Most Popular Posts

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dates with your child

For his fourth birthday, Toby got what he had always wanted: A sports jacket. When he opened the box, his eyes lit up. Gold buttons! Lapels! POCKETS! It made him look just like Daddy and will come in handy should he get married this year.

To celebrate, we planned a date. We have gone on a few mama/son dates lately—a tradition we had years ago that was put on hiatus after Anton was born. It's so, so nice to have some time alone to chat and laugh and follow his lead and go exactly at his speed (for example, taking detours to climb every single step/rock/curb/ramp/incline on the way to the restaurant).

During dinner, as we wait patiently (it's hard to wait!) for the food to arrive, Toby always asks for stories about before he was born. So last night, over burgers at Shake Shack, I told him how I met Alex and how we went to the movies and how we got married and how we had a sweet sweet baby. "And do you know what we named our baby?" I asked. "No," he whispered, eyes wide as saucers. "Toby," I told him. Mind. Blown.
Here is Toby telling me how he met Dun Dun, his beloved imaginary friend. (On a boat in Holland, it turns out.)

It was such a sweet evening and reminded me how nice it is to carve out one-on-one time for people you love. It's such a different pleasure from being in a group! (Also, didn't you love asking your parents about when they were younger? I remember that so distinctly.)

P.S. A three-year-old in conversation, and an awesome trick for grown-up dates.

115 comments:

rochelleask said...

So sweet.

Michele said...

That jacket is adorable, but what happened to his forehead!

Jill said...

That's a beautiful blue dress! Would you mind sharing where you got it?

Polly Prissy Pants said...

Oh this is just too sweet. Toby seems like a rad little dude.

Polly Prissy Pants said...

Oh this is just too sweet. Toby seems like a rad little dude.

Kate said...

I always ask my parents for childhood stories and either they don't remember or the story is so embellished that it evolves into multiple new stories. This generation of kids has cameras, videos, blogs and all kinds of social media cementing their childhood milestones, serving as a scrapbook when our memories fail us. Not sure if that's for better or worse : )

lindsaymarie said...

SO cute. all of your posts about the adorable and hilarious things toby says make me so excited for motherhood!

Jenny said...

I'll be working at a preschool in Spain next year, and I'm overall terrified, but this adorable story of Toby reminded me of all the amazing moments that working with such young children will bring about :)
www.athingforwords.com

marlene said...

Super cute!

I so agree with you about the one-on-one time. My husband comes from a massive family and it seems like it's always just one huge group of people celebrating 10 birthdays at once and all getting together en masse. It's nice to have those celebrations, but I'm much more of a "let's have dinner with one of them one night" type of person. I feel like the one-on-one interaction builds and strengthens different types of relationships. Same goes with children. I don't have any of my own right now, but I agree that nurturing individual and group relationships is the way to go!

Cheryl G. said...

So dapper in his handsome jacket!
Loved this post!!!

Susan said...

What a sweet, sweet post.

Jennifer Wubbels said...

Just as I opened the page, my 3.5 year old daughter came over and asked, "who is that boy?" And I told her his name was Toby. "I kind of want to marry him" she says. And then, "Can we go find him?" :)

heather said...

Adorable! What a wonderful evening. I love the bandaid on his forehead. And then I happened to click on your post about the sports jacket and noticed the picture of him with a bandaid on his chin. I have bought more boxes of bandaids for my children in the last five years than I can count. Even when they don't have a scrape, they want a bandaid!

a owens said...

I'm in love with his sweet imagination!
He seems like such a fun boy!!!

Erin said...

I'm so curious to see what happens when my boy is a little older. He's not quite 2.5, and I don't think he can quite process the idea that his parents had a life before him yet (I'm starting to lose touch with the idea myself!). But the idea of someday having this kind of conversation with him and his sister is so, so sweet.

Toby is a doll. His parents must be awfully wonderful to raise such a sweetheart :)

Making it Anywhere said...

I can't even tell you how much I cherish the dates my mom would take me on! And my Mema! Even though I will miss my sisters while they live out of state, I'm very excited to get the chance to hang out with my parents again, just us!

Renae said...

Oh that melts my heart with all of the sweetness!

Eliza Lewis said...

He is so so so adorable :) i love the idea of alone time with each child.

i have the dame dress. It looks great on you. It makes me like it even more.

Tiffany @ Savor Home said...

What an amazing child with amazing parents... Love this.

Megan F said...

Oh, Toby! You could not get any sweeter. And I smile every time I read about Dun Dun. Just the best.

Staci Graber said...

I dream of dinner dates with my little guy (11 months) wearing a navy blazer one day. So incredibly sweet!

The Gimlet Eye said...

Hi, there! LOVE your dress - would you mind sharing where it is from?

christi said...

Oh, Joanna, this is why I love your blog. "Mind. Blown." Ha! so cute... Toby stories are my favorite!

jodi said...

Sports jacket + overalls + forehead bandaid = freaking adorable! I'd like a date with this little man ; )

Connie Chung said...

Toby is going to grow up to be such a dapper gentleman. Most boys don't even know what a sports jacket is!

Caroline said...

Love this! When we were little (I'm one of four kids), my dad took us on "time only" so we got one-on-time with him. Such amazing memories. My favorite thing was to go to bookstores. I will definitely be doing that with my kids one day!

Amy Kitch said...

He's just too sweet! I love that he wanted a sports coat. Most tiny people wouldn't even know what one was!

I used to take the kids I nannied on ice cream dates. The little boy always want to go for 'chocolate and vanilla squirrels.' Cracks me up to this day!

Kelsey said...

This is SO sweet! I can't believe he wanted a sports coat, what a cool guy! I love that he has his own style and that you encourage it. My little son is 14 months so he's not quite the conversational dinner companion yet but I'm looking forward to dates with him soon! Love this.

M.M. said...

I distinctly remember saying "tell it again!" after my mom would finish a story when I was young.

My a favorite was the story about how she found a purse on her way to work, and when she opened it to find an ID card, all that was inside was a gun, and then she called the police and they came to get it. The end. "Tell it again!"

Joanna Goddard said...

michele, oh yes! he fell down some steps at the playground. it was a pretty big scrape, poor thing! he's always getting bumps and bruises, the fate of a 4-year-old i guess....

Joanna Goddard said...

jill, thank you! it's from madewell.

Joanna Goddard said...

jennifer, yes!!!! he would be thrilled!!! hahaha

Joanna Goddard said...

MM, wow, that is nuts. and amy, your little one sounds adorable!

Alexandra said...

This post is adorable! I'm dieing over how cute his little blazer is!

-- Alex at Cashmere Kangaroo

littlebigbell said...

Aww so adorable! Little boys just look so cute in blazers. I bought my 8 year old a Summer blazer from J Crew and he loves looking like his dad. Love how you describe the date, it's so wonderful to chat and bond. I love doing that with my son when we walk to and from school.

Blythe Bartel said...

My dad took me on dates for years when I was growing up. My parents have all the adorable pictures of us together. Two things happened on every date. One is that I always got to pick out my dads outfit and the other is that we always went to Steak n' Shake for a large chocolate milk shake and we'd share it on the way home. The night before I got married, we went for one more ride to Steak n' Shake for one last chocolate shake. Keep up the dates Joanna, they make great memories for you both!

Blythe Bartel said...

My dad took me on dates for years when I was growing up. My parents have all the adorable pictures of us together. Two things happened on every date. One is that I always got to pick out my dads outfit and the other is that we always went to Steak n' Shake for a large chocolate milk shake and we'd share it on the way home. The night before I got married, we went for one more ride to Steak n' Shake for one last chocolate shake. Keep up the dates Joanna, they make great memories for you both!

Lexie said...

Toby is the sweetest little boy!

Lily L-M said...

This is too cute! I LOVE his blazer -- hilarious to me that he wanted one so badly!

x Lily
http://whilemyboyfriendsaway.blogspot.com/

brooklynash said...

this post made me laugh out loud. oh toby. i love that he wanted a sports jacket!

Mollylee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mollylee said...

Looks so handsome in that grownup jacket. BUT the very best part of the outfit is that band-aide peeking out through his hair. Love toddlers!!

TwentiSomething Mom said...

This is just so adorable. I love the idea of a mother/son date at Shake Shack and I can't believe he asked for a sports jacket!

Cindy Wagner said...

oh my holy sweetness. could Toby be any more adorable than he already is?? I love that he wanted a sports jacket! That sweet little man!!! You are so very lucky to have 2 boys. I raised twin boys and those early years were nothing short of pure heaven. seeing the world through their eyes was the most amazing experience. It goes by so quickly - don't you wish you could make it last a little bit longer?

Amy P said...

That bandaid just totally completes his little boy outfit! So cute that you gave him a sports jacket :) He looks very dapper.

Tracy Demer said...

My daughter (11) and I celebrate "girls' night" every Friday night, usually with a movie and popcorn, but we've also gone to a play, gone to dinner and even given each other mani-pedicures! We're very close, and beginning this spring my son (6) and I have begun Saturday afternoon dates. It's so special to spend one-on-one time with these little creatures, they grow so fast.

Maria said...

He's so adorable in his jacket! And have you guys ever even been to Holland together?

Also, what's happened to his forehead?

Maria xx
www.cheekypinktulip.blogspot.com

Natalie said...

Oh my word! I was gushing over him in his little sports jacket, (so handsome!) and then that story about telling him what you named your first baby! Thanks for making me smile today. This makes me excited to have kids someday = ).

Natalie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy Lauree said...

That was so cute. The part about you telling him about naming your sweet baby "Toby" and his mind getting blown made me laugh.

Beth Vogel Fitzgerald said...

I've been reading your blog for at least five years, and this is my favorite post by far! Loving that jacket.

Justine said...

OMG, cutest little fella ever! Next to my cute fella of course. I really enjoyed this blog post - I too have dates with my son, and I love them! We have great talks, he is an amazing companion and I always learn something new and interesting about him.

Jamy of Fourth Street said...

This post (story) made my day. The absolute cutest photos of Toby to go with it! Thank you for sharing. xo.

Mario said...

Whoa...in the close-ups, the sport coat really makes Toby look like Pete Campbell!

MelanieKPrice said...

Oh my goodness...how sweet! And he looks so dapper in his sport coat. Such a cutie!

Grace Kim said...

His face in the second picture is fantastic!

I love this...I used to go on dates with my dad as a little girl and even into college (I still do whenever I visit him). I always cherished those times.

My husband and I are expecting our first and have already talked about doing that with our kids. I just think it's such a great tradition to have!

Thanks for sharing, Joanna..your family really is so cute :)

Vici said...

Joanna, I really love your writing. It is always so heartwarming, thanks for sharing. x

Lindsay said...

I love Toby posts! He's got such a personality on him. How does a 4 year old even know what Holland is? Love it.

Dearest Darling

Jacob Phelps said...

how special!

Kiri Cragin Folwell said...

This is adorable! I love the idea of date nights with your kids. My dad still takes my siblings and I out one-on-one for breakfast dates.

www.stateofsunshineblog.com

Katie said...

This is so sweet. I know what you mean about asking your parents about when they were younger. I loved loved loved my mother's stories of her wacky dormmates at NYU in the 70s, prancing around Greenwich Village (the stories always involved very rich girls who had no idea how to do laundry, which amused my working-class mother, who earned extra money in middle school making beds in a boarding house). That and I loved hearing the crazy stories about all my dad's college friends who got arrested for being drunk and disorderly while going to school in a dry county in Tennessee. He claims he was never arrested himself...

HY said...

I love your posts about Toby, he sounds like such a cool little guy. These mama/son dates are a wonderful idea!

grace said...

LOLing right now! Who knew a jacket accompanied with a bandaid could look so good.

fancyalterego said...

Such a great idea! Toby is a total ladykiller in that coat, too!

Kim said...

I hope we're all on the guest list for what is sure to be the wedding of the year! :)

Briseidy said...

aaww this is so sweet! I love the idea

Christie. said...

Ohmygosh, he's so gorgeous. What a sweetheart!

Jessica Brown said...

We take our kids on dates too. They are so pleasant out alone. One time I took my oldest for ice cream and then we read books at the bookstore and on the way home he said it was an awesome time!

Shaunacey Bonneville said...

I LOVE when people that their kids on dates, it's so special!
It helps he's such an absolute cutie

Tracy and Mark said...

this post made my heart expand!! and his little outfit is just too cute!

Ashley Byars said...

Stop it! He is too precious and can marry my 3.5 yo, wedding obsessed daughter, ha. I always am happy to hear when the opposite gender has similar obsessions!

Alison August said...

This may be my favourite blog post. Ever. So sweet!

DaniFineporcupine said...

It is my favorite blog post EVER!!!!! Made me well up with tears. So gorgeous!

Nina said...

What great pictures. As a single parent with an only child we are together all the time :) but sometimes its nice to stop. Sit. Talk. We have a busy life and rarely sit down together to eat focusing just on each other. So I try to remember to do that every once in awhile - no phones, or electronics - just me and him sitting and talking. And he does love hearing about himself, stories of when he was younger. I created a wooden egg story of when we got his dog - I drew pictures on it. And even though he mouths the words as I say them he wants ME to tell it...and then you said, I want this one but that was a girl and you had to pick a boy and then one came and st on your lap and you said this one this one and on the drive home he tried to push you out of your car seat (and he laughs and laughs)

KELLI JODOIN said...

I love that his imaginary friend is named Dun Dun! My daughter had one named Megawonks! Now if we bring it up she thinks it's the craziest thing (she's 7 now). Ps-wouldn't it be adorable to get Toby a corsage for his coat??

abroadathome said...

Toby is not to be believed! He is so, so cute. I love his request for a sports jacket and some stories before his time. His genuine curiosity is beyond endearing.

What a sweet date : )

Jenna said...

My mom took me on a birthday date after my fourth birthday--it became a tradition. We had dinner at a Chinese restaurant and I felt so grown-up sharing a pot of tea with her. Afterwards, she took me to an orchestra concert and I was fascinated by the violin soloist. (The Duplo block figure with the green dress became my favorite, because that's what the soloist wore). I insisted on staying after intermission and begged my parents to let me play the violin for two years, until I started after my sixth birthday.

Eliza Jane said...

This is such a sweet post!

The Epicurean Wife said...

What a great post. I love the jacket! Would you mind sharing where you got it from?

On A Sunday Afternoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joyseethree said...

Toby is too cute!

I'm finding that my 5-year-old needs a lot of one on one time. I took her out for a smoothie last Sunday and I let her talk and talk and talk. No distractions, just me sitting across from her and listening. I didn't have to say much at all really, she just wanted an ear. It was really nice. I'm hoping she remembers our dates as she grows older. They're incredibly special to me and I hope they are for her.

Stephanie said...

This is so sweet. I took my daughter to swimming, for a haircut, on errands and out to eat this week as a special day with just her - no baby! I agree, so nice to just go at their speed. Also, sad that in the background of the photos there are so many people on their phones! Makes you try to remember to put it down once and a while - well done for enjoying your time with him :)

Katerina said...

I always go on dates with my son.This is my most favorite thing in the world!

macaca grava-por-cima said...

PRECIOUS!
I love having dates with my 3 year old son.

Last month, on a sunny sunday morning (my husband was working, the poor guy!) we went to the Lisbon Oceanário, wich is the biggest aquarium in Europe (it has sharks, pinguins, sting rays, turtles, all kinds of fish from all oceans and seas)and we had a blast. After, we went for a burger lunch in a very trendy spot in town. When we arrived home he draw the pinguins and the snow (the favorite thing he saw in the aquarium) to show to dad.

He still talks about it today.

And I love this dates...

PS - my son wore much more casual outfit (a black leather jacket that it loves!!):-DDD
Toby's jacket is just adorable, i have to say!!! A real gentleman

Michelle Panting said...

Oh my goodness. Sometimes Toby is just too sweet. I can't take it.

http://www.fullbellywornsoles.com

AMY said...

I think Toby is possibly the best kid ever! You are so lucky to have him!

Colleen said...

Toby is so cute. I love it. This makes me look forward to having kids!

Rasheeda said...

I want to go on a date with Toby!! He is the most sweetest, loving boy on the planet! Joanna, you and the hubs are doing such an amazing job raising your two little nuggets. I hope to be just as awesome a parent when my time comes!
Cheers,
Rasheeda

17 Perth said...

Absolutely adorable!!

tati said...

This is so heartwarming.

stateandoccupation.com said...

You are such an amazing momma to him. Toby posts will forever be my favorite, he is growing up to be such a cool dude.

SWOON!
xxoxoxo Dakota

chrisstaliv said...

How cute is he? Love this idea!

dc said...

He is so adorable! We were a group of 14 for dinner last night and passed another adorable 5 month old named Darwin around our circle of friends. Those of us with grown "babies" miss these early stages so much. Enjoy!!

Gee + Vee said...

Toby has the most hilarious sense of humor I'v ever encountered in a child (and I'm a preschool teacher!) Meeting his imaginary friend on a boat in Holland just about takes the cake!

nina | itsazooatthezoo.blogspot.com said...

Such a good idea! I need to do this with my son. Great dress!

cianne said...

I just love watching Toby grow up. Such a sweetie. Thanks for giving us peeks in to your life xo

Olithée said...

your raising a fantastic bright and sensitive young men. bravo !

Olithée said...

your raising a fantastic bright and sensitive young men. bravo !

Ciara said...

How is Toby's violin playing going or was it a passing obsession? He'd look great with the violin and the jacket, a real professional musician!

Unknown said...

This reminded me of when my kids were younger and in school. I would surprise one of them at a time by picking them up from school and taking them to lunch. They each got a surprise "mom and me" lunch date at least once each school year. The loved the surprise of it and it gave me a chance to spend special time with them. Great memories!

Unknown said...

This reminded me of when my kids were younger and in school. I would surprise one of them at a time by picking them up from school and taking them to lunch. They each got a surprise "mom and me" lunch date at least once each school year. The loved the surprise of it and it gave me a chance to spend special time with them. Great memories!

Umami Bear said...

Killin me with cuteness! I love these family posts!!

Linda said...

Every time you post a photo of Toby, he's got a new bandage on. LOL. It makes me go, "aww, poor guy," but I also can't help how endearing it is. =)

Stephanie said...

Posts like these make me so excited for 2 years from now. My little dude will be 2 next week and he's already such a funny character, he has us cracking up all day. But a sports jacket?! Big heart eyed emoji! Our son loves fadoras, just like his other mama. We'll be heading out the door and he'll come running back inside yelling "hat!" and he'll run to get one. I could eat him up.

abigail said...

How freaking precious is this?!

Nina C. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nina C. said...

I completely see what you mean in past posts when you've said that he's an old soul. The way he is with his little brother, the way he wonders about life before he was there, such a romantic! Congrats on the beautiful family you and Alex have!

Elaine Alguire said...

This is precious. That jacket is the cutest and so is he. One-on-one time is so important. I love that you two had this.

Came to visit from Kristin's blog, Two Cannoli! :)

Sammi Egan said...

Beautiful story, Joanna. He looks so adorable in his jacket!

Your dress is beautiful, also.

Courtney G said...

I just did a date with my 7 year old and could not have had more fun! I pulled him out of school (shhhh!) and we went and got authentic Italian pizza and saw maleficient. It was the best day :)

Beth Vayda said...

Wow, I'm so surprised with myself that I've never thought about dates with my girls! Mine are 3 & 4, together they feed off each other and going out (even grocery shopping!) isn't a super time. I'm always so busy mothering, errand running, nursing schooling, cleaning! And lately I've been looking at my kids and think, you look older all the sudden! :( Don't we all wish they would stay small. I love this idea, I love your site. Thank you so much <3 Beth in Alabama <3

dwain edward said...

I wanted to thank you for this special read. Your site is greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot for sharing. . .
international moving services mumbai.

Hena Tayeb said...

oh what a cutie!

Lil T said...

So sweet. Happy Birthday,Toby! I can't believe he's 4. I've been reading your blog since before he was born! Since T loves stories and probably stories that involve himself (after all we all do at any age), have you told him or started to explain that he's a little bit famous? In that all your readers know about him. I'm just thinking about how his birth story joyfully blows his mind? Explain to a 4yo that a lot of people know who he is. I can't begin to imagine what little minds think of the internet. It's all they'll ever know but still...

Anna said...

Joanna-
When I look at these photos of your beautiful son, I think that he has a quiet, rooted confidence and a gentle joy that comes from being well loved by his parents.

Darling story. Blessings.
Anna

Site design by Apartment One
Federated Media Publishing - Style