Archive for the ‘Devon’ Category


Devon, 14: So, if I can create my own reality, then when there is a zombie apocalypse all the food in the store cupboard will turn into AK47’s. Plus, at my cadet sqaudron we have gas masks and loads of number 8 rifles and I’m going to buy lots of tomato soup, even though I don’t like it, because that stuff lasts forever.

Me- Devon, please could you stop telling your sister who is prone to nightmares and sleepless nights all about zombie apocalypses?

Devon: Oh. (looks at his 11yr old sister) Maybe they’ll be NICE zombies?


Devon,14: (in the kitchen making his lunch) If your name is Devon, clap your hands
“clap, clap”
If you’re makin’ some beans, clap your hands
“clap, clap”
If you’re trying to get some brown sugar for the beans out of the jar while making beans and clapping your hands, clap your hands.
If you’re really cool, clap your hands
“clap, clap”


Olivia, 11- Stop it, Devon.
Stop it, Devon.
Stop it, Devon.
Stop it, Devon.
Stop it, Devon.
Stop it, DEVON.
Stop it, Devon.
Stop it, Devon.
Stop it, Devon.
Stop it, Devon



While the eldest children are making pumpkin pie in the kitchen…

Devon (14)- “WHAT! WHY are you biting my sleeve?”

Olivia (11)- *laughs hysterically* “I don’t know!”

Devon- “You can’t just go around biting other peoples sleeves!”

Olivia- “Well, you can’t just go around biting other peoples wrists!”

Devon- “I don’t.”

Slightly maniacal laughter from both follows

Mom- (from the other room) “Have you two been drinking?”

Adjusting (or not)

I find it difficult to get used to this place. The next door neighbor is a single mum with three young kids, and from my point of view the kids are out of control, the whole family constantly screaming at each other (and worse on occasion). Though her youngest and mine rarely play together- the pervasiveness of their life is starting to affect my kids. Rafe, who is normally incredibly good natured, has started screaming at me. I have long learned how to handle that type of behaviour and can nip it in the bud with a stern word of warning, but it disturbs me just the same. My daughter,11, occasionally plays with the other girls on the street, and afterwards she is belligerent, demanding and snotty. Trying to manage these new behaviours is demanding as they are not part of my kids normal makeup, and are the result of influence. I find that I have to be even more strict than usual and can’t let them get away with it for a second. My eldest is son is thankfully not yet affected, he is not allowed to hang out with the few boys his age on the street as I know they smoke and drink. He’d like to go to the skatepark but the kids there are nasty little cretins and Dev finds that instead of just being able to play, he has to spend his whole time arguing or standing up for himself. Never mind that he is bigger than the kids and could easily lay them out if he decided to let them have it, that’s not in his genetic makeup and I think they see that.

The nights are difficult. Though we are fairly tucked away, our road is some sort of bus through-fare and they come and go at all hours. People come and go all night as well, usually loud and drunkenly. The dogs of the neighbourhood wake me up early every morning with collective howling and barking. During the day the street is full of kids, normally just playing, but when the neighbor kids are about you can be sure their mother will turn up soon and they will all start screaming again, usually just outside our windows. The little one, only 6, will inevitably start crying and there will be more screaming and I end up pacing the floor, wondering what I can do and usually just taking my kids to the park so they don’t have to listen to it anymore. Once I could hear her sobbing through the walls with occasional screaming at the kids and I gathered up all my courage and went over to ask if I could help, maybe by taking her kids to the park or something, she pretended not to be there, and when I pressed said she was fine, thank you.

Her behaviour disturbs me, especially as I worry about her kids, and the effect on mine, and initially I was very judgemental about her. I softened though when I remembered being a single mother for 8 years with two kids, one of which would later be diagnosed with a “social communication disorder”, which just means he screamed a lot as a kid, and occasionally jumped out of moving cars on busy roads because he couldn’t control his anger. It took me a few years to get the hang of this parenting stuff, and I remember being so hard on my son for silly things. I want to help my new neighbour, but she clearly does not want my help. She struts around the neighbourhood, wine class in hand, screaming at her kids or sobbing about some transgression to the adolescent girls that make up her entourage. I find myself less sympathetic and understanding and more irritated and disgusted. When the screaming starts I twitch the curtains, worried she will strike one of the children and knowing that if, when, it happens I will not be able to stay out of it anymore. My family knows this, and while I don’t think they would truly want me to stand back if she were beating them, I know they want me to be quiet, mind my own business, not get involved. I feel embarrassed that they feel this way, that I am some big mouth always getting involved in things that they don’t think concern me. I feel ashamed of them, too. We once came across a man and a woman fighting in the back of the van at a red light. We could see him punching her, could see the blood on her face and clothes. Instinctively I got out of the car, started to shout at them but was dragged back in by the sounds of my family shouting at me. I knew it could end up with me being hurt and didn’t want my kids to see that, so I got back in, and called the police instead. I thought perhaps I had taught my kids an important lesson that night, but now I wonder. Could it be that I am raising kids, and am married to a man, who can stand back and do nothing while others are hurt or treated badly and worse, believe that is better somehow than getting involved?

I long for our detached house in the tiny little cul-de-sac, where the cats could sleep all day on the road outside without ever being disturbed, where the nights were mostly silent and the only noise on a Sunday morning are the church bells in town, which I opened my windows wide to, so that we could hear them better, especially in the winter, when they chime Christmas carols.

Oh, the things they say.

Rafe, 5, in the bath-
“Who let the dogs out? Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoo!

Olivia, 11, on a screaming match with her 14 year old brother-
“Well, APPARRANTLY, I am a freak, a cirque de freak ANNNNND a JERK!”

Devon, 14, on why he should not have to help with the dishes-
“WHAT? My leg hurts!!”
Me- “That didn’t stop you going to your best friends house for two hours.”
Devon- “Yeh, but it hurts now
Me- “Tough Bananas, GO.”
Devon- drags himself on his stomach into the kitchen, moaning theatrically the whole way.

Rafe, 5, on birthday presents
“Mommy, I will get you a big trophy! That says “Happy Birthday AND I love you! FROM- TESCO’S!!!”

I’m not sure if he meant it would actually say from Tesco or that it would be purchased from Tesco. You can’t tell with that kid, he has an evil sense of humour.


My eldest son has what I imagine is about the worst vision possible this side of legal blindness. Nobody knew this until he was about 6. I suppose a lot of his early behaviour issues probably were closely linked, but I was a young first time mother and oscilliated between privately thinking my child was crazy or completely normal. I didn’t know. Oddly enough, I don’t remember the first time it was suggested he may have a vision problem, whether it was before or after his teachers tried to convince me he had ADD and to medicate him, his first vision test, or even his first pair of glasses. I don’t even remember the first time I learned how poor his vision was, perhaps I blocked it out because not a day goes by that I don’t berate myself for unintentionally letting him go through his first years of life like that. Shocking to me is that my child was forcibly taken from me and circumcised while he screamed and I begged them not to, but checking his vision was not a priority for nearly 6 years. (I gather the APA’s priorities are slightly different now, we can but hope.)

My daughter had her vision tested at my firm insistence early on and, thankfully, it was perfect. I have not worried about Rafe’s vision as he has not exhibited any signs of vision trouble, and here in the UK, the health visitors are pretty on top of it. But, it’s been awhile since Rafe has seen a health visitor and rarely needs to go to the doctor and since he is school age, I thought it should be professionally checked. The morning of the appointment, I kicked myself for not insisting it be done when he was much younger, for once again putting my faith in the professionals and I was terrified it was going to be a similar case to my older sons. Thankfully, it was not. I had prepared him for the appointment beforehand and he quite enjoyed wearing all the funny contraptions and telling the eye doctor what the symbols on the wall were. He really wanted to use the letters and not the symbols, but wasn’t quite confident enough in letter names (they teach them the sounds first.)

To be told he had 20/20 vision made me want to cry with happiness. I suppose I wouldn’t go so far as to call my eldest son’s poor vision a disability, but I imagine the relief I felt knowing my younger children will not have to endure the same challenges and pain that he has must be equal to that of any mother, who aches to see one child suffer and rejoices to know their siblings will not.


Yes, that is a Santa hat next to him. The fact that he was wearing a Santa hat in August greatly offended the cleaning guy we passed, who felt the need to point out Christmas was 4 months (is that all? Shit- I’m still in 6 months away mode!) away, and then a moment later, having apparently decided he was super annoyed, informed me it was at least 130 days away! (144 days to Christmas, actually. 89 until Halloween and, most important in this house- 227 days until Rafe’s 6th birthday. This kid is on top of his holidays!)

Cake bandit

We’ve stayed up until 11:00, watched a film (Knight and Day, for anyone who cares, which is pretty good, considering), and had big pieces of chocolate cake with a decadent sweetened whipped cream and cream cheese frosting. Now to bed. My suggestion that my 14 year old brush his teeth is met with some reticence, there is a bit of back and forth, and an apology with subsequent heart to heart follows.

I make my way upstairs, plop down in front of the computer and check my email for the 10th time today, looking for a reply to an email I sent exactly 24 hours ago. It isn’t there. As I start to close down the computer there is a great *CRASH!* from downstairs. Fucking cats? I think, initially. The boy?!! I think, a millisecond later.  He assures me all is well, but he’s fallen. I race downstairs, to be greeted with darkness.  I switch on the lights, he is in the kitchen(!), he tells me he was on the way to the bathroom, and tripped. He cannot tell me why he didn’t turn on the lights. I cringe as I notice that we did indeed leave the kitchen steps in his path to the bathroom.  I notice he has something on his leg and as I reach out, I think- I know what that is, it’s cake. Why does he have cake on his cast? I then notice a smear of cake on the ground. He tells me that when he started to fall he grabbed the fridge, the door came open, the cake plate flew out and landed on the floor.  I check him, then check the cake, it seems remarkably unharmed, though a feeling that there is possibly less of it, passes over my brain.

Initially his story makes sense. Until I notice a large slice of cake on the floor some feet away, under some clothes that have fallen out of their basket. I only sliced three pieces of cake, and we ate those. And, if he had grabbed the top of the fridge as he started to fall, the entire fridge probably would’ve gone over, it’s not terribly big or heavy, and if it had only tipped over enough for things to fall out of it, why didn’t all my cans of cheapy energy drinks, on the same shelf as the cake fall out? Why is the cake in such good condition if it fell out of the fridge and onto the floor?

Despite knowing better,really, my first instinct is to ALWAYS trust my kids. It never even occurs to me that they might be lying, until I have some good reason to think so. I’m not stupid, when they lie to me I usually pick up on it, and call them out on it. But, it’s important that my kids know that I trust them, and so, in return, trust me. So, I do not consider the possibility of lying unless it’s pretty blatant to me.  They don’t get away with it very often.

On this occasion it takes only a few seconds for me to realize the cake on the floor is a nice thick slice of cake, and to see that he was using the light of the fridge to cut himself some cake, when he slipped or tripped or whatever and went down, with his ill gotten cake and all. I sent him back to bed, cleaned up the mess, and on my way back upstairs I said to him “Karma, you think? Maybe thats what you get for taking cake without asking, when you’re supposed to be in bed.”

Bless him,  (God, I’m going native), he looked straight at me and said “I wasn’t taking any cake!”.

I worry about that kid. Really, I do. He’s got the makings of a great criminal. When presented with your crimes, deny,deny, deny.

His conscience gets him every time though. I let him get away with this fib, because I know that no sooner will I have said good morning to him tomorrow morning, he will say “I’m sorry I took some cake, mom”.

I adore this kid. But, fingers crossed a life of crime is not on the cards.

Year 5

Devon, 5 and Tiffany, 7

Devon with his cousin, Tiffany. They used to be great friends, but my brother moved across town, and they stopped seeing each other so often. A battle was brewing between my brother and his ex wife around the time we were preparing to move oversea, and my niece was increasingly put in the middle. My son saw his cousin again the night before we flew out to England, and shortly afterwards my former sister in law cut off all contact between my family and my niece. I sent her a birthday present shortly after we moved but never knew if she even received it. Any gifts or cards I’ve sent since have not made it to her. I’m hurt and angry about what’s happened, but there is nothing I can do about it. I miss both my nieces terribly, and hope I’ll be able to see them both when I finally get a chance to go home.

Shared party

Ok, so the bowling alley party was not for his 5th birthday. I really have no clue then when it was then, probably number 6? Who knows. They gave him a commemorative bowling pin which was dated and everyone signed it. Ten odd years later, all the ink has long since faded or been wiped away. Think they need to look into using markers that are bowling pin safe?


Devon loved anything with wheels and was always getting a new skateboard for Christmas or his birthday. He loved his skateboard and still does enjoy occasional boarding, though he has graduated to bikes, and wants nothing more than a BMX. Currently about £300 I’m not willing or able to buy him one, as I just don’t have enough confidence in his ability to take care of his things, I am sure it would be stolen in the first month. He disagrees. But, I have history on my side. Hopefully, he will grow more responsible as he gets older.

Happy 5th birthday, Devon.

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