Something we started when we first got “blending” was parent/child “dates”.
We decided that it was important, especially as we were transitioning everyone that it needed to be a top priority to have individual time with each child: biological and step.
We did some lunch dates, ice cream dates, dinner dates, activity dates etc.
Over the past year, the “formality” of these dates somehow tapered off a bit. While we do things individually with each child, we weren’t labelling them “dates”: I’d take Zandra to get her nails done, go biking with Zach, kick the ball with Josh, or Rob would take Gabe on an errand, or pick Sam up from school and spend the afternoon with him. Even though we were getting some good one on one time in, the kids mentioned a few weeks ago that we hadn’t had “real dates”. And they were demanding that they be reinstated.
Although I defensively said that we do individual stuff with each of them, as they talked (read: complained), I realized we had taken away some of the best parts of the date idea: The anticipation of the event. The planning: where should we go? And of course, bragging rights: “I am going here today. I really am the favorite child”!
So we have started it up again. Two weeks ago, I had Sushi with Zach and Italian with Josh. Rob had burgers with Zach and Indian with Josh. There was lots of discussion about where to go with each one and they finally carefully chose the spots. Then we each had great dates!
This week, although Zach and Josh are still away, we have the regular schedule with Gabe, Zandra and Sam. We have managed to have a couple of dates in the recent past with them, so this week the ones we have to catch up on are: me with Gabe and Rob with Zandra. Looking forward to it! Gabe and I are heading out tonight to a new burger place he was dying to try. Doesn’t need to be fancy – just needs to be his choice!
Then, I will try to be more vigilant in keeping up with this tradition as I see now how the kids really do look forward to it!