When I had Diva everyone gave me advice. Like, everyone. My mum (don’t give them a dummy), my dad (Do give them a dummy), my stepmum (Do what you like with a dummy), the woman in the shop I used to buy diet coke off (stop drinking diet coke)..everyone. Once a bus driver opined that the reason my baby was crying was because ‘she has an unfortunate personality and needs taking into hand or it’ll just get worse’. which, to be fair, was quite true at the time but I didn’t really need to hear it whilst wrangling said baby, a buggy, a bag and a bump onto his death trap on wheels, you know?
Anyway, the point is people love to give advice about parenting. and the number one thing I remember hearing was ‘enjoy them whilst they’re small, they grow up SO fast and before you know it you’ll have a house full of stroppy teens’. And that used to make me panic
like fuck a bit, because I HATED them being small. I mean, yeah sure, they were cute -and I love a nostalgic look back at the baby videos and photos as much as the next person- but they weren’t fun. What no one tells you is, once you’re over the stage of gazing lovingly of at your cute baby, there are still 23 more hours in a day to fill with this thing that cries, shits, sleeps and basically doesn’t give a fuck about you, as long its needs are met. Then they become toddlers who really don’t give a fuck about you, or anything other than destroying everything in their path. When they go to school its a bit better because they’re out of the house for 6 hours a day because they can respond and they say funny things sometimes, but still, they aren’t like real people.
But teenagers (or almost, Satan isn’t quite 10, so not a teenager, but shes rapidly on the way)? teenagers are awesome! and let me tell you why…
They get your cultural references– when you make some comment about how hot Daryl from the walking dead is, the Diva now understands and can respond with ‘jesus christ, you’re gross’. but at least she knows what you’re talking about, so its almost like having a real human conversation. This is a revelation when the majority of your discussions for the past dozen years have been about Tellytubbies and shit.
You embarrass the crap out of them– Just by existing. I literally only have to look at Diva sideways and she’s eyerolling and muttering about how weird I am, at her parents evening she looked at me and said ‘look around, do you see ANYONE else’s mum walking round with pink hair?? No. because they are normal And I? I have you’. Satan told me I was embarrassing for helping clean up at her youth club the other night. This opens up a whole new world of fun, finding new ways to shame my kids has become my new hobby. This is payback for all the times they opened their delightful little mouthes and said shit that made me want to crawl up inside my own arse and die.
They have opinions about stuff – like real opinions and its fascinating.The Boy’s feelings about Donald Trump is amazing to me, considering his difficulties I didn’t think he would be particularly aware or interested, but he is and does have real opinions that are surprisingly sophisticated.
You can do this to them– And remember what putting make up on skin that stays where it is when you let go was like…
They sleep – oh do they sleep. It’s fucking glorious.
They can do things for themselves– Suddenly, I don’t have to make ALL the meals, I don’t have to do ALL the cleaning, I don’t have to be on top of everyone’s shit all of the time. This is amazing. AMAZING. I can say ‘guys I’m tired, can you please do tea’ and everyone gets fed and no one dies AND its edible. I know, its a shock to me too.
So, yeah owning teens is brilliant. So, for all of you with small folk who are dreading the idea of them growing up-don’t! I mean yes there are screaming tantrums, and shitty attitudes and probably some underage drinking and shit. But lets face it, tantrums and attitudes happen with small kids too. and someone else to buy the vodka in the house is a win-win in my book..