Back in January, I made a resolution to have a quality moment with each of my kids every day. Now trying to schedule individual quality time with five kids is not an easy task, especially since I spend most of my day running from one crisis to another. But, none-the-less, I came to the conclusion that they were going to grow up with whatever arbitrary memories they retained from childhood, and since I spend a large part of their days teaching, correcting and reprimanding, I wanted them to have a quasi-equal balance of love and praise. Maybe, just maybe, when they have to choose my nursing home, they’d make their selection based on the time I read to them instead of the time I made them sit in time-out.
At first I tried to be even about the time distribution. Somewhere in my head, I thought that 15 minutes was a good amount of time to allocate to each of them. And then had to find 75 minutes in total, to dedicate to them each day in addition to homework, sports, dinner and music practice. Good luck with that one.
I realized, that none of the kids wanted to be engaged on my schedule. If they were in the middle of something, there was no way they were going to do something with me. It had to be more relaxed and meaningful.
So I chose times that each of them seemed to open to approach. With #1, I sit with him when he first gets into bed. We talk about whatever he wants to talk about and he is happy and engaged. #2 is currently fixated on competing in the Geography Bee, so we bond all over the globe. #3 likes it when I join him for a Lego-building adventure or when I watch him play Mind-Craft. He likes explaining it to me. And I need it. With the twins, they’re four and still love a good ole fashioned tickle-fest or a tango through the kitchen.
I realized that when I took a moment to give them a squeeze and tell them how awesome they were, they felt special.
I once told my behavior ridden, #2 the Aspy, “I just want you to know that no matter how much I may yell at you, I love you more.” He stopped, gave me eye contact and said, “Thanks, Mom. That made me feel so special.”
Thanksgiving is the time of year when we reflect on what we are grateful for. Since the resolution, I have made the extra effort to give them unique moments that are fun and special, and hopefully they will retain them as great childhood memories. I know that I am hugely grateful for the time I spend with them and the memories I created for all of us. It’s a win-win.
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