Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Observations and Ironies April 12, 2013

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

observingMen-children are an interesting species.  As you know I have been a keen observer over the last three years of my own boys, as they journey through adolescence.  Here are some random observations and ironies from that time.

  • Men-children (and for the most part all teenagers) are totally self-absorbed.  They are virtually incapable of thinking beyond their own immediate needs.  So when they ask for money (because they have no job and rely on you for handouts), they are always surprised if you do not have wads of cash in your wallet, or cannot drop everything at the office to do a cash transfer for them.
  • Men-children are not always logical.  How do I know this?  They are only motivated to help with the laundry if there is something in there they want or need.  And if something isn’t clean, well then it’s obviously YOUR fault for not doing the washing.  And definitely not THEIR fault for finally filling the washing basket with their dirty clothes after you’ve already done three loads on the weekend.
  • Men-children are pretty useless in the kitchen – well at least mine are.  I think the only thing mine can cook is bacon and eggs, two-minute noodles and Latina pasta.  Great catches they’ll be won’t they?  I am prepared to wear the blame for this.  I tried some years back to start showing them how to cook basic meals, but their interest waned pretty quickly.  Time was probably our greatest enemy – on weekends they’re not exactly sitting around wanting to spend time in the kitchen with you, and on a week night it’s always a rush to get a meal on the table when you get home from work (and yes, imagine if the boys who got home from school could start meal prep!!!).  I am assuming that necessity in time will make them learn to cook – although if they move out later in life, it could be embarrassing for them.
  • Men-children’s stomachs think ahead of their brains.  Over the school holidays, which we don’t all get to have off, we continue to cook a family meal 6 nights a week (Friday night is no cooking night).  It’s almost rare for them to be at the table for a family meal during holidays (much to our annoyance, as it’s always a last-minute “Oh, I am going out…..”), but somehow on a Friday night one in particular often asks “What’s for dinner, I am starving”.   If you ever want to see the death-stare, just pop over on a Friday night at around 6.30pm.
  • Men-children see what they want to see.  I am sure other mothers of teenagers will relate to this claim.  “There is no food in the house/nothing in the fridge!!!”.  Now last time I checked, we have a pantry practically bursting with all the essential ingredients to make a meal, not to mention a freezer full of meat for cooking, and even if one looks hard enough, pre-prepared home cooked meals also in the freezer.  The translation of the above claim is in fact “There are no leftovers in the fridge staring me in the face that I can either shove straight in my gob or into the microwave to reheat in order to fulfil my immediate hunger”.
  • Men-children are useful with new technology.  With a new car, Father of a Man-Child, already a little technically challenged, definitely has his hands full.  I think he’s still surprised that the phone answers automatically via blue tooth.  So you can imagine getting the GPS or sound system to work properly, let alone the DVD player, is not really coming automatically to him.  The solution is simple.  Being a male, he is NEVER going to read the instruction manual is he?  Nope, instead, he is going to let loose two men-children in the car who will figure out how it all works in less than 10 minutes, and then show him in two minutes which buttons to press, or arrange to pre-set everything for him.  Perfect.  That’s a win-win for everyone really.
  • Men-children still fight with each other, even at 17.  My twin sister made an interesting observation the other day.  She was surprised that at 17 years old the boys are STILL fighting (not just arguing, but physical “punch-ons”, seriously it’s a freak show at our place some nights).  Her recollection (quite accurately) was that by that age we had both given up fighting with each other, having taken our own paths and developed our own friendships and basically grown up a bit.  But sadly the boys still haven’t.  It could be a maturity thing, it could be just a boy thing – that latent need to burn up testosterone when they have been holed up in the house for a day or two during the holidays, and are just looking for someone or something to poke!
  • Men-children love their friends and having a good time.  Some things don’t change.  Teenagers love to spend time with their friends.  The peer group is the most important thing in their life.  Moving in packs is what they love to do, not being alone.  There is nothing wrong with all wearing exactly the same clothing – it’s a badge, a way of fitting in, of “conforming”, and they don’t even notice it.  Youth is on their side and the heady responsibilities of life are barely upon them.  Life is good, and they definitely should enjoy it (within limits say their parents, forever the hand-brakes). 🙂

So there you have it.  What started as a short post of observations grew quite quickly.  Perhaps I will make this a regular post – so as not to fill too many pages in one go.  The teenage years are certainly full of many things – angst, learning, experimentation, boundary pushing, love, hope, fear – on both sides of the fence trust me.  As we near the end of their teenage years, there is more time for reflection about the journey, and what we have all learnt during the men-children era.

I’d love to hear your own observations and ironies.  There must be so many of them, not just applicable to teenagers, but to all kids, and of course husbands (sorry, this assumes many of my readers are women)!

 

Technology – A privacy invasion? July 6, 2012

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

video cameraI love technology don’t get me wrong.  It makes our lives easier on a daily basis, it has revolutionised the way we communicate, and no doubt will continue to make incredible advances that we haven’t even dreamt about by the end of the year (one might have said decade but it moves so fast I have to condense the time frames)!

And just as well I love technology – with two teenage boys who can’t get enough of it, and their sister, a true “digital native” at only 8 years old – it’s very present in our lives.  It’s fair to say Sister of a Man-Child’s use of technology took a quantum leap when Father Christmas generously gave her an iPod Touch last Christmas (Nintendo DS are SO last century)!  As a result, she was no longer reliant on borrowing the iPad, or one of our iPhones, or the Macbook, but had free reign of the App store – she was like a kid in a lolly shop.   Thankfully, the bulk of them are free, and she’s been trained to ask if she can download one that costs money (yes even 0.99c – it’s the principal of it), so it’s relatively under control.

Of course the clever iPod Touch does everything the iPhone does in a wireless environment, except make phone calls.  I mentioned when she got it that having put it under my iTunes account (very logical at the time), I now have the joy of “sharing” all the conversations she has with her friends via iMessage.  Which can be insightful, but also very annoying when you’re in the office and your phone keeps pinging you every time another inane comment from an 8-year-old enters cyberspace!!!

My daughter is now so with the program, she can thumb type faster than me, and create a video on her iPod in about 1 minute flat.  No wonder YouTube has so much content on it – they create it constantly.

Sister of a Man-Child discovered the joys of Face Time too, so you can often hear her and a friend talking to each other about absolutely nothing really, for 30 mins or so.  It’s their version of a telephone call naturally, but you can’t pick your nose discreetly or roll your eyes when it’s on video can you?  I was recently stuck at home for the day, having survived the hideous man-cold that is doing the rounds at the moment (it’s earned that title, it’s not a nice gentle cold that a woman-cold would be, it’s a dead set bastard of a thing that king hits you and bang – you’re out for the count).  Anyway, I had kindly said my daughter could spend the day at home with me while I worked with my germs close by, instead of sending her off to holiday program.

Trouble first set in on the Sunday night – she was reluctant to give up her iPod Touch, and kept wanting to chat to her friend well past bed time.  Alarm bells rang when I noticed the message on my phone between them agreeing to FT (short for Face Time) each other at 10pm!!!!  Thank you, there’ll be none of that, I’ll just take that iPod for the night.  I was pleased to see her friend tell my daughter “Shore (sic) but I think it’s a bit naughty to do that”  – yes it is!!!!

Of course by 8am the next morning they were both up, so what better time for FT.  Next thing you know I am in the kitchen in my PJ’s (after a weekend of man-cold it’s very fair to say I was not looking my best) and I hear my daughter’s friend, and then her mother, saying “Good morning” to her.  What the?  Can’t I even have breakfast in peace?  Nope, it’s like Big Brother in our house.  They’re hearing AND seeing what we’re doing in the morning, and vice versa.  I think not.  I explain to my daughter that she is welcome to share her life via FT to anyone she cares, but that I have limits for our family.  And that means I don’t really want to see the school mums over breakfasts – regardless of how well we know each other.  It’s just a little too invasive for my liking.  But then again, maybe that’s just me.  I admit it, I absolutely HATE Big Brother, and always will. Obviously I am not Gen Y or Z!!!

So that’s our life with technology at the moment.  There are days that I have to tell Sister of a Man-child “no more screen time”, which she knows means don’t touch the iPod, iPhone, or Macbook again today.  So of course she’ll plonk herself in front of the TV – not yet an iTV, but coming soon to a home near you!  Am I the only one who hates this invasion of technology sometimes?  Do you set limits in your house?

I have written about technology before:  Fighting the Technology Tsunami.  It’s an uphill battle!

 

Mother of a Man-Child: Whoops! May 27, 2011

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

iphoneA funny thing happened the other day.  I discovered a heap of unknown contacts in my iPhone.  What the?  Where did these come from?  And who are these people anyway?  And then it dawned on me – they were my son’s contacts!  GOLD!!!

Man-Child I was recently the recipient of his first ever iPhone.  A hand me down I might add, and he stays on the $30 plan, so forget surfing the net or racking up hefty data charges – he quickly realized how fast his credit was getting chewed by one of the telco monsters.

In order to get his iPhone up and running, we seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time updating everyone’s phones one night.  Father of a man-child needed all his contacts copied over to his new iPhone (and somehow ended up with them in triplicate)!  Man-Child I wanted all his contacts copied over to the old iPhone and his fathers deleted.  Plus all my apps and games copied onto his iPhone from mine – not that easy trust me.

In typical fashion Man-Child I went like a bull at a gate (who needs instructions I’m a male) and nearly stuffed up the entire thing.  The head of technology in our house (that’s me, Mother of a Man-Child) then used forums and Google to determine how we should best go about this and saved the day.  Well sort of…

Two days later I’m at work when I notice I have a stack of new contacts in my phone.  And they’re not mine.  Moreover they’re not Father of a Man-Child’s.  That was when I realized I had Man-Child I’s contacts in my phone.  I suddenly had access to all his friends mobile numbers, email addresses etc, thankfully in addition to my own contacts.

So I naturally sent a text to let him know.  I’m sure he felt positively ill about it.  He couldn’t get home fast enough to delete them from my iPhone and off my computer.  Not that I was going to talk to any of them, but it was funny knowing I could.  It would be a bit like having my son friend me on Facebook and suddenly having access to all his mates – like that’s ever going to happen!!!