DATE NIGHT!!! Before you ask who books the reservations, remembers the wine, or thinks of protection, sadly the date night is with a 4.5 year old.
We started this weekly plan at the worst of the summer insanity. I was frustrated with ugly behavior towards his counselors at Y Camp, being excessively rough with Baby Ian, and downright nasty to anyone that resembled a parent.
In trying to find the positive, we decided that instead of more punishment we would carve out a weekly special outing with just one parent.
The rules include that we take turns having one on one time to talk, play, eat out, and in general get much needed undivided attention. We have been trying to let the executing parent plan the event as well as taking care of dinner. No amount of bad behavior at home or school can prevent date night. On the weeks we moved the date night to a weekend Ben was the first to notice.
Most recently Ben and I took a tot painting class. I had gotten a great deal for a 2 hour guided class for $9.00. Miraculously he participated and listened for the entire 2 hours! He did have brown paint over his right eye that he proudly wore for the ride home to show Bill and Ian.
Believe it or not, Ben did much of the painting. The instructor outlined the monkey, and I showed him how to hold the brush and make strokes. Ben filled in all the major parts and I went back to clean up and add details. I was overall impressed at the final product that is now hanging in his jungle-inspired bathroom. This was a must do date again!
I really think the Divide and Conquer technique of parenting is working for our family. I think the extra attention has helped Ben settle into the 2nd child routine. Date Night will definitely carry on into the new year with some new ideas for this super, duper parenting trick.
Some of our 2010 Dates:
Dog Halloween costume parade at the SPCA
Playground tour of Wake County
Durham Science and Life Museum
Nature hike at Bass Lake
Open play at Bounce U
Marbles Kids Museum
Picnic, duck feeding, attempt at paddle boats
Trip to Tom's Trains
Ice cream sundaes
$1 Movie Theater
Talking Trees Trail at Jordan Lake (family weekend trip)
In-house movie night in homemade tents
Scavenger Hunt at the Raleigh Farmers Market (Baby Ian got to go on this daytime trip)
Future date night agenda
Overnight camp with dad
Attend a music concert
Paint your pot studio
Sledding at Bond Park
NC Museum of Art Kids Saturday
Cane pole fishing
Read to a Dog (at the library)
Write a letter to Santa
Create an (easy) gingerbread house
Eno river creek stomping
American Tobacco Trail and Durham Farmers Market
New Hope Valley Railroad