Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Being Older Brothers September 13, 2013

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

brother and sister gingerbreadIf there is one thing I don’t regret in life, it is having a sibling for my men-children.  Apart from a natural longing for more children following our twin boys, somehow it just felt right to have more than the perfect “two-some” in our family.  No doubt the fact that both Father of a Man-Child and I were both from families with four children contributed to that, a desire for the chaos and joy that goes with more kids.

Of course it did take us 7 years to come around to the idea before we welcomed Sister of a Man-Child into the world, but we wouldn’t replace her for anything. As 7-year-olds, the boys adored their baby sister.  Funnily enough at about 4 years old they had both placed an order for a baby sister, so how lucky they were.  She was completely doted on by them as a baby – they spent enormous amounts of time looking after her, helping her, playing with her, competing for her attention, and importantly realising they were no longer the centre of the universe.  Although to be fair, as there were already two of them from birth, I think they had already had to learn that lesson from day one!

As they approached their teenage years, and the adolescent attitude reigned, I think they have been less than kind older brothers.  Not because they don’t like their sister, but because they become so self-absorbed at that age, that everyone else except peers is irrelevant to them.  Of course the boys’ girlfriends all adore our daughter – is it the female nurturing nature that brings that out in them?

Like all families, the dynamic between the kids varies substantially.  One is generally nicer to his sister than the other.  And one is more prone to teasing his sister – I suspect because they are very alike they tend to bring the worst out in each other.  Just as the boys do the same to each other.  But it has to be said, as they all get a bit older, I am starting to see the dynamic change again, for the better.

During the recent spontaneous but highly unusual clean up of one Man-Child’s bedroom, he kindly offered his prized Carlton football jumper to his younger sister, also a fan.  He also recently helped his sister with a school project (with a fair bit of coaxing from his mother).  As I pointed out to him, you can either be an arsehole or her hero – you pick!

Sister of a Man-Child also made her First Eucharist recently (that’s First Communion for anyone my age).  Both boys found the Holy Crosses that they were given to mark their own First Communion, all the way from Rome if memory serves me, to show their sister.  I was pleased to see they still had them and delighted to see them all on common ground as our daughter passes the same milestones during her primary school life as her brothers.

So it seems that they are edging slowly out of the teenage abyss, becoming nicer sons to their parents and nicer brothers to their sister.  I hope they all have good relationships with each other as they get older, that are as healthy as mine with my siblings.  Did you have older brothers?  Were they nice to you or nasty when you were growing up?  What is your relationship like with them now?

 

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!