Janet Christie: The Yawning Chasm Years are here again

Youngest Child phones me at work.

Pic Lisa Ferguson 25/08/2015

New Magazine byline pics - Janet Christie
Pic Lisa Ferguson 25/08/2015 New Magazine byline pics - Janet Christie

“Remember the sewing thing I wanted to do at school?


“Well, we’re getting to do that and right now I’m going with my friend to the charity shop to get materials because it’s about recycling. We’re doing an Alice in Wonderland theme.”


“Don’t say cool.”

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“OK. Marvellous. If you go into Middle Child’s room you’ll find a copy of Alice in Wonderland with the original illustrations and...”


“Of course there have been lots of editions since with different outfits you could use as inspiration and...”


“Then there’s the Tim Burton film. Why don’t you go online? You’ll see lots of ideas that you could…”

“Mum! OMG!”


“Please don’t help me.”

“OK. I won’t.” Cheek.

“So, why did you phone?” I say. “Do you want money?”

“Well... no...”

“OK then.”

“But if you’re offering…”

Later at home, she’s doing her Spanish homework.

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“Do you need a hand?”


“I can ask you questions from the book and help with the vocabulary.”

“I’m doing it online.”

“I can still help.”

“Can you just go away please?”

Sigh, I recognise this. The Yawning Chasm Years, when your teenager shuns you for, oh, about half a decade, unless they’re in extremis and require their hair to be held back while they vomit. Or a lift. Or money. Ingrates.

“Right, it’s your turn for the dishes,” I say. “Can you do that now please?”


I hear her crashing and banging around the kitchen.

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“Mu-um, can you come and help me please?”

So! I’m not completely redundant after all. How touching.