a pretty common question I get from other moms adding to their family is “how do I devote one on one time to each of my children“.. I think its a normal concern a parent can feel when the thought of having enough to give to a second or third or even fourth, if you’re like us. to be honest that question never was raised among Jordan and I because we started out with two. we started out splitting our time and heart and effort amongst two infants, so when we added Baker, we knew the drill.. but it wasn’t until I was close to my due date with Brady that I felt the mom stress of giving to each child what they need everyday. how was I going to do it??
kids are different. they have different needs, emotions, likes, dislikes.. thank goodness. as the three girls have gotten older I have been able to figure out what their “love languages” are- and while we spend a lot of time together as a family, its important to fill their “love cup” as best we can based on what we know satisfies their emotions. if each kid needed the same from me I would be treading water trying to keep up and pulling my hair out in stress by the end of the day. I’ve also watched my kids fill each other’s love cups even better than I can and its incredible to watch and listen the excitement and care they have for one another- thats the best part about having a large family. I’ll keep up with the cheesy terms like “love cup” because I don’t know what else to call it or how else to describe it, so hang with me 🙂
we all have the bad/stressful days, with one kid or 10 kids, that doesn’t look any different for us but I’ve found that being more mindful of each of my children in what they individually need has helped keep the balance.
Jolie LOVES gifts. when I was her age a new pair of shoes or a doll or even a sucker from the gas station filled me to the brim with love. to this day, as an adult, gifts are a huge deal to me- I keep them forever and tend to remember the exact day and reason a gift was received for. I saw this for the first time when Jolie was 8 months old- we took them to build-a-bear and her beloved puppy was born. her daddy hung the moon that day and she has never forgotten it! little things that allow Jolie to know we’re thinking of her is a big deal.
Parker needs times. she doesn’t care about “stuff”. at all. I can buy her a toy or doll and she loves it but Jolie is the one that ends up carrying it around somehow. her love cup is overflowing when she spends true one on one time with Jordan and/or me. a mani-pedi with mom, cinnamon roll breakfast date with dad, and even as small as taking a 15 minute drive in the car to pick up groceries or walking the dog up the street just the two of us.. it does her so much good.
Jo loves quality time as well and we do make a point to spend solo time with her, but for Parker this is very important.
Baker needs physical touch. she wants to be loved on.. and she will even come tell me “will you love on me for a minute?” and I drop everything I’m doing to sit on the couch and read a book or put together a puzzle with her. doesn’t take much because she keeps pretty busy and to herself but about 15-20 minutes a day is devoted to Baker Bree cuddles.
Parker and Jolie LOVE cuddles. but its different for Baker. its like a recharge for her and you can instantly see the change in her demeanor when she’s had some mama or daddy loving. ..now for Brady. I haven’t figured his out yet. he is at an age where he pretty much “needs” me all day long and it will still be some time before I can single out what really works for his emotional needs.
all that being said- we are in a season with kids where we need to rely on each other, babysitters, or grandparent’s help with the one on one time outside of the house. aside from the day to day with each of them, we try really hard to stay on a schedule of true one on one time with each child about once a month- doesn’t always happen because of scheduling or lack of child care but for that reason we try hard to schedule this time pretty far out in advance for one or both of us to be with one or two of the kids at a time. the beauty of Jordan’s shift schedule is that we can plan outings during the week and don’t have to wait until the weekend to get our time in together :: his schedule works out to about 4 or sometimes 5 days a week in his fire station/hospital rotation, which means we get 2-3 full days of him home every week. I know this season is coming to an end with kindergarten approaching very quickly and that “schedule” will have to change, but its been working really well for us and we’re soaking it up as best we can!
last season we took Parker and Jolie to a Rangers baseball game just the two of them and it was the best time with our big girls. I told Jordan at the end of the night we needed to t ry and plan a game with them every season- so this year we planned for another game (with fireworks at the end!) and it was such a fun night! these girls are getting so big- looking at these pictures I still cannot believe how much they’ve changed.we got to the game with enough time to get dinner and drinks before we got to our seats- we bought season tickets with Jordan’s parents a couple years ago and share the row with BB and Papa’s besties, the Landon’s, so we always snag their 2 seats when Jordan and I want to take a couple more people- in this case it was the sweetest fans in the stands. big girls got a treat with Sprite to drink + hotdogs for dinner. ..and, of course, Barbie tagged along. which truly was a great distraction until we hit the 7th inning and had to get up for some ice cream and walk around. the girls played Barbies together in between dancing to the music and playing the games on the jumbo screen. Parker’s freckles get me every time. fireworks at the end of the night was worth the wait!! Parker and Jolie talked all evening about these fireworks and they had the best seat in the house!! I’d say their dad loved them just as much as the twins did. this time next year we will have two kindergarten graduates and maybe even bring sweet Baker along for our annual big girls night!