Tag Archives: teenager

Teenage online gamer Gollum Boy gets up BEFORE lunch!

Father of teenage online gamer and Wicked Stepmother could hardly believe their ears.

There were movements from the upstairs habitat of said online gamer. Sounds of teenage person getting up. But the clock said it was still morning. How could this be, especially on a Sunday?

Gollum Boy, our teenage online gamer does not appear before afternoon as a rule. ( There are other posts about Gollum Boy. If you want to go back to the beginning here is the link.)

online gamer

symptoms of addiction

I’m the Wicked Stepmother. I’m the one who has had the reputation for being the negative voice in the household.

I worry that our teenage online gamer is making unhealthy choices, sitting up there in the dark, playing these games for hour after hour.

On weekends we usually see him only when he’s hungry.

What could have made him change his habits this last Sunday morning?

The League of Legends Championship final.

This is what he was watching –


And he continued until the end, only slipping downstairs for sustenance to keep him going.

online game final

picture from BBC


There’s no harm in watching your team play sport, even if nowadays they’re calling it e-sport which only involves having a fast hand and fingers. I understand the attraction. These team players are as much  gamers’ heroes as football fans’ favourite players.

But, I think, most football fans have a life outside of football, don’t they? They can talk about other things, can’t they?

Our online gamer was still at it at 2am this morning. He’d done a 14 hour shift. Sounds carry at night when the house is quiet and I heard him simply shifting position on his sofa. (His loft room is directly above our bedroom)

I pulled the plug on our internet connection.

Biological parent is backing me up today. The plug comes out at 11pm every night from now on, school holidays and all.

What would you do?

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Wicked Stepmother working to rule.

Wicked Stepmother hasn’t posted for a while.

She’s been a little under the weather. These long French school holidays are a strain, particularly when coping with complications from CRPS – you know- the shortage of sleep, the constant pain etc.

stepmother is sick

looking blackly


Wicked Stepmother was at the end of her tether

with Gaming person who lives upstairs, otherwise known as Gollum Boy who has had close to three months off school. I’ll repeat that – THREE months off school. All right then, two and a half. One is prone to exaggeration when one is at the end of aforementioned tether.

None of his chores were being completed.

emptying dishwasher

little kids can do it – picture from mirror.co.uk

A job even little kids can do – GB doesn’t get up in the morning so if you need clean plates and cups etc. for lunch (as you do) you have to empty the dishwasher yourself.

He’d conveniently forget to take out the trash.

(We have three collections weekly here in France. During very hot summers you need non recyclables to be gone. Fast.)

taking out trash for stepmother

smelly stuff!

See, little kids can do it. GB did it when he was little. But now he’s GB. He’s only interested in online gaming and as we’ve already seen, gamers are cuckoos in your house, lady.

They take. They never offer to give.

Biological parent (BP) and Wicked Stepmother (WS) grew tired of always having to ask GB to do his chores.

He refused point blank to get up before his preferred 1pm or even later. He refused point blank to help with bringing in supermarket shopping and putting it away.

Yesterday he said he was inviting 7 of his friends to come round here for the last day of school summer vacation. They would like to use the pool and possibly stay for something to eat.

Wicked Stepmother refused point blank.

‘No,’ she said. ‘And the reason is this. Since my incapacitation last December when I was hit by a car, you have shown so little consideration for your father and me.  This morning I have yet again emptied the dishwasher for you and washed all your clothes.

Throughout the whole of the summer holidays you have offered to do nothing. And yet you still expect to get what you want. It isn’t happening any more. Neither is your ironing. I don’t want to wear your tee shirts. You do. You iron them. This is what is called working to rule.

worktoruleWicked Stepmother signing out for now.

And if you think WS is being over the top in her treatment of online gamer – watch this video of what happens to some  gaming addicts in China.

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The Poisonous Crusts Saga.

Crusts are poisonous. They must be. Kids leave them. Who hasn’t seen a slice of bread like this in the picture below? Crusts are so poisonous kids leave them even if, really, to be perfectly honest, they really like the stuff they’ve left behind on their plates.

Why do kids leave crusts?


perfectly poisonous crust

They do it to get to you, you know. Kids leave crusts behind just so’s they can let you know who’s really in charge here.

In my last Wicked Stepmother post I showed you photos of the poisonous crusts making a regular appearance on my kitchen table each morning. Not to mention the half a jar of Nutella smeared on them. The Nutella saga requires a Chronicle post all of its very own, together with the tomato ketchup one, jars of which get flushed from where it’s been left on the plate down the plughole on a regular basis.

tomato sauce

blobs left on plates

Now, we’re not talking little kids here. Not toddlers. Not primary schoolers. Not anybody who isn’t taller than me.

We’re talking nearly 16 years old, towering over the top of me and so sharp you’d prick your finger if you went to hug him.

I thought I had a cunning plan. Remember? The poisonous Brioche crust story?


brioche crusts with Nutella

Buy Brioche rolls, Wicked Stepmother! They haven’t got crusts, Wicked Stepmother. You can wipe the smile right off his face, Wicked Stepmother, when you present him with something so devilishly delicious he can’t bear to leave even the tiniest morsel.

I found Brioche rolls with added crème fraiche. My mouth watered just looking at them. The aroma from the packet was vanilla and buttery and eggy and crème fraichey.

Not even a saint on hunger strike could have resisted.

crust of brioche

can you believe it?

No. I couldn’t believe it, either. Take a closer look at teenage kid getting one over on me.


I give up!!!

I pretended I hadn’t noticed.

Well, all you Wicked Stepmothers out there. You’ve got to keep face.

Crust Poisoning. By the Wicked Stepmother.

Anything with a crust on it must be dangerous. Isn’t that so? Isn’t that why so many kids don’t eat them?

Well, they come up with all kinds of reasons and excuses for leaving them on their plates. Crust tastes bad. it’s dry. It makes me choke. Etc. etc. You could list all the excuses kids come up with for not finishing off their crusts.

Dangerous crusts

Sandwich  – designed to choke you.

Pie  – no filling left in it so it’s not worth eating.

Pizza  – covered in germs from where you’ve been holding it in your dirty mitts.

Toast  – burnt to hell and just plain nasty. Actually, if it is burnt the kids do have a point. It IS dangerous. It’s carcinogenic.

burnt crust

burnt food is carcinogenic

But burnt food aside, why do kids insist on leaving crusts?

There’s an entertaining website called How To Be A Dad, but it’s just as entertaining for Mums. Andy has coined the phrase Crust Poisoning. I can’t claim any credit for that. (I wish I’d thought of it first!)

Here’s a link to Andy’s post about crusts on the How To Be A Dad website. Hilarious, isn’t it?

And here’s another link to the I Used to Believe website. The top story is brilliant.

the crust man

from the I Used to Believe website

But, here’s the thing. These posts on other websites refer to LITTLE kids. What happens when your enormous 15 year old is still doing it?

Wicked Stepmother took some photographs to demonstrate. There are just the two pictures, but the rest of the week the same thing happens.

Day 1 crust

Monday’s breakfast leavings

Brioche and Nutella crust

Tuesday’s leavings

What we’re looking at here is not burnt. It’s not dry. It isn’t hard or horrible in any way whatsoever. It’s Brioche. Here’s what Wikipedia says about it –

Brioche (/ˈbriʃ/ or /ˈbriɒʃ/French: [bʁi.ɔʃ]) is a pastry of French origin that is akin to a highly enriched bread, and whose high egg and butter content give it a rich and tender crumb.

Hello? Rich and tender crumb.

It’s soft as a baby’s skin.

So why leave so much of it?

Brioche loaf

soft and sweet

A loaf of Brioche is a joy to behold. It’s soft and sweet and buttery-eggy and you could easily suck it down if you didn’t have any teeth.

There is no reason on this earth why anyone would need to leave any of it.

Now then, Wicked Stepmother cannot abide wasting food. Her generation caught this from ancestors who had lived through rationing and hardships today’s kids couldn’t even begin to imagine. Wicked Stepmother’s generation has learned to be economical with resources and it can be quite an affront to see so much food going into the waste bin. On a whim.

But, as you might imagine, Wicked Stepmother has a cunning plan.

She will buy no more loaves of Brioche. Not a single one. Here’s the premise.

You know how there isn’t a crust on a muffin?

muffin no crust

crustless muffin

Nobody ever leaves bits of muffin on their plate. They go round the plate, stabbing with their hungry fingers picking up every last crumb, don’t they? Dab, dab, dab till all the little crumbs are consumed. Till the plate is shiny and empty and there is no waste to go in the bin . . .

(I’m getting a bit excited now at the prospect of putting into operation this cunning plan of mine. Oops, cunning plan of the Wicked Stepmother.)

We shall purchase only Brioche Buns. Crustless Brioche Buns.

Brioche bun

Eggy, buttery and flaky. The answer to this crust dilemma?

Leave me a comment. Go on, I’d love to hear your thoughts.



The Wicked Stepmother and school holidays. 10 WEEKS!

WS=Wicked Stepmother   GB=Gollum Boy, the online gamer  BP=Biological Parent

School holidays have begun. The only students attending collège this week are doing final year oral exams in preparation for lycée next September.

wicked stepmother picnic place

rock formations at Moureze

GB has one more year in collège. He handed in all his text books on Tuesday. He said it was painful. Wicked Stepmother thought he meant he was heartbroken to see them for the last time. (Joke)

No, he said, it was painful because they were so heavy.

On Wednesday he floated off, sans text books, for  the morning bus and probably floated back at midday to make his own bacon sandwich for lunch. We weren’t at home to witness. Himself and I were entertaining visitors and actually having a rather nice picnic in the hills above Clermont Hérault with a large ready-roasted pintade from the market, tomatoes, cheese and crusty bread. GB would not eat this fare and, anyway, picnics are for boring old farts.

pintade for wicked stepmother lunch

pintade is a guinea fowl

When we arrived home, the kitchen bore the evidence of GB’s culinary efforts, complete with tomato sauce-streaked plate left where he’d finished with it. GB was where we expected him to be: glued to the X-Box, the 10 week holiday grin already secure upon his face. (We noticed it when he came down to see if we’d brought back any chocolate biscuits.)

His final day at collège this semester was Thursday last. The grin grew even wider.

‘What are you going to do with all this time off?’ said BP.

‘Hmmph!’ GB replied.

Nothing more was said at the time.

On Friday, GB spent all day gaming.



On Saturday, GB spent all day gaming.

gaming addict

did you know such organisations exist?

On Sunday, there was a sea change.

Oh, yes.

Wicked Stepmother had nothing to do with it and remained, her own thin grin firmly in place, out of sight.

Biological Parent put the question again.

‘What are you going to do with all this time off?’

No answer. Not even a humph.

‘If you can’t come up with ideas of your own, GB, I’ll think of some for you.’

No answer.

‘I’d like you to come down at three this afternoon and help me in the garden.’

Three o’ clock came and went.


three o’ clock deadline

BP went to the garage. He walked over to the electricity control box.

power control

power control switches

Our power controls are different in France from what we were used to in the UK. We don’t have ring circuits here. Each room can be isolated by the switches on the main control box.

At 3:15pm last Sunday afternoon, two rooms were blacked out.

At 3:15pm last Sunday afternoon, the plug was literally (almost) pulled on activities at the top of the house.

At 3:15pm last Sunday afternoon, there was no X-Box, no YouTube live streamed games/tutorials from Syndicate the #1 UK gamer. The lights were out. The sockets were dead.

BP waited in the garden where GB’s old bike awaited cleaning and maintenance before we sell it.

Power was not restored until 6pm. So, GB still had minimum 8 hours game playing from when he got up to lights out. I think it’s way too much.

Wicked Stepmother plans to show this post to BP, especially the picture about 10,000 hours spent by the age of twenty-one. Isn’t that such a waste of a young life?

What do you think?

50 Shades Greyer. Remember Gollum Boy?


Gollum Boy working at his ‘precious’.

Gollum Boy is 50 shades greyer. You remember Gollum Boy, the teenage person who lives upstairs. He appears at mealtimes and hovers like ectoplasm, usually in doorways. That’s the one.

Well now, it seems he’s not content with the original 50 shades of grey brought about by lack of sleep, no exercise and poor diet, plus an unhealthy addiction to online gaming on his precious till 2 am and beyond. I think he’s going for vampire.

Let’s backtrack a little. I know I have a tendency to wander.

We’ve had school holidays. Two weeks of them. They’re different here in France from what you might expect. Spring holidays follow a regional rota so that schools are not on break all at the same time. The ski resorts couldn’t cope with all those kids arriving at once, you see. So, half-term in February and the ‘Easter’ break can vary considerably from region to region and from year to year. Everybody takes turns at early or late break. Late breakers got lucky this year and had fresh snow in the Pyrenees last Saturday. I know; I saw it on the way to Spain for himself’s birthday.

So where was Gollum Boy on himself’s birthday you might wonder?

In bed. Online.

Okay, so teenage boys don’t want to celebrate their father’s birthday with him. Understandable. I can go along with that. But, remember also I’m a wicked stepmother and have to guard what I say. When I criticise, it’s always going to sound wicked stepmotherish unless I choose my words very carefully. Remember the pirate lady who wasn’t going to let trouble creep up on her again? The one who was prepared for school holidays and whatever should happen?


ready for anything . . .

Her good intentions lasted a week.

She lost it during the second week.

Have you got a card for your dad’s birthday? she said.

No. Why?

The shop in the village has some, she offered. They don’t cost much.

Afterwards, himself made excuses when no birthday card appeared.

It’s just about being a teenager, himself said.

Actually, biological parent, no it isn’t. (This is where she lost it!) Some teenagers do think about other people, helping out, doing something for someone else. The kids who don’t are the ones who get away with only ever thinking about themselves because they’ve got parents who continually make excuses for them. (Great rattling of cutlasses here.)

The upshot of all this mutiny was withdrawal from theatre of battle by wicked stepmother.

And the result?

A second week spent entirely indoors by Gollum Boy. The weather is warm. The sky is so blue it sometimes looks purple. Down on the beaches, people are dipping their toes. But Gollum Boy says it’s too warm outside for him. Well it would be, she thinks, for anybody wearing thick jogging pants and a hoodie over a tee shirt.

And anyway, the sun hurts his eyes, Gollum Boy says.

I think it makes his skin sparkle too!