Forty before Forty Item #18: discovering Jammy

When I made the resolution to spend some quality time with each of my 3 kids, I knew it would be difficult. I spend lots of time with them, but it's mostly with all 3 of them. On the rare occasions that Alfie and I get our parents to babysit, or when do splurge for a babysitter, we use the time as a couple. My plan for one-on-one kid time was was to ask Alfie to watch 2 kids on some weekend, and take the 3rd one on a solo excursion, which is great in theory, but hasn't worked out too well.

At least, it hasn't worked out for the boys. One thing I've discovered is that it's far easier to spend solo time with The Pea. I could cross out item #17 on my Forty Before Forty list (Do something with The Pea, just The Pea) with a clear conscience right now (in fact, I've just crossed it out). Every time I get a press invite to an advanced movie screening, she's my date (The Muppets, Mars Need Moms, Gnomeo and Juliet, to name a few). It's not like I haven't asked either boy -- but 3Po will only watch movies that are guaranteed not to be scary, and Jammy is so sensitive to emotional situations that he dislikes watching any sort of movie in a movie theatre. She's always game to go to the mall and shop for new clothes, whereas getting the boys to the mall is like pulling teeth. When I suggest something that one boy likes, like playing mini-golf or going for ice-cream, the other one wants to go too. The kid who was supposed to get the one-on-one time always says he doesn't mind if the other one comes along, and he doesn't really care about spending time alone with me, so I end up taking both of them.

So when was the last time I spent time with Jammy, just Jammy? I believe it was sometime in April, when I took him for an orthodontist appointment during school hours and I treated him to a milkshake afterwards. Before that, it may have been when he broke his arm the year before, and I took him to lunch. I know: bad mommy. But when you don't make it a point to do something, time just slips by. That's why I made these resolutions.

Yesterday, both The Pea and 3Po got an invitation to a friend's house for a playdate. Actually, for this particular friends of the boys, a playdate invite for one boy includes his twin by default -- but I decided to take charge and seize the opportunity for some Jammy time. I convinced Jammy to come with me to the mall while his brother and sister were out playing. The mall is usually a dirty word for him, but I bribed him with the promise of picking out a box of chocolates (I had a gift certificate to See's Chocolates). We had a snack, picked out the chocolates, bought a pair of pants. We went to Pottery Barn Kids and spent some time fantasizing about what kind of bedroom he'd like when The Pea gets her own room and he and 3Po get to share a room of their own.

All told, we spent about 2 and a half hours together. Not much, but it was enough. He may claim not to care whether he spends time alone with me, but when he does, and when he gets my full, undivided attention, Jammy is almost a different person. He's less whiny, less aloof, more affectionate. He seems to blossom, and I feel closer to him than ever. It was nice to have a memory with Jammy that belongs to just the two of us. I really need to make a bigger effort to do this more often!

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