reflections: One-on-One Time with My Toddler

I often share quick reflections over on my Instagram (#luckyandireflections) but want to re-share them on my blog too, so they have a more permanent place to live.

A couple of weeks ago, Lucy and I had a spontaneous date, just us. We pass one of our favorite restaurants (she calls “the mac & cheese place”) all the time, but she hasn’t been there this year. We used do go almost weekly. We sat outside and ordered her favorite mac and cheese and fries and chatted about life — flowers, bunnies, school, Jack, the “very nice man” (our waiter). At the end, she looked at me and said “mommy, thanks for doing this with me.” My heart broke and exploded at the same time. 💔

We used to do this stuff all the time, just Lucy and I. I never really let one kid slow me down, so I just brought her everywhere. Her “normal” has always been on-the-go. She spent her first two years of life going on coffee dates with my friends, brewery hopping on weekends, going on 30+ flights, countless dinner parties and shopping trips, and doing all the activities — yoga classes, playgrounds, play dates, story-time, etc. She’s a social butterfly — her first word was “hi!” and she’s always been adventurous and so extroverted. She started school at 18m and never cried or hesitated; she just walked away ready to meet new people and do new things.

Of course, going from one kid to two means that “just us” time is less frequent. The pandemic means that all our usual activities and outings don’t happen like they used to. We are always together, at home, but it’s different.

This year has been hard on all of us. Kids are resilient and adaptable, but this year is hard for them too. Within a couple weeks, Lucy’s entire world turned upside down — she had a new sister, we had a tornado hit close to home (which she remembers and brings up often), and then the pandemic. It’s easy for me to get caught up in my big, complex, grownup emotions and brush aside my toddlers, thinking “oh she doesn’t understand.” But she does. She knows her world has changed so much and it’s hard.

Our 1:1 date reminded me just how important this one-on-one time is. How crucial it is to be intentional about “just us” time. How wild it is that my first baby now openly talks about her feelings and tells me she’s grateful for time together. I’m so proud of who she is and who she’s becoming every day. 🤍

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Dear Soon-to-Be Mama of Two

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