Please don't, Mum; Generation gap

There is nothing is more cringe-making for Amy Pope, 11, from Swansea, than her mother Hilary's enthusiasm for taking endless photos of the big moments in her daughter's life. But there's plenty more to cringe about besides ille
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Amy

`She came back from a line-dancing evening and said she'd been dancing with my headmaster'

Once when Dad was playing in a concert, Mum was dancing and then she just dived off the stage. When I saw her the next morning I said, "Oh Mum, I can't believe you did that!" She had to have a bandage put on her hand. It was so silly - and how embarrassing in front of all those people!

On my first day at comprehensive school she brought her camera and took photographs of me as I got on and off the bus. In the morning she got me to stand outside the house in front of people walking past and took pictures. Then when I came home on the bus my mum was there, trying to take photographs again! I was so embarrassed. I covered my face and tried to look somewhere else and walk past her. All those teenagers watching from the bus! I said to her later, "Please Mum, don't take any photos of me again."

A friend had seen it and when we went to Guides she said, "Oh , has your mum got her camera? It's your first day back at Guides!"

There was a line-dancing evening at school; that was really embarrassing because she dressed up as if she was in a Western. Then she came back and said she'd been dancing with the headmaster!

Sometimes when she puts me to bed she says, "Oh ! Have you done this or that? Is it gym! Have you got your PE kit packed?" I say, "Don't worry! Don't panic! I've got it all under control."

People say I'm sensible, but I don't always feel sensible. At my age you are trying to pull yourself away from being a young child and the slightest thing can make you feel embarrassed.

I love her for what she does, but sometimes she's a bit weird. I hope I'm not as weird as she is when I grow up and I hope my children don't think I am weird

Hilary

`Down at the primary school they call me Alan Whicker'

is more sensible than I am. Once I was having fun at a party and I jumped off the side of the stage. People were in cocktail clothes and high-heeled shoes, sitting at tables, quite reserved. Hal was playing rock music and I was jiving with a friend on a stage about 6ft up. I was perfectly sober but I just wanted to feel free, to do something mad, like flying through the air. So I said, "C'mon Kev, we're going to go for it", and we leapt.

We got a round of applause, but I landed on my bottom, broke my shoe and hurt myself - although I tried not to show it. My hand was black and blue for days. When I got home, said "Oh mum! How could you have done that!"

Another time our PA held a line-dancing evening and I borrowed leather chaps, a hat and a lovely pair of cowboy boots with pointy toes and spurs. When I told that the headmaster was there, dancing in my line, she said she would never be able to hold up her head in school again.

When they see me with my video camera at the primary school they say, "Oh here comes Alan Whicker again!", but I like to have a record of the moment. When started upper school in September I photographed her getting on and off the school bus, but she had her head in her hands and was totally embarrassed. I know I'd better listen to her from now on; she'll be wondering why there are no photos of her after the age of 11.

She used to purse her lips for me to kiss when we went to school, but she has become more self-conscious recently. Before it was me worrying about her hair; now it's she who has to have her hair just right.

Nothing phases . She's very calm, and if she sees I'm upset she rubs my back and puts my mind at rest. I am very proud of her. Already she has been elected to the student council at school. She's good in the kitchen, too, making cakes and desserts. Sometimes I think she might as well just take over!

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