Dates with My Big Kids
July 8th, 2014
There’s never quite enough of me to go around.
I’m discovering that one of the hardest things about having three young kids (other than bath time) is juggling their emotional neediness. They all want all of my attention all of the time.
All Of The Time.
Buggie wants to show off his ability to leap off the couch and go directly into a somersault, while Barnacle Baby still thinks that she’s being abused if I’m not holding her. Yesterday, she actually threw a temper tantrum when Buggie sat in my lap for a story – she charged over, screaming, and tried to shove him off. It was impressive.
And then there’s Miss Mouse. That child was born to be an only child.
She craves undivided attention and doesn’t understand why I can’t snuggle up on the couch and read to her in the midst of dinner preparations while Buggie is running through the house brandishing a pirate sword and Birdie is clinging to my leg, screaming. For Miss Mouse, this would be the perfect time to read Snow White. Or perhaps create a friendship bracelet together.
In an effort to create space for each of my big kids to have special time with me, we’ve instituted monthly “date nights” for each of them. On date night, they get to hang out with just me. We go to dinner at the eatery of their choice, do whatever activities they want, and sleep at my parents’ house away from the clamor of siblings.
Miss Mouse went first. First, shrinky dink jewelry-making. Then we wore our new jewelry to dinner at Applebee’s (which she considers to be the height of fancy grown-up eating). Dessert at one of those add-your-toppings-pay-by-weight frozen yogurt places. Lots of bedtime stories. Then – her favorite part – she got to sleep with me in the queen bed.
Tonight, it was Buggie’s turn. He was Super Excited about it, having watched Miss Mouse prance off with me last week. Buggie’s generally more laid back than his big sister but he still knew what he wanted: dinner at the local Chinese buffet. (Okay, our culinary standards are a bit low. Don’t judge. It’s really REALLY hard to eat out with three kids under six!)
After dinner, we went biking around the neighborhood on the “tag-along” bike that he adores. Our ride took us past his best friend’s house and the boys played together for a bit. Then it was home for a bubble bath. He’s currently tucked into the big bed, having been assured that I’ll be in soon.
I definitely pronounce the first two date nights a huge success. The big kids both loved setting the agenda, eating out, and – most of all – spending time with me.
Although Buggie, bless his heart, did ask to call Miss Mouse to say goodnight because he missed her. Sweet boy.