Surviving Teenagers: Hopeless Shopping Lists


"I'm making a shopping list!" I shout generally.

When my lot were little, I'd write out shopping lists and find them full of additions as soon as my back was turned - chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate, Penguin multi-packs. My daughter would also decorate the lists with small pictures of cats. Or, less charmingly, rude descriptions of her brothers.

But nowadays I can't get anyone to contribute.

My younger son wanders into the kitchen.

"What do we need from the shops?" I say.

"Food?"he says.

Ha ha.

"What kind of food?"

He stands there, considering. Seconds stretch into minutes.

Elder son joins us.

"I'm going shopping," I say. "Is there anything we need?"

Elder son screws up his face. "Shreddies?" he says.

Every little helps.

The next morning, Easter Sunday, I'm in the kitchen making a cup of tea when elder son finally emerges from his extensive sleep research. There's what I think is a companionable silence while the kettle boils until I realise he is opening and shutting all the cupboards.

"What are you looking for?" I ask.

"Cheerios,"he says. "Have we got any Cheerios?"

"You didn't ask me to buy Cheerios," I say. "You asked me to buy Shreddies."

He shrugs, sadly. "Shreddies are nice," he says, with the air of someone trying desperately hard to look on the bright side.

I open my mouth to remonstrate. Then change my mind and take a deep breath instead.

Keep calm. Keep calm.