A few weeks ago Chad and I told the kids that we wanted to start taking them on dates...just one child at a time and us. (I've watched enough Jon and Kate plus Eight and 400 million Kids and Counting to know that kids in larger families often feel a bit invisible. So in hopes of giving each child their own identity and special time with mom and dad, we adopted the one-on-one date night...an idea I stole from Jon and Kate plus Eight actually.)
The kids were thrilled when we introduced the idea and told them they could pick whatever they wanted to do...within reason.
Beckham's date was first and all he wanted to do was go to the store. We tried urging him to choose something else, but then realized that our efforts sorta went against the purpose of the date...which was giving the child all creative control.
So, to the store it was. Now, I know that the only reason Beckham wanted to go to the store is so he could mull around the toy section for an hour and a half. I suggested that instead of going to plain old Wally's or Target that we go to the mother of all toy stores...the mother of all toy stores that Utah has to offer anyway, Toys-R-Us.
I'll spare you all the boring details by saying that there was a lot of wandering that took place. We told the boy he could pick out one toy. He finally settled on a Fisher Price pirate island play set.
One down, three to go.
Next it was Avery's turn. She's been begging to get he ears pierced for I don't know how long and she jumped on the chance to plan her own date to the Piercing Pagoda. She was totally calm and collected until she saw the girl pull out the piercing gun. Even then she maintained her composure but became visibley nervous. When it came time for the actual piercing she sat as still as could be an took it like a true woman of pionner stock. I was so proud of her. And...she looked so stinkin' cute her pink diamond studs.
Then Chad, on a whim, suggested we get Rowan's ears pierced...since we were already there. I hadn't really given it much thought, but then Chad reminded me how often strangers assume she's a boy...even when she's wearing pink, and I was totally game. I picked out a cute pair of diamond studs and we were set. All we needed to do now was the actually piercing. I tried to stifle all the anxiety and guilt I was feeling as I pinned Rowan's head against my chest and LET the girl shoot the unnecessary earrings through her pure, virgin ears.
She freaked out, naturally. It was a cry I have never heard before...not even when she's gotten her shots. This cry was different. It was as if she knew I'd been overcome with the world and put her through this torture all for the sake of "looking cute". There was a moment of regret, then Rowan stopped crying and I got a good look at her perfectly pierced ears...and I didn't care, because the kid looked fah-reaking adorable.
When we got home and Quinn saw Avery and Rowan's ears, she was set to get hers done too. I know the kid to well and suggested pedicures instead. She was happy with the idea, and frankly so was I.
When it finally came time for Quinn's date she changed her mind last minute (wonder who she gets that from?) and decided she wanted to go the the Hello Kitty store at the mall instead.
We walked through the door and Quinn had half the store picked out. We finally narrowed her purchases down to two ridiculously over priced items...a set of smelly markers and a wallet.
The date concluded with a ride on the carousel and a quick stop by The Red Balloon.
Finally, Carter's date.
He chose to go to the movies. He's read all of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians books and wanted to see it played out on the big screen. Sadly I did not get to go on this date as I was unable to find a sitter, and also because the younger kiddies had been sick and I felt like I needed to stay with them. In my defense, I had surprised Carter at school by picking him up and taking him to lunch a few days earlier. According to Chad, Carter loved the show and they had a great time on their dude date.
Now as I consider the dates we took each kid on, they seem like no big deal to me. But, I'm pretty sure that they meant something more to each of the kids...at least to Carter and Avery. Sadly, those two are the ones most often overlooked simply because they are older and more independant. I was happy to give them the opportunity to be the center of attention, because they are super, great kids and they deserved it.
And while I am happy to have completed our first date rotation and think that we will shoot for a second cycle (that is once we've SAVED up enough money to do it again) we may have to rethink a few things. I think a less expensive date might be on the agenda next time as it has become quite evident that these kiddies know how to spend money. But that said, they were worth every penny. Time with my babies, while they are still young, is priceless.