Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Christmas is coming! November 30, 2012

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

The joy of Christmas is less than a month away and so preparations have begun in earnest in our household.  As Sister of a Man-Child is still a firm believer (yes at 9 years old) it just adds to the excitement and delight of Christmas.

As the retailers filled their stores with Christmas decorations, and the TV advertising cranked up, my daughter had all the reminders she needed about this magical event.  First stop the Christmas tree – she begged me to put it up last weekend, which we did, but not until the end of Sunday due to other commitments.  We did have to endure quite a few sulking moments along the way, but as I said to her, I refuse to be rushed doing the annual Christmas tree decoration.

So here is our very eclectic Christmas tree.  Yes years ago I had the “designer” Christmas tree, with every last bow (or whatever was in fashion at the time) placed just so, completely colour co-ordinated, not a branch out of place.  As the men-children came along, so too did the home-made decorations, which were proudly added to the tree or used as centrepieces for the table (it’s amazing how good a couple of wreaths made from dried pasta and spray painted gold looked).

Now it is my daughter’s home made decorations that grace the tree, along with a special collection of ornaments, including Father of a Man-Child’s childhood decorations (rescued from the beach house), and personalised, named baubles of family members.  Having some history on the tree only adds to the sense of family and tradition that we so love.

The other thing we lap up of course is the joy of a child that still believes in Santa (even the men-children enjoy it).  I love the unwavering belief and innocence of children every Christmas and Easter.  She is so excited, she asked if she could sleep on the couch on Christmas Eve so she could see him!

After the tree all attention turned to her letter to Santa.  It is so gorgeous I have republished it for you to read here (just click on this link): Letter to Santa.  I was especially pleased she mentioned both Jesus as well as a gift for her rabbits.  I intend to keep a copy for her, to give to her one day, along with the countless letters to the tooth fairy of course!! 

Anticipation is also growing for her video from Santa.  Last year she received a video from the North Pole, with Santa talking directly to her by name, and amazingly talking about the EXACT present she wanted.  HOW did he know her name, or what she wanted?  I mean, he MUST be real! 🙂  Santa is so clever he even arranged to send her a video for her birthday recently to say he knew she’d been pretty good so far this year.

Amidst all the excitement there is however stress.  One thing tops her Christmas list, a Fijit Friend (don’t worry I had never heard of one either), which just happens to be the Toy of the Year in Australia.  What that means for any Mrs Santa Claus’s out there is that there is now widespread panic-buying across Melbourne and Australia, and every Fijit is about to be completely sold out before the end of November!!!!!  Santa doesn’t explain on video what happens if his elves can’t make enough of the ridiculously popular (and ridiculously expensive) toy.  But I have managed to secure one!  PS.  If you want to know what they are, take a look here:  Fijit Friends

So how is Christmas stacking up in your house?  What wonderful things do your children do to prepare for the visit from the great man?  And how long did they believe for?

You can read more about the tooth fairy here, and also what happened when we finally broke the news to the men-children about Santa. A Princess Tale.


Schoolies Week! November 23, 2012

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

schooliesSchool’s out for the VCE students of 2012 and this week is the beginning of “schoolies”.  For those who are not aware of this Aussie tradition, “schoolies” involves thousands of excited Year 12/VCE students who have just finished their final exams, travelling to selected destinations en masse for a couple of weeks of partying and celebrations.

Sadly as this post was being written news had been released of the tragic death on the Gold Coast of a 17-year-old girl falling from her balcony – most certainly every parents worst nightmare, and a shocking end for some schoolies to their celebrations.

Wikipedia has a comprehensive entry on schoolies week, including the history – did you know it actually started on the Gold Coast in QLD in 1979?  It certainly wasn’t an Australia-wide trend when I finished school in 1982, although I imagine we would have loved the idea (alas my parents probably wouldn’t have).  Wikipedia also provides further useful information:  “Toolies” refers to older revelers who participate in Schoolies week but are not high-school graduates. “Foolies” or “pre-schoolies” refers to younger adolescents, who participate in Schoolies week but have not yet graduated from high school.

There are a couple of key destinations for schoolies, including Byron Bay, the Gold Coast, and of course Bali.  My men-children were chatting with a family friend just recently, who was heading off to Byron Bay for 10 days of partying.  I commented that only one of my boys would attend schoolies in two years time, as his twin brother, set to leave school at the end of this year, won’t actually be “graduating” with all his current friends.  Oh no he assured me, he would be at “schoolies” with all his mates regardless, making him a “Clayton’s schoolie” me thinks?

I learnt during this conversation that they will need to be booking accommodation as early as mid next year for schoolies, yes that’s right, a full 18 months ahead of the end of their VCE.  The dilemma of course will be selecting the destination, agreeing who you will stay with, and I suppose hoping you are still friends by the time the holiday comes around.

I can’t help but wonder if our “tradie” man-child will have outgrown some of his school friends by then, and if he’s working full time as an apprentice not be the slightest bit interested in schoolies?  One thing is for sure, if they both want to go to any Australian destination, I will be agreeing (although I would prefer if it’s not in a high rise apartment on the GC for obvious reasons).  The alternative (mainly Bali) does not impress me due to the open trade in drugs and inherent danger, and quite frankly I would rather they weren’t over there.  Of course, as the men-children will be 18 years of age by then, I won’t be able to stop them, but the early booking might just work in our favour and I have no intention of reminding them of their impending legal age and associated rights.

As it happened, I travelled to the Gold Coast this week for business (please note NOT as a “toolie”), and was interested to hear what the locals had to say about the influx of some 18,000 reported students to the Gold Coast area.  I learned from the local news about the behaviour of some idiots – yes the media just LOVE to highlight the stupidity and drunken pranks of teenagers.  But I also learned that there is zero tolerance of bad behaviour, with evictions of schoolies if necessary from their accommodation (no second chances) and very controlled party environments.  One taxi driver (a veritable wealth of knowledge) said most of the GC residents who are anywhere near the middle of Surfers Paradise evacuate for the entire period (much like the Grand Prix in Melbourne for some residents).  He also figured the government was more than happy to entertain schoolies, as it’s a huge injection of cash for the economy (definitely “liquid” gold).  Another taxi driver said he’d had quite a few schoolies as passengers and they were just great young Aussie kids having fun.  He did also admit that he only drives his taxi during the day so no doubt he sees the best side of them!!!

I also heard quite a lot of discussion on the radio this week also about whether parents would allow their kids to go to schoolies.  Not surprisingly, there was the full spectrum of views and attitudes amongst parents, from controlling gate-keepers to trusting (naive?) parents.  With the men-children, I am probably less concerned about them going away than I would be if it was my daughter.  For some reason, I feel that girls are far more vulnerable than boys in these situations, especially if you read about some of the “toolies” preying on young girls.  I also know you can’t wrap your kids in cotton wool forever (especially once an adult) so all you can do is your best to teach them not to be too stupid in these environments.  As we know from recent news, even young footballers in their 20’s can still do very stupid things and have fatal accidents.

So what do you think of schoolies?  Did you attend celebrations when you left school?  Would you let your kids go, in Australia, or Bali? Certainly the tragic death of a young schoolie will have other parents questioning whether they should let their kids go at all, and protect their children from possible harm and even worse accidental death.  There are no winners in this situation.

If you’d like to read the full reference:


A step back in time November 16, 2012

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

typewriterThis week for no particular reason other than the boys didn’t provide me with anything really inspiring to write about (a rare event indeed), I decided to share a few of my favourite posts.

Here’s my latest Ten Good Reads for you to enjoy:

  1. The Holiday from Hell – a ruined holiday with toddler twin boys
  2. Hygiene – over-rated by teenage boys
  3. Calm Down – two words no angry mother wants to hear
  4. Sage Advice – learn from an experienced teacher
  5. Too late – pushing the boundaries always
  6. Trouble on school camp – there’s always one isn’t there?
  7. Hurdy Gurdy – a family heirloom in our backyard
  8. Nice to be wanted – thank goodness for Sister of a Man-Child
  9. Testosterone – naturally my boys have loads
  10. Mother’s day musings – a good time to reflect

Enjoy them, share them, and let me know your thoughts.  It always makes me feel more normal when I hear from my readers.



The birds and the bees November 9, 2012

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

baby Sometimes an opportunity just presents itself for the birds and the bees conversation, and before you know it you’re halfway in and there is no stopping.  Suffice to say Sister of a Man-Child is now a little wiser than she was a week ago about Mother Nature and babies!

We were heading back from a long weekend away, listening to the radio, and they were chatting to callers about being pregnant and not knowing it.  Even our 9-year-old daughter could understand that it was a bit odd.  “Mum surely someone would know if they were having a baby wouldn’t they?”  And the average person would agree, yes surely you would know you were having a baby.  And if you listened to one caller, you would still not believe her story that she didn’t know until she delivered the baby that she was pregnant!!!!  Personally, I am really not sure how a 9 month pregnant women could not think she was having a baby – regardless of what the doctors said about not being pregnant – either that or you would be seeing an oncologist about a massive growth in your stomach.

But I digress.  As we drove home in the quiet of the car, I had a split second flash back to 9 years ago, and then out of my mouth popped my response: “Well not necessarily actually.  Because it happened to me when we were having you”.   And so the story about our daughter’s small beginnings unfolded.  From the discovery at 16 weeks that I was pregnant, to her amazing arrival at 41 weeks into the world.  She was keen to know if she was planned, or an accident.  I told her emphatically she was very much planned and wanted, but that it was a bit of a surprise to learn I was pregnant.

For readers who themselves are itching to know how someone who had already had twins could not know she was pregnant, here’s a small list of reasons:

  • No morning sickness (yes I am someone who breezes through pregnancies without any problems at all, no queasiness, no sore body parts)
  • A body whose menstrual clock was so out of kilter, I was convinced that I could not possibly be pregnant
  • An earlier diagnosis of potential early menopause and a single functioning ovary
  • And the firm belief that it would almost border on an immaculate conception!!!

Suffice to say I was indeed pretty shocked to be sitting in the doctor’s rooms to discuss my ongoing concerns about feeling “bloated”, having also been to the naturopath for some assistance, when she passed me the pregnancy test results – positive!!!!  Fortunately the 6-year-old twin boys in the room were too pre-occupied to notice my shock and our subsequent discussions.   Although they did notice that I became a bit vague for the rest of the day, walking up the same supermarket aisle several times and getting lost on the way to a good friend’s house.  Yes you could say I spent the day in absolute shock.  I didn’t ring Father of a Man-Child in case he had a car accident when I told him, so waited until I saw him later that day.  Our initial shock was mixed with absolute delight and then temporary panic, as the threat of twins was very high given my family history and an existing set.

Fortunately the scan revealed only one healthy baby (and the fact that I was 16 WEEKS PREGNANT), and the subsequent amniocentesis test (not a pleasant prospect but a necessary evil under the circumstances) revealed a girl – much to all of our delight.  Suffice to say it was a lovely (and short) pregnancy, enjoyed by me, hubby and the boys, and the excitement around the arrival of a baby sister was lovely for the men-children and family and friends.

Sister of a Man-Child then asked me how soon can girls get pregnant, which of course led us further down the birds and bees discussion, to talk of eggs and periods and when it would all happen.  As she is 9 years old and some girls unfortunately now start menstruating by 10 years old (far too early in my book) the timing is probably pretty good.   I explained that sometime between 10 and 14 she would indeed be producing eggs, but that didn’t mean she would get pregnant.  And I also explained that no you couldn’t get pregnant just lying in a bed with a boy (she did ask), but that when she had a partner, and they planned it, they would hopefully get pregnant when they wanted! 🙂

She also asked about how old you could be which is interesting, given some of my friends have had babies in their mid-late 40’s.  I explained that was possible, but also told her about eggs ageing and that physiologically you were better to have them a bit earlier if you could.  It’s amazing sometimes how they see the world, and how they manage to piece it all together.

So there you have it, the story of Sister of a Man-Child’s beginnings.   We have always said she was a Gift from God under the circumstances (but then really every child is), and most definitely a planned and longed for daughter and sister, not a “happy accident”!   Does the distinction matter?  Maybe not to some, but I think to my daughter she somehow wanted to know as we drove in the car and heard amazing stories from other women, that she wasn’t an “accident”. 🙂

I have written about Sister of a Man-Child before:  A Princess Tale.  She is such a delight!


The Stunted Mullet – A short tale November 2, 2012

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

As the men-children get older, it becomes increasingly challenging to have them abide by our rules.  Threats coupled with parental anger are typically the winning combination, and this occasion proved to be no different.

I arrived home the other night and was immediately prompted to notice the new haircut of my son (Man-Child II).  He was sporting a very short haircut, one I call the skin-head/army reserve look, not that concerning really, as he always likes his hair short, and it does grow back pretty quickly. His twin brother (Man-Child I) then prompted me to take a closer look at the back of his head, to see the rest of the haircut.  Yes, causing trouble for his twin brother, naturally.

My first thought was that he had shaved something into his head.  I asked him if it was a swastika – since he didn’t even know what that was, unlikely that’s what I was about to see.  Instead, what I saw is this – which I quickly dubbed the “stunted mullet”.

mullet hairstyleThere is no point asking why they want a haircut like this – they’re teenagers, it’s what they do.  Setting new trends (?), looking like their peers (yes his mate has one too), not looking like their parents – it’s natural.  However, that doesn’t mean that our son should keep it!

Our immediate response was that he would have to shave it off that night, before attending school the next day.  Apart from us thinking he looked like a complete “bogan”, we didn’t think it was an appropriate haircut for school.  Naturally, there were two arguments that ran in tandem that night, that went something like this:


  • There are far more outrageous haircuts sported by other boys at school. (I am sure their parents are very proud).
  • What does it matter – it’s not hurting anyone. (Except your parents and twin-brother).
  • It’s better than a tattoo or eyebrow piercing.  (Yes it is for the moment).
  • It will grow back.  (Logic fail, as the mullet will just grow too).


  • It’s disrespectful towards the school.
  • It’s disrespectful towards your parents.
  • It’s disrespectful towards your grandfather who attended the same school and would be mortified to see you with this haircut.
  • Whilst you live in our house, under this roof, you will abide by our rules.
  • You look like a complete Bogan.

In the end, the final threat was that we would contact the school tomorrow and have them march him off the grounds to get a haircut if he didn’t remove it.  Whilst this might sound extreme, the school have been known to do that before with boys who have particularly inappropriate haircuts.  One of them being Man-Child II’s mate sometime last year.  They cut his hair at our home one afternoon, much to the amusement of Sister of a Man-Child and her friends.  It was basically shaved down one side, and left long on the other – NICE!  Clearly his mother had no luck convincing him to cut it, but the school certainly did the next day. 🙂

The last appeal to him was a text message (they can be effective sometimes, as they give them something to think about and don’t involve yelling), which went like this:

“Please remove that mullet tonight.  Don’t make us involve the school.  “What does it matter?” applies equally in reverse BTW.  If it’s such a small think but important to us that it goes, then you will remove it.  If you choose not to then the same lack of respect you choose to extend to us will be returned ten-fold to you.”  Thankfully he agreed to do it, the next day!

So off he went to school, sporting the stunted mullet for the day, returning home that evening to shave it off.  I must ask what his friends thought of it, or if any teachers noticed.

So a minor victory to the parents – this time.  Once he leaves school at the end of the year, we are clearly in trouble.  I fear the stunted mullet will be right at home at TAFE – oh well, I suppose I can live with it, if it means the eyebrow piercing and tattoo are delayed for a while longer.

We have endured the joys of teenage hairstyles before.  They seemed to have a liking for rats tails for a short period!!  Read more here.