Musings about life in the Pigeon household

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The Coddling

I’ve written before about how I want my boys to grow up to be independent people. Able to contribute to society in a meaningful way. Be courteous and respectful. Treat others as they would like to be treated regardless of race and religion.

And while all that is really important, I think I’m forgetting a few major items on my list.

Like doing your own laundry. Making lunches for school. Being able to decipher your own activities listed on the fridge calendar. Go out on a limb and put your brothers’ things away at the back door – yes, even if it isn’t your stuff. Wipe the table without me having to remind (aka nag) eight times.

In other words – don’t depend on me for the rest of your life. I guess that goes back to the very first sentence in my post. Be independent. I need to remember this.

But I think I perpetuate their dependence. I’m up in the mornings, making a big breakfast before school, making sure everyone has a fruit and a veg in their lunches, reminding kids three times over to put their glasses on and remember their school books and wear boots rather than sandals because it is monsoon season on the prairies, at the end of the day, I’m making dinner on my own while everyone else in the house is in front of a screen…

And where does that get me? Most breakfasts go half-eaten and dishes remain on the kitchen table. Lunches come home with everything eaten but the fruit and veg. Kids head off to school with glasses in their pants pockets and books remain on the floor at the front door so I can stare at them all day, determined to have the boys pick them up when they get home from school… only to forget myself and then they end up sitting in the front hall for three weeks…

Hubby gets miffed because I’m coddling. I’m spoiling them. I’m doing too much for them. They don’t appreciate the effort.

True, true and true.

When hubby is at home with them in the mornings he has them make their own breakfast. He still makes lunches, but doesn’t give as much food so they will hopefully be hungry enough to eat the fruit and veg. Books still don’t always seem to make it to school – it doesn’t matter who is in charge.

But the last person in the world to give me a hard time about coddling shouldn’t be hubby. Seriously.

I’m going away for the weekend tomorrow. And I really do wish hubby was coming with me – he would have a hoot visiting my family. But his work and our childcare situation just aren’t meshing for us this time around and he’s staying home with the kids.

Do I worry about him with them? No way.

He took them all on his own to Edmonton (three hours away) for a soccer tournament weekend.

I was out of town (yes, again. No judging in my posts, thank you very much).

He shuttled them to and from the pool, to West Edmonton Mall, back to the hotel, to the pool, to restaurants and to the pool again and to a few soccer games in between. He did great.

And when I told friends and family that he was doing this all on his own, they were amazed. They were impressed. They looked upon him with a new-found respect.

Now let’s be clear here. Hubby is an awesome Dad. Always has been. Since the boys were born, hubby has been in the trenches changing diapers, cleaning spit-up, wiping pureed-carrot out of baby-crevices that no one should have to wipe pureed-carrot out of…

But does going away with three boys for a weekend make him super-dad? Not in my mind. Not in his either. He can’t believe the fuss my friends made over him doing this on his own.

To be honest though, I did build him up at the time and oohed and aaahed along with my besties over how great it was that he did all that work and travel on his own with three boys.

Otherwise known as parenting.

I’ve traveled on a plane and in a car and public transit by myself countless times with these same three ankle-biters. No medal was presented to me!

And hubby thinks the same way. You do whatcha gotta do for your kids.

Which is an awesome attitude and very true and makes me love him even more.

He is a capable, responsible man.

That’s why I’m a little shocked by the both us this past week. I think we’re reverting back to the ’50s style couple with me going away this weekend.

Why you ask? Because last week, hubby was talking to me about everything that needs to be done in this joint and my impending trip came up. And he said to me, ‘can you try and get this house in order before you leave?’

And at the time I took a bit of offense to that. Yes I’m not working and yes I have pretty much all day to clean. But I’m not the only one living here and a little help from the other inhabitants would be handy.

Then I took a step back… I think he meant could I get everything in order in the house for while I’m away…

So I took that to mean organize soccer gear for the boys so everyone can find it, pre-make dinners so when hubby comes home from work he can just re-heat food. I even asked him if he’d like me to make up a schedule of everything going on this weekend so nothing is missed… and he said yes…

On a side note, I have to say that out of all the weekends in June for me to go away, this one is probably the worst. Busy busy busy. With everyone in soccer – one is winding up with his team, the other is in City Championships this weekend, there are birthday parties, hang outs and don’t even get me started on the class activities taking place for the last week of school….

So while I drew the line at making dinners for the lads before I take off, I did actually make a schedule. And I will try my hardest to organize and clean the house today before I leave tomorrow.

Am I perpetuating the dependence of hubby? I think I absolutely am.

And I’m pretty darn sure there were no meals or planning or anything done before he left for his golf trip two weeks ago, or for any Grey Cup since I’ve met him, if memory serves…


Hello, Pot? What colour is that kettle over there?

On the other hand, the man will get the lawn cut for me before he heads out of town. And before his last trip away he put together our new patio table for me to enjoy while he was away… and literally just ten minutes ago he was out in the muck and wet changing the tire on my van so he could take it to the garage to be fixed.

So there is a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that gets done on both sides. Coddling? Maybe. Depends on your point of view.

We’ve been married for almost 16 years now and together for 19. I think its okay once in a while to do something for the other person that makes their day/weekend/life a little easier and a little better.

That includes the kids too. Just wish that little exchange went both ways a little bit more than it does… maybe in time…

And hey, if it eases my mind to make a schedule while I’m away so I can concentrate on my cousin’s birthday party bash? All the better!

And on that note – Happy Birthday Grant – start decanting the wine… I’ll be there soon!