Jake has always been quite a Mama's boy. He was very shy when he was a toddler and needed lots of cuddle time with Mommy. I was so happy when preschool helped him become more social and break out of his shell and when Jadyn was an infant, I planned special dates for just the two of us. It was a good balance.
As the kids have both gotten older, I have found it harder and harder to find things that I can do with just Jake. Many of the ideas I come up with are things that Jadyn wants to do too, and frankly Jake gets along so well with his sister, he usually wants her to come along. The other thing that complicates things is that as Jadyn gets older, we have even more in common. I can take her with me shopping or go for a pedicure. Even if it is at home, she loves to help me cook, clean or do arts and crafts - none of which really interests Jake. Add to that the fact that Jadyn and I get 2 hours alone together 5 days a week because as a kindergartener, she gets out 2 hours earlier than Jake. It just really starts to feel uneven between the two of them and the kicker is that it only really seems to bother me. Jake is unfazed.
In fact, when I was recovering from surgery and even more restricted in what activities I could do, I found Jake giving me major attitude. When I tried to talk to him he admitted that he didn't like that I couldn't do anything and it didn't really make him want to be around me. Ouch. That hurt. But I have to respect his honesty. It was then that I started talking to some of my other friends with boys of similar age and found that I was not alone. While that doesn't solve the problem, it did make me feel better.
My solution was to get involved in something that he really liked. There was no way I was going to learn to play war games on the Xbox (urgh!) so I settled for learning how to shoot a Nerf gun and participate in a Nerf battle. It turned out to be a really fun family activity and Jake's demeanor toward me immediately changed. It was an important lesson to me that I can't always expect him to want to do what he used to like or what I think he would like. Sometimes I have to make the effort to meet him halfway. In turn, he was then more willing to do things with me that I enjoy more like playing board games or getting frozen yogurt together.
Last week, another opportunity to spend quality time with just Jake presented itself when the school hosted a mother/son put-put social. It was the companion event to the father/daugther dance, which is pretty funny because even Jake said, "No fair! All Jadyn and dad got to do was go to a dance and we get to golf!". Of course, Jadyn was quite pleased to get dressed up and show off her daddy but Jake didn't see it that way.
Jake and I went to Sonic together for dinner since Daddy had taken Jadyn to her t-ball game. I can't say the evening was a complete success - Jake is a man of VERY few words and trying to have a meaningful conversation with him is like pulling teeth but he did enjoy golfing, except when he got frustrated because I was beating him. So yeah, it wasn't a perfect night but it was fun.
Now, if you are on Facebook, you have probably already read these but some interesting tidbits concerning Jake came out on this particular day.
1) Jake's teacher made me aware that a girl in his class has been turning in all her assignments with Jake's last name. I know the girl - she was in Jake's class last year and has admitted to me that she "likes" my son. I actually feel sorry for her because Jake is still completely clueless and uninterested in girls.
2) As mentioned above - Jake is still a sore loser. I had been talking it up all week how I was going to beat him when we played put-put but apparently he didn't believe me. Then I went and got several holes in one, a few very lucky ones that impressed even fellow moms and sons. Jake didn't take it too well.
3) We have seen Diary of Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules FAR too many times. Jake and I were signed up to clean up after the event. Jake did what he could and then was on stage with a classmate while the parent group, myself included cleaned up the food. The principal had music playing, which the boys were dancing too (so stinkin cute!) and offered them the microphone to say something. So in front of the principal and esteemed members of the parent group, what does Jake choose to say??? "Somebody farted!" I don't actually know how many heard him and how many were just being polite by ignoring him but I couldn't have been prouder of my son than at that moment (NOT!)
As the kids get older and go through certain stages, our relationships are bound to change and evolve. My goal is to be the best mother I possibly can, be there for them, guide them and make the best of it, even the ages and stages that are not particularly my favorite. I feel like the past few months with Jake have been a challenge for me but that we and our relationship are going to make it out the other end even stronger for it.