My two children spend, and have always spent, most of their days in a structured school environment so that I can work. I have guilt, and feel like I am missing out on critical bonding time with them during their day, so I am forever trying to come up with ideas that are "uniquely me" to help me bond with them. Often, they are so happy to see me, and relieved to be home, that they have an abundance of energy that cannot be contained. On those days, the constant chatter and loud silliness starts in the car ride home and then spills out of the garage into the house. On those days, it is difficult for me to change my clothes and get dinner going because they are literally hanging on me, talking to me, tugging on my clothes, etc. I needed something we could do together when we got home, that was quick and easy and a no-fuss treat for them, that would make them feel like they were getting some special attention from me and would diffuse some of that extra energy. Behold "ya-ya" time.*
We drop everything as soon as we get in the door. I put on some fun music, turn up the volume, and we dance around the living room being crazy. It only takes about 10 or 15 minutes before they feel sufficiently spent. We started with the B-52s - they LOVE "Rock Lobster" - but they now want their own music. We are currently all about the Naked Brothers Band, and they don't even request that I join them in the dancing. I know it's time for divine dances of the ya-ya brotherhood when one of them says "Mom, can we get our ya-yas out, please?"
Recently I caught myself watching them. It warmed my heart to see my sons, totally uninhibited and full of joy, leaping and dancing together. They had big smiles on their faces. They grabbed stuffed animals for dance partners. There was no special occasion; it was just an ordinary day like any other. How lucky am I?? What a great day!!
*The idea of "ya-ya" time is not my own. How we do it is our own special creation, but I read about the idea in a parenting magazine somewhere.