Parenting, profundities and humour

Eldest… — January 28, 2018


So there is likely to follow an unashamedly schmaltzy and over the top piece about my son. I am allowed. Just this once.

Soon my first born son turns 14. In fact next Tuesday.

So what can I say about Eldest?

That he is becoming a lovely young man. Standing nearly six feet tall. Strong and handsome. And that this is hard to believe. It seems like yesterday that he was a babe in my arms. A 14 month old learning to walk with a sock in his mouth. A toddler with a sturdy, determined gait caring for his new brother. A pre schooler quiet and shy. A small boy learning to ride a bike and play football, playing his first notes on the piano, making friends, learning to read and write. A ten year old struck down by appendicitis. A young man changing schools and bravely starting over.


That he is empathic and friendly, unhappy when anyone is left out, able to get along with different ‘sets’ of friends.

That despite the onslaught of hormones and puberty he has on the whole remained respectful and kind and fun to spend time with.

That he is still a mummy’s boy. Happy to have a kiss goodbye (surreptitiously) in the school car park. Snuggle on the sofa and accept bedtime hugs.


That he likes Vera. And Batman. And Arrow. And will bore to death anyone who happens to be in ear shot about Marvel films.

That he is a fiercely loyal sibling. Despite the usual fracas and bickering underneath he ‘gets’ his brother and sister. He coaches his sister in football. Wrestles with his brother. Bosses them around far too much. Loves them.

That he loves history. Has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the World Wars. Likes museums and art galleries.

That he is a dedicated and talented musician. Playing the cello with feeling and passion. Practising every day to meet his own very high standards. Playing in groups and performing in shows despite crippling nerves.

That he is his own worst critic. Nothing is ever ‘good enough’.

That he has always been the inventor of games and the ringleader in playtime. From home made trebuchets, to duvet surfing, to extreme hot wheels.


That he reminds me of me.

That he likes to cook. Although time does not allow this as much as it should. That we still laugh about the carrot and orange soup and the lemon ‘flop’ meringue pie.


That he has an amazing work ethic. In every area of life. Always tries his best. Listens and learns.

That he is an artist. With creative ideas and talent to match. Taking himself upstairs to draw and producing art to be proud of.

That he takes perceived criticism much too much to heart and forgets all the praise and accolades and prizes.

That he is a team player. Loving his rugby and hockey. Working hard to get onto and stay in the team. Not a monopoliser of the limelight. But quietly doing his bit. A vital team member.

That he always notices. My new hair cut. New clothes. That he will call and chat to his grandma with love and affection. That he makes you feel appreciated. That he buys thoughtful gifts (except for that sabre toothed tiger).

That, although serious and on occasion earnest, he can be silly and loud and exuberant. Not as much as I would like. That when he smiles the sun comes out.

That he has always been an eating machine. And that recently he has found the turbo button.

That he loves the outdoors. Camping and cycling and Scouting and mud. Can map read (ish), start fires, hike, orienteer, climb. That he is adventurous; facing his fears after a thorough risk assessment of course.

That he worries too much. About making the grade. Being good enough. Hitting some ‘ideal’ of what achievement is about. Driving himself to extremes.

When really he has always been better than good enough. He has always been amazing. And always will be.

Love you son. Just as you are.


Happy Birthday!



TV Dinners — July 19, 2015

TV Dinners

Here I am again…..still on holiday… I have a spare minute or two lounging on the balcony whilst husband gathers lunch…in a hunter kind of way….it makes him feel good….it may only be a very very very hot trip to the mini market a short stroll away but hey ho it if is good for his ego who am I to argue. Eldest has gone too. He needs to learn such manly pursuits sometime.

Middlest and youngest are watching dubious TV. The choice is limited it being Greece here. But they have stumbled across the Disney Channel which seems to play white middle class teenage comedies on a sort of loop. They find it totally hypnotic. It is preferable to the 24 hour doom and gloom on CNN. And anyway it gets them out of the sun for a bit.

I had an idea for this entry which I seem to have lost the thread of. Where was I?

Oh yes I remember. I came on to talk about electronics. Specifically children and electronic devices. But now I have told you that two of my three are currently sitting in front of one I feel a tad hypocritical. But then I have spent all morning in a pool with them playing ball, and races and diving for ‘sinking seal’. So I feel a little bit of me time is in order…this blog is me time by the way. And they are on holiday and allowed to choose to spend some time watching mindless TV, even if it is beset with horrific stereotypes and canned laughter of the worst order.

Scene setting done. One, I am not against electronics per se, two, my children have devices and watch TV, three, not sure but this sentence seemed to need a three….

What prompted this post was a phenomenon I have already observed at home but which has been brought into sharp relief here. And that is the use of electronic devices at dinner tables. What really brought it to a head today though was seeing this at breakfast. Yep breakfast.

Breakfast here is an all you can eat buffet. I have mentioned the queuing for bacon already. But the choices are really quite endless. My point in bringing this up is that it is not a passive affair. One has to get up, regularly in my family’s case, to refill your plate or glass. Luckily the walk from the table we inhabit to the groaning buffet is quite lengthy and goes a small way to compensate for the vast amount of calories on offer.

As such breakfast can be as long or short as you like. It is busy and noisy and in no way refined. As such I see absolutely no need for a child to be watching a film/ playing a game/ searching you tube on an electronic device propped up on the salt and pepper cellars. I find it distressing. Actually distressing.

I don’t really like seeing it at dinner either. Yesterday a group had set the adults up at one end of their table and the four children at the other each mining for something on a separate device. ┬áMy only hope is that they were at least ‘networked’ and able to meet up in the virtual world. I think you can do that in Minecraft.

I find this odd. There were four of them around the same age. Even if the adults did not want to interact at all with their offspring surely those offspring could have entertained themselves off line?

Or if the adults were worried that they were unable to sit ‘nicely’ at a table without the use of an electronic kosh they could have been left at home with a babysitter (10 euros an hour here I am told, quite reasonable at current exchange rates). Whose job would have been very easy as I don’t think I saw any of them speak the whole time we were there.

When we eat I like to talk to my kids. Even when they were little they joined in with the meal fully. Yes those meals were not extended three hour affairs and when we went out we made full use of those colouring books and pencils provided at many family friendly restaurants. But they joined in.

This morning at breakfast we ‘discussed’ plans for the day. We talked about possible future holidays. I regaled them, probably not for the first time, with stories of our past trips abroad. I embarrassed them by being overly demonstrative and animated. In short we interacted.

I was saddened to see a little girl sat in a highchair, dummy in in between ‘courses’ watching some kids TV show on her rubber protected I pad whilst mum and dad ate in silence, each on a phone. I guess it is somewhat equivalent to reading a newspaper. Those cliches of men retreating behind their broadsheet to avoid being drawn in. I don’t like books or papers at the table either.

And yes I don’t know the ins and outs of their families. Maybe they hate each other (odd to come on holiday to Greece though in that case). Maybe those children are extremely difficult.

But I see it so much that I cannot believe that to be the case all the time. I just think it is laziness. Or a lack of anything to say. Which is just sad.

Any how rant over. I must be off to save my children’s minds from the drivel they are sat in front of. And anyway I think I hear hubby and eldest returning with freshly hunted packets of processed meat and fried potato products. One must arrange one’s grateful and somewhat awed face. And take off one’s judgey pants…

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