As a mom of four, I need to employ strategies to make sure that my children feel equally special and important. This means finding ways to spend one-on-one time with each of them. It can be something as simple as walking over to a nearby convenience store or painting a picture with them. But the motive goes beyond just spending time together. I use these moments to mentor them, address heart-issues, and build our relationship.
Today I took my five-year old, Edan, to the grocery with me. My two other sons played ball with Edric and it was Tiana’s naptime. So Edan and I had the later part of the morning all to ourselves. I said to him, “I’m so excited to spend time with you. It’s just you and me today.” And then I assigned him the task of keeping my checklist and reminding me about what was on it. In fact, I discovered that Edan is a goal-oriented and focused person. First, he asked me, “How much money do you have?” I thought that was very cute. And I replied, “Enough. Don’t worry.”
And then as I took my time going through the aisles, he started to seem agitated. He kept on saying, “Mom, we should go to the toilet paper.” Or, “Mom, we keep getting things that are not on the list.” I tried to explain to him that there were other items that I needed to buy and even if he found that to be an acceptable explanation, he wasn’t able to relax until we got to the last thing on our list — fruit. This was his favorite part. In our home, we call him the “fruitarian.” He likes fruit a whole lot. So he was thrilled when I picked out one of those delicious Pomelos from Davao (one of his favorite fruits) and let him hold on to it. He actually tucked it under his arm and walked around with it for a while while I pushed the cart.
As I got to the last part of my shopping, I discovered a nice surprise about Edan — he thinks ahead. When we were nearing the check-out area, I had to leave him for a little bit at the end of the noodle aisle, and I went to grab a couple of things. But when I returned, he was not where I left him. Instead, he had managed to push the big cart all the way to a check-out counter that was free and was waiting for me there. “Wow! Thank you, hon,” I said and he beamed.
While I was paying, I said to him, “Go ahead and pick out something for yourself, you were a great help to mommy today.” He got a Crunch bar and a Kit-kat bar. Since it was almost noon, I knew he was hungry and he wanted to eat them but I said, “you can eat those after lunch.” He said, “Okay, mom,” and sat on a stool beside me without fussing.
But when we got to the car, he asked if he could eat the candy bars again, and I replied, “Edan, sometimes we want to do something but it’s not the right time. That’s when we need to exercise self-control.” I went on to explain how self-control can be applied in his own life. And he added, “Oh yah, if I eat them before lunch, I won’t want to eat my lunch.”
We spent about two hours going to the grocery, shopping, and then driving back home together, but I felt like it was one of those priceless experiences when I got to know Edan better and appreciate him more. It was like being on a date with a little gentleman. During lunch, he proudly told Edric, “I took care of mommy!” He sure did!