Wednesday, January 03, 2018


Is it me or are today's youngsters incapable of clearing their own eating debris away?

When I was a child neither I nor any friends would have got up from an armchair in the living room and walked away from;
  • A crisp packet, crisp bits in the chair.
  • Empty mug, the bottom of which is going brown from the dregs.
  • A pile of orange peel, the largest piece forming the base and the smaller pieces balanced in ascending order.
  • Empty can of Diet Pepsi.
  • A dinner plate with cheese crumbs, uneaten crusts on a dollop of drying Branston.
You ferry the refuse into the kitchen and there on the table is phase two; a bread knife with crumbs in the teeth, breadcrumbs all over the table. A Flora-covered knife and a Branston-covered knife. A jar of Branston, lid off, a tub of Flora lid off (lid face down on the table) and a plastic pack of cheese ripped open with cheese bits around it, and a cheese covered knife.

And, just as your frustration reaches the point where you feel like shouting at the DJ on the radio to shaddup with his chirpy cheer, there, lurking in the dry sink is every washer-upper's most hated; 

The cheese grater, solid with cheese.

I managed an evening out with a bunch of good fostering female friends recently and  the subject came up. Turned out everyone had tales of brown apple cores under sofas, pies and pasties with one bite hardening under the bed, sweet wrappers between the sofa cushions.

The winning story was...are you ready for this?

An entire ham sandwich slid into the slot of the VHS.

It's not just food. Trainers get worn into the house from the front door to the sofa where they'll be removed, dropped and abandoned. Socks will also be left. Coats, pullovers, hats...same treatment. 

We foster parents have a big job with children who have these things wrong.

The poor mites usually haven't been parented in practicalities.

But it's mostly a food thing.

Why? Why with the leaving plates and cups and stuff?

It's new, and as far as I can tell the experts are oblivious. I Googled it. The results;

Nothing. So we're on our own. I'll have a go, I've only got one idea; maybe others can add thoughts.

My recollection is my generation didn't have a snack culture. The larder didn't have crisps or biscuits, fruit was rare, we didn't get offered tea of coffee until we got the key of the door, and I don't think I was allowed to make myself a sandwich until I moved into my own place. 
We didn't snack! There was a chocolate bar called Milky Way that was advertised as "The snack you can eat between meals without spoiling your appetite". That's how rare it was for people to eat anything other than main meals.
Now snacks are the order of the day. 
My generation were not only excused casual food, we got little or no training in how to prepare it and how to clear up afterwards. Yes we were expected to wash-up and dry, but that's different.

Maybe we as adults lack our own childhood experience of having to clear up behind us. Therefore have no reference of how to tell our new children to go about it.

And...Maybe the whole subject is another pointer towards the fact that our children eat too much. 

With that in mind I've just resolved never to mind clearing up someone else's fruit peel, but to get bolshie about the crisp packets.

You never get bored with trying to get it right in fostering...


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