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Two weeks into summer and we’re already getting antsy.  Maybe that’s not quite it.  I think the kids are getting more and more needy.  I don’t think I realized how important school is for giving them sense of being paid attention to and feeling important.  They are all clambering for attention, and shouting over each other, and pretty much driving me crazy.  Not so unusual, I know.

The last couple of days I have been purposefully taking 15 minutes to give undivided attention to each of the older kids. I know that sounds like a tiny thing to those of you with one or two kids.  But once you get to three and beyond, finding even 15 minutes to spend alone with one of them is not so easy.  I wait until the baby is asleep, or eating, and the other older kid is engrossed in a movie or the IPad.  Then I’ve just told them they get me all to themselves for a little bit (until the timer’s done) and they get to decide what they want to do.  Ian just wants me to watch him do his “ninja skills” on the IPad.  Julia wants to work in her summer workbook or color.

I try to take the time to hug them and do whatever helps them feel loved during that time.  For Ian, its lots of hugs, smiles, and words of praise.  For Julia, its words of praise and just doing whatever it is alongside her.

I can’t tell you what a difference it has made!  “Mama, look at me” and “Watch this!” have decreased 3-fold, and everyone’s a little bit happier around here.  I might be more tired, but I think that’s all the strawberry’s fault (so much canning and freezing to be done!).

Today I took the time to sit and play with the baby and give him my full attention.  I realized that I hardly ever do that with him.  He is such a sweet baby, and is wonderful at entertaining himself, and playing along with whatever we are doing.  I try to give him tons of smiles and hugs throughout the day, and I like to carry him instead of using the stroller so he gets a little extra love.  But I feel a little sad that he doesn’t get much of my individual attention.  I try to tell myself that he gets to be loved and taken care of by his older siblings, and its a bit of a trade off.  But I miss it.  I love him so much.  It was so fun for both of us to hold him in my lap and read books and play with toys today.  He kept looking up at me and laughing.  Sometimes he can melt my heart with just one of his gorgeous smiles.

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