Having three dogs in a fenced in backyard has created a much more intense responsibility for poop pick up than I ever expected. My husband is thankfully fastidious about this and goes out like clockwork daily to collect and clean so that children can play safely in our backyard. The same children have been advised that this is one of their chores yet however they seem to escape the responsibility on a regular basis. I guess their ability to outwait their father’s patience is keen.
Taking care of pets can be a huge responsibility that many of us don’t think about before we grab that cute little puppy, or two, and take them home with us. Because who can resist a cute little snuggly puppy? We rescued two puppies in honor of the Covid pandemic. Said puppies have now morphed into small horses and together with their older brother have scratched up my beautiful hardwood floors, have scattered hair into places in my house I did not know dog hair could get to, and softly attacks anyone who walks through the door. They also make each one of my children smile with joy when they see them. And have found sleeping partners which help ease the tension that some of the kids are feeling. Their benefits sincerely outweigh the extras that need to be done.
However, a few days ago I was sitting on the couch minding my own business attempting to enjoy the weekend. Actually I may have been working, because I seem doing that a lot lately. At any rate my youngest comes in saying he has “stepped in something”. “What something something?” I reply. “Dog poop” he states as he continues to walk from the garage to my family room with his shoes on. Yes, with. His. Shoes. On. Like on his feet. The same feet crossing the room towards me. No amount of me saying, screaming, waving my hands would stop this kid on his poopy shoe mission.
“For the love of all that is holy, STOP moving” finally got him to freeze. Unable to explain why he came in or why he shouldn’t be standing there, I ended the increasing frustration by picking up this Covid exercised body (read video game exercise) and carried him to the garage. He was shocked that he had to clean it up. “Use the grass”… he looked at me like I was speaking in tongues. Seriously have I failed this 4th child so badly that at the age of 7 he has no concept of how to clean off a shoe? His bedroom, lego pile(s), Game Center are likely great examples of where the mom self-care training guide has been waylaid. Tell the kid to unload the dishwasher and I get a look like “do what”? Not that he isn’t willing, but he truly thinks he doesn’t know how.
So now is the self evaluation time. This is my baby. The last child. The last of the firsts. And while I desperately want him to not track dog poop thru my house and to not be a 40 year old unable to pour his own milk. I think it’s time to reevaluate our chore list. Do we even have a chore list? I can remember creating this elaborate design of cute little chalkboards hanging from your letter and those were your chores for the day… note to self must improve execution of plans.
But he’s my baby. And all my other babies are maturing and growing into wonderful adults. And adults don’t snuggle up to mama and lay there and then say “has it been one minute, can I have my snack now?”. The former power of the snack. As I watch these little humans blossom into full fledged awesomeness, I vow to find joy in their accomplishments. To find solace in their ability to problem solve. And rejoice at their ability to clean their dirty messes. For finding this in their expansion into the real world is the only way to keep my sanity.