Mar 6, 2011


by Michelle Douglas

Reading: Billionaire on her Doorstep by Ally Blake
Watching: The Fast Show
Listening to: The kookaburras laughing in the trees outside
Making me smile: The cooler weather

Yesterday my niece turned 13. Yes, that's right – 13. As in a 1 and a 3 and a teen. THIRTEEN!

I see my niece all the time but yesterday I looked at her – as in really looked at her and...


She's as tall as I am. We still discuss Anne of Green Gables with great earnestness, but (gulp) she has breasts. She shaves her legs. Most disconcerting of all, she was wearing a dress.

Where on earth is my cute little tomboy niece who loved dagging around in her tracky daks as much as her Auntie Michelle?

However, she is at that real gawky stage where her arms and legs seemed to have outgrown the rest of her body – she's all knees and elbows – and she ducks her head a lot when she thinks she might have said something a bit stupid or inappropriate. I kinda took comfort in those things because I have an awful feeling that next time I look – as in really look – my niece is going to be tall, elegant and confident.

I had a front row seat at her birth (literally – I was holding her mother's foot), I taught her to jump, I introduced her to Anne of Green Gables, and I just know that it's me she's going to turn to for advice about boys. I'm not her only aunt, but I am her only aunt who writes romance and therefore I should know, right?


But I figure there's no harm in being prepared. So... What's the best piece of advice you received about boys (or about anything) when you were a teenager?


  1. Hi Michelle,

    What a special occasion! Thirteen's such a significant no. I remember my daughter at that age. Then I turned around and hey presto, she was a grown up. Exciting and scary. You know, I don't remember finding any great advice about boys when I was a teen. I think we all just stumbled along in a fog. So glad that time's past!

  2. Hi Annie,

    I have to say I was stunned at how grown up my niece looked when we all went out to dinner last night. Sigh -- the body of a woman (well, not quite) but definitely still the mind of a little girl. Frankly, there's no way I'd ever want to be 13 again.

    I was trying to think what advice I received. I don't think I'll be passing on my mother's gem of: "Stay away from boys, they are bad news." Hardly seems measured :-) . Like you, my girlfriends and I just kind of stumbled along hoping we were coming across as really cool when no doubt we were tragically gauche.

  3. The greatest comfort I got as a teenager was from reading Winston Churchill's "My Early Life." In it he said how he hated school and how once he'd left, he lived happily ever after.

    I loathed school and used to find people saying, "These are the best days of your life" most depressing.

    Yay for adulthood - though no teenager would ever believe it!

  4. Ooh, Zana, what a brilliant idea -- autobiographies would be full of wisdom and handy hints!

    I didn't enjoy my school years either and I would not give up being an adult for all the proverbial tea. I have to say that, like Winston, since I left school I haven't looked back

  5. Happy birthday to your niece, Michelle.

    I think the best advice I got as a teen was 'don't worry, it will end', lol.

  6. Oh, Anita, that made me laugh. You're right, it does end (thank goodness!). But at the time is sure seems endless.

  7. Don't remember any good advice at that age. No teens in our family right now but this past Thursday my nephew and his wife had their first child, a boy named Bentley Ryan. I've only seen a couple of pictures of him but not a really good one yet. Hope to see him sometime this spring or summer.

  8. Hi She,

    Congratulations on the arrival of your new nephew. Bentley Ryan -- that sounds like a hero's name! :-) Here's hoping you get to see him real soon.

  9. One of my daughter's only just turned 13 the other day...hormones, yep, that's what I'm facing LOL!!

  10. Oh, Mel, am sending hugs... lots and lots of hugs! :-)

  11. Oh, yes -- I also used to hate hearing 'these are the best days of your life' at school, because I found school rather an ordeal! I love Anita's advice: Don't worry, it will end!

  12. Emily, it makes me wonder who actually decided school days were supposed to be the best days of our lives. It seems quite a few of us aren't in agreement.

    And yes, Anita's advice is priceless. I'm tempted to tack, Don't worry, it will end, onto my wall. :-)

  13. You know, I do still think 'don't worry, it will end' a lot - but I never thought of tacking it onto my desk. And as someone who has lots of sayings scattered around, I'm not sure why?

  14. Well, Anita, I think you're going to have to find a spot for that saying somewhere. I love sayings... Do you have a fave?

  15. I love them too, Michelle. If I had to pick, I'd say my fave is: "Never give up! Never surrender" (from Galaxy Quest).

    I have a huge collection of sayings though, so have started to post them to my blog every Monday to keep me motivated :)

  16. Ooh, that's a good motivational quote. The quote I'm trying to pay attention to this year is by Goethe:

    Nothing is worth more than today


  17. Hi Michelle --
    Happy B'Day to your niece.

    I don't recall any specific advice. I enjoyed school so I was probably too busy studying, playing sport or reading a romance book (-:

  18. Hi Michelle,

    Happy Birthday to your niece. OMG, couldn't you ask a simpler question? As you know I've a daughter but she's passed through some awkward stages and made it to eighteen!

    As to advice, now I let her read my M&B, so she can have healthy attitude toward Love & Sex. And learn from the strong heroines how to deal with life.

    Mel, try chocolates for hormones, it's from my personal experience. :)

  19. Ahh, Anna, we finally have someone who enjoyed their school years! Hmm... I wasn't the studying or the sporty type, but I'd have certainly joined you in your reading of a romance. :-)

  20. Hi Nas,

    LOL -- I can answer the easy questions myself, that's why I need you guys when the hard questions come hurtling my way. :-)

    BUT, you do offer two very good pieces of advice. When things get too hard for my niece in the future I may well hand her one of my Sweet romances and a cadbury family block of chocolate and tell her we'll talk the next day (nothing will seem quite so tragic after that, surely).

  21. Yay! For chocolates and romances!