Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cheap Treats, Simple Joys, Big Bonding Moments

A walk to the nearby mall, ice cream cones, a donut or some munchkins, some kiddie rides, a bag or two of groceries and lots of smiles, sticky and wet kisses, holding hands while walking and exchanging "I love you's."  These are some of what my eldest son and I share every week when we go out on dates.  There's usually nothing fancy.  In fact, they are so ordinary and cheap.  But he loves all those things.  These things and my undivided attention and presence make him very happy and loved.  So, I choose to let him have his simple joys and I choose to make them part of our bonding moments every week.

Enjoying our donuts and munchkins at Dunkin' Donuts.

How much do I usually spend during my weekly dates with my eldest son?
Walking to the nearby mall - no cost
McDonald's ice cream cone - P15.00 each; available in 3 flavors (choco, ube and strawberry). 
Dunkin' Donuts - P20-30.00 a piece depending on the flavor
Dunkin' Donuts Munchkins - P4 each or P20 for 5 pieces 
Kiddie Rides - P5.00 per token.  They also have a promo where you can avail of 10 tokens for P50.00 +2 free tokens.
Grocery items - It varies depending on what grocery items we buy.

Our son likes to go to the grocery.  It's a special time for him and he likes to bond with me and his Dad by going to the grocery with both of us or any of us.  So during our Mommy and Yanthy weekly dates, I buy some grocery items that we need in the house with him - a bag or two maybe that's light enough for the two of us to carry on our walk back home.  I buy some of the items that he asks me to buy for him like a chocolate drink (Milo, Moo, Chocolait or Chuckie) and oatmeal cookies or Oreos.  Sometimes, I buy him a book from the series that he likes.  Yanthy's sensitive and helpful nature surfaces every time we walk back home.  He would eagerly offer to carry a bag.

During our dates, I would allow Yanthy to enjoy some kiddie rides either before we go to the grocery or right after.  He gets to enjoy 2-3 rides usually.  On rare occasions, he gets to enjoy a maximum of 5 rides.  Thus, our 12 tokens last up to 3 dates most of the time.

We then buy something to eat like a donut, some munchkins or ice cream.  Sometimes, we buy bread or muffins.  Sometimes, he drinks a chocolate drink or he simply drinks his water that we bring with us in his bottle.  We enjoy our food and drinks in the seats near the grocery while chatting and smiling before heading home.

When he is not very active and is showing very good behavior (meaning more cooperative and obedient than usual), we check out the home store that sells furniture pieces and other home decors.  We also go to the toy stores and check out their products.  Yanthy likes to tell me the toys that he wants us to buy.  I seize these opportunities to remind him of what he already has and that he needs to save money for some of the toys that he likes.  I use that time also to remind him of our deal/agreement with his Dad that if he manifests the good behaviors we want him to exhibit until his 4th birthday, we will buy him the toy that he likes very much.  

Enjoying the ride.

Yesterday, we had our date once more.  Yanthy enjoyed some rides first before we went to the grocery.  After that, we bought ice cream cones because he has been craving for ice cream for days.  He had melted ice cream all over him!  So, I cleaned him up first before we went home.  We were about to head to the exit when he saw the toy store again and asked if we could go there even for 5 minutes.  So, we took a sidetrip to the toy store before finally going home.

Enjoying his ice cream cone.

We were supposed to simply walk back home but Yanthy requested that we ride a jeep instead.  He said that our grocery bags are heavy.  He was right.  I realized that too so I agreed and we rode the jeep.  We thus walked a shorter distance going home.

That's our typical weekly date, very ordinary and cheap.  They provide consistent deposits though in my eldest son's emotional bank account.  They may be simple; but to him, they are BIG because through this ritual, he feels valued, important, special and loved.

I plan to keep on doing this until he is much older.  Right now, we only spend around 30 minutes to more than an hour for our weekly dates because I need to go back right away to breastfeed his baby brother.  When Mateo is much older, Yanthy and I will have longer dates and Mateo and I will have our own dates as well.  

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