Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

“Best Holiday Ever” Declares Man-Child October 7, 2011

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hamilton island viewAs any parent of a teenager knows, there are challenges taking your offspring on holidays, especially if it’s just a family holiday.  So I was delighted to hear that our recent trip was the “best holiday ever” from one of the men-children as we returned from the airport yesterday.   Add to that myself, Father of a Man-Child and Sister of a Man-Child all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and we’re on a winner.

So what’s the secret to success?  Well we didn’t leave Australia for some exotic destination like Bali or Fiji or Thailand.  We went to Hamilton Island – sun, sand and a flight all adding to the appeal of the trip.  We didn’t holiday with friends, but rather the father-in-law (potential recipe for disaster but actually pretty smooth sailing thankfully).   We didn’t have surf (which the boys love) but the plethora of water sports meant that there was plenty of options at the beach.  In short, they had so much to do they had no time to be bored.

What teenager wouldn’t enjoy the following:

  • Driving the golf carts every day on the island since that’s the only form of transport (okay, yes, they don’t have their licence yet, but how much trouble can an almost 16-year-old cause in a vehicle that doesn’t do over 20kmh?  We could get used to being chauffeured everywhere actually.)
  • More water sports than you can poke a stick at, including paddle boards, kayaking, catamarans, snorkelling on offer every day.  They just about had a go at everything.
  • Donut rides – you can imagine how fast the boat driver went because he was determined to fling the two men-children off the donut as often as possible – they LOVED it.
  • A trip to Whitehaven Beach to see one of the most stunning beaches in the world and to Dent Island to play golf on a spectacularly scenic (but difficult) course.
  • Go-Karting – just a bit faster than the golf buggies!
  • Fishing on a nice big cruiser (sadly it was a bit rough so one of the men-children spent the entire four hours sea sick and heaving his guts up over the side, along with two other adults and a poor 6-year-old boy).
  • Early morning runs with the sports club (they’re in pre-season for rowing so are quite serious about doing sport at the moment). 🙂

swimming poolAdd to the above a brilliant house with a pool and view to die for and plenty of room for everyone, and you’ve got a recipe for success.  Sister of a Man-Child also had plenty to do activity wise, and Father of a Man-Child and Mother of a Man-Child were able to relax and read countless books and dawdle over morning papers.  The holiday was even more relaxing because no laptops or PS3’s accompanied us, so the boys were pretty limited to Facebook updates and texting their friends back home.  I especially relished the break from all the technology that drives our lives on a daily basis.

You know the holiday has been long enough when they start fighting again just like at home – the last 24 hours of our 9 day trip showed that about a week on the island was right.

The only issue we faced was the discussion about our next holiday – hopefully to Sydney over the Christmas/New Year break.   When the men-children learned we plan to be away for New Years Eve they were aghast.  “But we HAVE to be in Melbourne for NYE, we already have plans (to get drunk somewhere)……well not Melbourne actually, we’ll be away with friends (away from our parents who control our lives)……”

We decided to drop the discussion until we got home – it was set to ruin our happy holiday.  Now we face the decision – do we force them on the family holiday, or adapt our plans to suit them?  There’s a number of reasons supporting both points of view and options that could fill a whole blog post that I won’t bore you with now – but suffice to say it’s going to be an interesting decision.  The men-children are all for a trip to Sydney – just not for NYE.  We shall see.

 

Mother of a Man-Child: Fond Farewells October 16, 2010

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Like most teenagers, my men-children spend their weekends out and about with friends, in preference to being at home (especially if the “rents” (parents) are about!).   We are lucky if we even find out when they are leaving the house, let alone where they might be going, with whom, and when they’ll return (normally for dinner – after all a bloke’s gotta eat right?).

Their logic would no doubt be “got a mobile, you want to find me, call it” or some such pragmatic but utterly unthinking response.  And on school mornings it’s much the same – out the door they go.  It’s only good fortune if they happen to pass you and grunt a farewell as they make their exit.  I of course always make a point of loudly saying “Bye (insert name)” so they get the message – subtle aren’t I?

So on a recent trip interstate for four nights, it was interesting to observe the different farewells afforded to me.  Man-Child I headed off with friends on the weekend, and was apparently reminded to say goodbye to me before he left by his father.  As I was on the phone myself I got a cursory wave from my son as he talked into his mobile – yep, CYA!  Wow, impressive huh?  More than a little underwhelming, and actually a little surprising from him.

Man-Child II headed out the door a few hours later.  As he saw me he muttered “CYA” as normal.  Then I reminded him I was going away for four nights and to “be good for dad and kind to your sister”.  My heart positively leapt as he walked back in the door and gave me an awkward hug, and said sweetly “Bye Mum, have a good trip”.  OMG, he actually hugged me, voluntarily, and wished me luck.  WOW!  There should be more of it – definitely.  It warms the cockles of the heart.

I rang Man-Child I later on his mobile just before I headed off to the airport.  When I commented on his earlier farewell, he admitted he’d only thought about my extended absence when he got to the tram – that was when he realized what his father had been banging on about!  Clearly one needs to be very specific with teenage boys – they just don’t connect the dots sometimes do they (or is that a bloke thing also)?  Anyway, he then wished me a great trip and assured me he’d be good.

So I left Melbourne feeling like I would be missed just a little, and confident they would all survive my absence (a couple of freezer meals ensured they wouldn’t starve at least).  Of course my darling daughter gave me 500 hugs before I left, because at seven years old they still believe you are the most clever, important, wonderful person in the whole world.  🙂

 

Mother of a Man-Child: Twins – United Momentarily September 17, 2010

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My twin boys are very different – just like my twin sister and I were growing up.   They have different personalities, dispositions, appearances, and quite naturally therefore a different circle of friends.  I love the fact that they are different – completely unique individuals.

At home, they fight often, as all siblings do, especially teenage boys with testosterone surging through their veins.  In fact they remind me of tiger cubs on occasion, sprawled across furniture, the floor, each other, engrossed in TV, Facebook, PS3, then unexpectedly playfully lashing out at each other.  Invariably this sometimes escalates to high level fighting, complete with the strength of miniature men, and the man-child determination not to maliciously harm I think but to “win” – yes they are highly competitive.

Whilst they fight against each other, it is always interesting to see them unite as one in battle, or in sympathy with each other, or even perhaps conspiracy?  Because at the end of the day, whilst they may not like a lot about each other, when pitted against their parents, or other authority figures, they realize that they share a common ground, that of teenagers living in a world that doesn’t understand them, or allow them the freedoms they so surely believe they should have, or just leave them alone and stop nagging them.

So whilst some mothers might feel rejected, left off the adolescent bridge across which they travel, my over-riding feeling on these occasions is a silent pleasure that they can actually be friends (albeit momentarily), and that they do have things in common, and maybe even “like” each other.

I know my twin sister and I were extremely different growing up, with diverse interests, friends, and career paths.  But as we got older and married and children entered our lives, we became great friends.  We talk regularly by phone, we see each other often, we delight in being and having a close family (along with our other sister I should add) and we’re always there for each other.

So when I see Man-Child I and Man-Child II occasionally united, and even looking like friends momentarily, I have renewed confidence that in time they will become good, even great friends, and be there for each other, and I hope their younger sister.  Because we all know that family is the most important thing you can have in the world.

 

Welcome to my blog January 22, 2010

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For those who are wondering what this blog is about, I am the mother of twin teenage boys, who are almost 14 years old, as well as a 6 year old (heaven-sent) daughter. Following yet another discussion (or as he would say lecture) with my “man-child” it occurred to me that if this was happening to someone else it would actually be funny.

So I was inspired to start this blog, with a view to sharing some funny anecdotes with my friends, welcoming feedback and comments, other stories and experiences that might actually make me feel a little normal – because more often than not I feel like an impostor standing in my mothers shoes delivering home truths to teenage boys who look at me with such contempt sometimes I feel like shriveling up and dying.

To be fair, I seem to have one “man-child” currently (I do think he is actually 13 going on 23) and one quite normal teenager, who seems content to do normal teenage things.

Maybe it’s because I am a twin myself, now observing my very different twin boys, that it seems such an interesting study in human nature and the role of nurture versus nature.

Anyway, here goes my blog. It’s definitely not twitter (honestly for me a complete “twat”) but an opportunity for me to vent occassionally and hopefully amuse some of my friends. That said, this blog is designed to be largely anonymous, in the interests of protecting my sons from the embarassment of their clearly disturbed mother.

I hope you enjoy my stories and occasional rants. I for one am hoping it will prove to be largely cathartic. 🙂