Thursday, 13 November 2014

Raising Boys


My alarm goes off at 6.30. It's been a night of musical beds, and so I am feeling a little tired. And therefore teasy. I go into Alf's room to rouse him from restful slumbers "Alf, time to get up." "Go away," comes the muffled response. I can hear Olly calling from his room. I open his door "Morning Pops." "Where's Daddy?" "He's at work. He'll be back tonight." "Can you go away when he comes back? I just want to be with Dad." Back into Alf's room "Up you get, mate." "Stop banging on," comes the reply.

 And on it goes. In fact by about 8.15 my patience - which is not great at the best of times - has failed me. Olly won't eat any breakfast, which causes me no end of stress on a school day. I have a need to feed, and the fact that he isn't playing ball leaves me frazzled. I have to physically wrestle him into his uniform, while he kicks and screams blue bloody murder. Alfie blames me for making him stay in the shower for half an hour, even though I have been banging on the door after five minutes telling him to vacate, like, Now!! Throw Sam into the mix - there is always the expectation that I drive him to college on a Thursday, because he starts later - and I can feel my eye starting to twitch, my pulse race and my voice become ever shrill.



It is pouring with rain, and so I agree to give Alfie a lift to school. "We have to leave by 8.30, so I can get Olly into school on time." We leave a 8.45, after Alfie has finished doing whatever it is that he does in his bedroom. The world and his wife are taking their offspring to school. It isn't helped by the fact that Alfie and Olly shout at each other constantly whilst they are in the car. Missiles are thrown, and I nearly drive into a traffic cone. I don't deposit Olly to school until 9.10. The teachers are fine about it, but I have a thing for lateness you see, and so I don't feel very fine about it.

I come home to find Sam taking clean cereal bowls out of the cupboard, inspecting them, and then putting them in the washing up bowl. "Why are you doing that?" (or words to that effect). 'They're all dirty." "No they're not." (or words to that effect) "Perhaps you should wash up better." "£$%^&***^%$" (or words to that effect). "Can I get a lift to college?" "No." "It's raining." "You have a buss pass." "It just smacks of favouritism in this house."

Then my phone tells me I have a text. From Alfie. "Forgot PE kit. Leave it at reception." Right! So off I go, back to school with his kit. I park in a disabled bay (I know, I know), run into the school in the howling wind and rain and deposit it with the lovely receptionist.  I meet my friend Nichola, who has brought in her son's forgotten packed lunch. We pass comment on what an absolute pain the arse both our boys are.

I get home, and drive Sam to college. The journey passes in complete silence. We arrive at college. "Have a nice day," I say. The door slams shut. I drive home. Actually I stop at the supermarket, because the boys have run out of fruit and cereal. Then I drive home. I make beds, pick up socks, pants and stuff from bedroom floors. I vacuum said floors. I empty their wastepaper bins. I do all of this completely grudgingly.



I pick up Olly from school. He has made some junk modelling for me "It's a present for you," he says. He tells me on the way home that he chose the floral box, because I like flowers. Alfie arrives home and gives me a huuuuge hug "The receptionist said you didn't look too happy this morning." "Well I wasn't." "I got 8/8 on my French test." Sam has had a letter from Cambridge. It's not good news. He is upset and seeks me out. "I didn't really want to go. But it would have been nice to know that I could have gone," he says.

"Fuck 'em," I say.

Sam laughs.

"Love you, Mum."

Leanne xx


(Yes I do occasionally use bad language in front of my children).

24 comments:

  1. You are such a good storyteller. I really believed I'd be a mother to only boys myself, because there are NO girls in my husband's family. When my first was a boy, I figured I was carrying on the tradition. When they told me she was a girl, I almost fell off the exam bed. She is the first girl born into that family in almost 100 years. And they treat her accordingly, as you can imagine. But I was prepared, and honestly, I usually feel like a much better mother to my boy than my girl. I have a lot of trouble getting her, as much as I love her. My son is easier for me to understand. You are a wonderful mother and I love hearing about your life with those three boys, all of whom look more like you than I'd ever realized, now that I've seen these older photos. I swear more than I should too. I actually enjoy swearing and try to save it up for nighttime, when my husband is home, because he appreciates it more than anyone else I know. But I slip sometimes in front of them; I called somebody a dick the other day and they thought I said "stick." Yes, that guy was a total stick. :)

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    1. I called someone (when driving - it brings out the worst swearing from me) a name, BigR thought I said sucker. Yes, yes that is of course exactly what I said!!

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  2. Oh boys, boys, boys, they absolutely drive me up the wall. I lose count of the amount of times I hiss, "You have pushed me RIGHT UP TO THE EDGE OF WHAT I CAN STAND, THIS IS ME ABOUT TO GO OVER THE EDGE". Oh how they love that, it's a competition to be the one to drive me completely bananas. There are no words for how much I love them all. But honestly, they are completely in a league of their own. You've made me laugh so much, I recognise all of this. Including the eyes shut photos. Love them. A shame about Cambridge, I do hope he isn't too upset. If he's anything like you they have missed a gem. But I have no doubt he will fly wherever he decides to go. CJ xx

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  3. Great,great writing. I can remember times just like that!!!!! You do a great job and are a REAL Mum, a REAL person and REAL storyteller x

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  4. I laughed till I cried and now I've got a huge smile on my face. It's so true that just when you think it can't get any crazier they turn around and melt your heart - not realising what they've put us through!

    What a great family you have made :-) Antonia x

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  5. Brilliant, sounds like pretty much every morning in my house. Girls are as bad by the way. And why is it always cereal ? Always. Even when we dont need milk we still need to buy cereal.
    Jillxo

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  6. You made me laugh with your post - the 'trying to get out of the house on time in the mornings' rang so many bells! Shame about Cambridge, but if he was good enough to apply, he'll do great wherever he goes. I'll be thinking of you in 20 minutes when I attempt to get my daughter out of bed! Have a good weekend. x

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  7. And the same goes on in houses up and down the country. It's nice to know we are not alone - but still incredibly frustrating at the time. Wishing you a peaceful and clam weekend. x

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  8. Ah Leanne, I think we should form a school run mothers' support group. My mornings (and I'm sure lots of others on here) are so similar, it does help knowing other mums suffer together! And boo hiss about Cambridge, but yay to 'fuck it'. Sometimes that is the only advice we can give our boys. I just pray mine don't repeat my sage words in front of Grandma....
    Sending school morning love and positive feelings your way - perhaps we should both do them in our camper vans, would help with the chilled out vibe no? Suzie xxx

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  9. I use bad language in front of my children when it's called for too :o) Tell Sam it's Cambridge's loss and there are plenty of other excellent universities to go to xx

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  10. I loved this post Leanne. Great photos of your family too. I hope Sam isn't too disappointed - I had fantasies about turning certain places down, it's just about it being outside of your control isn't it? And Countryside Tales is right there are plenty of other brilliant places to go - it most definitely will be Cambridge's loss. xxx

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  11. You told this story so well, and I enjoyed it so much. As a parent of a boy and girl I am forever trying to decide which is harder/easier - it changes daily. Boys seem more upfront in their emotions while girls can be trickier, but perhaps better communicators. I dread and look forward to the teenage years in equal measure. But mainly I just think you are amazing and clearly your boys adore you, even if they perhaps don't always show it... ;-) x

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  12. Oh Leanne, you are just great! I really enjoyed reading this post. Mornings are just the same here. Having said that, Sam must have some weird teenage affliction, he is now setting his own alarm, gets up and ready before anyone else. It is just surreal. It is not infectious, the other three are still the same. Sadly. You are such a nice mum, I never take PE kits to school, or lunches. I also never hoover their rooms, I just stand with my whip in the door and watch them do it (I end up doing the corners). Have a lovely stress-free weekend my love. Christina xx
    P.S. I have been known to swear in front of the children. So has Richard. In fact, Richard once shouted after a cyclist who nearly run over toddler Sam, calling him an f**ing idiot. Sam shouted this after ALL cyclists for a short while.

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  13. Oh Leanne! What a day. I am sad for Sam and the news from Cambridge, but it just means there is something better around the corner! It sounds as though he and you have a good attitude about it all though which is the main thing isn't it. I hope that you have a good weekend! xx

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  14. Sometimes only bad language will do. I was and still am a firm believer in letting off steam rather than bottling things up. Resentful silence is far worse than a few chosen words of old English! But boys can be a pain. Our two were but they have grown into wonderful adults - well, not only adults, they are now middle-aged and as well as being our sons are our dearest friends. Things should improve but maybe some forgotten kit and sandwiches that you don't run to school for them might make them appreciate you more - I know, it's hard - and also it might make them just a little bit more responsible for their actions. The earlier they learn this, the better.
    Margaret P

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  15. I really get that 'completely grudgingly' line and 'stuff from bedroom floors'. Boys... love to you all xo

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  16. Loved this and I do to - the swearing that is. Girls are equally demanding. Can I pinch your idea and do a matching girl post?

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  17. You are a terrific mom. And you get bonus points for telling Cambridge to F off. I think 20 years from now Sam will have long forgotten his disappointment at not having been accepted there, but the memory of you saying that will still bring a smile to his face. I hope you bought some chocolate or some other treat for yourself when you ran into the grocery store for fruit and cereal. Parenting requires stamina and the occasional sweet.

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  18. Leanne this is one of my most favourite posts!

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  19. Brilliantly funny. Top marks to you.

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  20. Oh God - I thought one was hard work! I swear too and actually enjoy it but try to avoid doing so in front of Joe (he's currently repeating EVERYTHING). That's not easy, especially when driving.
    Luckily he's only come out with 'Jeeeesus Christ!' so far. Unfortunately it was at his very churchy playgroup...
    Great post.
    S x

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  21. I swear a lot in front of my kids, mainly at Nigel Farage, but they are quite old now and I didn't do it so much when they were younger. The weird thing is they don't seem to swear at all, not in front of me at least.

    This was an excellent post Leanne, thank you x

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