Relocating alone with my little one has taught me a lot about involved parenting. We have become a lot closer already, and I find myself wanting to try to do more things with her socially so she will feel connected to me and others in our new environment.
I used to feel a lot of pressure when I was left alone with my daughter, especially before age 4. Between her tantrums and overall strong-willed personality, I often didn’t handle her the right way, although it was often the best way I knew how given what I was going through back then. What works when she’s with my parents or her father does not work for me. (Even friends who babysit her love her demeanor–she just likes to save her attitude for me, and that hasn’t changed.)
This week I took her and our 4-year-old neighbor to Ihop, simply because I had a little money and some coupons I could use. It took some time for our food to be prepared, but those two had quite a time waiting for it. We were sitting in a booth close to the kitchen and the register where orders are put in and printed up. At one point, my girl turned around in her seat while our server was at the register, and she said audibly, “What’s taking so long?” She wasn’t irritated but she was hungry, and I thought it was funny. I almost felt like I was with one of my girlfriends and not my 7-year-old, K. I laughed but told her to stop it. Then her friend A mimicked her, of course. They took turns dipping under the seat and doing other silly things until the food came. Not to mention, there was a hailstorm/thunderstorm on the way there, and it was still raining hard on the way back home.
The next night I took them roller skating. My daughter has gone ice skating before (without me), but I didn’t know that she couldn’t roller skate. Our neighbor had never been skating before but she was adventurous and willing to go wherever K went. Let’s just say I got a workout. K learned, my neighbor A had fun holding onto me. Before we left, I could feel my knees and feet hurting (A took me down with her a couple of times), but it was all good. I keep Aspercreme in the cabinet for random activities like this, kickboxing, etc.
Taking some time away from the computer in the afternoon or evenings sometimes to do things with her really helps our togetherness. The TV and the computer will be there, but the opportunities to have moments with my young daughter won’t always be there. I’m choosing to create memories that the tech stuff can’t do, and help mold her into a young lady who knows she can always rely on me, and whom I can be proud of.
(Next up– getting the bonding thing down when it comes to hairdo time, lol!)