thepigeoncoop

Musings about life in the Pigeon household


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Get Ready, Get Set…

So this is me; not working.

My job ended about three or four weeks ago… I’m not sure. It has all been a blur of house cleaning, shopping, running errands, kids’ activities, a couple of lunches here and there, trips to the gym, field trips, planning for other trips…

As a friend asked the other day – how in the world did I ever find time to work?

And I was only part time!

Since the job ended, I have been looking for work in between all the other stuff going on. I’ve sent in resumes, talked with contacts, met with a couple of people over possible opportunities…

But I have to be honest here – as much as I like money, the idea of not working over the summer is hugely appealing. The chance to have one more summer with my boys interferes with the thought of how much the extra cash would be so incredibly helpful…

And the further into June we get, the more I think about this.

The days that aren’t filled with monsoon-like weather, where I actually get to see the sunshine… yeah, working in an office right now isn’t quite as appealing as say, heading to the beach with the Pigeon boys, getting out to our trailer, going for a bike ride, or even just sitting in the backyard eating popsicles and hanging out…

How many more summers will I have where I get to be with my kids like this?

How many more summers will I have where they’ll actually want to be with me?

My problem is, I have these great ideas of what summer could be – a fun-filled, adventurous-yet-relaxing two-months with my boys.

But already, being back at home is proving to be a little less than rewarding…

Case in point – breakfast. I believe most days in sending the ankle-biters off with a big breakfast. Smoothie, eggs, toast, whatever fills you up and isn’t going to make you crash ten minutes after the school bell rings (like the kind of cereal they beg for, but only get when we’re camping; sugar-laden and hunger-inducing)…

So I spend most of my mornings catering to the boys. I don’t mind doing this. Being off work means I get to do this and I enjoy it for the most part. I drink my coffee, I talk with the boys (as much as you can chat with them while they are engrossed in some cartoon), I scramble eggs, cook bacon and toast bagels…

And then it starts.

Maybe it is because it is June and everyone is losing their minds waiting for school to end.

Maybe my boys are just useless, spoiled pinheads.

Regardless, the battle ensues to get dishes put away, the table cleaned off, teeth brushed, hair brushed, faces washed…

Basic stuff they’ve been doing since they were kindergarten-age… and I still have to nag over this?

Really?

They are eight, nine and almost eleven. Are you kidding me with this?

Coddling. That’s my problem. I think I coddle too much.

I figure I’ll either do it myself (martyr) or I’ll do it myself (easier than yelling) or I’ll do it myself (and yell the whole time while doing it)…

Some days I really miss working.

Okay, so am I going to go through the summer like this? I think not.

I enjoy doing things for my family, but I’m drawing some boundaries now. I am not a rug to be walked all over.

So if you don’t clean up your spot at the table, the crumbs will be there when you have your next meal.

If you don’t put your clothes in the hamper, they will stay dirty.

Like that mom who went on strike…

Maybe the threats need to stop and I actually need to do it…

Follow through. Yeah.

I have all kinds of lovely thoughts of throwing toys in the garbage, banning video games and taking away play dates and bike time…

But what kind of summer would that give me? Three days into summer vacay and I’ll be praying for September to start.

So as excited as I am that I could actually not be working this summer (shhh… don’t tell hubby), a plan needs to be put in place. Definitely need a plan. One where I don’t lose my mind over the state of this house and the laziness and mindlessness (is that a word?) of my children…

A plan is forming… wish me luck. I’ll keep you posted.

 


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Age Appropriate

I’m starting to enter into those years I’ve dreaded since the doctors first said, ‘its a boy!’

My little Pigeons are growing up – and way too fast.

I’m actually really enjoying these years right now. At this moment. I want to freeze this time. They’re out of the baby stage where everything is a blur of sleepless nights, endless diaper changes, extreme joy and cuddles; but also a lot of physical work.

They’re out of the toddler stage where you can’t even carry on a conversation with another adult because you’re keeping an eye on them and having to run after them so they don’t come too close to anything sharp or steep or slippery or hot or cold or electric, etc… (a.k.a. – a lot of physical work).

They’re out of the preschooler stage where the physical work is of a different nature – as in; if I didn’t have these boys dressed and ready to go out of the house by 9:00 am, the energy bugs took over their little bodies and the wrestling and eventual crying (theirs and mine) would rule our day. So there were bunches of trips to the pool, the zoo, the science centre and the neighbourhood playground.

Endless. Physical. Work.

And now they’re at a great age. Six (almost seven, thank you very much), eight, and nine years old.

They’re so much more independent. They put away their own clothes, clean their own rooms, we assign them chores and when we go out to a restaurant or the mall, more often than not we can actually enjoy ourselves before the herd mentality of three brothers being thrown together in a situation where they have to behave takes over and it all falls apart.

But overall, it is good. It is great.

But along with age comes the mental stuff. No longer the physical strain for Momma Bird. No, no. Now we’re entering into the mind game region – and me without a map.

Of course with me being a girl, the mind games these boys throw at me are nothing for my skill-level.

But I’m sure over time they’ll hone their craft and I’ll be on the losing side… I’ll try to stay optimistic.

But the one thing that is bothering me in a huge way lately, and something I’m not at all ready for, is letting go enough to have these boys make their own decisions as they are bombarded by things that I strongly believe are way too inappropriate for their age.

For instance, my oldest has been heading to a friend’s place after school. And at first it was them playing on this kid’s iPod Touch and checking out their 3-D TV and playing video games on their PS3 or their Wii (first of all, how much dough does this family have?! Seriously – I clearly need to get to know them better.)

But lately these ‘play dates’ have morphed into an afternoon of the boys playing video games.

‘M’ rated video games.

Now for those of you who might not be familiar with this, E is for Everyone, T is for Teen, and M is Mature.

As in; not really recommended for a nine-year old kid.

In my mind.

And the M-rated game they play is Grand Theft Auto.

And that’s the one I know of. There could be others.

Now I’m pretty ignorant when it comes to any techie stuff and in particular where video games are concerned (in fact, just the other day my oldest had to set up the gaming system for me because I’m a bit of a dolt).

But Grand Theft Auto? Even I’ve heard of this game and what I’ve heard had alarm bells ringing all around me when I saw that these guys are playing this violent game.

So now what? Do I say to the mom that I don’t like my son playing this game and I would appreciate it if they wouldn’t play it anymore?

And embarrass the crap out of my son?

But I’m Mom here. I have to wield my power while I can, right?

I’ve talked with my oldest about this and he assures me he knows it is inappropriate and he knows it isn’t real and I shouldn’t worry…

I’ve tried to think of it in terms of ‘their house, their rules’…. or ‘when in Rome’…

But I heard a story the other day about a friend of ours whose 11-year-old son was at a buddy’s place with a few other kids the same age and they switched on the horror movie ‘Saw’.

Now I’ve seen quite a bit of that movie and I don’t think its even appropriate for me to watch; let alone a pre-teen child.

So where does this all begin, where does it end?

Does it start with something like a video game that has swears in it and ends with the kids watching blood-shed in a movie?

I’m at a loss. I know I should go with my gut on this video game dilemma, which is to actually talk to the mom and say that my kids are not allowed to play those kinds of video games at their house and I feel very uncomfortable with it.

Then again, do I want to be the ogre mom? Seriously, my child has been inhabited by a rude, pouty, surly 16-year old boy. Do I want to push it so he hates me forever?

Then again, isn’t that one of the signs of being a good Mom? Who else is going to watch out for this stuff besides Mom?

Or do I just want to pick my battles?

I mean, this mom has her three-year old watching the boys play these video games. And while I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t follow this mom if she jumped off the proverbial bridge, I’m thinking I should chill out and just let these boys have fun – there are worse things, right?

Right?


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Vacationesia

Oh, Mother Nature. How you toy with us measly human beings.

Or maybe I should say Human Nature.

Recently I was on Facebook (to those of you who know me at all, this is the exact opposite of a ‘big shock’).

And I saw a post from a friend of mine that has stuck with me for the last few days. She is a great person I met in university and who is due any day now to have her second child.

She posted about people who say that pregnancy is all fabulous and lovely must have conveniently forgotten about the uncomfortable sleepless nights, having to constantly pee, relentless heart burn, weight gain, water retention and all that other classy stuff that goes along with the miracle and wonder of birth….

This is something known as pregnancy amnesia. There is seriously a term for it. I looked it up on the internet and everyone knows you can believe absolutely everything you find on the web, right? They’ve actually done studies on this. And although the actual brain is not altered during pregnancy, a gazillion women claim they have gone through it. Call it what you will:

•pregnancy brain

•mommy brain

•pregnancy amnesia

•momnesia

My fav? Mum Dumb.

Ah yes, Mother Nature’s way of ensuring women (with the help of some willing men) will go forth and multiply.

More than once.

Because if you don’t remember the pain and discomfort and yuckiness of pregnancy and labour (or an emergency C-section as was the case with me), then maybe you’ll do it more than once.

Hell, maybe even three times.

Some women? Even more!!!

I completely believe in Mum Dumb.

My youngest child will be seven years old in a month and I’m still struggling through this affliction.

Even more so lately. It became very clear to me during our recent family vacation to Mexico that this is something I still struggle with. I now have a new term for it. Feel free to vote on your favourite:

Plane brain?

Vacationesia?

We were in Mazatlan a few weeks ago and while on the plane to get there, I came to the stunning realization that I was sick and tired of my children.

Again.

Let me be very clear here – we hadn’t even arrived to our destination yet, and my children were already driving me insane.

Now it must be said that I throw that term around a lot.

That the kids are driving me crazy.

And in most cases, I’m exaggerating. Its only mild delirium and a couple of grey hairs.

The men in the white coats are not searching for me with the nets every time the kids spill on the table multiple times during a meal or when they constantly squabble over video games. I know the padded room is in my future, but it won’t happen because one of my angels left the house without his mittens or socks in -30 weather or left the toothpaste all over the bathroom counter.

But after we disembarked from the plane I was definitely drained, exhausted and thinking that I was in for a world of hurt with these boys… and in response to my pain and suffering; everyone else would be having a cruddy vacation too.

No one is happy when Momma is unhappy.

But by the time we gathered our luggage and went through (ha ha) Mexican security, I was already looking forward to our next adventure. I was excited to be away with my boys and eager to have fun as a family…

Of course the cerveza offered to me in the airport lobby might have helped in that area a bit…

Overall, the vacation was a success.

There were a few blips on the radar, as there inevitably is when traveling with children…

Okay, I’m downplaying.

Geez. This is a serious problem! Vacationesia, I’m telling you!

In reality, I was ready to pitch a few of them out of my hotel room once or twice.

And that was even after I had started on my glass of wine.

Don’t even get me started on the attitudes, the foot stomping, the whining and the very impressive body contortions accompanied by ‘awwwwww! Whyyyyyyyyeeeeee!?!’ when we visited the Mazatlan aquarium… with my mother-in-law… front row and centre to witness the wonderful behaviour of my three little frigging angels.

Or when approached by beach-side salesmen with trinkets and knick-knacks… We would respond with a ‘no, gracias’, only to be blasted by back-talk and an ear-piercing screech of ‘awwwww! Whyyyyyeeeee!?!’…

Makes it hard to be gracious and polite while saying ‘no’ to these strangers with a brat in the background kicking sand and complaining that they ‘never get anything’… while on a beach… at a resort… in Mexico…

Over all we had a fantastic time and the boys got a chance to go zip lining, quadding and ride absolutely everywhere without a seat belt. We had fun playing in the ocean and had a chance to experience a bit of Carnival. We visited with family and ate the best food and did a lot of sight-seeing!

So really, I’m exaggerating… the vacation wasn’t that bad.

The kids were pretty darn good. Great in fact… in the grand scheme of things…

Crap. There I go again.

Is there a hotline I can call? I need help, stat.

Before I book my next vacation…