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Date Night…Cara Mamma & Principessa Style ~ Guest Post

March 31, 2010

Last week, I took Principessa (my 5 year old daughter) on a date. I told her that we were going on a special date, just she and I. She looked at me quizzically, and then I continued telling her that we, two lovely ladies, were going out to a special dinner. I was not telling her that our date night was a result of me realizing that it would be the last night of just “us.” She was off to spend a week with her dad, and then would return to a house full of people, preparing for my wedding to her future step-dad (Rocket). Principessa of course asked if she could have french fries and dessert…she had no idea what was really in store.

We arrived, me playing the role of her escort, treating her like a very big girl, at a local restaurant. Not two minutes after sitting down, did Principessa ask…if she could color. I told her that this restaurant did not have crayons for her to use. Then came the, “can I play with your phone?” I responded- “no, it is dinner, and we are going to talk.” Principessa, in her five year old way, said “that is boring!” –and here is where, i knew that I had gone terribly, terribly wrong.

I am by no means an expert on parenting. My Masters in Education taught me a lot of things, but no where was there a manual for parenting. What I did know, in that moment, was that date night with my daughter was as of now, of dire importance. And that without an extreme intervention, my little Principessa was going to really believe that going out to dinner meant playing on her mom’s iphone while the adults talked.

Eventually we did talk. But I realized a few things as our night continued.

· I need to talk to Principessa–Talk, talk and more talk. Talk is more than just asking her what she did at school. How often have you asked your child what they did at school today, and they say that they can’t remember? Depending on the age, given a chance, most children, will talk about anything.
· I need to play with Principessa. While playing fun Wii games together is nice, board games are better. (Candy Land for those of you that have not played it in 30 years, is still around, and still quite fun!).
· I need to carve out sacred time, family time with Principessa. Family time….needs to be a regularly occurring event. Whether it is reading, playing, or cooking…the main ingredient of together time is key.

As a teacher, I see students with very diverse backgrounds. They speak many languages, have different cultural traditions, and come from varied socio-economic groups. There is one common characteristic though: Whether they are in kindergarten or sixth grade, their faces light up when they talk about having spent special time with their families.

So, although I know that there will be times that the iphone will need to come out… our kids need us…and really, we need them.

About CaraMamma from A Day In The Life: A mom, a wife, an ex-wife, a teacher, a runner, a cancer surivor. But really–what does that mean? I am a honest, reflective, sarcastic woman—often my own worst enemy. I tell it like it is—sometimes without a filter. I believe that optimism and a positive attitude can do just about anything, and on my days, act based on my heart and intuition.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2010 5:31 am

    I love this post!!! It is so easy to forget to spend special quality time with our kids. We homeschool so the kids are home with me all day, but there still needs to be a time when it is just you and the kids hanging out. Coloring, playing a game, something…

  2. March 31, 2010 9:18 am

    Oh my god, how happy am I that the days of Candy Land are behind me? I HATED that game, but I played it . . . endlessly (along with Pretty Pretty Princess and all that damned jewelry), because it was what my younger daughter always chose when it was her time to choose a board game. You’re right. Time spent with your kids is magic.

    Playing board games is a hugely valuable way to spend time with your kids. You get a peek into how they deal with others, how they cooperate (or fail to cooperate), their thoughts on strategy, cheating, winning, and losing. And they talk! When you aren’t asking questions, your children offer up all sorts of information as they march their tokens around the board.

    We have moved on to Backgammon, Yahtzee, and Quirkle — the concept is the same. Time spent with your kids is magic.

    Oh, and date night with your kids? I find it works better if you let your kids choose the date. Dinner at a fancy restaurant is NOT a dream come true for my girls.

    Great post!

  3. March 31, 2010 1:15 pm

    This is such a good reminder that when you want to pick something special, maybe let your kids be in on the decision. That way you can both enjoy it!

    Yay for board games (even if they do drive me crazy) they provide conversation builders and memory makers…and that is the most important thing!

  4. March 31, 2010 6:12 pm

    I found my “special” time with my kids comes when I take them to and from school. I drop our son off first, them take our daughter to high school across town. We talk and laugh and joke around, sing along with the radio, act goofy. The three of us have a blast. We also make sure we all have dinner together every night and the four of us can get caught up on each other’s day.

    And that Candyland? I swear it’s rigged for little kids to win every single time…..

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