I'm not talking about candy. I'm referring to something I love even more than chocolate [hard to imagine, right?]. M & M time is Mommy and Maddie time.
When I signed Parker up for preschool last year, I assumed that his 3 hours away from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays would be filled with tea parties, make-up sessions, reading, and cuddle time with Maddie. Then I realized how incredibly easy it was to get things accomplished when there is only one child in my charge. Suddenly I could unload the dishwasher and start a load of laundry before lunch time. Imagine! When I found that she didn't complain about car rides and errands when it was just the two of us, the possibilities were endless...dry cleaners, grocery, library, oh my!
I got greedy. I started to fill all of "Maddie's" time with chores and errands, convincing myself we had quality conversations along the way. I read her extra books before nap time and bedtime to cover my guilt. The complaining began. It was inevitable, really. "I don't want to go to the store!" I had ruined it.
Well, Thursday was a crazy one. It was Parker's last day of preschool, and the 3 hour window just didn't seem long enough. I was running around trying to finish the small, movie-themed gift baskets I had made for his teachers. I had so many stops to make, I thought my head might explode. Maddie whined her complaints from the backseat as I drove like a madwoman all over town. I just wanted some silly movie tickets! The theaters weren't open yet, Walmart didn't carry them, Blockbuster had stopped selling gift cards temporarily due to a corporate takeover. AAAAAHHHH!!!!!!!
We stopped at Stonybrook theaters around 10:30. When I saw that they were closed, I decided to duck into the nearby Steak-n-Shake, so Maddie and I could take a potty break. Once inside, I reasoned we might as well stay until 11, to give the theatre a chance to open. Best. Decision. Ever.
I realized what I had been missing. This was real Mommy/Maddie time. We sat in a booth and just played. With nary a dish to wash, shirt to fold, or toy to put away, I turned off my phone and mental to-do list, and was able to focus completely on my little princess. We each ordered chocolate milk (a rare treat). She talked in her loud [read: oblivious to others], high-pitched voice, eliciting smiles from the other patrons. We shook the sugar packets like maracas, took turns wearing her hot pink feather boa, and had an impromptu tea party with the plastic dishes she had lugged in from the van. She danced to the 80's music, and hugged the candy machine, informing me it was her "best fwiend" after it dispensed some sweet treats. We chatted about nothing and sang silly songs. We didn't have a care in the world.
At 11, we were ready to go. The theatre still wasn't open. What might have seemed like a waste of time to a casual observer was actually the best 30 minutes I have spent with my baby in a long time. What a lesson I learned! I just hope I can remember it.