My oldest son actually spent some time as “the middle child” before we decided to add another little
monster darling to our family. Because of this, our second youngest child got “the baby of the family” treatment and still has no trouble getting attention on demand. My oldest boy though, he’s quieter, a home body, and isn’t one to ask for or offer a hug when he’s needing attention.
Much like myself.
Sigh. I love him to the moon and back, same as all three of my other littles, but because he’s more reserved and introverted than the others, he can (unintentionally) get the brush over. I’ve tried reminding myself in the past to make sure to reach out a little more to him since he doesn’t request it like the others do, but inevitably I forget between the momentous baby, the potty training 2 year old, and the dramatic and very extroverted 8 year old. And then the day is over and I kick myself.
Thinking this over recently, I remembered a comment I read somewhere where a lady wrote that when her children were still young, she gave them assigned days as “helper.” So they would tag along and help do whatever she happened to be doing that day. They would get to sit next to Mom and lead the family prayer, etc. She said it created space for great one on one bonding time with each child while simply going about the day. She even said her grown kids will still call her and remind her that it’s “their day”.
Huh. This comment was completely unrelated to my situation but it seemed to fit perfectly. I began to implement it immediately with each of my children, beginning with my oldest boy. That day during the last 15 minutes of our family’s mandatory quiet time, I gently knocked on his bedroom door.
“Hey, you wanna go exploring with me on our bikes?”
He was down the stairs and at the door at incredible speed.
“But what about everyone else?” He looked at me with concern.
“Nah, just me and you today buddy. And you get to lead the way!”
And with that, he peddled passed me, laughing as I struggled to catch up.