It has taken me time to work out how to do it, but I have finally got the hang of spending quality time with the boys. At first I did the same things with them both which invariably led to one of them being bored and unruly which spoiled it for the other one (and me). Now I make time to do thing with them individually and tailor the activities to what they love to do. It's been a journey of discovery that has reminded me they are similar, but different and of the value of one to one time.
Last week I took Blue Bear to the theatre to watch Ben and Holly's Magical Kingdom on stage at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley and he loved it. He sat nicely throughout the show and joined in when they asked the children to shout out, although he didn't want to sing the laughter song. At the end he said, "more Ben and Holly Mummy." and I explained that as the are little children they had to go home to go to bed just like he did. He was very upset that it was over. It's so different from the first time we took him to watch a show and when the lights went down he freaked out and didn't want to stay. We took him to meet Sooty, Sweep and Soo after the show, but I think Hubbie was far more impressed than the boys were.
Brown Bear is a different kettle of fish and enjoys nothing more than a day out doing fun stuff like visiting Daddy at work. We went to the Science Museum at the end of the Christmas holidays and as his office is right next door we popped in to see Hubbie for lunch. I have always taken Brown Bear into London and we usually go to the London Transport Museum as it's one of his favourites. In the past we've been ice skating, on a treasure hunt and on a boat trip on the Thames. I have already promised him some one to one time during half term when his brother is at half term camp. It's important to him that we get to do things just us.
Before we adopted Blue Bear everything was about Brown Bear and he loved being the centre of attention. In the summer holidays we would go out and visit the London Transport Museum once a week and visit parks almost every day. We'd go to rhyme time, gymboree and stay and play and he had the busiest schedule of any toddler I knew. I was careful not to overload Blue Bear in the same was as we didn't want to overwhelm him. Helping him settle into the family meant taking things at a pace that would suit him. Even though they absolutely love each other now the early days were pretty tough to negotiate.
We took both the boys to London and planned lots of fun things like an open top bus tour and a boat trip. They bickered and fussed the whole time. What we hadn't accounted for was that Blue Bear wasn't used to days out and Brown Bear had already done all of those things. We needed to do things differently. This is where we had to take them on one at a time. By having one each and giving them special attention they respond far better and we all have a nicer time. For Brown Bear's birthday we went to Legoland and we made sure both boys had a fantastic day. At times we split up and did things separately and then we came together as a family and had fun being trainee firefighters.
When it works it can be amazing. After all I don't have a nanny or a personal trainer to bail me out when I don't feel like being mum. What I do have is a wealth of ideas about how to have fun with my boys.