Friday, November 6, 2009

A Date with My Daughter

The choice was hers. We went to the movie theater and saw “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.”

* * * * * * * * * *
It’s the first time Mallory and I go to a movie together…just the two of us…no big sisters. Before we leave the house, she seems hesitant.

“Do you want to go?” she asks her sister Kelly.

Kelly answers, “nope.”

Mallory is disappointed. I decide to be “the good mommy” and tell her that she can invite a friend.

It’s not meant to be – the friend is not home.

“Do you still want to go; just the two of us”?

She smiled, “Yes, I do.”

The thought of having her mommy to herself “clicks.”

* * * * * * * * * *

The movie is animated. I settle in for my typical lukewarm feeling.

But something’s happening. I’m beginning to enjoy the movie, and it’s only the beginning. I’m laughing….I’m laughing again!

(If you have a food obsession, go see this movie that’s based on a book with the same title.)

The food begins to rain from the sky. My first reaction is, “Oh, yum,” but now the characters are so gluttonous and it’s not a pretty picture. But…Mallory and I still decide to finish sharing popcorn and a soda.
* * * * * * * * * *

It’s not often that I do something with only one of my children. Sure, I’m alone with one of them when I’m taking her from one place to another, but a planned date is rare. Some time ago, a friend suggested that each of my children have a date with me. She gave a few reasons, one being, to make them feel special. It sounded good; I was sold. I put it on my list of things to do.

But, I didn’t do it. The kids don’t seem to mind. They never say, “Oh, just me and you Mommy.”

(Well, okay...maybe when they want to go shopping. Each one thinks I’ll buy more if it’s just the two of us.)

Are they lacking? Am I missing signs?

We’re always so “busy.” (There’s that word again.) How do you do that if you have five kids…or seven kids?

I enjoyed my date with Mallory, but I’m not yet feeling that I owe them all an exclusive date on a regular basis. Our family bond seems to be intact.

Although, sometimes, I think of parents with one child and how they don’t miss a beat with anything their child is involved in. “One and done” has it advantages.

I love my three girls and I know you love your child/children too. Regardless of how many we have – to steal a phrase from Maya Angelou, “We’re all doing the best we know how to do.”

Do you plan “dates” with each of your children? If you have one child, do you feel that you have to have a special date, even though you have “just the two of us” time very often? Do you feel that kids need this kind of attention?
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the mom said...

Both me and my husband take the kids one at a time, but not doing anything special like cinema. I might bring just one of them doing an errand, and he would take one or two with him to work sometimes.
Maybe when they get older we'd do more advanced stuff.

Judy said...

I once heard of a survey of kids that rated what kids liked to do, what made them feel special. Time with parents ranked dead last. Don't know really what to make of that though- we think our kids need our guidance and quality time. Maybe kids don't think they need this, but maybe they are wrong.

Menopausal New Mom said...

At 3 1/2, my daughter gets a heck of a lot of just mommy and me time so I guess at this point, I don't have any plans for when she's older. At my age, she will probably be escorting me around when she's a teenager since I will be too old by then to get around by myself.

I like that you took your daughter alone though, anything that keeps that mother/daughter bond strong into the teen years can't hurt!

Abby said...

My husband and I used to do this with our older two. They just petered out, though. It just didn't seem to be much of a big deal. We have a better time when the 5 of us all do something together.

Still, it's nice to get an unplanned "date" every now and then.

Unknown said...

I never made it a special date but would ask one of them if they wanted to go with me to the library or to the store. The other always said, "You go and keep Mommy company." Sometimes, we'd stop off for something to drink but for the most part, it was never a standing date.

Now that Baby Boo is here and an only child when she's with us, she does get me all to herself. I think she loves that.

Anita said...

THE MOM, I think the kids are benefiting from being with us regardless of what we are doing; errands, visiting, etc.
Thanks for starting the conversation. :)

JUDY, maybe its not cool to say that you like to spend time with your parents - well, maybe that's what "We'd" like to think, and that they really do like us. :)

MENO MOM DEB, that's ok if she has to escort you. Make sure she starts learning how to drive as soon as possible! She will owe you!
And you're right, anything towards bonding is welcome. Teens are a diffent, and you can't wait to start when their teens. Gotta start early. Thanks for the good advice.

ABBY, my girls like "the whole family" too. This past summer there was a possibility that one of the kids would not be able to join us for vacation and the others were actually disappointed.
Good hearing from you, another family of five, but with a man cave instead! :)

CHOCOLATE, your memories are like what most of us seem to be doing, which is to consider any time spent with our children as special. I'm sure you "still" enjoy your older children as much as you enjoy Baby Boo. I think your stories and relationship with her are so sweet and loving. :)

Anita said...

MENO MOM DEB, I must be tired, because I can't even understand what I wrote to you. Maybe you do!

Dorraine said...

So glad you had that special time with your daughter. Yes, I have done that over the years, and it's always worked out. It's important stuff. They grow up so fast.

My husband has done that occasionally too. Right now he is in Missouri, going to a football game with one of our college daughters who attends The University of Missouri. And it just happens to be dads weekend there. She was so excited about that.

the mom said...

Where have you gotten your "Comment Notification"? I've searched through the "most common" and "popular" gadgets, but not found it.

Anita said...

DORRAINE, Sounds like you have a great family and make togetherness a priority. Thanks for passing that feeling along to me and others. I'll try to keep up the "bonding" too. :)

Anita said...

THE MOM, I will go to your blog and tell you how to do comment notification.

Hilary said...

Mo saw an episode of Lil' Bill where he had some "private time" with his mom. I think they ran errands or something, but she really took to the idea. I try to have Mommy/Daughter days with the girls separately, but it can be hard to do. My girls are young (2 and 4), so they may not fully appreciate what we're trying to do, but I think it's a good practice to start.

Jennifer Taylor said...

My daughter went to see that movie on Friday with her class as a reward for doing well. I didn't get to go. The job thing gets in my way with only so many days off. She's in between your girls' ages--12.

Menopausal New Mom said...

Hi Anita, I love reading your blog and guess what??

You've been tagged!!

I hope you will swing by to see what it's about and join in. Would love to read what you come up with!!

Anita said...

HILARY, Oh, the wonders of TV! Actually, I've learned a lot from TV. I guess it's a matter of separating the good from the so-so from the bad. I vote "Good" for the "Little Bill" episode that encourages parent-child togetherness and bonding.
Good addition to the conversation.

andrea said...

I have six...the only one who really gets alone time is the four-year-old because he's the only one not yet in school! I really wish I could spend time alone with each one but it just isn't feasible. I did take the fifteen-year-old out to eat and to a movie once this summer and I did pass the football with the twelve-year-old a few nights ago! What I've been doing is try to spend time here doing things they like with them. I watch football games with the twelve-year-old and since we go to church on Saturday evenings, I've been spending Sundays having baking days with the ten-year-old and the almost-nine-year-old. (The six-year-old helps us as the official taster.)

But time alone with each one? I wish I could!

Anita said...

JENNIFER HUDSON TAYLOR, Hello, welcome to my blog! I took a peek at your blogs. I am impressed that you manage to write in your blogs, that you are a published author, a mother, and that you are employed with limited days off. You are on my Super-woman list!
With a 12 year old, I hope you will comment again. I'm sure my readers will appreciate your thoughts and so will I.

Anita said...

ANDREA, I can picture all of what you said, and I can see the challenge of trying to have time with each one individually. When an opportunity comes up, it sounds like you take it. That's what I do, too.
When my youngest was still at home (she didn't go to pre-school and yes, I survived it) I thought we would do more planned things, but honestly, we mostly hung out by doing errands together.
Thanks for letting everyone know how a mom of six handles it!

Theta Mom said...

I think preserving the bond between mother and daughter is so important, so great job for some QT together! BTW, just found you from Deb's blog and read your comment about her Theta Mom post! I would love for you to join in! I wanted to begin this conversation, and it looks like the word is to find new bloggers!

Unknown said...

What a wonderful day to share together!

Julie Magers Soulen Photography
Blog of Note

Kimberly said...

Great post! I have been thinking about having dates with my two girls and sending my hubby out on dates with them. Right now I'm just trying to work on spending quality alone time with them when we are home. If one is napping then I set aside doing something like cleaning or laundry to play with the daughter who is awake. Some times those little alone moments I get during the day are magical for the two of us. Maybe that is all we need for now, but I think dates in the future when they are older will be great too!

Anita said...

THETA MOM, Hello and welcome to my blog! i thank you too for the blogging compliment because Meno Mom Deb is passing it on from you. :)
I will re-read her post this week and visit your blog, too. Thanks for the invitation to join the "network" of Theta Moms.

Anita said...

JULIE, it "was" a wonderful day with my daughter. Hope to have many more.
Cheers to you too!

Anita said...

KIMBERLY, I imagine that each of your daughters are appreciating her alone time with you, more than their young hearts can put into words.
I wish you well as they grow and mature and as outings with you or your husband will advance to "big girl" things. :)
Thanks for joining this conversation.