Monday, July 28, 2014

Just a Few Words on a Night Out With a Six Year-Old

You have enough on your plate. I'm not going to tell you that the secret to perfect parenting is taking your kids on individual dates on a regularly scheduled basis. But if one night all the other members of your family are occupied, why not do something special? So far this has happened for John and I once every six and three-quarters years, so no pressure!

We had a fun night. Here's my advice when you get the chance to take out a kid one-on-one:

Be flexible! I know John loves burgers, so I recommended Five Guys Burgers & Fries. We showed up, he ordered a hot dog. For the record, he said it was really good and I tried it. It WAS really good.

Be generous! If a kid wants gummy worms, gummy bears, lychee, cookie dough bites and M&Ms on his self-serve frozen yogurt, go with it. What's the worst that can happen? Don't answer that.

Laugh! When we walked into Five Guys Burgers & Fries after talking about it all day long and repeating the name a dozen or more times because the rhyme is catchy, apparently - this kid looked around for half a second and asked, "Okay, what do they have here?"

Listen. In a short time, I won't remember what it was like to have a six year-old son. I tried really hard to listen to all of his chattering and to look into his eyes and connect. It wasn't easy -- that kid wiggles a lot even when he doesn't have to pee - but I tried.

Run! I'm certain my kids' future therapists are going to reveal that their mother loved them through food. Five Guys Burgers & Fries will come up, as will the five-topping yogurt. So I added a park visit to our night out, and we ran and played and managed the dog and rolled down a grass hill and chased mourning doves who were miffed that we bothered them, and dug in the sand volleyball court and swung on the swing. Then, back at home covered in sweat, I let him jump in the pool for an after-bedtime night swim in his underwear. Only stuffy adults go out for dinner and dessert and call it a date. Run! Chase birds! You'll be glad you did and so will your kid.
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