Tag Archives: parenting

What On Earth Is Brandon Doing To This Cat?

Today is Brandon’s birthday! My baby son is fifteen today… How time flies. To celebrate, I’m posting a few pictures:

My hopes for his future –

Perhaps Brandon will become a proctologist

My memories of taking him to see Father Christmas –

He knows if you've been bad or good

How he sees himself –

Brandon owns this t-shirt in real life

And his love of animals –

Zuul has decided not to press charges

Just a magical glimpse there, into the joy of Motherhood and the wonderful task of bringing up Brandon. May he live long and prosper!

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I Am So Angry

Grrr. I have just sent a stiff email to the Stagecoach Bus Company, here in Manchester. Brandon had to catch a bus this morning and used his week-long “Easyrider” ticket. He had a valid Travel I.D. card and a valid ticket, both of which were kept in a Travelshop holder. Neither was damaged, or tampered with. Brandon was clean, tidy, sober and polite…

The driver wouldn’t let him on.

Why? Apparently the driver could tell that his ticket was “fake”. Even though it had been issued on a bus, was sealed in plastic and had all the appropriate marks and dates. He looked once, didn’t hold it himself, didn’t take it out (or ask Brandon to take it out) of the wallet. He said it was fake and asked Brandon to leave the bus, then repeated himself when Brandon held the ticket up for further perusal.

Is it any wonder that teenagers get rude with people these days? No WAY would the driver have treated me like that. And WHY did he think the ticket was FAKE? We shall never know, because he wouldn’t explain, or discuss it. It isn’t even Bran’s normal bus route, so it isn’t like he has been messing about with kids on the school bus (in the past) and made an enemy of one of the drivers. Brandon is a good kid anyway.

I hate petty little Hitlers, who get one tiny bit of power and then go crazy. I hate adults who treat all teenagers as though they were criminals. And I hate ANYONE who is mean to one of my kids… Especially BRANDON.

I feel sorry for anyone else who crosses me, or mine, today!

Never Add Your Stepfather On Facebook

Brandon recently updated his Facebook status, with a line from a (cheeky) song. He should have guessed that Dave would tell him off…

Although possibly he wouldn’t have guessed what he would be told off  for.

(Please excuse my lack of Photoshop skills).

Brandon’s Summer School Graduation Picture

Brandon now has a Street Dance degree, innit?

Further to my last post, here is a picture of the man himself, in his little gown and mortar board. Bless. He did do a really excellent rap, about recycling plastic bags, at the presentation ceremony. Look at those tired eyes – that’s what four days of student life does to you.

Raising Academic Aspirations

So far this week, I’ve been exceptionally brave and have NOT mentioned the fact that Brandon is away. Brandon – my Son, my Court Jester, my faux Gay Best Friend… Oh how I’ve missed him! But today he “graduates” from the course he has been on, so (after the ceremony) we can bring him home. Yay!

He has been on a residential course at Manchester University, designed to encourage the brightest kids from schools in “rough” areas to continue into higher education… Excellent, we would love him to do that. And the whole thing has been free; including his room, meals, tuition, a night out bowling, a disco and a hired costume to “graduate” in! Apparently they spend £500 per child, on this four-day course.

So what lofty intellectual ambitions have they been instilling in my child? What dreams of academic excellence? What plans for studying and learning, once school is finished and his future profession calls?

“I’ve been doing Street Dance” he told me, during a phone call on Monday night, “And DJing. I was the best one at scratching – they wrote my name on the board and everything”. Great. Clearly they are going to turn him into the next Stephen Fry. Even now I can hear Oxbridge calling his name. Since then he has been able to do a class in Chinese and have a go at cutting open a fake arm… But even so, I do think it is lazy of them to immediately equate the idea of  kids from deprived urban areas, with the idea of studying “street” subjects. These kids are clever, the course is meant to get them to aim higher – so stop with the f*cking graffitti, drive-by, urban fashion nonsense and get them reading Shakespeare, or Descartes!

Each child is going to be involved in a little presentation about their course, at graduation this afternoon. I wondered what Bran would be doing, so I asked him, when he rang last night. Hamlet’s Soliloquy, perhaps?

“I’m doing a rap about recycling plastic bags” he said.

Oh for goodness’ sake.

Mindless Vandals

When I lived in Brighton, I would see bikes like this at least twice a week.

What kind of idiot goes around damaging bicycles? Was the motive sheer vandalistic pleasure? Frustration that the bike locks wouldn’t break and therefore the bikes couldn’t be stolen?  Or was it a personal vendetta, against cyclists?

Sometimes the way people behave utterly baffles me. Don’t they have ANY feelings for others? No consciences at all? No human decency? Virtually everyone I know has been a victim of crime, or several crimes. We are forced to scuttle from place to place, watched by CCTV, clinging to our possessions and regarding everyone else as a threat. Brilliant.

We need to stop fostering such a huge sense of “entitlement” in our children. We need to stop making TV shows where success depends on impressing bullies like Simon Cowell and fame is the only goal. We need to stop making TV shows like Big Brother, where showing off and trying to be popular are more important than being genuinely charming and accomplished. Maybe we just need to turn off the TV entirely, go out and pick up some litter.

Every time I look at the picture I took of those bikes, I get like this. I get angry and frustrated. I want to go into Brandon’s school and start lecturing kids about films and computer games. I want to tell them that in REAL LIFE, it isn’t acceptable to smash a room up, because you’re upset about something. I want to tell them that REAL justice isn’t served without a trial. I want to tell them that those “achievements” you earn on Xbox 360 are NOT achievements at all but are just something you sit around getting when you can’t be bothered to LIVE. I want to tell them that most of us adults are a bad example and we need them to be better than we are/were.

I don’t really know how to wrap this up but I’ve gone on for too long and I’ve ranted enough now. Thanks for reading. Take care out there and park your bike in a safe place, or better still, fit it with a booby trap. I need to make some tea, to calm me down.

Zuul’s Upstairs Window Plunge!

When Brandon came home from Cadets, on Monday night, Dave and I pretended we had become Mormons. It wasn’t big, it wasn’t clever but it WAS very funny (for us). Some of you read the post I made about it and expressed concern for Brandon’s emotional welfare. Sadly for Brandon, his nerves had a worse test to endure, just 15, or so, minutes after our cruel trick.

Monday night was dark, wet and windy but nevertheless, having finished with our little ruse, Dave decided to pop out and get some Coke. Meanwhile, Brandon went upstairs, followed by Zuul (our youngest cat). Zuul isn’t an ordinary cat – he has a perpetual look of insanity in his eyes, he is a compulsive eater and he often has long arguments with Dave, where he tries to get the last “miaow”. You never know what he will do next.

Suddenly Brandon called me to his room,

“MUM! My window was open and now Zuul is outside, on the window sill!”.

I ran upstairs to Brandon’s room, yelling NOT to reach out to the cat. Bran was still looking out at Zuul, then looked at me, in shock.

“Zuul has JUMPED!” he cried and started laughing hysterically. I mean REAL hysteria.

“WHAT!?” I yelled, horrified.  It was true, Zuul had gone from the window sill and plunged down, into the rainy darkness. We headed down to the back garden, hearts in mouths. I reassured Brandon, by reminding him that our lawn was about two feet high and that in any case, Zuul was so fat he would probably bounce.

At first we couldn’t see Zuul, in the darkness. It was very quiet and I was worried… But then I found him. He was absolutely fine! He was rather subdued and kept blinking slowly, with a far-off look in his eyes, but nothing was broken. Meanwhile Brandon was still in shock, intermittently laughing like an idiot. Dave came in and got the whole story, in a torrent of madness.

Maybe it was some kind of “sign”…

(Brandon has now fully recovered).