The sixth item on my vaguebooking list was “Six years and growing (Jacob)”. I confess that relationships with others are notoriously challenging to add any sort of rigorous planning to them. Social interactions don’t work that way in general, and even less so when what you’re talking about is a “relationship” with your own family.
And in the past, I’ve let that obvious limitation block me from any sort of overt commitment. Not this year. This is the year I commit, and my commitment to Jacob can use some work.
First, I don’t get to see much of Jacob during the week. Andrea has been doing morning routine with him, and picks him up from the daycare. She is home with him for a bit before supper, but by the time I get home from work, it’s time for supper, and then there’s barely enough time for short interaction when I’m usually tired, and he’s off to sleep. This scheduling challenge isn’t unique to our family, or even unique to this year — we hated last year’s schedule, and hence the change in schedule for Andrea so that she can pick him up and get him home early enough that he can play before supper. Great for Jacob, and for Andrea, but I’m still on the same schedule that we hated last year. While I can’t change much of that, I am going to change two things in the schedule. Each week, Jacob and I are going to have a “boys night”. Just him and I usually, although if Andrea wants to come, she can — I feel it’s more of a double opportunity for him and I to do something as well as for her to have a regular night off if she wants to do something on her own. And once a month, I’m going to adjust my schedule so that I can be the one to pick up Jacob early. An extended boys night, if you will. If the cliché is true that 90% of parenting is showing up, it’s time I started showing up more during the week.
Second, if Andrea is on morning routine for Jacob’s bathroom routine, I should be handling Jacob’s nighttime routine. When my mom was sick, and afterwards, I kind of drifted away from the “work” part of being a dad, and Andrea picked up the load since I was a slacker-doodle. Obviously, there will be some nights that I won’t be home, or will be busy with something else, or Andrea will just want to do it, or Jacob will want Mommy instead of Daddy. So I can’t exactly commit to “every” night, just a guarantee of failure. But I think it’s safe to commit to five nights out of seven. And track it. I also need to get back in the routine for putting his lenses in during the morning. Andrea suggested I could maybe do it on weekends since we’re pressed for time during the week.
Third, I also like the idea of “doing” more things with Jacob. Outings, dinners, games, wrestling, etc are all great, and I love them. Most of them Jacob seems to love too. But I’m looking for something unique too. And I hit on some ideas. I am going to do one special project a month with Jacob — something we build, something we go and do together, something different. I have this month’s project, but I can’t say what it is yet because Andrea reads the blog and I want it to be a surprise. I can tell you that it is relatively simple to get me / us started, and involves construction paper, scissors, glue and two colours of yarn. High art? No. Fun? I hope so. Memorable? I’m counting on it. I want Jacob to remember both presence as well as special projects. He wasn’t interested in Boy Scouts, but I’m kind of thinking of it partly as a “Boy Scouts” type idea. Heck, I might even design some badges for us hehehe Future months are likely to be projects off the SonicDad website or maybe a big lego option. I saw an Imperial Star Destroyer online today in Orleans for $100 used, regularly $149, but that would be mostly for me with him helping! And I’m tentatively planning for March to be the month that Jacob and I work on one of my bucket list items — designing a game!
Fourth, I want to engage Jacob in photography somehow. We haven’t yet found him a good option for taking photos. He can use his tablet (kind of big), and one of our phones (hard to manipulate angles and press button), but I suspect he’ll go farther with our P&S camera. I really have wanted to get him a camera of his own, but the kids ones are too basic, the rugged ones are limited for upward learning, and the regular ones that have room to grow are kind of expensive for a “kid” camera. Haven’t found the sweet spot yet. I’m not as worried about the ruggedness though, as Jacob is remarkably good with electronic items. I’ve never seen him drop any of them. I suspect for now it will just be uploading his stuff to the web and letting him browse through it, to see his work, but more to come in the future. Maybe printing them in a book.
Fifth and final is the easiest of all. I’m going to tell him that I love him every single day, likely repeatedly. I already do this, and I’m going to keep doing it, even if he gets embarrassed by it. *Then* I’m going to do it twice as much. 🙂
#1-3 are amenable to Seinfeld-style tracking, and #4/5 don’t need it.
Next Thursday is our first Boys Night, and we’re going out to eat (probably Chinese, although I might cave and do wings-type food) before going shopping at Chapters in Kanata — Jacob got some $$ for Xmas from his aunt, and he wants to buy more Magformers! The week after will be our “project” week, if I can kick Mom out of the play room for us to work.