Report on Mommy Day #3

IMG_1023I wrapped up my third (and final) Mommy Day on Sunday. This summer, my plan was to spend one day one-on-one with each of my older three children, doing whatever they wanted to do. My 9-year-old had waited patiently through the 6- and 4-year-olds’ trips to Hershey. In theory we planned to do something in July during a week when he didn’t have camp, but after the 6-year-old’s trip last week, he decided he was done waiting. So Daddy took the other three kids on Sunday and the 9-year-old and I went to Washington D.C. for the day.

We used Amtrak points to get train tickets, which turned out to be its own special fun for my kid. I forget that they don’t do the things we take for granted. Riding in an elevator in the parking garage, and then seeing the train schedule change on the big board was all very exciting. We took the train to Union Station, and then took the subway up to the National Zoo. (The subway was also very cute. My son asked this guy if he could sit next to him. Nice, but not usual subway behavior!)

The zoo was…hot. I know DC is hot, but the weather forecast said it was only getting up to 84 degrees. It felt hotter. My son really enjoyed playing in this one tide pool display where water came rushing out over the kids’ feet every 30 seconds or so. I enjoyed observing the variety of human animals caring for their young. I think another highlight was seeing the red panda actually move. They sleep something like 20+ hours per day, so this was a rare occurrence. We celebrated by buying a red panda stuffed animal (each of my kids has gotten one souvenir from Mommy Day). We saw the giant pandas too, but they were fairly inert (see photo).

We stayed at the zoo until 4:00 P.M., then took a taxi to the National Mall. My son had announced while we were at the zoo that he had to see the Washington Monument, which was fine, until he told me that it was also his lifetime dream to go inside it. Unfortunately, you have to have booked tickets in advance, or show up at 7:00 A.M. to get same-day ones. I told my kid that if you have lifetime dreams, you really need to tell me these ahead of time. But we regrouped and went over to the National Museum of American History, which turned out to have extended hours. He loved looking at the timeline of the presidents, and the timeline of the First Ladies. I learned some new facts, such as how many of the early presidents had non-wife First Ladies (apparently any female relative could serve as the official hostess). Also, Grover Cleveland had an incredibly young wife (age 21 when they married!)

After, we took a taxi over to Union Station and ate at Pizzeria Uno. After all that walking around, my beer tasted incredibly good. My son downed 2 giant chocolate milks. Then we got on our train to come home, arriving at 10:00 P.M. I fell asleep at 10:30, which was good, since the baby was up at 5:30 again.

The sheer neediness of the little guy reminds me why I’m glad I undertook this project of doing one-on-one time with the big kids. They just don’t get as much of my attention as I would like to give them right now. Also, while it is wonderful when the kids play well together, there is a lot of bickering in my house too, and being able to give each child one-on-one attention feels incredibly pleasant as it is happening. I have a lot of good memories from my three Mommy Days, and I think it will become a recurring early summer event.

In other news: I’m writing a story this week on great interns. If you’ve had an intern who was awesome, what did he or she do? I think there are lessons to be learned from this for anyone looking to make a good quick impression. As always, you can email me at lvanderkam at yahoo dot com.



8 thoughts on “Report on Mommy Day #3

  1. I just missed you on the National Mall- Sunday was my last day of a DC college touring trip with my oldest, and an afternoon walk to the Washinton Monument was last on his list too. It sure was hot, but we walked two miles to get there and it was a good opportunity for some relaxed one-on-one conversation as he mentally works through the big life changes ahead of him. Sounds like your guy had a great day- I’m sure the trip will be a great memory for both of you!

    1. @Anjanette- we were right by each other! Funny. It was a hot day but a good day. I’m glad we did it. June was a full month. I can’t say I got much work done, but I had a lot of fun!

  2. I love mommy dates! I have three children and during the school year I check one child out of school for lunch once a month. They choose the restaurant, skip the class after lunch, and then go back to school. There’s no bickering and they are so different individually. I have also taken each child on a 3 or 4 night trip individually – my oldest daughter to Chicago, my son to Baltimore/D.C. and my 5 year old daughter to Disneyland, It is surprisingly cheap to take just one child on vacation with one adult plus for locations like Disneyland my 5 year old was super impressed with a cheap hotel, inexepensive meals where kids eat free with adult etc…my teens would not have wanted to go that route at all. Similarly my 5 year old wouldn’t have enjoyed all the museums I did with my older children.
    We have just started on the next round of trips. I’m taking the 5 year old to the American Girl store in Atlanta soon. I find if I book trips based on age/interest there’s also no jealousy…my teenagers couldn’t care less that their baby sister is getting a new doll and having lunch at a doll bistro and staying in a hotel with pink sheets and doll beds!

    1. @Natasha- I am intrigued about the idea of doing one-on-one extended trips (multiple day). In 168 Hours I wrote about a guy who did trips with each of his 5 kids when they turned 13. Of course, that required his spouse to take the other 4 – and I would have the same issue. It’s kind of a big ask. But I think this should be less of a problem when the kids get older and taking care of the other three is less demanding.

  3. I have really liked this series and it has inspired me to try this one-on-one time for a whole day with my kids at some point this summer. I mentioned the idea to my oldest of just him and me going somewhere fun of his choice. And his response was, “you mean, you, me, and [baby]?” And I said, “no–just the two of us. [baby] could stay home.” “No, [baby] needs to come with us. How else would she eat? I want her to come.” Kind of misses the point, but I think it is sweet that he still wants her to come and is thinking of her (she’s only 5 months). I noticed that he did not insist his 2yo brother come though. 🙂

    1. @EB – very cute, and so typical that the oldest is fine with the baby but not the more threatening immediate little sib 🙂
      I’ve enjoyed my mommy days, and I hope you will too!

  4. Does college touring with your son count as Mommy time? I think not, but it is a special time in its own way. Have a great weekend.

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