Eric and I both come from families with five children, and we are both the youngest. And the similarities stop there. Eric’s mother had five children in 7 years. Mine had five in 15 years. Eric’s mother was a single mom for a while. My siblings were all out of the house by the time I was a freshman and it was just me and my parents. Both of them, all the time. So of course, these differences have played into how Eric and I parent.
It’s Saturday morning. You all are at the Market, or getting ready to go to the Market. Eric has been up since 3:30 and out the door by 6 am. After trying to trick Milo back to bed for 2 hours, we are up, dressed and eating eggs by 7 am. By 9 I have mentally prepared myself to see Whitey. See earlier post. I get Milo in the backpack, grab the egg baskets and my long piece of bamboo. While I have learned to respect Whitey, I am still ready for him to jump on my back or Milo’s back at any moment. We walk down the road to the fields where the chicken houses sit and jump the fence. We refill the bell waterers and the water pans. We check feed levels and then we gather eggs. Sometimes Dena, Jeanne’s dog, will help us out. She will run wildly around the fences and get some of the hens to follow her. It’s kinda funny. But the whole time Milo is secured on my back. If I position myself wrong he can easily grab the hens who are laying, or the eggs they just so graciously and elegantly laid. Once we are done we usually have a cup of coffee with Jeanne, play with the llamas and chase the cats. After this we head home and get Milo settled for an 11 am nap.
Now Eric gets home around 1-1:30 on Saturdays. Eric usually takes Milo with him for an egg run on Saturday. This last Saturday one of the hanging waterers broke, and Eric had to hurry over to fix it. He grabbed Milo and the egg baskets and headed out the door.
Me: “Do you want to take the carrier?”
Eric: “What? No. We don’t need it.”
Me: “Really? How can you handle Milo and the chickens? I’m not that good.”
After a good 30-45 minutes pass, Eric and Seth returned home. Seth arrived first, shaking his head. Eric followed behind, saying, “Now, you are not going to believe what Milo did.” Eric proceeds to pull a soaking wet child from the truck. Mind you we use cloth diapers, and those things hold a lot of water, but he was soaked head to toe. The next 15 minutes was filled with explanations of, “I just turned around and he was standing in the water bucket. Oh, and he went running after Whitey.”
Me:”You don’t carry him? You just let him run around? You don’t worry about him getting pecked at, or falling into something?”
Eric: blank stare. “No.”
I am grateful for the difference in our parenting style. I want to be the parent that is able to let go and watch my child explore fearlessly. But for now, I play the role of the Safety Sergeant.