So here sit I with a large glass of cold white wine to hand thinking about a funny conversation L and I had today.
Funny in retrospect, because for a good few minutes at the time it made me Very Grumpy, however, I am writing in down for posterity because it is Fairly Typical of our conversations at the mo. Those of you who have/ have had teenage children will find this Familiar Territory I'm sure (I'm thinking here especially of my lovely blogging chum Leanne, who will doubtless Understand).
L is home today with a sore throat that has been grabbing at him all week. To be fair to him he's gone to school Monday through Thursday without complaint, feeling hot and not looking all that well, but last night it got worse and he puffed up and looked and felt hot and bothered. Eventually, at bed time, he croaked, pointing dramatically at his throat from beneath the eye patch he had constructed from his skull-and-cross-bones bandana (don't ask): 'I don't think I can go to school tomorrow, mum'.
This was followed, after I agreed that a day off was probably in order, by a request for me to make him a proper eye patch from something soft and the wondering out loud whether if I wrote a letter to school along the lines of he'd hurt his eye, he might be allowed to wear it there.
I shouldn't think so, I said, given that there is, in fact, nothing wrong with your eye and therefore to state otherwise would, in fact, be a LIE and lying isn't good or clever or funny, as I keep telling you. To which he shrugged and grinned and went off to his bed, where the light remained on for a long time accompanied by the sound of scribbling that sounded suspiciously like a letter to school being forged.
So he's home, and he slept this morning and by lunch was talking properly and looking less flushed, and we duly went off together to Hobby Craft where we bought a new sewing machine for Ma whom I have inveigled into getting back into sewing as she is a whizz who used to make all her own clothes and it turns out she's been hiding her sewing light under a bushel all these years and I'm hoping she'll pass on some of her techniques to me.
On the way home with the S machine safely tucked up in the back of the car, I stopped off at Waitrose for bits and bobs and L went off to the library.
Now, for those of you who don't shop at our local Waitrose, I should explain that the majority of female customers look like they've just bounced out of a refreshing month at Champneys, after six weeks winter sun at Kloisters, while the kids have been palmed off on the nanny and they themselves have literally only seconds before left their personal hair, makeup and dress assistants tucked up in the comfort of their spotless, brand new 4x4s (that would have allergic reactions if they ever saw a milligram of mud, let alone be required to drive up an actual dirt track that might actually require a 4x4). They do not, on the whole, look like they've spent a morning in the woods with two mucky dogs who've climbed up on their lap afterwards for a snuggle and in the process covered them in wet earthy kisses.
So this is what happened when I was leaving the shop:
Me: Slightly frazzled from carrying too many bags that didn't want to be carried, wisps of hair escaping from under cheap primark beany hat (that I later realised was on wonky with an unsightly puffy element sticking up at the top that made me look like an elf), jeans with paw-prints etched on in mud, no makeup (plus ca change?) and the most comfy walking boots that were ever made on my feet
She: Perfectly dressed, made up and coiffured with not a hair out of place, smart brown leather boots on her feet into which were tucked immaculate jeans, a mid-length beige trench coat neatly belted round an impeccably slender waist, lipstick perfectly applied, expensive bag casually positioned calmly over one arm and all her shopping bags neatly lined up in the trolly as she waited in the coffee queue.
She stared at my face as I struggled past her with my wretched cascading bags and her eyes slipped rather too obviously down over the rest of me, only to return appalled a second later to my face. She wore an expression best described as stuck somewhere between horror and pity.
This is not the first time this has happened. Next time I go to Waitrose I am wearing a full-on ball gown and I'm getting my friend and ace-hairdresser Sam to do my hair for me too before I go, I tell you.
Anyhoo, I squared my shoulders, grinned my most unbalanced-looking leer and (just about managing not to stick my tongue out) swished past her. Returning to the car I phoned L and announced I was back and it was time he left the library. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: Hi love
L (distractedly so I knew he had his nose in a book): Hi mum.
Me: Hi darling. I'm back at the car, so can you come back now, please?
L: Silence, then the sound of rustles (which I took to be movement, but later realised was in fact more likely to be pages being turned). Oh well, I thought (at the time), I suppose that's what acquiescence sounds like if you're talking to a thirteen year old.
Ten minutes later I'm still standing by the car and now it's getting cold and the light is fading and it's starting to drizzle and there's no sign of a disgruntled hoodied teenager. I ring again.
Me: Are you still in the library?
L: Because that is where I am.
Me (between gritted teeth): Are you not walking back to the car?
L: Obviously, no.
Me: Why not?
L: Because I'm at the library, as we have already established.
Me (grinding my teeth to the point they are starting to splinter, while at the same time trying to maintain a reasonable tone to my voice): But I rang to tell you to come back to the car ten minutes ago.
L: I didn't hear you. Can't you come and pick me up?
Me (breathing deeply to prevent Shouting Occurring, which will only result in L stating in a tone of perfect calm that I have lost control and am shouting at him and that Isn't Noble): No. You have a perfectly serviceable pair of legs. (And then, amid a rising temper at the lack of apologetic response)- and besides, I called you five times! Five Times! And now I'm standing here getting wet and cold, waiting for you!
L: Well get in the car then
Me (fuming): I WILL!
I get in the car, and, feeling like not unlike a teenager myself, slam the door petulantly for the sake of it because I am cross. Deciding that he'll be ages, I have just settled down to read CJ's very funny post about her children referring (or not) to her as a Domestic Goddess, when the door opens and a hoodie-clad teenager gets in.
Hello darling, I say, breathing deeply, more determined than ever to stay calm and be friendly.
L says: You called me twice. Not five times.
Me (practicing yoga-esque deep-breathing of the kind that any Guru would be proud of): I rang you twice, but I said "L?" five times. Why didn't you just reply?
L : I thought your trousers had called me.
It is a standing joke in our house that I receive on average three calls a month from M's trousers while he is at work. We perhaps won't go in to how he manages it, but I've got very used to answering the phone when his mobile number shows up and hearing only the rustle of fabric accompanied by the distant sound of voices and then I know it's call from his trousers. What I hadn't appreciated was quite how firmly the idea of someone's trousers being able to call you has passed into our family folklore, and as more or less always happens when L is infuriating me, his response made me laugh so much my sides hurt. Thank God for a Sense Of Humour. Where would we be without it?
Aren't kids marvellous? Bloody annoying but Pretty Darn Marvellous.
Hope your day has held some laughter-rich moments.
And in case you were wondering, Granny loved her new sewing machine and has already shortened a pair of jean shorts with it. I have the texted photo to prove it :o).