Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

New additions to the family March 30, 2012

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Well we did it. We finally succumbed. I never thought we would, but we are now the proud owners of two rabbits! And like all good decisions, we wonder why we didn’t do it sooner.

Like all youngsters, the men-children always wanted a pet, specifically a puppy, which of course eventually grows into a dog. Like all practical parents, we always resisted having a pet, knowing that we would end up being the ones who walked it, fed it, took it to the vet, etc etc. Also with access to a beach house, we were often away on weekends, and the idea of having to either transport said pet or arrange to have it looked after on weekends or every time we went on holidays just seemed to be more pain than it was worth.

Father of a Man-Child had a dog when he was young, so was definitely pet friendly. The only “pet” we had as kids was the mice we bought home from school and kept in the laundry for a weekend of babysitting. I am sure my mother hated having mice in the house. And if I’m honest, I probably wasn’t the biggest animal fan, most likely as a result of being bitten by a dog and a horse as a child – there’s bound to be psychological scars from that aren’t there?

So it was naturally a surprise for the men-children when Sister of a Man-Child arrived home the other day to tell her brothers she was getting a rabbit! Their first reaction was disbelief, followed by a comment that they never had a pet so how come their sister was allowed to? 16 years old and sibling equality is still an issue. To be honest, it was a surprise to me that we had agreed ourselves. And it wasn’t even a planned decision.

Mini Lop rabbits We had visited friends the night before, whose rabbits had recently had a litter. Now even the most cold-hearted person couldn’t resist being charmed by a litter of five small rabbits – soft balls of fluff hopping around with the owner’s dog protectively herding them. They were too cute. Naturally, 8-year-old Sister of a Man-Child instantly fell in love with them, and wanted to own one. And in talking to our friends, we realised that if you were to own a pet, a rabbit is pretty low maintenance, and also fun to play with, in a way that a fish isn’t! And since the beach house is no longer, and the Men-Child’s sporting commitments seem to dictate our every move, we really don’t go far anyway. Moreover I had already earmarked a neighbour with a young son who I am hoping will just LOVE to feed our rabbits when we go on holidays. 🙂

We are now the proud owners of Hazel and Squeak, two Mini Lop rabbits (a dwarf variety particularly good for smaller children) that have been an instant hit with the family. We decided to get two so they could keep each other company – apparently it makes them healthier and happier (oh and the pet shop richer)! Our daughter adores them, the men-children have also embraced them with open arms, and even we are enjoying them. On their first night we were all so worried that they would get cold outside that the hutch came into the laundry – soft touches! They’re also a hit with any visitors (and future babysitters)!!

Our daughter is learning to care for them, and understanding the responsibility that comes with feeding, exercising and housing a pet. All good lessons for a child. And even though the boys are 16, I know they’re also coming home from school and checking on the rabbits. You’re never too old to love a pet.

One week in and the joy of the new additions to our family remain. Let’s hope the novelty doesn’t wear off, and that Hazel and Squeak have a long, happy and healthy life.


Man-Child Pays Sister For Silence August 12, 2011

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top secret
Sister of a Man-Child was left at home recently with Man-Child II babysitting whilst we went out to dinner (yes there are advantages to having men-children after all).  When we came home there appeared to be no issues, daughter was asleep in bed, all was good.

About a week later, Sister of a Man-Child told me she had a secret.  Moreover, it was a secret she wasn’t supposed to share with us, because her brother had asked her to keep the secret.  But she wondered if she could share it, on the condition her brother couldn’t know, and no-one would get in trouble.  Poor child, she was carrying around a secret and bursting to tell someone.  “Of course you can tell me darling” I said, wondering what mischief was about to be revealed.

Sister:  Well, the other night when you went out, Man-Child II had a friend over, and he said he’d pay me to keep it a secret from you.
Mother:  Really, did he now?  Was it a girl or boy?
Sister:  Boy.
Mother:  Do you know who it was?
Sister:  No.
Mother:  How much did he pay you?
Sister:  $3.   (Reasonable deal for both really.)

So we said nothing, and praised Sister of a Man-Child for being honest enough to tell us and reassured her she or he wouldn’t get in trouble or know that we had been told the secret.  I figured we might as well encourage this excellent form of man-child espionage. 🙂

A week later a mate of Man-Child II walks in the door.  Sister of a Man-Child discreetly says to me “Mum, you know how I said he had a mate over, that’s him.”  Bingo! Puzzle solved.  Perfect.  Sister of a Man-Child was actually quite chuffed, realizing she had managed to deliver all relevant information to her parents, without suffering any form of retribution.

She then floored me when she said to herself, “Gee, this is okay.  I get paid to keep a secret, but then I tell Mum, and everything is okay.”  LOL, brilliant!  This kid will go far in life.  She earned the $3 from her brother – I hope she makes plenty more from them over the years!!!

Read more about Sister of a man-child here:  A Princess Tale.


Mother of a Man-Child: Through the Eyes of their Younger Sister! December 23, 2010

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Brother & SisterMy men-children actually have a sibling – a gorgeous little sister, a veritable gift from God, who surprised us all seven years ago.  She’s definitely one of those “old souls”, someone who’s been here before, and is wise beyond her years.  Maybe that’s just what happens when you live in an “adult” house – they’ve seen and heard a lot more than just toddler speak growing up, and adjust their view of the world accordingly.

So I’m always interested to observe my daughter’s views on her brothers.  Of course there’s not much she misses out on hearing – you can’t ask her to go away every time there’s “secret men-children business”.  Although we do use a certain amount of discretion, depending on the sensitivity of the issue at hand.

Their relationship is probably typical of siblings, although I wish it were better.  Man-Child I is quite good with his sister, but has been known to yell aggressively at her on occasion, and she’s somewhat sensitive so doesn’t respond well to this of course (who does?).

Man-Child II is probably very like his sister in many ways and so they have one of those typical “middle child” relationships – both know exactly how to wind the other up, which causes constant squabbling and drives me mad.

I said to my poor daughter the other day in exasperation and anger unfortunately: “Just ignore Man-Child II.  He only does it because he knows he’ll get a reaction, every time.  If you don’t respond he’ll soon tire of it”.

Later that night, when he tried again, I was ready to rip his throat out.  She looked at me and said – “You’re right Mum.  Just ignore him.”  It made me stop and bite my tongue – now’s who’s the grown up one?

One day in the car she asked me a simple question:  “Mum, do you think I’ll be as bad as the boys?”  Naturally I said she wouldn’t, without any doubt in my mind, although to be honest who really knows the answer to that question?  Only time will tell.

I do wish the boys would be nicer to her.  I once observed some 16 and 18-year-old brothers with their 7-year-old sister at a wedding.  She was tired at the end of a long wedding ceremony and it was late at night.  They took it in turns to cuddle her on their laps whilst their parents mingled and danced.  I thought it was absolutely gorgeous.  Unfortunately I can’t even imagine my men-children doing that, although they will babysit if we pay them.

I am confident however that once my daughter is about 15 years old and has lots of nice girlfriends, the boys will have renewed interest in her.  🙂  I’m also hopeful they’ll love the idea of being the “chaperone” who will drive her to parties, pick her up late at night, and be the nice protective brothers they should be.

And on the recent subject of Christmas presents, having insisted the men-children at least buy one for their sister, she replied one thing she would like is for them to be nice to her for the day and not call her names.  Let’s see if Santa can organize that wish!