage, pre-kids, pre-chained to the kitchen sink. No cleaning, no being somewhere on time (except work, but finding inventive excuses why you were always late was fun). No chauffeuring, no seeing teachers, clinics, psychologists, senco's and cooking dinners. Just eat when you remembered to. Ahhh lovely. I would visit Lou and we would have some friends come round and we'd make hash cakes and vodka jellies, listen to music all night and having meaningful conversations. Yeah, so meaningful nobody could remember who they were the next day let alone what we yapped about.

The cakes are almost ready now. Reading the ingredients, there is nothing exciting in this cake mix apart from Fatty Acids (I doubt you'll get a high off that), and colourings. Doesn't sound particularly thrilling. I'm not even sure I've made it right. I'll have to blog on to Piginthekitchen. She does some wonderful looking foods.

God! What is that smell?

I have just rescued the fairy cakes. Not bad actually, slightly tinged but icing will hide that. My house smells all nice for once.....a slightly burnt aroma, but certainly better than the smell of boys bottoms and dirty underwear.


Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Shameless in Brighton

The college I attend once a week is situated in a bit of a rough part of Brighton - just off the London Road. At 9 O'clock in the morning, its not so bad - everybody rushing to college or work, and it's quite deserted, but come 12.30pm its changed, the road is teeming with the bazaar. Waiting for my bus, I watched two old dears nearly came to blows, because one had trodden on the other's foot. The local druggies were out in force - I recognise a particular one, because he always wears the same clothes, black hat, green coat and nasty, baggy, grey tracksuit bottoms. He is so thin, he looks like he has been in Auschwitz. His cheekbones are painfully prominent and he seems to get thinner by the week. His mate, looks like a big butch thug, with scars down his cheek with a beet-red face. They are totally out of it. This I know, because last week they saw each other from across the street, both greeted each other in the middle of the road and had a good old chin wag, regardless of the buses, cars and taxi's that were honking their horns. They were totally oblivious.

There were really young girls pushing prams, weirdo's talking to themselves, students stuffing chips, transvestite's wobbling around on high heeled shoes, a girl with pink rasta locks and 10 inch wedges, old newspapers and litter stream the streets, as well as used condoms and needles. Lovely. I felt like I was in an episode of Shameless.

But I like my college and my tutors are good. My class is full of mostly middle-aged women, who want to get qualified and get on. We also have a very opinionated nun in our class, with a gob on her - who questions everything.....She can be a right pain sometimes because she is always interrupting. There are also have a couple of twenty-something blokes in our class - who are quite jovial and good fun. Today, our lecturer had a right go at everyone because we strolled in a bit late in the morning. In five years I have not seen our lecturer lose his temper - but today he did. Put a right flea in our ears. So with this in mind, after break we all made an extra effort to try and not to be late. One of the twenty-something blokes came in a bit late, and our lecturer glared at him and said 'late again Sean?'.

'Yeah, I just had to go and do some photocopying' he replied smiling away. He is very charismatic.

However, I opened my mouth and I really don't know why I did it.

'Oh no you weren't. I saw you at break with your posse of women. You have about six different women, no wonder you're always late. Are you some sort of Casanova?'

What the fuck was I doing?

His mate started giggling..

Sean got up and strolled over to the front of the class and sat on the empty desk next to me.
'There's nothing in it. It don't mean nothing...besides I've always got room for one more...'

I waved my left hand at him and said ' Yeah? I'm well married mate, go on, hop it'.

He wouldn't go. I got a bit alarmed. He is too charismatic. They should not allow twenty-something men into a forty-something female class-room. Its most off putting.

Needless to say - I cant remember a thing my lecturer babbled on about, I'll have to put in some extra time now to make up for this unwanted and shameless distraction.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

The Players

Sometimes I imagine my family is playing in some sort of absurd, chaotic theatrical production, with no direction, no format and certainly with no script...everything is improvised....Enter hubby (in huff), Exit kids (screaming wildly) etc. It must be some sort of coping mechanism that my brain has suggested in order to cope with everyday life.

So to this end I introduce our principal character players:

Me: Led a bit of a wild and unruly life until I married and had kids. I have been studying Accountancy (yawn) for what seems like a hundred years, but this is my final year. I have one more exam to pass (I hope) then I get my qualification. Because so much of my time is spent looking after Olly, I would need a very understanding employer and one that would let me work my own hours - which is not going to happen. So this type of profession will fit in to our lives because I can be my own boss. (eek)

Hubby: Works abroad - lucky bugger. There is no consistency, he is at home for a few days then jets off to some wonderfully exotic land, before returning home all tanned and relaxed. (I wonder if he does actually work or if he sits on a beach somewhere soaking up the sun, drinking tequila's and dancing with naked native girls whilst I'm running myself ragged looking after his children). Hubby has some obsessive tendencies which are exacerbated when he comes home and is constantly tapping or whistling ancient tunes from the times of Led Zeppelin - sometimes I just want to put a sock in his mouth. Other times I'll be cooking dinner and he'll tell me how to cook a potato....then he will babble on about the life cycle of a potato, the history of the potato and other what a versatile vegetable it is...for fuck's sake.

Liam(22): My little Prince and son number 1. Liam didn't do as well as he could have done at school but excelled more at college. He is a good boy and has stayed out of trouble and is doing very well at his job. He has some father issues - like most people have, but he is basically a good lad. I have a very different relationship with him than to my other children because there is only a 17 year age gap. It is more brotherly than motherly, we have been out to clubs and gone out with his friends in the past. I took him to the doctors one time and she interrupted us by saying 'could you tell me what the relationship is between you?' Liam scowled and said indignantly 'That is my mum'. I sniggered. I find that funny. Another time we went out with some of his work colleagues and one of them was particularly protective of him (her being mid-forties and probably childless) and me at the time being mid-thirties. Because I was acting like I was out with my mates, having a laugh and a drink and a good time with my son, she kept giving me this disapproving looks, as though I should be sitting there like some prim mum who has just sucked on a lemon. What she didn't know is that If you have been getting disapproving looks since you were 17 you don't give two shits what people think.

There are a few other problems with having a son that old or a mother that young and that is the girlfriends......they expect to see someone older. There own mums are about 50 or so, so I'm a bit of a surprise for them and they don't really know how to speak to you. My opening line is usually 'if you get yourself pregnant I'll have your guts for garters'. Very few have come back with a retort, in fact, very few come back at all after that comment!

One girl, who was a bit of an obsessive cleaning freak, hung around for a couple of years she was OK.......but the latest one is awful. A complete horror..............

The Girlfriend: (I shall call her Rhino). She is actually worth a complete posting on her own because of the torment she has put my family through....Rhino - looks and does exactly what is says on the tin.

Olly: (11) My little Prince No 2. Olly has Autistic Spectrum Condition, Asperger's Syndrome (high-functioning). He was diagnosed approximately two years ago. It took years of trying to get someone to diagnose him, not just to get the diagnosis, but to try and understand what was going on his mind and how he sees the world. A parent knows if there is something not quite right with their child, especially if you have had a child before and the 'brick walls' you come across is nothing short of infuriating. What this diagnosis means is that Olly has social and behavioural difficulties, he doesn't always behave or react as he should do and has difficulty with socialising. It is nothing to be scared of, although you do have to be prepared for the unexpected. They are very truthful and honest. This works in different ways. E.g. If someone irritates you, you may respond by being polite or tolerating the fool, or let the issue go, or you walk away. Well Olly doesn't. He will stand there and say 'that is the most stupidest thing I ever heard', or 'why are you saying that, that is complete rubbish'. This kind of comment can be quite refreshing however when Olly was about 2 years old and I took him swimming. There was this heavily pregnant woman in the pool (she looked like she only had a week to go) and he stood up and pointed at this poor woman and shouted 'that woman is really fat'. Utterly, utterly mortifying. Because Olly is High-functioning (this means that he is above average intelligence for his age) he seems to relate to older people better, because he can have conversations about his favourite subjects: animals, space, blue planet etc. Olly is very academic and I cant keep up with him. His thirst for knowledge is amazing. I have to do research before answering a question to make sure I have it right. (He then gets frustrated because it takes me so long to give him an answer). So we have two sides of the coin, the social and behaviour difficulties which, after attending many courses and going to our local ASC group coffee mornings I can handle, but the intelligence side I just cant do. I don't have the education. Some people wish that their kids were bright, but to be honest If they are cleverer than you, you have your work cut out.

To help Olly with his speech I enrolled him in Drama class, which he has been attending since he was 5 years old. Another thing about Olly is that he is so 'in your face' he is better on stage. He doesn't care what people think so he can make a fool of himself and enjoy himself. He really loves Drama it is a wonderful outlet for him, plus it encourages him to play other characters and so help the Autistic side where they don't understand how other people feel. Because he does not know when he's stomach is full (he would just eat and eat and eat if I let him), I got both the kids swimming, so we try to keep the weight down by pounding up and down the swimming pool three times a week.

Amber(10): My little Princess. It was so nice to have my little girl after two boys, but now I'm not so sure - maybe three boys would have been better. She has a very strong personality, rather like my Mother-in-law. Boss, organise everyone and boss. Every thing used to be pink; pink clothes, pink walls, pink toys, pretty shoes, hairbrushes, clean and tidy room. Better than the boys rooms; stinky socks, dirty underpants strewn all over the floor and the bedrooms smelling like someone had set off a stink bomb. But lately it's started to change. I cannot see the bedroom carpet, clothes strewn all over the place and not pretty pink clothes anymore its almost like Grunge clothing. Hair not brushed or washed for weeks - and the Attitude! What is with the Attitude? It appears that my beautiful princess is in the process of morphing into some dreadful grunge teenager. It rears its defiant head every so often then it goes away and my princess is back, giving me cuddles and helping me and being so wonderful. Until the next time. Mmm, it is worrying. Amber is a bit of prima donna. Because Olly needs attention, Amber seeks attention. This is OK. I can handle this. But she did have a spate of running away from school and no-one could find her. We almost called the police one time, Hubby searched the streets for her, then the school phoned and said they had found her in the toilets. I think we have to watch this space with this one. She does enjoy dance and singing. In fact she sings all the time, everywhere. It is lovely, but it drives Olly up the wall.

Mother: My mother. Divorced from my father about 10 years now and has an 'on-off' boyfriend called Fred, who apparently appears to be frightened of commitment even though they have been together for years. My mother and I also have a very 'on-off' relationship. I find her irritating, non-committal and a non-babysitter/helper or anything to do with my kids kind of person. A very 'Sixties' chick in the way of controversial and unconventional thought processes, not in the stoned hippy, freedom of love way. Mind you a joint or two might have chilled her out bit. She will often call worrying about some tiny worm hill that she has made into a massive mountain. The best thing about Mother is that if you get into an argument with anyone or have a row with someone, have her on your side. She can be quite scary, unpredictable and always wins in an argument. She should have been a lawyer for the prosecution.

Father: My lovely dad. A kind, generous and loving man. You could write a book on his life it has been so interesting - he was an poor immigrant child from the East-End of London who never knew his father. He was and still is very clever, and so managed to turn his life around to become a successful business man. However, his fall from grace has been less dignified. In fact in is a downright disgrace what has happened to him. He lives in a home about a 2 hour drive from Brighton and needs care 24 hours a day. But I ring him regularly and try to see him when I can. The home keep me informed of things that he needs, or his behaviour etc. I keep in touch with the social workers and solicitors and generally overview everything so if anyone has a problem they call me and we sort it out. It can be very upsetting sometimes, and it can be extremely stressful, but if I don't deal with it, no-one else will. I take my kids to visit him but I think they just see a wild-eyed Rasputin type character whose very eccentric and possibly a bit scary-looking, but I don't care about that, he was a good father and so I will try to be a good responsible daughter. Growing up brings maturity and with this brings acceptance in things that are impossible to change, so I am just happy to have my dad.....just as he is.

My Sister Jay: My sister lives in the Netherlands with her Dutch boyfriend 'Idle Van Couch' and her son Storm. She works her 'butt' off to support her family and although Idle is a few years younger than her, he still seems to have the mental capacity of an irresponsible 22 year old idiot. He wants the luxuries of life (T-shirts for 50 quid and trainers that cost 150 quid) but seems to have no inclination or monetary capacity to pay for these expensive items. He recently told her to quit her job, (she flies so it takes her away from the home a few days a week), because he could not cope with her being away so often. He found it a strain looking after their son, even though his mother always appears to be at their house when Jay is away. She called me to ask for advice. I'm afraid I could offer none. Nor could I offer compassion, sympathy or empathy. Nothing at all. Hubby does the same job, and I was left with two little babies (one had ASC, unbeknown to us at the time) and a teenager. I had no help from my mother, in fact, no help from anyone except Liam. Idle has one tiny 3 year old boy who is a dream. I've looked after Storm and took him around the shops, he did not scream, throw tantrums, spit at people, steal sweets, get his fingers caught anywhere, attack other children, squeal as though I was pinching him.......this child is a marvel. He should not be called Storm, he should be called Heaven, because that is how this child behaves. Heavenly. Idle will just have to get on with it like the rest of us.

Lou: Lou is my best friend, she lives in 'The Bush' and thrives on gossip. She still keeps in contact with all our friends from when we lived, worked and more importantly played hard in our more energetic and carefree youthful days. I have been friends with her since school and she like another sister to me. She has two kids, Faith (13) and Santino (10). Lou is going through a particularly nasty separation from Pig-Dog Man, who despite leading a double life for last 18 years is intent on screwing her out of every penny she is entitled to, despite what the law says. At last, Lou has found a wonderful man. An appropriate word for this wonderful man is 'Dandy' because he is one.

So these are the principal Players in my life and I love them very much - warts and all. (except Rhino, she is just plain warts.)
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