Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Friday, 9 December 2011

As Time Goes By (and posts slip away)

My Baby Angel attended a Formal with her BFF tonight.

(remind me never to sew with stretch satin again. Hit me if I even suggest it, and perhaps point me at this post. >:-(.......)

These two have known each other since 2003 when, praise God, the BFF's family moved in across the road from us in Happy Valley (no, that is a real suburb!). We had just arrived from the UK in the January, knowing no-one, and my poor BA had been suffering from leaving a very large and tight knit group of friends in the UK. She had made a few school friends, but no-one that really resonated, until the BFF moved in. What an amazing blessing.

The redhead on the right was the school friend that we have not seen since 2005, the BFF is on the left.

Even though BFF is 14 months older, the two hit it off like the proverbial house on fire. Dress-ups were the theme of the day

developing as the years passed

and it appears dress ups are still the fave game.

So for this Formal, the BA was the date of BFF's twin brother. That's him there on the right.

Aaaaaaand, there on the right again.....

My how time flies!

To be honest, I think the girls had the best night dancing together!! High School Formals are like that :-)


I have learned a lot from this one and I think the BA has too.
Lesson 1: Hair
The hair that looks good in a photo does not necessarily suit you. The back was pretty but she didn't like the front.
Lesson 2: Make-up
More is not necessarily better. Don't let the make-up wear you.
(note to self: make up short course as a Christmas present)
Lesson 3:
Never sew with stretch satin unless you are a whizz or have done some kind of a course.......
Lesson 4:
Picking up 16 year olds early from 'after parties' is definitely a good idea.......especially when you see young men helping themselves to two large bottles of vodka on the breakfast bar whilst you wait for your baby!!!!!:-(

On that note, I am fast reconciling myself to the fact that my area of expertise is younger children. In the warzone that is teen parenting, I find myself constantly a victim of 'friendly fire'.

Tonight, for some reason, I looked back over some unfinished (there have been many) posts from this last 18 months, and I found this:

85% Proof Parenting

"So Mum, if I were at a wedding, would you let me have a Breezer?" With this one question, innocuously asked after a visit with her father to an interstate cousin's wedding , the BA moved me deftly into the 'mega-hard, rethink your whole peace of mind', advanced section of the parenting course. Not for Sissies. I don't even know why I am making light of this. Except that of course I do. We make light of all difficult things in life in order to convince ourselves that they are less serious than they seem. Like Harry Potter we shout 'Riddikulus' at the boggart in the trunk, in the hopes that it will vanish into a puff of triviality and distress us no further. Of course, it's not going to happen. Having kept the spectre of the 'difficult teen years' at bay until now I am fully aware that I am about to be engulfed in the floodwaters. Back in July when La Jeune Fille was here, we had our first minor brush with the question of alcohol. The two of them had been invited to an 'end of exchange' party to be held at the home of one of the Year 11 girls who had had an exchange student. I didn't think twice about saying yes. It was a school function, at a parent's house....what could be simpler? Of course the BA returned full of excitement because alcohol had been provided by the parents and several members of the party had got 'very drunk'. She assured me she hadn't had anything and didn't appear anything other than her normal lovely self, but I noticed La JF slink off to bed

I am glad I didn't finish that post because it was going to rant on about the irresponsible parents who provide alcohol to under age children at parties. I am far less self righteous nowadays.

I also found this:

Formal: Part Two

A busy, and sometimes traumatic month down the track and I thought I would fill you in on the lead up to, and the second part of, the BA's Formal Adventure. I don't know how much you guys know about 'after parties'. In my day I don't think we called them 'after parties', I think they were called 'Join us for coffee and cake after the Formal'...usually on an invitation. Nevertheless, 'after parties' is what they're called now! I had a small idea about the phenomona from our own school formal last year, where I attended as a staff member. At the end of what was, let's face it, a pretty tame evening, there was a great buzz of excitement and much phoning and texting as pupils regrouped for the whispered 'after party'. Later, I was able to see from facebook photos that it involved a tent, apparently some music and, undoubtably, some alcohol. A little investigation revealed that this was a common event in school life today. The schools tend to cover their ears and go 'LA LA LA LA LA' as the parents organise the events and, apparently, often provide the alcohol. Well, some parents at some schools, I rather archly and naively snorted in my head. Or maybe it was out loud? Sometimes that happens.

Again, I failed to finish my sanctimonious post about the weakness of some parents. (although it was a good story and I should probably tell you sometime...)

Well tonight I sighed and drove my daughter home knowing full well that the no alcohol policy had been breached and all I said to her was 'I'm very disappointed'.

In retrospect, any stance I had on the issue shuddered majorly in its housings after that Halloween party where she went dressed as Cleopatra. Later in the week I saw photos on one of her friend's facebook sites, showing her clearly standing with a bottle of some sort of hideous blue alco-pop in her hand. I texted her that if she wanted to be allowed to go out with her friends, she needed to tell them not to post incriminating photos. I did not apply any other consequence.

Actually, the real crack in my fortifications, come to think of it, occurred at her own after party (the one that was the subject of the previous unfinished post) when she informed me (I was a chaperone) that she was going to have the two 'drinks' her entrance ticket entitled her to. I made a spot decision not to 'make a scene' and the two UDL cans were duly drunk, happy dancing ensued and she came away cheerful and satisfied.

So here I am, at this stage of her/our life. My innate parent sense tells me it is only going to get worse. What to do?

1) I could totally ban her from attending all social events where alcohol is supplied
(and they are MANY)

2) I can set acceptable limits and lower the boom gate when these are breached.

The only trouble is, I am wrestling with what the acceptable limits are. I thought I knew, I thought I held them securely in my hand. Now, in the reality of the situation, I feel their organic writhings and their nasty, sharp teeth.


ktjrdn said...

I have no idea yet how I'll feel when my kids are this age, but for now...

As long as the kid is responsible for herself, and you have an idea of what is going on and can discuss it openly... well, the drinking age is kinda arbitrary anyway isn't it?

I am not going to write more, because kids grow up too fast, and I know I'll change my mind when it's my Baaabies! but - fwiw, you do what you are comfortable with.

Arizaphale said...

Thanks mate! Nice to hear from you btw. (Oh and sorry about Stanley. Time got away :-(....)

Mid sis said...

Big sis, she has more information and understanding of the consequences than we ever did (and I'm not talking about disciplinary consequences) and that is no criticism of our parents (who were working with a huge gap between our experiences and theirs) but you are able to talk very openly with her and she is considerably more sensible than I ever was. Mucho respecto to you!! Xxx

Arizaphale said...

Hope you're right Sis...

carrie said...

oh boy. i'm soooo not ready for this. we have a few years still yet - but i need you to keep posting your wise wisdom so we can all learn from it!!

and the dress...the back is FABULOUS! she looks amazing, i want a good look at the front. how special that it is something her mom made for her...well done, my friend.

Arizaphale said...

Why thanks Carrie! I can't wait to see the formal dresses YOU turn out!!!!

Stacy said...

Well, her dress looks fabulous on her. I know you struggled with it, but it came out brilliant. :)

On the alcohol front, I came from very open parentage. Alcohol was no big deal to me (i.e. I didn't go out to school parties and get wasted because it was the only time I would get to drink). Probably from 15-16, if I wanted a beer, I could have one. I didn't really want one that often. I feel when it becomes a big taboo, then it because the forbidden fruit.

The first time I ever got drunk was when I turned 18 and I was with my parents and several other family members. I do believe they all did it purposefully so I would know what happens. You feel like crap, that's what happens!

At least here, there is not a lot of parents willing to put themselves out there with alcohol provided at school parties. They can get pretty severe fines and if a kid leaves their party drunk and gets in an accident they pretty much lose everything from a lawsuit.

That doesn't mean the kids still don't get access to alcohol. Need to find that key to the wine cellar...

Arizaphale said...

Yes, the willingness of parents to provide the booze (usually vodka!) amazes me. I have offered her wine at home, at the dinner table but she is not interested in it in that setting. I'm not sure if that is a good or bad thing...

Elisa said...

Interesting post and interesting comments....it's a tough one - that is for sure.

My youngest is working on his practice hours to acquire his driver's license. In the "parent quiz" that is in the workbook, it asks, "True or False: It is illegal to supply alcohol to minors?" Answer: TRUE

Parents can lose everything financially AND do jail time for serving alcohol to minors at parties.

Hang in there....

Arizaphale said...

Elisa: In Australia it is not illegal to supply underaged teens in your home! Here is a link which sets out the rules. I find this amazing and very worrying but it explains a lot! Of course the drinking age here is lower too, 18. I don't have easy answers to this....