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The other day I got thinking about parenting. More precisely, someone challenged me on the topic of spending time with my child – what is important, how much time I spent, and what exactly constituted quality time.
Is it doing a child specific activity or is it just the actual time you spend together doing something, anything, together that really matters?
I didn’t quite have an answer. The question came from someone who, by circumstance, does not have an opportunity to spend as with their child as I do with mine. And it made me realize something – I need to start appreciating my time just a little more than I do.
Case in point – commuting.
I whine about it constantly. I whine on my blog. I whine to my husband. I whine to my friends. I whine to my family. Generally speaking, taking my toddler on the bus is not fun. Okay. I know you all get it.
But, I realized that it’s stuff like this that I should make fun or try to make fun.
Last night, since it’s been a busy week at work and Mike was working late, I decided to take Matty to McDonald’s. I told him that we were taking a special bus – the McDonald’s bus!
There was nothing special about this bus. Well, except my attitude; I decided that I would make commuting FUN. And, it was a blast! We looked out the window, we chatted, we discussed McDonald’s. And, surprise surprise the trip was enjoyable. In fact, I may even go so far as to say it was fun.
Shockingly, because it started off on the right foot, McDonald’s was fun too. Matthew listened to me. He waited in line with me when I ordered, he sat and ate his dinner and then when he was done he asked me if it was time to play. I was impressed. At the end of playtime, while still waiting for Daddy to pick us up, I asked Matt if he wanted ice cream.
Of course he said yes.
And, despite the fact that it was a kind of chilly evening we sat outside on the McDonald’s patio and had strawberry sundaes. The whole time we talked, and laughed and giggled and had fun. And I realized that part of it was because I was making the effort – not to be super mom. But, to just enjoy myself. Which I did.
When we got home we were still in good moods. Mike wanted to walk down to see the Teluscape at the Science Centre. Which we did. It’s not quite ready yet, but it was a fun adventure.
And then it was bedtime. I don’t know what got into me, but Matt brought me an empty paper towel roll.
Perhaps it was the ice cream, or the fun of the evening. But, I decided to demonstrate my karate skills! (wait, have I taken karate. Nope. I did take Wen-Do where you learn to break a board, as well as numerous self defense/aerobics classes).
So, I made Mike hold the paper towel role while I yelled “Hi-YAH!” and broke the role. I know – impressive.
Matthew thought this was the most hilarious thing in the world. So, we spent the next 20 minutes laughing and screaming “Hi-Yah” while trying to break things. Eventually we discovered that karate chopping diapers was great fun.
Truthfully, I don’t know who enjoyed it more – me or Matt. At one point we were both on the floor giggling. It was pretty funny!
And at the end of the evening I figured out the answer to the question. It's not the activity you do with your child that is important - it's the quality of it.