Yesterday (Saturday) Gabe and I dropped off the van for servicing and walked to the Silver Spur Restaurant for breakfast. (Claire and Elleda did the same thing a couple weeks ago--we stole their idea.) I didn't expect to enjoy breakfast with a three-year-old as much as I did. Gabe sat across from me at our table for two and ate most of his Mickey Mouse pancake (eggs and fruit--he gave me his bacon), and was very well behaved. And we were never at a loss for conversation. On the way back to get the van Gabe said he wanted to do something with "just Daddy, no Mommy, no Elleda, no Henry" again.
Then we went to "Blue Ball Park" and had fun racing on the steep, side-by-side slides. Gabe kept winning--he kept saying "ready, set, go!" after he already started down. He got scared when he went down so fast he lost control, flipped over onto his belly and landed face-down in the sand at the bottom. But after a little cry (and wanting his mommy) he was ready to climb right back up and go again.
Then on to Kaleidoscope where we shopped for birthday presents for John. (We got him a medal detector that we got Josh for x-mas that we heard he enjoyed, and a rocket powered by vinegar and baking soda--they didn't have the rocket-car we got Josh.) Gabe had fun playing with "the fastest cars in the world" with "simulated scale speeds up to 600mph."
Finally on to Costco to buy some patio chairs Claire had picked out earlier. Gabe wasn't able to help, but he didn't get in the way either. (He was drooling over a "big-boy bike"--he really wants to learn how to ride without training wheels.)
We got home just in time for lunch and naps. My morning with Gabe was a pleasure.
Then after some chores (including picking up a patio table Claire had picked out elsewhere), it was time to wake Elleda up for her surprise: going to Disney on Ice at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. (Claire and I hadn't talked about it, but we both knew it was best not to tell Elleda we had these plans in advance so she wouldn't gloat to Gabe and get him jealous--Gabe is very sensitive to when things "aren't fair" in his eyes--he gets that from his dad.)
We listened to Here Come the ABCs (from my iPod in my car) there and back--I enjoy it as much as Elleda does. I take a lot of pleasure in her interest in the songs' titles and lyrics. I hope as she gets older we'll have fun talking about what tastes in art and entertainment we have in common (or not in common).
The show was fun, but unfortunately the "plot" was centered around The Incredibles. Elleda would have been much happier if it was about the Disney princesses. (They only showed Cinderella and Snow White in a parade, and her favorite Ariel wasn't there.) By my standards the show was quite blatantly commercial and mediocre, but I enjoyed Elleda's excitement and interest.
I enjoyed my 1-on-1 time with both kids. I'll have to look for more opportunities to do it again. (It will get more difficult to find the time as Henry gets older, and of course he should get some 1-on-1 time too; so all the more reason to remember to make it happen every couple months or so.)