I decided on Monday morning that I wanted to invest more time into being a better parent to our boys. I had no intention of reading any reference books, attending any seminars, or reading any parenting magazines (mainly because that takes effort). My only plan was to spend time with them doing activities they enjoy.
Carter has been attending Yarran (an AMAZING early intervention preschool for anyone unfamiliar with it) and they have a big focus on playing with your child to help their development. Seems so obvious, but the one thing I really don't do very well is to let them lead and guide the play. Too often I have a plan on what activity we will do and what we will get out of it rather than just playing for fun and seeing where it goes. Sometimes my attitude is to just 'do my time' with play so I can get back to my own 'to-do' list.
Monday I had Carter at home with me. There was weekend washing to do, bathroom to clean, and dinner to cook.
I chucked the washing on, put dinner in the oven and asked Carter what he felt like doing. He grabbed his scooter and announced we were going for a walk to the skate park. The skate park is a 5 minute walk, but took us about 15. We were the only ones there, but I got to watch my little fellow on his scooter. He is really confident and coordinated on his scooter, which is a stark contrast to his coordination when walking (from the amount of bruises he gets from falling over or walking into things it's a surprise we haven't been reported to DOCS).
We then went for a walk and headed home. In the afternoon we played baseball and did some drawing. I felt a little sad when I realized how much he loved my attention. Im happy he enjoys being with me, but sad because so often he bounces over to me with a ball in his hands asking me to come outside and play, but I tell him I am busy.
And I am busy, but I know if I really wanted to I could find ten minutes to play outside with my little buddy.
That same evening, I wanted to teach Tony how to play Phase 10. He is a bright spark and even though he is younger than the recommended age, I thought he would enjoy it and thrive on the challenge.
How right I was. In fact, he actually beat me his first game, and I wasn't even going easy on him!
It is a delight to watch his brain ticking over as he takes everything in.
Almost exactly 24 hours later, Tony appeared in front of me with Phase 10 in his hands and a hopeful look in his eyes. How could I resist?
I know I'm not a terrible parent or anything, but I am a little disappointed in myself that I sometimes forget that I actually 'enjoy' my children's company. That at times, dropping what I am doing and having some fun with them can feel like work. Don't get me wrong, they are work sometimes, they can be the hardest work of my day. But they are always the best part of day as well.
So....after two days of trying to devote more of me to my sons, how was I repaid?
Tony was awake for the majority of last night with a bad ear infection. Sleepless child equals sleepless parents. Carter had preschool at Yarran this morning and when I returned to pick him up, I was asked;
"Are congratulations in order?"
Obviously bewildered I responded with a befuddled look. I was then informed that Carter had announced to his new Yarran preschool teachers that his Mummy and Daddy were getting married and then given them all a celebratory hi-5. I had to tell them we have been married nearly 8 years now.
And....the icing on the cake - going to pick up Anthony from work and taking a 'busting' Carter to the staff room toilets only to have him blast the taps when he washed his hands and water splash ALL OVER the crotch of my pants! It seriously looked like I had wet my pants!
I am more than happy to have the favor go unreturned next time.