"Mommy, do you have to work late tonight?"
First thing she asked when I went into her room this morning after she woke up.
Broke my heart.
Good thing last night I decided today was going to be "Katie Day".
Things have been tough this last month - lots of late nights between Dave and I due to crazy busy work schedules - so the kids are constantly hearing how one of us has to work late and the other one will be on solo dinner duty that night.
Granted, working late in our house means home around 630 the latest for the most part - but for us - that's late - we're usually all home by 5:30 and are VERY VERY luck that our lives so far have allowed that.
So - back to the tough month - we've been working a lot. Ben is also very much 2 and quite a handful - so Katie kinda gets the shit end of the deal as the "older, more responsible, you know better than that child" We expect her to be more mature than her 4 years SHOULD allow and she steps up to the plate all the time. Ben ruins her tea parties, he distracts us, he pushes her buttons and our lives tend to revolve around making sure Benny isn't doing something wrong/bad/dangerous/mean.
And we take it out on Katie. And we know that's night fair. Every kid has their own stigma - oldest child, middle child, youngest child. You can't avoid it - I don't care what you say.
So - last night I decided she needed some extra attention. A day where we did what she wanted.
I woke her up and after she asked me if I was working - I told her it was Katie Day - a day to do whatever she wants that we can realistically do. She chose to go to breakfast with Dave one on one and then to the dollar store to look for these marble things she's been asking for for about 2 months.
While she was there she got a bouncy ball from a vending machine.
They came home and she immediately asked if she could go back and get Benny a bouncy ball too.
We went back out and our first stop was the dollar store where she got Benny's bouncy ball - then we went to TJ Maxx to look for fun stuff and as usual she was a perfectly behaved child. She didn't get upset when I told her she couldn't buy ALL the stuff she wanted and she methodically traded things in until she settled on a horse purse stuffed animal thing and a new mini Princess doll. (she has been asking for this doll for about a year now.)
We then went to Walmart as I had a return and thought we could find stick on earrings for her there (one of her requests) - she stayed with me the whole time and listened and picked stuff out and helped me and then asked if we could go home to the boys. I explained that if we went home she would have to share and play with Ben and she said that was ok.
So, we went home and the rest of the day was just as amazing. During Ben's nap - she and Dave hung out and played and watched a show - I went to the grocery store and got food and a special Katie Day Ocean Themed Cake. (they just happened to have them and they have been studying ocean animals in school lately so I thought it was perfect)
We ate cake, they played together - we shared - we stayed off the phones more than usual and then all went to the park and then let her stay up late to watch a show with just the 2 of us after Ben went to bed.
It was amazing. More days should be like Katie day - so from now on - we are going to do it by hour or groups of hours - some time we do what Ben wants and other times it's Katie's call - we do this already - but I think we can do it better and everyone can get along better.
We need to disconnect from our phones and our work and get back to playing bouncy ball and eating donuts for snack time.
Katie's games are frustrating - we never know the rules and are always playing them wrong - but she loves it when we play with her and we need to let her be a kid. It's so hard when you have a kid that is so mature beyond her years that you start to just expect it all the time and you forget that she's 4 - and sometimes she just wants to have a tea party.
So tea party it is.
Tonight we even stayed up after they went to bed and finished our household projects so we have more flexibility with them.
Every day is going to be a Ben/Katie day and the dishes will have to wait and the laundry will have to be folded later - and the emails from work that come in late will have to be ignored until the next day.
I am going to start going on internet black outs from when they get home until bedtime. I will post pics of them when they are doing awesome things because who can ignore that instinct, but I will do all the rest of it after they are in bed - even if it makes me tired. I have been trying to do this for awhile now and it's just so hard with the house now that I feel like there is SO MUCH more to do - but I can do it at lunchtime. It'll get clean and if not, no one will notice anyway;)
I'll drink an extra cup of coffee in the morning.
They both had such a nice day and I want that to be every weekend instead of the constant arguing, battling, territorial, grumpy, stressful times we've been having with them lately. We need to find more things they can do together and make them meet in the middle.
This is my promise for my kids. I will work harder to make you meet in the middle so that you aren't fighting all the time. I don't know how - but I will try my hardest to make you work together because obviously whenever we separate you you miss the other one.
From now on we can play bouncy ball. (which isn't really bouncy ball - you kind of are supposed to just sit there while she plays bouncy ball and tells you what else to do)
If I figure out how to win this game - I'll let you know.