Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Turning 17 – The Cusp of Adulthood March 15, 2013

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

fireworksThe men-children turned 17 the other day.  Yes, I am actually prepared to admit that I am the mother of 17 year old children, even though it automatically “ages” me.  Not that I am being vain, but if I only talk about my 9 year old, it’s possible people MIGHT think I am a little younger than when I talk about my 17 year olds (I live in hope, or more likely denial!)

The funny thing was the excitement of one of the boys at turning 17 recently, because he was only one year off turning 18 and a whole host of possibilities that opened up to him.  I looked at him blankly and said, quite seriously, “I am not sure what you’re so excited about?  Apart from driving the car LEGALLY on your own, you’ve pretty much done everything else.  Sex, drinking, partying….I’m not sure what’s left”.

It’s not like they “save” themselves for anything these days is it?  Then again, perhaps it’s the emotional hurdle, the absolute sense of adulthood and freedom from your parents that is what excites them about turning 18 (except of course while they’re still living under our roof).

It was only a year ago I reflected on their birth, as they turned 16 years old.  I wonder if the time is flying for them as fast as it is for me?

I now observe some of my friends with their 14 year olds, just as they enter the heady and challenging years of the hormonal adolescent.  It’s a whole new world when you first venture into it, and with hindsight and experience, that much more easy to navigate.  I am hoping my newly acquired skills will stand me in good stead with a certain teenage sister of a man-child in due course.  In the meantime, I can laugh at my friends’ expense (with total empathy of course), and enjoy the sense of déjà vu.   Perhaps my next step as a blogger is to become the agony aunt for troubled parents of early teens?   Topics and questions welcome.  Chances are I can point you to one of my posts over the last 3 years and we’ll have it covered! 


The Men-Children Really Do Love Me! February 24, 2012

birthday cardI celebrated a birthday recently.  The best bit about the day wasn’t the presents (which I’d shouted myself anyway), or turning a year older (definitely NOT a highlight), or the warmth of birthday wishes from friends and colleagues (you’ve got to love Facebook for reminding them all don’t you), it was the birthday cards that my family gave me.

  • The always-thoughtful card from Father of a Man-Child.  I swear he missed his calling – he should have worked for Hallmark.  Every card he writes for me (or someone else for that matter) always seems to say just the right thing, injected with genuine warmth and emotion that brings a tear to your eye, and words that cause you to stop and reflect on your life.
  • The gorgeous home-made card from Sister of a Man-Child, whose excitement was palpable, even days before.   “Mum, what’s your favourite colour?  Is it green, and yellow?”.  Of course I told her knowingly.  And on the eve of my birthday, almost bursting with pride: “Can I PLEASE just show you the front cover of your birthday card Mum”.  Patience won!
  • The wonderful card from Man-Child I , “long” by his standards (although he’s an amazing writer, I don’t think he enjoys the very personal stuff much), telling me I’m the best Mum he could have, and thanking me for everything that I do for him.  Perfect!  In a moment you forgive everything of a child when they say this.
  • And last but not least the surprisingly mature card from Man-Child II, talking about his own attitude as he grows up, and the fact that he is enjoying the company of his parents more and more, and doesn’t mind spending time with us.  And of course loves his mother, and all that she is.  This attitude change is a turning point for an adolescent, and really does represent a shift in the parent/child dynamic, an indication that we’re on the way to “coming out the other side” with at least one of the boys.

I know, you’re thinking gee, what will Mother of a Man-Child write about if they turn into nice people?  Don’t worry, they’re still adolescents.  One beautiful card doesn’t mean the trouble is over……

My wonderful day ended as it should with a simple dinner out with our children.  Pizza and pasta provided the perfect opportunity for the boys to carb up ahead of yet another rowing regatta, and Sister of a Man-Child was in gelati heaven, just proving that you don’t need a fancy restaurant to enjoy a night out and the simplest things in life can bring you much happiness.

Here’s to the next birthday – I can’t wait to relive the joy and love I felt on that day in another year’s time.



High Expectations? February 17, 2012

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

salad rollA teenagers needs are pretty basic.  Feed me, clothe me, drive me, fund me, and leave me alone!  Simple really.  Oh and read my mind constantly.

So unfolded a conversation with one of the men-children on Monday morning at 6.30am that is pretty indicative of how “adolescent” they can sometimes be.

The first thing that popped out of his mouth:  “Did you make the sandwiches I asked for?”  Actually he asked his father for a certain variety, not me.  So no, I didn’t make them, because I didn’t know, and by the way he was pretty lucky that a Year 10 boy was still having his sandwiches made for him.  What are we, a tuckshop?  No we’re just parents with boys who are rowers who recognise how important their food requirements are.

“That roll is small!” This immediately followed the last comment.  Oh sorry, it’s only half a baguette, and yes it’s not the same size as the ones I’ve bought previously.  But it’s better than a sandwich isn’t it?  Sorry I bothered I am thinking to myself by now.  See previous point about rowing men-children – it’s all about fuel!

Within 60 seconds, man-child was heard from the laundry:  “Where’s my zoot suit?”.  (For the uninitiated, this is the all-in-one fitted suits that rowers wear – very “gay” when you’re in year 7/8/9 but somehow more “manly” when you’re in year 10.  Go figure.)  Now, since I had VERY KINDLY trawled through both their bedrooms late on Saturday for dirty clothes to wash, only because they were both rowing all day and I felt sorry for them, I knew the zoot suits had indeed made it into the washing machine, onto the line, and into the folded pile of teenage clothes that seems to live permanently in the laundry.  So you can imagine my response – silence! (Actually you could call it fuming, because I was).  He eventually found it, but not before he’d told me that the only one he found was his brothers, not his, and therefore that’s why he couldn’t find a zoot suit.  Yes, they still fight over clothes regularly.  And no they don’t put their names on them to stop said fighting.

It got better.  A minute later we had the same thing over the rowing t-shirt, which he promptly produced for me saying “You didn’t wash my shirt”!  Well no, I clearly didn’t wash your shirt – as any blind man can see because it’s filthy.  It obviously wasn’t on the floor, and so I didn’t pick it up when I was VERY KINDLY looking for 4 weeks of washing on your bedroom floor, you know the floor that the cleaners no longer vacuum because they can’t find the carpet!!  “Well it was in my backpack!”  Oh sorry, I didn’t go through every bag in your room looking for errant dirty clothes.  On another day this would be called an invasion of privacy wouldn’t it?  Clearly ESP and XRAY vision are two skills I need to add to my mother of a man-child collection.

Ah the simple joys of motherhood.  Slavery would have been a better option for some.  I can’t recall the last time they voluntarily thanked us for a nice meal, or for driving them at 5.45am every second day to school for rowing, or to a party, or for washing piles of clothing.  One of the men-children (yes the one above) sees it in very simple terms – well you chose to have children so it’s your job to do all this stuff.  Stop complaining.  I can’t wait to be laughing if and when I’m a grandmother to his children and he tells me how ungrateful they are.  The joys of parenting. 🙂

I do recall a similar conversation with the other man-child a few years back: Argue this Logic


Post-Script to Home Alone January 13, 2012

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

beersOkay, I admit it.  Perhaps the men-children are more mature than I thought?  After leaving them at home alone last weekend, unsupervised for 48 hours, it appears that nothing untoward took place, and our house remains unscathed.  Maybe, just maybe, the boys can be trusted more than I have given them credit for?  Then again, maybe they just know that the price of failing our trust test was just too great, so they chose to toe the line?

Father of a Man-Child made the decision to tell one of the boys of our absence mid afternoon on Friday.  He said we were away Friday night and POSSIBLY Saturday night but we weren’t sure (sneaky I know).  In a twist of fortune quite frankly, his brother didn’t know until about 6pm when we were well on our way to our destination, and far too late for him to organise anything significant. 🙂

Father of a Man-Child also left strict written instructions for them (then they can’t say they didn’t understand what you said can they?):

  • No sleep overs allowed with no parents present
  • No gatherings of more than 5 people (read per man-child)
  • No alcohol permitted with no parents present
  • Curfew of 12.30am for all friends to leave our home

We sent a couple of text messages, just to establish their movements on Friday night – both home, alone, very boring indeed.  On Saturday afternoon, a casual text arrives from one of the boys:  “Are you coming back tonight?” instantly sending one’s imagination into overdrive as you would expect.

We discussed the response options open to us:

  • Yep, we’ll be home later today (thereby killing any party plans, whether or not we actually planned to arrive home)
  • Not sure, we’ll let you know later (ditto above)
  • Why, are you planning something you shouldn’t be? (like he would tell us)
  • No, we are staying another night.  We could bullshit you but instead we are trusting you.  Don’t let us down (that was my actual response)!!

So, we decided to trust them, and we decided to let them have some fun.  We actually rang them late on Saturday night (yep, mid party) to speak to both of them.  One had a few mates over, and one had his usual “harem” of girls over (including his girlfriend of course).  It all sounded under control, with no slurring of their words evident, so at least we didn’t need to panic.  Whilst we had requested that they have no sleepovers in our absence, we also confirmed with both of them that they were indeed having a couple of mates to stay – yep, totally inconsistent, but how exactly were we planning on enforcing it from 3 hours away?  At least that way we knew what was happening.

We arrived home to a relatively normal house.  No signs of it being cleaned to within an inch of it’s life, no breakages, no empties lying about, nothing really out of the ordinary.  Father of a Man-Child says he found a few “rollie” stubs in the backyard – and promptly threw out the evidence before I could do the smell test!!!  He thinks they were smoking tobacco – I am not quite so sure….

Our neighbour dropped by and actually complemented the boys on being well behaved in our absence.  As a father (survivor) of two boys who are both now past their teens, I found that very comforting indeed.

So there you have it.  I know it’s not very exciting blog material is it?  It would make for a much better read if there was a scandalous story about some wild party at our house, with major mishaps thrown in for good measure.  But then again, it’s also a refreshing change, and a sign that perhaps my little darlings are coming of age, slowly but surely, and that there is a small but visible light glowing at the end of the adolescent tunnel. 🙂

In case you missed the pre-cursor to this story, you can read it here:  Men-Children alone in the house for a weekend