Teen Confessions?

I distractedly opened the door with mobile phone in hand, head in a tizzy and there they stood; two cold-callers selling their wares.

'The cheek, I'll soon run them'  I thought to myself.

But then I changed my mind, maybe this time I'd hear them out first? After all they were just wee girls, only about 10 years old and I didn't want to be known as 'the mean and nasty woman in number --.'

Actually, I was quite impressed and I asked them some questions about the array of baked goodies they had eagerly laid out before me on two plates, held with plastic-gloved hands. 'Very professional', I told them as I purchased some still-warm-from-the-oven chocolate brownies. Yum.

I'd previously noticed a local family of boys selling home-made lemonade from a stand outside their house, with a hand-made sign pointing the way to their goody-stand. Terribly quaint and so nice to see some old traditions still in existence.

In my opinion though the girls were the winners, they went one step further and hawked their goodies door-to-door, thereby assuring me that the future of  Mumpreneurs Inc is in good hands!

It's nice to see children occupying themselves in the summer holidays in such a creative and productive way - outdoors.

It would be even nicer to see some teenage boys similarly occupied. However, they're way too cool to hawk push lawnmowers or buckets and sponges around to cut grass or wash cars and earn their keep. No chance of that happening.... I did ask!

These incidences and a recent comment by a blogging pal got me thinking of my teenage summer holidays and how we occupied oursleves ..... and no, this is not a 'True Confessions of a Jazzy Teen' blog! Not really.... although I do remember keeping a diary ;-)

I do recall myself and my best friend hawking some baby clothes that her mam had made door-to-door, to the posh houses, and making some money. We made enough dosh most times to pop into the local pub - seriously - to buy a packet of crisps and peanuts each that we mixed all up together and munched as we casually strolled home. At night.

We'd hang out in her house mostly, where her cool older brother also lived.

We'd also hang out on the street with the other teenagers . ... and cool older brother and his friends too .There were other boys around also I think, shouldering their ultra-cool Boomboxes. Not that we really noticed or anything...... Ahem!

We'd walk to swimming classes in the local pool, were we all had a crush on the instructor whose nickname escapes me but contained the words 'chicken-legs'.??

There were plenty of girl/boy late evening chats on the road with lots of  'will ye tell yer friend (named) that my friend (named) fancies her?'......  followed by the well known, timeless, dating dance!

It could get quite confusing, as I found out to my absolute embarrassment one day when 'cool brother' suddenly stopped talking to me. Apparently I was two-timing him by 'going out' with someone else, which was news to me. I didn't even know I was his - *teen blush* - 'girfriend'! I guess I missed some of the dating steps that night......

We were only 14 or 15 and 'going out' involved not much more than holding hands and a quick peck! I was very shy, really. Honestly!

We didn't have summer camps then but we did have summer projects, which we joined at first and then helped out at later, taking the younger children out on trips etc., Well, the boys joined too, you see.

I also went to Irish College once - uggh - for three weeks. There were boys there too.

Most of our time was spent outdoors, hanging out.

With boys.

Which drills home the message- where there are teenage boys there are teenage girls; and vice versa.

Maybe an almost 14 year old screen-playing boy spending a lot of time indoors on his summer holidays is not such a bad idea after all?

But don't tell him I said that!


The Wanderer

When all is said and done, after years of nurturing it happens with alarming speed in the end; and the untying of the tightly wound apron strings occurs in the blink of an eye.

One minute your snuggly boy-child is tight by your side, hanging on every word that flows from your mouth.

Then suddenly, your confident Teen Boy has fled the cotton-filled, protective nest and has taken flight.

Off he flies - by boat it must be said - to wander the hills and dales of the Lake District in the UK for a whole week, eagerly awaiting the exciting adventures to come, with his Scout Troupe. A whole long seven days away from home....

Without so much as a look back or a text home....

We're too busy it seems, having fun hiking, kayaking etc; and sampling such delights as sleeping outdoors and eating backwoods style. Eating food they cook themselves and would no doubt turn their nose up at if served at home.

But that's okay, in fact it's more than okay.

I'm perfectly happy to work on the premise that teens are way too cool to be bothered texting their poor ole' mums when having fun away from home, and that 'no news is good news.' ( I hope.)

On the home front it has taken some adjustment to get used to a noticeably quieter house, with an empty sitting room I can use whenever I damn well please!

As the days rolled by I worried less and kept busy.

This trip is an opportunity for the boy to spread his wings and soar, to find himself.

It's also a gilt-edged invitation for the parents to re-locate the couple buried within the chaotic delightful parenting years.

Thanks to snippets of news on facebook I was able to keep abreast of events lake-side.

I know that my Teen Boy hiked 11kms of the stunning Lake District:

               There's my tired boy, far right!

And that he enjoyed a spot of sailing, no less:

Meanwhile, we spent a couple of days in the bustling medieval Irish city of Kilkenny, admiring the views of the castle and the River Nore:

And having a fun night in Matt the Millers, the only pub not playing diddlyi music. Such a laugh watching all the 'young wans' and listening to After Dark, a great cover band. I swear I've never seen a pub as full on a Monday night that wasn't Christmas Eve....

All the time wondering what Teen Boy was doing. Was he having fun? Laughing around a campfire as they had a bivouac outside or in the common room of the lodge maybe? Did he have a mad time at the water fight? Did he love the caving and rock climbing?

All will be revealed on Saturday when the wanderer returns, all tired, maybe a tad cranky and no doubt loaded with dirty laundry.

I wonder will it be my Teen Boy that returns, or will it be the young man-child that I know is hovering beneath the surface?

Guess we'll have to wait and see.

Now it's my turn to be excited :-)


Sunny Days and the Great Outdoors

Ken Ring may have gotten the weeks a bit confused but there certainly seems to be a ring of truth about our summer  - sunny days have finally returned and have enveloped us in a hazy heat wave. For this week anyway.

There is nothing like glorious sunshine to help promote carefully selected outings to engage wilful and reluctant teens.

So, raging toothache worthy of 'Marathon Man' movie status be damned, it is time to work on my Summer Bucket List.

The picnic bag was filled and all sorts of paraphernalia thrown into the boot of the car and off we went. Off to check one destination off the list; our beloved Powerscourt Waterfall.

Driving carefully along the winding country roads, with overhead bowers formed by leafy trees conjoining and the dappled sun shimmering through the gaps, we were soon at our destination.

We off-loaded the car, setting out our wares and taking over a picnic bench with a base on which to use our disposable barbecue and we sat back for a while, just relaxing, happily quiet in each other's company....

It was blissful sitting there in these peaceful surroundings, with a high rise of tree lines ahead and the gently gushing waterfall beside us and a light breeze wafting by. Whispering strains of the little poem I wrote the last time we were here floating through my mind.

Oh, I could live here forever.....

There is also nothing like the natural environs of Powerscourt with its sense of exploration, rock formation and trickling water to still the raging hormones within any tumultuous teen. How we always loved the tricking of water and the many pathways it follows and the patterns it makes....

Soon tummy rumblings impeded the quiet and it was time to eat. The scout got to work, optimally setting up the barbecue and whittling some helpful aids from tree branches to assist with the barbecuing of burgers and sausages in this stunning location.

We ate our tasty burgers - best barbecue ever, apparently - topped with chopped onions purchased en route as I'd forgotten to pack some. A good Scout may 'Be Prepared' but busy mums are one better and will always 'Be Prepared.... to Improvise'!

It was a lovely, chatty lunch, washed down with lashings of ginger beer refreshing Lilt and was thoroughly enjoyed by us both. The whole afternoon stretched lazily ahead of us as I languished on the sun lounger.

One short scouting expedition later, with wet runners and an internal clock switched eternally to Teen Time it was announced that it was time to go. We'd been here five hours already, at least. In Teen Time perhaps but only two hours in reality!

I've never seen the car 'packed' as quickly with everything. Well, everything except the picnic blanket that I lay on ...... and lay on ..... and lay on. I was not going home, a 'day out' consists of more than two hours after all. I put my foot down - in fact you could say I put my whole body down!

With a bit of cajoling here and bribery there I dragged at least another hour of it, ending with yummy ice cream purchased on our way out. Toothache be damned once more, it was totally worth it - all that creamy yummylicious-ness swirled onto a cone.

It's always a good day out that ends with ice cream.

So, home again to well-earned screen time and to consider the rest of my Summer Bucket List, which contains such potential delights as a Scouting week away - a whole week, yikes! - and a sleepover swapover.... among other things.

All coming to a blog near you soon.

Stay tuned!