My Five-Year-Old Son Complained He Couldn't Keep Up with Me!

by Tina Blue
January 19, 2001

          When my son was three and a half and my daughter was twenty-one months, their father and I were divorced. Because I had a home daycare eleven hours a day, and I shared custody with my ex-husband, I took steps to make sure that my kids did not feel they were being cheated of time alone with me.

          They were with me all day, of course, but five days a week they had to share me with a bunch of other kids. I felt that my own children also needed to have me to themselves sometimes.

          Therefore, I instituted a practice that lasted until my children were teenagers--every week, in addition to the time we spent together as a family, each of my kids had one night that was designated as his or her "special night." On that night, the other child would go to their dad's house, and the one whose night it was would have the luxury of feeling like an only child for awhile.

          Although Becky liked "special night," she often invited her brother to join us, because she did not seem to feel as desperate a need as he did to have my exclusive attention. But Michael, who had had me all to himself for the first nineteen months of his life, was unwilling to share his time with me. Being alone with me just meant too much to him.

          On our special night, Michael and I would have dinner as soon as the daycare kids and Becky had left. Then we would watch an episode of the original Star Trek series (his favorite show). Afterwards, if it was nice out and still light, we would go across the street to the elementary school playground and play together. Often we would play Star Trek. He was always Captain Kirk, and I was always Spock.

          But most of the time we just romped--swinging from the monkey bars, chasing each other up and down the slide, and generally running around like maniacs. I know how to play with kids--I never really stopped being one myself, I guess.

          Actually, I am notoriously hyperactive. Most of my friends are much younger than I am, mainly because people my own age usually can't keep up with me. (Often, to be honest, my young friends can't either.)

          One summer evening when Michael was just five years old, he and I were racing around at the playground as usual. We had been going full tilt for some time when Michael suddenly stopped in his tracks and said, "Mommy, can we go home now? I'm getting pretty tired."

          "Sure," I said. "We don't have to run around except when you feel like it."

     As we walked home, Michael asked me to carry him. He was just too tired to walk.

     I picked him up, and as he laid his sweet head on my shoulder, he said, "Mommy, don't you know? Boys are supposed to wear mommies out--mommies are not supposed to wear boys out!"
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