One-on-one time is not easy to come by in our house. Over the past couple of months, I have gotten to take each of the kids on a one-on-one outing. They have had individual outings in the past to go to the grocery store or run errands occasionally, but for these, they got to pick something fun that they wanted to do. John, Becca and David all chose to ride the trolley, play at a local splash pad and have lunch at Grimaldi’s Pizza. Ali and Kate chose to eat at Crust Pizza then play at the local Children’s Museum. Mark picked to go to Incredible Pizza to have lunch, play games, bowl and race go carts. They all had a great time getting to have all of Mommy’s attention, and I got to play with them more since I wasn’t counting children!
Their eyes lit up when it was their turn, and they would talk about it for days before and for weeks after! They do almost everything together, and we usually go on outings as a whole group. They fight some, but they are playing together more and more, and I love listening to the conversations they have with each other. While there are many ways that they are similar and that most of life so far has been lived as a group, they each have such distinct personalities, and it was really fun getting to spend extra time with them!
John can be reserved in a group and is excellent at independent play. He learns by observation and tends to wait to try something until he has watched someone else do it for awhile. When he does try new things, he usually masters them very quickly because he has observed. John was the last to potty train but by far the easiest. He waited until he was ready and then did it. He is confident to go into new situations, but he will hold back and isn’t usually the one to answer questions if we are talking as a whole family. When we went to lunch, he talked my ear off. It was great getting to hear everything he wanted to say!
Becca is very confident in what she wants. She is extremely loving and gives lots of hugs and kisses, but she will also tell her siblings exactly what she thinks they should be doing at any given moment. I joke that she is going to be a hoarder someday since she collects everything in a room, makes a big pile of stuff, and claims it as her own. She loves baby dolls and playing with the dollhouse and acts like a mommy, but she is also one of the first to play in the dirt and run around outside. She grinned from ear to ear the entire time we were out, but she was quieter.
Ali is very sweet. She is shy and can be a little overwhelmed with new places and people, but she always tries new things anyway even when she looks terrified. She is determined to master whatever she tries and has the patience to try something over and over until she gets it. We have a letter game on the refrigerator, and she was the first to learn all the letters and sounds. She would stand by the fridge with that game and repeat everything over and over. She liked going to the Children’s Museum for her outing because she got to do so many of the activities we don’t do with a whole group. She loves art, and we sat and colored, played with play dough and did crafts. While we do those things at home, it is hard to do that at the museum when I have all six kids with me.
David is rough and tumble in the way he plays but is a teddy bear at heart. He is so sweet and when siblings are upset, he will often find something that they want or give them a hug to try to cheer them up. David is super cuddly. He thinks (or maybe wishes!) that he is four and tries very hard to hang with Mark and his friends. He is often the first to try something new. He gets very frustrated when he can’t do something but will continue to work at it until he gets it and won’t let anyone help him. His smile can brighten any rough day for me.
Kate is a very contented child. I am not saying that she doesn’t throw any fits, and she can definitely throw good ones! However, she has a very gentle spirit. She loves to play with siblings and friends, but she will also play for a long time by herself. She has very good concentration and will sit and do puzzles or another activity for quite awhile. I think my favorite thing about Kate is that she is often singing. She frequently just bursts into song wherever she is. Kate seems to be very carefree and enjoys life.
Mark has been an amazing big brother. It can be hard for any child to adjust to a new sibling at home, and he had five new siblings when he was 18 months old! He has handled it so well right from the start. He is patient with them, plays with them, helps them and is my special helper. He especially likes getting to teach them new things.
I love how our family has melded together as one unit, and yet I really enjoy seeing how different each individual person is!