Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

A bit on the nose after camp! September 23, 2011

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socksThe men-children returned from camp on Tuesday after five blissfully quiet days without them.  We almost didn’t know what to do at night while they were gone – there were no arguments over the dinner table, no demands about homework, no screaming to pick up stuff or begging for help at home.   Father of a Man-Child and I even enjoyed several long, uninterrupted conversations (it’s been a while), and Sister of a Man-Child was simply in heaven (as you would be being an only child for a few days with the undivided attention of your parents).

If you didn’t hear the men-children soon after they arrived home, you could definitely SMELL them!!!  Pity Father of a Man-Child who had to collect both boys (of course they didn’t arrive home together or leave together – the joys of twins) and endure them in close proximity for the short trip home.  Trust me they absolutely stank; I imagine his car will carry the odour for weeks.

By the time I saw them both at home they had showered thankfully, probably for a good 30 mins each, and fair enough too.  My only sample of the smell of boys after five days of camping was the clothing that came down for a wash, the sleeping bags that needed airing and/or washing, and the socks and boots that were so vile they had to spend the night outside because they could stink out an entire room in seconds.  It really was a very rude shock to the olfactory senses.

Man-Child I did change his jocks on occasion although he didn’t shower at all on camp.  And Man-Child II (and all other cadets apparently) simply wore their cadet uniforms for the whole five days.  So naturally, since they didn’t shower, they didn’t bother changing their jocks or socks either……..gross!!!  Perhaps I should just throw those ones out?

Both of the boys came home thoroughly exhausted, but having really enjoyed the challenges of their respective camps.  That would be with the exception of the last night, during which they both endured gale force winds and driving rain.  It was actually so bad on Cadet Camp they had to abandon the camping ground at 10pm at night and all hike back to the barracks, where they got to sleep in dorms (relative luxury), without bedding though, as that had all been left at the site.  Thankfully the school put the boys’ safety first – strong winds in a camping ground full of large trees being a recipe for disaster.   Man-Child I also endured a close encounter with a leech one night in his sleeping bag – ewww.  Nasty little suckers!

Whilst they both survived on the food (army rations and dehydrated noodle meals for the most part), they were certainly thankful for the large steak we served up to them upon their arrival home.  Nothing like a few days camping to appreciate a home cooked meal, a nice warm bed, a hot shower and a toilet that’s not a long drop. J

As for the parents who chose to let their boys stay home and not attend camp – far too soft!!!  This is the stuff that turns boys into men – the adventures that shape them and make them realise they can survive, and that they are stronger and more resilient than they might otherwise believe.  Good old-fashioned male bonding – bring it on.

PS.  Off on holidays next week – so forgive me if I don’t post a regular update.  Am seriously considering going away without a laptop and am too busy to have prepared anything in advance.  Sorry folks.

Read about pre-camp preparations here: Man-Child Free For Five Days – Woohoo!  

 

Man-child free for five days–woohoo! September 16, 2011

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camp fireIt’s the end of Term 3 for the boys (where did it go I ask you) and the men-children are off on camp.  That’s the trade-off for having three weeks holiday – they go on a five-day school camp at the beginning.   One is off on Cadet Camp at Puckapunyal, and one is off to Glenelg River (Portland) on an Outdoor Ed camp.

One of the men-children has spent the week getting himself organised, looking at his list, organising tent hire, borrowing sleeping bags, packing etc.  We’ve been to the supermarket several times to buy his body weight in food (they have to carry it all themselves but that didn’t stop him loading up on ridiculous non-essential food items) and he’s all organised to head off in the morning.   As my sister said to him, make sure you eat up the heaviest food first – that 20kg pack is going to feel like about 120kg before he knows it.

The other man-child finally packed last night – no worries, it’s all the same stuff from last time – she’ll be right mate.  Yes, you guessed it, our man-child cadet.  The one who froze last time in his hutchie, because he wouldn’t listen to his parents to understand exactly what he was sleeping under (not in)!   He swears he’s got it covered this time – a warmer sleeping bag and a beanie is his version of improved warmth.  No thermals for this tough boy!  As they say, you can’t do it for them, so I guess he’ll learn for himself.  We haven’t seen his list at all, and he doesn’t even know what time he’s due at school in the morning.  Aaaarggh.

The men-children are just getting their last play fight in before five days apart.  They’ll probably miss each other, ironically, and be back at it within hours of returning home.  I’m just getting myself ready for the unnatural peace and quiet that will descend on the house, along with the bursting-with-food-fridge that won’t empty in a nanosecond, and the washing basket that will stay empty for an entire day or two.  Domestic bliss.

Sister of a man-child is probably relishing the thought of no screaming in the house for five days, and the undivided attention of her parents.  Of course we will miss them, by about day four!  I’ll be sure to regale you with any good stories from the camp in a future post.  No doubt they’ll enjoy being boys/men immensely, hopefully without any major incidents or injuries.

Read about the last cadet camp experience here:  Camping Man-Child Style and Freezing on Cadet Camp (the post-script)

 

Post-Script to The joys (or not) of Parent-Teacher interviews

As a follow-up to last weeks post, we did actually make enquiries at the school about a spot for one of the men-children in boarding school for a term.  Our reasoning being the study routine might benefit him and help create some good habits ahead of next year.

Sadly I received a call today from the school – they won’t take him.  Not CANT, they WON’T.  That’s right, our man-child’s reputation is so bad they don’t want him in the boarding house.  Something to be proud of – NOT!!

 

Mother of a Man-Child: The Masters of Low Maintenance October 10, 2010

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As the mother of two teenage boys I find it interesting to observe their “practical” approach to all things related to clothing.  It’s definitely the low maintenance variety for my two.  Unlike my young daughter who already changes her outfits several times a day on the weekends, boys are more likely to wear the same thing for several days – until it walks itself to the laundry!

Some examples:

  • They only wash clothing if you ask them to clean their rooms or literally collect items off the floor.   Otherwise they would leave them there indefinitely – I kid you not!
  • In Man-Child II’s case, if you don’t wash it in time he will happily retrieve it from the dirty clothes’ basket, for another wear or five.  What’s a little bit of dirt anyway?  Doesn’t deodorant cover up everything?
  • Man-Child I recently added his school jumper to the washing basket.  When I asked if it was actually dirty after only three days of wear in term four, he explained it was “ages” since it had been washed.  Yes, you guessed it, the recent three-week school holiday wasn’t a good time to have it laundered!  It obviously spent that time in his bag, probably alongside some moldy sandwiches – gross!
  • I noticed an unfamiliar pair of runners at home this week.  It seems the common practice at school is if someone leaves something unattended, it’s finder/keepers.  So Man-Child I is the temporary owner of a pair of second-hand runners (hence we bought him some new ones today).  When I asked if this happens often, they assured me only if you left stuff lying around at school (no doubt the evolutionist Darwin would think it was perfectly normal behaviour).
  • We also seem to have an odd assortment of spare jocks at our house, destined never to be returned to their owners.  I am constantly assured that they were “gifts” – I certainly hope new and not second-hand.
  • And I am regularly washing other boys jumpers that my men-children have borrowed.  On the average weekend they leave home ill prepared for Melbourne’s four seasons in one day so invariably return with additional belongings.  What annoys me most is when I wash them ready for returning to their rightful owner only to see my son wearing it again.  Grrrr.

You may be thinking, don’t sweat the small stuff.  What does it matter – I don’t have to wear their dirty clothing?  And if it’s not washed because it hasn’t made it to the laundry, it’s not my problem is it – they’ll soon learn where the laundry is?  And if random clothing enters our house – again, not for me to worry about.

My problem is I like clean – clean boys, clean clothes and clean bedroom floors.  It goes with my clean house.  Ask anyone who knows me – I don’t like mess, I like my orderly, organized life.  Oh well – we can’t all be perfect can we.  🙂