Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Mother of a Man-Child’s Top 10 Posts December 23, 2011

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As I post this week, I am celebrating a small milestone – 100 posts by Mother of a Man-Child.  Every Friday, for almost two years now, I have shared a little story about our life with the Men-Children (and not to be forgotten Sister of a Man-Child).

It all began with this story (All In Good Taste), which was really the inspiration for my blog in the first place.  I was so outraged at the behaviour of my teenage son, and no doubt the lack of control that I was facing, that it suddenly occurred to me to write about my experience, in order to vent my frustration, and for my own amusement.

I have had almost 6,000 views of my blog in that time, from a small but growing audience.  I have rarely been short of material, thanks solely to the Men-Children who are a constant source of inspiration for my writing.  I have also thoroughly enjoyed the comments from you, my readers, and the regular feedback.  It’s always nice to know people enjoy reading my stories. 🙂

To celebrate my little milestone, here’s 10 of my favourite posts.  The ones that caught my eye as I recalled what we’ve endured and/or survived over the last two years.  As it’s Christmas and we’re off on another Griswald Family Holiday, I’ll be having a short break from Mother of a Man-Child, but I’ll return early in 2012, no doubt with some more news of the Men-Children’s adventures from our next holiday!  Enjoy.

  1. Argue this logic (boys are NOT on the same wave-length as their Mother)
  2. Uninvited guests after midnight (what happens when you find four strange girls in your home at 3am)
  3. An arresting story (a close call for a shop-lifting man-child)
  4. The self-tattooing trend (sometimes teenagers are idiots)
  5. New Years Eve at Portsea (like Mother like Son, the attraction remains)
  6. A Princess Tale (a story about Sister of a Man-Child, in sharp contrast to the Men-Children)
  7. Sleeping over at a GIRL’S house (at 14 not my ideal scenario)
  8. Freezing on Cadet camp (a lesson learned for our stubborn man-child)
  9. Plains, Trains and Automobiles (what happens when your man-child is stuck in Adelaide for a week)
  10. Drug and Alcohol Education (our first experience with a dope-smoking son)

As always, feel free to share my posts with friends or relatives (or a publisher if you know one!).

Wishing you all a safe and happy Christmas and a wonderful start to 2012.

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From Boys to Bogans? December 16, 2011

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rats tail hairIn what can only be described as a worrying trend, I think my men-children are showing Bogan tendencies.  The only comfort I can take in this is that they are not alone.  In fact they are joining a growing number of their school friends with body piercings and a “ratty” hairstyle which seems to be the current trend.

For those of us old enough to remember, the “ratty” style harks from the disgusting “rats tail” trend that was worn by Bogans in the 80’s.  They would cut their hair short, with the exception of a long piece of hair that was left at the nape of the neck.  It was often plaited for effect (and not any prettier trust me), and sadly was a trans-gender style worn by Bogan men and women alike!!  If I am honest I may have had a VERY SMALL ratty myself which was very tasteful of course at the height of this trend. 🙂

One of the men-children recently had his brother use the clippers to cut his hair, leaving a delightful “ratty” at the back.  Fortunately, it’s not quite as long as the original version, more a short stumpy version, but nevertheless quite ridiculous.  Apparently it’s all the rage at school, and most likely they are emulating many of the young footballers, who all sport similar styles.  Now I think of it, most of them are Bogans at heart aren’t they?

Our other man-child has recently renewed his requests (read badgering) to be allowed an eyebrow piercing.  The last time he asked, we did suggest he could have one if he chose to have his private parts pierced simultaneously.  This time, he started quoting the fact that at 16 years old he could do as he pleased in relation to body piercing (a fact I must check).  Father of a Man-Child, for reasons completely unfathomable to all of us, seems to think a tattoo is a much better idea???  Even the man-child couldn’t understand this logic, and I don’t think his father was using reverse psychology.   Let’s face it, at least you can take out the stud from your eyebrow, but the tattoo on your arm or leg is slightly more permanent!  And whilst the school should BAN all visible piercings in my view, it seems they will allow a clear stud in one’s eyebrow whilst in uniform.  We did try to encourage piercing the earlobe over the eyebrow, but he seems adamant on the latter.

I do recall my nephews now in their mid-20’s both had piercings in their eyebrows shortly after they left school, a fact that their Mother and Grandfather were both appalled by.  God only knows how that same Grandfather will respond to the almost 16 year old man-child having one when he attends the same school his Grandfather did, and where the latter currently enjoys a well-earned reputation.  Oh dear.

So it seems I have a couple of Bogan men-children.  Given the odd hair styles I have seen created by their friends at our house, I have no doubt my boys are not alone in pursuing their “individual” styles, which are really just designed to ensure they conform with all their teenage friends, and demonstrate some anti-establishment, rebellious behaviour like we all did a few decades ago.

I promise to share photos if and when the eyebrow finally gets pierced!

Read our last discussion about eyebrow piercings here.


The results are in! December 9, 2011

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studyExams are done.  School is out.  By the time this post is published the men-children will have completed Year 9 and the school reports will be in an envelope on their way home to us.  Time for a stiff drink!

Actually following the exam results, which we received earlier this week, it has to be said the receipt of the school report is somewhat of an anti-climax.  Especially the end-of-year report, when discussions of improvements that can be made are based on the year 2012, which to men-children about to embark on two months of holidays must seem an eternity away.  Nevertheless, we always diligently note the marks, and read the comments, as the latter are by far the most telling indicator of real performance and application in my view.  As we have long maintained, it’s not the marks but the effort that we are interested in.

As an aside, do you remember when you were a kid how LONG it seemed for Christmas to arrive each year, and the long hot summer holidays that seemed to go forever?  Perhaps it was my idyllic childhood, growing up in a suburban street full of kids, allowed to roam all day, coming and going from house to house just to quench our thirst or satisfy our hunger, before we headed back down to the “creek” to feed horses, or climb trees, or ride our bikes (yep, Doncaster was almost the “Greenfields” back then).  No fear of strangers, or need for mobile phones which our parents could contact us on – just the simple freedoms that kids should enjoy as part of an innocent and healthy childhood.

Anyway, back to the men-children.  For those who are wondering about the exams results, and their impact on our bank balance (you may recall we openly BRIBED them earlier this year), we are currently $400 poorer.  That equates to four “B” results on the exams at $100 each.  And you may wonder how the money was earned – well, in fact one man-child earned $400 and one earned $0.  C’est la vie!  Both are smart enough to have had equal opportunity to earn the money (up to $600 each was at stake).  However, one is not the best student (read lazy, and/or disengaged with the academic learning approach) so not surprisingly he didn’t do very well.  As I said to them, you both got the marks (and the money) you deserved.  I was somewhat bemused by the man-child who even convinced a teacher to give him an extra ½ mark so he would achieve the B grade, thereby earning himself an extra $100!!!  I think he’ll go a long way somehow. :}

You might ask if we’re surprised at the results?  I suppose not, especially following a meeting at school to warn us to expect bad results for one man-child.  We’re probably more disappointed that he didn’t achieve his best, and is wasting the opportunities he has at school.  (We won’t be the first or the last parent to think that about their child!!)  And we did actually want to give them the money, as it’s a nice way to end the year and start the holidays.  The man-child with $0 earnings was smart enough to pick up some work with a mate’s dad, so at least he’ll earn some beer money in the run up to Christmas.  Don’t feign shock I called it “beer” money will you – we’ve all been teenagers!

So there you have it – Year 9 gone, just like that.  The Men-Children are now closer to 16 than 15, a fact that scares me every day.  I hope they enjoy the break, and I hope they look back on their summer holidays with the same fondness I did in years to come.


We survived another school year (not without incident) December 2, 2011

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school booksFor all parents, the end of the school year is looming.  In no time the kids will all be on holidays for about two months (we workers can only wish), wondering what to do with themselves, and bleeding the parental ATM dry.

We survived the end of year exams, although the results are not in yet.  But that in itself is a major triumph, especially since we were at the school only a few weeks ago for a meeting to discuss one of the men-children and basically to receive a warning that his results would not be good.  (I really hope they’re wrong and we’re pleasantly surprised – is that naive or just optimistic?).  They basically told us that whilst they couldn’t fault our son’s commitment to sport at school, he needed to show similar commitment to academic subjects.  They, like most other mainstream schools, make no apologies for being an academic school first, with a multitude of other “opportunities” second.  It seemed a little late to be telling us this to be honest, although it didn’t come as a complete surprise.  You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink!  (Ditto homework).

Following our “meeting” we tried to ensure the men-children made the most of weekend study time.  That basically meant curtailing their social lives for two weekends and not allowing them out on a Saturday night.  As they still had serious sporting commitments, this wasn’t actually a bad idea in our minds.  However, in the eyes of men-children, spending a Saturday night at home with your parents is about the worst thing you can do.  Honestly, you should have heard the carry on.  You would have thought we’d asked them to walk naked down Glenferrie Road after school.

We also received some interesting correspondence from the school during the year about an “incident” involving both our men-children.  I can’t help but love the tone of carefully crafted letters to parents that are so politically correct in describing an event.  So the “serious incident” that involved a number of boys (including ours), followed “ongoing negative interactions” and “verbal interplay”, resulting in a “physical interaction” breaking out between some boys.  In other words a bunch of testosterone-laden boys who had been egging each other on all year finally had a shit fight and tried to punch the crap out of each other.  Thankfully both of our boys were deemed to be fringe dwellers only, and one was even credited with helping break up the fight. He later admitted that he’d actually managed to land a great punch, and even accidentally slugged one of his mates (LOL).  All part of being boys especially at an all boy’s school.  Of course I completely understand the school’s need to write a letter to all involved, and I’m thankful that ours didn’t do anything too bad.

As for how they’ll amuse themselves over the holidays – thankfully we love camps, and so do they!  Especially the summer camps and sporting camps that the school offer.  They will both be away before Christmas and again in late January.  We think it’s great for them to get away with mates on camp, and also to have time away from us.  We (that’s Father of a Man-Child, Sister of a Man-Child and myself) also enjoy the unusual dynamic that a house with a single child brings.  It’s incredibly quiet and we seem to enjoy spontaneous outings more frequently!!!

So onto the end of Year 9 and exam results next week.  You may recall the bribe we handed to the boys earlier this year – $100 for every B grade or better in their exams.  I suspect one will have a windfall shortly, and the other will be looking for lots of odd jobs he can do over the holidays. 🙂

Read about the bribery here.