As parents, it’s a bad idea to compete for your kids’ attention. You really don’t want them to have a favorite parent.
However, it’s practically impossible to stop yourself from trying to have a good time with your kids. I mean, they’re your kids. You’re supposed to have a good time with them. Sure, family time is fun. When it’s just you and them, however (or especially just you and one of them) – that’s when you really get to shine.
One of our evening activities when their momma’s not around is “Movie Night”. If we all get our chores done early enough, and get into our pajamas quickly enough, then we can settle down in front of the TV with popcorn and a movie. It’s really a blast. The trick is to sit with them, interacting with them and the movie. You can’t just be a lump, you have to notice things and comment on them, cheer for the good guys, and boo the bad guys.
To get back to that competitve thing for a moment, my movie nights are significantly better than momma’s. Whether I’m there or not, she simply can’t resist the lure of the telephone, or getting caught up on chores, or even a good book.
Yesterday evening, J decided she was going to take a walk with the dogs. I’ve been a bit under the weather (nasty headcold), so as soon as dinner was done, I rushed the kids into their pajamas. C figured it out right away. When I was changing N, however, I thought I’d make it clear. “Would you like to watch Mary Poppins or Chance and Sassy?” I asked.
His eyes lit up. “Marry Poppins!”
“Really?” I asked. I thought Homeward Bound was his favorite. He calls it ‘Chance and Sassy’, after two of the main characters.
“No, Chance and Sassy!”
That’s what I thought. “Okay, Chance and Sassy.”
“No, Mary Poppins!”
Hmm… “Okay, little man. Pick one.”
“Mary Poppins. Yes, Mary Poppins.”
By this point he was changed. I prepared to lift him down off the changing table. “Okay. Mary Poppins.”
“And popcorn?” he asked.
“And mommy’s going?”
Fortunately, he’s good about repeating his questions when I don’t understand: “Is mommy going?”
“Yes. She’s taking a walk.”
“Hooray! Movie Night!”
See, now that’s a problem. It crosses over the line from trying to have a good time into “mommy vs daddy”. The point of DaddyTime is to have a good time, but not at momma’s expense.
I considered cancelling movie night, but, well, the popcorn smelled really, really good.