look at that face. Bebeğim nerede? | Photo: Denna Bendall

A couple months back, my family kicked off weekly dinner dates for one-on-one kid-parent combinations. Every Tuesday night, a pair of us has a night out together while the rest of us eat at home. because we are five busy people with two parents and three children, I geeked out to make a formal six-week rotation and plugged it into our google calendar:

Mommy – Sawyer (4)

Daddy – Milo (8)

Mommy – Holden (10)

Daddy – Sawyer

Mommy – Milo

Daddy – Holden

(and then you repeat… forever until they still come back from college for dinner every two weeks!)

What’s so terrific about special kid dates?

It has been wonderful all around. Each of the children really looks forward to getting a night out at a restaurant they choose with focused individual attention from their favorite grown-ups. As I dutifully learned in siblings Without Rivalry, we never talk about the ones that are not there.

So far, the preschooler has went to a new-to-him Mexican restaurant (unfamiliar quesadillas!), funky diner (someone put whipped cream on his pancake!), and the new board game cafe in town; he likes to pick a new Transformer to join us in case we get into any trouble (Chase, above, is trying to keep us from cheating at games).

Milo, on the other hand, has chosen the game cafe each time loving the familiarity and that he gets to purchase grilled cheese and choose all the games he wants without having to agree with big or little brother. imagined below is the eleventeenth time we ran the MouseTrap course before getting it to really work!

At age 10, Holden has been much more prepared to try new foods and places. Yes, he also had a week at the game cafe but he chose pizza, Mexican, and the local hibachi place, too. He asked me this week why we couldn’t do special kid dates every night because they’re so great. If only we had the money and time, kid…

So, what’s the problem with these special kid dates?

Aside from the finite quantities of both money and time to check out all the restaurants in town; we’ve discovered one repeating pattern each week. After we get home from so much fun we’re both skipping with glee, shit gets real. It is bedtime and one of us is done being a super-awesome parent and the other of us is so wound up, bedtime is the last thing he wants to do.

And the parent says, “We had so much fun, why do you have to destroy it?” and the child stomps off slamming doors as he goes. and scene.

pssst. When we become parents, I also think it is very essential to find time for yourself to do what you love, time with your girlfriends, and dates with your partner! So that’s another big reason I can’t do special kid dates every night.

[Top photo is Denna Bendall; other photos are Heather Flett, rights reserved]

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