Sunday 28 June 2009

auntiegwens guide of what to do lesson 2 - Parenting - the teenage years

Da dun dun, cue scary music.

Parenting teenagers is a doddle if you've worked in a zoo or on peace keeping missions in Iraq. Most of us haven't, have some more of my handy hints.

Don't watch Skins or Hollyoaks, especially Skins, it will fret you.

Don't ask questions that you won't like the answer to. I work on a strictly need to know basis. I'm sure that's much better for my peace of mind.

Find a good hiding place for your stuff. Teenage girls in particular think that any cosmetics/perfumes/toiletries that are in the house belong to anyone that needs them. This goes for shoes, clothes and jewellery too, it is much worse if you are the same size, your 17 year old daughter looks so much better in all your clothes. Teenage boys think all food in the house belongs to them, no matter how many times you tell them that if it's a fruit and nut toblerone it's yours, they'll still eat it.

Music has to be played at 1 decibel below ear bleeding to be fully appreciated by the teenage ear. Train them early to like your music, it hurts less when you like what's being played.

Choose your battles carefully - sure where's the harm if they look like they got dressed in the dark or have been at the dressing up box. Take pictures, lots of them - in years to come you'll have hours of enjoyment looking at the cut of them.

If you put food in the fridge, it will be eaten. If there is beer, it will be drunk. If your house gets the rep of having such items you will be descended on by a plague of hungry/thirsty teenagers. This is expensive.

They appear not to get tidier with age. You would think that having 3 teens you could delegate some of the chores out, spread the weight a bit. You can try. Good luck with that.

The behaviour level is sometimes similar to the toddler phase, especially when the hormone fairy has visited, they are significantly less cute though.

What excited them when they were 5, will excite them again at 16/17/18. They love trampolines, bouncy castles and jelly. If you do a birthday party with kids games like pass the parcel and provide alcohol, you will have some very happy teenagers.

Remember when your adorable little cherub of a toddler got you up at 6am every day ? It is incredibly enjoyable to go into a teenagers bedroom (double the fun if they're hungover/woke you up when they stumbled in drunk/vomited in a bathroom cleaned that very day)and wake them up. You can bounce on their bed, open the curtains and say in a nice cheerful tone "S'morning now, morning now, get up, get up, get up, I'm wake now, entertain me, hungry now, bored now, can we go to the park ?" or any other little saying your cherub was fond of in their pre dawn years.

Thursday 25 June 2009

auntiegwens guide of what to do lesson 1 - Parenting - the pre teen years

As some of you may know I have 3 children. I had my 3 children in the space of 4 and a half years. I knew nothing of how to bring up kids, nothing at all. Take heart - they and I have survived.

Tell them you love them every single day. Tell yourself that too.

Find something to praise them for daily. I know this can be tough, feel for me, I have teenagers.

Accept that your pre child ideas of parenting will not happen. You know your own particular brand of parenting snobbery. These usually go something like "I'll never allow..." Mine were chocolate biscuits and snot. I failed. On both counts.

Gina feckin Ford and her contented little baby is a big fat lie. Gina feckin Ford has not had a baby of her own, contented or otherwise. Therefore I feel that Gina feckin Ford should shut the feck up.

When children are quiet then something is afoot. You can either enjoy the peace whilst it lasts, take 5 to do what you love to do, flick though a magazine, eat a hobnob, go to the toilet all by your own self and accept that you will have to deal with the consequences later or you can go investigate immediately and perform damage limitation. You pays your money you takes your choice.

Small children will believe just about anything if you say it with enough authority. Enjoy this stage when you are the most clever person they know. You will be usurped when they fall in love with their primary school teacher. Then every sentence will start with "Miss Primary School teacher says..." You won't care for their tone.

When small children are fractious tell them it's because they need a poo. If you use enough authority in your voice (point 6) they will go and sit on the loo. This will give you 5 or maybe even 10 minutes if you're lucky for the situation to diffuse (this is much better than free time as in point 5). Then you can either praise them for performing or trying (point 2)

Like puppies they need the holy trinity of fresh air, exercise and boundaries. I wouldn't advise smacking them on the nose with a rolled up newspaper though. Social services don't like that.

No one will love your kids or be interested in them like you are, I found this very hard to believe when I had the world's most perfect and beautiful child and I wanted to share her magnificence with the world. Imagine my surprise when I found that other people felt that their child was the world's most perfect and beautiful and they wanted to tell me all about it.

It matters not a jot at what age they walk, talk, crawl, cut a tooth, get potty trained etc. This does not make your child a genius nor is this a sign of them going to be President of the world. I have taught an awful lot of teenagers, even the most stupid of them could walk, talk and go to the toilet.

Wednesday 24 June 2009

auntiegwens guide of what not to do lesson 2 - How not to upset people.

Lesson 2 in my handy hints to life guide

Do not forget your niece's birthday, this will annoy your sister. It cuts no ice that you have 3 jobs and are bringing 3 kids up by yourself and your niece's birthday is not top of your list of priorities, your sister will still be annoyed.

If you get 2 free tickets to go see the new film "My Sister's Keeper" do not choose to take 1 of your daughters. It matters not a jot that you took the other one to the free showing of "27 Dresses" and it's the other daughters turn. It also appears not to matter that it is in fact one of Eldest Beautiful daughters favourite books. Beautiful Baby Daughter will still be pissed.

It is unwise to mention that for the £5 you spent buying ingredients you could have bought a really nice cheesecake from Marks and Spencer. This will make The Beautiful Son feel irritated, it's not like he chooses to make cakes is it? He goes to school, gets told what to do, comes home gets moaned at, just like me, you'd think I'd undertand. The cheesecake was in fact delish.

When EBD's friend Phil comes to visit you and he on arival he says "I know EBD's not in, I've come to see you" (that seriously perplexes me, he comes to see me every visit home from uni, why ? ) It's fine to ask how his course is going (geology at Manchester) fine to ask about field trips (Devon and France) fine to ask about gigs (Download, Prodigy were amazing as were Slipknot apparently) but not fine to ask how his girlfriend is (glued to the hip for past 3 years) the glue's become undone, in a big way. Oops.

Best not to schedule a haircut after you've given yourself a "nice wee rinse" This will not escape your hairdresser's notice. This may annoy her and may explain why she's cut so much feckin hair off when you asked for a wee trim.

Monday 22 June 2009

auntiegwen's guide of what not to do - lesson 1 make up, hair and personal grooming for the 40 something woman.

Make up

It is not a good idea to be seduced into a free make over using the new seasons colours IF

The Clarins lady is a child who looks like she's been at the paint box. That's your starter for 10.

You will be made to sit on a very high chair in the middle of Boots with a NAKED face and your hair very unattractively pinned back from your face showing your sticky out ears that you are still conscious of.

This child will then examine your pores with a magnifying glass and then realise your face is old. No shit, Sherlock.

The child will then proceed to give you "a glamorous evening look" This means your face will not match the rest of you, as you will be attired in your normal Gap jeans, Petit Bateau kids vest and fit flops.

The result would be a slightly more ramped up version of Jodie Harsh. Who knew you could have all the colours of the Jamaican flag on your eyes?

If I have not put you off, schedule this at the end of your shopping trip, not the beginning, it is quite surprising for unwary shoppers going about their business.


In the interests of economy you may decide to not pay a proper fully trained and experienced hairdresser to cover up your grey hairs. You may decide you can give yourself a "nice wee rinse" and save the cash, you may like your auntie be doing the justification maths - "if I dye my own hair I will save £80 a pop, 6 times a year, feck that's £480, a pair of Choo's and a cake on the way home"

You will be in Boots (wisely avoiding the Clarins child and her free feckin make overs) and you may choose a Botanics Bitter Chocolate (yep the irony wasn't lost on your auntie either) semi permanent rinse.

When you get home, you may like myself, sequester yourself in your bathroom, and apply as per instructions. It is probably not best done after a large glass of the red stuff furthermore it may be wise to avoid having a 2nd glass whilst you are waiting. Also this is not the time to apply anything else to your person (this will be covered in full in section 3)

It is a very bad idea to be harangued by your son to come watch the new Michael McIntyre DVD he got for his birthday, in doing so you will leave the Botanics Bitter Chocolate "nice wee rinse" on for 6 times as long as it says you should.

Your hair will not be Bitter Chocolate at the end, it will be a kind of 1950's Glaswegian Bingo Caller Black. You, however will be both bitter and in need of chocolate.

Personal Grooming

I can't be faffed with all this waxing stuff. However, it is summer and more of me is on show than normal, steady, I meant shins. Also I am preparing for when I am in a situation with another person that requires me to remove more than my cardigan, well, you never know!

I unearth a very old and manky tube of Immac and whilst waiting for the hair dye, I apply liberally and with abandon all about my personage, under arms, legs, bikini line. Remember I'm one glass of the red stuff down. So I am sat on the loo (yes I know this is TMI) but I've nowhere else to sit in my loo and I am flicking through Red magazine.

I am harangued by son to watch DVD so I throw on my dressing gown and go. Very biddable sort I am.

When I go for my shower I am amazed at what manky old Immac can remove. I am completely hairless. My pudenda looks startled without her fringe. This is a look I am very unused to.

Recap and Plenary

Avoid children with make up brushes
Avoid wine whilst attempting any kind of spruce yourself up stuff
Do not be overenthusiastic with hair removal cream, even if it's old it still works.
If the thoughts "sure, where's the harm" "nae bother" or "what's the worst that can happen" enter your head at ANY point in the proceedings, stop immediately.

Friday 19 June 2009

Horoscope my arse

I have fessed up on more than 1 occasion about my slight (but harmless) obsession with my horoscope.

Can you imagine how overgiddy with delight I was to read yesterday that I shouldn't be at all surprised if I got engaged? Well, is that not right up mush junkies street? Now we're talking, that would make your aunties wee cup of happiness overflow.

I was mocked mercilessly by my uber cynical colleagues and the office rang with peals of derisory laughter. I cared not a jot as I felt it was only a matter of time before either of the Divine Davids (Messrs Ginola and Tennant) were to hotfoot it to my classroom clutching a duck egg blue box (Tiffany, for any boys reading this and wondering where to buy a beautiful engagement ring)

You can imagine how excited I was the whole damn day, alert to the sign of any proposal winging my way as celestially foretold to me that very morning.

So I waited

and I waited

and I waited some more

I ate a lot of birthday cake while I was waiting.

Finally at 00 05 I accepted that it was some other lucky Leo that was getting engaged. I didn't want to but I did.

But I feel the Cosmos owes me a fiancee.

Russell feckin Grant.

Thursday 18 June 2009

Happy Birthday to my boy

Today my son was 14. My 9llb 11 oz bundle of joy (yes, that's right, he was a monster baby, he was 63 centimetres long too !)has now turned into a huge boy.

Where I used to tuck him in at night, he now says goodnight to me. I used to hold his hand to cross the road and now he makes sure it's safe for me.

If I could pick a son, I'd pick mine, I'd change nothing, he is quite simply the perfect son for me. I couldn't be prouder, he is an amazing young man and my words don't do him justice.

He is one of my 3 reasons for everything and my heart, mo chridhe.

Wednesday 17 June 2009

My day by auntiegwen aged 42 and 3/4's

This morning at 7 am I was putting the bins out when I got spotted by one of my students doing their paper round. I don't know who was more startled but the sight of me in my very short nightie nearly knocked them off their bike.

When I was leaving for work my bins were the only ones left in the street. I spent the drive to work formulating the crushing complaints I was going to make when I phoned the council, I was coming over all Daily Mailish and I had my "I pay exorbitant amounts of council tax" aggrieved tone off to a tee. By the time I'd arrived at work I realised I was a day early, my collection day is Thursday.

I spent the day with my nursery nurse students, they sat their final exam after lunch, they were nervous, they were very nervous. One lady cried. I had a headache. I had no lunch, I had no coffee either. That's probably why I had the headache.

After that I went to the the only mobile phone shop in England that I hadn't visited at the weekend. My "I'm not fussy what new phone I get for my birthday" son is a liar. He is very fussy, there are 2 phones in the world he likes in the price range that I am prepared to pay. Neither of them are available. His birthday is tomorrow.

I drive to a neighbouring high school to watch a recycling and ecology showcase. It started at 4pm, I was 5 minutes late, I had to do the bad mummy slink of shame in. My beautiful baby daughter had made a dress out of crisp packets, her dress and her narration lasted around 45 seconds. I was there for 2 hours and 25 minutes, there's only so much recycling a girl can take. My limit was reached in about 10 minutes.

I drive home and make tea for 3 ungrateful offspring. After tea, I put presents in gift bags ( no wrapping paper, not ecologically sound, I will reuse gift bags, one has a pink fairy on, just the job for a 14 year old rugby player) I bake a birthday cake, it is the 43rd birthday cake I have baked for my children. They haven't really evolved or improved but the weans love them.

I attempted to help BBD with her algebra but failed, successfully helped TBS with his GSCE English transition work and filled in a consent form for EBD to go on a trip. Resist the urge to say "more feckin money" It is of course imperative to my child's education and future career prospects that she goes to see "Little Shop of Horrors" Imperative.

I read NB's blog about the KoL gig and don't feel jealous at all when I realise Glasvegas were the support. I am happy for him, really I am.

I prepare for a lesson on research methods for tomorrow. I drink coffee, think about running then it rains so I eat a fruit and nut toblerone. Why not ?

I take my make up off, do teeth, into bed and blog this. I am exhausted. It isn't even 9 o'clock.

And in my head is the the refrain from that funny song about mums that says

"And tomorrow we will do this all again because a mom's work never ends"

Tuesday 16 June 2009

Strange Little Things

I'm sure we all have our quirks, the funny little habits we have that we don't notice until they're pointed out to us. I have a fair few, for example...

I can't wash my knickers in anyone elses machine (even my mums) I have to use my own.

My knickers have to match my bra.

I always ask for tea, or say I'm making a cup of tea but I mean coffee, I've never drank tea, this confuses everyone except the children, they know I mean coffee.

I never use apostrophes in texts, I just leave a space. I also don't use a full stop I put a kiss in instead. I also hate to end a message without a kiss, it just seems wrong. Some friends (well, just the one actually) have their own special signature kiss ending.

I read at least 6 horoscopes every day and half believe them too. I don't like to date Virgo's either, they don't match well with Leo's, yes I know that's taking it too far.

Sunday 14 June 2009

Reasons to be cheerful part 4

I got a new washing machine, I am very pleased about that. I was running out of knickers and somedays I had to wear non matching lingerie, shameful isn't it ?

The sun is shining again and I got a squillion loads of laundry done and dried outside, I am currently in bed in beautifully fresh smelling sheets. Yes, I probably am very sad.

I had a very good weekend, a gorgeous al fresco lunch on Saturday with 2 large glasses of pink fizzy and a really delish honeycomb cheesecake for pudding. I had great company and I managed to not make an arse of myself, not too shabby is it ?

I have been offered a fantastic new job, and it's not in the classroom.

auntiegwens wee cup of happiness runneth over.

Wednesday 10 June 2009

auntiegwen goes to the country.

I am unashamedly urban, I like pavements, streetlights, shops and Starbucks. I make no apology for it, I am a city girl through and through.

On Saturday, I went to a posh wedding in Arse-end-of-nowhere, a charming village in Herefordshire, I believe I was nearly in Wales. The wedding was held in a marquee in a field. I am sure the setting is beautiful, there were trees and grass and sheep and I am sure that floats lots of people's boats. Sure no harm to them, if we all liked the same things, the world would be a boring place.

Not your auntie.

I had on a very beautiful frock and my favourite shoes, as you're reading this you're thinking, that was a mistake hen, and you'd be right. The car was parked beside the field, in a parking field, so to speak. Then I had to walk IN MY GOOD SHOES (Dune, emperor purple satin overlaid with black lace 5 inch stilettos, I love them)...

through a field, to clarify, not a road, a wet, heel sinking, eat my stiletto type of field.

You can imagine your aunties mood and vocabulary at this point.

The man who'd asked me to accompany him as a plus one was beginning to find me less charming than he'd previously thought. This is a terribly posh man who lives a very country lifestyle, he finds me amusing in a "not quite sure what she is really" kind of way, he has no notion of me at all. He offers to carry me across the field as he is a gentleman but I put my fixed parents evening grin on my face and carry on.

Let me say, the wedding was beautiful, the marquee was perfect, the bride glorious and there was a free bar and dishes of love hearts on the table. The music was like a school disco circa 1982, so perfect for me, and we danced well into the night. I had a brilliant time.

The buffet was a bit different, they had roasted a pig, it still had it's face on and people were hacking lumps off the side of it and sticking them in bread rolls. Vegetarian auntie that I am found that slightly disconcerting.

The people are different, the men were huge, I felt absolutely tiny and they talked about things I had no notion of whatsoever. They just seem to say exactly what they're thinking. There was a very nice, very posh man telling me how he and Charles Spencer play cricket together, I know nothing of this sport, I'm Scottish, genetically predisposed to be bemused by cricket and as I apologised for my lack of knowledge he assured me it didn't matter. he then added, almost as an afterthought...

"Jolly nice breasts though"

Now if some ned had said come up to me in a bar and said "Good tits" I'd have been offended, uber posh man same sentiment, worded differently made me laugh.

Monday 8 June 2009

The Upper Hand

My mother is struggling with Gadget Mad Dad's retirement and him being around her all day.

She fessed up to me she sent him off into town using his new free bus pass to buy her a cardigan from Marks and Spencer. Just to get rid of him for a while.

The cardigan she'd asked him to buy doesn't exist, it was a made up one, available only in her head, described in detail from her imagination. This was done purely to keep him out her way for the longest time possible. GMD is like a man on a mission if he's looking for something, he'll keep going till he finds it.

GMD went to M&S in Argyle Street and not surprisingly couldn't find the non existent cardigan, he rang her, she told him maybe she'd seen it in Sauchiehall St branch. he rang her again from there, so apologetic that he couldn't find it and bless him he offered to get the bus to Braehead (out of town shopping centre) and she let him.

He was gone from 9.30 till 4pm.

I gently enquired if this wasn't just a wee tiny bit mean and I got "Och he enjoys it, going on the buses and round the shops, keeps him out of mischief"

My mother should be running this country.

Friday 5 June 2009

I am waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too hungover for this.

Last night I was an extremely naughty girl teacher. I was drunkety, drunk, drunk

Last night I drank

3 glasses of rose
1 glass of red
and I think 2 glasses of champagne (that'd be what did it)

I was at a quiz evening at school, rock n roll eh ? You should see what I turn down!! (toilet paper party in London, anyone ?)

Anyway, I'm at this quiz night, getting fairly fizzled, then I got fairly flirty with one of the biology teachers purely because he won a box of celebrations. He was going to take them home unopened and it became a sort of personal challenge to see if he'd give me a malteser (not a euphemism) and he did.

I got home and went straight to bed, only 1 round of drunken flirty texting and when they rang me 5 mins after the text I was asleep.

But this morning it feels like I have unleashed hell. I feel truly dreadful. I had to take my car to get serviced, normally I run home from the garage, today I walked home so slowly I was lapped by a pensioner using her shopping trolley as a walking aid, she spoke to me and I had no clue, not a notion as to what she said.

Further up the road I saw a woman in her mid to late 50's who looked like I felt, actually I probably looked like that too, she was a peculiar colour and had hair like a bird's nest. She was dressed in a style that had care in the community stamped all over it and she was wearing a disposable lighter on a cord around her neck. She had poked a camera through a hedge and was taking photos of someones garden.

As I am trying to assemble and process this information I turn the corner onto my street, and I see an elderly Chinese lady in pink floral pyjamas, black mens socks and shoes power walking, yep, power walking, the one where it looks like your arse is chewing a caramel. You couldn't make it up.

It is official, I live in Bonkerstown. I'm going back to bed.

Wednesday 3 June 2009

Techfeckinology again

My washing machine is dead. It is 16 months old, I am not amused.

My laptop battery is dead. It has to be plugged in to use it, not tremendously helpful. I don't know how to sort this and yes I really wish I was still talking to IT God.

My all singing all dancing 4 month old streemly expensive Sony Erikson mobile phone is dead. I can only use it if it's on speakerphone, there are very few conversations that I would be happy to have that loud. Very few.

I am now using my 2nd to last phone which is a Nokia, I can't remember how it works but I found my old text messages, there were some really poignant ones, some funny ones and IT God's proposal and I cried.

Monday 1 June 2009

Have you missed me ?

I am back from my first 3 generation holiday ever. No one fell out, no one was cross, there may have been a few mutterings under breaths but everyone tried very hard to keep the peace.

On Friday I was awake for 24 hours (I know, me that loves her bed, I can hardly believe it myself) I flew back into Manchester then drove back to chez auntiegwen before shooting off again to deepest darkest Essex and then into London to see The Manics courtesy of my lovely, lovely friend NB. Click on him for the review of the gig, he didn't mention the fight though, middle aged men behaving badly. The Manics were awesome though and I was slightly sad the didn't sing my favourite song but there's always next time.

So I'm back to real life. My washing machine engineer didn't turn up today. My year 12's were still my year 12's and the smile of the day was the following conversation with a student

Year 12 - Miss you look different
Me - It'll be the suntan
Year 12 - No, that's not it. Have you had your hair cut ?
Me - Nope
Year 12 - Have you dyed it ?
Me - Nope

Year 12 student in triumphant tones

Miss, I know what it is, you've had a boob job, they look well bigger.