Updated: Aug 22, 2019
I spent SEVEN hours of one-on-one time with my two year old yesterday.
I love my kids. But I also love my personal time. I love to work on my projects.
So seven hours is a lot of time (for me) to focus on one child without a 'break'.
Of course, I usually spend that much time with my kids every day. That's what happens when you homeschool.
But it often looks like is us being at home together and they do their thing while I do mine. And once in awhile we interact.
Like when they are hungry. Or need some help. Or during a meal.
But not seven hours of one-on-one time.
Except yesterday. I spent 7 hours only playing with and interacting with my two-year-old.
No work. No personal projects. No reading (okay, just a tiny bit). Nothing 'I' wanted to do.
It was all about her.
We played with the Monopoly pieces. We counted Dominoes and sorted them by color and number of dots. We walked along the shore. We did a photo shoot.
I made a 'fishing pole' with a stick, string, and pine cone. She 'fished' with it off the pontoon boat and the deck (while I held on to her other hand since she almost walked off more than once. I didn't want to get wet jumping in after her.)
There was a time when this would have driven me crazy.
As a new mom, I considered it 'spoiling' my child.
Or just plain ridiculous because she's 'only two' so why should she decide what we get to do?
It's amazing how much I've grown since then.
And how much my skills at parenting have improved from my first child to my last (she's number seven).
Seven hours and not ONE melt-down or tantrum or crying of any sort.
And yes, after having seven kids I fully attribute it to my parenting skills and not personality type or just plain luck. (Alright, there was some luck was involved. Her siblings weren't around to be 'disturbing elements'.)
There were moments that could have turned into crying or meltdowns.
Like when she wanted to get on the boat with her siblings, but couldn't because there was no life jacket small enough for her.
Or when she... hmm. That's the only moment I can think of...
So what's the difference?
I treat her like a person, not a child. I speak to her like she can understand.
I reason with her and explain things that I don't want her to do and why. I let her make decisions. Because, after all, she is two and capable of making some of her own.
And you know what? She understands. She gets it. Kids are smarter than we think.
These aren't things I've always done, especially as a new mom with four kids under the age of four kids (that's how I started out my motherhood journey).
I didn't see them as people worthy of spending time with, but as responsibilities I had to take care of.