Special “Dates” with Each Child

Since having my third son, it’s become increasingly difficult for me to get in any quality time with each of my boys as individuals. I think the very hardest part of having multiple children is this constant ache of having to divide my attentionbeach scene

My middle son will plead with me to play with him, but I’m in the middle of helping another brother with a very urgent personal hygiene need…I get so sad when I look up into those sad faces.

I’ve been trying to go on special dates with each child. That’s not entirely true–I view the nights spent nursing my baby as our quality time together! I really try to focus on the older two boys and plan small outings one-on-one.

Yesterday, my younger two children were napping at the same time, so I took my kindergartener out to my favorite Belgian restaurant. I just love going to this restaurant for mussels and frites. I never actually order anything different there, just a wheat beer and a pound of mussels with crusty bread and crispy fries. Divine!

It never occurred to me that my child might like to eat this, so we ordered him the waffles.

Intrigued by my big bowl of shells, he asked to taste one. And he loved it. So, for an hour, we sat together and plucked mussels from shells and talked about how the chef steams them, how they open up when they’re ready to eat. What a treat to share a love of seafood with my oldest baby.

I haven’t tried anything quite so adventurous with my toddler. He’s so unpredictable! He and I usually do the family grocery shopping together on Friday evenings, which is slightly unfair because his is a “chore” date and my oldest got a luxurious meal…during which he also spent a lot of time complaining about how he’d rather be playing with the iPad.

Every day, I remind myself that these early days of nitty-gritty, in the trenches parenting are fleeting. Very soon, I will be the one begging them to spend time with me. In the mean time, I’m so glad I know my son likes shellfish so we can sneak away together for a clam bake. I’d love to figure out a “treat date” for my middle son. Maybe he and I can go out for ice cream!

Do you ever go on dates with your children? Leave us a comment to share some of your favorite outings!

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