I had been having a harder and harder time carving out regular Special Time for my two sons. During the day, when I am the only adult present, neither of them can stand to be alone while the other receives my warmth and attention. I don’t blame them! I tried to do Special Time in the evenings, after my husband gets home, but that is their time to play with their Daddy, and our lives together feel much better when they both get to soak up some of his love after a whole day apart. Add dinner and bedtime into the mix, and there just isn’t time left without rushing and stressing.
For several weeks I was just fitting it in when I could, when other adults were around and on the weekend. I still kept getting the sense, however, that a small dose of Special Time during the day would really go a long way to boosting my boys’ sense of connection and importance.
One day, my older son, 4 years old, woke up before his brother, and I asked him if he wanted to do Special Time. He was very excited, and wanted to drive his toy trains with me. He had gotten everything set up just right, when his younger brother (2.5) woke up, and I had to go to him. My eldest was very upset, understandably so, and said that he still really wanted our Special Time. I got an idea. I called my husband on the phone at work, and asked if he had 3 minutes to talk “face to face” with the younger one while I had Special Time with our older son. He agreed. We connected our lines, and I put our two year old in front of the screen. I told him he was going to have time with just he and Daddy, and that I was going to be in the other room with his brother. It worked beautifully!
Normally, a phone conversation lasts less than a minute, especially with my 2.5 year old, but having the visual connection really engaged him, and he was content while I set the timer and left with his brother. We only had three minutes of Special Time, but it was just what the two of us needed, and we had a wonderful time. After the three minutes and the call was up, I really noticed that my 4 year old had an abundance of patience for his younger brother, and was really working hard to talk with him when he did get frustrated, without yelling or lashing out (as can sometimes happen in the late afternoons). He was also very affectionate with me for the rest of the day and evening, and our whole day just felt “good.”
My husband and I have agreed to do these little chunks of “face to face” time, to allow me a few minutes of Special Time with each boy, whenever he is available. I am pleased that we have found a way to make technology serve our family well!