Saturday, July 05, 2008

Tender Moments

Most of the time I spend with my kids is maintenance-y in nature. Get
them up, get their clothes on, feed them breakfast, run them to day
care, run them home, feed them dinner, give them baths. Even bedtime
is often mechanical, following a script to the T so as to get them
down as quickly and effectively as possible. And even weekend fun can
feel very business-like: out the door, into the car or onto the
subway, hit one place and then another, and home before anyone melts
down.

Amy's much better at having tender moments, partly because she's
better at not being on the go go go all the time like me, and partly
because she's just more tender than I. But it's not for lack of
interest on my part. So it was nice this week to have a couple of
"moments" with my kids:

* Jada was crying one evening after I had put her to bed, and after
going into her room and ruling out everything I could think of that
might cause her to stop howling, I just stopped, sat down next to her,
and let her cry for a little bit. I let her be sad, in my words and
my body language and my demeanor. Finally, she stopped, pointed to
her closet, and said, "I want to wear a pretty dress." I pulled out
something she liked, asked her if she approved, and had her hang it on
her door. Then I told her she could wear it in the morning. That
seemed to be enough for her; she crawled back into bed, I kissed her
goodnight, and that was the last I heard from her that night.

* Aaron was being his typical crabby self in the morning. Nothing I
did seemed to be to his satisfaction: not changing his diaper, not
putting on his clothes, and definitely not anything I put in front of
him to eat or drink. It was still early, so I didn't have to race the
kids out of the house; so I set up Jada in front of the computer to
watch some family videos, and I put Aaron in the play room and sat
quietly on the floor. He surveyed the room full of toys, decided to
sidle up to me, and put his head on my chest. Less than three seconds
later, he was off, causing damage to a whole set of toys; but those
three seconds, we connected, and all from earlier that morning was
forgotten.

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