Return to school, if not to normality

The teenagers are more interested in political activism than getting to bed on time…

Teenagers sleeping


It’s that time of year again – the great return to school. Of course, children – particularly those of the teenage variety – who may have been allowed more flexible going-to-bed times over the holidays will resist any attempts to get back onto a more even keel and so will spend much of the first week back feeling just a little bit nauseous and exhausted. They have only themselves to blame…

Nevertheless, the teenagers in our house are more focused on the future of the country – and the planet – than on school. They’ve studied history and they don’t like what they are seeing. They want to take their country back.

So they’re not that keen to listen to any entreaties to go to bed earlier to prepare for school. The good news is that school return dates are a bit random. Some people start back on a Tuesday, others on a Wednesday and one of the kids goes back on Friday, which means that, even if she stays up into the small hours, she can probably get to the weekend with little problem. However, this will be followed by the cold turkey of a full week on 7am starts…

This is also the time that everyone ‘discovers’ they had an in-depth homework project to do over the holidays. One child has an art project; another has to read three novels [she’s watching the film versions…]; and the one starting university has to get ahead with the reading list. The days of watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race back to back have come to an end.

The next year is about new beginnings – university for one, sixth form for another and GCSEs for the third. Only son has already mentioned that he feels it it time to go to secondary school and have “a fresh start”, but unfortunately he is only just entering year five. He announced the other day that he only needed to learn how to drive now and then he can look after himself. This was in reference to his ability to cook spaghetti bolognaise and toast. Only son thinks he is way more mature than his sisters and that this should at the very least be recognised by his parents.

He has spent the summer learning how to dive, do underwater breadths of the local swimming pool and create his own Youtube films which I have banned him from uploading. It’s not that they are bad. They mainly feature his hands playing a computer game and a running commentary. Unlike the films he watches on Youtube, though, led by eternal teenage-looking boys with dodgy haircuts, he has to battle with a somewhat less than adequate computer where pop-up messages keep cropping up and the computer freezes. It’s all a bit frustrating, but he is a consummate professional

In any event, it’s more that only son links to a social media account which he appears to have created and which includes very fuzzy scenic photos of his holidays and a whole lot of ironic comments from his big sister. She’s stalking him…sibling rivalry does social media. It’s been a long summer which has not wholly been built on mutual respect.

That sibling rivalry will hopefully subside once everyone is back to school, but the likelihood of everything being back to normal is growing vanishingly small, given the times we now live in.

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