The biggest challenge of parenting, in my opinion, is to always make sure that our children’s emotional love tanks are full. When we see a kid act up a lot, that’s a sure sign that his love tank is depleting and needs replenishing. A child misbehaving with a problem that calls for discipline is usually an empty love tank problem. This is when we would remember the good advice of a wise someone.
Long before we became parents, someone wise once told us that apart from spending quality time together as a family, we need to make time for alone-time with our children, one on one. The parent is to give the individual child unreserved affection, and lots of eye contact and focused attention during these parent-child dates.
For us, this means that we get six possible variations with three kids – Mama and Ben, Dad and Ben; Mama and Becks, Dad and Becks; Mama and Nat, Dad and Nat – just so all kids get alone time with both parents.
This also means I wish I had more than 24 hours a day. While it is impossible to work out the six permutations every day, we try to schedule in time alone with each child when we can, and if we need to.
Lately, Becks has been throwing a lot more tantrums than usual and clamming up, grunting and whining more than she talks. Her teachers at daycare have also been commenting that she’s been crying for no reason during meal times and after her nap, and she’s been wailing “I want Mama” every day when she’s at school. At home, whenever I spoke to her, she would refuse to reply me or smile.
Red light alert. It’s time for some time together, just me and her.
So I picked her up alone after her nap at childcare last Friday. She was shocked to see me and searched around for her father and brother.
“Becks, would you like to have ‘special time’ with Mama, just me and you?” I asked.
“Where’s Dada?” was her reply.
“No Dada. We’re going out alone, ok?”
It took some time for her to change from grumpy to happy but as we walked out of school, there was a skip in her steps.
I took her by bus to one of the ice cream joints along Upper Thomson. It was her first time on a public bus. We sat together, looking out of the window and holding hands all the way. I think she was very glad to be given all the attention that afternoon.
We went to Neli’s Ice Cream and had waffles with sea salt chocolate and vanilla ice cream. She ate happily and we took some happy pictures together.
We then took a long walk to Thomson Plaza. Along the way, she kept talking and asking me questions. I haven’t heard her yak so much in a while so it was refreshing to hear her as she spoke randomly. We did some shopping together and enjoyed each other’s company; well, at least I did!
I think her love tank was filled up that day with a bus ride, an ice cream, a long walk and some new clothes. Yay!