When I was collecting Alfie from school last week he asked if he could have some time to run around with friends so I let him take off while I hung around in a rapidly disappearing patch of sunshine hoping we could soon leave.

There was a group of other mothers standing near me whose oldest children are in the same year as Alfie.  They appeared to have three children each, ranging in ages from around three to eight years.  On seeing me they called me over to join them.  ‘Charlie, we were just talking about how tiring and difficult these years are; what’s it like when they’re teenagers’.

Cattleman's steak drizzled with olive oil and lightly seasoned and brought to room temperature

Cattleman’s steak drizzled with olive oil and lightly seasoned and brought to room temperature

Now that was their first mistake.  They should never have asked.  Because if you think the primary school years are a challenge you’re going to need something stronger than vitamins to survive from thirteen to nineteen.

I didn’t want them to go home depressed so I left out the bit where we’ve had phone calls from five different police stations on five separate occasions and all in the middle of the night, and I left out the bit where I’ve gone into their bedrooms in the middle of the night only to discover they’ve jumped out the window and taken themselves on a midnight excursion.

But I did gently mention in a subtle sort of a way that at least when they’re young you know where they are at night.   Without intending to, I sort of stripped their smiles from their faces.

Searing the steak before finishing off in the oven for 10 minutes

Searing the steak before finishing off in the oven for 10 minutes

So I tried to say something encouraging.  ‘What I recommend is taking it easy now.  Don’t get worked up over homework and assignments and who didn’t get the teacher they wanted and which friends didn’t end up in the same class.  You want to conserve your energy for the bigger battles that include:

I was a wee bit hungry!  Made a salsa verde, steamed some greens and roasted some sweet potato.

I was a wee bit hungry! Made a salsa verde, steamed some greens and roasted some sweet potato.

Would I rather have the sex talk or take my daughter for a driving lesson?

The transition from ‘You’re the best mother in the world and can I come with you?’ to ‘You’re such an embarrassment and I don’t want to be seen with you’.

The, ‘I’m 16 and by law I can leave school so this week’s my last week’, phase.

The, ‘Everyone else is allowed to stay up late/drink/smoke/do drugs/go to the party/see that R-rated film so why can’t I’ stage.

Your daughter walking through the door with either her eyebrow/nose/lips/tongue/ears/belly button/nipples pierced or perhaps a combination of all of these.

The, ‘Why can’t I get a tattoo?  It’s just body art.  And I don’t need your permission; I’m 16 you know; I can do what I want’ mentality.

The money that you hand to therapists, counselors, paediatricians and orthodontists.  Did I mention orthodontists?

Losing/breaking/smashing/having stolen their mobile phone/lap top/USB/i-pod touch.

The, ‘Why can’t I sleepover at my boyfriend’s house?  I’ll be sleeping on the couch.  You’re so last century, mum’, phase.

The tears and the anguish and the heartache and the highs and the lows of puberty and hormone hell.

And they were silent.  Interesting how before I joined their group they were so chatty; now it seemed they had nothing to say.  So I said in an upbeat way, ‘But with kids, every stage is a good stage’.

Somehow I didn’t convince them.

Scrambled eggs on two slices of toast with salsa verde

Scrambled eggs on two slices of toast with salsa verde

I realise it’s been a while since I told you anything about my Archie.  That’s because he’s so busy I hardly see him.  He’s now in his final year of uni (if he passes) and as he’s studying musical theatre, they put on a musical.  This year it will be Rent.  Have you seen it?  I haven’t.  It sounds far from an upbeat comedy.  The auditions have been over the last few weeks.  Archie wanted the role of Roger, one of the leads.  He found out a few days ago that yes, he’ll be playing Roger.  Roger is HIV positive caused by a drug habit and is an out-of-work musician who has a love interest called Mimi who is a stripper and also HIV positive.  Wait until I tell those school mothers!

The musical is being put on not only as a graduation piece but also so industry people including casting agents, theatrical agents, producers and directors can come to see the new graduating talent that will hopefully lead to work for these aspiring actors/musicians/dancers.  The show will be on in August and when I find out the dates I will let you know on Twitter and Facebook – just in case you find yourself in Surry Hills and would like a night dealing with drug addicts and strippers.

Now what’s interesting is that I have reason to believe that the girl playing the role of Mimi is Archie’s new real life love interest.  I’ll keep you posted but in the meantime, here’s a photo I ripped off facebook.  He took her to the races for her birthday and came home penniless.

Archie and his new love-interest on stage and off

Archie and his new love-interest on stage and off

Carl took Alfie away for the weekend giving me some time to work which has been very productive.  I haven’t cooked anything for my blog but I did photograph (on my phone) what I was cooking for myself and I sent the photos to Carl.  (So sorry they are such pathetic images).  He was staying with his parents and his mother can’t cook (I say in the nicest possible way) so after a few images Carl texted back, ‘No more food porn, thanks’.

And that’s a wrap on the weekend.






Related Post


  1. Hahah, it was sweet of you not to worry the mothers too much 😉 They’ll find out sooner or later. Love the Archie update…so exciting about his possible love interest. I love how you check out his facebook page to find stuff…my mom does the same thing, hehe 🙂

  2. Ahh, the age old midnight excursion. I know my mum probably hated them, but some of my fondest teenage memories come from the adventures that started with a leap out of my bedroom window!

  3. I’m glad nobody told me about teenagers when mine were little. 🙂

  4. I think that’s great that he got the part of Roger! I’ve seen Rent on Broadway and the film. This part and the songs should be right up his alley! Congrats!

  5. Your Archie is quite the spunk!! Arrghhh the joys I have to look forward too, lucky I’ve got a while yet, my one’s not quite 2 years old 🙂

  6. Food porn! I Love it!! 😉 the good thing about having children from 3 to 16 is that one can experience the joys of every phase…simultaneously!!

  7. This was hilarious. Though you missed out the bit where they scream I HATE YOU followed by YOU ARE RUINING MY LIFE and that is a direct quote from my daughter not the tele. Crazy! Or the time my neighbours called me at my second job to tell me that there were a whole lot of teenagers On My ROOF! dancing! i sent my head waitress round to deal with them, she is very scary! Love it. Love it!! c

  8. This was hilarious. Though you missed out the bit where they scream I HATE YOU followed by YOU ARE RUINING MY LIFE and that is a direct quote from my daughter not the tele. Crazy! Or the time my neighbours called me at my second job to tell me that there were a whole lot of teenagers On My ROOF! dancing! i sent my head waitress round to deal with them, she is very scary! Love it. Love it!! c

  9. Kids … sometimes I thank heaven I never had any. 🙂

    I’m one of those people who borrow a puppy/dog, play with them and then bring them home when they get tired, cranky or start throwing up suspicious items. But in my case, it was my nephew who is 28 now and in med school (I think it’s his 3rd field of study after anthropology and archaeology, was biology in there too?)

    But he’s a sweetheart most of the time and brought me home after my 3rd hip replacement and stayed with me for over 2 weeks to feed me and make sure I was taking my meds and not falling down. Otherwise I would have had to go to some rehab facility out of town where I had my operation. He also washed my kitchen and bathroom floors, vacuumed and threw out all the outdated items in my fridge and pantry.

    I guess I’ll keep him. 🙂

    I love the steak. I’m marinating a piece of top sirloin right now. If it’s warm enough I’ll bbq it for supper otherwise, it’s my panini press.

  10. Oh! I am there with you just now. All those things that I shouldn’t have worried about when they were younger.

  11. Congratulations to Archie on landing that lead and a lady to boot.

    Oh, what those mothers don’t know…

  12. We all have to go those those terrible teenager years to emerge as the pleasant, charming, productive, and well-adjusted adults we now all are. 😉 Really entertaining post – thanks.

  13. Oh Charlie, I love you. I can just imagine those poor moms. Glad you spared them some of the gory details of being a parent of teens. Glad you’re enjoying your time alone!

  14. You hit every single teenage “nail” spot on the head! And made me smile. But just look how they all turn out somehow! What a gorgeous Archie and the new love interest make!

  15. My friends only seem tone in the ‘do I even want kids’ phase. So the primary school years and the teenaged years are a million miles away. J’s mum can’t cook either, so our week stay there will be interesting.

  16. Haha seems like the mothers jaws would have dropped on hearing that 😛
    I can attest to all those stages, and still do – sometimes I just think ‘when I’m a parent, I’m going to be so much more open than mine’ 🙂
    YAY teenagers! 😉

    Choc Chip Uru

  17. Too true and to funny…………….

  18. How mean of you to tease with food porn! You definitely didn’t deprive yourself over the weekend.
    Oh what fun teenagers are. I swear I was never like that 🙂

  19. I wish my mum was more like you! I went through a very different upbringing… haha

  20. I’m so thankful that those teen years are well behind me, as a mother. It was the agony of the motorbike and so many accidents that he didn’t tell me half of them. But all is well now and my granddaughter who just turned 19 seems to be having a good adolescence. The food looks colourful, artistic and delicious. No wonder Carl didn’t want to see any more.

  21. Ah yes I remember those days. Thank goodness mine have moved on to the married years with school age children of their own. I just nod and smile and add the unhelpful comments like “I remember when your dad was at school and he did this or that……….” or “your mum use to feed her unwanted vegetables to the dog under the table and thought I didn’ know……………..”. Getting my own back now!

  22. hahahahaha!!! I haven’t reached a lot of these stages, but I can see them staring RIGHT in my face. Archie’s girl is beautiful 🙂

  23. It’s like telling childbirth stories to the newly pregnant Charlie- you don’t want to put them off too much, but you can’t help bragging just a bit so when they see you chug down a glass or two too many chardonays at the next parents meeting, they’ll nod their heads and understand. And maybe raise a small toast in your honour 🙂
    Gorgeous girlfriend indeed, lucky Archie! Hope the show is a huge sucess and they get snatched up by agents immediately xox

  24. Aww Charlie, they were going to find out about it, it may as well be now! 😛 And I’ve seen Rent and it’s a fabulous musical! Don’t worry about the storyline, the music is fantastic 🙂

  25. Ok, now you’ve made ME nervous of the teenage years, and I was already nervous!

  26. i love reading your updates on your family! youre such a lovely mother!

  27. Aaahh….I know all those lines so well! It is what it is, someone has to tell those mums. Archie’s young lady is beautiful!


  28. Bwahahaha – sorry don’t mean to laugh but it’s all so true. What worries me is how can these other mothers not possibly know what teenagers are like now days. Heaven help them in a few years.
    Kudos to Archie!
    What a fabulously indulgent (me,myself,I) weekend you had – lovely.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  29. LOL! So funny, I love hearing about parents with one child saying how hard it is… or even two little ones. It is a whole other story when the adults are out numbered by kids and then they turn into teenagers. I am convinced you have to break them in while they’re young if you want a hope in the teenage years… then just drink wine and try to have confidence in the work you did previously.

  30. Rent is one of my favorite musicals! It might not be entirely upbeat, but it IS a lot of fun. 🙂

    I don’t think I gave my mom quite that much trouble is a teenager…but now my little sister is doing her best to make up for that!

  31. Oh yes, the teen years. Not to mention dealing with different sets of issues with girl than boy (I have one of each).
    Congratulation to Archie. Looking forward to hearing more about the performance,

  32. Oh the memories all came flooding back, Charlie. Blessings to those poor moms…they really have no idea, even with your careful admonitions. Congratulations to Archie and his new love interest on such stirring roles. I’ve also seen the play performed more than once and it always moves me deeply. I wish I could see this performance! Now, I’m hungry after seeing your photos, and need to take care of that! 🙂 oxo

  33. As I read through your comments I was laughing because I’ve gotten through most of the teenaged years as well.. but then I thought, “Wait a minute.. I wonder what’s up with the next stage?” and now I’m worrying about what comes next, lol! Sigh I was so naive when they were small.. and I guess I’m still naive because I think we’ll just sail through it all unscathed.. er relatively unscathed. Your Archie and his gal are stunning, btw!!

  34. I read this post with a smile on my face. You are so calm despite all the action over your way and at least you all eat well. That will teach Carl to go away, are you mad, you’ll never get a weekend to yourself again. Love your food porn iphone or not.

  35. Charlie, your photos made my mouth water in spite of your humble disclaimer. As for “hormone hell?” The teenage years… or menopause, lol! Best of luck to Archie on “Rent” — one of my past escapades involved accompanying (on piano and in person) a group of teenage singers/dancers/actors to perform the theme song from rent for some producers in Hollywood. Quite the memorable trip…! Enjoyed your post & writing, as always!

  36. Oh my, those poor ladies, but they were going to find out anyway. I’m with Maria though, I usually borrow my niece and nephew when I want to have kids and promptly return them when they begin to misbehave!
    What a handsome couple, I wish Archie the best of luck. That scrambled eggs look phenomenal, and I’m loving the salsa verde with it.

  37. Oh dear heavens, I hope Archie and his lady fare better than Roger and Mimi do/did! I saw Rent on Broadway in 2007; incredible. I have the soundtrack, the sheetmusic, and sing “will you light my candle” to myself at least once a fortnight. Go Archie!

  38. I love this!!! You are SO right…the teenage/twenties difficulties are so much harder than any terrible twos temper tantrum. I’m actually counting my blessings as I don’t think any of mine have snuck out the window…and troubles with the law has been few and far between. Congrats to Archie! xx

  39. No more food porn! That’s hilarious! And whew. I think I need a drink after reading all that I have to look forward to. Oh boy. 😉 Congrats to Archie on his leading role. Very cool!

  40. LOL. Ahh I remember all of those phases. My poor Mother..

  41. Oh, those poor mothers – but I do think it’s better to be prepared! And they should be counting their blessings during these golden years, so you’ve done them a favour really 😉

  42. You gave a nice tight summary of raising teenagers. You had a duty to forewarn those mothers so they won’t crumble at the first teenage obstacle. No one who hasn’t raised a teenager knows what heartache is. Teenagers break your heart over and over again in a lot of small subtle ways. But then they get past that stage and became human again. It’s a waiting game for their brain cells to catch up with their body development.

  43. Wow, the patience and courage it takes to raise kids! I bow to all the mothers and fathers out there…it’s a wonder we all survive! Love your salsa verde and how you’re serving it. And Archie looks so happy with his lady!

  44. Pete offered: “YOU’RE RUINING EVERYTHING!!” 🙂 I had to laugh at your post and Celi’s reply, it’s all so true and timely for us, and the parents with little kids have NO IDEA what’s coming. Oh, and we’ve had the “I’m 16 and I could leave school now if I wanted to..” but thankfully no body art. Yet. 🙂

  45. What a beautiful couple!!! Archie is very handsome indeed!!! 🙂 You must be so proud of him! He’s in his last year of Uni that’s fantastic! That’s also really sweet of Carl to take Alfie away for the weekend to give you more time ~

  46. Ok, so now my dread of the teen age years has just reached a whole new level… Thanks a lot! Oh, and how did Archie like the whole world finding out about the new girlfriend he hadn’t even told home about yet? ;o)))

  47. OMG..I absolutely love your posts!!! I know I’ve said that before, but I was laughing so hard my son had to put down his shoot ’em up video game to ask me what was so funny 🙂 If those mother’s don’t want to know the truth, they really shouldn’t ask! I loved Rent the movie, don’t be scared!

  48. Gosh, I’m not looking forward to that “sullen teen” phase at all… though I hear the years of 2 or 3 years old are pretty bad!

    I noticed your steak, which looks fantastic, but was wondering something… why did you wrap the bone tip in foil? I’ve been trying to think of the reason but I just can’t. Maybe you just did it so it looks nice, I’m not sure?!

    • Actually Charles, it was the butcher who wrapped the bone tip in foil. I’ve heard it’s done so the bone doesn’t burn and then come to the plate looking tragic. I think the French started it with their crown roasts! (I do hope it was the French who did the crown roasts).

  49. Charlie, although I might be looking forward to having teenagers of my own I’ll take that Cattleman’s steak any day of the week (yes you knew I would say that).

  50. Hahahaha, maybe I should thank you for making my day a little brighter by removing my stress and worries. ^_^ I’m already worried about my 5 year old sassy daugther and I think I’ll have a really tough time when she become teenager! Seriously, you crack me up… It was a fun read, and oh Archie and his lady! Keep us posted. 🙂

Speak Your Mind