Documentary. Although she's only 3ft 11, 17-year-old Jazz has never let her size get in her way. Now she prepares to leave home, and her mum, for college. How will she cope?
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My name is Jasmine but everyone calls me Jazz.
I live in Wales and I'm a typical 16-year-old.
What do you think of this one... this one...or do you like this one?
I might be the height of an eight-year-old, but I've never let that stop me doing anything.
This is my mum, Bev.
I've been her registered carer since I was 13.
Can I have my coffee?!
But now I'm leaving Mum and home to go to college.
Do they have water here? Even in the Welsh hills.
'I'm going to start dating...'
-How are you, darling?
-Much better now.
'..and get my first set of wheels.'
You don't need a 1.8 engine? Your carbon footprint will be bigger than you!
'But it's not all good times.'
I can't believe it!
'I have to face the possibility of losing Granddad.'
He has been like my Dad.
I can't imagine life without him and I don't even want to think about it.
But first I'm trying to meet my real dad who I've not seen in 16 years.
I need to see him as soon as I can, cos I just don't want to meet him in a box.
So this is my life, as a small teen in an even bigger world.
This is my mum, Bev, 20 years ago when she was 27.
And this is my dad Paul, aged 23.
They were in love and I wasn't even a twinkle in their eyes.
Fast forward a couple of years, it's now November 1993
and this is where my story begins.
That's me, inside that huge bump.
No stretch marks!
Goodness gracious me, what on earth is that!
The voice you can hear is my granddad Norman's.
It's just like puddings...
He films everything, especially me.
That's my Nana Margaret.
Until I came along, mum was the only person in our family with restricted growth.
-Slight breathing difficulties.
When I was born nine weeks early,
it wasn't just a new beginning for me but for my mum as well.
-I love you, Mum.
-I know you do...
In hospital, she realised she had to ask my dad to stay away.
There was a very big reason why Mum decided it was best
to bring me up without him.
Are you going to fight, eh?
You can breathe on your own, can't you?
Cos Mummy had some nasty injections.
Yes. And it was worth it.
Right, stop. Stop...
'16 years later and it's still just me and Mum.'
Mum, can I get a magazine, please?
-We're food shopping.
'Like most teenagers, I'm taller than my mum but not by much.'
Nobody saw that.
What did you want out of those?
The...not salmon ones, the other one.
'The world's not designed for us.'
Excuse me, will you just get me some Buenos. Sorry. Thank you.
-Could you just get us some of the salmon ones?
What's that thing next to them that says Weight Watchers?
You're not on a diet, are you?
'Being small has never been an issue for me,
'but some people have a big problem with it.'
We can't just walk down the street and be not laughed at,
or pointed at, or pointed out.
It's like walking out in a ridiculous costume and everyone looking at you,
no matter what you're wearing - if you're wearing a bright orange traffic cone or all black,
against a black wall you would still be noticed, you know, because people like to point out difference.
It's natural to look. Difference is brilliant. Difference is what makes this world.
You know, but there's no need to be pointing, laughing, shouting,
showing all your mates, you know, and that's what really gets me.
Me and Mum live on our own in a first floor flat in Colwyn Bay in Wales.
What we having?
We're having fajitas.
'When I was 13, I became my mum's registered carer.
'She's got a serious lung condition so she can't do a lot
'before she gets tired and out of breath.'
-Can I just sit down.
-If you want.
-I have been busy shopping.
Very busy, I feel sorry for you.
No, I've had a really good day. I went to Specsavers...
It must be terrible! I'm amazed you've done so well.
Mum! I'm near a hot wok!
I knew you were going to do something like,
"Mum stop doing what you're doing!"
She does like to wind me up and she knows what she's doing.
-Mum! Go away.
-What are you doing?
Can you put that over there for me?
Where? I don't want to put it in the wrong place.
She only does it because she knows it winds me up, if that makes sense.
Love you, Mum!
Jasmine is so good, aren't you?
I love the way you work with a wok, you're just...
Our wok girl.
-Want me to put that away?
At times, it's like I'm the mum and she's the child.
But one thing we both share is our love of adventure.
Being small has never stopped us doing anything.
Jazz, you look awesome.
'It's actually brought us closer.'
We understand each other. We know what we go through.
Mum's always helped me go through the hard times, you know,
with my condition and it's pretty sad and embarrassing to admit
but she's my world.
We've always been close, because it's always been...
She was reliant on me as a baby and as a child and growing up,
the suddenly I was relying on her and then it was a mixture of both.
'Now it's a case of, we're mum and daughter and friends.'
'We're inseparable but all that is about to change.'
'My dream is to work with animals and now I've been accepted
onto a course to study animal welfare.
I got a place!
'But the college is over an hour's drive away so I have to leave home to live on campus.'
-When do you start?
I'm taking all my stuff with me
even though I'm coming back every weekend.
It feels like I'm a proper adult now.
This is my childhood teddy, um, it goes everywhere with me.
I used to always take it on holidays but I'm not allowed any more!
So I'm just going take it with me for some comfort, really.
Yeah... I think it's like a really big thing
that I've chosen to move out, especially cos I'm only 16
and also I have my condition.
You know, not many people would do that, but I'm really excited,
I can't wait, but I know it's quite hard at times when I'll be on my own at college and that.
It's a big thing really.
'My nana Margaret and Granddad Norman have always been there for me.'
I don't know what else to pack.
-Those towels won't need to go in.
'I'm really close to them. They're like another mum and dad.'
What would I do without you?
-I guess I'm flying the nest now. I'm all grown up.
You know what, you're going to really enjoy yourself.
I'm hoping that you'll have the same fantastic times your mum did.
Your mum went everywhere.
She did so many amazing things
-and I just want you to do the same.
-I will, I promise.
-That will get you up to your little shelves and things.
We'll have to leave you at home. Take all your gear.
-This is it, Jazz!
It's real now! It's the start of me doing what I want to do
and doing what I love, you know, and...
We're all keen to see where I'm going to be living during the week.
This is your room.
OK, you're going to be here for the next few...years.
I'm really excited. I just can't wait to get started
but I'm just so tired from all the emotional exhaustion. That sort of thing.
But I think tomorrow I'll be getting up bright and early and ready to go.
So remind me again what time you're getting up?
-Half-seven. When was the last time you did that?
I don't remember ever doing that.
-Right, Jazz, here we go. Can you manage this one, doll?
'Because of my size, I've been given a specially-adapted room.'
-Have you seen the bathroom?
-I haven't even been in!
-Oh, I say...
-How many years have I needed one of these?
Oh, I can't even be bothered to stand up for a shower.
I'm going to sit here.
In turquoise, Mum.
Oh, look, we've brought Rainbow.
Oh! Get that...
Oh, I just feel absolutely elated for her.
This is what she's always wanted but I am going to miss her.
You know, it's only Monday to Friday but...
I am going to miss her.
You'd think she was going on some sort of trip to the Safari desert!
She's going to the college!
They have water here, Mum, even in the Welsh hills.
Horse mad, so I had to buy her that, with the horses on. That's a mug.
When I saw that, I couldn't resist it.
-Oh, I can't wait. I'm starving.
-OK, let's get our gear then.
-I might just I'll just go and...
-I'll give you a big hug.
'Saying goodbye is always hard.
'Today feels just like when Mum and Nana waved me off
'on my first day at school.'
Bye, Nan! I'm going to school!
-Are you going to school?!
-Who are you going to see at school?
Are you off to school?
Let her breathe!
Nana's hugs are a bit... You need surgery afterwards!
-I'll phone you in the morning at quarter past seven.
To make sure you're up.
See you soon.
And, I need her up here!
My granddad has always been behind me, pushing me to achieve my goals.
Be in the forefront. Do not be a little wallflower.
-Get in there.
-Yes. I know.
-And, be at the front, OK?
And absolutely enjoy yourself!
Over the last 16 years, me and mum have been inseparable.
Press really hard, really hard now!
But now we're both going to have to get used to living alone.
Oh, don't you start, I can see it already.
-I'll be fine.
-Don't get lonely, yeah?
Love you so much.
Love you too.
Now you've got me started!
-I'll be fine.
-I know you will.
I know you're going to absolutely love it, you really will, won't you?
Yeah, I know. You'll come and visit me won't you?
Jazz, you're not in prison.
No, I won't come and visit you.
-Why would I come and visit you?
-I don't know.
In a week you'll be going, "Please don't come, Mum."
Now I'm alone, everything is very real
and I'm scared of how the other students will react to me.
I was badly bullied about my size at school,
so I had to leave when I was 13.
A boy picked me up and then just dropped me again,
but I landed on my knees and that really did damage my knees badly.
That just made us think, "We've got to get out of here."
Mum started teaching me at home instead.
I'm separating iron powder, sand and water.
By "separating" do you mean filtering?
I'll leave that there, and you have to filter quite a few times before you get it all...
Being homeschooled also helped, because I find it hard to write.
I can't touch any of my fingers,
so I find it really difficult to grip a pen,
and after about a page my hands starts to go tingly,
like pins and needles.
I've got too much cartilage in the muscles.
There's nothing the doctors can do. They can't operate on it
because it's too delicate and too close to the nerves
and I don't want my hand being paralysed.
Now I'm at college I just hope I can cope with the academic work
and that I get on with the other students.
I've not had to mix with people my own age every day. I could pick and choose who I wanted to be with
and now I have to be with these people and it's really worrying
if I'll like them, if they'll like me and because I've not been
in that routine of getting up, going to each separate class,
writing four pages of work in each class, you know, I'm not used to that.
It's going to be hard for me work-wise and friend wise.
Being on my own makes me realise how important my family is.
Last year, I decided to try and contact my dad.
I'd grown up without him but I wanted to know what makes me me.
I found some pictures and this is the only one I can find of your dad.
And that's on a canal boat, so it's not very clear, is it?
-Is that you?
-Yeah. I think you look like your dad.
-You've got the same eyes as your dad.
He had very dark, wavy, beautiful hair compared to mine.
Dead sort of shiny and lush and everything.
How long were you together?
Erm, I met him in Manchester when I lived on my own in a flat.
We travelled for a while. We went off to the Kibbutz and stayed on there, and then we came back,
And I was tired all the time and sick in the morning,
and it didn't twig with me that I was actually pregnant.
And as soon as I found out, your dad was so excited and happy.
He said "Oh, we can get married now." I remember him saying that.
My mum was 30 when she became pregnant with me.
This is a nice... Let's get me in focus.
Oh, my goodness gracious, look at that!
The doctors were worried I wouldn't survive, as mum is so small
but my Dad is six feet tall.
No-one knew if I would be small like mum or tall like my Dad.
When my dad first saw me,
did he say anything or did he just,
you know, look at me like "Wow," what did he...
We were just both staring, I think. You were like a little dolly
that was all tubed up, so we were just like "Look, oh, look how little her fingers are."
But we were both so concerned cos you were just covered
in little tubes and things like that, you know?
Whilst I was in the special care baby unit, looking after me wasn't mum's only worry.
My dad had a troubled past.
Mum knew he had a history of taking drugs
and now she was sure he was using them again.
When I was in hospital
he seemed to get worse, seemed to get more irresponsible,
so instead of, you know, starting to put money aside and make the flat nice and get it ready,
I thought he was getting worse, more irresponsible.
And I thought "Am I looking after two children?"
and I didn't want to do it. I physically couldn't do it
and I looked at her in her incubator,
you know, for a week...
..and the tubes in her and things and her heart rate and I'm thinking,
"I've brought her in, she's not asked to be here, and I'm never going to let her down as much as I can."
When I was ready to leave hospital, Mum decided we wouldn't go to live with my dad in Manchester.
Instead we moved into Nana and Granddad's house.
Mum had to ask Dad to keep himself and drugs out of our lives.
-You know the last time my dad saw me?
Did he know that it would be the last time?
I'd just said, "Let me look after her and bring her up and I'll do my best and you will see her.
"You know, at some point."
-What did he say to that?
-Well, he was upset.
Well, in fact I remember him going white cos of the realisation.
It was a really tough decision for Mum but I know she did the right thing.
Dad's life was spiralling out of control.
Within a few months he'd lost his home and was living on the streets of Manchester.
By the time I was celebrating my first birthday, Dad was in a documentary on homelessness.
My childhood has been in and out of care.
I was abused when I was younger.
That was one of the main reasons that I got into drugs,
to try to forget.
When Bev left, I got into the wrong crowd of people
and I was introduced to people who was taking heroin.
Somebody offered me it one day and I took it,
and I liked it. After about a week I woke up one morning
and had terrible pains in my back and I was feeling sick.
I explained to one of the people who I was hanging about with at the time
what I was feeling and he said, "You're withdrawing from heroin."
I said "No, I can't be. I've only been having it a week."
He said, "Trust me, you are."
He says, "Have some heroin and then tell me you're not."
And as soon as I took the heroin, them feelings went away.
And I realised then I was addicted.
I didn't know what I was going to do.
I spent the first year of my life living at my grandparents' house with my mum.
Don't regret going to my mum's, not one day.
He gave me no choice.
Because, I can't get that he saw her like that, little tubes...
there's still something in him just didn't...
I was on a self-destruct mission. You want the drug more than anything.
I know it's hard to say, but, yeah, you choose the drug at the time,
so I couldn't have come into Jazz and Bev's life while I was like that. They would have hated me.
I would have still had to go out every day to get money to get the drug.
Mum told me about dad's drug addiction as soon as I was old enough to understand,
so I've always known why he wasn't in my life.
A lot of my friends have said, "Your dad's been missing for 16 years.
"Are you angry with that?" And I had no idea what it was like
to have a dad, so it's something you get used to.
It's like if you're born without an arm, you don't think of it,
you just get on with it. Whereas if you have an accident and lose it,
you've got to adapt your whole way of life.
There's nothing really to forgive, because it's Mum's decision and it was the right decision.
Even though I knew my dad had problems, as I got older, I still really wanted to meet him.
But last summer, I started to worry that if my dad was still homeless
and using drugs he could die from an overdose any day.
'Thankfully, I had my best friend Naomi to talk to.'
I need to see him as soon as I can, cos I don't want to meet him in a box.
You know, cos he might have changed. 16 years is a long time.
I don't want you to be disappointed
and I don't think your mum wants you to be disappointed.
I don't want to wait any longer but I don't know how I'll cope with it at the time.
You know, I could be fine now
and think it will be fine, and if he doesn't want to meet me, no loss.
I'm not... I've never known having a dad, so why would it be any different?
Again, I might feel rejected and I might feel really bad, I don't know.
-I'll be fine. I always am.
-Come on, let's get going.
My mind was made up.
Here you go, Jazz. Good to see you.
'With the help of a social worker, I wrote a letter to my dad.
-It's a difficult letter to write, isn't it?
If we did meet him and he did want to be part of my life again,
I would give him that chance, and you know, I'd give him 1,000 chances.
Everyone needs another chance.
"Hi," you know, "I'm Jasmine."
I'm 16 now. I'd really like to meet you.
People can't change like that.
You can't expect someone to just change if they've had a hard life.
I've done so much that he used to love.
He used to love travelling, he loved animals.
That's what I want to sort of share with him,
that there is obviously his blood flowing through my veins.
That's where I get it from.
I feel I've got an empty space that I just need to fill.
I would just love to see where I came from and just fill that missing bit.
"I know this must be hard for you as 16 years is a long time
"and a lot can happen in them 16 years."
And then how do we end it?
Maybe like, "I hope to hear from you in your own time."
There we go, I've done my bit now.
-All I can do is hope.
I hope he does, darling,
I hope he does, for your sake.
'It was all in my dad's hands.'
We sent the letter to my dad and literally three hours after he got it, he went straight to a phone
and phoned us, and I remember the phone ringing and I said, you know, "Hi", and he said "Hi, it's Paul".
"Oh, right, I'll just pass you on to my mum". I thought it was someone for Mum,
he went, "No, no...Paul your dad", and I was like...
I just stopped and went, "Mum!"
and just threw the phone at Mum and was like "Oh, my God, oh, my God", I just didn't know what to do.
The first time he rung up, you know, I put the phone down
and I were just crying my eyes out because I didn't even know if he was alive.
It was just such a relief after years of like, "Where is he?"
All I was concerned about is that she met her daddy,
you know, the man that brought her into the world and I wanted him to be all right, you know,
healthy and well and doing OK and just not make her life more difficult,
you know, because it's difficult enough.
One of the things I was really, really worried about when
I was first starting to be in regular contact was where he was,
because I knew that he had spent a lot of his life on the streets
and I was nervous about, would he still be on drugs?
He did reassure me that he wasn't still on the streets
and that he wasn't taking drugs, but it was only his word,
I couldn't be sure, so, you know, I was really, really worried that I was going to turn up
and he would be some tramp off his face and it sounds horrible
but I had no idea, you know, I had no idea.
Neither did Mum really, so that's why she met him first.
Because when we split up it was 16 years ago,
I need to make sure that he's OK to meet my daughter,
and not that he's good enough but he's ready himself and he knows how big it is for her.
Bev and Jazz were in Manchester so I arranged to meet Bev.
I was nervous but as soon as I saw Bev,
everything around me just went...
Are you OK, yeah?
Oh, you look lovely!
-Oh, thank you.
-You look gorgeous.
-Thank you very much.
-Give me a kiss...mwah!
'I just went from being nervous to being excited and especially the way'
she greeted me by giving me a hug and that, you know,
I thought, "Aw, that's great."
-She looks so much like you as well.
-I know, in the pictures she's beautiful, isn't she?
'I did think about them a lot.'
Wondering what they was doing, and would Bev ever get in touch with me.
Cos as the years went on, I thought more and more, "That's it, I'm never gonna see them again".
And that used to hurt. It gutted me.
'Dad told Mum he wasn't taking heroin any more, and wasn't living on the streets.
'Three years ago he started a Methadone programme,
'but years of using drugs have taken their toll on his body.'
I've made an appointment to go to a dentist.
-You're going to have your teeth done?
-I've lost them all, haven't I!
-I know, but you don't need... she doesn't care.
-She's not like that.
-No, I know.
-She's not touchy like that.
-I know. Oh, thank you very much.
-You've given me the best thing in my life.
-You know that, don't you?
She's not changed in the 16 years, still looks like Bev to me.
That is my engagement ring that Paul bought me,
-cos we got engaged, didn't we?
'And I always have loved her and I felt the same when I saw her.'
Couldn't have gone any better.
Yeah. He can meet her.
He's fine. He can meet her.
He's a good, good man again and he's got grandchildren
that he sees once a month.
He's got children and they're going to be proud, each of them.
He was lovely...
Ooh, I quite fancy him again...
'What did mum just say?'
Ooh, I quite fancy him again.'
-He said I really want to spend a lot of time with her...
-..but when she's ready.
-I can't wait. That's why...
-Oh, he was lovely.
He was lovely! I've got some pictures.
Mum is really excited, but I wonder how Nan and Granddad will react to me meeting my dad?
It's important that Jazz makes her own decision, and we'll go along with it,
and I think she must, must meet him because she would be puzzled for the rest of her life if she didn't.
I was worried about the first meeting.
I really was very worried about it.
I had no idea at all what to expect.
I didn't know when I got there if I'd start crying,
or I'd be angry, or I'd not want to talk.
I didn't know at all what I'd be like.
I was happy to see her, excited.
I didn't want anything to go wrong, you know what I mean?
I was, like, a bit shy.
My friend came with me and mum to meet my dad.
She filmed our first meeting on her phone.
It was a little bit... Not awkward, but sort of...
What do you say to someone that you've never, ever met
who is actually part of you, who made you? What do you say?
That's in Spain. I took her to Spain last year.
It went all right, we just chatted and...
We didn't talk about what I'd been doing over the last few years.
'We didn't talk about any heavy stuff like that.'
-You OK, Jazz?
'We just chatted.'
And it was really good.
'I definitely want to see my dad again, so I can get to know him,
but I need to fit spending time with him around being at college.
Yeah, I'm up. Just getting up.
'Even though I've been at college for a few weeks now,
'Nana still rings every morning to make sure I'm up.'
Being small hasn't held me back at all, and the staff have done loads to make sure I fit in.
We have to wear a lab coat. Everyone was picking small, medium and large lab coats, and I was like,
"There's no way I'm going to fit in even the small one. No way."
So, the college had the company that they usually use measure perfectly, and it looks just like
the other ones only for me, and I'm not joking, I almost cried.
I'm glad we're not feeding them dead mice.
Today we're going to feed in here, in the reptile room, so if we do
the fresh fruit and vegetables first and then we'll be giving them some live food afterwards.
Before I began college, I was really scared I wouldn't be able to keep up academically,
but it's actually going well.
-What kind of animal are reptiles?
So, if we put cold water back in, what do you think will happen to the temperature inside?
-Yeah, it will cool down.
So we put it slightly warm for them, to keep the temperature nice for them.
The worms can bite.
They do have teeth. I would advise you use tweezers.
I'm using tweezers.
'I hate creepy crawlies!
'But if I want a career looking after animals, I have to get used to them.'
So that is what one looks like, and can you see his mouthpiece?
Ew, he squeezed on me.
-I'm not holding it!
You're not holding it?
Eww, oh, God!
Oh, oh, oh, is he really hungry?
He's not! They're too well fed here.
I've got to do my assignment tomorrow.
What's that for?
For college. For Biology.
Aw, you like that, don't you?
'I've met my dad a few times now, and we've been learning all about each other.
'It's amazing to meet this person that I've never'
had any contact with, but is part of me,
is what makes half of me, and realise how much we've got in common. He loves animals, like I do.
I like that black fish. The goldfish with all black on it.
I love animals, so I think that she has got that from out of my blood.
And although he wasn't around when I was growing up, I've discovered we've got the same sense of humour.
From the beginning, Dad's been really honest with me about his past.
I told her what I had done. She knew I had been taking drugs
because I was truthful from the start, whereas you can't build a relationship with somebody on lies.
And if I hadn't told her the truth then, from the beginning,
then what is she ever going to believe, anything I say, then?
And she accepted me after hearing that, you know what I mean? So...
Dad hasn't taken heroin for three years now, but he's still on the Methadone programme.
With methadone programmes, they're there to help you to stop taking heroin.
It's a drug that stops you from withdrawing.
You don't get high off it, just keeps you on a level.
Hi, I've come to get me methadone.
-Oh, hi, can I confirm your name?
-I'll get it for you now.
The idea of it is to slowly withdraw you then, from the methadone, so that you're not
dependent on anything.
So, really it gets you off street drugs,
but you're still addicted to something.
I started taking methadone because I'd had enough of drugs.
I couldn't get any higher. I've died three times, through overdoses,
so I just woke up one day and thought, I've got to stop.
It's hard to stay away from drugs because I've been taking them
since I was 14 and I'm 43 now so it's been a lot of my life.
He knows how I feel about drugs and he knows that I know all his past.
I'm not naive about it, I know exactly what he's done and I know
how he messed me and mum about when we were young, when I was young, and I'm not putting up with that now.
He knows there's no drugs in our house, near our house or in my life.
When I think about what I've missed out on, I feel gutted.
You know, because I should have been there really to look after her and to look after Bev as well.
Her saying she doesn't want me to do them is making me more
determined to stick with the methadone programme. Because I don't want
to lose them again and I don't want, you know, I don't want them not to
be part of me again, I want to stay with them and be the best I can be.
They grow really big.
'Dad's told me he's thinking of moving to Colwyn Bay, but I'm not sure it's a good idea.
'There's part of me really worried and I don't want him
'to come up here and then let us down by going back to his old ways.
What if he does, you know, go and take some drugs again or something like that?
Because this is our home, this is where we live and he can't ruin that again.
Margaret and I were very surprised that he was going to move from Manchester
up to Colwyn Bay, it's something that we've got to understand and take on board.
The beauty about all this of course
is that Jasmine has really got her head screwed on and she stands no nonsense from anybody,
because I have been her father,
her granddad, her big brother, her best pal,
and when I was putting a little bit of weight on,
she was watching me closely and if she saw me go towards any kind of a cream cake that was it, it was gone.
And she used to say to me, "I'm not having you putting on weight,
"I want you to be around when I have children."
So she doesn't stand any nonsense, oh, my goodness, no.
Even though he's only been back in our lives a couple of months, Dad's decided
he IS going to get a flat here in Colwyn Bay.
I really do want you in my life, you know, like I've spent quite a bit of time with you now
and I think we get along really well and you're really a good laugh
and everything and you're trying so hard already.
You know, there'll be no need to go back to your old ways. I'm just so proud of you.
-Good. I'm glad, I just didn't want to embarrass you.
-Not at all, not at all.
I've told everyone about you, everyone can't wait to meet you properly and everything, so....
I just feel like everything's whole now, sort of thing. I'm not missing anything.
Well, I'm here to stay, I'm not going nowhere. So you're going to have to put up with it.
I think I can live with that.
It's the weekend and Mum's up first.
Shall we go and wake Jasmine up in a minute? Shall we? Shall we go and wake the teenager up?
Is she still asleep? Why is she still asleep? Is it because she's a teenager?
Do you want to go in and wake her up and say good morning? Cos I don't.
I'm scared, I'm scared!
It's half eight, all right? Shall I leave you for a bit longer?
All right, I'll leave you to it. That's Jazz's packing, I'm gonna go.
Jazz, you've got about 15 minutes, OK? Right, love you.
I'll just clean up all your mess from last night, "Thanks, Mum".
In the last year she has become a complete, full blown, diva teenager.
You up? All right.
It's "ugh", you know? Really, it's the "ugh".
Hurry up because I need you to just feed the dogs, Jazz.
-For the fourth time, where's the dog's spoon?
-Where's the dogs food?
'Me and my mum have got the mother-daughter relationship.'
We argue and bicker about normal things like what time I was in last night, or,
"Jazz, get off the computer it's two in the morning".
Mum, I can't find it.
I'm not talking to you in here.
I'm doing my medication and I'll get it all wrong.
Well, the dogs can't be fed then yet.
Come in here, please.
And when she's in a bad mood her head spins.
You know, like a very famous film and they go, "Ugh! I'm scared of her."
Go in the bedroom and shut the door. I have a lock on my door now
and I say, "Don't come near the door, don't come near me,
"I've got my straightners in here!
"And I'm not afraid to use them."
-Right, you open it...
..and then put it in the disinfectant. OK?
"You don't understand". No! I don't!
I don't understand I've never been there.
I've never been a teenager trying to fit in.
No, I don't understand.
'When I'm away at college, it's not just Mum I leave behind.'
'I miss the dogs so much when I'm gone,
'I wish I could walk them but when I'm here
'I'm like, "You do it, Mum!" '
But, you know, sometimes it annoys her that she's got to do a lot more.
'Pebbles and Paddy aren't my only pets.
'I've also got two stick insects...'
'..a couple of June bugs...
They don't do anything, it's great.
'..and Hemmel the hamster.'
Oh, Hemmel's awake!
'Now I'm away, Mum's finding it hard to care for them all.'
Are you going to come out? Come on, then.
Come on, I haven't got all week. I've got things to do.
Come on, let's get the hairdryer out.
It's Sunday night
and I'm back at college. I love it here.
Hello, ladies, where did you come from?
-I'm absolutely starving.
'I was worried being at college would be like being back at school where I was bullied.
'But here no-one sees me as any different, I'm just Jazz.'
I had no confidence whatsoever before at all, nothing.
And now, I can't remember what it feels like not to have confidence.
-Chicken nuggets and scampi.
-Why would you want that?
'I've never hated myself or hated the way I've looked.'
I hate the way people treat me. I've never, ever, ever looked in the mirror
and gone, "I don't like myself at all."
But now, I look in the mirror and I'm Jazz with friends.
I love tests, is that weird?
A little bit. THEY LAUGH
'I just feel like I've got teenage friends again and girly chat friends.
'Another great thing about college is that me and my girlfriends are totally outnumbered by lads.
'Which gives us plenty to talk about.'
-So have you seen any guys you like, then, Jasmine?
-Don't start that.
There's got to be someone you've seen that you like.
I'm just too busy, it sounds stupid.
-Still, Jas, we know there's someone you've got your eye on.
-There's got to be someone.
I'm just so busy. I'm so busy, it's ridiculous.
-Come on, spill!
I'm too busy, and that's the story I'm sticking to.
I do feel like I belong here, that this is the place for me,
where I know, coming here,
I'm going to remember my whole life, and this is what's going to set me up for a great future.
Although I'm having the time of my life here, I don't know if I can stay.
Mum's developed a chest infection, and I'm feeling really guilty for not being home to look after her.
Every day she's finding it harder to breathe.
SHE COUGHS AND WHEEZES
It's like someone putting your head in water and going,
"Keep calm, keep calm, keep calm",
and you're going...like that.
I feel like I'm a very elderly lady who's smoked all her life,
in a young person's body. It's so frustrating.
I shouldn't moan because there's people worse off,
but I realise that somehow I've got to take a slow pace.
Because I've always been the one who looks after her, who cooks, who cleans and tidies,
and who supports her emotionally as well,
I feel completely responsible.
I feel like I need to go back home, I need to look after her,
I need to sort it out.
I really don't know what to do,
so I've come round to Dad's flat to talk to him about looking after Mum.
So, are you torn between living your dream
and worrying about mum?
Is it affecting your work, your worrying about her?
When she's ill, if she's in hospital, I know she's safe
and they're going to look after her,
but if she's out, you know, on her own, in the house
or if she's got a bit of a chest infection,
if she's on her own, I worry about her no end.
I'm used to her texting me in the morning -
if she doesn't, then I can't concentrate on my work.
Yeah, yeah, you don't know what's going on.
So, it does affect it sometimes, but I try not to let it,
but I love her so much that I just can't help but worry.
No, no, you can't, obviously, you can't.
People say, "Don't worry, she'll be fine!"
If you love someone more than anything in the world, you can't not worry about them.
Yeah, yeah, it's just been you and your mum for 16 years,
-so there's not been any help, really. Just you and your mum.
-And she is demanding, isn't she?
'I'd just got back to college when Mum's chest infection got so bad she was taken into hospital.'
-Does that cuff fit your arm, there?
-It's going to pop off, isn't it!
I think, usually, they use the little children's one, the paediatric one.
Let's try it with this small one.
There you go, that's better.
Normally, Jazz comes in,
she's my sunshine, and it relaxes me... Thank you.
see, my heart rate's gone up, see it?
Shoot up just thinking about her!
And then, I've hardly seen her,
and I'm missing her so much, it's...
You know you're not to worry about her any more though, don't you?
I don't worry about her because she's having the most amazing time of her life.
She's living her dream.
She said to me, "And guess what we were doing?" - they'd been dissecting
sick from...owls. I was going,
"Why?" And she was going, "I don't know, but it was great".
It's interesting, but,
how interesting is animal poo and things?
Particularly when you've got to monitor your own!
I don't want to know, I just want mine to be all right, thank you very much.
So how have you adjusted to Jazz being...
I haven't, not at all. No, not one jot.
I can't stand...I hate it, hate her not being there.
We have very little time at the weekends because she wants to be a teenager now, errr!
She wants to be with her mates, partying,
and doing her homework.
She came here, I said, "Can I have a Mummy cuddle?", and she was going, "No, you'll cry".
I went, "I'll try not to"...
You know. I just can't be in the house without her at the moment.
Dad's come to the rescue.
He's taken over at home, so I can concentrate on my studies.
Now I'm glad I'm not at home, because Mum and Dad keep flirting, which is totally embarrassing.
-Hiya, right, I'm getting ready to go to the hospital,
so what do you need me to get for you?
'Right, go in my knickers drawer...' SHE GIGGLES
-I know you know where my knickers drawer is, cos you're always in there.
-Can you stop wearing those green ones?
-They're in the washer, them.
-You need, you really need some help.
Do you need pyjama bottoms and that?
-Yeah, I've done that, I've put some in.
There's some black passion killers with Betty Boo on them.
Yeah, you can put them in.
-There's some pink polka dot ones.
-Pink, polka dot passion killers? I'll make a note of that.
"Get more of."
Right, so that'll do for now?
Bring me one nice pair. Just in case a nice doctor has to come and examine me. OK?
-Right, I'll see you in a little while. See you soon.
I'm doing all this and really, I'm trying to be calm,
but I'm worried, really, so yeah,
the sooner she comes home, the better.
'And it's not just Mum Dad's looking after.'
Pebbles, come on. Paddy, get some dinner.
'It's made me realise how much I trust him,
'because I don't just let ANYONE look after my pets.'
Have your dinner.
Bev's said to me, as punishment for not being her for 16 years,
that I'm the animal carer,
but you know, it's just a joke, really, but I don't mind doing them.
'With Dad at home, I can enjoy my course again.'
I'm going to ask you to colour in the white sections, all the bone.
Where shall I start?
The next thing I've got to do is the dune beetles.
You've got to be careful when the lid's off because they can fly.
I took the lid off one day, and wings sprouted out of one of them
and it tried flying, I was like, "Oh, my God!"
Ready, steady, go!
Come here! Come here, darling! Come on!
Aw, you went to Mummy, didn't you?
-And who's going to bath her for me later?
Mum's recovering and she's well enough to go leave hospital,
but I still feel bad about being away at college.
Hi, are you all right, darling?
I'm fine, thank you, how are you?
Ohh, just full of my usual cold and coughs.
I'll let you do all the chatting.
I really do love this course but I am worried about you, and I am worried about your breathing,
and I think, you know, should I come home?
No, Jazz, you're not giving it up.
-I won't let you, OK?
-I just worry about you, that's all.
-What will worrying do, will it make me better?
And if I'm worried about you worrying about me, will that make me better?
-And if you worry about me worrying about you worrying about me, will that make me better?
-No, so throw yourself into it, do the best that you can do, for me.
-Bloody enjoy it and I'll get better quicker.
You promise me?
Dad is now looking after Mum and all my pets.
For the first time, he has a purpose in life.
I don't mind doing it all,
because it makes me feel happy, it makes me feel good in myself that I'm useful for something,
and it takes a lot off Jasmine's mind as well, so she can get on with her life now.
At first I was really, really concerned about Paul being around,
because it were just such a change.
Everyone was really hesitant at first, you know, maybe he shouldn't be here,
but they've all realised that, you know,
we wouldn't have coped without him.
Thanks very much, bye.
Although obviously we've had our doubts about the situation,
the most important thing is that Beverly and Jasmine are very happy,
and if they're happy, we're all happy.
Hiya! Ooh, who's this?!
Look at the dog!
Aww, who is it?!
Still in bed, eh? I've been out in the snow.
Not in bed, on the sofa.
-Still the same thing.
-No, it's not.
Do you want to do that?
-All that paperwork?
In fact next time, I'll walk in the snow.
Yeah. Right, I've got milk, fish pie and some chicken things.
I think it's fate that he's come back into my life now,
when I need him most,
because there's no way that I could be in college if he wasn't here now.
Could you do me eggy bread now, please?
Cos you know how lovely you make it.
There's nothing like watching a man work, is there?
I do feel proud of him that he's taken on that responsibility and he's quite happy to.
It does show that he does love me,
cos he could easily say,
"No, it's too much hassle", but he's really stuck with it.
When I began this journey, I knew very little about my dad.
I've learnt he really loved my mum, but drugs made him turn his back
on everything and everyone, including me.
Since we've found each other again, I feel complete,
and now it's not just me and Mum, but Dad too.
Yep. You can stay another week.
Next time, I get a new man in my life.
But I also have to face the possibility of losing the one who's always been there for me...
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Although she's only 3ft 11, 17-year-old Jazz has never let her size get in her way. From the age of 13, she has cared for her mum, who also has restricted growth.
Following last year's BBC Three documentary Small Teen, Big World, this series sees Jazz embarking on a life-changing journey by leaving Colwyn Bay to study animal welfare at a residential college. How will she cope without her mum, who home-schooled her and is the only person who can make her laugh and who truly understands her?
When Jazz was born, mum Bev asked her dad to stay out of their lives. While she was growing up, he appeared in a BBC documentary about homelessness, begging and drug addiction. In the first episode, Jazz meets her estranged father for the first time.