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Monday, April 20, 2009

One-on-one time: Guilt

I wanted to really make an effort to start spending one-on-one time with each of the boys, doing something special with each of them. This does not include the times when I might take one boy with me to the store if the others are napping at home with Daddy or the times when one is up later/earlier than the other two. I mean intentional activities planned that a particular child would enjoy.

Last month, I took Bear to go see Dora Live!(exclamation point is not mine, but in the name of the show). Yesterday, I took Monkey to a baseball game for their kids' day. They each had a blast on their day. Bear was mesmerized by the Dora show. Monkey had every possible fun thing in his dictionary of fun happen yesterday: inflatables to play on before the game, all his good buddies sitting by us at the game, tons of junk food, a toy, and a playground. They enjoyed themselves and I got to enjoy really paying attention to how they each reacted, the things they said and did, every little moment. When they are all with me, my main concern is keeping everyone safe and I know I miss a lot of the precious little moments.

That started me feeling guilty. So much they say and do, all those cute little toddler/preschool moments...I know I miss a lot. It just isn't possible to hear/see everything when you are out and about with three kids under the age of five(or when you are at home with them...). My kids don't get the attention of only children or children who are spaced further apart. How much am I missing out on?

Then, there's the guilt of knowing that a child who is left at home while his brother is having fun would LOVE to be doing what we're out doing. Monkey would have loved the Dora show. Knowing his brother got to go, the next time he saw a commercial for it, he told me that it looked like such fun and when was his turn to get to go? *Cringe* He wouldn't get to go. Bear would have been tearing it up on all those inflatables yesterday and how he coveted his brother's toy that he brought home(no, I couldn't have brought him one, too- it was a giveaway at the door and they wouldn't give me another- I tried). It would be different if they had completely different interested and I felt like I was sparing them the torture of having to put up with a day full of activities that is only for brother's enjoyment. Maybe as they get older and their interests vary more, I won't feel so guilty.

I have a different type of guilt towards Cub. He's just shy of 11 months right now, so he has no idea what he is missing and can't really participate in the things his brothers want to do, so I don't feel guilt leaving him at home. Instead, I feel guilt that I don't have the time to treasure all the little baby times as much as I'd like to. He's such a contented baby that it's easy to let him play while I deal whatever catastrophe his brothers are causing.

Of course, if I weren't finding time to do things one-on-one with each child, I'd feel guilty about that instead. And if I were spending all my time cuddling the baby, I'd feel guilty about that, too. The mommy guilts.


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