The 13yo recently turned 14, leading to festivities, which, amongst other things, saw 8 of his mates gobble up an oversized cake in two minutes flat. This meticulously planned get together at the birthday boy’s house went on for exactly 7:53 minutes. The boys spent the rest of the afternoon on a nearby football pitch. Kicking the hell out of each other.

A week or so after the cake eating feast, the ‘gang’ again gathered at our house for the real party: a night of ‘chilling’. Cool as cucumbers as they are at this age the guys all turn up at the exact agreed time, ready for burgers, sausages, crisps, chocolate, or basically any type of food you care to shove their way. Such joy! Mr. S. fires up the BBQ, while I cut up the ubiquitous carrots, cucumber and apples, as even after twelve years of party teas, I am still not ready to let go of the hope that some kid some day will accidentally eat a carrot stick.

We start off with sausages, generously covered in ketchup, mayonnaise and curry sauce. The second course consists of burgers, rolls, ketchup, mayonnaise, curry sauce, cheese, some tomatoes and lettuce leafs. On to the third course – we are now fifteen minutes into the meal – of profiteroles and chocolate sauce. It seems 14yo bodies can easily handle 3000 calories in one sitting. But even more surprisingly, considering the fact that the boys are heading for a Guinness Book of Records entry for fastest meal, they manage to have a lively conversation at the same time.

So Mr. S. and I are now completely up-to-date with all the boys’ teachers and their qualifications (‘boring’, ‘really boring’, ‘can’t teach at all’). Of course they are being taught by some good men and women as well, because some of them are labelled ‘can be funny’, ‘okay’ and – best in show – ‘not so bad’. I hate to think what they would make of me, or Mr. S., had we been brave enough to try and teach these boys ‘French’, ‘Humanities’, or ‘Biology’.

After the festive dinner, they all retire to the front room to watch films on Netflix. They are in to action comedies at the moment, a genre that Mr. S. and I haven’t explored really. At least not in the last twenty years. Not that we are allowed to watch this film with them of course. Our place is firmly in the kitchen, making sure cokes, crisps and chocolate biscuits find there way to the hungry troops at regular intervals.

The next morning, however,  I get a blow-by-blow account of a film called ‘Big Dan’, about this ‘really small guy, mum, who has to go to prison, because of embezzlement and is really scared to get raped in prison. So that’s why some Kung Fu master teaches Dan to defend himself, mum, and then when he goes to prison he beats the crap out of everyone and they all call him big Dan, even if he is only 1,60 or so’. The 14yo thinks I might really like this film. And you know what? He might be on to something.

So here’s the plan for next Friday night. ‘Big Dan’, a big bar of Tony’s Chocolonely (salted caramel!), me and the 14yo: heaven!


Besides being married to Mr. S, I am also the mum of a 13yo son and a 11yo daughter. For the past eight years we have lived in England, Italy and Switzerland. Our recent move back to the Netherlands, is posing some interesting questions for all of us. I write about the ups and downs of our repat life.

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