The Magic of One-on-One Time

Parenting four little kids sometimes leaves me feeling like I’m perpetually in survival mode. No time left in the day to really enjoy my children; instead just enough time to make sure everyone’s basic needs have been met before we flop back into our beds at the end of an exhausting day.

This past week, I signed my three older kids up for a local day camp that ran from 9am – noon, Monday through Friday. We got up early, dressed for the day, and headed to camp each morning. After drop-off was complete, it was just baby Paul and I for the next three hours. Three hours with just my baby, how on earth would we spend out time? Our options seemed endless!

You see, I don’t think I’ve ever spent time with just baby Paul. It’s often baby Paul, and just one of the other kids, but never just the two of us. I knew the three hours each morning with just Paul would be pretty awesome, but in retrospect I was blown away at just how much I love this little kid.

A few things we did, just the two of us:

We went to the farmers market. And I didn’t constantly feel like a mother-hen, keeping track of her little chickens. Just baby Paul riding in his stroller, while we enjoyed the morning and shopped for produce.

We leisurely got groceries, and roamed the aisles of Target. If you’re anything like me, you love to go to Target, and probably end up with a few things in your cart you didn’t know you had to have. But Target with four kids can get crazy fast, so I rarely go. But with just baby Paul in tow, we roamed and roamed the aisles for what felt like forever!

We visited a friend that just had a baby. Know what you don’t do? Take four kids to visit a new mom. My kids are loud, and they will touch and play with everything. But with just baby Paul, I was able to quietly visit with a friend for a couple hours and meet her new bundle of joy.

We napped – WE NAPPED! Even though Paul is almost 18 months old, he still loves his morning nap. So one morning when we didn’t have plans, we went home and both took a morning nap. Friends, I haven’t taken a nap in probably years. Needless to say, the quite hours and unexpected morning nap (for myself) was glorious.

These hours spent with just baby Paul were so amazing and peaceful, that I’m actually rethinking our plans for the fall school year. My older son, Gage, will be four in November and while I wasn’t going to send him to preschool this year, I now think I might. You see, Gage had an absolute blast at camp, interacting and socializing with kids his own age, and without the craziness of running after the two boys, I felt like I connected with Paul in a way I now realize my heart has been desperately craving.

Paul, he’s a pretty cool little guy. And after this week, I now realize I need more one-on-one time with him while he’s still a baby.

Photo credit: Casey Mullins.

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