I’m on the fence about going camping in August.
Part of me really wants to go in order to be a part of the childhood experiences that are rapidly dwindling these days. I mean, not really, they’re 13 and 10 which really is still childhood, but in some ways I do see a gap forming between them and me. Especially with the older one. He’s expecting more freedom and independence, yet still lives like a child (meals are made, clean bed to sleep in, someone to buy him new shoes when he needs them). But he tends to want to do things with dad more which is completely normal and natural for an adolescent boy.
Dad likes camping. And fishing. And sleeping with bugs. In tents. During humidity heat waves. Without access to showers. And the kids don’t seem to mind either…
I’m getting more wimpy in my old age… 😉
My main struggle is to keep a line tethered to the kids in such a way that’s not all focused on chores and obligations. Why does it have to be me to remind them to do this stuff all the time? I talked with their dad about this and he’s making a big effort to keep an eye on things too, like in the communal areas especially. We sort of migrated into role-playing when it comes to the kitchen: I do most of the cooking, my daughter often helps along, and both kids but especially the boy will clean up after.
It works, mostly, but it’s not without a little pain. 🙄 But at least now it’s dad, not me, saying to the kids “where are you going, clear off the table, clean the kitchen”.
I sit and sip my soda water. Or a little wine. 🙂
I guess what I want is to maintain a good relationship with both kids going forward into the teen years. And with the teen boy it’s just a little bit more challenging. What can we do together that isn’t a chore or an obligation? Something that is fun for him to do with me?
Well, I go bike riding with the kids. He likes that, and it’s usually me who does that with them, not their dad.
I let them make their own pizzas; adding toppings is something he enjoys doing and we eat and clean up together. That’s another thing.
Tending to animals, dog sitting, guinea pig transfer from indoor cage to outdoor pen, he likes that interaction. I’m the one that was around more during their younger years (stay at home mom) so whenever we dog sat I showed them how to hold a leash properly, how to pick up and dispose of dog poop, how to train dogs to obey you with certain commands. How to feed them, play with them, and all that fun stuff.
I’m the one who knows about art and art galleries, and literature (although their dad is an avid reader too). I got them their first library cards and took them to many free library programs in the hopes it would evoke a lifelong love of both reading and libraries.
Picnics (rather than overnight camping) was my specialty too, and we brought along bubbles back in the day and maybe some sand buckets for the pebble beach on the shores of Lake Ontario. We can still do picnics, we just go on longer hikes nowadays…that’s something that merged from my husband’s love for long hikes and mine for picnics. The original picnics were usually in our neighbourhood parks with the preschoolers bickering over who got to pull the wagon. Gosh, I recall a time when I quit trying to parent them and sat on the sidewalk in despair. I was still learning that negotiating with toddlers is futile…So I sat there with the kids completely perplexed, incredulous that their mom was sitting on the sidewalk not doing anything to resolve their dispute. I waited and they argued. They were 4 and 2 or something like that…lol
(If I recall correctly the big boy let his opinionated sister take the wagon first, and he held my hand and discussed at great length and with compelling complexity about it not being fair. I assured him that she’s pretty small and the wagon pretty heavy and she will probably get distracted and abandon the wagon at any moment…I was wrong. The little nutbar pulled the thing and all its contents the entire way, probably out of spite! And I still remember the way my big boy held back his tears in his huge, brown eyes…sigh.)
And now, they’re tweens and teens. (I made it through the preschool age, yay!)
Today there’s the cooking. Endless, constant feeding the family. My daughter enjoys cooking duties more than my son, but it’s equally important for him to learn the ropes in how to feed himself something beyond store-bought pizza or a bag of chips. No mac and cheese out of a box in this house…we start from scratch.
So I encouraged him to cook a meal a week over the summer.
This hasn’t happened yet (surprise!) but at the very least he’s researched a recipe and emailed it to me for printing. This is what his subject line of the email said:
dum gnocchi stupid useless thing
“You spelled dumb wrong”, I said. 🙂 But I read through the recipe and we have most of the ingredients in house.
I’m thinking Sunday night would be a very good time for him to cook. I’m hoping I can send the man and the girl-child out with the dog we’re sitting so the boy and I can bond. The whole point of it is that we can have a little fun together.
I’ll report back in a future blog post. So stay tuned, friends. 🙂
In the meantime, the camping thing doesn’t have to be decided just yet. If my eczema continues to give me grief then the natural consequence would be to stay home and not expose myself to more issues what with bugs and heat and humidity and green lake water. (Well I guess I’m half decided already…) But there is an off chance I may join them…perhaps there is a way to go along for a couple of days and then I could leave early? I’m usually good for two or three days, but they always want to stay longer.
I prefer camping in the fall, not summer. But in our sports-parenting life, August 22 is the beginning of hockey season and September/October is pre-season hockey and therefore a write-off with back to school and work as well, so…no camping in the fall for us.
Perhaps another potential blog post to look forward to!
And so we begin the third week of summer vacation.
Your turn! Are you planning anything exciting besides teaching kids how to cook, like me?