In a house full of kids, I rarely get one-on-one time with my children.
Every now and then, one of them finds me alone.
Sometimes it's the first one who wakes up and sneaks into bed with me. Sometimes they run to beat everyone else home from school and quickly try to tell me everything that happened while no one is interrupting them. Sometimes it's just sitting by the fire while the rest of the kids are distracted by a movie.
Sometimes I'm hiding from them, eating their seasonal candy, wishing for five more minutes to myself.
Whatever and whoever the situation though, I know it's only a matter of minutes, maybe seconds, that we have before someone else feels the attention shift and says "Look what I can do!"
In our special moments, I like to take a mental picture, contemplate how they came out of me, and put my arms around them. Then I do what I always do. They're already anticipating it.
I sing, "I think we're alone now."
The older ones tend to moan, '"Oh mommmmm!" and then try to wiggle free and get away.
That song will forever trigger those eye-rolling feelings of their mother smothering them. All through their adolescence they will pretend to detest it even though I know they love it. The little ones smile and eat it up. You can see their happiness. They are happy at how special they are in that moment (a lovely cheese pizza just for me!).
We all have weird things that we do to make our kids feel special and loved. Sometimes the stranger the better. I'm sure these are the things that stick with them. Although I think it's important to listen to children and respect their space, I would much rather them have to wiggle out of a hug than feel I didn't hug them enough. I'd rather ask them the same question five times than not ask out of fear I'm being annoying. Oh, I'm going to be annoying. I'm going to be the absolute worst! No amount of shhhhhing or eye rolling will help.
Be sure to tell your therapist that I hugged you too much and asked too many questions.
And when we were alone I sang ...
"I think we're alone now."
Jen Reekie was born and raised in Quincy and received a communications degree at the University of Kansas, which has come in quite handy as she communicates every day with four children who don't hear a word she says. This stay-at-home mom enjoys the challenge, though, and shares her experiences in this blog, "Mum's the Word." She welcomes your feedback, questions and stories about staying sane while raising kids.