A friend of mine once said to me that she and her husband try to love each child as if they were the only child they had. It has always stuck with me.
In that spirit, my husband and I try to make “dates” with our girls. For my husband’s birthday last year, for instance, I gave my then 3 yr old daughter a bunch of cash and she took her daddy to the movies to see Wall-E. She bought the movie tickets and all the soda, candy and popcorn he could carry. They had a wonderful time. It became a memory that they often still talk about.
As Ava has been getting bigger (now 2 1/2yr) she wants to be a part of everything. That means, it is hard for Bels and I to have one on one time, and Isabel has been asking for more attention. We finally planned (and budgeted for) a big girls date. Just she and I.
Last month, Bels and I had our date. We got up semi-early and went to IHOP for breakfast. We giggled and talked and had a great time just being together. I really enjoyed just listening to her tell me about things she noticed or memories of vacations. It was incredible to be able to be completely present for her. No phone, no dog, no distractions. I knew she was a bright and interesting girl, but I felt like I was meeting her all over again. I got to ask her questions about things she enjoyed and why she enjoyed them, and to my surprise, she had a lot of things she wanted to know about me!
After breakfast, we went over to the mall. Isabel had seen a book at Barnes and Noble she wanted, so armed with her little purse full of hard-saved cash we made our way to BN. On the way, we saw a caricaturist and I could not think of a better way to commemorate our day together. You can see the picture above. It was a blast! The guy did our drawings separately so we got to watch the other being drawn- along with a crowd of interested shoppers. It took about 10 minutes for us both and he matted and framed it for us on the spot. It cost a bit more, but it was worth it when I got home and hung it directly on the wall.
Then we went to BN and she bought her book and I got a new planner for 2010. We headed to the Kilwin’s store, window shopping along the way and taking time to smell the perfumes and candles. Bels has had her eye on Kilwin’s caramel apples for a while and I agreed to buy her one on our date. We also bought a couple slices of fudge to take home and share.
By then we were both pretty worn out and decided to head for home. I could see the joy on Isabel’s tired face on the drive home. It was just what she had been needing.
I think all children need a little one on one time with each of their parents. It doesn’t have to take an entire morning or cost very much. It could be taking a walk, just the two of you, around the block after dinner. Or eating your cereal together on the deck or porch in the morning while you talk. A friend of ours used to take his daughter to McDonald’s for the $1 sundaes for their dates and they both loved it. When your child has your undivided attention for more than 5 minutes at a time, they just feel special.
If you don’t have a date night with your kids, try it and let me know how it goes! Even a mini-date (30 minutes or so) might surprise you!
Melissa can be found writing at HopeSprouts Homeschool.