I swear our thirteen year old has not only grown taller in the last month, but a little sneakier and cleverer too. I mean every teenager thinks they’re smarter than their parents but this young lady might actually be the genuine item.
“What are you doing!?” I snapped at Miss13 as she casually strolled from the house to our studio, which the kids have set up as a home away from Mum, with her laptop doing a rag doll impersonation.
“Ignore her,” my wife instructed me, not even glancing around to see what I was looking at.
“I know,” cut in Tracey. “I’m dealing with it.”
I begged to differ.
The first thing you’ll need to know before continuing with this little anecdote is we locked down Tracey and kids from all venturing, including attending their schools, back on the 18th of March – before it became fashionable.
We did this after watching COV19 behaving like a contestant on the Great Race, flipping from country to country and finally arriving on our shores, due to concerns about Tracey having what we considered mid-level risks: no spleen and newly diagnosed slightly higher than where you’d want it blood pressure.
And, if I’m honest, we are still perfectly fine with our decision to panic.
However, we also decided on a reflexion of the statistics and studies coming out of Europe and Asia my risk was low, so I could continue my local candidate – and now Councillor – obligations without sharing any nasties I might bring home with the family.
As such, I’ve been living in our bus RV by myself.
Tracey was less convinced of the need to do this initially, and had to be reminded I’d already stood next to a hospital bed with these guys to say a final goodbye to their mother and the big difference this time would be they wouldn’t even be allowed that courtesy if she ended up on a respirator in a ward with staff letting the ICU manager know they’d have a bed free shortly.
I suspect she thought I just wanted to have a bit of a break from doing the washing, yelling at the kids and cooking dinners.
Which is not as entirely untrue as I made out at the time, but the fact is this isolation stuff isn’t as much fun as I thought it would be. If I’m completely honest it is totally shite to be stuck meters from the laughs and even the spats of my family while not being able to have so much as hug.
So the long and increasingly longer of it is, Tracey has effectively been a single parent for well over a month now while I, for all intents and purposes, have taken on the role of uninvolved, duckweed, good-for-nothing other half.
And in the timeless tradition of all great exes who only show up to criticise the hands on parent, as we sat at opposite ends of a patch of grass next to our driveway sipping tea at each other in what has become a thrice daily ritual, Tracey had made some changes to the kids’ family life I wasn’t exactly happy with.
You see, we have rules in our home around expensive items like laptops. Or rather, had rules.
Firstly, you don’t look up porn on them.
Secondly, you don’t carry them around opened or with just one hand.
And especially not with the fingers of that one hand clasped to one corner of the screen while the diagonally opposed bottom corner of the keyboard swings and scoots along a mere foot off the ground.
“She’s doing that on purpose,” Tracey went on, feeling, correctly, more information was required before I was going to drop this topic like a poorly handled MacBook. “She wants me to take it off her.”
Deadset, I felt like I was living in one of those movies where someone walks through a sliding door or makes a flippant statement while holding some Inca locket which is misinterpreted as a wish or comes back from the past where he nearly snogged his Mum and every thing about me was the same, only different, and I was the only person who could see it.
I tried to keep my face fairly neutral as I pointed in the general direction of the space our newly-teened daughter had occupied seconds earlier before disappearing with a pirouette into the studio, failed, and half yelled, “Then I agree with her!”
I was furious. I mean, you step away from your coveted role as ‘most lax parent in the house’ for six measly weeks!
“She’s been letting me catch her watching Netflix after bedtime, and all sorts of nonsense,” Tracey further didn’t explain things logically. Then….finally….she found her point. “She’s figured out if I confiscate her laptop she won’t be able to do the school work her teachers have sent home for her.”
Turns out teenagers really ARE smarter than their parents.
Well, their Dads.
Raising a family on little more than laughs