It's all very dramatic in our house these days - like backstage at the X Factor.
'I can't find my black T-shirt!' wails my 16-year-old. 'Where is it? Mum, where is it? I need it! It was here, on the floor! And now it's gone!'
'It's in the wash,' I say.
'It can't be! I need to wear it! It can't be in the wash!'
'What about the pink one?'
'The pink one? I can't wear the pink one! I need the black one!' Oh, what am I going to do? Mum, I need my black T-shirt!'
The phone rings. 'Mum, can you pick me up?' says my 17-year-old. His voice sounds old and weary.
'Are you OK?' I say, frightened, imagining some terrible accident.
'Yeah,' he says. 'Yeah, I'm OK.' There's a long, dramatic pause. 'Just had a long day.'
I think that means his bag's a bit too heavy to carry home.
Sometimes, listening to them, I think they live on the set of EastEnders. Nothing is simple. Nothing is low key. Friends fall out and don't speak to each other for hours. Rumours fly around about expulsions, terminal illness, muggings and police cautions. Did you know that you need 17 A* GCSEs to get an interview at Durham university? That it's going to be so cold in December that it'll be like The Day After Tomorrow?
If you have teenagers, you really have to remember that you're getting the Hollywood version. Question stories closely. Think of your heart. Life's too short to live on the edge.
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