One more thought~ there are several things I wish my own parents had done differently raising me, and "being more present with me as a toddler" is not even in the running. And I was a toddler in the playpen era (also the leave the kids in the car while you go grocery shopping era!). Thinking about that helps me with the guilt, too.
This is so true! I never even thought of that.
Honestly, We've kind of made it a point NOT to entertain him or do kid-focused stuff with him all the time. Sure, I'll get down and play trains for a while when I have some spare time, but then get up and do something and leave him to his own devices. Similarly, he'll come join us in whatever we're doing (he has a dish washing fascination) if the mood strikes him. We talk and interact while he does his thing and we do ours. "Quality time," in my opinion, isn't necessarily "adult focused solely on kiddie activities" time. Just existing in the same space and interacting naturally is pretty much how kids learn. I'm not saying we ignore DS1 when he wants to play, not at all. But saying, "I'm tired of playing with airplanes, I'm going to go start the laundry. Do you want to stay and play by yourself or do you want to come with me and help?" or stuff like that.
Also this ^^!! I read somewhere (in those early days of reading a lot about children's development) about child-centered vs. continuum concept and the idea of not being child-centered and just existing with your child and sharing your space and world with him really appealed to me. I admit that this is hard to remember when culturally I feel pushed to spend "quality" time playing with him when we're together. But blizzard_babe's response is a good reminder that more child-centered activities isn't necessarily a good thing.
Oh, that's good to know.