Thursday, 26 March 2015

Embarrassing your children

It was Tween's Parents' Evening last night. The ex had showed no interest in coming (as per), and so it was just me and Tween, the terrible two.

As we were leaving, Tween caught my arm. Looking me straight in the eyes, he said, "Mum. Please don't embarrass me tonight."

And so. The moment had arrived. I was used to Teen (who is 14) walking ten paces behind me, and hissing at me when I dared to talk in public above the 'whispering' threshold; but Tween? Outside of the house, Tween had always laughed like a drain with me, no holds barred; he had danced on the pavement; he even, once, took his trousers down in a shopping centre for a dare.

But now, he too has arrived in the Teenage Sulking Pit, where he thinks that all eyes are on him and laughter, it seems, is not the best medicine.

It was with a very heavy heart then, that I left the house with Tween in tow (literally, as he walked five paces behind me all the way there). And as we waited in the hall, and I dared to talk and - yes, belly laugh - with other parents, Tween stared at me with all the hate that he could possibly muster. And when I got the timings wrong and mistakenly sat down ahead of another parent, Tween couldn't stand the embarrassment, and disappeared to the toilets to calm down.

I knew it was coming. And I do understand (my God, I even just about remember) that when you're 12, adults are the friends of the devil. There's a really lovely article by Adam Gopnik which explains that, unfortunately, our whole generation are destined to be embarrassing and ridiculous in the eyes of our tweenagers - partly because we still think we're cool. At this stage, our parents had left their cool days behind and were firmly planted in the 'building patios' and 'having dinner parties' territory. We, however, are watching The Voice and downloading everything by Will.I.Am in the hope that we will like it. (Generally, we don't.)

I think I'm cool. I mean, what is not cool about me? I wear skater dresses and converse trainers. I'm a whizz on Social Media. I don't like wearing coats. And I know who Rita Ora is.

Oh yes, and I'm 44. And I like Oli Murs. Oh - and I talk loudly, fart in public, tell shit jokes, hug my children constantly, live in a tiny house, struggle with gadgets, wear a hi-viz jacket, listen to Wham.


If you have small children, I've drawn up some helpful guidelines to help you prepare for the inevitable.

When I'm 50, my children will be adults. Tween will be stressing his way through the final year of his 'A' levels. Teen will have arisen from his pupa to be a fully-fledged carbon copy of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, and will be studying Physics with similarly uber narrowly bright people.

But when they are home, and knocking their heads on my low ceilings, I hope that they will dance with me again in the kitchen. Watch shit TV with me. Even be seen outside with me.

Because I am already missing it.

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  1. Funny how we all go into parenthood believing that we will never be embarrassing uncool parents like our parents were, but we do and even the young girls who fall pregnant at 15 or 16 become old and embarrassing when their children hit tweenhood.
    Lovely post, I have always said that people have children so that they can have grandchildren who won't be embarrassed by them or cheeky and disrespectful :)

  2. Oh my...not much longer for me. I think their dad will see the brunt of it though.


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