Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Brotherly Love – NOT! August 23, 2013

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fightingIt’s been a big week in the home of the men-children.  Perhaps something had been bubbling along beneath the surface, waiting to explode, just like the head of a giant teenage pimple.  What started out as a simple argumentative exchange across the dinner table (over absolutely nothing of course) escalated into an all in brawl upstairs and some pretty hideous outcomes for both of them.  It was so bad, even Sister of a Man-Child was upset and crying over the fracas upstairs.  When time passes I might be able to share the exact details, but suffice to say we were still dealing with the fallout the following day and into the next night.

I went to work completely exhausted, feeling like I had done ten rounds with Rocky Balboa myself.  Father of a Man-Child and I managed to debrief during the day, and both planned our individual approaches to dealing with the event.  He, a much more calm influence, was happy to talk to the boys about what happened and how to avoid future incidents.  Me, a little more intense, and prone to getting excited (okay, read yelling), decided to take the other approach, penning a letter to the boys that day and hand delivering it to them both before dinner.  I think sometimes it’s better for them to read something, reflect, and re-read it if need be.

We spent a fairly tense night with continued discussions (arguments) about their behaviour, the causes behind it, our expectations of their future behaviour, and negotiations about the damage and what we would cover (absolutely zero by the way – they break it, they pay for it).  I ended the night even more drained, with a quick text to them both:  “Goodnight boys.  Tomorrow is a new day.  Let’s make a fresh start.  You have two parents and a sister who love you both and just want a happy family at home. xo.”

Sister of a Man-Child subsequently told me that she had wanted to hug both the boys after being so upset.  I agreed with her sentiment completely.  So we did exactly that the next day!  We gave them both a huge, big hug each.  We didn’t say anything, because we didn’t need to.  They knew we were saying to them it’s all okay, it’s all in the past, it’s all forgiven, and we love you.  Do you know how good it felt to hug my bigger than me, gorgeous boys?  I hope it felt as good for them as it did for us.   And I think we should do more of it.  The human connection that comes with a physical hug, the reminder of your family’s unconditional love and the sense of security that touch communicates is pretty powerful.  For whatever reason, I hug my daughter every day when I head off to work, and sitting on the couch at weekends, but as our teenagers grow up, that seems to diminish (I suppose understandably).

So, I am planning to hug my boys more often.  And maybe I can use it as my new secret weapon to diffuse future fights and arguments.  Don’t yell, just hug them into submission!! 🙂

Do you have teenage boys or did you have teenage brothers?  Did they fight physically?  Tell me mine are normal (if a little extreme)!

It’s not the first fight they’ve had of course:  read more here and here.

PS.  That is NOT a picture of my men-children!


More Man-Child Mess August 16, 2013

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clean meAs a self-declared neat freak, and very organised person, it pains me to live with the mess of teenage boys. More than two years ago I wrote of my frustration with the lovely conditions that one of my sons chose to live in – not surprisingly we are still living with the same mess (I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the original stuff is still on the floor from my post of July 2011)!!

So what is a neat freak to do? Well we told the cleaners to stop at his bedroom door years ago. Just don’t bother, leave it alone, you can’t see the carpet anyway. Naturally, they can’t help themselves, so they pick up some of the stuff, pile it on his bed, and give part of the floor a cursory vacuum (I feel their pain).

Just tonight said Man-Child declared his room was so messy because his brother is constantly throwing things in the room, a tactic learned from their father, who used to put the dirty frying pan in the bedroom of the offender, when it wasn’t washed. Well when I looked I didn’t see any signs of recent rubbish, dirty breakfast bowls, half eaten pizza crusts, or empty stubbies. I saw a mixture of paperwork, leftover bedding from sleepovers, sports bags from past camping trips, music systems and gifts from Christmas, and crumpled clothing that he will either wear tomorrow or wore a year ago!

After more fighting upstairs recently between the men-children (it’s STILL a common occurrence) I told both of them that at a minimum I expected them to keep their common areas tidy and free of each other’s dirty clothes, crockery, rubbish, etc, but that they could keep their rooms as they chose. Except, it still pisses me off that one bedroom is a veritable swamp!

Tonight, I had a light bulb moment, inspired by the cleaner’s pile of whatever on the bed. I decided I now have two options: I will either bag up everything on the floor and dispose of it in plastic bags (or at least park it on the back porch), or better still, I will just open the cupboards (basically empty) and shove it all in there where I can’t see it, and quite frankly he can just forget about it, freeing the floor for the cleaners, me from further pain, and man-child from some ghastly disease as a result of the bacteria growing in his room.

I mentioned to him that I had a brain wave, and that I would take action on the weekend. Man-Child was filthy at me, and made various threats about what he would do if I set foot in his room. So I intend to stew on it for a few days and then consider implementing my plan. Let me know your thoughts please. Do I have the right to go into his room and clean it up (as the cleaners do)? Am I invading his privacy by doing so? I’m not snooping, just picking stuff up off the floor. He is almost 18, but I am his parent, and it’s my house! Am I crossing the line or not? Any other ideas about how to approach the problem, apart from therapy? Yours in hideous chaos, Mother of a Man-Child.

Here’s the original post about the mess:


Boys to Men August 9, 2013

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footballI was reminded last week of the benefits of sport and how wonderful it is to observe boys becoming men.  One of the men-children played football this season, fortunate enough to play in the First squad with mainly Year 12 boys (sadly his brother has hung up his rugby boots now that he has left school – no amount of cajoling, encouraging or threatening helping to convince him to keep playing).

For our footballer, I noted a couple of benefits from this season – one, he played with older boys, I am sure a good influence as they are more mature (the drinking games they taught him at the end of season party were NOT an advantage!).  Two, he observed up close how they are balancing the demands of Year 12 and sport.  And he formed good friendships with some of his teammates, a strongly bonded group, with a great bunch of very supportive parents.

At the end of season gathering, another great chance for the boys and their parents to get together (they really do the parent participation exceptionally well), there were the traditional speeches, videos and presentations to boys and coaches.  Naturally each parent delighted in the comments made about their son, all clearly proud to receive such public praise and recognition.

I especially love to see the wonderful young men speak publicly, about their coaches, their teammates, their parents, their school.  To witness men-children on the cusp of adulthood, showing grace and maturity is heart-warming and reminds me that my own men-children are on the same pathway, about to emerge from adolescence to adulthood like a beautiful butterfly from a chrysalis.

And whilst we don’t see that side of them often, more the prickly caterpillars at home, or the jousting testosterone-laden lion cubs, I am confident that the persona they present to others is of delightful, well-adjusted, polite young men, with no hint of the way they sometimes behave for their parents at home (isn’t it always the case)?

For those who wonder what happened last week (I know, NO post), could it be that Mother of a Man-Child’s days of writing thrilling stories about the adventures of her men-children is coming to an end?  That they will stop to provide me with excellent material for the blog, simply through the things they do on a daily basis, because they are finally growing up?  Let’s hope not!!!  Although last week passed without any unusual incidents, so I was left bereft of a worthy tale.

I have written about the celebration of boys through sport before – such an important part of their school life.



Life lessons July 27, 2013

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In the last few weeks several tragedies have exposed the men-children to the loss of life.  In two separate events, both boys had friends that were plunged into the depths of grief, under terrible and unexpected circumstances.  You never want your children to experience grief before they need to, but sadly it’s part of the circle of life and inevitable at some stage.

Apart from sharing in the boys shock and sadness as a result of both tragic deaths, we also ensured that they had any support they needed and knew how to reach out to their friends.  Both were in contact with their friends by text and phone (their preferred mode of communication), to offer their support.  One of the boys also spent time with his friend – leaving school for the day with my permission.  I agreed immediately, as peer support is so important under these circumstances.

In the days since, we have talked about the events that unfolded and ensured that if there are lessons to learn that the boys indeed do – using these horrid events to drive home messages about depression (it’s important to seek help from people), and drink-driving (just don’t do it).

What they have now been exposed to directly is the impact such events have on children, parents, spouses, families and friends, the terrible deaths having a far-reaching effect across so many people.  I hope they have learned to be even more thankful for what they have, and to think about the decisions they make in life every day.  I know it has caused them to reflect on the fragility of life and to understand it can happen to someone you know.

As we get older, is it just me that feels grief more intensely?  Is it as adults that we understand the terrible loss and sadness more deeply, or is it through our own experience that it all comes flooding back?   Upon learning about the death of this young man in a car accident, I was instantly transported back 28 years ago to the life changing events of my own sister’s death in a car accident.  I knew at once the grief my son’s friends would feel at the loss of their sibling, and the support they would draw from their closest friends.   And as a parent, I understood even more inherently how my own parents must have felt at the loss of their child, and the feelings of disbelief, intense and heart-breaking grief, and the completely surreal nature as the world around you continued on, even as your own life seemed to stop temporarily.

So what did I tell my children?  That I had been down the path of their friends before, losing both a sibling and a parent.  That I knew how they would be feeling, and that they should just be there for their friends.  Be available to talk, or to text, or to do nothing but be a friend.

I hope my children don’t experience too many of these life lessons in their early years – there is plenty of time as we get older, and inevitably mourn the loss of our parents and friends.  But along the way, we deal with what life throws at us, and ensure our kids have the support and guidance they need to overcome life’s hurdles and challenges, and to be empathetic, supportive, caring human beings.


Happy Family Holidays July 19, 2013

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Port DouglasExcuse the absence from my blog, but a family holiday in lovely Far North Queensland was in order.  Now as some of you will know, it was with great reluctance that one of our men-children attended the holiday with us.  He would have much preferred to have stayed home alone (never!) and gone out every night of the holidays with his mates, completely running himself into the ground, and doing all the wrong things before returning to studies.  I was almost expecting that he would be conveniently absent on the day we left for the airport, thereby missing the flight and the holiday, but thankfully not.

We were motivated to have a family holiday for a few reasons – one to escape the cold Melbourne winter.  The other to enjoy a family holiday with just our kids and us whilst we still can (at 17 I think the appeal will diminish in coming years), and to ensure that the boys had a decent break and rest.

So was it successful?  I am delighted to say it was.  And how do I measure the success?  As we left Port Douglas and drove towards the airport, I asked a few simple questions:

  1. So did you like Port Douglas? A resounding yes by all 3 kids.
  2. Would you come back to Port Douglas?  Another yes by all 3 kids.
  3. Would you come back to the house, or rather stay closer to the main street?  Loved the house, and the location.

Yay, music to our ears.  A couple of things worked in our favour.  Staying in a great Bali style house, with our own pool and plenty of room for the boys (love the QLD lifestyle).  Walking distance to the beach, bike paths nearby for a quick ride into town, some school mates staying close by whom they spent countless hours playing 500 with, and a night life (significantly safer than Bali) where they met even more Melbourne friends for regular nights out.

There were a few other indicators of success for me (call them soft measures) –  the boys rarely fought with each other (an all too common occurrence at home), or their sister for that matter.  In fact, they got along quite well, talking to each other (instead of taunting each other), a habit which happily seems to have been maintained at home.   Whilst they remain very different in their interests and friendship groups, it seems they have found some common ground finally.

We had some nice dinners out as a family and did some sight-seeing together – all just pleasant things to do.  We even captured some happy snaps.  For Mother of a Man-child these simple things give me so much joy, perhaps because I know it won’t last forever.  That said, I was pleased to catch up with friends from Melbourne who had all four kids with them on holidays – the oldest 21.  So perhaps there’s still a few years of fun remaining?

So here’s to the next family holiday with the kids over summer, and many more to follow.

We have had some other good holidays with the boys – it takes planning though, trust me!  Hamilton Island (“Best Holiday Ever”) and Sorrento (“Surviving New Years”).


Letter to a Man-Child June 28, 2013

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letterDear Men-Children

I know it’s hard to believe, but I have been a teenager before.  I well remember thinking my parents were the world’s strictest on the earth, and in fact my friends would probably tell you they were.  I also remember thinking that I knew an awful lot, and could take care of myself, and that they didn’t really understand what it was like being a teenager, especially since they were soooo old (in fact my parents were a lot younger than many of my friends parents), but guess what, they were teenagers once too!

I know you want your independence and that at almost 18 you think you should be allowed to do whatever you want, but as you live under our roof, it goes without saying that you really are obliged to do what we say, play by our rules and RESPECT our decisions.  It may be that you can’t wait to leave home, and sometimes part of me can’t wait either, especially when you are being quite revolting towards me and rebellious and won’t take no for an answer, but you need to know you are very much loved and there is always a place for you at home.

You need to know that our job as parents is not to be your best friend.  I have always maintained if I am mistakenly doing that during your teenage years then I’m probably not being a very good parent.  I am not interested in being “popular”, I’m interested in your welfare and well-being.  So if we actively discourage you from doing certain things, or making the wrong choices, it’s because we’ve either learned from our own experience or as outside observers are concerned about what is going on.  I know some things you just need to experience and learn from yourself, but sometimes parents will and should step in, and as you know, we aren’t afraid to do that from time to time.

I will nag you along the way, especially if I need you to do something.  Why?  Because you need to understand your place in the world, and your part in it.  Sometimes it’s necessary to conform or co-operate, even if it goes against your nature.  If you are to succeed later in life, you need to be able to adapt to the environment and make appropriate decisions.  That starts in the small world called home, and extends to the school world, and eventually to the working world   Our job as parents is to guide you and give you lessons in life, in the same way your teachers do.

I do like your friends (even if I can’t remember all of their names), I enjoy a house full of young people, I like to see you spending time with them and they are always welcome in our home (and to our food – but not our grog)!  I am always happy for small gatherings, provided you are honest about how many are coming, and when, and for how long.  And I am excited about an 18th birthday party (for each of you naturally), if you would like one.  It’s a milestone to celebrate – and we promise we won’t embarrass you at your own party (will we Father of a Man-Child?).

I do like to know about your day, and how you spent it.  You might think it’s boring, but I want to know what you did at work, or at school, or on the sporting field – the more detail the better.  You are our children – hence our biased view and hunger for information about your lives.   Perhaps take a leaf out of your younger sister’s book – she recounts everything in so much detail you could write a small book – but at least we know exactly what she thinks and feels. 🙂

I like you coming on holidays with us, and spending time as a family, and I honestly think that you enjoy it too (although one of you is seriously borderline).  I know sometimes the thought of spending your holidays with your PARENTS is not your idea of fun, particularly if it means missing out on something special with your friends, or a big event, but perhaps you should be grateful for the wonderful holidays we have, and the places you have seen, and the number of times you have holidays each year.  Many people are not nearly as fortunate as you.   When you are 18, and working, you can go on holidays wherever you like.  But we’ll still invite you on our holidays and again, you will always be welcome to join us.

Lastly, I know you don’t really like each other much at the moment.  I am not sure why you haven’t really grown out of this phase.  Of course you are both very different (something we love), but I think it’s time to put your differences aside (even celebrate them), and start getting along.  We’re pretty tired of the constant fighting and arguing amongst you – it’s really unpleasant for all of us, and imagine how your sister feels with you both yelling and then us (parents) both yelling?  Madhouse or what?  I am sorry if you learnt how to yell from me – I wish I could change it, but I can’t take it back.  But we can all try to yell a little less.

I know you have heard all of this before, but sometimes it’s better to write something down than to say it (again).  It doesn’t involve any yelling and you have to listen!  A bit like text messages. 🙂

All my love

Mother of a Man-Child


Independent (sort of) June 21, 2013

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alone childThe men-children are starting to carve their own paths in life. They are developing clearer ideas of what they want in life, where their career prospects lay, who their friends are, what they like and what they don’t. Naturally, they are fiercely independent, and to varying degrees among our twin boys, think they know absolutely everything (and conversely that we know nothing).

Now I know you will think I am self-indulgent, but part of me loves it when the so-called know-it-all who didn’t want my help, involvement, or meddling suddenly demands assistance. I secretly smile, and offer my help willingly, knowing that one day they will not even consider asking me for help (old, grey and useless?)!

Here’s a few examples for you (okay, yes, I am gloating):

  • Version A: I know how to catch public transport. Of course I can get there on my own.
  • Version B: Which bus is it I should catch? Where did you find that timetable?
  • Version A: I can fill in the form myself. It’s a waste of time anyway.
  • Version B: What does this mean? What should I fill in here?
  • Version A: I don’t need a myki/concession card. I can save you hundreds this year – I will just grab a ticket when the inspector gets on.
  • Version B: Can you pay my fine for me (twice)!!
  • Version A: I can sell stuff on eBay and make money myself.
  • Version B: Can you post this for me at the post office? What do I do about someone that won’t pay for the goods?

And then there’s my regular favourites, proving they still need a mother (okay slave):

  • Can I have some lunch money?
  • Can I have a lift?
  • Can you wash my clothes?
  • What can I eat?
  • What can I put in my sandwich?
  • Can you sew on a button?
  • Does this look good?
  • Which shirt looks better?

Soon enough, they won’t need my help at all. Their peers, house-mates, partners will provide them with all the support and advice they need. But the door will always be open – after all, we never stop being parents do we?

Sister of a Man-Child will be an interesting future case, already showing her independence. She often asks me for advice (“what should I wear today Mama?”) and then proceeds to pick the exact opposite. Hmm, challenging times ahead. 🙂

Here’s a similar theme albeit a few years back: Bereft of Brain Cells?


A life lesson with family pets June 14, 2013

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rabbitsA little over a year ago we finally took the plunge and got the first ever pets in our family. The men-children were a little peeved by the fact that Sister of a Man-Child was actually allowed to have pets, when they never had been – clearly a moment of weakness by us, influenced by some very cute baby rabbits at a friend’s house one weekend. We were soon afterwards the proud owners of Hazel and Squeak, two very cute Mini-Lop rabbits bought from the pet shop – we even got two because we didn’t’ want them to be lonely (yep, totally sucked in).

Like all good pet-owners, we bought everything – the hutch, the pen, the toys, the special bowl and drink bottle. At night we were so worried they would be cold we initially kept them in the laundry, then when eventually we realised they stank out a small room pretty quickly, we put them outside, and covered the hutch in an old blanket. In summer, it was ice block containers to keep them cool and wet towels – yep, totally besotted.

The up side of rabbits is they clean themselves, eat the grass, and don’t make a noise. But as anyone with pets knows, there’s always some responsibility. They need feeding regularly, they should visit the vet at least once a year, they need their hutch kept clean, and they need to be kept safe.

Of course, like all good plans, they are prone to fail. So you can imagine pretty quickly who ended up feeding them, cleaning out the hutch, and caring for them – yep Mother of a Man-Child and Father of a Man-Child!!

When you have a pet, you learn about animals through close observation. We learned their joy at freedom – they would literally pirouette with excitement as they ran around the garden, and we knew when they were angry or scared – thumping their feet. Like any child caught doing the wrong thing, they knew when they were in trouble (Squeak caught digging again)! And they knew just how to nibble at your ankles to make you forgive them everything and give them an extra treat.

We did make a funny discovery some months after we got our two female rabbits from the pet shop (the owner even double checked the sex at my insistence), when we worked out that Hazel was actually Hamish!!!! A very angry call to the pet shop resulted in him paying for the snip for Hamish, fortunately before Squeak was pregnant (much to the disappointment of our kids). Seems Mr Pet Shop also didn’t tell us that these Mini-Lops were anything but Mini – they’re bigger than any rabbit I’ve seen!

Anyway, Hamish (post-snip) was actually pretty placid, but Squeak was a bit more work. I wonder if she was in need of the “snip” herself, as she became an incessant digger, constantly trying to dig her way out of their enclosure. When we eventually relented and let them be free range, she naturally dug her way into the next-door neighbours, with Hamish following close behind – never mind the dog. Ratbags!

When we overhauled the backyard, replacing the never-growing grass with a wonderful deck, it did create a challenge for our rabbits. Initially they had a ball, under the deck and house constantly, always coming back for dinner, until we discovered they’d eaten through the telephone wire!! Our Houdini’s seemed to find a way everywhere, including out into the front garden one day as well.

Eventually as we kept them confined to the backyard and realised they were slowly eating the garden, and digging their way to China, we decided the side of the house (100% concrete) was to become the rabbit run. And so it was, until just recently. Not ideal, but the best option we had. And then the last straw – we discovered that they had started eating the weatherboards, probably in protest and boredom, not in hunger I assure you!!!

It was then we finally discussed getting rid of the rabbits, for two reasons, one, to save our home and two, because quite frankly it was a bit cruel keeping them in a concrete enclosure (even though they were well fed and kept). And as you would expect, gradually Sister of a Man-Child spent less and less time with them too, which was a sticking point every weekend when we cleaned out the hutch.

So we broached the subject with our daughter, who understood our point, but was adamant they stay. Eventually, we made the decision for her, and said they had to go. Our ad for two free rabbits along with all accessories was responded to very quickly (Gumtree + “Free” guarantees success), and they were picked up the same night, with tears from our daughter and also some genuine sadness on our part. It was like giving away your children. I spent a sleepless night worrying about them – did we give them to the right person? Would they be well looked after? Were they cold, hungry, scared in unfamiliar surroundings?

The next day I sent a quick text to the new owner, checking on them under the pretence of my daughter’s anxiety (not my own of course). Thankfully he assured me they were fine, and in fact because it was raining he had them inside. Music to my ears!!!! I was so happy they were in an environment where they will be cared for, looked after, and even spoilt, alongside his other many pets.

So is it a happy ending? Well sort of. We have experienced the joy of pets, good for all of us, and also the loss of them in a roundabout way. Our holidays will be easier, as we won’t need to worry about finding someone to feed/water them every day (I even had them booked into a holiday camp over Xmas), and our house and garden will remain intact. To appease my daughter I am framing some photos of her and her rabbits for posterity – they are all very cute!

She’s already asking if she can have a cat, or dog – NO!! Been there, done that. As I said, we’re all better for the experience, but also wiser. 🙂

So tell me are you a pet family? Did you stop at one, or is there a growing menagerie in your home? Who cares for them in your house – the kids or parents? Have you ever given away a pet?

Here’s my post when we originally got our gorgeous bunnies: New Additions to the Family


The Big Birthday Bash June 7, 2013

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tambourineWe survived the Big Birthday Bash recently – not for the men-children though, but for Father of a Man-Child.  He decided at the age of 55 (yes he is WAY older than me) that the time was right for a birthday party, and not just a small, intimate, grown up gathering, but a proper Rock’n’Roll birthday bash, complete with a live band at the local RSL (oh yes, we’re talking very up-market)!!

To show he has grown up and is quite capable of being a fully independent thinker (he was definitely making a not very subtle point to me his controlling wife), he proceeded to organise the entire party himself, including invitations (pretty cool actually), invite list (yes, I got no say at all, luckily he did extend the invitation to my immediate family), venue, band, and food.

At some stage, I did manage to prise some details from him about the food menu he was planning, which is when I decided to exert my influence.  Now there is cheap and cheerful, and then there is downright awful.  I explained that if he wanted me to attend and not die of absolute embarrassment in front of my friends (yes he invited some of them too), that he was not going to serve 4’n’20 pies and sausage rolls and sandwiches from the local deli!   Yes I know it’s the RSL (in need of a serious update, but still a fabulous venue), however we can still provide gourmet food even if it’s not in keeping with the hideous carpet and outdated decor of the place.

I also gave him some tips about having hired help for food service – I for one wasn’t planning on spending the party in the bowels of the RSL, and I explained that the men-children were not equipped to manage the food either (unless you’d like every guest to end up with salmonella poisoning).

I was inspired to order some last-minute helium balloons to decorate the place, which was our little birthday surprise for Father of a Man-Child.  He definitely liked that, almost as much as Sister of a Man-Child who could barely contain her excitement for 24 hours!

So how did the day go?  Well I have to say I think it was a seriously fun party.  The food was a hit (only some gourmet snags leftover), the band was a hit (of course they were loud and you couldn’t hear yourself think, but hey, that’s what it was like when I saw INXS at the Prospect Hill Hotel all those years ago and you could feel the music vibrating through your body), Tambourine Man was a hit (aka Father of a Man-Child in superb wig and on song), and the venue worked well.  Like any successful party, naturally it continued on into the evening with a few ratbags who clearly didn’t have to get up for work the next day, unlike yours truly. 🙂

There was one small hiccup on the day, which centred on the dress code.  The invitation clearly stated “Dress Code: Strictly Status Quo, Rolling Stones and the like.”  Naturally, I ignored it completely, and when any of my friends asked, I told them it was optional, in keeping with Father of a Man-Child’s non-committal attitude. His advice – “just wear jeans and a leather jacket, that’s rock’n’roll anyway”.  Not surprisingly there was a mixed bag of dress code at the party, ranging from the likes of me (not an ounce of rocker), to the token t-shirt borrowed from a teenage son, worn under the leather jacket (I swear there were quite a few “originals” at the party), to my friend, Mother Who Works, who shamed us all with her fabulous rocker style on the day.  I thought she looked fabulous, definitely BOG, however it seems she nearly died of embarrassment and kept telling me she wanted to go home and change – I am sure there were many envious looks thrown her way for those killer boots and white faux fur jacket.

The men-children turned up for the party – one was very helpful, the other eventually arrived late and left early (sigh).  They looked thoroughly bored during the entire event, but I really don’t care – it was important they were there.

I’ve been dropping hints about how good the venue was hoping the boys might consider it for their 18th birthday party/ies.  I think I am delusional however – one probably thinks it’s the most down-market place you could ever have a party, and the other one would probably rather not have a party than have his embarrassing family at his 18th, such is his connectivity with us right now. Ah, the joys!

Anyway, Happy 55th Birthday Tambourine Man, it was a great bash!!

If you’d like to see Mother Who Works in her splendid outfit, you can read about her Bridget Jones moment here.


Suspended from school! May 24, 2013

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schoolIt’s been an interesting week with the suspension of one man-child from school!  No doubt you will be just as shocked as I was when I first heard, but the circumstances themselves are cause for interesting discussion and reflection.

I was more than a little shocked to find out he was suspended one morning, when I routinely asked why he wasn’t out of bed getting ready for school. That was when Father of a Man-Child informed me he had been suspended and wouldn’t be attending school that day.  You can imagine my response, which went something like this:

“WHAT!  What do you mean he’s been suspended?  What for?  Why didn’t you tell me yesterday?  Don’t you know they invented mobile phones so husbands can call wives in an emergency?”

So you may ask, what was he suspended for exactly?  Well as it turns out it was over racist comments he made on the football field in a recent game.  And as the incident was reported, the school moved very swiftly to act.

But first some context, which sheds some further light on the incident.  During the game, an opposition player apparently hit an already seriously injured player on the field, in an entirely unprovoked attack.  This was witnessed by the team, including my son, who were all pretty angry at his action.  As it transpires my son was manning this very player on the field, hence the heated exchange that followed, with my son throwing some choice racist remarks at the opposing player.

The incident was subsequently reported to the umpire, and we assume by the opposition team via more formal channels, which left my son’s school with no choice than to act.  He will miss the school football game this weekend (which definitely hurts) and was also suspended from school for one day (you can’t tell me that hurts any kid).  There were appointments with the Vice-Principal for my son, and with the Principal for him and my husband (what a lovely way to meet the head of the school!!).  Whilst I think the school suspension is a little extreme, I have to say that I applaud the school’s zero tolerance on racial vilification.  The fact is, it needs to be nipped in the bud in schools, before it escalates to other football or sporting fields and into other more senior codes.  One wonders if all schools abide by similar codes – you would hope so!  Although based on the behaviour of AFL players in recent years (just to mention one code), it’s probably not yet common practice, or still early days in the education process.

So what did the man-child make of it?  He learned a valuable lesson about racism, even if he didn’t think what he said was particularly racist (trust me it was).   And he learned that the best response is absolute honesty and copping the punishment on the chin.  So the matter is closed – no more will be heard about it from the school, and we all move on, with yet another life lesson for our boys.

What do you think?  Did the punishment fit the crime?  Or was it too extreme?

We’ve had issues with the school before – but it was the other man-child: Trouble on school camp!