Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

The minimalist approach to hygiene March 30, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 8:54 pm
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I am quite fascinated by the approach to hygiene in our house.  For all the smells boys can create, I am staggered that Man-Child and his twin brother Teenage-Child are not more fastidious about their own hygiene (then again, maybe they can’t smell it themselves?).

I know boys in a contained space can smell quite revolting, especially if you leave a door closed for a few hours, or worse still overnight, but mine are either very good at airing their bedrooms, or ensuring their stinking, smelly shoes are put in the laundry so they transfer the smells to another location.  Oh and spraying Lynx just before bed if there are any offending odours lingering in their bedrooms.

Often times I will have to remind them to actually wash their hair – it seems for boys it’s just a complete waste of time to have to do this on a regular basis, and not something you do when your hair needs to look clean, but maybe when your head is itchy and clearly full of dirt?!

I did have to laugh the other day when Teenage-Child (who is actually fast becoming very like Man-Child Mark II) headed off on Saturday afternoon to a friend’s place.  I knew he was staying the night, so enquired where his overnight bag was.  He looked at me like I had asked where his second head was, and asked why he would want a bag that he would simply have to drag around all afternoon?  I of course suggested maybe he needed a pair of boxers to sleep in, some clean jocks for the next day and a toothbrush – the minimum requirements I would have thought.  His response – Nah, I’ll just sleep in my clothes and get up tomorrow morning.  She’ll be right.  Like I was a complete idiot!!!

I guess the upside of the above is that they’re probably helping keep our water consumption low.  I must make a note of how many of their mates actually shower at our place when they have a sleepover – just to reassure myself that mine are normal!


Hotel Kew – room for rent! March 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 4:39 pm
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Since I run such a successful hotel, I have decided to offer rooms for rent.  After all, my current tenants (Man-Child and Teen-Child) certainly seem happy with the service, so I figure it’s time I made some money on the side.

After all, where else can you go for the following services, all at no cost:

  1. A fridge and pantry permanently full of food and drinks.
  2. Clothes picked up from the floor, and magically whisked away to the laundry for washing, folding, ironing at least twice a week, thereby ensuring you are never short of required clothing.
  3. Lunch (sandwiches) prepared fresh each morning with the ingredients of your choice.
  4. Hot and healthy dinner served daily with accompanying cold refreshments.
  5. Door to door taxi service available at your beck and call to transport you to numerous events, friends houses, sporting commitments etc.
  6. Empty plates/bowls automatically collected from the floor/wherever they are left and carted to the dishwasher for washing.  Even the dishwasher in our hotel seems to remarkably empty itself each morning, thereby ensuring the “house guests” are not inconvenienced.
  7. Towels cleaned regularly (with or without dirty footprints) and sheets laundered.
  8. Homework assistance provided, and countless forms filled in for any school or club functions.
  9. Birthday and Christmas presents naturally provided, with all the magic of Santa Claus.  Even gifts for friends and family are provided as required.

Of course the concierge (that would be me) can basically cater to your every need, so if the above list is missing anything, please let me know upon booking your room! 🙂


A media beat up? Or not? March 12, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 9:02 pm
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No doubt everyone is well aware of the recent issues with knives in Melbourne.  It seems every second day there are young people (100% of them male from reports I have seen) who are caught carrying knives, or worse still inflicting harm upon someone else with their weapon of choice.

It’s a sad state of affairs when you realise just how close to home the kids and their knives are.  Our Teen-Child recently asked if he and some friends could catch the train to a skate park on the west side of town, for a session at the end of the school holidays.  I knew of the skate park, as he had visited it with a friend before, whose father had kindly driven them, and checked the venue out to ensure it was well-run.

But being the mother of a teenager, there were a few things that alarmed me instantly:

  1. Teen-Child had never caught the train to the said location, and didn’t even know which line to catch (via Flinders Street even worse).  Moreover, he’s normally on the tram, not trains, which makes it a bit harder.
  2. The friends he was going with I had never met.  They were all “skate-park friends”, and some attended the same school, but nevertheless I didn’t know them (or their parents) at all.
  3. Being the paranoid mother I am, I also worried about my son on the train, with his brand new Nike runners, mobile phone and $250 Razor scooter.  A prime target for some “thugs” in my view.  (To be fair my paranoia is probably warranted, especially since a mate of my boys only recently got “rolled” at an Eastern suburbs train station).

When I explained my fears to my son, he assured me that he would be fine.  In fact, he said if I really wanted him to be safe he could carry a knife, but of course you wouldn’t like that Mum.   Well you can imagine my response:  DAMN RIGHT I wouldn’t like that, didn’t he know cops could now search anyone for knives and if caught the consequences could be serious.  It was exactly the knife carrying thugs that were worrying me in the first place.  And where had he seen kids with knives?

Unfortunately, it would seem right in our own backyard, at the “nice” eastern suburbs skate park.  (And here I was assuming stupidly they were only found in the western suburbs).  Teen-Child was quick to assure me that none of his mates did carry them, but that there were some boys that did and he didn’t approve.  Thank God for that.

So the upshot – with great relief I learned that one by one Teen-Child’s friends were not actually going.  So he didn’t end up going either.  I had actually offered to drive him out there, but he didn’t seem too keen on the idea – not very COOL in his friends eyes no doubt.  I did subsequently speak to one father I know who said his son had travelled out there with a large group of boys (safety in numbers) once before, and all was fine.  To reduce my paranoia, he too had very similar thoughts to me about the potential issues involved with the trip.

As scary as it is, it would seem the knife culture of Melbourne pervades all corners of society.  The best I can hope is that my boys continue to understand their danger, and inappropriateness, and avoid them as much as possible.


Happy Birthday….loaded! March 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 11:03 pm
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Today we celebrated the 14th birthday of our twin boys, Man-Child and Teen-Child.  My husband made the generous offer of getting up early this morning to cook them a bang up brekky on the BBQ, before they headed off to school.  Of course he indulged also.  After school they caught up with their mates and hung about, and then their grandfather shouted them out to dinner.  All in all a pretty nice day.

What is incredibly scary is to look back at photos of one year ago and see the baby-faced pre-pubescent boys that were my children, and now look at the little men in front of me.  I kid you not in one year I really believe that they have each grown at least 6 inches, and their feet have grown 3 sizes.  Whilst the shoes have been replaced in rapid succession, fortunately as they have get taller, they have been able to wear the same size clothes for some time, because whilst they go up they don’t normally go out – in fact one of ours got thinner over the last 12 months as he lost his “baby-fat”.  So not surprisingly at the end of the cricket season there were many gangly teenage boys with unfashionably short cricket pants – I for one was completely sympathetic to the mothers who refused to replace them so late in the season – they can make do until next season.

In these days of social media, it wasn’t surprising to see the constant stream of birthday messages for the boys on their Facebook pages.  I admit it was quite nice to recently receive so many public Happy Birthday messages from friends across the globe myself.  It’s definitely good for the ego and really does reflect the core “social” aspect of Facebook and other similar sites.

One of our boys (Man-Child) had mentioned in passing that his best mate had bought him a present for his birthday.  I thought at the time how sweet that he would actually buy a gift even though they were not having an “official” celebration with friends.  You can imagine my surprise today when Man-Child came home from school with $80 cash – a gift of $50 from a very generous friend, and another gift of $30 from another generous friend.  Quite frankly we were more than a little gob-smacked, and actually somewhat embarrassed.  As we discussed the fortunes of our son, he made it very clear that of course he would reciprocate with similar sums of money when the same friends had their birthdays.  So i naturally enquired if he thought we should be funding that generosity or him?  His response:  “If you won’t pay for it I’ll just take it out of my bank account!”  (said like a spoiled child indeed).  Our position is this – at a stretch, if our son feels so strongly about giving his best friend a present, then we might buy a $20-30 present for him (which is the normal budget for birthday parties).  But under no circumstances would we feel obligated to match the generosity of his parents, and nor in fact do I think they would expect it.

Unfortunately (and clearly he has a lot to learn) Man-Child was mortified at our response, and the fact we were such “tight-arses” (some terms don’t alter after all :)).  Without sounding moralistic, if our son’s friend had used his own money to save up and give his mate a present, I would have been delighted.  But when he’s throwing around mum and dad’s money, and our son expects the same, I wonder what values we are teaching them?

I’m not sure my son will understand what we’re talking about in the near term;  it seems it’s only when you are very young (too young to understand), or as you get older (and more mature) that you realise your friends don’t value you for material possessions.   Such is the journey of life (and wealth)!