My little one is fortunate in that she has FOUR great grandparents to dote on her, along with all her grandparents. I still have vivid memories as a little girl of my wonderful great grandparents, and what a special relationship that was. I love my daughter fiercely, unconditionally, and with all my heart. Then you look at the Grandmas and THEIR love with her... it's on another plane altogether, a plane where they don't have to ever speak a word of discipline and the children not only are perfect angels, but are their very best selves.
Then, there's GREAT-GRANDMA love.... which is just epic. When Great Grandmas are in the room with the little ones, the rest of us quite vanish. There may as well be no walls or language. It's like they are different sides of the same soul.
Yesterday, Miss DD Bird just got back from almost 72 hours in Other-Wordly Grandma AND Great-Grandma AND Great-Grandpa Heaven at the Beach... and today we are still working out our connection again. Here's a few things that helped us ease back into our regular rhythm in a happy way...
1) Remember that you may need to reconnect purposefully. I was getting in a little snit yesterday and today because I couldn't figure out what was so off with us... Seems obvious, but we live in a busy world and it's easy to forget the variables that affect our parenting and relationships. The simple act of acknowledging that we needed to reconnect helped me to approach the days different.
2) Nap together. You might not get a toddler to snuggle with you for that physical reconnection, but a nap together does wonders for setting everything back to right in the world. And if it doesn't...
3) Prepare and eat nourishing food together. And cookies. There is no restorative act greater than food. Being together in the kitchen - her on a little step stool doing something mindless I assigned her, like playing with water in the sink - creates a little sense of you-and-me-together. Then we sit and eat together... and then we eat cookies. Because you KNOW Grandma fed her plenty of ice cream and gummy bears (Hi, Mom) and I have to compete with that just a little....
4) And plan a little bit of the day in a structured way. We're typically a pretty loosey-goosey house, no real schedule. But after she got back home, I was sure to put in place a little bit of safety and security that toddlers find welcoming. I think it prevents her from wandering around having to reorient herself to her cottage and gives her the sense that adults are still in charge of the universe.
5) Try to avoid asking things like "Did you miss me so much?" Be unconditional about your love and missing. Sure, I told her 120 times I missed her and was so happy to see her - but I tried hard not to ask her to make any sense of her feelings about transitioning from The Funnest Place In The Word to... real life. Too much pressure!
I'm happy to say we seem to be back in our groove, and that two nights of uninterrupted sleep was a miracle! If anyone offers to take your kid on an overnight.. SAY YES!!
....Unless, it doesn't FEEL GOOD TO YOU!
What are your reconnection strategies to share, for all age groups? I'm especially curious about reconnecting with TEENS after a separation...?
Please share respectfully, acknowledging that all parents must do what feels good for them!