Without fail every morning my hubby brings me a cup of coffee in bed. Married 14 years has it’s perks. Now and again my mischievous teen offers to make a cuppa. On Saturday was such a ‘now and again’.
‘Mom, did you drink your coffee? All of it’ he asked later in the day. Now the fact that he was so curious and had a smirk of sorts on his face, got me thinking something is up.
‘Nope’ I answered, ‘It got cold before I had the time to take a sip’. He walked off to the kitchen where I heard him telling his father of his disappointment that ‘it didn’t work, mom never drank the coffee’ Plenty laughter happening in the kitchen. I went through to investigate.
Yip, that would be me who almost got pranked with a cup of coffee containing laxatives. I felt rather chuffed with myself that I was spared the loo for the day.
I am the ONLY female in the house – with four boys, Mr being a right real Peter Pan, I can either sulk and cry or wise up on the games. I chose to wise up and play them at their own games. As the saying goes, When in Rome, do as the Romans do. That sums it up.
Watch your back boys, mom is the chef in this house.
I grew up labouring away at my bit when it came to household chores. Having three sisters though made the work load that much lighter. I was never paid so to speak for doing chores, however , if ever we needed or wanted something within reason – we didn’t go without. Movies, ice-skating, drive-in, tuck money and so it goes.
My wonderful young teenager recently dug his heels in when it came to a short list of chores I felt were standard for any teenager all of 14 years old. I contacted a few friends and family who too have a child of the same age to compare what is considered a reasonable list, as well as the reward be it financial or other.
I came up with ten chores a week. TEN. I really didn’t feel that was child labour although my son differs. My list was something along these lines.
- Clean your own room. Inspection is once a week.
- Unpack the dishwasher after dinner.
- Mow the lawn once a week – all of a 15 min job.
- Take out the trash when need be.
- Feed the dogs daily and ensure fresh water mornings.
- Pick up your own dog poop.
- During school holidays, to help hang the laundry.
- Make your own bed weekends.
- Help dad bath the dogs on sundays.
Oh wait – that is all of 9 chores. One would think this to be child labour for that is what my child seems to think. Banging heads about this list has left me with migraines. I believe all children should be raised having to do chores. Heck I did. Chores teach children far more than responsibility and the value of a dime.
Then we had the debated issue of what was considered a satisfactory financial reward. Boy, the kid should join the debate team as he sure threw some at me. Yet again I turn to family and friends and what would you know – we seem to pay our teen a little above the considered ‘average’. My sister suggested I start a monthly spreadsheet for him. On which I write down every cent spent on his luxuries –
- A new clutch cable for his off road motorbike,
- weekly petrol to run both his bikes – this is recreational,
- bike parts when he crashes, lately that’s often
- constant new clothes and shoes as he seems to think they are best used while working on his bikes.
- The maintenance of his tarantulas,
- mobile contract
- Blah blah etc –
This list can go on and on but it hit me – My sister hit the nail on the head with her advice. Sometimes when kids see things on paper, the reality hits them a little more and they can digest it properly. I’m not talking a childs living luxuries or expenses. I’m referring to his hobbies.
There you have it. I sat down with my son and asked him what he felt was acceptable and reasonable to be on his chores list. We negotiated the list so not all was selective. What teen is readily going to volunteer a pick up his dog poop before mowing the lawn? Having his participation gave him a sense of having a voice and choices. He is now responsible for his chores list. As for his rewards, they come in many forms and he is slowly realising this. Thank goodness as being the eldest, he sets the example for his two much younger brothers.
Keep Calm and Parent on.
So what would you feel is an acceptable list or pocket money amount for a 14 year old teen?
The garden, the best playground for a little boy.
On October the 24th we celebrated our baby boys first birthday. A whole 365 days young. This little man of ours has brought so much love into our home, we are truly blessed to have welcomed him in our lifes journey. He wakes up smiling, laughs so easily at all and sundry, happy after a long adventurous day to cuddle with good night hugs and prayers before he lay in his cot ready to slip into his pleasant dream land.
Mr and I were up till the wee hours of the night baking his chocolate cake, we decided on a construction party theme. Not only is his grand-pops a Diesel Mechanic working on machines such as Diggers but it was a boy theme we hadn’t done yet after 14 years of ‘boy party’ planning. It was a fun filled day with water slides, braai and good friends (seeing as of the 14 million people living in Gauteng – not a single one is family !!) Happy Birthday our little man – we love you to the moon and back, always.
Digger Cake – Icing a fresh chocolate cake was no childs play.
Oh drat, hubby walked through the door today with a huge box of silkworms. His student, who happens to be a school teacher, begged him to please take a couple as she simply had too many and was battling to feed them and care for them. A few – try like about 200.
Since my eldest was a little tot, we have had silkworms, cycle after cycle. Sigh. I thought I was done with them until now. My 6 year old is just in heaven at his first batch of silkworm pets. To demonstrate their friendliness and gentleness, I pick up a few and name them. That was short lived for there really are far too many. As a little tease, I take the fattest worm and pretend to eat him 😉 but he just clings to me like velcro. Explaining to my son how they love to hug, their legs just cling to you for ‘worm hugs’. It works eventually – no fear there. ‘But mom, please don’t eat my pets’
I knew my eldest sister was and still is petrified of silkworms and every time she came over, my eldest would secretly put one on her shoulder. I was a classic case of ninja moves when she eventually spotted the little thing.
It’s the same thing with my youngest sister – my eldest secretly puts Mr Curly aka a curly hair tarantula on her shoulder while visiting. Now her reaction takes the cake as she’s a bit of an arachnophobic . I should film it next time for YouTube 😉
The joys of a house full of boys. Part and parcel.
Monday the 24th of September was our countries National Braai Day. A public holiday at that. What is a ‘braai‘ you ask?, well in other countries such as the USA, England, Australia to name but a few – you may know of a braai as a BBQ 🙂
A good old original braai would consist of spiced marinated tender meat of all sorts grilled to perfection over hot, smoking coals or briquettes. Be it chicken, fish, prawns, tender steak, borewors (our traditional braai sausage) veggie skewers, grilled corn on the cob, garlic loaf and maybe a few potatoes wrapped in foil, spiced and left tendered to while baking amongst the hot coals. Beetroot, coleslaw, fresh buns and a delish fusion green salad – and whalla. Excellent company, gorgeous wine, brilliant music and you’re set to go. Summer time, the smell of braai smothers the air, enough to make you start your own – fast. Freshly cut green lawn and a swimming pool is much of the life of a South African during summer time.
I heard in some countries, one may not braai over coals, wood or briquettes as we do here for fear of triggering a forest fire such as the ones experienced in California USA this year (which I have followed on Instagram) and Australia over the last years.
Note to self – don’t buy a wooden house on the backdrop of a forest in a country where such fires are a serious and real threat.
Every weekend is a braai weekend. As the battle of the tongs begins between father and son.
Have a blessed weekend
My six year old son telling me a story about his hiccups. Too adorable.
My eldest son got his first off road motorbike for his 5th birthday. Having had a little wipe out now and again, slowly he has developed a respect for such machines and what this chunk of metal is capable of doing to a fragile human body. Nine years on, I’m rather please to say never a broken bone or serious injury. This record still stands even after today. Relaxing at home while cooking my hubbies favourite lunch for fathers day, knowing Aust and dad were out riding, suddenly a rather calm hubby arrives home ALONE and says, ‘oh, Aust has come off his bike come quick.’ Dashing out the door, zooming in my car, I arrive to find my son flat on his back and in pain. Hubby takes the bike home while I dash Aust off to casualty. He sure did a good job coming off his bike this time. A wash and scrub of the wounds, a few x-rays& plenty bandages. Pop some pain meds and we’re good to go. The drive home is when we reflect on the event and share a laugh which wasn’t so easy for Aust as his ribs took quite the impact so breathing hurt a little. ‘Pity I didn’t get it on camera for YouTube’ I joke with him. Aust loves watching snippets of people wiping off their bikes on YouTube but the thought of his wipe captured and shared – wasn’t so pleasing to my little man. All is well with hop-along now. Gave mom and dad a wee worry there. Part and parcel of being a boy doing what boys do best. Lesson learnt, although he says he still won’t give up on practising his ramping.That’s my boy. I always tell my boys when they have the odd mishap of sorts – scars give your body character and tell a story that’s unique to you. Now that’s awesome 😉