Do your children speak a different language to you? As they get older do you find they are more difficult to understand? Good, so it’s not just me then.
Our daughters have become fluent in what can only be described as Mumbling In Hungarian, especially when they’re asked questions which they don’t want to tell us the answers to.
Have you done your homework? Have you had your breakfast because school starts in six minutes? Have you brushed your teeth? What did you do at school today? All met with the same answer, Mmmrrrwwwwnnndddrrrr. The same pointless, nagging rubbish that your mum and dad trotted out when you were a teenager is now repeated on an almost daily basis by us – and probably you.
Now our daughters are both at Big School, their bags so heavy with books and PE kit that they’d incur an additional charge if they tried to book them onto a flight.
So yours truly is back on the morning school run, doing laps of Lancaster city centre while some of the more feckless among you perform death-defying stunts on a daily basis.
It’s like a boring game of Grand Theft Auto. Dodging the Stasi-like traffic wardens while dropping the kids off, playing Chicken with oncoming double decker buses and second guessing what trick the nimrod in the car in front is going to pull next.
Some people say that kids are getting thicker and have an over-developed sense of self-entitlement as exams have got easier and they can have as many goes at passing as they like.
But having driven around Lancaster of a morning on the school run for the past couple of months I’ll say this, a lot of you must’ve won your driving licences in a raffle.
When I moved here in the mid-90s what struck me was the unflinching politeness of drivers. ‘After You, Claude’ wouldn’t have looked out of place on the city’s coat of arms. These days a spin around the city centre is like a chase scene from a Mad Max film, albeit in slow motion as the forest of traffic lights and Christmas roadworks outside Next (special thanks to the noob who signed that one off) bring everything to a crawl.
One last thing. Daughter #1 is a scarcely believable 14 on Sunday. And she’ll be spending her big day with her nearest and dearest – in the mosh pit with her friends at a gig in Manchester. Happy birthday.