Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lana's Day Out

A couple years ago, when I was hooked on the soon to be doomed "Jon and Kate Plus Eight" show, they did something with their kids I really wanted to put into practice myself. They took each of their kids out for a special day, by themselves. I thought this was a great idea, because having eight means nobody gets alone time with mom and dad. Only having three means there is more of a chance for each kid to get alone time, but to be honest it's not very often. Especially for poor Lana. So I decided back then that I would do this with my girls.

Up until now we haven't really tried it yet. Lana and Georgia were too young for a while, and by default Sonya has already gotten to do things with us alone, because she's the oldest. So a couple weeks ago when Andy mentioned that we should take Lana out alone, I wholeheartedly agreed. I asked our neighbors to babysit. They love playing with the girls and Sonya loves it when they come over. She actually gets upset when we come home when they're there. We figured this would be the easiest way to get her to be okay with us just taking Lana out. Even though she's had her own special days, I knew those would be a distant memory when she was faced with the fact that her younger sister got to go out and have fun for the day, while she sat at home with a babysitter. Thankfully, Georgia is to young to really get it or care, so we knew she wouldn't be a problem.

Our biggest issue was that we weren't sure what we were going to do with Lana. She's only 3, so there's only so many places you can take a kid that age that they will like and have fun. There are even less places with a kid like Lana. We asked her what she wanted to do and I gave her a few ideas. She finally decided she wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese. Yay. On a day we didn't HAVE to go. Thanks Lana. But this was HER day, so we grabbed the extra tokens we had from past birthday and headed to see Mr. Cheese.

As it turns out, that place isn't too bad when you're there just to play games, and only have one child between two adults to keep track of. Plus we got there around 11am, so there wasn't a ton of parties happening yet, which meant less kids. Lana loved it. She played any game she wanted, as many times as she wanted and kept all the tickets for herself. Then at the end we let her pick out her own prizes. Something she's had to share in the past. We had decided we were definitely NOT eating there. I mean I know even bad pizza is still pizza and edible, but I question this rule there. Lana decided she wanted a grilled cheese anyway. She was there for the games only, thank the sweet Heavens. We hopped in the car and went off to a mall called, The Americana.

Now for those of you who live in L.A., The Americana is in Glendale and it's basically a mini Grove. For those of you not from here, it's an outdoor mall. But not a strip mall with a nail salon and a liquor store. No, no. It's got fancy stores, like True Religion Jeans, H&M and Tiffany's-daaahling. This means only window shopping for us. It's nice though, because there is a big open grass area with a huge fountain in the middle. Then every hour or so, water shoots up in time with music they play. There are also quite a few restaurants and a movie theater. We decided this would be a good place to grab a bite to eat and hang outside since the weather was absolutely gorgeous.

I was a bit hesitant to go at first, because places like that tend to be packed on the weekend, especially on nice days. Since I stay at home with the kids, I hate going to places on the weekend that are super crowded. It's just annoying because I don't have to deal with it all week. But again, it was for Lana, so I sucked it up. I was again pleasantly surprised when it wasn't as bad as I originally expected it to be. There weren't wall to wall people like I had anticipated.

We got something to eat at a little diner and then walked around. Lana was having a great time just walking around holding a hand of each of us. She was loving being the center of attention, for once. Truth be told, it was kinda nice having only one girl to watch out for too. Not that I don't love having them all, but it was a little less stress for the moment. I felt like I was actually doing something and enjoying it, rather than rushing to get through it before someone had a meltdown or started a fight.

They happened to have special things for kids that day. There were a couple bounce houses set up, which Lana wanted no part of, but they also had face painting, which interested her greatly. We took her over to the tent where they were doing the faces, and she chose a big purple butterfly with glitter to take over the left side of her face. She looked so damn cute.

On our way back to the car she said to us,

"I won't put blankie in mouth, when I get to the caw."

"Why not?" I asked.

"Cuz den my buttewfwy will come off," she stated.

"Good thinking, Lana," Andy told her. The face painting was a bigger hit then I thought. I mean to forgo blankie to keep her paint in tact. That's huge!

Before getting all the way home, I mentioned to Andy that we should stop for some ice cream. I mean no special day is complete without ice cream, right? At this point Lana was way past her nap time, which I had planned on for that day. She was started to get glassy eyed. Just as her eyes started to close Andy asked if she wanted to go get some ice cream. Her eyes immediately popped open and she drowsily said yes. I could see she was still fighting to stay awake, but I let her nod off for the next five minutes it took us to get there.

After ice cream we headed home. They had balloons at the ice cream place, so I had grabbed one for Lana. There she sat in the back seat, face painted, balloon on her wrist, Chuck E. Cheese prizes in one hand. She was looking like she had one hell of a fun special day. Then I realized how MUCH fun she looked like she had and realized this wasn't going to go over well when we got home. Do I know Sonya. She took one look at Lana getting out of the car and burst into tears.

"She got her face painted?" She asked me through tears. Then she saw the balloon. "You went to Menchies??"

"Yes, Sonya. You'll get a special day too and get to do fun stuff," I tried to reason with her. Stupid idea.

"I want to go tooommooorrowww!!! And I want to get my face painted," by this point she was sobbing.

After I explained that we wouldn't be going tomorrow, but she would indeed get her own day soon, she started to calm down. I told her how Lana couldn't wait to show her the face paint and that she needed to try and be nice and ask Lana about her day. This was true. One of the first things Lana said after getting her face painted was,

"I can't wait to show sissy."

Sonya slowly let her jealousy go and began to ask Lana how her day was. Before long they were off running around the house, playing with the balloon Lana had brought home.

Here we are trying to make one child feel special, and end up making the other one cry. Although, I really don't feel all that badly about it. Like I said, Sonya has had plenty of times alone with one or both of us, and we do intend to have a day like this with her soon. Georgia is still a little too young, but eventually I want to do it with all of them at least a couple times a year if we can. Especially, as they get older and more closed off to us. I'm hoping this one on one time will help them feel like they are still the most special one, because each one of them is. This way maybe they won't have to find something or someone else not so good for them, to make them feel this way in the future. In a perfect world this is the way it works. Right now, it's just a parenting theory I'm REALLY hoping pays off.


Megan said...

so cute! I am sure she treasured every minute of it!!

Tim Taylor said...

Kris - I have only one thing to say - Star Trek...
(Sometimes its as much fun for the parent as the child!)


Kristi said...

Yes, and as much as I love that movie, I still can not watch Wrath of Kahn without covering my eyes everytime they put the bugs in their ears. That is one of those images burned in my memory forever. Which then leads me to remember the quality time we spent together. :)

brenda said...

Love the face painting!! I liked the individual days too, good for you for doing it!