Did you know that on the 27th of every month, one of us has a date night out with Ethan?
Allow me to explain.
About 9 months ago, we started a once a week date night (as in a sitter comes at 7pm and we leave the house). We would tell Ethan about our date nights before we left…. “We’re going on date with Nick and Cindy” or “Daddy is going on a date to play tennis” or “We’re going on a date night for small group”. We wanted to establish that date night was more than just mom/dad … but was a concept of intentional time with each other and sometimes other people.
But I realized, “date night”, in the way we were doing it, highlighted to Ethan how much we loved us and other people. But not him or Evy. That “dating” was for everyone else.
“Matt. I think we should take turns taking Ethan on a monthly date. We know he feels loved with quality time. And activities. Plus we could ask him questions and allow him to ask us questions like a date. And we get to do a fun activity!”
So it started. On the 27th (his birthday day; easy for us to remember), one of us gets a date night with Ethan. We draw it on his weekly calendar in the kitchen so he looks forward to it! The date starts with us asking him 3 questions, then he asks us 3 questions (whatever he wants!) and then we do an activity.
We try to do every-other person to keep it an even flow. We’ve done everything from bringing him to a restaurant, or a special light night trip to the library, or a new bike path, or an evening kayak ride, or just me and him getting popcorn at the farmers market, or out for some ice cream. I even tried bringing him out to a kids movie once in an actual theater (he lasted 40 minutes)!
He’s just SO SO GOOD one and one. And us parents have this perspective of “date night” that is just like ours or double dates with our friends — but with our kid. That we are not distracted on anything else. Focused on just him. The other parent puts Evy to bed as usual which is also like a mini date for her. And we plan on starting it with her too sometime!
Maybe it’ll last another year or two. But if it manages to last more, what an opportunity to connect with our kids even when they’re older. To ask and to listen, and just hang out. Man. It may fizz out and that’s OK. But if it doesn’t….ooohhhhh.
And, in case you wondered, he asks pretty good questions of us! (our favorite book, favorite food, favorite thing to do at grandparents house, etc). I’ve kept a log of a sampling of the questions we’ve asked him.
If you could eat any food all day long, what would it be? Ice cream
What is your favorite vegetable? Broccoli
Which adult in your life you feel the most safe? Daddy
What food would you never want to eat again? Onions and Mushrooms
Which of your friends makes you laugh the most? JJ and Nene
Which of your friends makes you the most happy? Joshy
What makes you scared? Nothing scares me. Maybe someone pretending to be a monster.
Who would you want to see more often? Nick, Cindy, and Shalai
What is your favorite song? Jesus Loves Me
Can you tell me 6 things that are pretend? Monsters. Ghosts. Costumes. Clifford. and Paw Patrol. Dragons. Santa. Trees. (trees? trees are real buddy). No no. The ones in like stores, those are pretend. (ya, you’re right). Statues – ya know, they don’t talk (true buddy, good point).