Last year’s holiday season seemed to take its toll on me more than usual (Yes, it is 2013 already!). I’d forgotten how busy our social calendars could get at this time of year, on top of keeping up the regular routine and braving the horrendous traffic. As much as it was a lot of fun, I always found myself tired and I could never seem to recover. There were a lot of other things going on too on top of the usual activities and the already scheduled social gatherings, so our attention, emotions and energy were just being pulled in every direction. Quite exhausting to say the least!
It didn’t help that I’d also been missing Chapel Hill more than usual these last few weeks, and I was just sad over-all. I can’t explain why since we’d spent most of our Christmases here in Manila even when we lived there. It may just be all the emotions running on high during this season (as someone once told me, Valentine’s and Christmas are the two seasons with the most number of break-ups and make-ups). Then again, there is no rational sometimes to how one feels right? In any case, all of that combined has impaired my ability to blog. I never thought it possible to have writer’s block this badly, and I just didn’t know what would make me snap out of it.
Then yesterday, after we’d settled in back from our last beach trip and fixed our schedules for the week (using my super cool Mommy Mundo 24/7 Planner!), Sam asked me if we could go on a Mom-Sam date. She’d overheard me say that Jamie had school already and she still didn’t and so I was pleasantly surprised — and impressed — that she had deduced we’d have some time together alone. So of course I said yes.
I got home this morning after dropping off Jamie at school to find Sam dressed and waiting in front of the TV. After her show she stood up and said, “Let’s go Mom!”, which again was another pleasant surprise as she usually drags her feet about leaving when the TV is on. She promptly kissed her dad, said her goodbyes and put on her shoes. He even asked her if he could come along and she said no; she and he could have their date next time. I guess she really wanted some alone time with me. I did too actually. With this whole Christmas season, all the parties and the different faces, Jamie had become even more anxious about not being around me, so it was also hard to just be with Sam. Of course they’ve also both been off their regular schedules and have been more tired than usual, hence even Sam would act out and be difficult (That was mentally draining too – having to reason patiently and answer why for every little thing).
I digress – back to our date.
I learned from one of Coach Pia’s New Beginnings Sessions that it’s important to let the child dictate this special bonding time with mom. I asked Sam where we were going and she said, “We’re having our Mom-Sam-Starbucks-Coffee-Doughnut-Date!” I had once taken her to the Starbucks branch across the street on a rainy day and that was when I labelled our time alone as Mom-Sam dates. I suppose it stuck and she wanted to do it again. She was very specific that she wanted that branch and that we didn’t need to take a car. So off we went!
Sam really took charge of our date. She even asked me if she could place our order and give the barista our money. She specified with a smile, “A chocolate doughnut for me to eat. My Mommy will have a waffle. And we’ll take home a gingerbread cookie for my prize. And a plain doughnut for my Daddy. Oh uhm… Please!” Of course I had to make a few more specifications but it was a good order nonetheless and I was happy she remembered to be polite.
We talked about what she might want to do over the summer and her favorite part of our last Boracay trip. And then when she was done eating, Sam said, “Mom, let’s walk around some more. Let’s walk to the Mind Museum!” So again following her lead, we did. It wasn’t too long a walk but with toddler steps it took us a while. We were able to reminisce a little bit about the museums we used to go to in Chapel Hill as well, and I was (I always am) still amused by how much she remembers. Sam is the one person that I can still talk to on a regular basis about Chapel Hill. She always brings it up still; the little things we used to do there, the places we would go to and of course the people and the friends. It’s more of a topic of conversation now than anything else, but it’s refreshing just the same.
Sam and I have been to the museum twice since we’ve moved back, and every time we pass it she always asks when we can go again. Of course she wanted to go in, but we were also pressed for time because Jamie needed to get fetched! We’d never been to their special exhibit on Bio-Rhythms before though, and with our limited time I was able to negotiate that we just visit that portion (it requires a separate entrance fee).
We were the only two people inside the exhibit which was nice; and it worked out even better because their Chief Science Educator Marco was there to guide us through the entire exhibit. He gave us some interesting facts too such as its origins in Dublin, and how some of the pieces were made. Essentially (as the exhibit’s name suggests) you use your body’s natural rhythms to create the different sounds that are emitted through the “instruments”, such as chains and balls and the like. There was this particular one, the Reactable, which he said could even be downloaded as an app! Sam enjoyed playing on it with him too, fixing the cubes to make different beats and sounds. I think Sam absorbed a lot of information and just soaked it all in. It’s a fairly simple exhibit really, but I would say you’d have to be a small group in order to appreciate trying each bit out and absorbing how different it is from the others. We even climbed into a sound bed (from London) which had vibrations and sounds when you lay down on it.
Sam didn’t hesitate to try everything Marco suggested and her smiley expression said she was genuinely having fun. We stayed for a good 90 minutes with no fussing or crying or stubborn fits whatsoever (In fact, Dad had to get Jamie from school since I wasn’t going to make it – thank goodness that worked out well!). It was the easiest morning I’d had with her in the last 20+ days.
On our way home I felt much lighter, and was glad to see that Sam wasn’t dragging her feet but was skipping along. She kept blowing kisses into the wind and said, “Mom, I love Mommy-Sam time.” And I really do too.
I genuinely think that today was one of the happier days I’ve had in a long time.
And just like that, I am blogging again. 🙂