Les and I are trying to do more one-on-one “dates” with our kids. When he and Asa go out, they call it Boys Club. When Lydia and I go out, it’s Girls Day/Night Out. When Lydia goes with Les, it’s a date. When I’m with Asa alone, it’s called Put-Him-To-Bed-Early. Just kidding. I don’t think I’ve taken him anywhere alone. We spend all day Monday and Wednesday alone while Lydia is at school. I think that qualifies.
Anywhoo. Saturday was Girls’ Day Out! I got an invite to see a pre-release of The Secret World of Arietty. It’s based on the book The Borrowers, which Lydia and I read this year! OK. Well, we didn’t read all of it. It was such hard reading I couldn’t finish it!
Has this happened to you? Books I read as a kid, I pick up to read aloud to the kids and I can’t believe how difficult or old-fashioned they are! Five Little Peppers? Little Women? Ballet Shoes? We picked all these up and never finished them because either she wasn’t interested in them or I couldn’t read them out loud! What’s happened to me?
Where was I? Oh yeah, I knew Lydia would want to see this because in spite of the hard reading, she was really interested in all the Borrower’s fun inventions. Plus, the screening was at one of those diner-movie theaters where you have a waiter and can eat a full meal at your table in the theatre!
However, at the last minute, Les got a call for work and every single person I knew either didn’t answer their phone or was too busy to take care of Asa. So, he had to come to Girl’s Day Out with us.
Lydia really really liked the movie. It felt like the book. It was a simple, sweet story of the little people who live under the floorboards and the little boy who wants to get to know them. And it was a good, solid G-rated film without nonsensical action or bathroom humor.
The movie was actually released in Japan in 2010 and was the top-grossing film that year. So, it’s got the japanamation thing going on with the pretty cartoon-scenery and the wide-eyed characters. And there was lots of music. Not like a musical, but like an introspective, emo score. Asa kept saying, “When are they going to stop singing?!”. He was not impressed.
But Lydia and I liked it. It was girly, magical and a little girl-power, too. Perfect for a Girl’s Day Out!
We finally got home and laid Asa down for a nap. Then when Les got home, Lydia and I left to finish up (or actually begin) our Girl’s Day Out. We visited one of those paint-your-own-pottery places because Lydia said, “Mommy, I’ve always wanted to do that!” (She’s done it twice before, but was too little to remember!)
She made an adorable plate, which she thought about long and hard. I made a trivet with our handprints on it! *sniff*
Then we went shopping! We strolled up and down our cutesy local downtown area and visited antique shops. Lydia loved it! (Yahoo! I can’t wait to go antiquing with her!) My favorite part was when she saw an old radio and said, “I thought this was an oven!”
Dinner was at a cozy Italian restaurant where we shared spaghetti like Lady and the Tramp! (Only my little vegetarian wouldn’t eat the meatball.)
We finished the night with a mini-brownie from Atlanta Bread and snuggling on the couch watching TV until the boys got home from Boys Club.
I loved being with my girl all alone. She giggled, squeezed my hand and jumped up for me to carry her. This won’t happen forever, so I’m laying down love and quality time now so she’ll expect it and desire it when she’s older!
Do you dates with your kids?
disclosure: I attended the movie as a member of the press. I was not compensated in any other way. I am also wondering if Roger Ebert has to disclose this in his movie reviews?
This is so sweet. 🙂 I do little dates with my 3 yo, Gilly; we mostly go shopping or swimming (Daddy works at a hotel-HOORAY! for free swimming!). I haven’t done dinner with her yet and I can’t WAIT to take her to our local Paint It Pottery shop! I love it and I know she will too! Lydia’s plate is so sweet, btw! 🙂
oh amanda says
Sweet! Free swimming! And you probably don’t even have to bring a towel with you, huh? 😉
We started The Borrowers a couple weeks ago, having no idea until this past weekend that a new movie was coming out based on the book. I have to agree that it took a lot of concentration to read aloud. I wrote about this on my blog yesterday, but I even just finally figured out what the word “draught” really means (am I the only person that didn’t know it is the British English spelling of the word “draft” as is pronounced the same way??). My 2nd grade daughter started reading the first sequel on her own, and my guess is she probably just skips the hard words and still gets the gist of the story. That’s probably what we were doing as kids with the hard books too. There are also “classic starts” versions of a lot of the classic books, and my daughter has enjoyed several of those. We tried to trudge through Little Women as a read aloud but it was slow/boring even for me. The classic starts version was just right for her to read on her own (I think she is at maybe a 3rd or 4th grade reading level).
Thanks for your review of the movie…my daughter really wants to see it, and it’s good to know that it’s a “good one”!
oh amanda says
Ha! That’s why I like reading on my kindle b/c I can click on words I don’t know (or think I *should* know) and actually find out what they mean! 🙂
And I agree-we must have just skimmed the books as kids and got the gist! LOL!
We do special outings but now that both kids are in school we do a lot less of the one on one thing–they’re really not together that much during the school week, and they want that time with each other as well as the time with mom/dad.
I hear you on the book thing; I went through this several years ago when Bronte was in kindy/first grade. I was a prolific reader when I was a kid and had this loooong list of books that my kids just *needed* in their lives (Shoes books, Great Brain, All of a Kind Family, Betsy/Tacy books to name a few)…after trying multiple times (with pretty much limited success) I took a giant step back and let the book thing develop more on its own. I’ve figured out that if I have the books around, eventually she will poke around and decide on her own if its something she’s into. Audio books can be another way of piquing their interest–I put “The Great Brain” on Bronte’s itouch and she LOVED it and then read two more books in the series on her own. If you don’t have any of them, the Magic Tree House audiobooks are great–they’re short enough and the stories are exciting enough that both my kids like them (Asa probably would) and they’re great for listening to in the car. We’ve also had some of our biggest jumps in reading when Bronte has found something on her own; she just recently finished reading Lemony Snicket’s “Series of Unfortunate Events” series (again, the first one I had as an audiobook, then she went and read all 13 books in record time) and has just started on Harry Potter (which just makes my heart sing…).
This is just my $0.02 but please for the sake of all that’s Holy don’t get her any of the dumbed down early reader “classics” books. Reading is organic and in and of itself is part of the learning process–a book isn’t just about the story it’s the vocabulary, cadence, speech patterns and everything else that goes into it. Months ago I read an interesting blog post that touched on this and he pretty much sums up my thoughts:http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2011/07/_did_it_seem_to.html
oh amanda says
That’s true about audio–I got Ballet Shoes for Lydia on audio and it was waay better than when I read it! She really enjoyed it–even named a puppet after Posy! 🙂
I’d say the only books that were my faves as a kid that she’s loved are All of a Kind Family and Betsy-Tacy (like the first 3 or 4). I did one of those chapter books about Anne of Green Gables one time b/c I knew there was no way she could read it or enjoy it if I read them to her (I didn’t read them until I was a teenager) and was so sad b/c it didn’t have any of the special-ness that Anne really has!
Off to click the suntimes link! Thanks, friend!
Jennifer M. says
I’ve noticed that, in general, my attention span has gotten much worse over that past 10-12 years or so. This coincides with the advent of lots and lots of technology in my life.
My theory – we’re training our brains to want instant information and we no longer have the patience to wade through lengthy information. Which is tragic really, since I used to be able to read for hours on end!!
oh amanda says
Oooh, that’s scary. You think that’s what it is? YIKES. Our poor kids have no chance.
Kara @ The Chuppies says
Love this encouragement to spend one-on-one time.
My husband is great about setting “dates” or “guy time” with each of our 4, but I tend to think since I’m with them so much, it isn’t needed–
But it is.
And when I’ve done this…
I see the HUGE benefits.
It’s easy for me to get stuck in group-mode with our 4, but I even if it’s just a simple thing–like reading a special book with one kiddo individually, I want to make that a priority.
oh amanda says
Yes! I tend to think, “aach. I spend time w/them every single day!” But focused SPECIAL time one on one is important! Good point!
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