Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Mother of a Man-Child: Uninvited guests after midnight! July 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 5:00 pm
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After Man-Child I’s recent brush with the law, Man-Child II decided it was his turn for trouble – what is it with twins?  Fortunately this incident didn’t involve the law, although some of his friends may think I have recently joined the force, such was my police-like response to the event!

The night unfolded like any other, with my man-child deciding to ask me, no in fact, beg me if three of his mates could stay for a sleepover during the school holidays.  They always seem to leave these requests for the last-minute, which they either do because they think it’s more successful, or because they’re too stupid to consider the impact on anyone else at 14 years old – sadly I suspect it’s the latter.

As it was 6pm, and I had just arrived home from work, and was now faced with the task of feeding an extra three hungry teenage boys, I am not quite sure what possessed me when I said yes.  Perhaps it was the opportunity to do something nice for my son, having been on his back about a few things recently.  A mother’s guilt goes a long way sometimes – little do they know!

At any rate, like a true Masterchef I managed to whip up a perfect gut-filler of carbonara and mounds of garlic bread, that seemed to satisfy the needs of five hungry boys and my daughter.  They then retired to their lounge room for a few hours, where they did all the normal boy things (farting, snacking, joking around, snacking, fighting, snacking, Facebooking, snacking, PS3 etc), before finally taking over the family room at midnight when we retired to bed.

Like all mothers, I remain the world’s lightest sleeper, so I typically hear every noise in the house (unlike my husband who could sleep through a freight train in the middle of our bedroom)!  So it was that at 3am I woke to the sounds of several teenagers…..”Shhhh……Be Quiet…..Shhhh……Giggle…….Be Quiet…..”.  I decided that 3am was late enough, and they really should all be asleep by now, so I promptly opened the door and turned on the light to tell them all so.  What I saw wasn’t quite what I expected – the sight of eight – that’s right – EIGHT bodies all diving under the doona covers in my son’s bedroom.  Eventually my brain took in this fact, and then realized that the extra four bodies were actually FEMALE!  Yes, we had four teenage girl guests in the middle of the night – yikes.

I calmly invited the four girls to join me in the family room, leaving the boys in the bedroom.  After a stern lecture, during which I ascertained that they had each told their parents they were staying at a friend’s house (yep, that old trick), I obtained their names and that of their school.  I then explained that under no circumstances could I allow them back into the dead of night, and that I would need to drop them home to one of their houses, where it was more than likely I would need to wake the parents and let them know what had gone on.

Whilst down the other end of the house doing a quick change (I didn’t think I should drive them home in my pyjamas), and simultaneously briefing my husband who had slept through the excitement to date, I heard the sounds of four screaming girls making a quick get-away down our side path, and quickly realized that my late night visitors had in fact done a runner!   I was so furious that I actually got in my car and tried to find them, unfortunately to no avail.   What we did find was Cinderella’s boots on the back doorstep – so one of them certainly ran home with cold feet.

We then dealt with the teenage boys, delivering yet another stern lecture, and extracting an apology from some (sadly not all).  As the text messages came in thick and fast to Man-Child II’s mobile, I told him that the girls had done an extremely stupid thing bolting, and that I would now make it my business to contact their school and/or their parents to ensure the event didn’t pass un-known.

Over the following days, the tale unfolded even further.  Amazingly I received hand written notes, text messages and phone calls from each of the girls professing their deepest regret at what had happened and assuring me it wouldn’t happen again – yeah right, how dumb do they think I am exactly?  It turns out, not only had they given me the wrong school name, but also used false names, and briefed my son, so when I drilled him he actually knew what names they had used.  Pretty conniving isn’t it?  When one of the girls offered her mothers phone number during her apology (which I did acknowledge was brave of them all) I joyfully accepted.  And that’s when things got even messier.

You see in assuring me of her absolute honesty with her mother, I decided to verify her story.  Alas, the truth had been twisted quite a bit, and the trusting mother had fallen for the very fictional version of events.  Eventually more and more of the story came out, until it was discovered that in fact the boys had all left our house for a midnight jaunt in the park with the girls.  At 3am they had come back to our house because they were all cold – and clearly all thought we would be none the wiser.  I’m not sure how long they were planning on spending in Man-Child II’s room, but the mind does boggle.

Needless to say Man-Child II is having a very quiet quarter, having been grounded for an entire term.  His friend’s parents have chosen their own punishment – that is for them to decide.  Unfortunately the mother of the “honest” girl in question decided it wasn’t her place to alert the parents of her daughter’s friends at all, which does disappoint me, as I think that’s extremely irresponsible on her part, but I can’t live someone else’s life for them.

So the lesson?  Hmmm, I’m not sure there is one, except that what goes around comes around.  Once in my teenage years I crept out of the house in the middle of the night for a party, unbeknown to my parents.  But I was so terrified when I arrived home and had to sneak back into the house, I was sure my heart could be heard pounding three blocks away.  I never did it again because I couldn’t bear the fear.  LOL.

 

Mother of a man-child: The art of discipline May 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 4:44 pm
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One of the key challenges for parents of a man-child, or two in our case, who are now bigger than me and almost as tall as their father, is how to discipline them.  When once a good whack might have served to deliver the required response (OMG – what sort of parent am I?), it’s a little difficult now.

So we have found other means, that seem to satisfy the fury of a parent, and rile Man-Child I and Man-Child II sufficiently to make them realise we are 1) very angry, and 2) not going to take it any more.  Ooh, them’s fighting words aren’t they!

For your general amusement, and perhaps inspiration, here is a handy list of disciplinary actions we have taken on occasion:

  • Slam laptop shut and whisk it away mid Facebook chat or update (and don’t return it for the rest of the night)
  • Eject PS3 game without any warning, or turn it off at the powerpoint
  • Confiscate the PS3 games or laptops for a week – that WILL hurt them, trust me
  • Disconnect the cables from the sound system, thereby rendering it useless but reducing the doof doof noise substantially
  • Throw them out the front door, or back door, in whatever they’re wearing (I don’t care if it’s boxers on a 5 degree night!)
  • Send them to their rooms, or to bed – yep, early night, don’t care what time it is
  • Tell them they’re grounded for a month, or 2 months, or even a year (yep, you’re sure to follow through with that one)
  • Cancel their pocket money for the same period of time (again, yep highly likely to follow through)

Okay, so we’re not perfect, far from it.  But it does feel good when you slam that computer shut.  Any other thoughts or successful tactics welcome.