OMG, there’s a teenager in the house

This time 13 years ago a baby was born – a 9lb 6oz baby boy. One that gave me third degree tears and while the doctor was stitching me up suggested that next time I may have to have a caesarean. There has not, nor will there be a next time.

Now, he’s about 5’7″ – all legs and feet. I just bought him size 11 shoes the other day. He’s like one of those puppies with huge paws who will grow into big dogs all too soon. The trousers I bought him at the beginning of the year for a wedding, the pants I hoped would do for his school formal at the end of the year, are already too short. He’s told me that people are already asking him what’s the weather like up there? I told him to get used to it as he’ll be one of the tall ones.

He’s always hungry! When there’s a cupboard and fridge full of food, there’s NEVER anything to eat…. And he’s very quick to critique my cooking. Apparently I’ve finally nailed spaghetti bolognaise and butter chicken though, so that’s comforting for me.

I love his honesty – well usually. He’s also not afraid to talk to me about very personal things, things I would never have dreamt of discussing with my parents at his age. I hope this continues even though it can be a bit embarrassing answering some of his questions.

He’s quite switched on – predicting what will happen next in a movie or tv show, or dissecting the personality of a friend or of my (now ex) boyfriend.

I’m very proud that he got into the high school he wanted to get into. While he’s anxious about moving onto high school he’s coping better with the thought of it than he would have a few years ago. But at the same time he acknowledges that he’s ready to move on from primary school.

Quite a few of his peers already have deep voices. They’re too young to have deep voices. JJ doesn’t yet. He got his teeth late, he walked late and I think puberty is hitting him late. I’m pleased about that. Although he is interested in girls. I gather that this will pick up.

I’ve stocked up on wine and hair dye, and am always working on developing a thicker skin to get me through the next few years. And I know that those teenager years will fly by.

Here’s a photo album of him.

She’s crazy like a fool. What about it Daddy Cool?

Boney M at The Gov

I went with my sister and while I knew a couple of other people that were going I bumped into a school mum. She said I won’t tell anyone if you don’t. I said, shout it from the rooftops. Who cares, I said. I also bumped into JJ’s baseball coach and his excuse was that his friend bought the tickets. So is a bit daggy to see Boney M? Who cares? The last band I saw at The Gov was The Scientists – poles apart from Boney M. I’ve got broad music taste!

I checked out the crowd. I felt quite young in comparison. A couple, probably in their 80s, were sitting near the courtyard door, walking sticks propped next to their chairs. There were some people in their 20s – there with their parents maybe? But mainly the crowd was in their 40s and 50s.

About 20 minutes before the band started we moved towards the front of the stage and took the stance. My stance is I take up as much room as I can so that the inevitable crush impact is lessened. I don’t think it works but it makes me feel like I’m doing something to give myself a bit of dancing room.

Five minutes before the band starts the people who were too slack to get there earlier move in and take up those spare places. One minute before the band starts more people – the loud one – and the one with the big handbag – come and stand near you. That handbag ended up on the floor by the end of the show because I kept bumping into it. Tip for the women. Leave your big handbag at home when you go out to a venue that will be crowded. Put the essentials in a smaller bag that you can sling over your shoulder. Much easier to handle and not as likely to piss people off.

But the band starts and it doesn’t matter so much any more. I always seem to get stuck behind someone that bit taller than me who obstructs my view a bit.

Last night I saw Boney M. I grew up on a bit of a Boney M diet. Both mum and nana were fans and every Christmas that we spent at nana’s place we listened to the Boney M Christmas album. I didn’t invite mum along because there’s no way she could have stood for over an hour watching them and the seating space was limited and with it a limited view.

In year 8, my dance group did a performance to Rasputin at the high school concert. I wore a black leotard and black tights. The next day when I went to school some bright spark – Shane, it was you – called me spider legs. My legs were much skinnier then.

The Boney M band came on stage, then the singers came on stage. I thought they all looked too young to be original members and as it turns out there’s only one original member left. But they did all the songs we know and love, ending with Rasputin and Rivers of Babylon which they dragged out for ages while the audience participated because of course we all knew the words.

It was all finished by 10.30 and as we had a last drink, one woman lamented that it had finished so early she needn’t have taken the day off. I wonder if they were catering to the older crowd?

Do you remember Boney M?

Boney M at The Gov

Boney M at The Gov

Boney M at The Gov

Boney M at The Gov

Good news about high school application

jules

It was all worth it.

About six weeks ago my son and I were in the midst of writing his application for high school. Well he was writing it, and I was nagging him, typing for him on the sidelines cheering him on.

Last night he got the acceptance letter saying he was in!

It was such a relief to get that good news.

Entry into high school here is automatic to a public school in your zoned area. Our zoned high school hasn’t got a good reputation and everyone I spoke to about it didn’t have anything good to say. As those years are very important in a kid’s life I didn’t want him spending them at a high school that might not suit him.

Plus there’s certain things he’s interested in and the high school he’s been accepted into perfectly suits those interests. The only thing is that to get in the student has to write their own application. He could have used another format like film or powerpoint but he chose to write.

It was like a job application and for a 12 year old to write it, is pretty full on I think. But that’s one of the reasons why this school has got a good reputation because the kids that go there want to be there. I’m sure some slip through the net but the majority are keen to be there.

I got the letter last night and took it over to after school care so he could open it. He opened it in front of everyone and thank goodness it was good news. He’s pretty resilient but it would have been hard to get bad news in public like that. He wouldn’t let me look over his shoulder but it didn’t take him look to yell and jump and announce he’d got in.

To celebrate I offered to take him out to dinner but he said he wanted fish and chips and to watch a movie. Don’t watch The Hungover Games. It’s crap! Even JJ said it was crap after we sat through it. But it’s what he wanted to do. I even cancelled pilates so I could celebrate with him. Big of me I know!

Now I’ve got a gajillion forms to fill in but I don’t care. I’m stoked.

Navigating my way to being a mum of a teenager

He’s not doing a winter sport so rather than sit around and do nothing much I thought we go geocaching. JJ suggested the Botanic Gardens so off we went on a beautiful autumn morning. I haven’t been there for a while so looked forward to having a wander around.

We parked nearby and I took some sneaky photos of JJ who has taken to being a bit camera shy. Must be a teenage boy thing as a friend’s son won’t let her take photos of him either.

On tree

I love the autumn colour. Never get sick of it. It makes the thought of winter that much more bearable.

Autumn, Botanic Park

flower

Palm house

I didn’t know I’d taken this photo of JJ in mid-air until I saw it later. Clever me huh?

Mid air

Autumn, Botanic Park

yellow

yellow

We have a great time when we get out and do stuff like this. We even bought a blueberry bush that JJ said he would plant and look after. Our geocaching efforts were for nought as the one we could find would have meant getting his feet/shoes wet and I wouldn’t let him.

I’m finding it hard to navigate this entry into being a parent of a teenager or almost teenager. I expect him to do things like be ready for school at a certain time after having done small chores around the place like make his bed, clean his teeth without having to remind him. Then he gets annoyed when I nag him and get cross at him for not having done those things. So he’s cross with me and I’m cross with him andit gets neither of us anywhere.

What’s the answer  here? I’m sick of leaving for work in an awful mood and when I’ve said goodbye, I’m leaving now he does a last minute rush and his jobs still aren’t done.

Perhaps I need to do the family meeting thing, lay down my expectations and he can tell me his and come to some sort of agreement where there’s consequences if he doesn’t do what I expect him to do. And it’s not that much really! In a nutshell I need to set the boundaries with him. These will become so much more important as he gets older too.

He’s been away at a school camp for the last couple of nights. While I have missed him, it’s been so darn easy to get out of the house in the morning and I’m much more relaxed when I do walk out the door.

I did find this technique of teaching your kid how to say sorry and I will be able to use it when I need to say sorry to him as well. I know I’m not perfect!

Photo walk trying out the new camera

I had a lovely day last Friday. A day off loomed ahead of me and rather than do what I thought I should do I thought I’d do what I wanted to do, which was take some photos.

I contacted a friend who I met through Flickr a few years ago and have kept in touch with since – mainly online. She asked if I wanted nature or buildings? I chose buildings so off to Semaphore we went as it’s a lovely older area there.

We got lost along the way in Alberton but made it to Semaphore and really began the excursion with a tart and coffee.

I treated myself to a new camera recently – a Sony RX100 M2. Am still negotiating my way around it and this trip highlighted the fact that I should have become better acquainted with it before I went out when it was easier to access my glasses and out of the daytime glare.

bins

I wonder what this building used to be. Its blue doors attracted me. I could hear an electrical hum behind the doors.

What's behind the blue doors?

No I didn’t break in, although I could have peeked couldn’t I?

Lock it

I tried out the very easy to use panorama feature. Well, very easy to use now that I’ve got it right. It’s a lot easier than taking multiple photos and using an app to stitch them together.

Semaphore foreshore

shed

This old fence is being held together by wire that’s been painted. It really needs to be done up as it looked as though you could push it over with your little finger. I hope nobody does.

fence

lattice work

I’m not sure what type of bird this is, but he was just wandering the streets.

Why did the bird cross the road?

Letterboxes are fascinating. This is a homemade one for sure.

Ten

Corrugated iron

No trespassing

Jetty

jetty

We arrived at the jetty at fishing o’clock. This group were just a few of the people arriving at about the same time.

Largs jetty - fishing

From Largs Pier

I thought this was a great mosaic of a merman. It wasn’t until I saw his female equivalent on the other side of the building that I realised it also symbolised who the toilets were for. I am sometimes a bit slow.

Merman

All up, we had a lovely outing punctuated with food (tarts above) and a delicious lunch at Queenies Store and we didn’t get lost on the way home.

It’s about the stories

Sun in autumn

People want to hear stories. Stories make reading more interesting. My day job involves writing for the web and a web review of our website has suggested showing rather than telling, ie use stories. Rather than tell people what a fabulous organisation we are, let’s show them.

You know how when you’re thinking about something you notice a lot more about it. Say, you’re looking to buy a certain type of car. You’ve never noticed those cars on the road before until you want one and you notice heaps of them.

So it’s happened to me with storytelling. I’ve been thinking about stories, and thinking about writing more here – I go through stages – and what do you know? I’m not alone. Let me share some other people who are also thinking about stories, or telling good ones.

Leah Peterson tells stories – hers and yours. She’s currently doing a series of interviews with bloggers. It’s interesting reading and a great way to find out about new bloggers.

Neil Kramer writes stories and he’s also just started an experiment where he chats with people and puts the transcript up on his website. I’m interested to see where this goes.

Karen Walrond tells stories and takes amazing photos. Maybe one day we will meet and she’ll take an amazing photo of me. I love how she captures portraits. She also wrote a recent post called These people are nothing like me. If you’re looking for other bloggers she’s shared some there.

Because the above three are based in the US, here are a couple of Australians who tell great stories too.

Kirsty Rice is an expat living in Qatar but she’s originally a local gal who grew up in the country like me and does a great job of sharing what it’s like to be living overseas.

Anna Spargo Ryan is originally from Adelaide (where I live) but now lives in Melbourne. She shares a lot about her life and she also includes some of her writing.

I know there’s loads of other writers out there who tell stories and do an amazing job but these are just five.

Please tell me yours.

 

Mother’s Day – with a silver lining

legomoviejules

Last Sunday was Mother’s Day. What a bust. Like New Year’s Eve you build yourself up thinking it’s going to be a wonderful day and when it’s not you feel really let down.

I don’t think JJ even said happy Mother’s Day to me. I certainly didn’t get breakfast in bed and apart from a couple of good moments during the day I was glad when he finally went to bed.

I also think that Mother’s Day must be really hard for people who’ve lost their mums and for people who really want to be a mum. Like a slap in the face. Thinking like this about others certainly puts things in perspective – in retrospect.

Three days after mother’s day JJ showed me the poem he wrote for me that was still on the computer. I’ve now printed it out and put it up at work. He tells me I’m full of surprises like a treasure chest waiting to be opened. and I’m like a golden fish swimming in the ocean standing out like a colossal diamond in the room. I work in and out of the house faster than I can blink or eat cake – and some other wonderful things.

But it’s not that poem I want to share here. It’s another one he wrote at the end of last term that got read out at assembly because his teacher thought it was so good. I’ve been asking to see it since then but only just got it.

He said I can share it so here goes:

How to Treat Life

There are two ways to treat life

One with care

One with stupidity

Care comes with responsibility and compassion

You have to play sport and exercise instead of doing nothing

You also have to exercise your brain.

You need to be nice and caring for others

You have to take responsible risks

You should be open to learning

Choosing the people you can trust to help you

You strive to be someone they trust and look up to in a good way

You are to be yourself

Not the person other people want you to be

You need to stick to your dreams and accomplish them

Stupidity comes with no care or compassion

You don’t exercise yourself

You don’t exercise your brain

You treat others horribly

You don’t care about what might happen to yourself or others

You’re not open to learning

You bully others

You’re what “the cool kids” want you to be

You change what you are, but remember

You only have one life