My two children are still relatively young. I’m a mama to an almost 3-year-old, and a 7-month-old. The majority of the 1 on 1 time during outings with either child is during trips to the grocery store. Still, this can be a fun time, especially for my toddler. She looks forward to choosing the type of yogurt we buy, helping me pick items off the shelves, throwing them into the basket and of course selecting chocolate in the check-out line.
The bulk of my one of one time with each child happens at home. Doesn’t every parent of multiple children hope that when their kids take a nap, that they nap at the same time? As a mama to two kids, I’ll take a solid hour of alone time any day. Although two hours are even better. But what happens when the sun, star, moon, and nap schedules don’t align? There’s no pause or reset in a quiet house for this mama. Instead, it’s time to play. In fact, nap time is currently when I spend the most amount of one on one with each child.
When the baby is asleep:
It brings me back to the days when our toddler was an only child. All of my attention was devoted solely to her. We play with playdoh, cut out shapes with cookie cutters, mold it into play food. We play with her horse farm, and Barbies (complete with more little pairs of shoes than I own). Sometimes we paint together – the messier the better. And then we prepare dinner together as she scales my kitchen countertops and reaches into the cabinets for the ingredients. It’s not that any of these things couldn’t happen with her baby brother around. It’s that she gets to have an hour or two of doing anything and everything she possibly wants without having to wait for her brother to tag along and she LOVES it. She does also love her baby brother and happily runs to go get him when he wakes up. But it makes me wonder, does she remember the times she was an only child?
When the toddler is asleep:
He frequently wakes up before his sister. Then it’s just him, my husband and I awake. And truthfully, he takes shorter naps than our toddler. But these moments are his time to get that feeling of being an only child. We bring him several toys to play with and chat about what we have planned that day. Every cry is met with immediate and undivided attention. We can practice tummy time without his loving sister trying to “ta-ta” him, or play with a toy without her getting jealous and replacing his toy with a different toy. He can eat a meal in peace without having to hold her hand or share his baby food. He’s still little, but I hope he feels extra loved during these times when it’s just the two of us.
I don’t take them on individual date-like outings yet as they are both still quite young. Perhaps in the next few years. I do treasure the individual time I get with each of them and look forward to continuing to do this. One day I’ll get to sleep, but for now, I don’t mind missing out on a quiet nap time.