Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Mother of a Man-Child: Liar, Liar Pants on Fire April 15, 2011

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Maybe it was the fact that I’d caught Man-Child II wagging at home on said day, that my lie detector radar was more finely tuned than normal.  Either that, or just having two 15-year-old men-children has enhanced my skills in this area.  That and having been a 15-year-old myself of course (a fact most adolescents can’t actually believe about their parents).

So after Man-Child II had eventually made it to school for the last day of term (following countless threats from Mother of a Man-Child), he and a few mates planned to go out.  He casually saunters in to mention that he’s staying at his “girlfriends” house (I use inverted commas because I call her that but he might only say she’s a close friend).  I instantly suggest he re-phrase the question and he responds:  “Okay, Mum is it alright if I stay at GF’s house tonight?”  Sorry to seem anal, but in my book 15 year olds still ask permission, they don’t just tell.

Now he had actually stayed there before with a large number of people, and I’d spoken to the mother to ensure everything was kosher.  So I said I guessed it was okay, but could I just have the mother’s number again to ensure it was fine.  “Sure, I’ll text it to you later” (meaning I’ll never bother to).  “No, GF is standing right here, please just give me the number for your mother.”

Following a swift glance between my son and GF (which I couldn’t help but notice and which made even more sense later), she tells me the number, but has to consult her mobile phone because it’s new apparently.  Okay, no problems.  So off they head to Maccas apparently on the way to GF’s house.

So I ring the mother on her mobile.  I’ve spoken to her before, but wouldn’t recognize her voice to be honest.  Pleasant chit-chat ensues…..”Hi it’s Man-Child II’s mother, just wanting to make sure it’s okay if he stays over etc….” Then I can’t help but say to her “Gee, you sound very young, in fact almost too young to be GF’s mother.  Obviously that’s a compliment I say” feeling like I’m treading where I shouldn’t go.  And then I have the conviction of my instincts and casually say “Look sorry, I’ll have to call you back, can you give me your home phone”.  And suddenly, I am met with silence on the end of the phone.  The deathly silence of someone who has been caught out – BINGO!!!

And the voice that now sounds even younger on the end of the phone says “I don’t know the number”.  “Oh really I say, so this isn’t GF’s mother is it?”.  “No”.  “Then who am I talking to?”  She tells me.  And so I say simply ”(name), next time your friend asks you to lie for her, and to lie to me, I’d strongly recommend you say No!  And obviously, you won’t be seeing Man-Child II at the party tonight!”

Father of a Man-Child is standing beside me laughing, in total awe of my detective skills.  He’s always known I don’t miss much (or really anything) but this is taking my expertise to new levels.

My next call is to Man-Child II, killing the romantic dinner at Maccas, cancelling the joy of the night to come, and telling him he has 15 minutes to get his lying arse home or there will be even more trouble.

Turns out he wasn’t planning on staying at the GF’s house, but somewhere else, and the parent wasn’t home until late, and since he knew I’d say no he came up with another story.  And so we had a discussion about trust, and telling the truth, and the need to try us out occasionally and just maybe we’d let him go.  And over time, eventually we’d let him go without asking any questions or calling any parents because we knew we could trust him.

I also said, here’s another way to look at it Man-Child II – next time, tell me both the lie and then the truth – you might find I prefer the truth and say yes !!  I realize this could backfire big time, but he got what I meant – honestly!! 🙂


Mother of a Man-Child: Sleeping over at a GIRL’S house! November 5, 2010

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At the risk of sounding prudish, let me declare up front – I don’t think my 14-year-old son should be allowed to sleep at his girlfriend’s house!  There, I’ve said it.  If you don’t agree with me, that’s perfectly fine.  You are entitled to your opinion, and me mine.  Am I the product of my parents?  Absolutely!  I’m a positive mini-me of them, right down to the fact that my men-children get away with not much, and I am “extremely strict” according to my boys.

But back to the sleepover.  As is his devious way, Man-Child II called me all sweet and innocent to ask if he could stay over at his girlfriend’s house one evening.  For once, he actually rang me in the middle of the day, rather than at 6pm at night – forewarned is forearmed as they say.  This particular girlfriend (yes his second one – I’m still recovering from him having the first one), actually has a twin brother that attends school with him – oh good, I hear you think, safety in numbers.

Now I really try not to be a prudish mother stuck in the 18th century, so rather than a blanket “no” I asked if I could have the parents number and chat with them first, and then I would make a decision – not before!  Buying me time, and him the opportunity that for some reason maybe it would be kosher after all.

But as is typical in Man-Child land, of course nothing went to plan.  At 6pm that evening I called my son to ask why I hadn’t received the parent’s mobile number yet?  Some bullshit story about flat mobile phone batteries followed, and him being separated from his girlfriend so he couldn’t possibly text me the number followed.  “But Mum can I please stay there?  Is it okay?  I promise I’ll get you the number…..”  And so yet again, under pressure, exhausted at the end of the working week, worn down by the relentlessness that is a teenager, I said yes.  But I still want that number.

As it transpires, I was on my way to meet colleagues for a few drinks, so it was 8pm before I called home to check if my husband had heard from Man-Child II.   Of course not!  So I ring my son and ask some more questions.  By now alarm bells had started to ring – Mum and Dad divorced (so of course they pick Dad’s house), twin brother nowhere to be seen, hmm, sounding more and more suspicious now isn’t it?   So once at home (and still no phone call from the parent) Mother of a Man-Child goes into overdrive.  There is nothing scarier than a woman whose son is trying to get away with something.  So I called his girlfriend’s house – “Dad’s not here, he’s just out for dinner and won’t be far away, but he’d said Man-Child II could stay” – oh sure, and I’m the Queen of England!  Thanks, I’ll just have Dad’s mobile number right now.  When she told me she didn’t know it, I told her bullshit and said try again.  Strangely enough that had the desired effect and suddenly she remembered it.

So I call his mobile – no answer.  So I call back and demand the mother’s mobile – and don’t even think about telling me you don’t know that!  So two parents that I have never met have messages from a complete stranger (but the boyfriend of their daughter) pleading for them to please call me as I’d just like to confirm that my son can stay for a SLEEPOVER (not that they’ll be getting any sleep)!!!

Eventually the father returns my call, and (not very reassuringly) tells me it’s fine if Man-Child II stays.  And incidentally lets me know that he only found out very late (what a surprise).  I explain to him that yet again I feel like I’ve been duped, by my son and his daughter, and that for the record his daughter wouldn’t be allowed to stay at my house for a sleepover (read between the lines – I’m sure you all get my hidden message).   Subtle is not really in my vocabulary.

The best part – the next day his girlfriend’s mother returned my call, delighted at the chance to chat and exchange notes.  I was so pleased to discover she and I are on EXACTLY the same page.  She had already told her daughter no sleepovers with my son were allowed, and had even told my son off one night when apparently he let her daughter go home on the tram alone in the dark – music to my ears, a sensible parent not afraid to lay down the law.  I’m not sure where I was because I certainly wouldn’t have allowed that either.  And her relationship with her daughter sounded just like mine – full of teenage desire and parental rules – a recipe for fireworks every time.

So Mother of a Man-Child was duped again yes, but I did feel better knowing that I wasn’t the only parent in the entire universe that had some moral standards.  And we both agreed parents must unite in the war against our rebellious teenagers – it’s what keeps us all sane, and certain we are on the right path after all.


Mother of a Man-Child: Turn it down! October 29, 2010

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Any parent of a teenager is probably all to familiar with the habits of their offspring – enclosed in their bedroom, prostrate on the floor or bed, laptop computer locked permanently to Facebook, mobile phone beside them with the constant sound of incoming text messages, and the blaring of 200 decibels of their favourite music!

We have long ago given up insisting on an open door policy in our house – why I hear you ask?  Because it just makes the music even louder!  And then it’s even harder for my daughter to try to go to sleep!  My men-children don’t seem at all interested when I scream at them to turn it down, and when they do it’s by such a small amount I wonder why I bother.  Pity our poor neighbours – I can almost hear the dulcet tones of whichever rapper and his delightful language (yes the F-word seems to be common these days) from the top of our street as I arrive home.  And I know that Man-Child II once tested out his fathers original Pioneer speakers complete with multiple woofers and sub-woofers at such volume he tore holes in the padding.  Clearly we weren’t home!

As my readers may know, we are currently extending upstairs to make further room for our teenage sons.  Man-Child I and II will have their own zone upstairs, with a bedroom each, shared living room and bathroom.  As building progresses, the excitement is palpable.  I was chatting to the builder the other day, who wanted to discuss the insulation under the new flooring on the second level.  He enquired if we were interested in special sound-proofing insulation, having heard the boys music on a daily basis after school (poor bloke – he might have increased his fees if he’d known he had to suffer that hideous music!).  I had to chuckle to myself, as I recall jokingly suggesting special sound-proofing for upstairs in an earlier blog (along with concrete floors to hose down, and a laundry-cum-meal delivery shoot so the boys wouldn’t even have to come downstairs at all).

Well we have now had a special delivery of super-sonic, heavy-duty, rapper repellant, man-child proof insulation for upstairs.  What a brilliant invention.  And the best $800 I’ve ever spent.  That should make us all happy, except perhaps me, because now when I scream “DINNER” from the kitchen they won’t be able to hear me.  Oh well, I’ll just send them a text message!   LOL.



Mother of a Man-Child: Don’t they learn? Part II August 13, 2010

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As you will recall, last week Mother of a Man-Child II had yet again performed his Houdini trick, disappearing at midnight for a late night visit with friends.  I discovered this at 3am in the morning when I found his bed looking rather empty.  You would also know it was 4.45am before his father arrived home with him, having picked him up from a train station some distance away!!!

The first thing I actually did when he walked in the door was asked for his mobile phone.  Two things surprised me initially:

  • One, his mobile had no pin code on it – I thought Mother of a Man-Child II was smarter than that – to protect it in case stolen and to stop prying mothers looking at the phone.
  • Two, much to my disappointment, there were no text messages on his phone.  When I enquired why, he said he always automatically deletes them (the opposite behaviour of most people I’m sure).

Momentarily deflated by this, I decided to check the call log on his phone.  Bingo!

Not only could I see all the recently received calls (including some stalker called his mother) but I could also see all the recently placed calls.  The best thing about call logs of course is that it includes times, numbers or names (when in the address book) and dates.  The detective now had exactly the evidence required.  And yes, I was particularly smug about this fact, and did think myself extremely clever.  I will enjoy it whilst it lasts, because it’s unlikely I’ll ever be able to repeat this feat – my son isn’t that stupid!  Score:  Parents 1, Kids 0.

So now armed with clear evidence of who had been involved in the late night escapade (and yes a girl was at the top of the list), we retired to bed for a few pathetic hours more sleep.  What astounds me is that Mother of a Man-Child II thought it was perfectly acceptable to be out from midnight to 5am and then have a 2 hour rugby training session and play an AFL game the following day.   The fact that he managed to play so well as to get Best on Ground left me further gob-smacked – freak child.

So Sunday morning came around.  My first call was to the home of his school friend to find out if he had been out the night prior.  Well, it transpires that this particular friend had actually been caught at the front door by his parents trying to leave home, and made up some bull-dust story about hearing noises at midnight.  When his parents found a backpack with clothing and shoes outside the front of the house, they quickly wised up.  When I told them about Mother of a Man-Child II’s travels, they knew they had foiled a clever plan.  Score:  Parents 2, Kids 0.

Then it was onto the offending female, who had called my son from her mobile and her home, thereby providing me with a landline number and direct access to her parents.   Glee – until I received a recorded message.  I was reluctant to leave a message lest the daughter erased it, or wised up to my calls but eventually I did.  When the father called me back he was naturally very interested to learn about his daughter’s activities the prior night.  Score:  Parents 3, Kids 0.

There were also some phone numbers that had no name, so naturally I called them.  One was a parents phone that the child had obviously used, the other interestingly was the phone of one of the 14-year-old female visitors to my house a few weeks ago – hmmm, seems she hadn’t quite learned her lesson, and was still roaming the streets late at night.

So now I have a dilemma.  The only way to let this girl’s parents know what she’s doing on a regular basis is to contact her school.  I am still thinking about whether or not this is the right thing to do, as it involves more than just her parents.  Advice welcome!

In terms of Man-Child II, I have told him that when we extend upstairs I will be having a zoned alarm complete with trip wire put at the base of the stairs, thereby ensuring he cannot leave our house without my knowledge.  And trust me the upstairs window won’t be an option – even for Houdini.  🙂


Mother of a Man-Child: Don’t they learn? August 6, 2010

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As those who read my blog regularly would know, we recently had an issue with Mother of a Man-Child II, who had four early morning (3am) female visitors to our house following a three-hour jaunt in the park along with three of his mates (all guests at our house for the night).  Of course Man-Child II was subsequently grounded for LIFE and we moved on.

So it seems did Man-Child II.  You see he was sick of being grounded and not allowed out, so he decided to go out, without our permission, thus inviting even more trouble.  The issue is not only the blatant disregard for the punishment, but that he decided to sneak out at 3am in the morning!!!!!  Or at least that’s what time I discovered him missing.

Call it female intuition, but I had overheard Man-Child II on the phone late on the Saturday night, and did get the distinct sense that something was being arranged.  When he went to bed I made him properly lock all his windows – you see I just KNEW.  And so it was that when I awoke in the middle of the night, I decided to check that all my darling children were tucked up in their beds, in the blissful land of nod.

As I poked my head into Man-Child II’s room, I strained to hear the familiar breathing of a slumbering child.  When I didn’t, it was with my heart in my mouth that I switched on his light, and found an empty bed.  Okay, don’t panic I told myself, he’s gone to the loo.  I checked every room of the house and when I didn’t find him, realised that my gut had been right after all.   And when his mobile phone was gone it was pretty clear so was he.

So what to do?  First wake husband – he’s not missing all the action this time.Second, send text to son advising him to come home (just to let him know we know).  Third, call son so I can scream down the phone at him, hurling the vitriol and hurt that only a mother can muster at 3am in the morning,  Fourth get angry that he won’t pick up (no wonder, he didn’t want to be on the receiving end of what he knew was coming).  Five, seriously consider ringing the parents of his mate, that I am confident he conspired with, then decide that they would NOT like a phone call at 3am.

After 30 mins of anxiety, he finally texted me back to say he was coming home.  That was only after I threatened to contact the police if he didn’t respond.  My poor husband decided to get in the car and drive around to see if he could find him – half asleep at the wheel, visiting 24 hour McDonald’s restaurants.

It wasn’t until 4.30am that my son finally answered one of the 20 calls I had made to his phone – by which stage it’s fair to say I was getting slightly hysterical, especially since my husband wasn’t answering his mobile either (visions of a car accident due to tiredness just to add to the turmoil of the event).

He informed us he was at a train station quite a few suburbs away.  I could hear his mates (male and female) in the background.   So my husband went and picked him up, and at 5am after yet another lecture and extracting diddly squat from him as usual, we all went to bed.

For now that’s where I’ll end the story.  You can read the second instalment of this Man-Child episode next week (if you don’t want to miss it subscribe to the blog).   Those who know me know that I wouldn’t be happy just to have my son back.  Oh no!  Detective Mother of a Man-Child had plenty more work to do!