Being a stay at home mom I spend tons of time with my children - too much at times. I must admit though I hardly ever get quality one on one time with my kids. In part because I don't want to hurt the other two's feelings if I single one of them out. I want them to all feel loved equally by mommy. I know that its important to spend one on one time with them but another reason that I think it's been tough is because they are all boys and they like the same things for the most part. I think that its easier for parents that have a boy and girl because there are gender based activities that can help with the singular quality time and its more likely that a boy wouldn't be jealous of girl related activities and vice versa.
Well last night I finally got my chance to spend one on one time with my middle son, Benji. We both LOVE pizza and its something that both of us could eat every day. I wanted to try a pizza place by our house for dinner and nobody but Benji wanted to go so I figured that this was my perfect opportunity to go on my first Mother-Son date with my six year old. Something that we have talked about doing for awhile now.
To my surprise my oldest was happy to stay home while his brother and I went out and the little one was sleeping, so it was perfect. Benji was really excited and so was I. As I started getting ready to go I admit, I had a mini panic attack. What if we didn't have anything to talk about? What if he was bored hanging out with his mom? Normally there are three other people joining in on the conversation at any given moment - would I be entertaining enough on my own? I didn't want him to bring his DSi, our normal quieting distraction in restaurants, because I wanted this time to talk and to bond. I decided to have him bring his new I Spy book because he loves searching for the items with me and it would be a great chance to do it without anyone chiming in.
Then we were off. We ended up being the last customers of the night in the pizza place, in fact, we were the only customers in the entire place. I hadn't been there before so I didn't know what to expect. After we were seated we got to searching in the I Spy book, which Benji was excited about. It was a great way to pass the time while we waited for our pizza to come to the table. And it doubled as a great way for us to work on Benji's reading skills.
Finally the pizza came and we put the book away. It was time to talk. Of all of our kids Benji has had the hardest time with our recent move so I wanted to talk to him about his feelings. I asked him if he had been making friends at school and he told me that we wasn't. Which I happen to know is a bit of a fib. I told him that I found a note from a friend of his that said Benji was his best friend. Benji denies having any real friends. While he was scarfing down his pizza he told me that he was afraid to make new friends because he didn't want to forget the old ones.
My heart melted.
He is so sweet and I told him that in life you will meet many people and make many friends. You will never forget the ones that mean the most to you, no matter how far away you are from them. They are always in your heart. I reassured him that its important to make new friends and he definitely wouldn't want to miss out on new friendships and his old friends wouldn't want him to either.
He also shared with me that he thought I spent way too much time on the computer and he hated trying to get my attention sometimes. We had a well overdue talk about my blog and what it means to me and our family. He seemed to be understanding - as much as a six year old can be that is. His comments reminded me that I needed to be more aware of my computer time and how it affects my kids. I do make the boys wait when I am on the computer and they are demanding things from me, like I'm their short order cook/maid, because I think its rude. I guess I didn't see that from their perspective I am being rude to them just by being on the computer in general sometimes. I think we both learned a lot from this conversation.
After those few serious moments we got right back to the business of being silly again. Benji loves to joke around and it was nice to see him smile. We got our pizza boxed up and headed home but not before we stopped for some M&M's and chocolate milk.
Overall it was a really great experience for me. And Benji from what he told me anyways... I can't believe that I was nervous about not having anything to talk about with my kid. I am glad that my fears were unfounded.
I told him that it was a lot of fun for me and that the next time I will take his older brother and then he and I can go out again. Benji then asked, "Well what if he doesn't want to go with you?". Then I asked him if he thought that his big brother would turn me down and he said "Yes!". So maybe I'm not such a great date after all? Not to toot my own horn or anything but I have a sneaking suspicion that he only said it because he knows that if his brother chooses to default on his turn with me then it's right back to him again. He's a smart little cookie.
I think that I will be making more of an effort to take my boys out independently from now on. I just need to get my head around that what we do doesn't have to be spectacularly fun and that a trip to the grocery store or the library can be just as great as long as its time well spent talking.
How do you spend independent quality time with your kids? Do you have to deal with jealousy issues? Tell me please!