A couple months back, my family kicked offÂ weekly dinner dates for one-on-one kid-parent combinations. Every Tuesday night, a pair of usÂ has a night out togetherÂ while the rest of us eat at home. Because we are five busy peopleÂ withÂ two parents and three children, I geeked out to make a formal six-week rotation and plugged it into our google calendar:
- Mommy – Sawyer (4)
- Daddy – Milo (8)
- Mommy – Holden (10)
- Daddy – Sawyer
- Mommy – Milo
- Daddy – Holden
(and then you repeat… FOREVER until they still come back from college for dinner every two weeks!)
What’s so great about special kid dates?
It has been fantastic all around. Each of the children really looks forward to getting a night out at a restaurant they choose with focused individual attention from their favorite grown-ups. As I dutifully learned in Siblings Without Rivalry, we never talk about the ones that are not there.
So far, the preschooler has visited a new-to-him Mexican restaurant (unfamiliar quesadillas!), funky diner (someone put whipped cream on his pancake!), and the new board game cafe in town; he likes to pick a new Transformer to join us in case we get into any trouble (Chase, above, is trying to keep us from cheating at games).
Milo, on the other hand, has chosen the game cafe each time loving the familiarity and that he gets to order grilled cheese and choose all the games he wants without having to agree with big or little brother. Pictured below is the eleventeenth time we ran the MouseTrap course before getting it to really work!
At age 10, Holden has been more willing to try new foods and places. Yes, he also had a week at the game cafe but he chose pizza, Mexican, and the local hibachi place, too. He asked me this week why we couldn’t do special kid dates every night because they’re so great. If only we had the money and time, kid…
So, what’s the problem with these special kid dates?
Aside from the finite quantities of both money and time to visit all the restaurants in town; we’ve noticed one repeating pattern each week. After we get home from so much fun we’re bothÂ skipping with glee, shit gets real. It is bedtime and one of us is done being a super-awesome parentÂ and the otherÂ of us is so wound up, bedtime is the last thing he wants to do.
And the parent says, “We had so much fun, why do you have to ruin it?” and the child stomps off slamming doors as he goes. And scene.
pssst. When we become parents, I also think it is super important to findÂ time forÂ yourself to doÂ what you love, time with your girlfriends, AND dates with your partner! So that’s another big reason I can’t do special kid dates every night.
[Top photo is Denna Bendall; other photos are Heather Flett, rights reserved]