Quirky means eccentric, odd, whacky, unpredictable. Texts for a teenager,15, living with her grandfather….
A year ago (July 2021), our family talked about the wish of D’nae, 14, to move from Hertfordshire, 30 minutes north of London, to Totnes in south Devon.
She wanted to move on from her old school and go to KEVICS Comprehensive School in Totnes. D’nae also wanted to deepen her contact with her best friend, who lived a 25-minute bus ride away from Totnes. The two teenagers have known each other since they were 4 years of age.
D’nae took the bold step, an example of her inner strength and confidence. In early September, 2021, she moved down to Totnes while spending time in school holidays with Nshorna and her brothers.
D’nae settled in extremely well. She lives in my loft room and visits regularly Gwanwyn, her grandmother, who lives 15 minutes’ walk away. D’nae and her mum text daily plus chatting on the phone. She loves the school and her friendship circle – the same school her mum went to more than 20 years ago.
Last November, I started sending her various quirky texts regularly from my mobile phone to D’nae’s mobile phone. I sent texts to her in the loft, en route to and from school, evenings with her friends and when she had sleep-over at her best friend’s home.
D’nae said she was fine with the texts going on the blog. I sent this blog to D’nae to ensure she felt OK with my messages to her. She gave it the thumbs up.
Parents/Guardians application of Imagination
Parents/Guardians easily get lost in their own unresolved control issues with teenagers. Such adults will use aggression, bullying and threats to make young people submit or behave. This approach doesn’t work and leaves resentment among the young. Then parents/guardians wonder why teenagers feel rejected, unloved and misunderstood.
Parents and guardians need to develop imagination to communicate concerns. Parents and guardians who shout at youngsters contribute to making their children go ‘deaf’ and unable and unwilling to respond.
Humour is just one expression of imagination, which makes a point without our becoming a control freak.
If we wish to be listened to, then we learn to listen to our teenagers first. Let us exercise authority in wise and skilful ways.
Here are 80 Quirky Texts starting last November 2021 until late July 2022 – with a few other reflections
I tweaked a little a few texts to make clear context to readers.
1. I went up to the loft. Your room is untidy. You are a normal teenager. Good to see.
2. I came home one night after giving a talk in Totnes. I opened the back gate. A rat was eating birdseed left on the grass. The rat might live close to the house. They have an incredible sense of smell to find food. You eat in the loft. Do you like animals?
3. Would you like to earn some money? I could put up a sign in the front garden. VISIT A ROOM OF A TEENAGER IN THIS STATELY HOME. £1.00 entry fee for a conducted tour of the loft.
4. Anything you would like for your birthday? A biro? A toothbrush? A pencil sharpener?
5. Nshorna told me of the text and content you sent your father. Well done. It is important to question an authority figure including a parent. We can talk if you wish.
6. You got an A in English. Five star. I can employ you if you wish for a few hours a week reading texts for typos. I’m keen on child labour. It’s so much cheaper.
7. 8 out of 10 for your tidy room. I gave myself 8 out of 10 as well.
8. I charged up fully your electric toothbrush. It takes 16 hours from zero. If you brush your teeth twice a day, the charge will last about 12 days. If you want to conserve energy, you could brush your teeth once a week. Fine with me. Wear a facemask.
9. Should I get veggie burgers this evening? Or are you dining at The Ritz?
10. Just going across to my friend’s allotment to dig up a veggie burger for dinner.
11. Years ago, I mentioned to a friend that Nshorna lived in Torquay. He said to me: “Why is Nshorna living in Turkey?”
12. I saw a black hair on my hairbrush this morning. So exciting. Oh, it’s one of D’nae’ s hairs. If you see a white hair on your hairbrush, nothing to worry about.
13. Your mum seems a bit deaf in one ear. Kye (her older brother) thinks we should all learn sign language. Would you agree?
14. I really enjoy being a single grand-parent.
15. Don’t be late home, so we don’t have to call in the helicopters.
16. Where are you? Is it Totnes, Torquay or Turkey?
17. I gave your mum money to start running her new shop, The Wise Lotus Centre. If she has little business, it means changes here at home to save money on food. You are a meat eater. Your evening meal will be a tin of cat food with the tin opener and spoon. Enjoy.
18. Your mum always wants to know everything about your day. I’m surprised she doesn’t ask me if you start brushing your teeth from left to right or right to left.
19. It’s raining. Ask the bus driver to drop you off outside the front door.
20. Many thanks for taking care of the payment till at mum’s centre (work experience week). I will give you a reference. You could get a job in Morrison’s.
21. Ask your head of year if you can take a GCSE in MBTT (Mindful Bedroom Tidying for Teenagers).
22. You both have the potential for top grade so you and Olivia can go into five-star hotel management together.
23. I’m off to raise hands to heaven (gym) and back down to earth.
24. Nain (Welsh for grandmother) thinks you should eat something for breakfast. I know you like oxygen for breakfast.
25. Three choices here at home in the evening for dinner – Indian, Thai or Mediterranean. Anything but English or American food.
26. Are you in Tesco’s, Turkey or Tenerife?
27. I sent over to you a couple of days ago in an email my DNA ancestry with information about my father, who I never met, nor missed. Let’s get on with life.
28. What time will you be back to receive the vacuum cleaner in one hand and Macbeth in the other hand?
29. I had a coffee on Sunday with a friend. He told me he had Marmite or jam on his toast for breakfast. I said I had tahini on my toast. I mentioned that I was a single grandfather. I said D’nae likes toothpaste on her toothbrush for breakfast.
30. Pocket money is for kids. You are a young adult. So here is a new arrangement. You received £3.00 per home tutorial. Set between 30 minutes minimum and maximum one hour. With seven sessions, you would earn £21 pounds per week.
31. I criticised Putin in a blog. Then I went out and came back and went up into the loft. I saw the Russians bombed the loft. I told Boris Johnson. We are now at war with Russia.
32. Will the 21st century Cinderella arrive home for 8 pm?
33. Mr. and Mrs. Macbeth are in the living room tonight revealing their miserable marriage. (Tutorial on Macbeth for GCSEs).
34. I am charging off to the Church of Coffee.
35. Your toothbrush is charging up. It wants to develop a relationship with your teeth.
36. I see you have three toothbrushes in your jar on the bathroom window ledge. You could put two of them up for sale on eBay.
37. I know it’s not a thrill a minute going into school, but it’s a thrill a minute leaving school at the end of the day.
38. Just off to Church (gym) to stretch form into eternity.
39. You were awarded a good grade in the mocks for science. You are cleverer than what you think you are. Get used to it.
40. Shakespeare explores the science of emotions and relationships.
41. On Zoom: 7am, 2pm and 6pm with Israel. Up to 75 minutes each session.
42. Ah, you crept in and out of the house while I was on Zoom with Israel. Thank you. You could give tutorials to burglars.
43. Today, your bedroom is fit for the Queen. Lady Macbeth said in Act five: “What’s done cannot be undone.” She had not met D’nae.
44. Oh ye, who tiptoes in the silence, note Milan (brother, aged 13) is staying in the small room. He has no interest in using any of your makeup. If he walks out of his room with red lipstick on, you will be the first to know.
45. You’ve been away with your mates so long. I cannot remember your surname. Is it Hairdresser?
46. Trust you had a lovely holiday with Olivia in the English Riviera.
47. See you after school. Are you in Devon or detention?
48. See you when I see you and not before. If I see you before I see you, ring the emergency services.
49. Are you eating this side of the equator?
50. Tutorial this evening. I know you love it. A thrill a minute.
51. Friends worldwide often ask me what’s it like having a teenage granddaughter living with me? I tell them you and I have a great connection. We also give each other space in a supportive way. I added you are trustworthy and quietly independent.
52. Be mindful if you are in a household with Covid. Covid can hang in the air for a couple of hours in a bathroom or on an item. Open windows wide. Wash hands often. Eat alone. Wear a good mask in the house to protect yourself and your friends. Take test once a day.
53. Three tickets bought for Friday 7pm for Olivia, you and myself. We are about six rows from the front to see FANTASTICALLY GREAT WOMEN in the theatre at Exeter University.
54. Olivia sat between us sitting in the theatre. Do I need counselling? Or was it a simple fact?
55. I saw teenagers from Kevics in the gym. I remember you said you describe me to your friends who go to the gym. You’ve probably described me as tall, dark and handsome. Not dark and not handsome. Perhaps tall, pink (not white, please) and once might have been handsome but probably not.
56. Are you and Olivia babysitting tonight? Are you both getting in some practice for the years ahead?
57. A couple of times last week a bath tap was slowly dripping water. It could cause a flood. Home then floats down Denys Road and falls into the river. It floats out to sea and triggers a tsunami and ends the world. This event would reduce your chances of becoming a Fantastically Great Woman of the world.
58. I detox in the gym this morning. Retox in the coffee shop this afternoon. Live a balanced life.
59. Kye is on a short list to be selected as a future leader in the black community. I told him “D’nae has twice the challenge because she is black and female.”
60. Your mum told me she enjoys your sense of humour. Oh no, we could become competitive, or we could form a comedy duo going into show business, as The Fantastically Great Duo.
61. What time should I roll out the red carpet for your arrival back from Herts? Or should I come to the station to meet you? I can bring the red carpet to the station for you to step on when you get off the train.
62. Are you an angel who flies down the stairs and out of the house? I didn’t hear a single sound while on Zoom in the living room.
63. I have tidied your room. I am now eligible for an award from the Queen for Services to a Teenager.
64. You are my favourite grand-daughter. (I only have one grand-daughter)
65. You have more friends here in Totnes in nine months than I have in 40 years.
66. What are the darkish marks on the white towel. Is it premature greying or mascara?
67. Just off the shops to buy some proper sausages – plant based.
68. Peter called in to pick up an item in the loft. He couldn’t believe how tidy it is.
69. Exam Tips: Keep focused beforehand several minutes of silence before helps, take a couple of deep breaths. Two feet firmly pressed on the floor. Read question slowly. Answer as purposely as possible. If you feel blocked off, don’t panic. Take three of more deep breaths. Remember to read slowly through your answer at the end to ensure writing is clear. You know then you did your best.
70. If you speak to your friends before about exams, give each other confidence. Confidence goes a long way in an exam.
71. (Religion tutorial). You are studying Genesis. God created the world in seven days. Day 1: He created light and dark. Day 2: Sky. Day 3. Land. Plants. Trees. Day 4. Sun Moon Stars. Day 5. Creatures. Animals. Day 6. Humans. Day 7. God sent a text to Adam and Eve and then He had a sleepover.
72. I took your mum to Glastonbury a couple of times or more when she was aged two or three.
73. Lila gave us £20 pound to have dinner together one evening at the Seven Stars Hotel. I will have a bottle of wine, wrapped falafels, and then ice cream. I will order you a small packet of peanuts.
74. I might go again to Israel next year (2023). Do you want to come for a fabulous experience?
75. Ah, you 100% want to come. Cool.
76. You are a big supporter to an amazing family.
77. Jude (my IT consultant) comes at 10:30 am. She doesn’t want to catch Covid. You might hear clinking on the stairs. She’s wearing a suit of armour rented from the Tower of London.
78. (Five days later after two Covid negative tests) Dear Queen of D’naes Road, Am off to celebrate your liberation from solitary confinement in the loft. At times, it is great to know you are negative. Pineapple juice, croissants and keys to unlock chains are on the chest of drawers at the foot of your stairs.
79. You have read four books recently by Colleen Hoover. You are now starting new books Normal People by Sally Rooney and a book A 1000 Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole. Is that what happens on the first date?
80. Enjoy your trip to spend time with your mum, Joziah, 7, and Milan (two younger brothers). Don’t forget your meal deal in the fridge. I didn’t pack any ice cream into your daypack for the train.