14/08/2014 16:47 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Surviving Teenagers: Being Pathetic

Surviving Teenagers: Being pathetic

It is a running joke in our house that I keep getting words mixed up. I maintain this is because I'm usually thinking about three things at once (work, what's for tea, have I got time to put another load of washing on). The teenagers say it's senility.

Sometimes, to be really honest, it's because I can't be bothered to get things right.

"I got an email from your brother," I say to my daughter. She looks at me. "OK, a text," I say.

She looks at me wearily. "Why do you keep doing that?"

I don't know. Because it doesn't matter?

Then there's the old parental standby – getting things wrong so that someone helps you. You stand in the living room holding one of the remotes and you say, in a quavering and pathetic little voice, "Does anyone know how to do this?"


"You know – that recording thing?"

Tutting furiously, your teenager will grab the remote and record the whole series of Location, Location, Location while you go and make a cup of tea.

If you work hard to convince your teenagers that you're completely clueless when it comes to computers, you can get all sorts of stuff done. They'll sort your holiday snaps into folders, update your privacy settings and download your favourite music.

But be careful. If the pathetic act gets too extreme, they'll realise what you're up to.

We were watching the BAFTAs on Sunday night. I was, in my defence, slightly distracted by the kitten, who had fallen asleep on my lap so deeply that she started snoring.

"So who's that?" I said in my special quavering voice, looking up at the screen in time to see someone dressed in silver glide on to the stage.

(I need your help. The modern world is beyond me.)

"Paloma Faith," said my daughter.

"Oh," I said. "And what does she do?"

(If you weren't here, I'd be totally lost.)

"She sings, Mum. She sings."

The kitten snored.

"And who's that?" I said, looking up again, my voice all trembling and pathetic. My daughter looked at me with narrowed eyes. "What?" I said.

"Mum, that's Stephen Fry."


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