From the outside, this is a perfectly normal semi-detached family home. There are bikes on their way to the shed, boots in the hall and far more lights on than necessary.
However, something very strange has happened to the occupants. Or one of them. He has become teenagers.
Do you remember that Kevin The Teenager sketch where overnight he becomes slouchy and uncommunicative?
As with all stereotype, I’d assumed it was, for the most part, rubbish. In any case, how could my sweet, communicative boy – who is cooperative and enthusiastic – bear any resemblance to the grunting, greasy-haired creatures.
Then, seemingly overnight, I was looking up at my eldest, his feet were big enough to be visible from space, and to Mr Creosote-sized dinner portions were barely enough for dinner. And, while not exactly monosyllabic, he was certainly speaking a strange new language.
After extensive study, I have come up with a translation for the key phrases.
Teen says: I’m fine
Teen means: Take your lame and patronising suggestions and go away, parent.
Teen says: Yes; I’ve done my chores/homework/duty phone call to a family member.
Teen means: Of course, I haven’t done it, and I’ve no intention of doing it. It’s a stupid and pointless thing you expect me to do, so get off my case. And it’s so stupid and pointless that this doesn’t even count as a lie.
Teen says: Whatever.
Teen means: Go away/shut up/leave me in peace/can’t you see I’m busy building universes and killing aliens? (Oh, and I wasn’t actually listening in the first place)
Teen says: Mum, would you like a cup of tea?
Teen means: I’ve done something that I believe is going to make you go off the deep end. However, if you know what a kind, thoughtful and loving child I am, you may spare my life.
Teen says: Mum; you look tired, can I run you a bath?
Teen means: She’s going to kill me when she finds out.
Teen says: YOLO
Teen means: Get off my case old person. How could you possibly understand that staying up all night to complete this crucial level of the computer game is the only thing I could have done, even though I’ve got an exam tomorrow.
Teen says: IRL (In real life)
Teen means: Old-fashioned and dull that doesn’t involve the internet.
Teen says: The olden days
Teen means: Last century.
Teen says: You are a terrible parent.
Teen means: Give me what I want. Right now.
Teen says: In a minute.
Teen means: It’s not going to happen. I’ve forgotten it already.
Teen says: Stop fussing. I’ve done/got/organised it.
Teen means: Do it for me but don’t involve me in it in any way.
Teen says: Huh? (Accompanied by exaggerated eyerolls)
Teen means: How can you be so stupid and slow?
Teen says: Roooarrh (loud and anguished)
Teen means: The wifi has gone off.