One-on-Ones

The problem with having four children is that sometimes in the hustle and bustle of everyday life individuality gets buried. You can’t really listen to your 6 year old try and tell you about her day while your 22 months old are whining at your feet and clinging to your legs while you are desperately trying to make dinner thinking about how long is it till your husband walks through the door and rescues you … or … your 9 year old describing every intricacy of Lego’s or Greek gods and goddess. It’s hard when I have to tell C that I haven’t gotten a chance to read the book in the series she is currently reading.

I’ve learned that as our family grows it becomes more and more important to take time with each child individually, alone. The boys are to young to have mommy time but their turn will come. It will be so important for them because we have to remember that even though they are twins and in their case even share the same genetic code they are two separate complete individuals. Even now we can see their different personalities emerge. It is Ryan’s and my job to foster that individuality and help them grow into their own separate selves.

So, every month I try to take the girls out – on their own with just me, just one on one. This month’s girl date was a little impromptu. Ryan and I try to plan them in advance. It’s just easier that way. E and I went out on Wednesday. I was heading out by myself to spend the last of my Christmas gift cards and she was going out to ride her bike. As I walked out the door towards the car I watched her start to maneuver her bike down the driveway. I stopped and asked her if she wanted to come with. Her reaction was one of joy. She immediately smiled and her eyes lit up. She ran to the car. We went to several stores. I let her pick dinner -Applebees. She got an ice cream cone at Chick-fil-a. She was so completely happy. For E to have this time is so important. She is essentially the middle child even though she has two younger brothers and there is no doubt that she feels that sometimes. For E getting to go out is a recharge. It does wonders if we are having any behavioral problems. She understands how important she is to me. She understands that no matter how busy I get that I love her even when she is making me crazy.

C got her night tonight. She was so excited. We ran a few errands and then we got to go to her favorite place in the world – the bookstore. During the drive and while we ran our errands she talked non-stop. She told me about school and Star Wars and Greek gods. Things I barely understand. We laughed at a funny email I had received. For her a night out that means that she is listened too. I never have to say much. I just ask her a few questions and let her talk her little heart out. In a world where she can be easily drowned out this matters so much to her. Yet, even while we were out my oldest girl thought of her siblings. In the bookstore she bought each of her siblings a book with her own money. E had been so upset when we left and C hadn’t forgotten. C needed that time alone with me but she still thought about her siblings. She understood how hard it had been for E to let us go and wanted to bring her something to make her happy.

I hope that these evening out are a preparation for later years. I hope that my girls know that whenever they want they can ask for an evening out with their mom. So that both C & E will feel important and know that I will always be there to listen to them. It’s so important to establish those lines of communication now not when they’re older and it may be to late.

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