Friday, April 20, 2012

The Breakfast Games

Okay, so Mom-E and I actually saw this movie while she was resting up for the Boston Marathon (we haven’t read the book), but I came up with this title before seeing the film.

My thinking is “the best way to put the odds in your favor, is to STACK THE DECK.”

While I haven’t read the Hunger Games, I am reading a book called “The 5 Love Languages of Children.” It’s basically about how we, as parents, can most effectively communicate love to our children.

One of the love languages is “Quality Time”, and this is most definitely one of Big Brother’s main languages. Kinda makes sense as the oldest child that his “love currency” would be one-on-one time with Mom-E or I.

As you can imagine, with 3 small boys, school, piano, Cub Scouts, gymnastics, laundry, dishes, yard work, a need for exercise, and a career, that can be a real challenge, but nonetheless a very important challenge.

And so, as strange as it may sound, at least 3 mornings a week, Big Brother and I are up and awake at about 6:15am playing various board games (and occasionally reading books, and very occasionally playing Nintendo) for about 45 minutes before I go to the gym/other children wake up/it’s time to get ready for school.

And you how much it means to him to think that a 7 year-old eagerly and quickly pops out of bed at 6:15am to play games, but he does.

Because that’s his “love language”.

Big Brother often remarks about how cool it is that “we’re the only ones who are awake.” We have fun selecting the game the night before.

Usually, I make his breakfast for him, while he sets up the game board of choice, and then we play. We have a lot of fun just playing and talking. Most of the time I play “full tilt”, although sometimes I help increase his chances of winning.

(Secretly, I hope that in the future this will provide him with a venue to discuss his hopes and dreams and fears.)

And we’ve seen some other fruits of this time together. He’s usually so happy that we’ve been playing that he eagerly gets dressed for school, brushes teeth, etc because he’s busy talking about something related to our game.

And when I get home from work, I think that he’s generally happier and more tolerant of the fact that my attention is divided between the 3 boys. Although at age 7 with two younger brothers, it’s still natural that he “lets his guard down” and vents frustration at home (especially when he’s tired and/or hungry) by yelling and acting out for more attention.

But I’m so glad that he seems to cherish this morning time together.

I know I do.

Have a good weekend,


  1. After spending 4 days with the boys I can definitely see that this is Big Brother's love language. Down time and quality time go a long way for him. Love you Big Brother!

  2. I love that you and big bro have that bonding time in the AM.

  3. Love this idea! I definitely need to get this book. You are such a good dad!

  4. Big garden envy...wish we had one...looks great!