When I was 14 years old, and again at 15 years old, I begged my parents to be allowed to go to Portsea for New Years Eve. Naturally they said “NO” – not a surprise. By the time I was finally permitted to go years later, I actually no longer wanted to go, because my peer group had moved on. Clearly that was the intention of my parents. 🙂
As readers of my blog know, I am now experiencing first hand with my Men-Children what my parents experienced with my twin and me as their teenage daughters. My Men-Children seem to be exhibiting extremely similar (scarily so) behaviour at exactly the same age. Of course my father is thoroughly amused by all this – call it Karma. Since I turned out all right, we can also assume that my Men-Children also stand a reasonable chance, so he doesn’t seem at all worried. He’s more interested to see how I respond to the challenges of parenting a mini-me of myself.
So it should come as no surprise that Man-Child I wanted to go to Portsea for New Years Eve this year. I am sure he planted the seed months ago with a mate, to secure a berth at someone’s house. Which of course made it much easier for me to say I would think about it and eventually to agree. Apparently they were off to a party at a friend’s house, which they would walk to (much better that no cars are allowed on the roads in my view).
The day before New Years, having asked the boys to tidy their room ahead of guests visiting the beach house, naturally it was me who ended up picking up wet towels off the floor and dragging doonas onto beds. Whilst doing so I came across a bag under the bunk beds and when I pulled it out, discovered a number of grey school socks covering something cylindrical. My first thought was large firecrackers, but alas what I found were individually wrapped stubbies of beer. Yes that’s right, 24 bottles of warm beer. It took me less than 0.5 seconds to work out who they belonged to and for what reason, so I picked them up and took them with me to find Man-Child I. You can imagine his face…priceless!
The funniest thing for me was that I had asked before we left Melbourne where all the school socks were as they had strangely disappeared from the laundry. The boys nervously responded that Man-Child I now wore his school socks with casual clothes, which I commented was very “gay” quite frankly. Little did I know!
For once (and yes this may come as a surprise) I actually didn’t determine the resulting punishment on the spot. I calmly advised Man-Child I there were a number of possible outcomes, namely:
- Option 1: Confiscate the alcohol but still allow him to go (fair)
- Option 2: Not allow him to go at all (very mean)
- Option 3: Allow him to go with the alcohol (I didn’t mention this option, but I had it up my sleeve just in case)
I then drilled him to understand how he had actually managed to acquire the beer? We went from an un-named bottle shop in Glenferrie Road with him purchasing them initially, to the eventual truth – namely paying a “random” to buy them for him. That was after I threatened to visit the said bottle shop and have them shut down for selling alcohol to minors. Trust me, I so would do it!
When I told my husband about my discovery, he admitted that he actually knew about the beer! I was not amused. He had apparently caught our men-children passing the beer over the back fence to hide in the garden – strangely on the weekend when he was gardening. Considering they’d been on school holidays for weeks and we’d both been working full-time I was a little surprised they were that stupid.
I was also furious to learn that Father of a Man-Child’s response had been “I don’t want to know about it”, so they had considered that tacit approval (yet again). I mentioned that I considered that to be a clear failure of Parenting 101 and dodging responsibility. Grrr…
As we were entertaining friends, it was several hours later before we got around to discussing what should happen with the beer. By this stage, my friends knew about the find (it made a good story over drinks), and I had also sought the advice of my sisters and discussed/argued about it with my husband and father-in-law.
Actually it was the latter (wise older man) who had the best suggestion. As he was kindly and conveniently taking Man-Child I to Portsea himself, he said he would take the beer as long as the parents of Man-Child’s friend knew he was bringing it. I reasoned that this was a good approach – we were being very transparent (no more sneakiness), and the parents accepted some responsibility also.
So the result? Countless texts and phone calls later it was all sorted. Option 3 came to fruition – he got to go AND take the beer. OMG, yes Mother of a Man-Child actually gave in, much to the chagrin of Man-Child II. This is history in the making you realize? This also meant Man-Child I was allowed to get the beers in the fridge before hand, guaranteeing an icy cold beverage. You wouldn’t believe what they were proposing to ensure they had cold beers otherwise.
And the night? They went to a mate’s (with beers in the back packs) then onto Shelley Beach. The perfect hot and windy 40-degree day and night to end the year and mark the beginning of 2011. Man-Child I survived it, no doubt sobered up by having to walk miles from his friend’s house and home again. The only incident I learned about was a friend who had his front teeth knocked out by a charming bogan on the beach – although I understand he asked for it!
So I find myself on the cusp of another stage in adolescence. One where I actually accept that they might just be old enough to partake selectively in alcohol…although I know it’s really not good for them at all.
And if you’re wondering what Man-Child II got up to, he didn’t manage to get to Portsea or Sorrento, or have a friend down (some things just don’t work out). So he spent the night with some of our friends and us and we really enjoyed his company. We even let him have a beer with us. Cheers!