Saturday, January 29, 2011

Alone time with my boy...

Like I said in my first post, I am planning to make an effort to spend quality alone time with each kid.  The recommendation from Fred Becker, professional parenting coach, was at least 8 hours per month, no distractions, no additional siblings...just you & your kid.  While my daughter was busy in her new art class at Lux Art Institute (a really cool gallery we just found out about in Encinitas, CA), I took my son out to dinner at Panera's and brought along our favorite game - Mancala.

He was tired, a little cranky and totally starving.  Starving?  He'd eaten all of his lunch at school and a large portion of crackers from our favorite admin assistant.  He was howling when we left school about how hungry he was...bless Mrs. B's heart, she always has a stash of snacks at school behind her desk.  What would we do without her?  We've replenished it for her a few times because I'm sure my son has depleted it on more than one occasion.  Just for the record, he has enough lunch for 2 people in his bag and I pack extra granola bars and fruit in my purse.  It's still never enough!  He's as skinny as a rail too.  Can you say JEALOUS?  I wish I could eat like him!

So, our date together.  My son is so dang cute.  He's in a phase of not wanting his picture taken so you'll have to pardon the expressions.  We ordered Panera's chicken noodle and creamy tomato soups with half sandwiches.  I picked the tomato basil on ciabatta (yum! Although, it's a bummer they don't have a veggie protein-based sandwich choice.) and he chose grilled cheese.  Both were delicious!

Mancala and apple
The game we brought with us is called Mancala.  It's a fun game that doesn't plug in.  Imagine that?  The point of the game is to try and get the most beads in your mancala (big cups on both ends of the game).  Each player takes turns picking a smaller cup (not from the mancala) of beads and leaving one bead in each successive cup in a counter-clockwise direction, being sure to leave one in your mancala before leaving the rest in your opponent's cups.  The game ends when someone runs out of beads.  If there are beads left on your opponent's side when you finish, you get those too.  It's a fun game of strategy and luck.  My 5-year-old loves it.  He really loves "capturing".  This is a strategy where, during the course of play, you leave the last bead in an empty cup on your side of the board with beads left on your opponent's equal opposite side.  You get to "capture" all of the beads in your opponent's cup.  I've actually caught my stinker of a son trying to go backwards to try and capture.

So dang cute!
Once we were done with dinner and a couple games of Mancala, we decided to head over to the Apple store.  A family favorite.  He headed over to the kids' computers and I shopped around for new speakers.
All in all a great date and I would say, mission accomplished.  We held hands, skipped along in the parking lot, talked about silly stuff and I snuck in some snuggles here and there.  I sneak those in now because he doesn't volunteer them like he used to.  Did I mention he's only 5?  Oh, the time sure does fly by...  I will say he was a lot less cranky by the end of our date and actually quiet on the way to basketball practice.  Maybe there's something to this?  Who knows?  Up next, my daughter...

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