That’s how my 9-year-old describes Special time. I offer it or he asks for it. Either way, we do it when both of us are ready.
In Special time, I am a “present” for my son. My unadulterated attention, my agenda free presence and he deciding what to do and me following him with delight are what make this time “the best thing ever”.
My son loves it because he is the boss during this time. He gets to ask me to do things which are fun for him and to which I might have said “I am tired”, “please finish your homework first”, “don’t climb there”, “don’t jump like that”. However, during this time, I let go of my to-do list and unleash my inner child. My only agenda in Special time – follow and enjoy my sweet boy.
During our years of doing special time, some special rituals have been created by him. He starts with him and me rolling on the bed while hugging. The togetherness, joy and connection we feel is indescribable. He follows this with what we have called “Statue of Liberty” pose where he climbs on my knees and balances himself. He has invented many such poses that have been named by him as Leaning Tower of Pisa, aeroplane in turbulence, burning bridge.
He notices the difference in the way I rejoice in him, look at him and follow his lead. He has pointed out to me that he wishes Special time could go on forever.
He has chosen to do other things too like play card games or board games, sometimes screen time but the one thing constant is, he knows his mother is fully paying attention. She won’t get interrupted by another adult, phone call, folding laundry, talking to the other sibling. He loves this time and so do I.
Special time is like an oasis of fun in the desert of a mundane day. When I can suspend my chores, my agendas, my to-do lists and just focus on fun and joy. I know I can count on this tool on a happy day when everything is smooth or a day when nothing seems to be going well.
Knowing and practising this tool has confirmed one thing to me, children need and thrive on connection. Like they need food, sleep, air and play, they also need a relaxed adult around them enjoying them, delighting in them and letting them be.
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