Monday, 15 October 2012

A burning issue.

“Oh my god, but you’ve got to let me blog about this,” I say to Eldest as he puffs a series of spectacular smoke rings high into the air. His room smells of strawberries and he’s doing a fabulous impression of Gandalf. 

“Only if you let me keep it,” he replies, without missing a beat.

He’s talking about the bright red shisha pipe in his bedroom. For the uninitiated it looks a lot like this…

You fill it with water, burn stuff in the top, and then smoke it.

Okay, so I know what you’re thinking, parenting-wise we’ve totally dropped the ball here, he’s only 16 and already he’s smoking in the house. But this is our defence...

He’s been asking for one for ages, a friend has one (of course!), it has always fascinated him and as far as we know he doesn’t smoke regular cigarettes (or any other kind) and he keeps telling us that smoking the herbal stuff, which you don't inhale and doesn’t contain nicotine or tar, is harmless. He’s looked it up. Although, from my own research I think the jury is very much still out on this.

It's not smoke exactly, it's water vapour, a bit like the steam from a kettle, except it's cold. Oh, and it’s only a very small shisha pipe, almost a toy really. 

Convinced? Yeah, me neither. Here's more... 

Round here you can smoke them all over the place, outside a multitude of bars and cafes, so we really would not be able to prevent him if he was determined, unless we locked him in the house, which of course we won’t/can't.

On the other hand, I have said that he can't have one in the house every single time he's asked me over the last few months (which has been often) and then all of a sudden it just appears in his bedroom, on Thursday afternoon after school, paid for with his own money, without a by-your-leave. 

But then he was just so cockahoop with it, and it looked so small and innocuous, and it is only strawberry, and maybe he just needs to get the whole thing out of his system? As it were… He'll probably forget about it in a week. 

Still disapproving?

Oh I don’t know! It’s quite tough this whole parenting malarkey isn't it? There’s no handbook. I’ve never had a 16 year-old son before. Just think what we got up to. 

I've always thought if you lavish enough love and understanding, if you make sure you keep talking, talking, talking all that time, if they know you think they're fabulous really and that they are sensible and responsible underneath it all... 

Information and communication, isn't that the key? That's what I say to him anyway.

Then, while I'm eyeing up the shisha with all that great copy potential, he says he doesn’t really like me blogging about him, which is fair enough. But you kids are my life, I say, there isn't anything else. I couldn't possibly have an imagination as good as this stuff. 

What about if you show me what you've written before you publish it? he suggests. You know, get my copy approval? 


So, I’m going to go up and show this to him now, in draft form. Fingers crossed he likes it because otherwise I’m blogging about Middle One’s trip to the orthodontist last week and how we had to sit for 35 minutes in the waiting room, and it's going to be dull as hell.

Follow me on Twitter @DOESNOTDOIT

And just to prove what a burning issue this is, here's an article from yesterday's Observer (note: they are referring to tobacco).

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