This series "coffee dates" is documenting intentional time of knowing our kids. Today, I'm talking about a date with our youngest.
When you have three kids, it can sometimes become about chaos control. The act of going out for dinner becomes more of an Olympic feat than simply eating a meal. Is everyone in their seat? What spilled? How many games of I Spy can we play before someone is under the table?
Our youngest, who will be three in October, usually gets the worst of our managing. Instead of talking to her, we give her commands. Sit. Eat. Stop. This past week, the big kids went with the grandparents for three evenings and we found ourselves with a little tagalong. Instead of being bummed that we couldn't be totally kid free, we took advantage of this rare time with our wild one. We actually laughed when she did something funny instead of seeing it as a distraction to the other two. We talked to her about the food and let her pick her meal instead of giving her half of whatever her big sister got to choose. We had more time to decipher her sometimes hard to understand words, which led to alot less frustration for everyone. Was it three relaxing evenings? No. Did we still have to remind her to sit and eat and stop? Yes. But our pace was different. We slowed down. We noticed her. We laughed with her.
It isn't always possible to slow down to our kids' pace. Sometimes, we just gotta walk fast so no one gets ran over by a car. But it's always so sweet when we can go a little slower. Kid pace is by far better than adult pace.