Men-children are an interesting species. As you know I have been a keen observer over the last three years of my own boys, as they journey through adolescence. Here are some random observations and ironies from that time.
- Men-children (and for the most part all teenagers) are totally self-absorbed. They are virtually incapable of thinking beyond their own immediate needs. So when they ask for money (because they have no job and rely on you for handouts), they are always surprised if you do not have wads of cash in your wallet, or cannot drop everything at the office to do a cash transfer for them.
- Men-children are not always logical. How do I know this? They are only motivated to help with the laundry if there is something in there they want or need. And if something isn’t clean, well then it’s obviously YOUR fault for not doing the washing. And definitely not THEIR fault for finally filling the washing basket with their dirty clothes after you’ve already done three loads on the weekend.
- Men-children are pretty useless in the kitchen – well at least mine are. I think the only thing mine can cook is bacon and eggs, two-minute noodles and Latina pasta. Great catches they’ll be won’t they? I am prepared to wear the blame for this. I tried some years back to start showing them how to cook basic meals, but their interest waned pretty quickly. Time was probably our greatest enemy – on weekends they’re not exactly sitting around wanting to spend time in the kitchen with you, and on a week night it’s always a rush to get a meal on the table when you get home from work (and yes, imagine if the boys who got home from school could start meal prep!!!). I am assuming that necessity in time will make them learn to cook – although if they move out later in life, it could be embarrassing for them.
- Men-children’s stomachs think ahead of their brains. Over the school holidays, which we don’t all get to have off, we continue to cook a family meal 6 nights a week (Friday night is no cooking night). It’s almost rare for them to be at the table for a family meal during holidays (much to our annoyance, as it’s always a last-minute “Oh, I am going out…..”), but somehow on a Friday night one in particular often asks “What’s for dinner, I am starving”. If you ever want to see the death-stare, just pop over on a Friday night at around 6.30pm.
- Men-children see what they want to see. I am sure other mothers of teenagers will relate to this claim. “There is no food in the house/nothing in the fridge!!!”. Now last time I checked, we have a pantry practically bursting with all the essential ingredients to make a meal, not to mention a freezer full of meat for cooking, and even if one looks hard enough, pre-prepared home cooked meals also in the freezer. The translation of the above claim is in fact “There are no leftovers in the fridge staring me in the face that I can either shove straight in my gob or into the microwave to reheat in order to fulfil my immediate hunger”.
- Men-children are useful with new technology. With a new car, Father of a Man-Child, already a little technically challenged, definitely has his hands full. I think he’s still surprised that the phone answers automatically via blue tooth. So you can imagine getting the GPS or sound system to work properly, let alone the DVD player, is not really coming automatically to him. The solution is simple. Being a male, he is NEVER going to read the instruction manual is he? Nope, instead, he is going to let loose two men-children in the car who will figure out how it all works in less than 10 minutes, and then show him in two minutes which buttons to press, or arrange to pre-set everything for him. Perfect. That’s a win-win for everyone really.
- Men-children still fight with each other, even at 17. My twin sister made an interesting observation the other day. She was surprised that at 17 years old the boys are STILL fighting (not just arguing, but physical “punch-ons”, seriously it’s a freak show at our place some nights). Her recollection (quite accurately) was that by that age we had both given up fighting with each other, having taken our own paths and developed our own friendships and basically grown up a bit. But sadly the boys still haven’t. It could be a maturity thing, it could be just a boy thing – that latent need to burn up testosterone when they have been holed up in the house for a day or two during the holidays, and are just looking for someone or something to poke!
- Men-children love their friends and having a good time. Some things don’t change. Teenagers love to spend time with their friends. The peer group is the most important thing in their life. Moving in packs is what they love to do, not being alone. There is nothing wrong with all wearing exactly the same clothing – it’s a badge, a way of fitting in, of “conforming”, and they don’t even notice it. Youth is on their side and the heady responsibilities of life are barely upon them. Life is good, and they definitely should enjoy it (within limits say their parents, forever the hand-brakes).
So there you have it. What started as a short post of observations grew quite quickly. Perhaps I will make this a regular post – so as not to fill too many pages in one go. The teenage years are certainly full of many things – angst, learning, experimentation, boundary pushing, love, hope, fear – on both sides of the fence trust me. As we near the end of their teenage years, there is more time for reflection about the journey, and what we have all learnt during the men-children era.
I’d love to hear your own observations and ironies. There must be so many of them, not just applicable to teenagers, but to all kids, and of course husbands (sorry, this assumes many of my readers are women)!