Spending quality time with family has become like a Gift. A special moment / occasion for everyone involved with lots of love and laughter.
But as it is with Gifts, they are not regular features of daily life but ‘usually’ spurred on by moments.
So taking stock of the few months that have already passed by (and going by the adage – ‘Better late than never’) we have decided to gift our children ‘time’. Our time. And more importantly- as often as we can, on a daily basis.
This need dawned on us when we were doing some future planning and it hit us right then! Our children are never going to be as young as they are today! That time would get difficult to regain. How hard is it to create beautiful moments everyday? Quite hard actually! And sometimes we want, need and deserve day offs! And so not counting those days, we plan to be dogged about our ‘gift of time’ to our children by doing a few things (admittedly some we had no choice in, while the others were very conscious decisions)-
Resolution No.1 -Off with technology! Luckily our mealtimes are sans technology already. Showing off a bit, but that has been really successful and zero slip ups till date. So now our resolve is to ensure our laptops, phones and TV time is all reserved for when the children are asleep! This has been super tough to do! What has technology done to us?? Our constant need to be in touch with everyone but our children!!! Unfortunately there will always be more than enough reasons to justify the usage but only one reason not to – our children need our undivided attention.
But we are not going to give up on our resolve and let technology’s stronghold get the better of us. So we are having more ‘look children in the eye’ kind of conversations and less of me staring at the phone and saying, “uh huh”. Already I can see the benefits with more settled and happy children. Maybe they were always like that but I didn’t really look up from my phone long enough and see that. That extra time is now allowing me to capture those little experiences where Buttercup will admire herself in the mirror while walking out of the room or when Peanut will do an excited jiggle when one of his cars, in his line of cars, wins a race!
We used to car pool to school and I was SO glad to get an extra hour in my life. But unfortunately that stopped and I was sulking BIG time. Luckily that sulking lasted for just a day. I had forgotten how delightful it was to pick up the kids after school. Peanut and Buttercup would see me coming and they would be excitedly screaming ‘Mamaaaaa’. Then both start talking and the chatter is non-stop on the way back. The worst realization is that this personalized pick up service would stop once the children go to full fledged schools and the school buses take over. So I decided to take this moment a notch up and now we stop for some coconut water everyday. It’s a ritual that we cherish. We sit on the little stools outside the shack, choose the colours of our straw and sip on coconut water with enough and more chatter by Peanut and Buttercup. It may seem too little a thing to make an impact, but when one day our shack (yes, its ours now J) was closed, we were all visibly upset and the gloom continued all the way home with Peanut wanting to know ‘WHY’ the place was closed. I barely got a peep out of my otherwise verbose kiddos. So that’s the second resolve – Find the silver lining in every cloud and then shoo away that cloud.
And that gets me to the 3rd resolve – Don’t hurry through the day. I love routines and I love things being on time; so not hurrying through the day all the time is a BIG resolve for me. Luckily I can tweak a little, so routines are still there but I have loosened up on the time bit. The children’s lunchtime can be pushed by half an hour and really no one is harmed in the process! J So apart from the coconut water time, I now stop at the supermarket with kids in tow. Now the route home is not mundane but mysterious. Who knows where Mama will take them? J I read a beautiful piece about regretting not spending that little extra time and one of the things mentioned was combing the girl’s hair. Just rushing by this activity, which could actually be a huge bonding moment between a mother and a daughter. And I realized I was doing the same thing. So now I spend time gently combing Buttercup’s beautiful long, curly hair all the while talking with her while she looks into the mirror. Buttercup will want a new hairstyle and we will try it and she will make these hilarious faces and when I laugh she will scrunch up her eyebrows and say ‘don’t laugh’ and then we will both laugh together. I was super glad I read that piece before buttercup grew up.
Our 4th resolve came just like the 2nd – fate’s wonderful intervention. Limited house help meant hubby and self were more involved in the housework. Naturally the children would have wondered at these strange new things their parents were up to. But as days turned into weeks and months they realized it was part and parcel of life and through that time we got them involved in daily chores. This one has so many, many benefits that it actually merits a whole post to it. But suffice to say that apart from making your child independent and appreciate the work that goes on around them, it also creates mini bonding moments. So while Buttercup enjoys helping me with putting the clothes to dry, Peanut will promptly take out his broom and start sweeping up some mess (he does a really good job!). They both love (yup they love it) to lay the dining table. A recent memorable moment was when Peanut took his plate to the kitchen and instead of just leaving it in the sink (as they usually do) he actually rinsed it and came out beaming and excitedly narrated his new action to hubby.
5th resolve – Play with the little ones and ‘try’ not to refuse them when they say ‘Mama please play with us’. Buttercup says this a lot and again I read a heart wrenching piece (such potent write-ups on the internet) where a little child would constantly ask his parent to kiss them good night but the parent couldn’t / didn’t citing housework. Till one day the child stopped asking! Again being only to glad to have read this in time I ensure that most times (I need a break too from time to time J) when Buttercup asks ‘ Mama please play with me’, I happily oblige. If not for her, I definitely do not want to be living with that guilt of not being there to attend to an innocent request.
For now these 5 resolves (some little ones and some with a more wider reach) are keeping us amply busy in creating more intimate #KhuljayeBachpan moments for our children.