NZ Woman's Weekly

M for mature

Why, I did wonder the other night, is it such a rude world? We’d been trying to watch a movie on TV as a family, but it was a totally hopeless situation. Since the daughter turned into a teenager, our tastes in shared movies have changed.

Where once we could have happily bonded over some G-rated cartoon or a Harry Potter, now our common ground is a comedy or even a romantic comedy. This sometimes sees us drifting into the M-rated zone. “What exactly do they mean by M with this one?”

I’ll ask the nearly 14-year-old daughter, who has often already seen the movie. “It’s fine, Daddy,” she says. “It’s suitable.” But, within 20 minutes, we’re squirming in our seats as the sort of activity that shouldn’t happen on a first date unfolds on the screen.

To be honest, the daughter may not be squirming, but her mother is jabbing me in the ribs, making me feel like I have to say, “I’m not sure about this,” and look around for support. But the wife just smirks helplessly while the daughter glares.

When I was a kid watching TV at my grandparents’ place and even the lightest of light romance suddenly broke out on the screen, my granddad would get up, turn off the TV and the lights, announce it was time for bed and leave the room. I know how my grandfather felt – though what passes for romance these days is a bit more graphic than the stuff he couldn’t cope with.

Rudeness is everywhere. My old mum’s had to stop watching Coronation Street because the ancient soap opera was going too far, according to her. Meanwhile, at our place we’re playing it safe and restricting our shared viewing to New Zealand’s Got Talent and Grand Designs. The only jabs in the ribs I get there are to wake me up. Though the beloved wife won’t be around to jab me for much longer.

In a couple of days she’s off on a three-week work trip to various parts of Europe. I’ve been furiously assuring her we’ll be just fine, but I’m not sure I believe it. A lot can happen in three weeks, though I suspect all that will happen is we’ll eat more takeaways than usual and not make the beds every day.

The daughter’s been getting lessons on using the washing machine because I can’t be trusted to keep the colours apart. I am supposed to be getting lessons in online banking, but those haven’t happened yet. I need to learn because my only real fear is of us running out of money.

There are other, smaller fears, as I believe this may be the longest I’ll ever have been left at home in sole charge of a child – though the youngest is less of a child and more of a great big scary teenager. As I said, a lot can happen in three weeks.

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Jenny-May’s magical day

In this week's issue of New Zealand Woman's Weekly magazine: Jenny-May shares her magical day!

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