Would you let your young teenager have a party, and possibly with alcohol?
OPINION: I've gone and done it.
I've only agreed to a teenage party at our house two weeks on Friday. I don't know what I was thinking, and I've made a massive mistake. That stupid woman is nuts, I can sense you thinking and the worst thing is, you'd be right.
As far as I'm concerned, I've lost my marbles somewhere between the Sky Tower and the harbour bridge. They've rolled out of my head, into the churning waters of the Hauraki Gulf and sunk to the sandy bottom.
And I'm afraid they're gone for good.
The request was innocent enough, or so it seemed at the time. The 15-year-old girl currently living in the same house as me and formerly known as Little Weenie (she's refusing to answer to that moniker since turning the big one-five, apparently because it's "embarrassing, demeaning and gay"), nonchalantly suggested in a very sweet voice that maybe, if she was good, she could have a small get-together of her closest friends to welcome the upcoming Yuletide season.
She'd make sure everyone behaved (she pitched) and they'd maybe rent some movies, pop some corn, settle companionably as the easy-listening strains of One Direction flowed gently around them, and sit outside in the back garden quietly strumming guitars and singing Kumbaya as the moon rose over their school in the distance.
They could perhaps come at 7.30pm and leave on the dot of 11pm, as she knew any later might give me and/or close neighbours a headache in the morning, and she was a considerate party- holder. She'd be up at dawn's crack the next day cleaning the downstairs lounge anyway, so there'd be not a single speck of dust nor empty cup I'd need to personally deal to.
In my mind's eye, I could see the scene . . . demurely attired girls with ribbons in their hair and dapper boys in smart casual chinos laughing merrily at some witty aside, sipping ginger ale as they discussed their latest academic success, debating whether to play Twister or Monopoly, and accepting my home-made sausage rolls with a hearty "three cheers for Mrs Calvert . . . hip, hip, hooray!"
Quiet 17-year-old Middle Child soon blew that fantasy out of the water. "You do know," he hissed out the corner of his mouth when his sister was somewhere out of earshot, "that she's already told everyone on Facebook there'll probably be booze. I can see this ending in tears, Mum, just mark my words."
The next day only made his passionate words more prophetic. The 15-year-old formerly known as Little Weenie texted me from media studies class. "How many people can I invite?" she asked, "because I'm thinking an even 50 or so."
I almost choked on my ciabatta with ham and pesto - so much so that my elderly work colleague felt the need to hit me square between the shoulder blades. "In my worst nightmare," I desperately texted back, my upper shoulders aching from the smacking action. "Thirty . . . and not a single person more."
"But," she replied, "I have at least 50 friends that have already said they'll come. There's going to be some severely annoyed friends out there who are going to blame you."
"I think I can live with that," I said. And I really meant it.
The next day, she rang me at work. "Can we have the entire bottom floor of the house, and can that include the bedroom so if people are tired, they can crash?" I might have lost my marbles, but I didn't come down in the last shower, I thought to myself. Those feeling the need to catch a few zzzs could do it upstairs, I decreed down the phoneline, not on Eldest Child's queen-sized bed with the sleep buddy of their choice.
I'm stupid, but I'm not that stupid, I reassured myself, making a mental note to find a lock to fit the downstairs bedroom door.
At the supermarket the next day, I got a voice message. "Mum, there's a few problems re the party. Tanya* says she won't come if Larry* is there, but I really like Larry and Tanya is my bestest friend in the world. And Camille* says she's not coming if her 23-year-old boyfriend Clint* can't come, but she's my bestest friend in the world and I can't not invite her.
"And Josh* is the hottest guy at school, so I want to invite him, but he has just dumped Trinny* who is my bestest friend in the world and I have to invite her."
When I suggested she get the list of partygoers and their parents' phone numbers down in writing early so we could work out the logistics, she seemed aghast. "Do you really want me to be the laughing stock of the whole school, Mum?" she said tartly. "Having a list of contact details would be so gay. I may as well tattoo 'loser' on my forehead!"
The next day we discussed menus. The lofty aspirations (hers) melded perfectly with the realistic realities (mine), and we mutually agreed that fizzy drinks, chips and dip, sausage rolls (Alison Holst's version) and brownies would sustain the partygoers.
Two nights later, my daughter appeared in the lounge doorway in a tiny handkerchief of black skimpy lace material held together with thin elastic straps that pushed certain parts of her anatomy up, down, in and definitely out. "I'm thinking of wearing this," she said, twirling merrily so the material just cleared her undie line.
"That's a nightie, isn't it?" asked Hubby. "You'll definitely need a dressing gown over that."
I looked at Quite Middle Child's smug expression as the fantasy 'Famous Five' teenage party in my brain evaporated forever.
"Ending in tears, I think I said," he muttered. "I was right, wasn't I?"
I had to admit it . . . he had been right. All long.
* The names of the 15-year-olds formerly known as Little Weenie's bestest friends in the world have been changed . . . not for their privacy, but to ensure your sanity should you ever unknowingly come across them in your daily lives.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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