One-on-one time, in a family of five

Today we set it up so that all three kids got some one-on-one time with one of us. Given that there are three kids, and that the younger two are twins, this is something that virtually never happens. I remember taking Joanna to a medical appointment a couple of years ago and realizing that it was possibly the first time in her life I’d ever spent more than five minutes with her, just the two of us. It’s something that we’ve wanted to do, but has felt challenging to actually accomplish. Today we did it. Hazel got time with her daddy, and Emily and Joanna each got time with me.

It was so wonderful, both in the moment and later. The twins were both more affectionate with me throughout the day, and I felt that our connection was reinforced and refreshed, updated and newly prioritized by the time together, even though it was short, only an hour and a half in each case.

This week Hazel has been home from school for spring break, and it has been a difficult week in some regards. I really have a hard time with lots of simultaneous input from multiple sources, and having three kids around instead of two pushes my limits at times. And I also fell into the trap of having expectations about how the time was going to go, and even more unproductively, how I was going to feel about it. And then the week got fairly complicated in other ways, and my attention was split, and I started to feel guilty about not having the sort of week I had expected to have, and then it got harder to handle, and well, if you have children you likely know that cycle.

Nonetheless, there have been many positives as well as difficulties. Among other things, both the positives and the negatives provide opportunities to learn. And I appreciated today’s opportunities to revel in the simplicity of one child, one conversation, the sweetness of a pair, and the wonderful individuality of my children.

Favorite moments include: Emily snuggled up with me inside my bathrobe; Joanna asking me to repeat the sound effect I made as she ran her hand along a chain-link fence; the fort built in the living room by Ted and Hazel, and all of them sitting under it as he read a book to them; and Ted and I doing a good job both of setting expectations about bedtime (we’re trying to get back on track) and also flexing together where necessary when realizing that insisting on absolute adherence was going to get us nowhere good.

I am so grateful for my family.

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