Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Living With Teenage Hormones October 28, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

apeIt’s a known fact – part of the joy(?) of living with teenagers is co-habitating with a million hormones.  And we’re not just talking any hormones here, but the most temperamental and unpredictable hormones you’ve ever met.  One minute as nice as pie, sweet and almost human, the next minute positively acerbic, and extremely unpleasant.

Those same hormones will want to sleep during daylight hours and relish the darkened room with only the light of a television as company for hours on end, or conversely be out expending energy in search of a post-adrenal hit, or otherwise standing at the fridge looking for anything they can shove in their gobs to satisfy an insatiable appetite, driven by said exercise.

Such is our life with the men-children.  Sometimes it’s like living with a schizophrenic I imagine, you’re just never sure what you’ll encounter on any given day.  The odd thing with Man-Child I and Man-Child II is that they seem to operate on a tag-team basis.

So for a few weeks (or even months sometimes) one of them will be quite civil, almost friendly to the rest of the household, generally having their shit together, not needing to be nagged constantly, and being an agreeable member of the family.  This seems to be the cue for the other one to turn into an absolute monster – a grumpy, disagreeable, rude and obnoxious beast who snaps at everyone and just can’t be pleasant at all.   Couple these hormones with tiredness due to simply being a teenager and running on empty often and you’ve got a weapon of mass destruction right in your living room.

I don’t really know if it’s a twin thing, or just a sibling thing?  Are we all like this in our moods?  Does this dynamic happen in your house with children or even adults?  I’m thinking it’s more a teenage thing, and totally blame the hormones.  Mind you in our household they’d probably tell you I must be constantly hormonal then because I’m always grumpy!! (Nothing to do with working full-time, and running a busy household, coping with more child-related paperwork than you can poke a stick at, finding time to go to gym, and co-ordinating the taxi service with Father of a Man-Child to ensure three children are where they need to be 24/7 – no, that relentless pace wouldn’t make anyone grumpy would it?).

So teenage hormones – what are your experiences?  Do you remember being the above-described teenager?  Or have you lived with similar?  I know we’ll come out the other end with the men-children, but the rollercoaster ride can be tiring some days.

 

Get a Job Men-Children! October 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

piggy bankEnough – the ATM is tired of handing out money!  Do you ever get the feeling you’re feeding a beast with an insatiable appetite?  Weekly pocket-money, plus extra on school holidays, and regular concert tickets, and clothes and shoes….the requests are never-ending.  And you can imagine how much they do to earn the pocket-money can’t you?

Now I know when they’re young your children need you to support them and provide for them, but as the men-children keep reminding me, they are ALMOST 16.  Time surely to get a job and start funding some of their own entertainment?

To be fair, one of the men-children has made some effort to apply for jobs.  The other, only under extreme sufferance, and from memory that would be ONE application only.  Now I don’t know whether it’s harder to get work as a teenager these days, but I had my first job at 14 and didn’t look back.  It was at the French Bakehouse with one of my best friends Lou, walking distance from home.  The best part of the job was all the almond and chocolate croissants and cheese twists we got to eat and the crunchy baguettes we got to take home at the end of our shifts.

Once I got the taste of having my own money I couldn’t earn it and spend it fast enough.  Actually, one of the men-children is just like me – the moolah positively burns a hole in his wallet if he doesn’t spend it in record time.  The other man-child is actually more like my twin sister – a non-spender and therefore good saver.

Either way, the independence and responsibility that comes with holding down a job is an invaluable lesson for teens in my view.  I know they’re busy with sport – in fact right at the moment it’s quite ridiculous how busy they are with extra sporting commitments due to pre-season training for rugby and footy, on top of rowing; but now’s the time to have a foot in the door with a casual job so they can be employed over summer and earn some holiday money.  Of course one side effect of having a job might be a little dent in the social life too – and that can’t hurt can it?

So how old were you when you got your first job?  Was it as good as the French Bakehouse?

Please note any prospective employers should feel free to contact me.  The men-children are good-looking and have developing muscles so manual labour is definitely an option. 🙂

 

Girlfriends for sleepovers? October 14, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

kiss“Mum, I have a girlfriend.”  “Do you darling, that’s nice”.  “Can she stay over, in my room?”  “Of course she can, no problems, and I’ll bring you both breakfast in bed the next morning.”  Okay, that’s NOT how the conversation went.  But imagine if that’s what I had said to my 15-year-old Man-Child.  He definitely would have thought I’d completely lost my mind – he knows I’m not that liberated.

Seriously though, we did have the conversation recently, whilst on holidays.  Man-Child II innocently lobbed this fact over the dinner table to me whilst out a restaurant (I think he was using a public place to ensure I didn’t completely lose it given how the questions unfolded).  I told him I thought he already had a girlfriend, but now it seems it’s “official”.  It is a girl I have met.  In fact it’s the girl who lied to my face a few months back…..no wonder she’s kept a low profile.  Anyway, I can move on!

I was initially thrilled that he had chosen to share this with me, however as the conversation progressed, it became clear why.  It was so he could quite seriously ask if it would be alright if she stayed over some time.  But not just stayed over as a friend would, but stayed over in his room, in his queen size bed, with the bedroom door closed.  (I’m hyperventilating now just thinking about it again).

As I mentioned, we were in a restaurant, so I couldn’t lose it.  I didn’t want to give him an outright no and appear totally unreasonable (just yet), so I asked a few more questions whilst I tried to collect my inner thoughts.  One of which was “Are you having sex”!!!!  His answer was no – and I have no way of knowing if that’s the truth or not, but I am happy to believe him.   I also asked what her parents thought of her staying the night – they hadn’t been asked.  Hmmm.  I suspect they were optimistically going for the “Man-Child’s mum thinks it’s okay, so do you too”?

I know my son has stayed at her place before, but with a whole host of boys and girls, and he assures me he slept on the couch.  I recall speaking to the mother at the time who told me the girls and boys were well separated and her bedroom was in between – excellent arrangement!

Of course I grew up with fairly strict Catholic parents, who didn’t allow my boyfriends to EVER sleep at our house.  And my parents-in-law finally let me and Father of a Man-Child share a room at the beach house once we were engaged (oh and I was allowed to call them by their first names then too – yep, a tad old-fashioned and conservative).

So back to the decision.  I told him I wasn’t really keen to have girlfriends staying in his room just now, mainly because I didn’t want to condone sex amongst teenagers who aren’t even 16.  (No probs if she was to stay in the spare room downstairs).  He went to his father for an opinion, who was for once even more assertive than me and gave him a very flat NO!  Yay.  Man-Child continued to badger us for a couple of hours that night, reminding us that at 16 he will be able to do what he wants, but we haven’t heard about it again since.  I did sound like my parents when I said “It’s our house, and while you live in it, you abide by our rules”.

I’m sure at some stage we’ll agree to a girlfriend staying over in his room, but for now, it’s not on.  I even asked about his mates – he assured me half of them hadn’t even kissed a girl, so they’re years behind our man-child.   Great, we get the early developer!!

So what do you think?  Are we right?  Or are we too prudish for our own good?  When do you think it’s okay to have “sleepovers” of this kind?

Read about the lying incident here: Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.

 

“Best Holiday Ever” Declares Man-Child October 7, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

hamilton island viewAs any parent of a teenager knows, there are challenges taking your offspring on holidays, especially if it’s just a family holiday.  So I was delighted to hear that our recent trip was the “best holiday ever” from one of the men-children as we returned from the airport yesterday.   Add to that myself, Father of a Man-Child and Sister of a Man-Child all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and we’re on a winner.

So what’s the secret to success?  Well we didn’t leave Australia for some exotic destination like Bali or Fiji or Thailand.  We went to Hamilton Island – sun, sand and a flight all adding to the appeal of the trip.  We didn’t holiday with friends, but rather the father-in-law (potential recipe for disaster but actually pretty smooth sailing thankfully).   We didn’t have surf (which the boys love) but the plethora of water sports meant that there was plenty of options at the beach.  In short, they had so much to do they had no time to be bored.

What teenager wouldn’t enjoy the following:

  • Driving the golf carts every day on the island since that’s the only form of transport (okay, yes, they don’t have their licence yet, but how much trouble can an almost 16-year-old cause in a vehicle that doesn’t do over 20kmh?  We could get used to being chauffeured everywhere actually.)
  • More water sports than you can poke a stick at, including paddle boards, kayaking, catamarans, snorkelling on offer every day.  They just about had a go at everything.
  • Donut rides – you can imagine how fast the boat driver went because he was determined to fling the two men-children off the donut as often as possible – they LOVED it.
  • A trip to Whitehaven Beach to see one of the most stunning beaches in the world and to Dent Island to play golf on a spectacularly scenic (but difficult) course.
  • Go-Karting – just a bit faster than the golf buggies!
  • Fishing on a nice big cruiser (sadly it was a bit rough so one of the men-children spent the entire four hours sea sick and heaving his guts up over the side, along with two other adults and a poor 6-year-old boy).
  • Early morning runs with the sports club (they’re in pre-season for rowing so are quite serious about doing sport at the moment). 🙂

swimming poolAdd to the above a brilliant house with a pool and view to die for and plenty of room for everyone, and you’ve got a recipe for success.  Sister of a Man-Child also had plenty to do activity wise, and Father of a Man-Child and Mother of a Man-Child were able to relax and read countless books and dawdle over morning papers.  The holiday was even more relaxing because no laptops or PS3’s accompanied us, so the boys were pretty limited to Facebook updates and texting their friends back home.  I especially relished the break from all the technology that drives our lives on a daily basis.

You know the holiday has been long enough when they start fighting again just like at home – the last 24 hours of our 9 day trip showed that about a week on the island was right.

The only issue we faced was the discussion about our next holiday – hopefully to Sydney over the Christmas/New Year break.   When the men-children learned we plan to be away for New Years Eve they were aghast.  “But we HAVE to be in Melbourne for NYE, we already have plans (to get drunk somewhere)……well not Melbourne actually, we’ll be away with friends (away from our parents who control our lives)……”

We decided to drop the discussion until we got home – it was set to ruin our happy holiday.  Now we face the decision – do we force them on the family holiday, or adapt our plans to suit them?  There’s a number of reasons supporting both points of view and options that could fill a whole blog post that I won’t bore you with now – but suffice to say it’s going to be an interesting decision.  The men-children are all for a trip to Sydney – just not for NYE.  We shall see.