Teenager walks dog?

Sunday morning rolls around again and I reluctantly lift my head from the pillow. Then realise – Yessss. Sunday is the day that my eldest boy gets up and gives the puppy his breakfast then takes him for a walk so that his dad and me can have a luscious lie-in. But, what’s this? I can hear said puppy barking from the kitchen. A bark that says “Where’s my breakfast? Where’s my walk? What’s wrong with you humans?” So where’s my bright-eyed and shiny-haired teenage son?

I look everywhere – is he putting out the washing because he’s realised that the wind and the sunshine add up to a lovely drying day? No. Is he to be found clattering around in the kitchen emptying the dishwasher and loading his shirts for the week into the washing machine? No. Has he taken the bus into town to buy me some smoked salmon and eggs to add to the bagels he baked yesterday in preparation for making a delicious breakfast in bed for me? No. Is he at this very moment running through a field with the puppy at his side? What do you reckon?

I walk into his room, and there he is, snuggled up all nice and cosy in his bed, his alarm gently but insistently telling him that it really is time to get up and face the world and that dog. At least he shows some willing by even setting it I think, indulgently. His dad yells from upstairs. “Hasn’t he gone out yet? I’m not doing it again, I got up yesterday.” They’re as bad as each other. 

But as I said in my last post – no more martyrdom from this mother. His sweetly slumbering face would remind me of when he was asleep as a cute little toddler, were it not for the long hairy legs sticking out of the end of the bed. I could just do the sighing thing again and do the dog duties myself, but not this time. I’ve got a bed to go back to. So I poke the boy in the shoulder and when that doesn’t work, I gently pull his hair. Then stick my finger up his nose. Childish I know. The dog is still barking away, the annoying noise interspersed with the unmistakeable sound of the cat hissing and growling at him. He’s given up on the hope of breakfast and has transferred his jumpy attentions to her. She really does hate him and he LOVES her, it’s pathetic to watch.

The nose jab does the job and the boy groans. “Get up,” I say. “The dog’s hungry and needs his walk, which, incidentally, you promised to do hand on heart every Sunday in return for Fifa 14. It can go right back to the shop,” I say, knowing that there’s no way that this will happen because the main reason his dad did this “deal” with him was that he also wanted the stupid game and needed an excuse to buy it. 

He groans again. “Just get up,” I reiterate, thinking that the sound of the dog’s barking will grate on him enough to make him do it. But I also know that this won’t work because this boy could sleep through a bomb going off in the garden, no problem. 

But he does eventually emerge from his pit. He’s even got clothes on. No socks, but it’s a start. Then it’s a teeth-grindingly maddening process to get him to make himself breakfast, brush his teeth, find some socks, find his shoes – no joy there, the dog took his favourite Converse out into the garden yesterday for a chew and left them to mature overnight in the rain – find some wellies, which he has grown out of since he wore them last week, find his dad’s wellies, retrieve his coat, dig out some poo bags, find the lead, which the dog also dumped in the garden yesterday in the rain next to a book I was reading that I hadn’t seen for a while, get the dog and him connected, and out the door.

But by the time all that was done I was wide awake, the sky had cleared and it was a gloriously chilly autumn morning, perfect for a drive up to my favourite walk which has huge spaces for the dog to gallop on and gorgeous views of rolling countryside on one side and the sparkling English Channel on the other. “Let’s get in the car,” I say. “You’re coming with me?” he says. “Yep, the dog needs a proper run,” I say. “I like it when you come too,” he says. Aaah.






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