How to Train Your Dragon (Child)
When you’re a date night type of couple (we are) and you’re well behind on having a date night (we were), it’s REMARKABLE how little it takes to have a great night. This past weekend, after my mom had asked (without being solicited) to take the kids so we could go out, we had a date night that consisted of Mi Mexico, Starbucks, Wal-Mart and a movie. To be clear, we didn’t even get started until late because we were working on the house. But we grabbed a quick dinner, then headed for Starbucks. Now, it may go against conventional wisdom to get Starbucks at 9 PM, but we’re not that wise. We headed to Wal-Mart for one feminine hygiene product and ended up with $82 worth of Marvel Comics Heroes briefs (Angie looks great in them — who knew?), How to Train Your Dragon blu-ray and pjs, some socks with rubber bottoms and new Tinkerbell flannel jammies for Red. Basically, random.
Why the random, unintended purchases and why the desperation for a date night? Well, besides the fact that Angie and I have strong feelings about the intimacy level that needs to exist in a marriage, our kids are in the process of causing insanity. Red has a couple of molars coming through and has finally learned a few words, which translates to she’s high maintenance and she won’t stop talking. Oh, did I mention she has ZERO volume control? Now, her increased demands have her brother competing at unprecedented levels. And the best way for a 4-year-old to compete against a 1 year new talker? TALK LOUDER AND MORE FREQUENTLY. Mix in the craziness of last week’s work schedule and house projects and it seems our mature, confident little boy is dissolving. Enter the Sunday plan: Take Back Our Child!
So, the movie was one that he saw in the theatre in 3D and loved. We purchased the movie so we could sit and watch it together yesterday (quality time) after he received the movie and matching jammies as a wrapped gift (receiving gifts). I cuddled with him on the couch (physical touch) and told him how much we love watching movies and being with him because he’s our son (words of affirmation). We hit the 4 of the 5 that love langauges touch him. We saw more of the old TD get exposed. A bit more relaxed, competing and being defiant less. Love has an amazing way of breaking down those walls — we made sure he saw a good reflection of how much we love him.
But there’s a deeper story than just loving on our son. Our relationships with our children had been grating so badly because we were running on empty. We’d not had a chance to be together as husband and wife fill our tanks together. See, after the movie, we came home to a quiet house at 12:30 AM. And we did the only logical thing that could be done: we went for a walk (remember that Starbucks fill up?). A gorgeous night and a great time to just talk about what we’re seeing in our lives and in our children and in our friends. Time for free thought, not constrained by time or space or volume. And as a result, our parenting was a much more successful, energetic and purposeful endeavor on Sunday.
We still have a long way to go in getting recharged and refilled. But this is a good example that we parent better when we’re going a better job of connecting with our spouse. Parenting in emotional isolation is a much more difficult job than being on the same page with your spouse. For those of you who do it alone, I seriously have NO idea how you do it. I look forward to the stillness of this weekend and recharging at the retreat. There’s no doubt in my mind that if you want to be the best child trainer possible, your batteries better get recharged periodically.
(btw, for those of you who prayed for our Alpha group, our commitments have gone from 1 Friday and 2 Saturday to 9 commitments for Friday and 6 for Saturday. I appreciate your prayers. I ask that you keep’em coming. I want to see 9 there on Friday and 10 there on Saturday.)