At 8.40pm on Wednesday 19th June, I officially became the mum of two teenage daughters. It’s about time I wrote YA novel I thought. I should know my audience.
A few days prior I'd hosted a coming of age party. Fifteen, 12 and just 13 year olds. It was an eye opener. But quite frankly what stage of parenting isn’t?
As I served the drinks I stated the rules. ‘First rule: No drinks in the living room please. Second rule: have fun.’
‘And have a sugar high,’ squeaked a smiley girl, stuffing her fluro striped face with a handful of party lolly mix.
‘Go crazy,’ I said. And they did.
As soon as I’d served red Fanta in paper cups and retreated to my holding pen. The kitchen. Some of the girls started a burping competition. Fair enough. They were thirsty young things and that drink was obviously carbonated. But even the three boys present were shocked by the volley of throaty belches emanating from these pretty tweenies all togged up in their fluro skinnies and white T-shirts.
It was a glow in the dark party. Oh yes. We had glow sticks, glow glasses, glow-earrings, glow necklaces and glow-bracelets. Thanks K-Mart. We had a happy birthday banner painted with glow paint. And as already mentioned we had a lot of faces covered in glow-paint. Thanks Whitcoulls; and FYI that pink colour leaves orange stains on coloured concrete floors. We had gazillions of white balloons with lcd lights inside. Thanks Warehouse.
And the piece de résistance, reminiscent of 80’s nightclubs, the black light. $23 to hire for the night from Party Plus. If you stood too close to it you looked like an Oompa Loompa whose teeth had just been lasered Ultra White. Sick.
As Justin Bieber screeched out ‘Girlfriend’ for the third time, I busied myself with heating an array of nasty premade party snacks. My daughter wanted a dinner tray of freshly made sushi. I said that would cost too much. The kids gobbled up chicken bits the size and shape of popcorn and freakishly long oven fries. It was comforting to see Alison Holst’s youthful face on the packets of frozen sausage rolls I’d selected. They were good too. Blast them at 220 and the pastry’s all crunch and yum.
One boy complained the playlist was terrible. I was with him on that, but I wasn’t allowed near the stereo. I wasn’t allowed near anything actually unless required for photography or food replenishing. I had to bite my tongue and put Katy Perry on the stereo near the kitchen, loud. When in Rome.
They moved outside and toasted marshmallows over a brazier. Things started getting out of hand. An eleven year old male had taken his shirt off. The girls were jeering. He was taking selfies. For whom I wondered? They ate smores (molten marshmallows squashed between Chocolate Wheatens). Then they disappeared into the dark armed with only their glow in the dark arsenal to play spotlight. It was practically snowing. Some fell down banks, others in gravel. I let them get really wet them called them inside. Then I mopped mud off the floor.
The big screen we borrowed from a friend was a hit. They played One Direction parodies mostly to annoy the resident almost 15 year old. Hardened Beliebers all of them. Next they projected facebook and chatted to outsiders. Stranger things have happened I suppose.
Some of the photos were telling. Like the one of the lass gyrating with the empty wine bottle in her mouth. Now deleted. The bottle in question had been used to play spin-the-bottle-whose-present-will-I-open-next?
At the time I thought perhaps a plastic one would have been more suitable but her father assured me it was washed. And I was a bit preoccupied getting the oven to frozen pastry cooking temperature. Maybe plastic doesn’t spin as well? I can’t remember what we used when I was a young lassy. But it must have been glass; those midsize bottles we returned to the dairy then bought a ten cent mixture. Heady times back in the 70’s, when spin-the-bottle was a kissing game.
The party lasted three hours. It could have been three weeks. When the birthday girl said it was the best party, I knew my job was done. One parent arrived 45 minutes after the allotted pickup to collect four girls. I was lying on the sofa by that stage, wishing I hadn’t had the urge to try all the high salt high fat food on offer. At least I’d held back on the red Fanta. Having that cocktail of processed preservatives repeating would have been lethal.
A few days later the actual birth date arrived. Darling daughter announced at breakfast, ‘hey mum I’m legal.’
The words ‘For what?’ started flashing across my frontal lobes like a cheap Vegas neon.
I swallowed my toast, ‘For what?’ I asked, taking a swig of coffee.
‘Facebook,’ she beamed.
Now, about that YA novel...to be continued