Quality Holiday Time

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It causes me pain and shame to admit my husband and I have had barely any time alone with Jack.  We often get to have two year old Emily as an only child when Jack trots off to a grandparent’s house for a day or overnight.  But it has been months and months since we had any QT with our six year old son.

Yikes.

Like any other relationship, the parent/child dyad takes time and energy to nurture and support the bond.  Sometimes we have to participate in activities we find unpleasant for one another.  For me, this is getting down on the floor and playing with trucks, Star Wars action figures, or Beyblades.  Don’t even get me started on how much I despise Legos.  It is so much easier for me to play dolls or kitchen with my daughter, and this is important for me to be mindful of because if I don’t get down on the floor and play with Jack, our relationship suffers.  He notices and feels neglected, or like I give Emily way more attention.  And he expresses this sense of neglect in words (which is awesome!), or in behavior (which really sucks ass!).

BTW, I am not forcing gender stereotypes on my children based on the above mentioned activities.  Our children have access to all sorts of toys and these are just the activities to which they gravitate.  But it is a very happy coincidence my daughter and I both like dolls!

Anyhoo, this morning we had an offer from a grandparent to spend some time with the child of our choosing.  So, we dropped Emily off for a playdate and went off with just Jack.  We went out to breakfast and played Hangman in the booth while waiting for our food.  Jack chose to sit next to me and at times would snuggle and nuzzle me, or give me sticky, cinnamon bun kisses.

After breakfast we went to our local museum of fine art.  We had taken Jack there last year, and he wasn’t too impressed by it at the time, plus we had a very cranky Emily in a stroller then.  But today he was engaged and interested and it was just plain fun.  We were all relaxed and chipper.

It felt great to reconnect as the triad we used to be.  Jack, his dad, and I used to be a super tight-knit trio before the arrival of Emily two years ago.  Jack was four when she was born so we had had four years of “just the three of us”.  While Emily is the exact stuff of which my heart is made, I must admit that life has been so much more complex for all of us since she became the fourth leaf on our little family tree.  We are still learning how to balance it all.

In some ways, Jack has suffered most, being dethroned as the only child and all, but this year has been really hard for all of us for a bunch of different reasons.  Spending a couple hours with just my fellas as the year draws to a close was just what I needed.  Today was such a gift.  I’m not one for resolutions, but I’m thinking that making a point of having a date between just Jack and us once a month may be really helpful and restorative to our relationship.

And in honor of the season, here is a picture I took of a portrait of Santa today.  HO HO HO!!!

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5 responses »

  1. What a beautiful painting…..
    And how wonderful to spend some time with your son. I didn’t have a daughter, but I love Lego so I spent many happy hours playing on the floor with my son 🙂

  2. How funny, I refer to myself as being dethroned as well, only I was almost 10, and it was not a pretty sight. It took me a good 10 years to get over it. My mom was a single parent too, so it had been just the two of us for most of the time, and I was NOT pleased with this new little creature that took away all my attention.
    With only one child now, it’s hard for me to imagine what it will be like when it’s not just the three of us. It’s hard to imagine that I could love and devote myself to another little being this intensely. But when that time comes, I will keep in mind the importance of maintaining that original relationship with my son. It’s hard to imagine him being okay with sharing me, but I trust that will wane in time.

  3. I love your disclaimer about gender suitors. My son loves exactly what Jack loves and my daughter would rather play with folks, but every once in a while they will want each others toys. I love that you spent one on one time with Jack. He will cherish it.

  4. We just had a discussion about waiting until Potamus is 4 to have another baby (as in, let him be 4 when I give birth), and I keep thinking about your family dynamic and like I’m going to have to bookmark every post because surely this might happen to me…if we do decide to pull the trigger and have another.

    I love the sweet moment you described here. Despite all our twinnings, and my desire to have a girl, I am much more comfortable being a boy-mom. I love wrestling and playing cars down the hallway, and kicking the ball outside. I like mud and puddles and messes. Boof is always saying “potamus, be careful’ and then I roll my eyes because LET’S GO CLIMB A TREE!

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