My three children get lots of time with their parents: I'm a stay-at-home mom and my husband offices from home. Even so, we've been sensing the need to greater prioritize special one-on-one time with each child—especially our firstborn. He's 9, he's in school the most (30 hrs/week), and when he's home a sibling rival is never far. We do all we can to diffuse the dynamic, but our kids are often in competition for our attention. One-on-one time with dad seems to happen more naturally, for myriad reasons: he isn't the stay-at-home parent, we have all sons, whenever possible he takes one child with him on business trips. Recently, my husband and I pow-wowed and agreed it's time for me to begin taking my sons on dates. Last night was the kick-off.
I selected my first son to date, wrote him a note with anticipatory clues to whet his appetite, tucked it in an envelope, wrote DATE CARD! on the front, and balanced it on top of a candlestick on the dinner table. The boys discovered the card and were perplexed, intrigued. At dinnertime, I passed the Date Card to my husband. He opened the envelope, read the recipient's name, and passed it to that child. The Bachelor tactic worked better than I could have dreamed. The chosen child proudly took the card and read it aloud slowly, savoring every word. His face was beaming. The card read: "I'm taking you on a date tonight! Dress in warm clothes and be ready to leave at 6:45. Lay your PJs on the couch and make sure your bed is ready to crawl into LATE." His favorite part was the heavy hint that he'd be staying up past bedtime.
My firstborn and I had the best time together, all distractions were silenced and I was able to just be with my son. It was a sweet, bonding evening—akin to breastfeeding him as an infant. In the blink of an eye, 9 years passed by. And one not-so-far-off day when he's "looking for a wife" (Bachelor parlance), The Bachelor approach will not be advised.