Sunday, April 26, 2009

One on one time

D: Last weekend I had one of the best days, spent as a parent. And then this weekend, I has a similarly spectacular day, but for different reasons. Last week, I was with Finn for 4 hours, just he and I. This weekend was spent with Ollie. I had such a great time with each of my sons! I’m not sure how this is going to sound, but I honestly felt as if I were just getting to know them individually for the first time.

Taking the much-appreciated suggestion from Tracy, W and I decided it was important for us to carve out some one on one time with each child. Playing zone defense when one of us is absent, or even when it’s two on two, can get overwhelming during this challenging age. But we are also learning that it’s an age that is filled with many wonderful moments of development and wonder… those moments are just harder to savor and appreciate when your attention is being pulled away towards the other child.

Don’t get me wrong. We love our family time, all 4 of us together. It’s how we roll. We’re good at it, and we all have a lot of fun together. It actually is hard for W and I to leave each other to each go and do fun things apart… because we’d rather go and do them together. But recently I have realized that not only were we missing out on the chance to have some valuable encounters with our kids, the boys are also missing out on the chance to have their parents attention 100% on them.

And so, when we have the chance to get some one on one time with the boys, this is what’s most important to me… the ability to completely let any and everything else go and be entirely in the moment with that child. I always try to be in the moment when I’m with both of them… I let work, house cleaning, errands, etc. fall by the way side… and I simply get down on the floor and ‘play’. But from their perspective, they never really have my undivided attention. And until now, I didn’t really realize how different they behave around me when they are not always fighting for my attention. It’s amazing, and that’s what I mean by ‘getting to know them for the first time’.

Not only do they behave better (less tantrums, less defiant, more agreeable), but also each one of them communicates with me more, and seems more at peace and able to just ‘hang out’ in one place for a long period of time. This is, I’m sure, because they do not have to feel rushed to keep up with their twin, or not swayed to push their brother’s buttons or fight for what’s due.

Finn and I walked along the beach and collected rocks to throw in the water. We were able to do this task at his pace, which I’ve never really realized is so methodical. We went for a hike and I let him lead me, allowing him to pick and choose whichever path he wanted to go down. Ollie and I went down to the Pike Place Market. He stopped at every busker on the crowded sidewalk and smiled at them and danced along to their music. We also shared a pastry across from each other at a busy coffee shop and people-watched for almost 30 minutes with no highchair or straps! Then we walked hand in hand down to the pier to watch the boats come in and wave at ever single person getting off the ferry.

These excursions have allowed me to see what my children are capable of, as individuals. I am so proud of who they are becoming and love each of them so differently. I am so glad that W and I are able to have the chance to devote all of our love and attention to each one of them individually, and that we now realized just how valuable these opportunities are.

Posted by Walker Lockhart @ 2:59 PM

Read or Post a Comment

Thank you so much for posting this and sharing your experience! I've read a while and never commented, but I love hearing about your boys. We have twin girls who turn two tomorrow, and I have read about making sure to have one-on-one time and how important it is for development...but honestly, we've been in survival mode for two years! I'm so happy to hear how it is for you and I am going to make this a priority for our family. Thank you again!

Posted by Blogger Melissa @ Monday, April 27, 2009 11:26:00 AM #

So glad you got some one on one time! It is SO great and you described it perfectly:) Only trouble is J & B ask for the other ALL the time when we do 1 on 1 time! Miss you guys!

Posted by Blogger Boyer Family In Seattle @ Monday, April 27, 2009 5:20:00 PM #

the one on one time is precious and priceless and truly needed for them and us. i am glad you have discovered your love is it too.

Posted by Blogger mames @ Monday, April 27, 2009 10:34:00 PM #

doesn't this make all the difference in the world?! it truly is amazing how different they are when it's just one-on-one. so glad you are making the time for this!

Posted by Blogger t + j @ Tuesday, April 28, 2009 9:16:00 AM #

We've been trying to do one on one time as often as possible over the last year or so and still, each time I am equally amazed at how different I am as a mother and how different the boys are individually. I am so much more in the moment...enjoying every possible second...and so, SO much more calmer and patient. I also love how each kid soaks up the attention and realizes that he doesn't have to compete for lap space, toys or mama's arms.

It makes you truly appreciate them even more as individuals, brothers and, of course...twins.

Posted by Blogger The Adventures of Carrie, Brook, Finn and Reid @ Wednesday, April 29, 2009 2:56:00 PM #

Dana, my two oldest are going on 14 and 9 and I still make time alone with each of them. It makes them feel special and yes, there's no fighting, arguing, and minimal whining! So keep it up and it will help you keep your sanity!


Posted by Anonymous Jen Samson @ Friday, May 15, 2009 10:25:00 AM #
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