Well, today has been a hot and grumpy one! The boys and I are all pretty tired from all the socialising ;) - plus hot weather tends to sap your energy anyway. They were all looking forward to having Daddy home (as that is the obvious highlight to our weekends), but he is understandably also tired from working hard all week, and isn't always as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as the boys, first thing (!) We get to stay home and play all week - it's only fair that he gets down-time too, really - it's just working that into a weekend where Mummy could also do with a break, AND making sure we get some decent family time in - well, it feels like we're expecting too much really, even before we consider the things that need doing, such as mowing the lawn, or today's job - going to the Estate Agents to renew our lease on the house we live in!
So today ended up being pretty frustrating. I took the boys out to see family for a while, which was nice (apart from a VERY-loud-though-thankfully-short-lived tantrum from DS3), but then when we got back there was lots of waiting around: waiting for different people to finish eating lunch; waiting for me to load & unload yet another load of washing (water-fights make much mess!); waiting for various children to finish having a strop/ argument/ time-out; waiting for Mummy and Daddy to actually agree on what we were going to do; waiting for DS2 and Daddy to finish preparing for later (more on that in a minute)... it felt like we spent the best part of 3 to 4 hours waiting, & failing to get ourselves synchronised :( ( I bet no-one's feeling inadequate in comparison now, hey?)
Anyhow eventually, late in the afternoon we got ourselves together and I took DS1 & 3 up to the park on their bikes and we had a lovely time (except that the boys weren't at all interested in Mummy's amazing daisy-chain-making skills - hmph). Hubby and DS2? well, they set off on their big adventure! For a good while now, DS2 has been talking about going camping on his own with Daddy, but the weather's not been entirely co-operative for a fun experience. This weekend we finally got the time and the sunshine - so Daddy booked in at the campsite up the road (far away enough to be an adventure, but close enough to not have to spend ages travelling). We have camped away as a family before, so DS2 should be fine - but the boys also used to camp in the garden (before we got the trampoline that takes up all available space), and it was not unusual for them to wake up in the early hours and decide they'd prefer to be in their own beds! Hopefully going to a proper campsite will remove that temptation!
We all know the importance of spending "quality time" with our children (not that the rest of the day felt like it qualified as such, so my title today was a bit tongue-in-cheek). For us in a family with multiple children, I think it's vital that some of those experiences are one-on-one, as they really strengthen individual relationships. For example, DS1 will never forget the time he and Daddy climbed a mountain in Scotland together (and touched the snow at the top!) Ever since then, DS2 has said he wished he could have done it too (he wouldn't have coped at the time), and I have wanted to find something that he could also do, just him and Daddy, that wasn't the same as DS1's achievement, but just as positive from DS2's perspective... a nice bit of male-bonding over an adventure outdoors has to be good for him, however tame the adventure may seem to us - if it excites him and takes him out of his comfort zone, it's got great potential for making the kind of memory that he can hold on to in later years - that's certainly our hope, anyway!
So who knows? Maybe for DS2, today will go down in history as one of his favourite childhood memories, despite the general heat & grumpiness. And the lovely thing is, the rest of us get another weekend day tomorrow for DS1 & 3 to enjoy having Daddy at home - hmmm, maybe hubby and I should talk about what we're going to do sooner rather than later!